View Full Version : Pimp my gish vampire...

2009-02-25, 08:13 PM
Here's a rework of my favorite undead BBEG that gets used every time high-level PCs get cocky for nova-killing the great wurm red dragon. In this last campaign, I've decided to make her a gish instead of a full blaster to keep the players guessing;

Erika Nightshade, elder vampire
Bard 1/Hexblade 3/Monk 1/Assasin 5/Sublime Chord 10
Psychic, Savage, Shadow, Swarmform Vampire Lord
Size/Type: Medium Undead (scary, extraplanar, evil)
Hit Dice: 20d12+20+300-20 (420 HP)
Initiative: 17 (+13 dex, imp. initiative, imp. uncanny dodge)
Speed: 45 feet (9 squares), fly 75 ft (15 squares,perfect maneurability)
Armor Class: 40 (13 natural, 13 dex, 15 monk, -1 vulnerable)
Base Attack/Grapple: +13/+32
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: blood drain, lifedrain, dominate, telekinesis, children of the night, create spawn, spells, class abilities (see below)
Special Qualities: alternate form, control weather, damage reduction 15/silver and good, resist lightning 15/cold 30/acid 5, fast healing 13, shadow blend, luck, gaseous form, spider climb, turn resistance +8, telepathy, class abilities (see below), undead traits
Saves: Fort +30, Ref +50, Will +45, mettle, evasion, +15 vs magic
(inlcudes shadow and vampire lord bonuses plus flaw penalties)
Ability Scores: Str 41, Dex 36, Con -, Int 24, Wis 26, Cha 40
(includes level, elder vampire, inherent, aging and aasimar bonuses)
starting array: 14/18/8/14/10/18 (46 points)
Skills: Bluff +46, Concentration +38, Diplomacy +46, Hide +52, Jump +23, Intimidate +46, K: Arcana +30, Listen +49, Move Silently +58, Perform (Sing) +38, Profession: Astrologer +13, Search +16, Sense Motive +43, Spellcraft +30, Spot +49
(includes ranks, racial bonuses and ability modifiers. Does not include synergies. -2 to each str/dex/con skill rolls due to flaw)
Bonus feats: Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Iron Will, Leadership
Feats: Ascetic Mage, Darkstalker, Improved Energy Drain, Lifedrain, Endure Sunlight, Practiced Spellcaster, Arcane Strike, Natural Spell
Feats from flaws: any 5
Flaws: feeble, weak will, vulnerable, frail, noncombatant
Environment: any
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 25
Treasure: 760.000 gp
Alignment: Lawful Evil

Elder Vampire:
Erika is an elder vampire, posessing most of the abilities attributed to vampires in legend. Mechanically, she has the base vampire template plus swarmform vampire, savage vampire, psychic vampire and vampire lord templates. In addition to bonus feats, natural armor, racial skills and resistances already noted, these give her the following abilities;
Darkvision 60 ft
Domination (Su): As base vampire, except that Erika can do this either by gaze or voice. It does not require line of sight to the target, but the target must be able to hear Erika's voice when she speaks at a normal volume level.
Drain Touch (Su): As base vampire, but a living creature touched by Erika or hit by her claw attacks takes 3 negative levels. Her Energy Drain is also improved; she adds her charisma modifier to the negative HP applied via the drain and to the temporary HP stolen and gets a bonus on all rolls and checks for one hour equal to the number of negative levels bestowed. In addition, Erika's touch or claw attack drains 1d6 points of wisdom and she gains a further 5 temporary HP.
All in all, her touch attack or claw attack bestows 1d6 wisdom drain and 3 negative levels but with 60 negative HP and she gains 65 temporary HP and +3 to all checks/saves/rolls. She can do this 1/round.
Wisdom Drain (Su): Any creature within 10 feet of Erika takes 1 point of wisdom drain per round, will save DC 40 negates. Erika can lower or reactivate the aura as a standard action.
Death Claws (Ex): Erika has 2 primary claw attacks dealing 1d6+str modifier damage each and a secondary bite attack dealing 1d8+half str modifier damage. In addition, each claw attack bestows a further 1 negative level per hit (there is no limit to the number of uses per round for this)
Blood Drain (Su): As base vampire, but Erika inflicts 1d4+2 points of Constitution drain each round the pin is maintained.
Alternate Form (Su): Erika can assume the form of any animal, as the druid ability wild shape used by a 12th-level druid. She can use this power at will as a move-equivalent action. She can change from one animal shape to another without having to revert to its humanoid form.
In addition, as a standard action, she can assume the form of a swarm of rats or bats, similar to a normal vampire's alternate form ability. She loses her claw attacks and dominate ability in this form.
Children of the Night (Su): As base vampire, but the creatures summoned forth serve Erika until released. She can sense through the senses of any such creatures, and communicate empathically with them, to a range of 10 miles. Given time, Erika can amass entire armies of such creatures.
Control Weather (Sp): Erika can cast either control weather or fog cloud as a 12th-level sorcerer at will.
Create Spawn (Su): As base vampire, but Erika creates only vampire slaves, never vampire spawn. The new vampire is enslaved to her until her death, and Erika's willpower is too strong to allow it to break free of its enslavement.
Damage Reduction (Ex): 15/silver and good
Fast Healing (Ex): As base vampire, but Erika heals 13 hit points each round so long as she has at least 1 hit point. She has 24 hours to reach a place of rest (rather than 2 hours) if brought to zero hit points. She can have many places of rest prepared, since the only requirement is some soil from her homeland.
Telekinesis (Su): At will, effective caster level 12th. Save DC 40 where it applies.
Telepathy (Su): With any living creature within 100 feet that has a language, and with any vampire under her direct control to a range of 1 mile.
Turn Resistance (Ex): +8
Unholy Might (Ex): Erika adds her charisma modifier to all her saves and uses that same modifier +1 as a bonus to her HP per HD.
As a vampire lord, Erika has much fewer weaknesses than other vampires:
She cannot be repelled by garlic or holy symbols, though she can be turned. Mere presentation of a holy symbol has no effect. She have no fear of mirrors, and she casts reflections as living beings do.
She can cross over or through running water with no impediments. She is not harmed in any way by immersion in running water.
Under sunlight, she takes a -4 penalty to all ability scores and on all attacks, saves, and skill checks. Also, while in sunlight she cannot use any of her supernatural vampire powers. Victims of her domination power are not freed during daylight hours; she can verbally command any creature in her thrall even in direct sunlight. Spells that produce sunlight effects cannot harm her; only direct light from the sun can weaken her. If Erika is destroyed while exposed to direct sunlight, she seems to die, but unless the body is disposed of as described below, she assumes gaseous form as soon as the sun sets and attempts to return to her place of rest. Due to her Endure Sunlight feat, Erika can ignore the effects of sunlight for 15 rounds before taking penalties-thus if she gets under a shadow every so often she is never weakened.
Erika is not killed outright by a wooden stake driven through her heart, though the stake does cause normal damage if it can bypass her damage reduction.
The only way to make sure that Erika does not return is to cut her head from her body, burn the body and the head separately, scatter the ashes from the body over running water, immerse the ashes from the head in holy water, and bury the immersed ashes in consecrated ground. However, if the head ashes are ever unearthed and somehow separated from the holy water, dried thoroughly, and then subjected to an unhallow spell, Erika can regenerate in a week if the ashes are placed inside one of her places of rest.

