Rifts Vampire Redux

If you're not a fan of Palladium's answer for every elder evil (alien intelligence), then this might be right up your alley. I created an alternate set of vampire rules and abilities that took into account the creatures age and generally left the concept of alien intelligences out of the mix entirely. These were specifically created with Rifts in mind, but should translate well to any of their other settings.

Vampires are an undead force almost as old as civilization, though they were virtually unknown until Vlad Dracula, one of the most infamous of vampires, revealed their existence to the world. Since then, they have been shrouded in myth and superstition.

A vampire is an immortal, supernatural creature, an undead being, which sustains itself on the lifeblood of the living. The myth of the vampire is present in many mythologies worldwide, but has been much more prevalent in Eastern Europe, where it is also the most human. The legend of Dracula has been told and retold a thousand times in stories, poems, books, and, in recent decades, movies. As with many myths and legends, they find their root in fact. However, the truth is even more ancient.

The first vampire was a Priest of Set named Thales. Thales constantly sought ways to increase his power, turning to necromancy and beginning a fanatical search for immortality. He eventually discovered a tome from the days of Atlantis, perhaps even originating there. It described a ritual which would grant the sorcerer great power and longevity.

It took many weeks to decipher the ancient language, but he was eventually successful. Late one night, under a blood moon, Thales began the ritual. At the appointed hour, Thales drove the curved dagger into his heart. That night, Thales died. But he came back the next night as something more. The ritual, while making him immortal, had several side effects. It had turned the once human priest into a supernatural creature with instincts and abilities far beyond anything he had ever known.

That night he hunted and fed. Within a week, he had created his first vampire. Thus, the undead were born. Over the subsequent centuries, Thales turned many others into The Undead. Some remained at his side while others turned against him. While most vampires Thales created were loyal to him, they still possessed a will of their own.

Through the centuries, humans became superstitious and fearful of the night, especially true during the Middle Ages, which gave rise to the legend of Dracula and the vampire. This also gave rise to the existence of the vampire hunter, or dhampir, those that could slay the undead in combat. In modern times, vampires, and the dhampirs with them, are dismissed as superstition and fairy tales.

In reality, Vampires are as prevalent as any supernatural creature, simply hidden and far more dangerous.

Vampires have a number of abilities, but they vary with the type (dhampirs call the types feral and awakened). All vampires are immortal and cannot die of natural causes. In addition, vampires have no reflection, radiate a supernatural aura and possess supernatural strength, possess powerful nightvision, and do not bleed, breathe, or radiate heat. Both types of vampires are invulnerable to many types of attacks (see Limited Invulnerability in the Abilities section) and can recognize another vampire on sight. Finally, all vampires possess incredible regenerative capabilities. Drinking blood enhances these regenerative capabilities further.

Feral vampires are generally unkempt and have a generally inhuman appearance, making them easy to spot. They also have claws, which they use tear at their victims and draw blood. The smell of blood often sends the feral vampire into a frenzy (a more dangerous form of the rage ability of awakened vampires) in which it attacks any thing living in its vicinity as it attempts to feed.

Awakened vampires (generally referred to simply as “vampires”) are, by far, the most dangerous type. They possess human intelligence and retain all the knowledge they possessed before being turning into one of the Undead (but not necessarily their feelings or alignment). This type of vampire also possesses formidable psychic and magic abilities, such as the ability to control others, the ability to induce sleep, alter their aura, mind block, and sense the presence of others. Any spell (or other type) magic known prior to being turned into one of the Undead remains, however it is frozen at its present level of experience until the creatures reaches an equivalent level of experience as a vampire (i.e. spells are frozen at 6th level until the vampire has attained 6th level as one of the Undead). The vampire is able to take the form of a vampire bat, wolf, or an eerie mist. Awakened vampires can also summon rats and wolves to aid them, as well as fog to conceal themselves. Awakened vampires will also sometimes succumb to The Rage. Though this can often be a detriment, it can also be of great benefit. Unlike the frenzy (see the abilities of the feral vampire), The Rage can be stopped, but it is very difficult. As it ages, the vampire also gains additional abilities and become more powerful. Finally, awakened vampires are the only type of vampires capable of creating another vampire.


