Vampire, Methuselan (3.5e Template)
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Vampire Variant: Methuselan
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Not for everyone!
The purpose of this template is to create a variant for gamers who want a less powerful, player character or non - evil NPC vampire with the dark glamour and angst largely intact. It is entirely possible to have a vampire paladin under these rules! If you like your undead to stay ''always evil', don't allow this template.
This template uses the Tome of Necromancy with the 'Playing with Fire' option. It was made for use in conjunction with the Vampire Donor template, and the Netbook of Alignment, but there is no reason it must. It is part of the Gothic Light campaign setting but can also be used with the Fortress Celestia Campaign Setting, or almost any other setting.
Creating a methuselan
While most methualans are humanoids, any creature that breathes, eats, sleeps, and has blood drinkable by a vampire can become a methuselan. The process for becoming a methuselan is described below under the special attacks: create spawn section. Effectively, methuselanism is a contagious magical disease.
In game terms, methuselans are identical to the base creature in every way, except as follows:
A methuselan's body is a complete simulation of living tissue, down to the cellular level; it replicates nearly every aspect and bodily function of their living counterparts. As such they have constitution scores and will be permanently destroyed if their hit points fall to -10. They are also just as vulnerable to mental attack as the base creature.
Methuselans have the following traits:
- Unlike most undead, they have a constitution score. They are subject to subdual and other nonlethal damage.
- Not destroyed upon reaching 0 hit points, though its existence still ends if it reaches -10 as normal; healing is as per the base creature, and they benefit from the Regeneration ability as normal.
- Have at least one vital organ, and are subject to critical hits from attackers with at least one rank in Knowledge (Religion).
- Breathing and sleep requirements are unchanged from the base creature.
- Not immune to mind affecting, morale, magical sleep, or fear effects, or Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate attempts.
- Methuselans continue to advance in age categories, growing older and wiser over time. However, its appearance, strength, dexterity, and constitution are not affected. Methuselans have no maximum age and cannot die from old age.
- Methuselans can eat and drink as per the base creature, and typically require about half the normal amount of food and can go twice as long before becoming weak from hunger as the base creature. No matter what else they consume, they still require blood.
A methuselan can assume only two forms: its base form, which is visibly almost (see below) indistinguishable from its base creature, and its true form. Transforming involves each fingernail, toenail, etc. elongating and becoming sharp if the base creature lacks sharp claws, each incisor becomes an elongated, sharp, hypodermic - needle - like fang, and each eye develops an enlarged red iris and a vertical slit pupil. The process is an act of will that takes one full round and counts as a free action. However, conscious actions (to hit, dodge, saves, etc) are made at -4 during that round.
Because of their aversion to sunlight, methuselan's skin tends to be unusually pale relatively to the base creature. When a methuselan uses blood points to regenerate hit points, it also heals scars and other minor blemishes, resulting in perfect skin and hair. As a result, someone familiar with the base creature's species might notice there seems to be something... 'different' about the base form.
Increase all current and future Hit Dice to d12's.
Special Attacks and Qualities
Blood Drain: While in its true form, a methuselan can suck blood from a living victim with its fangs by making a successful grapple check. If it pins the foe, it drains blood. The attack is an automatic success if it can find a willing or unconscous victim, but methuselans must make a grapple check immediately if the victim wakes or changes its mind. A failed save my result in injury: the methuselan must make a Reflex save at DC 5 to avoid a lost fang and 1 hp damage. A methuselan that has lost all its fangs can still drink blood in either base or true form as its base creature would drink water. The amount of constitution damage is determined by the size difference between the methuselan and its victim. If the same size, one constitution point is drained per round; if the victim is one size smaller, it looses 2 constitution points per round. If it is one size larger, it looses a point the first round drained, and one every other round after that. If the victim is two sizes larger, a point is lost every four rounds, and so on. A victim of a methuselan's blood drain who is not completely drained regains constitution at a rate of 1 point per day up to the number of points drained, but must get a total of at least 8 hours of sleep per day to enable the healing.
Each round spent draining a victim's blood, the methuselan gains a blood point. It can store only six points at any one time; once that capacity is full, it may still drain blood, but the blood is wasted. A methuselan automatically spends one blood point every six hours to keep its metabolism active. For every 24 hours spent with out spending blood points on metabolism, the methuselan looses one point of constitution. If reduced to zero constitution points, the methuselan will lapse into a coma. Blood points may also be spent consciously to recover lost constitution points or regenerate hit points or even lost body parts. One blood point can be spent to regenerate up to one constitution point, five hit points, or a lost fang, etc. Hit points are then restored at a rate of one per round; it takes a turn to regain a lost constitution point or regrow a tooth.
Create Spawn: If the methuselan drains the victim’s constitution to 0 or lower, the victim will die unless the victim ingests the methuselan's blood, causing the victim to become a methuselan. Only a minute amount of methuselan blood need be consumed, though the transformation takes place more quickly and is less painful if more is consumed. However, even if blood is injected, any victim with a constitution of at least 1 and at least 1 hit point has enough of an immune system left to resist the change regardless of the amount of blood transferred. To ensure a fully drained victim will die and not become a methuselan, the methuselan must make a successful wisdom check to avoid injecting a minute yet sufficient amount of blood to cause the spawning effect. Alternately, a methuselan can "save" a mortally wounded character or one in the process of becoming undead by cutting themselves and allowing their blood to drip into the victims mouth or an open wound. The victim will then become a methuselan instead. Methuselans do not enslave the undead they create except as the base creature might.
