Welcome back to D&D Saturday. Since it is October it just seems appropriate to do some spooky additions to Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Today we are creating a background called the Vampirologist, the best name we came up with to describe someone who grew up in vampire-infested areas. Taking the tropes from the usual Dracula stories, as well as Magic: the Gathering‘s setting Innistrad and Mordavia from Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness.
NOTE: This background has been updated from a previous version, due to discussions on D&D 5th Edition discussion group on Facebook. This includes changing the name of the background from Transylvanian to Vampirologist. Special thanks to Michael Palazzolo for the updated feature and other helping.
NOTE: this background if for those who intend to struggle against that which bumps in the middle of the night…indifferent residents of the region will most likely not have this backgrounds; they are just NPCs.
Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Religion
Tool Proficiencies: Slayer tools (think wooden stakes, garlic bulbs, etc.), Alchemy tools
Equipment: Sturdy leather gorget, grey/black traditional clothes, Vampirologist pack (contains garlic, holy symbol, mallet, mirror, rope, and wooden stakes ) and a belt pouch containing 15 gp.
Feature: Monster lore
The Vampirologist is well versed in all that goes bump in the middle of the night. You can automatically identify locations built or used by vampires. In addition you can identify vampires and parts of vampires by sight. If you fail an intelligence roll related to vampires you know someone or some book you can find to learn the information.
- I am extremely hopeful
- I am quite pessimistic
- My name and the word “dour” are usually in the same sentence
- I do not appear to know what I’m doing
- Everyone quickly sees me as a hero
- I’m the first to tell people of dangers
- I am leery of strangers
- I as seen as a jaded individual
- Vampires will rue the day they set foot on my land
- The studying of vampires is extremely exciting.
- I need to prove that vampires are not the only danger.
- Like it or not, I have a sacred duty to defeat vampires.
- Wherever evil lies, I will destroy it.
- While I live, the innocent can sleep in peace.
- My village is my life
- I will do my father’s legacy proud.
- I will avenge the death of my relative(s)
- Others need not suffer the fate of my homeland
- My beloved was turned into a vampire; I must save them.
- My go will favor me if I destroy the undead.
- I anger people who are just trying to help me.
- I am too desperate trying to find others who will help my mission
- I do not plan my attack well enough in advance.
- I absolutely hate having to deal with silver instead of gold.
- This nocturnal hunting kills my social life.
- All this garlic I wear turns off potential dates
Examples of Vampirologists in various Classes:
Barbarian: Barbarians are noted for not liking magic users, so a dislike for the undead is certainly a possibility. Such Vampirologists are more likely to hunt Gangrel style vampires (to use a Vampire: the Masquerade term) than more traditional vampires.
Bard: Who better able to warn of the dangers of the undead but a bard. The Vampirologist bard will have awesome but scary stories to tell to his audiences.
Cleric: Most clerics are supposed to destroy the undead anyway, so being a Vampirologist just doubles down on this. Besides, by getting the Religion background anyways, it leaves an additional Cleric skill for the PC to attain.
Druid: Druids are usually ill-equipped to deal with the undead, especially compared to clerics. A Transylvanian druid is probably sick of seeing his land corrupted by vampires, and by destroying them hope to purify their beloved forests.
Fighter: Time to go all Buffy on the undead. A Vampirologist fighter will probably want a silver weapon better than a dagger, but due to silver being softer than iron and steel, it can never be his primary weapon against anything but vampires and other monsters that hate silver.
Monk: Perhaps the monastery that the monk’s order had is now controlled by a vampire? That would certainly make a monk wish to learn more about hunting them. DMs are encourage to allow silver kamas.
Paladin: A Vampirologist Paladin is a vampire’s worst dream come true. They love to find a chance to gain some holy swords, even going on special missions just for this. Definitely worthy of building campaigns around.
Psionicist: Those who are psi-active typically do poorly against the undead, but since vampires are intelligent, a psionicist who has a strong enough mind could potentially attack them in ways clerics and wizards could not.
Ranger: Vampirologists will naturally choose the undead for their favored enemy. Silver arrow tips would be quite favored by rangers that love archery in particular.
Rogue: Rogues like to hide in the night as well, and having a silver dagger definitely helps in backstabbing vampires.
Sorcerer: Arcana and Religion are both class skills for the Sorcerer, which means that a Vampirologist with this background can have four total class skills instead of two class skills and two skills which may have nothing to do with his class. Not bad.
Warlock: In all likely hood, especially if your patron is a fiend, a vampire or vampires has angered your patron. The spells granted by a fiend patron would be a great asset against vampires. An archfey patron could well be a vampire themselves, wanting you to go out and slay other vampires. Why your patron would want this would certainly be worthy of a patron based around this. Did he want to be a vampire? Did he just want to get rid of the competition?
Wizard: A Transylvanian wizard, like the sorcerer, also has the Arcane and Religion skills as class skills. But, a Vampirologist wizard would also be driven to search across the land that are especially effective against the undead.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness, Magic: the Gathering‘s Innistrad block, classic Dracula stories.