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Vampire: Past the Masquerade, How Not to Suck

MwaO

Explorer
This is a Vampire Handbook. Normally, I'd leave the class for dead, but it keeps somehow coming up as an example of a weak class rather than a badly designed class, and that annoys me. So I'm going to over time do a guide.

Vampires are a member of the Striker role, but in some ways just nominally so. They have an MBA that doesn't quite scale fast enough similar to most Essentials Strikers. They have lousy encounter attack powers, but crucially, they do have encounter attack powers. They have an unusual surge mechanic that allows them to soak damage up in a way that's just frightening in a normal game. Finally, they have a tendency to attract the wrong kind of player - the one who thinks they've joined a LARP, manages to creep out the rest of the table, and then gets everyone against them.

An optimized Vampire has to do three things:
Get the other players on board with them being at the table. If they're not comfortable, it is hard to take advantage of one of Vampire's strongest class feature - the ability to heal to full with one extra surge at the end of a combat. This enables some unusual combat tactics.

Optimize their Vampire Slam - this power is going to get a lot of use, almost regardless of build. Take advantage of that.

Multiclass effectively and do a power swap. The best Paragon Path choices allow for some real amplification of role. Make good choices.

[h=2]This Handbook will use the following system for ratings:[/h]
Red - Garbage, or completely overshadowed by another option.
Purple - Situationally useful, but overall pretty meh.
Black - OK. You could do worse than pick this.
Blue - Good stuff. You probably want this.
Sky Blue - You want this. Period.
Gold - Why haven't you taken this yet? A defining choice for a build, or even the whole class.​
[h=2][/h]
 
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MwaO

Explorer
Power Source & Role

Shadow & Striker

Class Features:
Hit Points Standard Striker fare
Surges - Yuck. But see Blood is Life+Child of the Night+Blood Drinker.
Child of the Night - Regen, Vuln Radiant, Resist Necro. Hint: Wear a cloak at all times.
Blood is Life - take a surge from a party member after regenerating to just above bloodied during a 5 minute aka 50 round short rest? Have one too many surges from Blood Drinker? Heal to full hp. Extremely efficient.

[sblock=Vampire Toughness]
Kind of just to spell out Vampire Toughness:
Suppose as an example, you're in a really rough combat. You get knocked unconscious, healed, then knocked unconscious again, then healed back to consciousness.

As it turns out, you're in a hurry, so there's only time for one short rest and the leader of the party needs to preserve their heals for the next combat. So you're now reliant to heal thyself.

-----

That scenario often happens to the striker of a party. Let's pretend this happens to a Rogue - he was healed twice in the combat and is probably near 1/4 hp. So to heal to full, he needs to spend 3 more surges for a total of 5. That means he has 2 surges for the rest of the day if he had a 12 Con or he's going into the next combat down hit points with 3 surges. Total Party Surge cost? 5.

Vampire at say 7th? That regeneration in combat maybe means he doesn't go unconscious, but let's say he does anyway. A short rest is the equivalent of 50 rounds - 50 rounds where the Vampire can regenerate. He regenerates to just a hair above bloodied. He uses the two surges he gained from Blood Drinker to keep himself at full surges. He takes a healing surge from someone else in the party and heals all the way to full. At 11th with Vampire Noble, he doesn't even need the one from the party. Total Party Surge cost? 1 or 0.

In that one combat, the Vampire managed to effectively gain +4 surges. That's almost a worst case scenario for any striker - in other words, to really truly take down the Vampire for the day, you have to either kill it dead, wipe the party for the day, or have the Vampire in a scenario where the players are too squeamish for him to drain surges, yet have enough healing to heal him more times than he gains surges.

And that's where the Vampire reputation for being fragile comes from - levels 1-6, the Vampire generates less surges than the Leader has heals while potentially being in a party where he can't ask for an extra healing surge...even though if he gets the healing surge, that's a fantastic use of party resources as it meant the DM spent a lot of effort to knock down the party a total of 2 surges for all the damage inflicted on the Vampire...[/sblock]

Hidden Might - Vampire extra damage mechanic. Starts off strong, but because linked to Vampire, loses some punch when at higher levels.
Vampiric Reflexes - Rogue AC
Nightcrawler - Level 8, get a climb speed. Useful enough
Enduring Reserves - Level 13, get a 3rd surge. By this time, you ought to be typically gaining 2-3 surges per combat at a minimum, so this is more for stopping unusual skill challenges.
[B}Vital Consumption[/B] - as most of these options that could trigger this are on the bad side, something of a trap. Might give a small edge if you have too many healing surges, though.
Energized Blood Drinker - Vampires get really, really hard to hurt at this point.



