Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Randomly Encountering Vampires

For GLoGtober 2022, "Vampires".

I vant to suck your levels

There are some classic D&D monsters which feel weird to encounter at random in the third level of some dungeon space. It was this observation, it is said, that lead to the composition of the classic module  I6: Ravenloft, in which a vampire is the center of the entire incident rather than an improvised result of a dice roll.

I feel some of the reasion I feel weird about including certain monsters as random encounters is that I fall into thinking of the monster as a typical member of its type, carrying generic equipment and set to a basic activity such as wandering, scowling, or hunting for prey.

When I remember to be a little creative, a vampire encounter can quickly become exciting and coherent with the setting in which it takes place. I noticed this keenly when I ran a Vampire the Masquerade campaign and found that introducing incidental vampires became much easier when I set up a generator that included a random character "concept", like jailbird or runaway, that personalized the cainite just enough to get started.

Taking that lesson forward, I present an encounter generator for classic D&D vampires, with a suite of optional powers and differences for those inclined to mix it up. The first generator shows you one, and the second makes a party of similar 1d4 vampires, the old "number encountered."


  1. I think the most out-of-place encounter like that is D1-2 Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, where, at this random crossroads in the Underdark, there happens to be an unnamed lich in a cave. I remember reading that, and then checking the rest of the book to see if I missed his backstory, or some lore, or something. Nope! He's just a combat encounter!

    1. At least liches, like wizards, can have absurd backgrounds and absurd goals! That's going to be my only resort when I run a campaign with a wizard at the end of every overland encounter table.

  2. Aaaa these vampires are super cool!

    I interpret the button labels as Béla Lugosi saying "blood".