Adventure: Before the Storm
Sessions: 2007-05-05, 2007-05-12
Player: Dave Zhang
PC: Tyrian
Status: Human Paragon 1/Wizard 1/Human Paragon +2/Master Specialist 4/Fatespinner 2

On Slaying Vampires: Three Case Studies

From the teachings of Tyrian, Master of the Elements

Ah, the vampire. They’re tricky foes; while they lack the sheer toughness of dragons and the impressive abilities of bodaks and other undead, they are notoriously difficult to permanently destroy, unless one is properly prepared for it. Consider the following case study, from my younger days some thirty years ago.

I was a young lad of twenty-one years, and was in Flamekeep at the time, due to my friendship with Flamelord Blaze, then a High Priest. As some of you more learned in history may remember, this was near the climax of the Warforged Revolts. Blaze had asked me to take care of a couple of vampires hiding in the forests of southern Thrane. He personally attempted to do so not half a week previously, but failed. Let’s review his circumstances and results as a first lesson:

Case 1: Antinua

In his case, he had three companions. One was a student of the natural powers (Anson), one was a dabbler of forces both arcane and divine (Sovelom), and the remaining two were of little consequence. They struck through the first layers of defenses (including a giant purple worm) without real injury, but were massacred (save Blaze) by the first vampire, a wizard by the name of Antinua. The events were as thus:

The group failed to notice Antinua due to her invisibility and clever positioning (corner of the roof); she used the element of surprise to isolate the most dangerous of the group, Blaze, by encasing him in spherical wall of stone. Next, Sovelom invoked a control winds effect around the remainder of the group, attempting to fortify a defensive position within the eye of the arcane tornado, but that simply made their concentrated positions a ripe target for a cloudkill spell. While the poisonous gas did not manage to outright end the lives of any, it did sap their vitality enough such that the ensuing maximized greater fireburst did.

By the time Blaze burst from his stone prison, his companions had all fallen. Seeing the threat level of this vampire, Blaze had decided to retreat and regroup, but was concerned for the bodies of his allies. Only Sovelom was noticeably morally upright, however, so Blaze retrieved (and later raised from dead) only him. Still, the delay was enough for Antinua to conjure Evard’s black tentacles. Here, Blaze was lucky, for the Silver Flame blessed him with the ability to travel unimpeded despite any and all obstacles, and thus he was able to retreat back to Flamekeep with little personal damage.

There are three points to be learned from here:

  • Be vigilante, even against invisible foes. Had they noticed Antinua before she could effectively separate the group, they would have had access to Blaze’s healing magic, and at least one other adventurer would have survived the greater fireburst. From there, the two of them may have defeated Antinua.
  • Avoid defensive tactics. Defensive tactics usually are performed at the expense of sacrificing offense, and when this is done, the enemies will respond by further resolving their attacks.
  • Possess a reliable escape route. Had Blaze been anyone else, he too would have been in mortal danger due to Evard’s black tentacles, but he did not have an infallible escape route prepared. For this purpose silent teleport and silent dimension door are optimal, though against less observant foes invisibility will suffice.

Case 2: Antinua, revisited

My companions numbered six: a jade phoenix mage by the name of Siivrell, a war weaver named Nebu, a monk named Mike, a priest named Cade, a telepath named Teferi, and a berserker named Ankya.

Building upon the knowledge of Blaze’s experience, I casted see invisibility on myself, and Antinua’s initial ambush was not successful. In fact, I reacted before she did and casted two spells before she could invoke anything, thanks to a dagger Blaze gifted me. My first spell, an empowered fireball, was wholly unsuccessful due to her active fire shield. My second, an ice ball, however, was able to penetrate her innate resistance and managed to damage her significantly.

Ankya charged into the room, but was unable to locate Antinua (again, due to Antinua’s invisibility). Thus, she instead waved her banner with a mighty cry, which spirited myself into casting a third spell: another iceball. This was sufficient to destroy Antinua, and she reverted into a thin cloud of gas. But don’t let this fool you! Vampires, in this state, can return to unlife should they rest in their coffins for a night. In order to truly atomize them, the gas needs to be gathered and prevented from entering any coffins. Here, I used the spell stone shape to morph a sphere of stone around her essence. Rather poetic, since she had previously used this trick against Blaze. Trapped there, she was helpless, and utterly put to final rest in two hours.

  • Vampires morph into invulnerable gas when “destroyed.” Attacking the gas with either weapons or spells will not work.
  • The gas needs to be trapped for two hours to send a vampire to its final death. Wood and cloth is insufficient to trap gas, but stone and iron (and raw magical force) are. In this state, the vampire is also helpless though, unable to physically attack or tap magic.

Case 3: Lucan

Lucan, unlike Antinua, did not possess arcane talents, though he could use wands and scrolls of various sorts. His preferred method of approach, however, is with an evil artifact sword that he came to possess. He attempted to strike me with it, but again, I noticed him first and acted first. This time, however, I casted Otiluke’s resilient sphere, trapping him inside the force prison. Those of you who have been taking notes will remember that Otiluke’s resilient sphere only lasts for a few minutes, and that Lucan had not yet been reduced to gaseous phase.

But vampires have an additional weakness, one that is more debilitating than coffin dependency. They cannot stand the light of the sun, and is destroyed within seconds upon direct exposure. Teferi, the telepath, invoked a beam of sound, shattering a hole through the walls of the castle, and shining the sun upon Lucan. With this, he was painfully returned to the state of nothingness to which he belonged.

In summary:

  • Always react faster. Life-and-death combat situations depend vitally upon it. When outclassed, it at least gives you the opportunity to retreat and regroup, and against a manageable foe, it ensures that he dies before killing you.
  • Fight vampires during the day. Through brute force or trickery, if you can shine the natural light of the sun upon the vampire, then he is instantly destroyed.

Player’s Notes:

Bah. This was too long.

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