The following abilities apply to all vampires, particularly younger ones. As awakened vampires age, their power grows. As such, this ability list is meant for newly “born” vampires. The type of vampire the ability applies to is given in parentheses.

Immortality (All)

All vampires are immortal and cannot die of natural causes. The vampire will cease to age, his face forever frozen in its current (usually youthful) state. Though the vampire will retain the same facial features, his or her skin will become pale gray and cold to the touch. Older vampires will sometimes (10% cumulative chance per 1000 years of age) see a change in their eye color to red.

Supernatural (All)

Vampires are supernatural creatures and radiate such an aura. The Undead possess supernatural strength and endurance. In addition, they have no reflection and can see great distances in the dark (2000 feet; unobstructed). Finally, because they are undead, they do not breathe, bleed, or radiate any body heat (cannot be seen with thermal optics). Their supernatural nature gives vampires a horror factor as well. Awakened vampires have a horror factor of 12 (14 if it has succumbed to The Rage) and feral vampires have a horror factor of 11 (16 if in a frenzy).

Recognition (All)

Vampires can recognize another vampire on sight. Whether this leads to a confrontation or not is up to the GM.

Limited Invulnerability (All)

All vampires are invulnerable to disease, poison, toxins, knockout attacks, normal weapons (including guns, knives, and swords), normal fire, and the elements.

In order to hurt a vampire, one must use magic, psychic abilities, or some type of unnatural fire (such as fire-based super abilities). A vampire can be held at bay by natural running water, such as a river. Standing water has no effect, unless it has been blessed by a priest. Blessed water, such as a moat, will hold a vampire at bay (it cannot cross) and blessed thrown water will burn a vampire like acid (3D6 points of damage per 8 ounces of water). In addition, holy symbols of any good faith (provided the character believes in and is a follower of that faith) will hold a vampire at bay (a “good” faith is one which the god/primary gods is/are of good or selfish alignments). The only exceptions are evil religions which specifically state that the gods hate or dislike vampires. In this case, the holy symbol has full effect.. Touching a vampire with a holy symbol will burn the vampire and cause it a great deal of pain (4D6 points of damage, direct to hit points).

While a vampire is not vulnerable to normal fire or unnatural light, it can be used to keep a vampire at bay. The Undead dislike light of any type, thus a flashlight or torch can be used to hold the creatures back. A flashlight can be used to hold a single vampire at bay at a time by shining the light directly at them. A torch can hold up to 1D6+1 vampires at bay, while a spotlight can hold a group of 20 or more vampires at bay (in a 90 degree arc with a radius of 25 feet).

Finally, a vampire requires blood to survive. A vampire must feed at least once per night, consuming a minimum of 4 pints of blood per night to survive. Though vampires prefer the taste of human blood, animal’s blood (such as pigs or cows) can be substituted if necessary. Similarly, human blood from blood banks can also be used (to a vampire it’s like a frozen dinner) in place of a live victim. These substitutions are generally only used by vampires of a Principled alignment. Scrupulous vampires will typically hunt down criminals as their victims, while selfish and evil vampires will simply choose a victim.

Regeneration (All)

All vampires have regenerative abilities beyond any other supernatural creature. In addition to being able to fight even when reduced to zero hit points (up to -20 hit points), vampires can completely heal themselves, including regenerate lost limbs, in a short period of time (4D6 points of damage per hour when awake and 4D6 points of damage per minute when in a regenerative trance/asleep during the day). The vampire’s body can completely regenerate itself in 24 hours (from the time a stake or silver bullet has been removed from its body). It can regenerate a lost limb in 4 hours, upper body in 12 hours, and lower body in 8 hours. By feeding (drinking blood), vampires can double (cumulative per feeding) its healing rate for 12 hours.

