Sunday, October 29, 2017

Valorous Vampire (Nobleblood Dhampir Valor Bard)


This is another theoretical inspired by a picture from Ina Wong on deviantart.com. I haven't looked to see what the backstory of the picture is, having been directly shown it by a friend on a chat server. It is quite a beautiful work as you can see.


Also, the artist is http://inawong.deviantart.com. She's an amazing artist and does do commissions if you are looking for a book cover or something similar.


As to the question of how to build this character, we have to look at the picture a bit. For one thing, the character is dressed only in what appears to be a nighty. This could mean that they were ambushed and had to defend themselves from the surprise, or it could mean that they eschew the use of armor. In either regard, the character's is clearly very skilled at combat. This makes my thoughts run toward Fighter, Barbarian, Blade-Warlock, Paladin, Kensai Monk, Valor-Bard, Blade-Bard, Ranger, Rogue, or even Bladesinger Wizard.

I am going to dismiss Rogue as there is a very in-your-face style to her attitude. While that doesn't necessarily leave Rogue out of the equation, it points more towards other styles of class. In addition, the yawning seems to give very much an impression of "This is boring. You're no challenge." Again, there are rogues that would fit this, but this feels more like a stand-up-front-and-take-it sort of character. For similar reasons, themes that don't necessarily conflict but don't point to them, I am going to remove Ranger and Bladesinger Wizard from the list of possibilities. Blade-Bard also gets dismissed as that is a path that operates using two-weapon fighting.

I've also already done a vampyr warrior using the undying warlock, twice in fact, and while this character would be significantly different from that one, I don't feel like revisiting that version of the undying warlock especially when I have so many warlocks at the time of this writing already. Similarly, while I've played paladins and monks who had similar attitudes to the one in the picture, it doesn't feel right either so I'm going to leave those off the list.

I'm leaning toward this as a sort of Dhampir Barbarian just for the amusing disconnect. That said, I already did the other Ina Wong picture I had built as a Barbarian as well. While the image of this character seems to be one of doesn't-get-hit rather than takes-a-licking, there's a couple of ways to account for that. Primarily this is because hit points are an abstract that also include some degree of dodging as well as the fact that this is a dhampir so it might just be the scars heal faster than they appear despite the HP dwindling. Though her clothes are not torn apart either, unless she started out the fight wearing more than that. But despite that bit of stream of consciousness, I'm going against barbarian because the lack of rage in her expression. While I've seen the rage represented as cold, pure focus or a supernatural invocation of power rather than actual anger, the bored expression counts against all of those.

Down to Fighter and Valor-Bard and I think, just because of that sheer force of "I'm bored." I'm going with the Valor-Bard. Also, I've done a fighter dhampir recently and while that was a gunslinger, I'd like to try something else here. This might seem to be slightly stepping away from the idea of martial excellence, but the Valor Bard sits on scale with several of the martial classes in terms of ability and one should remember that the large majority of the population are non-classed and have proficiency in only a few limited weapons and skills.

Similarly, I am going with a Nobleblood Dhampir here. As I'm getting the feeling she doesn't usually invoke much fear unless she wants to. For background, none really stand out for me. I'm torn between Noble and Entertainer. And I think I will go with Entertainer.


For this I am using my typical theoretical 30 pt array of 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10.

1st Level Nobleblood Dhampir Bard
Str: 10
Dex: 14
Con:  15
Int: 12
Wis: 11
Cha: 16

HP: 10
AC: 12
Save DC: 13
Speed: 30ft
Initiative: +2

Proficiency Bonus: +2

Darkvision
Hard to Kill
Sunlight Sensitivity
Unnatural Resilience
Mesmerizing Presence
Natural Grace

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Violin, Drum, Flute
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Languages: Common, Sylvan

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Entertainer) +4
Deception (Bard) +5
Insight (Bard) +2
Intimidation (Bard) +5
Performance (Entertainer) +5
Persuasion (Dhampir) +5

