I thought that by living my once idyllic mountainside home, I would be ridden of the evil that tainted such a land. Unfortunately, this world hosts countless kinds of unholy creatures that suffer and bring suffering much like they do. – Passage from a bloodstained journal found on the victim of a vampire.
Vampires are damned creatures of undeath. Countless stories are told of people that committed unspeakable taboos and were cursed to walk as the living dead in retribution. These soulless monstrosities thrive on the misery of others, selfishly leeching life from mortals in an endless quest to prolong their accursed existence. The castle dwelling Lord of the Night is but one of many vampiric creatures that blight the countless reaches of reality. All sorts of sinister things wait, waiting for a mortal to steal life from.
The Asabosam is a stealthy creature that resides in trees and plays with its victims like a predatory cat. This creature has hook like feet, allowing it to swing down and strike its victims while still hanging from its perched tree. Its teeth is said to be as strong as metal itself, making it able to pierce through countless protective armors with ease. However, it can attempt to blend in with humans better than other vampires, save for it’s obvious curved hook-like feet.
The Astral Vampire is a cosmically infused nightmare that is more aberration than undead. The raw essence of realms beyond has a tendency to corrupt creatures distant from such planes. This creature is one of the results of such exposure. Instead of draining blood, they drain life force through the mind and afflict mental trauma. Their methods are also dealt through their sickening gaze. These beings looks like heavily mutated humans, displaying physical traits associated with the most unfathomable abominations imaginable.
The Jiang Shi looks like a stiff corpse, unable to move in normal manner beyond a hop like movement. While they don’t drain the victim’s blood, they take their very life essence instead. Much of the time, these horrors were created by accident. Having a soul trapped within a corpse after death or through resurrection risks creating a Jiang Shi. These angry dead desire nothing more than consume life as they arise to hunt under the night’s sky.
The Nosferatu is a lurker in darkness, so hideous that the sheer terror could very well stun them in place. The Nosferatu is no ordinary vampire. Some slowly become this way through eons of existence, while others morph themselves through dark sorceries that further defile their undead bodies. No matter the truth, they are scarred and driven further away from the humanity they had once had. They become alien, monstrous and sometimes feral as a result.
The Yara-Ma-Yha-Who looks like a little red man with a bulbous head and suckers upon his fingers and toes. But beware, this cursed being seeks to drain and feast upon their victim before regurgitating their mutated corpse into another one of them, which the fiend then animates.
The following variants are available to the Vampire entry in the Monster Manual (page 297) as well as the Vampyr. In some cases, they can be used for the Vampire Spawn entry in the Monster Manual (page 298) as well.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I figured I’d cover a classic monster for my theme this time, the Vampire! However, I thought I’d make a whole bunch of variants that sample inspiration from all over the world as well as popular culture. Here’s a handful of monster templates to change up your vampires, giving them an assortment of new abilities. Enjoy.
Vampire Variant – Asabosam
- Hook Feet – Gains the ability to latch onto surfaces and swing down to surprise attack enemies. While doing so, it has advantage to stealth checks and acrobatics checks to hold onto the surface. Furthermore, the Asabosam can use them in place of an unarmed strike attack. The attack works the same, but deals piercing damage instead. Creatures grabbed by this attack must make a Constitution saving throw (DC = 8 + monster’s proficiency bonus + strength modifier) or take 4 (1d8) piercing damage at the beginning of their turn.
- Incredible Teeth – Bite attacks are considered magical weapons for all intents and purposes.
- The Asabosam does not get the Children of the Night or Shapechanger features from the vampire.
- Challenge Modification – Increase by +1
Vampire Variant – Astral Vampire
- Soul Crushing Stare (Recharge 5 or 6) – This is a ranged spell attack going off the vampire’s Charisma. It targets one creature within 60 ft., they must make a Charisma saving throw. Failure results in the subject taking 22 (5d8+4) psychic plus 5 (2d4) necrotic damage in the case of the Vampyr/32 (5d12+4) psychic plus 5 (2d4) necrotic damage in the case of the MM Vampire. Regardless the variant of vampire, the target is poisoned on a failed save until the start of the Astral Vampire’s next turn. This replaces the bite attack and doesn’t require a willing or grappled target.
- Eldritch Shape – The Astral Vampire can shapechange into a large, unspeakable abomination. By doing so, it can only make the Soul Crushing Stare attack and it can only attack once per round. However, it may use Soul Crushing Stare every round while in this form. This replaces its Shapechange ability.