Frenzy (Feral)

Feral vampires will sometimes frenzy at the smell of blood. For each bleeding victim (each victim with a wound that has drawn blood), there is a 35% chance that a feral vampire will frenzy, attacking every potential victim (non-vampires) in its vicinity. During the blood lust, the vampire has a +3 on initiative, +4 to strike, and +10 to damage.

Past Knowledge (Awakened)

Awakened vampires retain all their past knowledge and skills after being turned into a vampire. This includes magic knowledge, psychic abilities, and skills. All are frozen at their present level of experience until the vampire has reached an equivalent level of experience (i.e. a spell at 5th level proficiency will remain at 5th level until the character has become a 5th level vampire; at that time, the effects will progress normally). Though the person’s knowledge remains, their alignment and feelings may not. When an awakened vampire is created, there is a 10% chance that their alignment will remain unchanged and they will find a non-violent way to satiate themselves (blood bank, substitute animal’s blood, etc.).

Control Others (Awakened)

This ability allows the awakened vampire to render a victim defenseless and enforce their will upon the victim as long as the vampire has a line of sight to the victim (this becomes more powerful with age). By speaking in a soothing voice, the vampire can attempt to calm the victim and prevent him from moving. This is made more difficult if the vampire takes violent action, however it is not unheard of when powerful vampires are involved.

To avoid succumbing to the vampire’s will, the victim must make a successful saving throw versus psychic abilities, including a penalty of -1 per 5 levels of the vampire. A failed roll means that the victim will obey the vampire without question (unless the command is outrageous or morally wrong to the character; +20% bonus to break free from the vampire’s control). If the vampire takes part in a violent action against another person, there is a 25% chance that the victim will break free from the trance. If the vampire threatens the victim, there is a 50% chance they will break free. For every 4 levels of experience, beginning at level 4, a vampire can attempt to control one additional person. However, for each person the vampire attempts to control, each victim receives a bonus of +2 to save versus the attack.

For example, if an 8th level vampire were to attempt to control two individuals, each individual would receive a +3 bonus versus the attack (+4 because the vampire is attempting to influence two people and -1 because the vampire is 8th level).

Induce Sleep (Awakened)

An awakened vampire is able to induce sleep in mortals through sheer force of willpower. Similar to the psychic ability of the same name, the ability to induce sleep can be resisted by the victim. A successful saving through versus psychic abilities will negate the ability. A failed roll means that the victim falls becomes drowsy (no initiative, -3 to all combat rolls) and will fall asleep in 1D4 melee rounds.

Metamorphosis: Vampire Bat (Awakened)

This ability allows the vampire to shapeshift into a large (about 4 foot wingspan) vampire bat. Small articles, clothing, and items in the clothing’s pockets are all magically transformed with the vampire and return when the undead creature shifts back into humanoid form.

Vampire Bat Abilities: Fly (Spd 50/35 mph/56 kmph), Sonar/echolocation (see and maneuver in total darkness, see the invisible), ultrasonic hearing (cannot understand spoken word), thermo-imaging (10 ft/3 m range; see heat emanations), +2 to strike, +3 to parry and dodge, +8 to dodge in flight, +5% prowl, half normal attacks per melee, cannot convert others to a vampire in this form.

Metamorphosis: Wolf (Awakened)

Awakened vampires can change its form to that of a large, black wolf. As with the bat metamorphosis, small possessions, clothing, and pocketed items are all transformed with the vampire and return when shifting back to humanoid form.

Wolf Abilities: Speed of 58 (40 mph/64 kmph), track by scent (70%), leap 6 feet high and 20 feet long, +2 to strike, +1 to parry, +4 to dodge, +1 on initiative, +15% prowl, +1 attack/action per melee.

Metamorphosis: Mist (Awakened)

The final form awakened vampires can take is that of a cloud of eerie mist. It frequently has a haunting effect on people (to save vs. horror factor) and gives the vampire an even greater invulnerability.

Mist Abilities: Speed of 11 (7.5 mph/12 kmph), impervious to all physical attacks including wood, silver, fire, and most magic; still vulnerable to running water and elemental magic; can slide under doors, through cracks and crevices, key holes, etc.; no combat in mist form, movement actions only; +10% prowl.

