Customized Fey Vampire - what's it's CR?


Homebrew and House Rules


The base race is a custom one that I've yet to show around these forums, so if you see something that does not look like a vampire thing, that's where it's coming from. I've taken the liberty of bolding the things I thought were most relevant to the CR, but I may be mis-evaluating.

Bloodwing, Pisx Vampire, 4th level Ranger CR ?? PF
This small, black winged pisx was felled by a vampire while outside the hive, and has been kept as an easily controlled, but powerful servant.

Size/Type: Small Undead (Augmented Fey)
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Hit Dice: 4d10+4 (30 hp)
Initiative: +8
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares). Glide 40 ft (8 squares, 2 vertical)

Armor Class: 25 AC, touch 16, flatfooted 19 (+4 dex, +1 size, +3 studded leather armor, +1 dodge, +6 natural),
Base Attack: +4, (CMB +7, CMD: 20)
Melee: Bite +7 (1d4+3) with Energy Drain (Two Negative Levels)
Space/Reach: 5 ft. / 5 ft.

Special Qualities: Pisx Traits, Undead Traits, Darkvision 60, Vampire Weaknesses, gaseous form, shadowless, and spider climb
Class Features Favored Enemy (Undead), Track, Wild Empathy, Favored Terrain (Forest), Two-weapon Combat, Endurance, Animal Companion (Snake, Constrictor)
Defensive: Channel Resistance +4, DR 10/Magic, Silver, and Cold Iron. Resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10. Fast Healing 5
Attacks: Blood Drain, Children of the Night, Create Spawn, Dominate, Energy Drain, Touch of Fatigue 2/day,

Saves: Fort -- Ref +8 Will +4* (only +2 vs. mind-affecting)
Abilities: Str 16 Dex 19, Con --, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 12
Skills: Climb +13, Acrobatics +11 (21 to jump, may always take ten to jump), Knowledge(Nature) +7, Perception +8, Stealth +11, Survival +8

Feats: Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack, Iron Will, Toughness, Two-Weapon Fighting
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary or family (vampire plus 2–8 spawn)

Treasure: Half standard
Advancement: By character class


Could you link the base race with the total point value? As it is, it looks like you took your base race, gave it class levels, and added the vampire template.

Is this a correct assumption?


That is the correct assumption. I started work on it before I had the race builder rules, so I don't currently have the actual point total. The intent was to make a +0 LA race (by the old 3.5 standards), though it toes the line between +0 and +1.

That said, Link: http://tinyurl.com/PisxRules


I checked out the race and began attempting to assign point values to it. After getting about 50% through it, I got frustrated. Would you have any issue with me converting it to the ARG guidelines and trying again?


On a separate sheet from mine, that would be fine with me.

May I ask what you found frustrating about it?

Shadow Lodge

Hard for me to guess at CR because the vampire abilities are quite powerful for something with so few HD (vampire template can normally only be applied to a creature with 5 or more HD). The creature has the attack and HP of a CR 3-4 creature, but the AC of a CR 10-12 creature, and abilities like Dominate, DR, and Energy Drain (two levels) could be quite dangerous at low CR. (Though I suppose the DR and fast healing might mitigate the low HP complication...)

Also want to point out that the DR can only be pierced by a weapon that is both made of silver and cold iron, which is contradictory. Technically you could use a +3 weapon (though not likely at the correct CR) or else use Versatile Weapon to give a silver weapon the cold iron property or vice-versa. However, I'd recommend changing the DR to "Magic and (Silver OR Cold Iron)".


Silver OR Cold Iron was the intended behavior, consider that a formatting error on my part.


O11O1 wrote:

On a separate sheet from mine, that would be fine with me.

May I ask what you found frustrating about it?

The frustrating issue is determining the value of so many things that are shoe-horned into one package. The raptoran flight text pieces mixed with some of the other things are kinda clunky. Example: the ability to fly grants Fly as a class skill; racial bonuses to "fly" are typically (though not always) quantified in the maneuverability mechanics. (Clumsy –8, Poor –4, Average +0, Good +4, Perfect +8. Please keep in mind, this is /without/ using mechanics presented in the ARG.

Some of the custom-made bonuses and weakness are interesting, but difficult to quantify as they resemble no other pre-existing mechanics, which are an excellent foundation to build on when designing monsters, races, etc.

