Month: October 2015

Seeing Blood: The Vryloka in D&D 5e

The vampire chuckled as he crept toward his lovely prey, who now lay sobbing in the Dragoneyes alley. The woman had just fallen, face down, in her panicked attempt to escape. Eager to feed, he roughly flipped her onto her back.

Scarlet hair spilled out of the young woman’s hood, and she had pale skin the color of the moon Zarantyr itself. The vampire gazed hungrily at her smooth neck—then stopped. She was smiling at him. Why?  He hadn’t beguiled her. “What–?”

The woman said, “You’re a difficult target to find, Ludvig Krez….” A rune-inscribed silver blade snapped forward from a sheath on the woman’s arm, which she thrust toward the vampire’s throat. “But an easy one to kill.”

The chilling agony that Krez felt was matched only by the intensity of his final thought: shock, as the vampire sensed his OWN life being drained by the woman!

Vrylokas are a race originally created for Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, in the book Player’s Option: Heroes of Shadow. Reminiscent of certain nobles in the Ravenloft setting (and owing much of their look to Hammer Films), vrylokas are an aristocratic, aggressive, red-haired race that walk the gray line between life and undeath. And after talking to James Introcaso and Jester David on Twitter about vampiric races in D&D, I simply had to update the vryloka for D&D 5th edition  (Be sure to read Jester David’s 5e treatment of the dhamphir.)

Crimson Origins
Vrylokas are the result of a dark ritual generations ago that transformed human nobles into living vampires. The identity and goals of the ritual’s creator, a wizard known only as the Red Witch, have remained a mystery. The ritual provided the nobles with inhuman vitality and a literal thirst for life without the curse of true undeath. Many years later, these powerful, emotional beings walk the halls of power throughout the land, secretly posing as eccentric human aristocrats from distant kingdoms. To stave off the occasional boredom of their long lives, many vrylokas meet in the shadows to plot for power, while others become adventurers. A bold few – simultaneously fascinated and repulsed by their occult origins – even become vampire hunters.

Alluring and Passionate
Vrylokas have dark gray or blue eyes that turn red when they are angered or excited. Their skin is uniformly pale, ranging from pinkish flesh to chalky white. Most vrylokas have hair in shades of red, from deep scarlet to strawberry blond. They possess a beguiling charm, with the females shapely and statuesque and the males tall and imposing. They tend to feel all emotions strongly, whether they’re possessively pursuing a romantic interest or reacting with fury to a perceived slight.

A Life of Secrets
Key to a vryloka’s longevity is concealment of their vampiric heritage. They take great care to pass as human whenever possible, and they may change residences and identities to avoid questions about their lack of aging. In addition to keeping secrets, they’ve uncovered many secrets of others, thanks to their long lives and access to the halls of power. Many vrylokas possess historical knowledge denied to all but the most learned sages.

Vryloka Names

Male Names: Anton, Burkhard, Edric, Karl, Lukas, Markos, Mihai, Viktor, Wilhelm, Wolf.
Female Names: Adelaide, Bettina, Camilla, Elsa, Marianne, Sabina, Silke, Tanya, Treinella, Zorica.
Family Names: Bittersdorf, Durwood, Eysen, Graltzen, Hemalt, Kärg, Karnstein, Maltz, Ravna, Stoy.

Vryloka Traits
Your vryloka character has a variety of traits, initially from the arcane experimentation on your forebears and now intrinsic to all vrylokas.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2, and your Dexterity score increases by 1.

Age. Vrylokas mature at the same rate as humans, but the aging process slowly considerably once they reach adulthood, and they retain their vitality until their dying days. A vryloka can typically live to be 350 years old.

Alignment. Most vrylokas are lawful, with a strong sense of tradition and rules, which are necessary to preserve a vryloka’s secrets and continued existence. They show no predilection for good or evil, although a vryloka commonly displays a superior attitude regardless of alignment.

Size. Vrylokas range in height from 5½ feet to slightly more than 6 feet. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. The taint of vampirism provides superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Human Heritage: You have advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks to pass as human.

Lifeblood. When you kill an enemy within arm’s reach, you gain temporary hit points equal to one-half your level plus your Charisma modifier.

Living Dead. Because your soul is tainted by undeath, you are both living and undead. If an ability or spell has different effects on living creatures and undead creatures, you choose which effect applies to you.

Necrotic Resistance. You have resistance against necrotic damage.

Red Ledger. You have proficiency in the History skill.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one extra language of your choice. Vrylokas who seek to leverage their arcane ancestry learn Draconic, while the more martially inclined often learn the language of an hostile race or group.

Thoughts? Feel free to offer feedback in the comments. No saving throw required.

(The vryloka and the image in this post are the trademarked property of Wizards of the Coast.)