Character du Jour: Wil Shadowlight, Vampire Paladin
By a forgotten oasis, a knight of Pelor lay dying. The heathen horde had come under cover of darkness, drawing it as a cloak around themselves to hide their approach. The sentries were first to fall, barely able to sound the alarm before their limp and torn bodies dropped to the hungry sand. The knights armed themselves as best they could and fought hard, but it soon became clear these were no ordinary foes. Wrapped in black robes, turban and scarf, their eyes burned with dead fury from desert-bleached leathery skin and they possessed a strength and power far beyond that of living man. The Pelorian’s blades barely wounded them, while they fought with harsh clawed hands that cut through armour as if it was mist.
All fell, save one. Wil was young and inexperienced, but full of life. This drew the desert vampires to him, but he kept them back by wrapping his blade with the holy chain and pendant of Pelor. He battled until he sank to his knees, exhausted and ready to meet his god. The vampires leapt, clawing him then fleeing as the dawn light touched the oasis’ edge.
As he lay dying he watched the sun rise, and heard a whispered voice on the desert wind.
“It is the light which makes the shadows, my son. Rise, walk on, and serve me.”
Wil Shadowlight is a Human Hybrid Vampire Paladin (oh yes!) who serves Pelor with unquestioning loyalty and fervour. Clad in Plate Armour and swathed in a turban and scarf, he made his way back from the desert lands and now seeks to do his god’s will in the places where the rays of the sun cannot reach.
Dirty little secret: Wil was not the only survivor of the desert vampire raid. His brother Danyal cursed Pelor for deserting them at the oasis, and rose as a full vampire three nights later. It is inevitable that their paths will cross once more.
Notes: Here’s one PC you don’t want to mess with: a desert-spawned vampire who also happens to be a Paladin of Pelor. That’s one heck of a study in opposites, and a total blast to play in-game. Thanks to his Divine Vampire feat he is not vulnerable to radiant damage, can’t be destroyed by sunlight and gains a healing surge if he hits with a Divine encounter power. That’s essential as he only starts the game with two surges!
At first glance, Wil looks like any other Paladin (albeit one with a turban and scarf rather a plate helmet) – until he turns into a shadowy swarm and flies straight through you (Swarm of Shadows ftw!). He has the Knight Hospitaler theme and Geography:Desert background, making him about at much of a classic Crusader in the Holy Lands as you can get. Bolt the whole “oh, and he’s a Vampire” thing and you’ve got a character with bags of play potential.
Wil is a PC all about hitting first and wading in to combat with no concern for his own safety. Aggressive Advantage gives him combat advantage against all foes in the first turn of combat, he gains regeneration when bloodied, and his Heedless Fury encounter power does a massive 3d10+6 damage but puts him at -5 defences for a turn. As it’s a Divine power he does gain a healing surge for using it (praise Pelor!). He can also really sink his teeth in by using Blood Drinker (his Vampiric encounter power) to add 1d10 damage to his Taste of Life at-will bite, doing 1d8+1d10+8 damage, gaining 4 hp and another healing surge, all in a single round. That ain’t bad at all. His two other at-will abilities are from his Paladin training; there’s Dominator’s Strike, which gains him yet more temporary hit points, and Vengeance Strike which can deal a shedload of additional damage if he’s surrounded by foes. That hearkens back to his backstory, right there.
When it comes to equipment, Wil wears the classic Dazzling Plate Armour favoured by Pelorian Paladins everywhere (even vampiric ones), and he wields a Challenge-Seeking Greatsword which does an extra 1d6 damage against foes who are at full hit points. Combine that with his Aggressive Advantage and Heedless Fury and he could potentially take out a level equivalent foe in the very first round of combat. Nice. He also wear an Amulet of Life which allows him to spend two healing surges whenever he could spend one (useful for that back from the brink Second Wind), and the frankly gory Gauntlets of Blood which give him +2 damage against bloodied foes. Messy.
This is an ideal character for a player who likes to do a load of damage and isn’t afraid to take damage. Between his powers and regeneration ability he should survive pretty much anything thrown at him. Or die (again) trying.
These are the bane of many a nomadic tribe. Desert Vampires sleep beneath the sands by day and rise at night to terrorize anyone who is unfortunate enough to have set camp on their territory. If an otherwise healthy oasis looks appears untouched and avoided by nomads, it is likely that Desert Vampires lurk beneath, waiting for their next meal to set camp. Many a band of wandering knights from more civilized lands have learned this, to their cost.
Desert Vampire stats are as per regular vampires, but they also have the Sandwalk feature and ignore difficult terrain caused by shifting sands and dunes. They are affected by sunlight and radiant damage as normal – Wil gained his immunity thanks to the intervention and blessing of Pelor himself.