Review: Playing Dhampyr

A fairly recent article in Dragon 371, it (re)introduces Bloodline feats to D&D. While this opens the floodgates for making other bloodlines, thats a topic for a separate blog.

The dhampyr is not, as many predicted, a new race. Rather, any humanoid can take a feat at any point to emphasize their heritage and gain some minor skills bonuses in addition to an encounter power that lets you bite something and heal damage. After that, you can pick from numerous other feats that range from gaining low-light vision (yawn) to netting a +1 to Speed. At heroic tier.
Otherwise, the article features two paragon paths for dhampyrs, and some backstory on the whole package.

Since attack bonuses scale at a set rate for everyone, its pretty easy to pick a class that synergizes with a dhampyr. Blood drain is Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution, so that covers over half the classes. The other ability that you can pick up much later is keyed to Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisa, which again covers over half the classes, so the end result is that anyone can get some mileage out of the powers.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out, and Jason immediately took the feat with his half-elf cleric of the Raven Queen (another player, Adrian, tried to do the same damned thing). Some people are probably disappointed at the limitations of blood drain (have to grab first), but I think they dont understand how easy it is to grab someone. I really blame 3rd Edition's convoluted grapple mechanics that often just didnt fucking work...ever.

Grabbing is a pretty viable tactic, and its pretty easy to pull off (simple Strength vs. Reflex). How often will you do this? Well, it depends on how often you get hurt enough to demand the use of a healing surge. The damage is pretty crummy, so the main appeal is getting a surge. I think its a pretty good tactic if you want to pin down an elite monster as part of a setup for the following round, but I dont think people are just going to run around trying to use it for damage alone.

Time will tell just how effective those powers are, but for the cost of a feat I say its a really good bargain (considering you get untyped skill bonuses as part of the package deal). I understand that its more like a multiclass feat, so that the encounter power has to be about as good as an at-will power, but I think you should be able to use it on any target that cannot take actions or is under certain conditions (perhaps dazed and stunned).

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