The DnD Dhampir is something of a dark secret in the tabletop RPG. Hidden away in the gothic Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, the Dhampir 5e has the power to completely change how you play your usual D&D character. It doesn’t just alter their stats and powers; it gives them an unquenchable thirst. Usually for blood.
Dhampirs are vampire-lite, often the spawn of a proper vampire like Strahd von Zarovich or the result of some evil curse. What the Dhampir isn’t is one of the standard DnD races. It’s actually a lineage, but don’t fret about the different terminology just yet. This guide will make it easy to understand what the Dhampir is and how to play one. Here we cover the rules, DnD stats, and recommended DnD classes related to the Dhampir.
What is a DnD lineage?
D&D characters who use a lineage instead of a race are often made instead of born. While your character could be born a Dhampir (for example, by having vampire parents), it’s more likely they were turned into one later in life. Perhaps your character began life as a DnD Tiefling, but they were transformed by an attack from a vampire 5e.
If you create a level one character with a lineage rather than a race, you use the lineage’s DnD stats and racial features rather than that of any race the character might have once been.
What is a Dhampir 5e?
A Dhampir shares many qualities with vampires. They walk the line between living and dead, gain heightened abilities, and have a life-draining bite.
While it’s common to thirst for blood, this isn’t the only thing DnD Dhampirs crave. Your character may find themself longing for raw meat, spinal fluid, life energy, psychic energy, or even dreams.
There’s no one way to become a Dhampir. Vampires are commonly involved – you might be bitten by one, reincarnated as one, or related to one. It’s also possible to transform after a dark pact or experiments with magic. Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft suggests many origin stories for your DnD Dhampir, but you’re also free to get creative.
Dhampir 5e traits
Here are the core traits of the DnD Dhampir:
|Ability scores||+2 and +1 any two stats, or +1 any three|
|Size||Medium or Small|
|Languages||Common and one other|
|Features||Ancestral Legacy, Darkvision (60ft), Deathless Nature, Spider Climb, Vampiric Bite|
If you’re replacing a 5e race with the Dhampir lineage, you get to keep certain parts of who you were thanks to Ancestral Legacy. Your DnD skills proficiencies remain the same, and you keep any climbing, flying, or swimming speed you already had. An Aarakocra may get turned into a Dhampir during your Curse of Strahd DnD campaign, but at least they can still fly!
Dhampirs also get 60ft of Darkvision, and their Deathless Nature means they don’t need to breathe.
Arguably the best part of being a Dhampir is the Spider Climb feature. This gives you a climbing speed equal to your walking speed, and at third level you can use this to walk around on walls and ceilings without using your hands. Basically, you can use the second-level 5e spell Spider Climb for absolutely free.
While Spider Climb might be the DnD Dhampir’s most useful feature, its Vampiric Bite is the most iconic. This lets you use your fanged bite as a simple melee DnD weapon.
You’ll use your Constitution modifier for attack rolls, dealing 1d4 piercing damage on a successful hit. You also get advantage on attack rolls if you’re missing half or more of your hit points.
Plus, as long as your target isn’t a construct or undead, you get certain bonuses from your bite. You can choose to regain hit points equal to the damage dealt or gain a bonus on your next ability check or attack roll equal to the damage. You can gain this extra power a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus before you’ll need a long rest 5e.
Bear in mind that, while biting people is cool, it’s not a particularly strong primary attack. It also doesn’t synergize well with many class features designed to make you stronger in combat. So keep it as a flavorful nice-to-have, but don’t expect to create any powerful DnD character builds based around biting.
Dhampir 5e classes
Dhampirs are incredibly versatile, so there aren’t many objectively bad choices of D&D class. If you want to make the most of your Vampiric Bite you may want to play a class that gets up close and personal during combat, but this isn’t a requirement. The Spider Climb ability also means Dhampirs can be a powerful ranged fighter – and you can snack on some necks in your downtime instead.
While you could pick any class you like for a Dhampir character, we’ve suggested a few of our favorite options:
Sometimes it’s not enough to bite your prey; you need to rip them to shreds, too. The DnD Barbarian is the perfect class if you want to play a Dhampir that’s acquired some truly primal powers.
The Path of the Beast is the most obvious subclass choice here. It’s all about succumbing to the beast within. It also gives you an alternative set of fans that, while they can’t drain life, can deal more than the Dhampir’s puny 1d4 damage.
Dhampir Blood Hunter
Want even more blood? The unofficial DnD Blood Hunter class quite literally wounds themselves to cast blood magic. It’s not hard to imagine them drinking a little red stuff to restore themselves.
While any Blood Hunter could make an interesting Dhampir, we think the Order of the Profane Soul has the most flavor. This brings in some DnD Warlock energy, so you can tie a dark power into your patron backstory and start offering your kills to them as tributes.
The DnD Ranger can take advantage of the Dhampir’s superior vision and speed. More specifically, the Gloomstalker subclass is a perfect fit in terms of flavor and ability.
The Gloomstalker lurks in the shadows, sometimes quite literally blending in and becoming invisible in darkness. The subclass makes your Darkvision and mobility even more powerful as your Dhampir learns to use the shadows to their advantage.
The Kensei Monk is a popular option, as you can treat your Dhampir fans as one of your Kensei weapons. This can make your bite attacks slightly more accurate and powerful.
Another option is the Shadow Monk, which fits the dark, gothic feel of the Dhampir. Invisibility and teleportation are handy to have if you want to get a sneaky snack in during combat.
Ready to play a DnD Dhampir? Here are the DnD character sheets you’ll need to get started. We can also help you keep up with all the latest 5e news, including the DnD books coming up in the DnD release schedule.