Strength - there are a number of useful multiclass feats that require a 13 Strength. If you intend to power swap for Str-based powers, you'll want a 16, maybe even an 18.
Recommended Starting Score: 8-13, possibly 16-18


Constitution - You don't get surges from a higher Constitution score. Maybe, just maybe you put an 11 in it for hp? Most of the time though, this is begging for one of the two 'set your hp to your highest stat' backgrounds - so do that.
Recommended Starting Score: 8-11


Dexterity - This is your main stat. Most builds can even justify starting with a pre-racial 18. Boost it every chance you get. In addition, most Vampire Charisma powers have a built-in +2 to hit, so if you pick a Dex/Cha race, you'll end up with the same basic to-hit score with all your stats.
Recommended Starting Score: 18-20


Intelligence - Generally not much use for it - you're not getting the defense for it because of Dexterity.
Recommended Starting Score: 8-12, before racial adjustments.


Wisdom - Useful for specific MC feats. Otherwise, not particularly useful unless you're some sort of Dex/Wis build.
Recommended Starting Score: 8-13


Charisma - the strong secondary of Vampires. Absolute minimum is 12 Charisma as otherwise, you don't regenerate and that would be very sad.
Recommended Starting Score: 12-16, maybe an 18 on certain MC builds.



Recommended Arrays

18, 14, 11, 10, 10, 8: Most conventional Vampire builds can safely take this. Dex-Cha

16, 16, 13, 11, 10, 8: Builds that need an immediate MC option with the tertiary stat, yet want the pre-racial 16 for the secondary one.

16, 16, 12, 12, 10, 8: Builds that post-racial and in Paragon, want a 15 in Wisdom, but a 12 in Charisma at 1st level.


Skills
In general, you want to train skills that maximize your skill power options. Vampires don't naturally get a lot of immediate action options, so skill powers that provide this are really strong.

Acrobatics- This is a useful skill that you will already be good at. Tumbling Dodge a very strong Skill Power at level 6 as is Reflexive Dodge at level 16.
Arcana - not likely to have a great Intelligence Stat, but Insightful Warning is a solid Skill Power 6. The builds likely to really want Arcana likely have it from a Multiclass feat aka Sorcerer.
Athletics - This helps with mobility, and therefore is useful. While Strength isn't likely to be higher than 13, Strength of Blood at level 4 tends to make the Vampire pretty good at this once per encounter.
Bluff "Um, really, this draining blood thing? I'm a variant on Artificer?" Good skill to have. Stall Tactics at level 10 is a Daily, but strong 'hey, we go first' power on a boss encounter.
Diplomacy - Good skill for talking things through. Cry for Mercy a strong level 10 Skill Power. Noble Sacrifice is a tricky to implement level 10 for a Vampire, but good if you can do consistently. Indomitable Ally a good 'hey, you're not really dying...'
History - Yeah, not great
Intimidate - Skill that occasionally backfires, but good stat. Snap Out of It good Leaderish 10.
Perception- Not necessarily even a tertiary stat, but useful to have. Guided Shot a good Leaderish Utility 6. Perfect Sight a great corner case utility.
Religion- It's based on a dump stat. However, some builds may have a use for it. Builds that really want it likely to already have it via multiclass feat into Paladin. If you have too many surges, and many Vampires will, Deliverance of Faith is an awesome skill power that you use out of combat. It then lasts until your next short rest - start every combat with more hit points than everyone else.
Stealth - If you train in it, you'll be as good as the Rogue. A couple decent skill powers, nothing crazy though.
Thievery - Train this, perception and stealth and you are the trap monkey, although you won't be great at Perception. However, it's used less in skill challenges that you might think.
 
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MwaO

Explorer
Races

In general, any race that has a Dex-bonus is a strong choice, any race that gets a reroll to hit is also a strong choice, and Cha-bonus is icing on the cake. The really great choices are:
Human - +4 to hit/save once per encounter and an extra feat, very good choices.
Elf - wait, what? This is the powerhouse Fighter option due to getting a +2 to Wisdom for Battle Awareness and a reroll for the Paragon Path Shock Trooper's encounter power.
Revenant - sigh, I said it. Revenant is strong because you can pick up one of the great race options and get +2 to Dex/Cha. Want to pick up Tiefling for some of the great options that they have? Deva, Dragonborn, Half-Elf? Done.
Satyr - A powerhouse Sorcerer option for the ability to slide a target into the Flame Spiral power swap.
Kapak Draconian - Crazy good option for going into Paladin, overall just very good.
Eladrin - while +2 to Int isn't great, Eladrin can get Staff proficiency for free and Staff's a very effective implement for a Vampire.
Halfling - good stats, good support
Pixie
Shadar-Kai - one round of insubstantial can make for a big difference for a Vampire Paladin, but ultimately, the issue for you is not getting knocked unconscious, but rather not having access to healing surges.
Drow
Wilden - free charge once per combat with Wrath of the Destroyer
 