Psychic Abilities (Awakened)

In addition to the previously mentioned ability, the vampire has the psychic abilities of Alter Aura, Mind Block, Deaden Pain, and Presence Sense.

Summon/Control Rodents: Rats (Awakened)

Note: This ability is gained after 50 years as a vampire.

This ability allows the vampire to summon a plague of up to 100 rats per level of experience. In the red light districts/squalors most vampires can be found in, a veritable army of rodents can be summoned to perform the will of the vampire. This effect lasts for a half hour per level of experience.

Summon/Control Canines (Awakened)

Note: This ability is gained after 100 years as a vampire.

An awakened vampire can summon 1D6+1 canines (usually wolves, but can be any type of canine) per level of experience. This effect lasts for a half hour per level of experience.

Summon Fog (Awakened)

Note: This ability is gained after 200 years as a vampire.

Experienced vampires (5th level and higher) can summon a dense fog that covers up to one square mile per level of experience. This is similar to the Summon Fog spell, but the vampire is able to direct the fog to any location it desires. Individuals caught in the fog cannot see clearly beyond four feet (people appear blurry) or at all beyond 10 feet. This effect lasts for a half hour per level of experience.

The Rage (Awakened)

The Rage is much like the blood lust feral vampires sometimes experience, though on a lesser scale. Awakened vampires will enter The Rage when reduced to zero S.D.C. This can be avoided with a simple save versus insanity if the vampire wishes to suppress these urges. A failed roll indicates that the vampire has succumbed to The Rage. However, if a vampire is reduced to zero hit points, they will enter The Rage (no saving throw). While under the influence of this madness, the vampire receives a +2 on initiative, +2 to strike, +5 to P.S. This psychotic state will not end until all living beings in the vampire’s vicinity have been killed or incapacitated or the vampire makes a willpower saving throw (save versus insanity) at a -3 penalty.

Other Abilities (All)

Vampires have an instinctual ability to move silently, especially when stalking their prey. All vampires have the prowl skill at 50% (or their skill, whichever is higher). Feral vampires, receive a +15% bonus to their prowl ability.

Creating a Vampire

A vampire can be created in three ways. The bite of an awakened vampire will create what is commonly referred to by dhampirs as a “natural” vampire, however, a child born at Midnight during the proper planetary alignment (all nine planets in the solar system must be aligned) or through a rare necromantic ritual can create an “unnatural” vampire.

A vampire created by the bite of another can become either a feral or awakened vampire, depending on how quickly the victim’s blood is drained. In order for a vampire to be created by the bite of another, the awakened vampire must will the transformation to take place and expend 10 P.P.E.

An awakened vampire that has not succumbed to The Rage slowly drains its victim over the course of three weeks, giving the victim a taste of blood (approximately one-half pint) each week. When the blood has been drained from the victim, the awakened vampire wills the transformation to take place in order to add to the pack by expending the necessary P.P.E. This will always result in an awakened vampire.

A victim that has the blood drained completely and immediately (within one melee round/15 seconds) will become a feral vampire. The drain damages the victim’s psyche and drives the being mad. This typically only occurs when a vampire has succumbed to The Rage and drains a victim in the seconds during which the creature is not thinking clearly, acting only on the instinct to add to its pack.

An “unnatural,” awakened vampire may come about during the extremely rare time of the planetary alignment. This is exceedingly rare, not only because the alignment only occurs once every five thousand years, but also because the child must be born at the stroke of Midnight on the first night of the alignment. Generally, the person lives a normal life (unless he is discovered by vampires early on), suddenly awakening in the night with an instinctual craving for blood. Only when the creature has fed will the transformation be complete (until that time, the quasi-vampire will be vulnerable to any weapon and have only the supernatural strength of the vampire and the ability to change into a vampire bat). A vampire created in this way always becomes an awakened vampire.