I hope that explains the frustration without sounding arrogant or condescending.


Da'ath wrote:
O11O1 wrote:

On a separate sheet from mine, that would be fine with me.

May I ask what you found frustrating about it?

The frustrating issue is determining the value of so many things that are shoe-horned into one package. The raptoran flight text pieces mixed with some of the other things are kinda clunky. Example: the ability to fly grants Fly as a class skill; racial bonuses to "fly" are typically (though not always) quantified in the maneuverability mechanics. (Clumsy –8, Poor –4, Average +0, Good +4, Perfect +8. Please keep in mind, this is /without/ using mechanics presented in the ARG.

Some of the custom-made bonuses and weakness are interesting, but difficult to quantify as they resemble no other pre-existing mechanics, which are an excellent foundation to build on when designing monsters, races, etc.

I hope that explains the frustration without sounding arrogant or condescending.

Yeah, i can understand how being as nonstandard as these means a lot of eyeballing balance issues with no clear answer. My own CR calculations suggested the 6-7 range, though that AC might be enough to bump it up even higher.


O11O1 wrote:
Yeah, i can understand how being as nonstandard as these means a lot of eyeballing balance issues with no clear answer. My own CR calculations suggested the 6-7 range, though that AC might be enough to bump it up even higher.

This is quick and dirty and by NO means intended to be interpreted as what I consider balanced. It's an approximation.

Ability modifiers: +2 Dexterity, -2 to Strength. (specialized 1 RP)
Pisx are Small creatures. (0 RP)
Pisx have the Fey type & Low Light Vision (Fey type, 2 RP)
Skill Training (1 RP) Pick up to two skills (Jump and Fly). These skills are always considered class skills for members of this race.
Bite (2 RP) Members of this race gain a natural bite attack, dealing 1d3 damage. The bite is a primary attack, or a secondary attack if the creature is wielding manufactured weapons.
Skill Bonus (2 RP) +2 bonus on climb checks.
Skill Bonus (2 RP) +2 bonus on chide checks.
Spell-Like Ability, Lesser (1 rp) choice of any orison or cantrip OR Spell-Like Ability, At-Will (2 RP) choice of any orison or cantrip.

Total 11 or 12 RP

Cold Iron Allergy (–2 RP) When struck by a cold iron weapon or coming into contact with cold iron, the Pisx must succeed at a Fortitude saving throw (DC 15 + damage dealt) or be sickened for 5 rounds. The number of rounds sickened may be reduced by 1 round per point of positive Constitution modifier the Pisx possesses.
Note: Extrapolated from Stench Aura. Off the cuff, so balance not really determined.
Mixed Blood (-2 RP) Despite being Fey type, Pisx can still be targeted by effects that target humanoids, such as Charm Person.
Notes: Fey type, but not really since this vulnerability cancels the benefits of being fey and just grants lowlight.
Ragged Mind (-1 RP) Pisx receive a -2 to saves against any enchantment or mind affecting effect.
Notes: Extrapolated from elf immunities/dual-minded. Almost reads as simply, -2 to Will saves.

Total -5 RP

Flight, the major frustration. Let us treat it as a matter of progression. We'll take the 3 options listed here, average them for a total of 5 points over the course of the proposed advancement of the original raptoran text with an assumption of 40 speed with good maneuverability.
Vestigial Wings (2 RP) Members of this race have wings that do not provide the lift required for actual flight, but do have enough power to aid flight attained by some other method, and grant a +4 racial bonus on Fly checks. Starts at 1st level or 1 HD.
Gliding Wings (3 RP) Members of this race take no damage from falling (as if subject to a constant non-magical feather fall spell). While in midair, members of this race can move up to 5 feet in any horizontal direction for every 1 foot they fall, at a speed of 60 feet per round. A member of a race with gliding wings cannot gain height with these wings alone; it merely coasts in other directions as it falls. If subjected to a strong wind or any other effect that causes a creature with gliding wings to rise, it can take advantage of the updraft to increase the distance it can glide. Starts at 6th level or 6 HD.
Flight (8 RP) Members of this race have a fly speed of 40 feet with good maneuverability. Starts at 10th level or 10 HD.
Total (with averaging and progression of flight advancement, rounded up) 5 RP.

vamp template +2 Ranger 4 levels + 4 + race (over 10 points by 1-2, so +1, even though RP are a bad way to guage CR) = 7-8

I would put it at around CR 7-8. Remember, quick & dirty, not tons of thought put into my approximation.