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MwaO

Explorer
Powers

At-Wills:
Dark Beckoning - a useful 'stop flying nearby me' power. Especially good for MC Paladins. Not usable with Blood Drinker, though...
Taste of Life - do some damage & gain some temp hit points. As it is against Fortitude, don't use it against Soldiers, but helpful against the back line.
Vampire Slam - go to melee basic attack. This needs an implement, not a weapon, so goal is a weapliment of some kind for a Dragon Shard and Accurate Implement. One of the reasons a Sorcerer is a strong MC class is it opens up both Staff and Dagger as choices. Otherwise, Crusader's Mace makes for the best choice

Encounters:
1, 7: Blood Drinker - do an extra 1d10/2d10/3d10 damage and gain a healing surge. Especially if you don't have someone who grants attacks in the party and on top of it, you didn't power swap, much better than the Encounter Powers. Once per turn, so only once on an AP turn, but usable when granted an attack as it isn't once per round. But remember, triggers after you hit. So if you're unlucky with your attack rolls, that means more rounds of potential use...
3: Feral Assault Essentially do an extra 8 or so damage over your Vampire Slam. And have an option to do two targets at the cost of a Healing Surge. Except it doesn't work with Blood Drinker. Prime Power Swap opportunity.
17: Unleashed Fury Upgrade to Feral Assault that lasts for about 3 levels before Vampire Slam gets its extra d10. You probably swapped out Feral Assault, this is just an opportunity to potentially get a better option.


Dailies:
1: Swarm of Shadows Close Blast attack power with Movement+Invisibility as a boni. Don't forget to make a stealth check. Especially great with MC Paladins
5: Unfettered Hunger Close Burst power that then adds damage and mobility. But no spending healing surges. Dangerous power for when you want it especially when guessing. This is retrain bait for keeping Swarm of Shadows.
9: Dominating Gaze Essentially Reliable Domination. Good stuff unless you dumped Charisma.
15: Hungry Swarm An upgraded Swarm of Shadows. If you dumped Charisma, retrain Dominating Gaze into Swarm of Shadows here. Otherwise, I'd retrain Unfettered Hunger into Swarm of Shadows.
25: Irresistible Gaze An upgraded Dominating Gaze. If you didn't dump Charisma, I'd potentially consider retraining Hungry Swarm into Dominating Gaze.
29: Consuming Swarm Upgraded Hungry Swarm. Great power, be invisible essentially at-will for an entire combat. If you dumped Cha, retrain Irresistible Gaze into Hungry Swarm.

Utilities:
2: Recommendations: Charming Gaze or Agile Recovery(Acrobatics)
Charming Gaze - A Leaderish power - set up target to not be able to do opportunity attacks or reactions - good for getting past the Soldier with a charge attack against someone behind him. Paladins like this.
Hunter's Gaze - Decent, grants CA. But Cunning Stalker ought to be part of your portfolio of feats, so not that useful.

Agile Recovery
(PHB 3) - Standing up to a Minor Action. Acrobatics

4:
Strength of Blood Make that next Athletics, Endurance or Strength check.

6: Recommendations: Timely Dodge(Acrobatics), Tumbling Dodge(Acrobatics), Eyes of the Deep Delver(Dungeoneering 6), Prescient Maneuver(Insight 6), Guided Shot(Perception 6), Deliverance of Faith(Religion 6)
Form of the Bat Cornercase option for when you want to gain access to areas without being spotted as a person. If that shows up a lot, great. If it doesn't, swap out for a skill power. Lots of good level 6 skill powers.

10: Recommendations: Cry for Mercy(Diplomacy), Reactive Surge(Endurance), Snap Out of It(Intimidate), Perfect Sight(Perception 10)
Gaseous Form Improved Form of the Bat with combat utility when doing Second Wind, but only a Daily. Skill Power bait.

16: Recommendations: Reflexive Dodge(Acrobatics), Insightful Warning(Arcana), Indomitable Ally(Diplomacy), Insightful Riposte(Insight),
Shared Blood Creepy Temp Hit Points+Save as a daily and costing a standard action. Impressive when used, but I think again, Skill Power bait.

22:
Blood Drinker's Pounce Hold on here, we have a winner. Free Move+Attack after bloodying/dropping an opponent? Only downside is you presumably want to use it on an opponent you know got bloodied by an attack or waste Blood Drinker on a dead opponent.

Culling Call Again, better than other options. Drop an opponent, gain a free Dark Beckoning Attack. Good stuff and more controllable. Sorcerer's Friend.
 