Background: Entertainer

Spellcasting
Bardic Inspiration 3d6

Cantrips: Message, Vicious Mockery

Spell Slots: 2 (1st)

1st Level Spells: Cure Wounds, Dissonant Whispers, Sleep, Unearthly Chorus

Equipment
Leather Armor
Rapier

Reasoning: I am aiming at subtler magics. Those that don't make a big obvious show of force and which only careful onlookers will notice or see through. Vicious Mockery was a definite must have for this character though admittedly I end up taking it on pretty much every bard. I vacillated between Cure Wounds and Healing Word and ultimately settled on Cure Wounds. Sleep, Unearthly Chorus, and Dissonant Whispers are very vampiric seeming powers to add in. As a note, I'm calling that sword a rapier due to how thin it is and thinking it better fits those stats.

2nd to 5th Level


2nd Level - Jack of All Trades, Song of Rest (d6), +7 HP (17)
Spell: Charm Person

3rd Level - College of Valor, Bonus Proficiencies, Combat Inspiration, Expertise: Persuasion, Performance, +7 HP (24)
Spell: Detect Thoughts

4th Level - Ability Score Improvement: War Caster, +7 HP (31)
Cantrip: Friends
Spell: Enthrall

5th Level - Proficiency Bonus: +3, Bardic Inspiration (d8), Font of Inspiration, +7 HP (38)
Spell: Fear

Reasoning: This character has a lot of different ways to enchant and charm people and this will get more so as the build progresses. War Caster is nearly a must-have for any caster looking to be close to the frontline. Friends is a largely problematic cantrip, but can be useful in a pinch if you're looking just to get past something right now. It also can work well with Intimidate. I considered taking Diplomat but there aren't many feat opportunities here and we need to raise Charisma, so I only have enough spare for two feat choices really. I'm also giving her Breastplate and Shield on the assumption that this picture is her caught in ambush.

5th Level Statistics


5th Level Nobleblood Dhampir Bard of Valor
Str: 10
Dex: 14
Con:  15
Int: 12
Wis: 11
Cha: 16

HP: 38
AC: 18
Save DC: 14
Speed: 30ft
Initiative: +3

Proficiency Bonus: +3

Darkvision
Hard to Kill
Sunlight Sensitivity
Unnatural Resilience
Mesmerizing Presence
Natural Grace

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Violin, Drum, Flute
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Languages: Common, Sylvan

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Entertainer) +5
Deception (Bard) +6
Insight (Bard) +3
Intimidation (Bard) +6
Performance (Entertainer, Expertise) +9
Persuasion (Dhampir, Expertise) +9

Background: Entertainer

Feat: War Caster

Spellcasting
Bardic Inspiration 3d8
Jack of all Trades
Song of Rest d6
College of Valor
Bonus Proficiencies
Combat Inspiration
Expertise: Performance, Persuasion
Font of Inspiration

Cantrips: Friends, Message, Vicious Mockery

Spell Slots: 4 (1st) 3 (2nd) 2 (3rd)

1st Level Spells: Charm Person, Cure Wounds, Dissonant Whispers, Sleep, Unearthly Chorus
2nd Level Spells: Detect Thoughts, Enthrall
3rd Level Spells: Fear

Equipment
Breastplate
Shield
Rapier


6th to 10th Level


6th Level - Countercharm, Extra Attack, +7 HP (45)
Spell: Speak with Dead

7th Level - +7 HP (52)
Spell: Dimension Door

8th Level - Ability Score Improvement: +2 Cha, +7 HP (59)
Spell: Freedom of Movement

9th Level - Proficiency Bonus +4, Song of Rest (d8), +7 HP (66)
Spell: Dominate Person

10th Level - Bardic Inspiration (d10), Magical Secrets, Expertise: Insight, Intimidation, +7 HP (73)
Cantrip: Blade Ward
Spells: Shield, Counterspell

Reasoning: Speak with Dead is largely there because I couldn't think of anything better suited to the theme. Dimension Door and Freedom of Movement grant some of that idea of the vampiric mobility and I can imagine it as becoming mist briefly rather than the normal special effects. Dominate Person is a definite thing a vampire should have. Blade Ward and Shield add in some extra defensive capability and Counterspell lets her spoil other casters. I also upgraded her to half-plate.
 

