Where the living suffer physically from starvation, undead suffer mentally. After long enough without a “meal,” even the most arrogant vampire becomes a bestial creature of instinct. Withdrawal weakens the monster, and as its natural defenses fail, its behavior becomes irrational, particularly when it’s around sources of what it is denied or has denied itself.
A carnivorous or otherwise life-draining undead may safely go a number of days equal to its Hit Dice without a dose of its preferred meal before it starts to feel the effects of hunger. Each additional day after this grace period, the undead must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the undead creature’s Hit Dice, + 1 for each previous check).
If the undead creature fails its save, it enters withdrawal and begins to take penalties according to the Withdrawal Penalties table (see page 23). It must continue to save each day until it feeds again. Additional failed checks increase the penalties as shown on the table. Feats and abilities that affect mortal hunger (such as Endurance or a ring of sustenance) do not apply to vampire hunger.
An undead that is suffering from withdrawal grows increasingly drawn and gaunt (or diaphanous and tattered, for incorporeal undead). Any attempts by the creature to conceal its undead nature with the Disguise skill are penalized as noted on the table.
An undead that suffers withdrawal is acutely aware of its unfulfilled addiction; if presented with the chance to feed, it might be compelled to do so, regardless of the consequences. Anytime it comes within 10 feet of a helpless creature that can sate its desire, it must make another hunger save at the current DC. Failure means it falls upon the helpless creature—whether friend or foe— and attempts to consume or drain it. Until the undead has fed, it can take no action other than to feed from this helpless creature or to enable itself to feed (such as a moroi grappling a creature so it can use its blood drain). During this feeding frenzy, the undead creature takes a –2 penalty to its AC.
An undead that hasn’t fed recently suffers from withdrawal, depending on the number of hunger saves it has failed.
As shown on the Withdrawal Penalties table on the facing page, an undead creature suffering from withdrawal takes penalties to channel resistance, on Will saves, to Strength and Charisma scores, to damage reduction, to fast healing, and on Disguise checks. The withdrawal penalties apply only if the creature has the ability in question. For example, a hungry moroi’s damage reduction decreases, but a hungry ghoul ignores that column because it doesn’t have damage reduction. All penalties are removed when the creature completes a single feeding. This only ends the withdrawal penalties, and does not grant the creature any feeding bonuses beyond those granted by the creature’s ability associated with feeding.
If the undead’s Strength or Charisma penalties equal its Strength or Charisma, it becomes inert, helpless, and wracked by nightmares of hunger; it only revives if fed by another. An undead creature’s channel resistance, damage reduction, and fast healing cannot fall below 0.
Applicable Table for Withdrawal Penalties