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MwaO

Explorer
Recommended Feats:
Defense:
Unarmored Agility
Superior Will/Superior Reflexes

Offense:
Ki Focus Expertise
Versatile Expertise
Staff Expertise
Cunning Stalker
Nimble Blade(if MC'd Sorcerer or Swordmage with Dagger)
Improved Initiative/Superior Initiative
Skill Power(for Insightful Riposte at 16th)
Agile Opportunist
Long Step - shift 2 and then charge

Damage:
Silvery Glow
Thunder's Rumble
Fiery Blood
Crushing Mace
Lasting Frost

Healing Surge
Martial Vampire
 
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MwaO

Explorer
Multiclassing

Three Step Role Handbook

The Three Step Role Handbook is the basic guide essentially to optimizing Vampire. Pick something you want to be better at and then take the related options. Two important points:
Dex is almost always critical because that's where you'lll typically get Healing Surges and it provides AC. Cha is potentially dumpable to 12 without significant combat impairment - you regenerate at 1 hp per round instead of say 3-8 hp per round. At the end of a short rest, no matter what you're level, you're at bloodied value + a little and then any extra surges you have will put you at full. This means that yes, Dex/Str, Dex/Wis, and maybe Int/Cha can be workable.

Something to emphasize here:
Drelzna in S4: Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth(1982) is a Vampire Fighter. Strahd is a Vampire Wizard. Iconic vampires, almost by definition in D&D, are expected to have a class of some sort. So when you hear someone complaining that a Vampire you're playing has, the horror, picked out class options from another class, whack them over the head with S4. It is thin and made of soft paper, and won't hurt too much...

Great Choices:
Fighter. Wants a pre-racial 16 in Strength. You want to be an Elf, both for the re-roll and the +2 bonus to Wisdom. Enter with Battle Awareness(13 Wis) for an easily triggered Interrupt or Cyclone Warrior for a large damage bonus when doing a nova. Something you'll get after power swapping for Rain of Blows and taking the Paragon Path Shock Trooper - with 6 attacks, that's a potentially an extra +12 or +18 damage in a round at the cost of a feat. Great stuff.

Sorcerer. A number of races work well here - try to aim for either +2 Dex/Cha races or races with +2 Dex with an accuracy bonus built in - Human, Elf. Some Revenants get everything here, so should be considered. The entry feat isn't great, but power swapping for Flame Spiral and then going Demonskin Adept will put you into a top-tier optimization bracket. Plus, you get Staff and Dagger as implements, opening up a whole range of choices that are better than Ki or Holy aka Dragonshards on weapliments.

Paladin. Requires 13 Str+13 Cha, you almost certainly want to be a Kapak Draconian. Revenant(Tiefling) or Revenant(Dragonborn) work well too. For a little bit more oddball, Eladrin with the Sun Elf rules gets you proficiency with Staff - a marked target is under an effect and an Aversion Staff +1 = +2 to all defenses against those with an effect. You enter with Soldier of Faith, power swap for Valorous Smite, and basically play at being a Defender. This works really well at 7th level+. Champion of Order as a Paragon Path is going to require Bracers of Mental Might to make work and you won't be able to easily use it twice in Epic, though the +4 to hit bonus helps(and additional +1 to hit on an AP). Remember those Invisibility Daily powers you have...Morninglord can be a good choice, particularly in combo with the Crusader's Mace, but doesn't really kick in until 16th.

Warlord. Resourceful Leader is a great entry feat and both Vengeance is Mine and Death from Two Sides are amazing power swaps. Note the lack of an E13 means you have to wait on Death from Two Sides until E17. Freedom Fighter is a great Paragon Path that hands out an interrupt and lots of other good leader options.

Rogue. Low Slash/Tumbling Blade/Path of Two Blades are all good encounter power swaps. There isn't a great Paragon Path from Rogue, but Vampire Noble actually isn't that bad. If I wanted to play more of a Vampire's Vampire, but do a single encounter power swap, Rogue would be the choice.
 
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MwaO

Explorer
Themes/Paragon Paths/Epic Destinies

Variation on Theme Handbook

Some Strong themes:
Guardian - free MBA
Sarifal Feywarden - lots of bonus damage with elemental attacks
Werebear/Werewolf - Claw Gloves for +1d10
Ghost of the Past
Order Adept - swap out for level 2 Wizard utilities.
Primordial Adept - consistent bonus damage for elemental attacks
Fey Beast Tamer - good spot for using up extra surges
 
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MwaO

Explorer
Equipment

Crusader's Mace is the default 'best implement available' for Vampires without additional expenditures. It turns half damage radiant and as a weapliment, it can have a Dragon Shard on it. There's also a martial only feat option that grants +2 damage to melee basic attacks.

Rhythm Blade Dagger - hold in your off-hand, get +1 to AC by increasing your Shield Bonus

If you have Staff Proficiency, hold a Staff of Defense in your off-hand for +1 defenses to all NADs. A Vampire Paladin can really amp this up by using an Aversion Staff +1.

Salve of Power is a great item if you're finding yourself with too many healing surges and have a good power swap.

Symbol of Victory +2 - if you're not using a Crusader's Mace, Action Point for you after a critical hit.

Rain of Hammers +1 - if you're not using a Ki Focus, free melee basic per day and you do some incidental damage if you kill things.
 