Erika is a creature of shadow and darkness; mechanically, she has the shadow creature template. This gives her the following abilities, beyond resistances amd skill bonuses already noted;
Darkvision 60ft, low-light vision.
Shadow Blend (Su); In any condition other than broad daylight, Erika blends with the shadows and gains total concealments. Most artificial illumination-including spells-does not negate this ability; only natural sunlight and the daylight spell do.
Dark One's Own Luck (Ex); Erika gets Evasion and a +8 luck bonus to all saves.
Swiftness (Ex); Speed increases by 50% for all modes of movement.

Though not truly a sorceress or witch, Erika is an accomplished spellcaster.
Bard Spells; 4 cantrips known, 2 cantrip slots. Caster level 19, DC 25
Assasin Spells; 5/4/2 slots for levels 1-3. Caster level 19, DC 25 + spell level.
Sublime Chord Spells; 4/4/4/4/3/2 spells known, 9/7/7/6/6/4 slots for levels 4-9. Caster level 19, DC 25 + spell level.

Class Abilities;
Monk AC and Flurry as a level 1 monk.
Mettle, Arcane Resistance and Hexblade's Curse as a lvl 3 hexblade.
Sneak Attack 3d6, Poison Use, +2 saves vs Poison, Improved Uncanny Dodge and Death Attack as a 5th level assasin.
6 uses of bardic music. Countersong, Fascinate, Inspire Courage +1, Song of Arcane Power, Song of Timelessness, Song of Cosmic Fire.
Bardic Lore +18 (as an 11th lvl bard)

So here's what I need help with;

1) Is there any way to improve the basic build, specifically any better ways to qualify for Sublime Chord or improve the BAB without giving up spellcasting?
2) Any suggestions for feats? Especially for the still open slots from the flaws.
3) The treasure is all open for debate-I haven't spent anything yet. Any suggestions here?
4) Any suggestions for spells known would also be welcome
5) Tactical suggestions? The stat block gives a huge amount of options. How would she hold up against a Tippy-level batman caster?

2009-02-25, 08:55 PM
1) Is there any way to improve the basic build, specifically any better ways to qualify for Sublime Chord or improve the BAB without giving up spellcasting?

Well with a CR of 25, its already an epic level challenge (and just 1 point lower than a standard Emerald Legionnaire (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5689601&postcount=80)). At that level, PCs nova-killing the Great Wyrm Red Dragon will be considered perfectly normal.

I guess what I am trying to say is, what limitations do you want to impose on the CR? You could massively improve BAB by taking 17 levels of fighter or something first, before going into 3 Hexblade / 1 Bard / 1 Monk etc etc due to the way epic BAB works (i.e. the 17 level of fighter and 3 levels of Hexblade give 20 BAB and all subsequent class levels only improve BAB by 1/2). But that would also push the CR up by +17.