The second method of creating an “unnatural” vampire is through a magic ritual known only to a few necromancers. The necromancer performs the ritual at a nexus, drawing the power from the ley line. At the climax of the ritual, after eight hours of chanting, gathering the mystical energy, and preparing it, the necromancer sacrifices himself with an iron stake at the final words of power, awakening after one hour as a vampire (albeit extremely weak from the transformation and will require a total of 10 feedings in order to recover fully).

Magic and Vampires

Magic is a force that can aid a vampire, provided the vampire knew magic before being converted into one of the Undead, or hinder it, when wielded by a self-styled vampire hunter or dhampir. Vampires are vulnerable to any type of magic, except mind control and perception-altering magic (including Charismatic Aura, Fear, and Apparition), but most especially to spells that conjure magical fires, such as Fireball and Fire Bolt.

While fire magic can be used to hurt or even kill a vampire, others can be implemented to hold the undead creatures at bay. Globe of Daylight conjures a magical globe of light bright enough to illuminate a 30-foot area as though it were daylight. Though Globe of Daylight is bright enough to be considered daylight, it is artificial and does no damage to a vampire. A Globe of Daylight can also be used to temporarily blind a vampire. By conjuring a Globe of Daylight directly in front of the vampire’s eyes, the magic user can blind a vampire for 3D6 melees.

Blinding Flash is another useful spell. A vampire that fails a saving throw versus magic suffers double the duration. If the vampire is successful in its save, it suffers from the spell as described (blinded for 1D4 melees with appropriate penalties).

Turn Dead is another useful spell, however the effectiveness degrades with older vampires.

Killing a Vampire

Note: To kill a vampire, all of its S.D.C. must first be depleted.

Once a vampire’s S.D.C. is reduced to zero, a wooden or iron stake through its heart will effectively kill a vampire in a matter of seconds (the vampire may take 1 attack/action). However, this is actually a death-like trance that will go on indefinitely as long as the stake remains lodged in the vampire’s heart. Once removed, the vampire will begin to regenerate anew over the course of 24 hours. In order to permanently kill a vampire, it must first be staked, then decapitated, cremated, and the ashes scattered. Direct sunlight will also make short work of a vampire (2D4x10 points of damage per melee).

A vampire can also be decapitated and killed, however, one must be careful to not spatter the blood about and must immediately set fire to the vampire’s corpse (regular fire will do). Decapitating a vampire can be done with a successful called shot to strike (with a penalty of -6). As with any other killing blow, the vampire’s S.D.C. must first be reduced to zero. If the blood spatters (30% chance), then the area begins to attract spirits of the vampire’s victims (only those that he killed) in the form of haunting entities.

Magic fire can also be used to slay a vampire. Once the vampire’s S.D.C. has been depleted, magic fire can be used to ignite the weakened undead. All magic fire does double damage. Additionally, the vampire must make a successful save versus magic to avoid being ignited and immediately cremated.

Other Races

While vampires are primarily an Earth phenomenon, other races, aliens, and extra-dimensional creatures can still be turned into one of the undead (and other sub-species of vampires do exist). And there’s nothing worse than a 12-foot troll that wants to take a bite out of your neck. To create a vampire of another race, follow the standard character creation rules, selecting the desired race. Then create a vampire as outlined here.

Superhumans and Vampires

Superhumans can be transformed into vampires, however there are some limitations. First and foremost, Bionics are immune to the vampiric metamorphosis due to their mechanical nature. Partial conversion cyborgs can still be drained of blood and killed in such a fashion, but cannot be converted into one of the undead. Similarly Full conversion cyborgs are completely immune to the effects of a vampire’s bite.

Mutants are vulnerable to a vampire’s bite, but there are some abilities that prevent a mutant’s conversion into a vampire. The super abilities of Healing Factor, Immortality, and Invulnerability grant an immunity to being turned into a vampire. Due to the supernatural nature of vampires, however, mutants with Invulnerability can be hurt by a vampire’s attacks.

Experiments are still, fundamentally, human and are completely vulnerable to attacks by vampires, including their bite and conversion to the undead. When an Experiment is turned into a vampire, all super abilities are lost. Abilities that are psychic in nature may remain (30% chance). Similarly, psychic heroes have a chance of retaining their psychic powers, however since the abilities are more innate, there is a larger chance of this occurring (45%).