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MwaO

Explorer
Builds

[sblock=Dragonborn Vampire Paladin Defender]
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Kapak Dragonborn, Vampire, Champion of Order
Dragonborn Options Power Selection Option: Flight, Dragonbreath, Dragonborn Fury
Background Auspicious Birth(Use Dex for hp)
Theme Guardian

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 14, CON 9, DEX 23, INT 11, WIS 11, CHA 18

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 13, CON 8, DEX 20, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 15

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +17, Diplomacy +15, Religion +11, Stealth +17, Thievery +17

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +6, Athletics +8, Bluff +10, Dungeoneering +6, Heal +6, History +6, Insight +6, Nature +6

POWERS
Paladin Feature: Divine Challenge(once per encounter)
Vampire Attack 1: Blood Drinker(2 uses)
Paladin Attack 1: Valorous Smite
Vampire Attack 1: Swam of Shadows
Paladin Utility 2: Call of Challenge
Vampire Utility 4: Strength of Blood
Vampire Attack 5: Unfettered Hunger
Skill Power Utility 6: Tumbling Dodge
Vampire Attack 9: Dominating Gaze
Skill Power Utility 10: Cry for Mercy
Champion of Order 11: Certain Justice
Champion of Order 12: None Shall Pass


FEATS
Level 1: Unarmored Agility->Versatile Expertise at 4th assuming Rhythm Blade found, 7th if not
Level 2: Soldier of Faith
Level 4: Novice Power(swap for Valorous Smite)
Level 6: Cunning Stalker
Level 8: Draconic Challenge
Level 10: Acolyte Power(swap for Call of Challenge)
Level 11: Improved Defenses
Level 12: Silvery Glow

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit
Bracers of Mental Might
Crusader's Mace +3
Rain of Hammers Ki Focus +1
Rhythm Blade Dagger +1
Cloth +3
Dragonshard Radiant +3
Neck Item +3

====== End ======[/sblock]

Vampire Paladin build uses a combination of Draconic Challenge, Call of Challenge, and Valorous Smite to multi-sanction opponents. Variations:
Be a Vampire Noble and do more damage with attacks, but lose the lockdown options of the other Paragon Paths
Be an Eladrin, replace Draconic Challenge with Squire of Righteousness. Hold an Aversion Staff +1 in the offhand for +2 item bonus to all defenses against those in your aura or that you've marked.
Be a Morninglord instead of Champion of Order
Epic Option: Take Weakening Challenge


-----------


[sblock=Elf Vampire Striker Fighter]
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Elf, Vampire, Shock Trooper
Theme: Sarifal Feywarden
Background Auspicious Birth(Use Dex for hp)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 19, CON 9, DEX 21, INT 11, WIS 15, CHA 13

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 16, CON 8, DEX 18, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 12

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +17, Diplomacy +15, Religion +11, Stealth +17, Thievery +17

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +6, Athletics +8, Bluff +10, Dungeoneering +6, Heal +6, History +6, Insight +6, Nature +6

POWERS
Vampire Attack 1: Blood Drinker(2 uses)
Vampire Attack 1: Swam of Shadows
Skill Power Utility 2: Agile Recovery
Fighter Attack 3: Rain of Blows
Vampire Utility 4: Strength of Blood
Vampire Attack 5: Unfettered Hunger
Skill Power Utility 6: Tumbling Dodge
Vampire Attack 9: Dominating Gaze
Skill Power Utility 10: Cry for Mercy
Shock Trooper 11: Shocking Twister
Shock Trooper 12: Assault Footwork


FEATS
Level 1: Unarmored Agility->Ki Focus Expertise at 4th assuming Rhythm Blade found, 7th if not
Level 2: Battle Awareness
Level 4: Novice Power(swap for Rain of Blows)
Level 6: Cunning Stalker
Level 8: Cyclone Warrior
Level 10: Improved Defenses
Level 11: Thunder’s Rumble
Level 12: Echoes of Thunder

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit
Iron Armbands of Power +2
Dragon Shard of Thunder +3
Thunderfist Ki Focus +3
Rhythm Blade Dagger +1
Symbol of Victory +2
Ki Focus
Cloth +3
Neck Item +3

====== End ======[/sblock]

Options: If you're afraid that the party won't donate a surge, then put Martial Vampire in at level 1 instead of Unarmored Agility. And leave there until 7th.