2009-02-25, 09:16 PM
I knew I'd forgotten something in the OP;

The CR is 25 as appropriate for a BBEG for five 20th level characters that are a bit optimised. I don't want to increase the CR, if possible. If that isn't possible, a minor CR increase (1-2 points) for a later use of the BBEG would be OK.

BTW, the Emerald Legionnaire is nice. Permission to use it after I sunder the ubercharger's trollbane weapon? :smallbiggrin:

2009-02-25, 09:26 PM
It seems a decent challenge for level 20 characters. If it stays in swarm form, it should be immune to most batman tricks.

Could you take out the monk level and give it something better (just pick up a monk's belt)? Two levels of swordsage could get net some tasty abilities; better than monk, unless monk lets you make extra claw attacks with a flurry for more drain. Of course, at level 20, if you can drain levels from the PCs, they deserve to lose.

With those skills, a 4th level of hex would give you a familiar, which means rolling a lot of checks twice. Also, I would trade out the assassin levels for abjurant champion. Swift casting greater dispel magics and more armor, as well as more casting, is superior to what assassin yields, imo.

Could you chaos shuffle those bonus feats into more useful stuff? Your saves are already sky high- losing a couple points from them shouldn't be a big deal.

2009-02-25, 09:44 PM
Monk does allow me to perform more attacks. As for draining 20th level PCs, she also gets wisdom drain-to which immunities are far rarer.

Assasin is required to qualify for Sublime Chord (you need 3rd level spells and Assasin gives those). Sadly, Hexblade alone needs 11th level to get 3rd level spells-that is 3 levels more and doesn't fit with the build.

2009-02-25, 10:27 PM
The CR is 25 as appropriate for a BBEG for five 20th level characters that are a bit optimised. I don't want to increase the CR, if possible. If that isn't possible, a minor CR increase (1-2 points) for a later use of the BBEG would be OK.

How about this instead: 4 Bard / 2 Hexblade / 1 Monk / 3 Abjurant Champion / 8 Sublime Chord / 2 Abjurant Champion.

You have to spend 1 feat on Combat Casting to qualify for Abjurant Champion. On level 10, You cast as a level 7 Bard which gains you access to level 3 arcane spells and qualifes you for Sublime Chord.

You lose all the assassin abilities (spells, uncanny dodge, poison use, and death attack).

You also lose Hexblade Mettle. If you are willing to increase CR by 1, take Hexblade 3 on level 21.

Otherwise,if you prefer, you could swap monk 1 for hexblade 3, and then rely on a monk belt for Wis/Cha to AC bonus. Your BAB improves by 1, but you lose monk bonus feat and flurry of blows, and have to pick up Improved Unarmed Strike to qualify for Acetic Mage.

The last 2 levels are spent on Abjurant Champion, and are used to progress Sublime chord (the Abjurant Champion text says it advances any arcane casting class, not necessarily the one you used to qualify). This prevents you from losing 1 more BAB, at the cost of Song of Cosmic Fire, so your Final BAB is: 3 + 2 + 3 + 6 + 2 = 16. Since you pick Bard as your Sublime Chord CL co-progression class, your CL will be 7 Bard + 10 SubChord + 4 Practiced Caster = 21 (limited by 20 HD cap). You can apply Martial Arcanist to you Bard spells, and add on Practiced Spellcaster so that your Bard spells are also CL 20.

BTW, the Emerald Legionnaire is nice. Permission to use it after I sunder the ubercharger's trollbane weapon? :smallbiggrin:

The way it is statted out, even trollbane weapons and trollbane alchemical goo can't hurt it. You may want to read up the strengths and weaknesses section (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=101587). It takes a very specific set of abilities to hurt/kill it.

2009-02-26, 01:13 AM
There is no reason to take Sublime Chord past 1st. Abjurant Champion is a great PrC for Gishes, but even Virtuoso, if you get around the dead level, is better than straight SC.

2009-02-27, 06:41 PM
Thanks for the help, people. Abjurant Champion does complement a gish nicely and I'd forgotten she can take Dark Chaos scrolls so as not to lose the 250 XP (though the cost is a total fo 4000 gp for feat changed, it is worth it)

Now, any spell suggestions?

Keld Denar
2009-02-27, 07:38 PM
Hmmmm, I got something brewing in my head. I dunno if it'll fit flavor/fluff wise, wbut it would get you around having to take a level of Bard. If you went Paladin and took Initiate of Milie (sp?) feat from Champions of Virtue, I believe you could qualify for SC that way, since it only requires Bardic Music ability. (Fallen or Evil)Paladin4/Hexblade2/SuelArcanamach4/SublimeChord2/AbjurantChamp5/Spellsword1/Dragonslayer1 would be kinda cool. On second thought, you'd have an incredibly hard time qualifying for SC without Perform or Listen as class skills for any of it. Maybe if you nabbed Education?

Eh, probably too complicated. Better to stick with what you had.

As far as spells, you can hardly go wrong with the tried and true -

Solid Fog
Greater Mirror Image
Heart of Water
Dim Door

Baleful Polymorph
Viscid Glob

Freezing Fog

Stun Ray
Avascular Mass
Force Cage