Dungeons & Dragons Online

Theory Vampires are Druidic Undead

Content of the article: "Theory Vampires are Druidic Undead"

There are many kinds of undead out there, many of which you are familiar with.

Some are simple—skeletons and zombies that one can raise with the simplest spell, regardless of tradition. Some are complex—the lich and the mummy lord can be raised through no single spell, only the painstaking work of hours of ritual, for those ever close to the secrets of the arcane or the divine. Those complex undead act as a refinement of their previous roles, with the lich accumulating unrivaled magic in their lair, and the mummy lord gains supernatural power over the fear the fear their gods inspire.

Some undead are raised through pacts gone awry, like the dread Bodak or Deathlocks, raised through the magic of the outer planes channeled through a conduit to a mortal body. These undead have singular powers, and are often transformed somewhat from their original roles, and never truly have free will—they are always bound to their masters, unlike the refined undead.

Some undead simply occur naturally, like the Death Knight or Revenant. These have no powers they did not possess in life; they merely draw upon a refinement of who and what they were, before their death.

But Vampires? Vampires fit none of those descriptions. There are no secret rites to becoming a vampire—you must be turned by an existing one, but there is no first source. They are beholden to no master, being a free-willed undead. And the powers and compulsions they gain do not match the refinement of an existing nature, like the Death Knight.

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What do they have?

  • They gain the power to change their shape into an animal.
  • They gain the power to summon animals.
  • They gain the power to charm their prey into becoming their helpers.

They become bound by stories and the elements:

  • Water flowing freely restricts their movements.
  • Earth protects them from true death.
  • Fire of the sun destroys them.
  • Air allows them to escape what would bind them, even death.
  • They can be made dormant by wood, but not destroyed… unless a tree sprouts from the vampire's primal energy.
  • They can't enter a home unless invited—a common protection from the fey.

Does this not sound like something a druid would create, back before undead were first known? A predator of the urban environments, to keep demihumanity in check as they began to destroy the forests, and drive creatures to extinction?

I propose this to you: Druids created the Vampires, the first of the undead, from the same blood rites they once used to create Wood Woads. But when they realized the door that this opened—the first transgression against death allowing others to follow in their footsteps—they did all they could to destroy this knowledge, and almost succeeded. Only a few ancient entities, dark powers bound to the land remember the ancient rites, and rarely offer them. But if you know where to look, all the signs are there…

I leave you now with the words that Strahd used to describe himself, after his transformation:

I am the Ancient, I am the Land.

Perhaps, just perhaps, there's more to this than there first seems…

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Source: reddit.com

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