Nova Round:
Minor: Sarifal’s Blessing for +10 damage
Move: Move near target
Free: Key damage to Thunder
Free: Trigger Cyclone Warrior(+2 damage per attack)
AP: Shocking Twister - 3 attacks, must hit to keep going, use Elven Reroll if necessary
Standard: Rain of Blows

[sblock=Satyr Vampire Sorcerer Striker]
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Satyr, Vampire, Demonskin Adept
Theme: Sarifal Feywarden
Background Auspicious Birth(Use Dex for hp)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 19, CON 9, DEX 23, INT 11, WIS 11, CHA 19

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 8, DEX 20, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 16

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +17, Diplomacy +15, Arcana +11, Stealth +17, Thievery +17

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +6, Athletics +8, Bluff +10, Dungeoneering +6, Heal +6, History +6, Insight +6, Nature +6

POWERS
Vampire Attack 1: Blood Drinker(2 uses)
Vampire Attack 1: Swam of Shadows
Skill Power Utility 2: Agile Recovery
Sorcerer Attack 3: Flame Spiral
Vampire Utility 4: Strength of Blood
Vampire Attack 5: Unfettered Hunger
Skill Power Utility 6: Tumbling Dodge
Vampire Attack 9: Dominating Gaze
Skill Power Utility 10: Cry for Mercy
Demonskin Adept 11: Demon-Soul Bolts
Demonskin Adept 12: Demonic Wrath


FEATS
Level 1: Arcane Prodigy
Level 2: Superior Implement Training (Incendiary dagger)
Level 4: War Wizard's Expertise
Level 6: Cunning Stalker
Level 8: Superior Will
Level 10: Dual Implement Spellcaster
Level 11: Arcane Admixture (Fire, Demon-Soul Bolts)
Level 12: Fiery Blood


ITEMS
Siberys Shard of the Mage (heroic tier)
Weapon of Speed Incendiary dagger +2 x1
Rebounding Incendiary dagger +2 x1
Blazing Arc ki focus +2 x1
Amulet of Life +2 x1
Eagle Eye Goggles (paragon tier) x1
Boots of the Fencing Master
Shimmering Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing) +2 x1[/sblock]

Nova Round:
Minor: Sarifal’s Blessing for +10 damage
Move: Move near target
AP: Flame Spiral
Free Action(on a hit): Slide one target hit next to you
Standard: Demon-Soul Bolts(and slide another target hit next to you...)

Options:
Arcane Vampire is a good next feat to pick up - +Cha damage for one of your two powers. ETV - Arcane Vampire is poorly worded - it isn't clear that it applies to all the damage rolls of a power.

[sblock=Human Vampire Vampire Noble Striker]
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Human(Vampire, Vampire Noble)
Theme: WereBear
Background Auspicious Birth(Use Dex for hp)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 19, CON 9, DEX 23, INT 13, WIS 11, CHA 17

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 8, DEX 20, INT 12, WIS 10, CHA 14

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +17, Diplomacy +15, Religion +11, Stealth +17, Thievery +17

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +6, Athletics +8, Bluff +10, Dungeoneering +6, Heal +6, History +6, Insight +6, Nature +6

POWERS
Vampire Attack 1: Blood Drinker(3 uses)
Vampire Attack 1: Swam of Shadows
Skill Power Utility 2: Agile Recovery
Rogue Attack 3: Low Slash
Vampire Utility 4: Strength of Blood
Vampire Attack 5: Unfettered Hunger
Skill Power Utility 6: Tumbling Dodge
Vampire Attack 9: Dominating Gaze
Skill Power Utility 10: Deliverance of Faith
Vampire Noble 12: Hunter’s Frenzy


FEATS
Human: Cunning Stalker
Level 1: Sneak of Shadows
Level 2: Versatile Expertise(Holy Symbol, Dagger)
Level 4: Superior Will
Level 6: Silvery Glow
Level 8: Novice Power
Level 10: Crushing Mace
Level 11: Martial Vampire
Level 12: Improved Initiative

ITEMS
Siberys Shard Radiant (heroic tier)
Crusader’s Mace +3
Frost Dagger +2
Dagger of Shielding
Rain of Hammers ki focus +1 x1
Bracers of Mighty Striking +4
Claw Gloves
Neck +3 x1
Boots of the Fencing Master
Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing) +3 x1[/sblock]

Nova Round:
Minor: WereBear
Move up to target
AP: Vampire Slam(Charge if necessary, spend the AP after the Charge)
Standard: Vampire Slam

Next Round:
Minor: Low Slash+Sneak
Standard: Vampire Slam

Damage Output with Vampire Slam:
1d10+2d10(Blood Drinker)+1d10(WereBear+Claw Gloves)+6(Dex)+5(Cha+2)+3(Mace)+4(Bracers)+1(Shard)+3(Silvery Glow)+2(Crushing Mace)+2(Vampire Noble) = 48 damage on average on a hit. 37 without Blood Drinker. So assuming a little luck, could easily do 48+37+48+1d4+6+2+3+3d6(24) or 157 damage over 2 rounds. Perfectly acceptable. If you have Deliverance of Faith as a power that you spent outside of combat after your first rest, you'll have Temp Hit Points, and that means a +4 to hit. Or you can spend the AP after you hit with the first Vampire Slam.
 
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darkbard

Adventurer
Great to see this, Mommy! I haven't played in almost a year and, with the dearth of ideas being bandied about on various 'boards these days, I've even stopped checking these more than once every several weeks. It's nice to have something to draw my attention once again!
 

