Everything you need to know about the Dhampir in D&D 5e

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D&D players can finally live out their very best vampiric (half-) lives with the Dhampir Lineage.

First introduced in the Gothic Lineages Unearthed Arcana released way back in January 2021, the Dhampir was officially brought into the 5e fold alongside Hexbloods and Reborn in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft in February of the same year. 

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Here’s what Van Richter has to say about the Dhampir:

Poised between the worlds of the living and the dead, dhampirs retain their grip on life yet are endlessly tested by vicious hungers. Their ties to the undead grant dhampirs a taste of a vampire’s deathless prowess in the form of increased speed, darkvision, and a life-draining bite.

With unique insights into the nature of the undead, many dhampirs become adventurers and monster hunters. Their reasons are often deeply personal. Some seek danger, imagining monsters as personifications of their own hungers. Others pursue revenge against whatever turned them into a dhampir. And still others embrace the solitude of the hunt, striving to distance themselves from those who’d tempt their hunger.

The official Van Richter’s version of the Dhampir come with a hunger (determined by a roll of the d6 with delicacies ranging from blood to dreams on the table), an origin (we’re sure your DM would allow some creative liberties here if you don’t like anything offered on the d8 table), and some seriously stunning traits:

Ability score increase: Increase one score by two and another by one, or any three by one. It’s the same as the usual ability score increases that were introduced for races in Tasha’s.

Languages: Common plus one other language of you and your DMs collective choosing.

Creature type: Humanoid (The UA version had type as both Humanoid and undead, but that was evidently patched before publishing).

Size: Medium or small. Player’s choice.

Speed: A brisk 35 ft.

Ancestral Legacy: “If you replace a race with this lineage, you can keep the following elements of that race: any skill proficiencies you gained from it and any climbing, flying, or swimming speed you gained from it. If you don’t keep any of those elements or you choose this lineage at character creation, you gain proficency in two skills of your choice.” Not too shabby.

Darkvision: Always nice

Deathless Nature: No need to breath so you can forgo the scuba suit.

Spider Climb: Climbing speed equal to walking speed, and once you hit 3rd level you can walk on walls and ceilings. 

Vampiric Bite: Fangs count as natural weapons that you’re proficient in. Add CON mod to attack and damage rolls, dealing 1d4+mods. Advantage if you’re at less than half hit points.

Biting something that is a creature that isn’t a construct or undead, you can empower your bite to either regain hit points equal to damage dealt or gain a bonus to next ability check or attack roll equal to amount of damage dealt.

You can empower bites equal to proficiency bonus, and you get them back after a long rest.

So what makes the Dhampir unique?

It, alongside its other Gothic Lineage chums, can be chosen as a race off the jump during character creation, or can be switched to at some point during the campaign.

Obviously players would have to chat with their DMs about the specifics/allowances, so don’t go showing up to your next game with a completely altered character that can now walk on walls, but it is pretty cool that the Lineages offer a way to change up a character without throwing it out all together.

The Dhampir would be especially interesting in a Curse of Straud campaign, wherein a party member was swarmed by vampire spawn and left behind for dead by the party, only to reappear as a half human half vampire with unknown allegiances.

Suggested builds?

Anyone who has been reading my ramblings here on the Dispatch knows that we’re not exactly in the business of min/max builds, but I will say that the faster-than-average movement speed and ability to walk on walls and ceilings would do wonders for monks, rogues, or even fighters.

Long range archers could also get some interesting angles from ceiling shots, while Monks could make some serious use of the fact that those bites count as simple melee weapons.

Though honestly, we think that a vampiric bard who plays nothing but sad songs with an emo aesthetic would be kind of hilarious, so as with everything about D&D, create whatever you think might be the most fun for you and your party.

Just don’t blame us if someone shows up to next session with a new Dhampir character named Deadward Sullen.

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