Shadow Lodge

CR 7-8 sounds about right, but I'd look at your players' capabilities before throwing this at them. It might be particularly rough on the martials who will be dealing with the high AC and DR, and who are more likely to be exposed to Energy Drain and targeted by Dominate. On the flip side, because of the low HP, a single 7th-level Searing Light could take this thing out.


Weirdo wrote:
CR 7-8 sounds about right, but I'd look at your players' capabilities before throwing this at them. It might be particularly rough on the martials who will be dealing with the high AC and DR, and who are more likely to be exposed to Energy Drain and targeted by Dominate. On the flip side, because of the low HP, a single 7th-level Searing Light could take this thing out.

Exactly. It'll be probably a bit too rough for the martial characters and trivial if there are a couple offensive spellcasters in the party.


Da'ath wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
CR 7-8 sounds about right, but I'd look at your players' capabilities before throwing this at them. It might be particularly rough on the martials who will be dealing with the high AC and DR, and who are more likely to be exposed to Energy Drain and targeted by Dominate. On the flip side, because of the low HP, a single 7th-level Searing Light could take this thing out.
Exactly. It'll be probably a bit too rough for the martial characters and trivial if there are a couple offensive spellcasters in the party.

Ok, so when I toss this at party, not by itself. Give some henchmen that are easy pickings for a martial char, but difficult for casters to handle.

Five zombies, perhaps? Or maybe some sort of vermin?


O11O1 wrote:
Da'ath wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
CR 7-8 sounds about right, but I'd look at your players' capabilities before throwing this at them. It might be particularly rough on the martials who will be dealing with the high AC and DR, and who are more likely to be exposed to Energy Drain and targeted by Dominate. On the flip side, because of the low HP, a single 7th-level Searing Light could take this thing out.
Exactly. It'll be probably a bit too rough for the martial characters and trivial if there are a couple offensive spellcasters in the party.

Ok, so when I toss this at party, not by itself. Give some henchmen that are easy pickings for a martial char, but difficult for casters to handle.

Five zombies, perhaps? Or maybe some sort of vermin?

I'm not sure what to suggest, save the Pisx will have to play it smart, such as hiding and casting or damaging from range out of sight. Introducing it along with zombies or vermin will instantly tell the players that the Pisx is the boss/most dangerous and should probably be taken out first. You'll have to either make sure there is some quality about the zombies/vermin that make them "appear" or actually be more dangerous than the Pisx or he won't have any chance to really "shine".

Shadow Lodge

In addition to the above problem, zombies and vermin can also be easily dealt with by area spells. "Easy pickings for a martial character, but difficult for casters" means golems, since much of their difficulty comes from magic immunity.

Try modifying a Bone Golem to be a bit lower CR (a "Crude Bone Golem"). The young template is a good place to start and makes it CR 7. You could also remove Bone Prison or the DR if you're worried about the encounter being too difficult. With just the young template, you're looking at a CR 9 encounter overall.

My 8th-level group would probably be able to deal with the Pisx Vampire + Young Bone Golem without too much difficulty, but we would find it interesting and challenging.

Tactics Notes

The martials are still the most likely targets for dominate. In this scenario, the vampire should start off trying to dominate one of the martials. The save is too low to want to risk pushing the martial to attack his allies, but it can make the martial sit out the fight ("Flee" or "Surrender"). If the Bone Golem still has a Bone Prison, he'd launch it at a caster. If they're lucky, the monsters could remove half the party from the fight in the first round and then concentrate on the other half. This is the worst-case-scenario for the PCs and depending on who's left in the fight, how smart they fight, and how they roll could result in a TPK.

The Bone Golem would try to engage casters first, so the martials would have to actively block it.

Da'ath's suggestion to use stealth for the Pisx is also a good one - keep it hidden for a round or two while the party engages the bone golem. The Pisx can then attempt Dominate from hiding. Before the PCs spot and close with it, launch an arrow or two from cover. Swap Two-Weapon Style for archery (when he gets into melee he'll be biting).

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