Transforming into a methuselan with a minimal amount of blood takes 24 hours, during which the victim appears to be dead. Upon awakening, the victim will be reduced to 1/2 the hit points (rounded up) or 1 hit point, whichever is higher, and just one constitution point. The victim will be weak, desperate for food, and in nauseating pain. If the methuselan gives the victim a larger transfusion, each round the methuselan feeds its victim, the methuselan looses 1 constitution point, the victim regains 2 constitution points on revival, and the time spent in a near - death state is reduced by 6 hours.
Example: A character has been drained by a 'normal' vampire, and is given blood by a methuselan. The character originally had con 6 and 15 hp, and was reduced to con 0 and 7 hp by the vampire. The methuselan donates 3 constitution points. The character awakens 6 hours later with con 6 and 4 hp. Note the extra constitution point recovery is lost because the constitution score is not raised above the natural score.
Coma: In this state, a methuselan looses no constitution, but does loose 1 hp is lost per day until it reaches -10 hp and is destroyed (yes, a methuselan in a coma takes 10 days to go from 0 hp to -10). If someone wishes to save the methuselan, all that need be done is drip blood into its mouth before it reaches -10 hp. If either its constitution or blood point level is above 0, it can stave off destruction by trading 1 point of constitution or 1 blood point for 5 hp. A methuselan enters into a coma whenever its constitution or hit points fall to 0 or below.
Ageless: a methuselan does not age, remaining forever the apparent age and age category it was when transformed. The aging effects of certain spells such as wish, can affect a methuselan.
Senses: A methuselan retains all the senses of the base creature and gains darkvision 60 feet. If the base creature already has darkvision, the range is increased by 60 feet.
Holy water harms a methuselan as if burning oil, unless the deity chooses otherwise. The effect is extremely painful and limits its actions to 1 movement or attack per round.
Direct sunlight causes similar pain and damage per round exposed. If the methuselan makes a save at -6, the hit point loss does not occur that round. Any shade, such as a tree or even clothing can provide protection, but just being outside on a bright day is enough to make a methuselan ill, and they loose 1 hp per turn and make all checks at -4. On dark, overcast days they are able to move about but they make all checks at -2. They can speak even if otherwise effectively incapacitated by these effects but only if it is a nongood character.
Garlic disorients methuselans as a noxious substance, making them ill if they cannot escape the scent by moving at least 5 feet away within two rounds. In this state it cannot attack or see clearly, and can only move at 1/2 walking speed. They can speak normally while overcome. A methuselan who makes a save at -6 can fight off the affect.
Holy symbols have the same effect as garlic, provided the deity does not choose otherwise.
Turning: A methuselan may be turned as a vampire, but a 'destroyed' result means the methuselan collapses instantly and cannot move. The methuselan remains in this state until 1 turn per level of the turner after the individual who turned the methuselan leaves.. In addition to the turn resistance of a regular vampire the Methuselan might have a +5 additional turn resistance if their deity can grant turn or rebuke undead, and chooses to provide this bonus.
Almost unique among undead, becoming a methuselan has no dependence or affect on alignment. However, their new lifestyle tends to provide moral dilemmas which is wearing to many methuselans' loyalty to their alignment, especially for lawful good characters.
Advancement is per base creature, with the following effects on character classes:
Player Characters who become methuselans loose any unused experience points they may have, plus their last level as if drained of life energy due to the trauma of the change. First level characters loose all abilities specific to their class (spells, weapon specialization, etc) until they reach second level, at which point they drop back to first level with all such abilities restored.
Paladins, Clerics, etc.: Becoming a methuselan does not necessarily automatically cause loss of paladinhood, because becoming a methuselan does not necessarily require alignment change. It is up to the sponsoring deity and the DM as to whether the deity will allow undead paladins or clerics at all. Subsequently, a methuselan must commit acts that may be considered evil or chaotic just to survive, and thus may be forced out of its order for that reason. If the methuselan is allowed to remain, it may face another problem: if a methuselan cleric attempts to turn undead, it would also turn itself! Most deities who provide turn undead capability to their clerics, and also permit undead clergy, alter the ability accordingly so that it affects only mindless undead, etc.
Wizards, etc.: on becoming a methuselan, the link between the character and their familiar may be broken, and the familiar shuns its former companion. This will happen if the familiar is other than a rat, a bat, or an intelligent creature (such as a pseudodragon), and the familiar succeeds a save vs. spells or the character fails a charisma check. If this happens the usual penalties for lost familiars apply. If the familiar is intelligent, it may freely choose to leave or stay, and the decision should be roleplayed out.
Environment and Organization
Methuselans are naturally resilient and adaptable creatures, but they must live in places where it is relatively easy to avoid sunlight, holy water, vampire hunters, etc., and have good access to blood. Thus they tend to live on the outskirts of inhabited areas. While some pretend to live on as if nothing has changed, many are solitary, and others may be found in pairs or covens of 3-8. While they will form larger societies, they rarely congregate in large groups unless their mutual survival depends on it.
Methuselans will seek out Vampire Donors whenever they learn of such beings.
+1, or +0 with class level effects above.