Special Training heroes are a unique case in that they retain all their abilities even after they are converted into a vampire. This includes Physical Training, Super-spies, Hunter/Vigilantes, and Ancient Masters.

Those in the Magic power category fall under the domain of sorcerers, in that they retain their magic knowledge after death, but all spells are frozen until the vampire attains the same level of experience as a vampire. Mystically bestowed super abilities are lost.


Becoming one of the Undead turns the victim into a supernatural creature. The newly created vampire is given what most vampires refer to as a gift. The vampire is granted supernatural strength and endurance and has their attributes enhanced to superhuman levels. Bonuses: Add +1D6+3 to M.E., +2D6 to P.S., +1D6 to P.P., and +1D6 to P.E.

In addition to the above bonuses, a vampire receives a +1 to save versus magic at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, and 14, is immune to horror factor, mind control, and perception-altering abilities (including Charismatic Aura and Alter Aura).

Awakened Vampires and Aging

As awakened vampires age, they become more powerful and, if they’re old enough, resistant to some of the methods of hurting them or holding them at bay. The following table lists the age of the vampire and the ability that develops at that age. This is only for the awakened vampires.



Faster regenerative abilities. Regains 4D6 points of damage per half hour and can regenerate limbs in 3 hours, upper body in 10 hours, lower body in 6 hours, and the entire body can be regenerated in 18 hours.


The vampire’s strength increases as the undead creature ages. Add +1D6 to P.S. and P.E.

The vampire also gains the ability to summon and control rodents (see Abilities described previously).


The vampire can select one additional psychic ability from the following:

  • Empathic Transmission
  • Sense Magic
  • Telekinesis
  • See the Invisible


The vampire becomes resistant to normal water. It takes 1/2 damage from thrown holy water and can cross natural running water with a successful saving throw of 16 or better.

The vampire gains the ability to summon and control canines (see Abilities described previously).


The vampire is resistant to holy symbols. The vampire will not be held at bay if a successful saving throw versus magic is made. The vampire will take full damage from the touch of any holy symbols.

The vampire is also able to control others without a line of sight to the victim for up to five minutes per level of experience.


Add 1D4x10 to hit points. Increased healing ability: 1D4x10 per hour when awake and 1D4x10 per minute when in a regenerative trance/asleep during the day.


The vampire has enhanced his stalking ability. Equivalent to a 65% prowl.

The vampire gains the ability to summon fog (see Abilities described previously).


The vampire is immune to holy water. The vampire can cross natural running water on a successful saving throw of 10 or better.


Select one additional psychic ability from the previous list.


The vampire is able to force his will upon one person indefinitely, in effect creating a mortal slave (this does not work on other vampires). Beyond this one person, the Control Others ability works normally.


The vampire cannot be held at bay by holy symbols and the touch of one does 1/2 damage.


Cloud Perception. The vampire is able to move unnoticed for 1D4 seconds if the victim fails a saving throw versus psychic abilities.

The vampire acquires a resistance to the Turn Dead spell. A vampire that makes a successful save vs. magic with a +6 bonus is immune to the effects of the spell.


The vampire gains the ability to fly in human form (Spd 40/72 mph/115 kmph).


The vampire is able to force his will upon one additional person indefinitely. Beyond this additional mortal slave, the Control Others ability works normally.


Leave the soil of the homeland. The vampire no longer requires soil from its homeland inside its coffin. Most still keep the dirt, but it is no longer necessary. The vampire is also able to sleep anywhere provided it is blocked from sunlight.


Add 2D4x10 to S.D.C. The vampire also becomes immune to the effects of a Turn Dead spell.


The vampire is able to remain conscious during the daytime hours. This is very difficult and can only be done for a number of minutes equal to the vampire’s P.E. The vampire still takes damage if exposed to direct sunlight.

The vampire is able to force his will upon one additional person indefinitely. Beyond this additional mortal slave, the Control Others ability works normally.


The vampire gains the unique innate ability to shadow meld at will.