This past Thursday we gave you a glimpse into the brand-new Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Nightand offered up some pointers on playing your favorite bloodsucker. Now it's time for dhampirs and the dauntless vampire hunters.
So You're Playing a Dhampir...
Half-breed vampires, the dhampir first appeared in Bestiary 2 and were further embraced in the Advanced Race Guide (page 96, which begins 6 pages of new traits, archetypes, magic items, and more). Blood of the Night expands on those options, bringing these tainted souls fully into the Pathfinder campaign setting. If your GM is allowing dhampirs in her game, its time to decide if playing one of these accursed souls is right for you.
- Begin with the Basics: Start on the inside front cover to get a run down on what it means to be a dhampir. All of the racial benefits and abilities of this mysterious breed appear right up front. Check these out and see if it seems like a dhampir character is right for you.
- Know Your Ancestors: Dhampirs aren't their own full-fledged race, they're half-breeds. Just as elven culture impacts half-elves and orc society shapes half-orcs, dhampir characters stand to be shaped by their parentage just as much as any of these other races. With that in mind, players with dhampir characters should check out the overview of the vampiric bloodlines of the Inner Sea on the inside cover, and there more detailed write-ups on pages 6 to 12. This might also be a good time to decide your general feelings about full-blooded vampires, as dhampirs have a reputation for being among the greatest vampire hunters.
- Know Yourself: The details of life as a vampire, secrets of this rare race, and suggestions for creating dhampir characters are presented on page 18 and 19. Now that you've chosen to be a dhampir, learn what that means and let that help shape the character you're planning on making. Additionally, now that you know a thing or two about your ancestry, decide whether or not you want to further connect yourself to Golarion's vampire bloodlines by selecting one of four variant dhampir racial options—the jiang-shi-born ru-shi, the moroi-born svetochr, the nosferatu-born ancient-born, or the vetala-born ajibachana.
- Create Your Character: Now that you know what a dhampir is and how your vampiric heritage has affected you, it's time to make your character. Numerous character options can be found throughout the book in the form of new feats (28 and 29) and traits for dhampirs (19, 20, 21). If you've chosen to be an enemy of vampire kind, the various roles for vampire hunters on pages 26 and 27, as well as several of the spells and magic items on pages 30 and 31, can also help set your character's path.
- Add Campaign Details: Although rare in the extreme, dhampirs can be found in many places throughout the Inner Sea Region. Learn about where your dhampir and the vampires of your bloodline fit into the Pathfinder campaign setting on pages 24 and 25. Additionally, if you're looking for vampires to hunt, check out the inside back cover for an overview of places in the Inner Sea Region (below, and beyond) in need of vampire hunters.
- Consider Optional Rules: Even though many of the options in Blood of the Night are themed for vampires, dhampirs straddle the line between the worlds of the living and the dead. A dhampir character interested in highlighting his vampiric urges might work with the GM to employ the rules for hunger on page 22. Characters with a strong tie to a particular vampire bloodline might also find traits suggested for vampires that work well for them, and players should ask their GM if she'll permit them. Dhampirs are exceptionally rare individuals and norms for this race are few, so work with your GM to create the half-vampire hero or antihero of your darkest dreams.
So You're Not Playing a Bloodsucker...
Vampire hunters face a daunting, immortal foe, but fortunately Blood of the Night can help them in their quest to beat back the creatures of the night. Aside from many of the secrets and best-known details of Golarion's various vampire breeds, the Hunting Vampires section (page 26 and 26) presents four distinct ways to make a variety of vampire hunters, from spell-slinging arcane slayers; undead-killing bards, monks, and rogues; divine-focused hunters; and classic martial slayers. These builds direct players toward some of the strongest vampire-hunting options in the Pathfinder RPG, including more than a few options you might have never guessed work great against the undead. To really get the edge on the servants of darkness, Blood of the Night also presents a host of new feats designed specifically for vampire hunters (page 28), new spells (page 30), new magic items (page 31), and, of course, a hit list of lands in the Inner Sea where a vampire hunter can ply her trade. You don't just need to be playing the Carrion Crown Adventure Path to play a vampire hunter anymore—let Blood of the Night be your guide to hunting Golarion's deadliest hunters wherever your campaign and character concepts take you.
F. Wesley Schneider