- Summon Horror (MM Vampire only). This works like Children of the Night, only it summons “Swarming Horrors” and “Hounds of Tindalos” instead. These work the same as the standard options available in Children of the Night, except half of their total damage is psychic.
- Born from Madness – The Astral Vampire is immune to psychic damage. It is also immune to charm and fear effects.
- Telepathy 120 ft.
- Challenge Modification – Increase by +2
Vampire Variant – Jiang-Shi
- Stiff Hopping – A Jiang-Shi cannot move normally, due to their stiffened joints. They must jump in increments of 10 feet. Because of this, it may ignore difficult terrain. Taking a disengage action while hopping does not provoke attacks of opportunity. While moving, it cannot be tripped. If knocked prone, use a free action to get up and proceed with hopping 10 feet as part of its movement.
- Claws – Unarmed Attacks deal slashing damage instead.
- Qi Draining – The Jiang-Shi does not get a bite attack. Instead, they may use this ability as one of its attacks when their unarmed strike hits or they becoming grappled by it. The target must make a Constitution saving throw. (DC = 8 + proficiency bonus of the monster + Charisma modifier) If the target creature fails, they suffer the effects of the vampire’s bite attack, except the piercing damage deals psychic instead as the Jiang-Shi drains the victim’s life force through their breath.
- Jiang-Shi Weakness -The Jiang-Shi loses the original vampire weaknesses and gains the following instead:
- Destroying the Jiang-Shi. When the Jiang-Shi is reduced to 0 Hit Points, it disintegrates into powder. While the Jiang-Shi will reform after 1 minute, it is possible to permanently destroy the powder. Scattering the powder quickly so that it’s sufficiently separated will keep the Jiang-Shi from revival. By doing so, someone must pour a mixture of holy water and race over the powder. Also, slaying a Jiang Shi with a weapon crafted from the wood of a Peach Tree will instantly vanquish the Jiang Shi.
- While, Jiang-Shi are not negatively impacted by sunlight, they must make Wisdom saving throws against exposure (DC 15) to avoid becoming frightened for 1d4 rounds. Furthermore, exposing them to mirrors, foods like cooked rice or the ringing of a bell within 10 ft. of one will elicit the same fear response if they fail a saving throw.
- The Jiang-Shi loses Shapechanger, Spider Climb and Misty Escape from all versions of the vampire.
- Challenge Modification – Increase by +1
Vampire Variant – Nosferatu
- Swarm Form – The Nosferatu can turn into a collective swarm of disgusting, small creatures. In addition to the options listed in the Monster Manual, the Nosferatu can take the form of a Swarm of Bats, Insects, Poisonous Snakes or Rats. In this form, the Nosferatu gets Speed and Special Abilities (such as Swarm) of the swarm. The Nosferatu may use either the Bite attack from the vampire stat block or from the Swarm stats, whichever they prefer.
- Challenge Modification – Increase by 1. (Alternatively, the Nosferatu loses the forms granted to the vampire and gains the ones listed here. In this case, the challenge does not change.)
Vampire Variant – Yara-Ma-Yha-Who
- Suckers – While the Yara-Ma-Yha-Who has no teeth, it has sharp suckers on its hands and its feet. When it hits a creature with an unarmed strike or succeeds in grappling a target, it may use its other attack to try to drain its target in a manner similar to Jiang-Shi’s attack. However, the sucker attack does piercing damage like the original bite attack. However, if the creature is already grappled, it can use as many attacks as it’s granted to use its suckers.
- Create Spawn – Unlike the regular vampire, the process for creating a new Yara-Ma-Yha-Who is different. When its victim is brought down to 0 HP, it will consume the victim for up to 1 hours. At that point, it will regurgitate a mutated corpse that looks similar to the Yara-Ma-Yha-Who. The body will reanimate moments later into a similar creature. While it has swallowed prey, the Yara-Ma-Yha-Who is encumbered and bloated looking.
- Strange Shape – This disfigured humanoid is short in stature, but has a large head. It is considered a small creature. However, it is capable of expanding itself to swallow a creature up to medium size. Its speed also becomes 40 ft. for both land speed and climbing speed.
- Challenge Modification – Increase by +1
Image: V20 Nosferatu – Z-GrimV
Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.