10th Level Statistics


10th Level Nobleblood Dhampir Bard of Valor
Str: 10
Dex: 14
Con:  15
Int: 12
Wis: 11
Cha: 18

HP: 73
AC: 19
Save DC: 16
Speed: 30ft
Initiative: +4

Proficiency Bonus: +4

Darkvision
Hard to Kill
Sunlight Sensitivity
Unnatural Resilience
Mesmerizing Presence
Natural Grace

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Violin, Drum, Flute
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Languages: Common, Sylvan

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Entertainer) +6
Deception (Bard) +8
Insight (Bard, Expertise) +8
Intimidation (Bard, Expertise) +12
Performance (Entertainer, Expertise) +12
Persuasion (Dhampir, Expertise) +12

Background: Entertainer

Feat: War Caster

Spellcasting
Bardic Inspiration 4d10
Jack of all Trade
Song of Rest d8
College of Valor
Bonus Proficiencies
Combat Inspiration
Expertise: Insight, Intimidation, Performance, Persuasion
Font of Inspiration
Countercharm
Extra Attack
Magical Secrets

Cantrips: Blade Ward, Friends, Message, Vicious Mockery

Spell Slots: 4 (1st) 3 (2nd) 3 (3rd) 3 (4th) 2 (5th)

1st Level Spells: Charm Person, Cure Wounds, Dissonant Whispers, Shield, Sleep, Unearthly Chorus
2nd Level Spells: Detect Thoughts, Enthrall
3rd Level Spells: Counterpsell, Fear, Speak with Dead
4th Level Spells: Dimension Door, Freedom of Movement
5th Level Spells: Dominate Person

Equipment
Half-Plate
Shield
Rapier

11th to 15th Level


11th Level - +7 HP (80)
Spell: Mass Suggestion

12th Level - Ability Score Improvement: +2 Cha, +7 HP (87)

13th Level - Proficiency Bonus +5, Song of Rest (d10), +7 HP (94)
Spell: Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion

14th Level - Magical Secrets, Battle Magic, +7 HP (101)
Spells: Spiritual Weapon, Vampiric Touch

15th Level - Bardic Inspiration (d12), +7 HP (108)
Spell: Glibness

Reasoning: Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion just because she's a seductive vampire, she needs her own magical manse. Spiritual Weapon adds to her combat capability and Vampiric Touch is both on theme and useful for attack and healing. Glibness makes her that much more able to charm and twist mist minds, as does Mass Suggestion.

15th Level Statistics


15th Level Nobleblood Dhampir Bard of Valor
Str: 10
Dex: 14
Con:  15
Int: 12
Wis: 11
Cha: 20

HP: 108
AC: 19
Save DC: 18
Speed: 30ft
Initiative: +4

Proficiency Bonus: +5

Darkvision
Hard to Kill
Sunlight Sensitivity
Unnatural Resilience
Mesmerizing Presence
Natural Grace

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Violin, Drum, Flute
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Languages: Common, Sylvan

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Entertainer) +7
Deception (Bard) +10
Insight (Bard, Expertise) +10
Intimidation (Bard, Expertise) +15
Performance (Entertainer, Expertise) +15
Persuasion (Dhampir, Expertise) +15

Background: Entertainer

Feat: War Caster

Spellcasting
Bardic Inspiration 5d12
Jack of all Trade
Song of Rest d10
College of Valor
Bonus Proficiencies
Combat Inspiration
Expertise: Insight, Intimidation, Performance, Persuasion
Font of Inspiration
Countercharm
Extra Attack
Magical Secrets
Battle Magic

Cantrips: Blade Ward, Friends, Message, Vicious Mockery

Spell Slots: 4 (1st) 3 (2nd) 3 (3rd) 3 (4th) 2 (5th) 1 (6th) 1 (7th) 1 (8th)