MwaO

Explorer
Great to see this, Mommy! I haven't played in almost a year and, with the dearth of ideas being bandied about on various 'boards these days, I've even stopped checking these more than once every several weeks. It's nice to have something to draw my attention once again!

Thanks! Btw, have a reasonably straightforward 'Vampire Noble' build that should expect to do around 130 damage over the course of 2 rounds on average at 13th with no setup. And then still has one more full-fledged Vampire Slam to dish out.
 

Joshua Randall

Adventurer
Random thoughts.

Melee Basic: well, there's a feat for it (Melee Training: Dexterity). It costs you half your Dex mod in damage, but you should be able to make that up if you're any good at optimization.

In addition to the usual class-based MBA replacement powers, don't forget about Power of Skill boosted At-Wills, if you're going all-in on the MCing or Hybrid vampire.

Shadar-Kai: insubstantial for a round in every fight (Shadow Jaunt) saves you a lot of incoming damage throughout your career, and thus synergizes well with the Vampire-as-Tank mentality. Also easy to refluff this as vampire-y, like temporarily turning into mist or a cloud of bats.

MC feats Arcane Vampire, Divine Vampire, etc. If you're going to MC anyway, these give you another way to gain a HS during combat. The bad news is each one only works with powers specifically of their power source, so you'll need to pick up an attack power from that power source.

Implements. Ki Focus solves a lot of problems for you if you can figure out a way to get KF proficiency without screwing up the rest of your build.

Durable feat should be called out as a trap option because it makes Blood is Life harder to use. Similarly, the usual HS-boosting feats (Toughness, Swift Recovery, etc.) are downgraded.

Because of the Vampire HS-during-short-rest mojo, look for Magic Items into which you can dump spare HS that you would otherwise lose. (Sometimes despite your DM's best efforts you're going to end the combat with >= 2 more HS than you started.) For example, Vampire might be one of the few classes that can get use out of those weird items with Power: Healing Surge entries, like Bloodcut Armor or Bracers of Rejuvenation.

There's also self sacrifice items like Clasp of Noble Sacrifice that let you spend a HS to give some benefit to your allies. You can keep these in your pack and pull them out during short rests to use when you would otherwise be losing Vampire-gained HS at the end of the short rest.

Hope this helps.
 

MwaO

Explorer
Melee Basic: well, there's a feat for it (Melee Training: Dexterity). It costs you half your Dex mod in damage, but you should be able to make that up if you're any good at optimization.

Vampire Slam is a Melee Basic. And Blood Drinker only works with Vampire melee powers, so Power of Skill or other choices are kind of irrelevant.

MC feats Arcane Vampire, Divine Vampire, etc. If you're going to MC anyway, these give you another way to gain a HS during combat. The bad news is each one only works with powers specifically of their power source, so you'll need to pick up an attack power from that power source.

Most of these are actually only really relevant if the party refuse to donate surges or you're levels 1-6.

Implements. Ki Focus solves a lot of problems for you if you can figure out a way to get KF proficiency without screwing up the rest of your build.

They get it for free. As well as Holy Symbols. They don't get the any weapon they're proficient with is a focus, though. And the problem is that shards only go on weapons or weapliments.

Durable feat should be called out as a trap option because it makes Blood is Life harder to use. Similarly, the usual HS-boosting feats (Toughness, Swift Recovery, etc.) are downgraded.

Not a problem. Blood is Life set to total HS, not 2. If you have 4 healing surges due durable, Blood is Life keys off of that.

Because of the Vampire HS-during-short-rest mojo, look for Magic Items into which you can dump spare HS that you would otherwise lose.

Good case for Salve of Power.
 

Joshua Randall

Adventurer
Wow, I am an idiot. This is what I get for going off memory of a MC'd-into-vampire I played (where the other class brought its own MBA) rather than re-reading the mechanics. *puts bag over head*

Hopefully some of the other advice is useful.
 

Joshua Randall

Adventurer
Some slightly more considered thoughts.

Blood Drinker: it specifically says 'extra damage', but lacks the weapon/implement keyword. Something that might be worth calling out for damage optimization.

Swarm of Shadows: The only bad thing about it is ongoing 5 which is piddly by the time you replace this at 15th level. But invisibility until EoYNT is great.

Dark Beckoning: it's a super-accurate attack against a NAD which may be worth calling out.

Hunter's Gaze: Yeah, this got downgraded by the 'we made CA stupidly easy to get' part of 4e. The +4 Intimidate might have some niche use in Intimidomancer builds...?

Feral Assault: I think this is actually red. Terrible power. I can't imagine any plausible situation in which I'd *want* to use this.

Strength of Blood: may be worth calling out it's a minor action, not No Action like a lot of the skill booster powers. Still, +5 is a big bonus. If we were still playing LFR this would be pretty good for all those in-combat skill checks at the Hard DC. In a normal game of course YMMV depending upon DM.