1st Level Spells: Charm Person, Cure Wounds, Dissonant Whispers, Shield, Sleep, Unearthly Chorus
2nd Level Spells: Detect Thoughts, Enthrall, Spiritual Weapon
3rd Level Spells: Counterpsell, Fear, Speak with Dead, Vampiric Touch
4th Level Spells: Dimension Door, Freedom of Movement
5th Level Spells: Dominate Person
6th Level Spells: Mass Suggestion
7th Level Spells: Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion
8th Level Spells: Glibness

Equipment
Half-Plate
Shield
Rapier

16th to 20th Level


16th Level - Ability Score Improvement: Defensive Duelist, +7 HP (115)

17th Level - Proficiency Bonus +6, Song of Rest (d12), +7 HP (122)
Spell: Foresight

18th Level - Magical Secrets, +7 HP (129)
Spells: Mind Blank, Shapechange

19th Level - Ability Score Improvement: Resilient: Constitution, +26 HP (155)

20th Level - Superior Inspiration, +8 HP (163)

Reasoning: Foresight is just an amazing spell to have for a warrior. Mind Blank adds in the ability to no-sell mental influence. For that matter, I took Shapechange instead of True Polymorph to represent the vampire's ability to change themselves. I also decided not to take Wish at this level, which is unusual for me. It runs out I had more leeway in Ability Scores than I thought, so I decided to take increased Defensive Duelist and Resilient: Constitution both. Defensive Duelist is almost the same as the Shield spell with two caveats: Shield spell continues for the rest of the turn and also protects you from Magic Missile. As such, while I considered taking Shield out in favor of something else at this point, I decided against it but kept Defensive Duelist for the option since it doesn't spend a spell slot.

20th Level Statistics


15th Level Nobleblood Dhampir Bard of Valor
Str: 10
Dex: 14
Con:  15
Int: 12
Wis: 11
Cha: 20

HP: 163
AC: 19
Save DC: 19
Speed: 30ft
Initiative: +5

Proficiency Bonus: +6

Darkvision
Hard to Kill
Sunlight Sensitivity
Unnatural Resilience
Mesmerizing Presence
Natural Grace

Armor Proficiencies: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Violin, Drum, Flute
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma
Languages: Common, Sylvan

Proficient Skills
Acrobatics (Entertainer) +8
Deception (Bard) +11
Insight (Bard, Expertise) +12
Intimidation (Bard, Expertise) +17
Performance (Entertainer, Expertise) +17
Persuasion (Dhampir, Expertise) +17

Background: Entertainer

Feat: Defensive Duelist, Resilient: Constitution, War Caster

Spellcasting
Bardic Inspiration 6d12
Jack of all Trade
Song of Rest d12
College of Valor
Bonus Proficiencies
Combat Inspiration
Expertise: Insight, Intimidation, Performance, Persuasion
Font of Inspiration
Countercharm
Extra Attack
Magical Secrets
Battle Magic
Superior Inspiration

Cantrips: Blade Ward, Friends, Message, Vicious Mockery

Spell Slots: 4 (1st) 3 (2nd) 3 (3rd) 3 (4th) 3 (5th) 2 (6th) 2 (7th) 1 (8th) 1 (9th)

1st Level Spells: Charm Person, Cure Wounds, Dissonant Whispers, Shield, Sleep, Unearthly Chorus
2nd Level Spells: Detect Thoughts, Enthrall, Spiritual Weapon
3rd Level Spells: Counterpsell, Fear, Speak with Dead, Vampiric Touch
4th Level Spells: Dimension Door, Freedom of Movement
5th Level Spells: Dominate Person
6th Level Spells: Mass Suggestion
7th Level Spells: Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion
8th Level Spells: Glibness, Mind Blank
9th Level Spells: Foresight, Shapechange

Equipment
Half-Plate
Shield
Rapier

Some 5e Builds

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