Unfettered Hunger: I think this should be black as long as you use it carefully; i.e. when you're in mop-up phase (and don't need/want to spend HS) or desperate (willing to risk not spending HS because you need the extra damage and mobility). Interestingly, this gives untyped bonuses that don't specify they are only for vampire powers, so it'll work with any attacks you have from any source. Shift your speed as a move action is really good, you usually don't get this for an entire encounter *with* bonus attack/damage also. All things considered I think the strong bonuses with the risk/reward part make it black at worst.

Form of the Bat: Agreed, prime swap-out bait. Unless you're in one of those campaigns where stealthy bat-form scouting is a gamebreaker, but we can't really plan for that.

Night Crawler: climbing at your full speed is surprisingly good, or should I said, climbing at half-speed (normal rule) is surprisingly annoying. Also note that by having a climb speed you become eligible to shift-climb which has niche uses.

Dominating Gaze: woo hoo, you only needed to reach level 9 to be a real vampire. *wink*

Gaseous Form: breaks dungeon exploration over its knee -- speed 8 + phasing is enough to phase across two entire corridors/walls. Or heck, double move and phase 16 squares, you're halfway across the graph paper now. If your DM is at all old-school he will grow to hate this power. Otherwise, power-swap bait.

Hungry Swarm: why is this only dark blue when Swarm of Shadows was light blue? Hungry does better damage and has a better rider (blinded).

Shared Blood: agreed, there are much better ways to give someone temps or a save. Shared Blood is super, super flavorful though.

Unleashed Fury: 4e never did know how to properly scale these types of powers, did they?

Vital Consumption: Sorry, but this is not making me like Unleashed Fury any better.

Gotta run, will comment on the epic level powers / class features later.
 

Joshua Randall

Adventurer
Blood Drinker's Pounce over Culling Call (as you have it colored) because the former can be used off-turn while the latter can only be used on-turn.

Energized Blood Drinker: free temps for doing your striker job, sure. Extra free temps if you were already using your temp-granting power, why not. Yet more reason not to dump Cha.

Irresistible Gaze: Aftereffect dazed is pretty nice, you are now guaranteed to have some effect annoying monsters that save at start of turn, etc. I do like your suggestion of having two dominates (this one plus retrained Swarm into Dominating gaze). However one caveat to these dominate powers, they're Ranged, so grab one of the many ways not to provoke with Ranged powers.

Consuming Swarm: awesome power. Might be worth carrying around Staff of the War Mage in your pack if you have staff proficiency just for this power. (Actually not a bad item for your lower-level blasts, too.) Also note that due to wording ('teleport to a square in the zone') you can't be kiboshed by anything that affects your movement speed or teleport speed. Another cool trick: you can use the power to do its then, then leave the zone (you Stealthed, right?), maybe be in position to do something else with your allies, then at the start of your turn *bamf* you teleport back into the zone regardless of where you started (within normal rules for LOS/LOE of course).
 

MwaO

Explorer
Some slightly more considered thoughts.

Blood Drinker: it specifically says 'extra damage', but lacks the weapon/implement keyword. Something that might be worth calling out for damage optimization.

Extra damage never gets to have bonuses added to it. There should be no optimization available as it is not actually an independent damage roll...


Feral Assault: I think this is actually red. Terrible power. I can't imagine any plausible situation in which I'd *want* to use this.

When you ran out of uses of Blood Drinker, haven't power swapped, and you use it without spending an extra surge. Or you're AP'ing and already got Blood Drinker off on your 1st action. Or you know it is the last combat of the day, aren't going to run out of surges, and you want the extra +2d8 or target 2 opponents. It isn't great, but at 11th, it is kind of a 4W attack if you spend a surge which ought to generally be extra. That's obviously not great compared to multi-attacking, but...

Unfettered Hunger: I think this should be black as long as you use it carefully; i.e. when you're in mop-up phase (and don't need/want to spend HS) or desperate (willing to risk not spending HS because you need the extra damage and mobility). Interestingly, this gives untyped bonuses that don't specify they are only for vampire powers, so it'll work with any attacks you have from any source. Shift your speed as a move action is really good, you usually don't get this for an entire encounter *with* bonus attack/damage also. All things considered I think the strong bonuses with the risk/reward part make it black at worst.

I think the problem is that it is a nova power that shouldn't be used in a nova round. And Swam of Shadows is a much better option once you get to 15th. Purple represents that it does need to be used so carefully. Also, similar to many 'do single attack, get bonuses for rest of combat' - it is usually inferior to just 'do multi-attacking right from the start' - which Vampires can't naturally do, but if they MC, they can and then should...

Hungry Swarm: why is this only dark blue when Swarm of Shadows was light blue? Hungry does better damage and has a better rider (blinded).

For a 15th level PC, this isn't a great 15th level power due to only being Close Blast 3. Where Swam of Shadows for a 1st level PC is a great 1st level power given it is Close Blast 3. :)
 

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