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Version 0.17: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

This article covers the player species. For the monster, see Vampire (monster). For a list of all monstrous vampires, see List of vampires.

Vampires are another form of undead, but with a peculiarity: by consuming fresh blood, they may become alive. A bloodless Vampire has all the traits of an undead, but cannot regain lost physical attributes or regenerate from wounds over time - in particular, magical items or spells which increase the rate of regeneration will not work. On the other hand, a Vampire full with blood will regenerate very quickly, but lose all undead powers. Vampires can never starve. They can drink from fresh corpses with the 'e' command. Upon growing, they learn to transform into quick bats.

Innate Abilities

  • Acute Vision: Vampires can see invisible.
  • Fangs 3: Vampires have razor-sharp teeth, allowing a bonus auxiliary attack. Unlike other fangs, Vampires can restore a small amount of HP every time they successfully bite a living foe.
  • Although they can drink potions normally, vampires cannot eat food of any kind. They gain nutrition by feeding (press e for eat) on appropriate corpses, and by (q)uaffing potions of blood. Clean corpses and the contaminated corpses of sentient monsters can be fed upon at any time, while poisonous corpses can only be consumed if one has rPois, as usual. (Note that Vampires will always have rPois at satiation level Thirsty or lower.) Heavier corpses provide more blood than lighter ones. Your satiation level determines which intrinsics you receive at any given time (see chart below).
  • Vampires can use vampiric weapons more effectively; the brand always triggers and they gain twice the normal amount of HP per attack against enemies upon whom the vampiric normally works.
  • Being undead, vampires may not worship Zin, Elyvilon, the Shining One, or Fedhas Madash.
  • Vampires are vulnerable to holy damage, including holy wrath-branded weapons, and will be affected by Dispel Undead. These liabilities apply regardless of satiation level; even at Alive status, vampires retain all of these vulnerabilities.
  • Vampires can never cast Borgnjor's Revivification, Death's Door, or Necromutation. Nor can vampires cast the following when satiated or thirstier: Dragon Form, Ice Form, Spider Form, Statue Form, Stoneskin, Beastly Appendage, Blade Hands, Sublimation of Blood, Cure Poison.
  • Vampires cannot berserk when their satiation level is satiated or lower.

Vampires have a base Strength of 7, Intelligence of 10 and Dexterity of 9 (before Background modifiers) and have normal base magic points.

Hunger-Dependent Stats

Alive Full Satiated Thirsty Near Bloodless Bloodless
Metabolism Very fast Fast Fast Normal Slow None
Regeneration Very fast Fast Normal Slow Slow None
Stealth Boost None (18) None (18) None (18) Minor (19) Major (20) Large (21)
Spell Hunger Full Full Full Halved None None
Poison Resistance No No No Yes Yes Immune
Cold Resistance None None None 1 2 2
Negative Energy Resistance None None 1 2 3 3 + Torment
Rot Resistance No No No Yes Yes Yes
Non-Physical Mutation Effects Full Capped Capped None None None

When Satiated or below, vampires:

When Thirsty or below, vampires:

  • Regain some HP and nutrition upon completing a successful stab against an enemy whose corpse they can drain, whether the enemy dies or not. This is one of the few ways for Bloodless vampires to heal.
  • Can feed off poisonous corpses, although they will not drink past the lowest possible Satiated value.

When completely Bloodless, vampires:

  • Cannot regenerate HP, naturally or through magical means (amulet, spell, etc.), though other methods of healing are available.
  • Cannot be poisoned, and will not suffer loss of HP from any existing poison, but the poisoned status itself will not be removed.

Preferred Backgrounds

Level Bonuses

  • +1 dexterity or intelligence every 5th level.
  • Average hit points.
  • +4 magic resistance per level.
  • Bottle Blood.png From the first level vampires can create potions of blood from viable corpses, allowing you to save snacks for later.
  • Bat form.png At level 3, vampires can change to Bat Form when below full satiation. This allows faster movement, but disables most items, spellcasting, and weakens melee attacks. While in Bat Form Dexterity is increased and Strength is reduced. Entering bat form costs 2 MP.
Turn into a speedy vampire bat. In bat form, you can neither interact with items in any form (except picking them up or dropping them), nor cast spells. Note that Bat Form will decrease your current Strength while increasing your Dexterity. Thus, you won't be able to change form if your Strength is too low. The flight is magically augmented, so you will stay in the air even if the weight of your possessions or some disability would normally drag you down.

Starting Skills and Equipment

Vampires start with all the skills and equipment listed for their background, with the following exception:

  • Vampires start with a potion of blood instead of a ration.

Difficulty of Play


Not having a real food clock allows you to play cautiously or abuse powerful spells without fear of starvation. On the other hand, being unable to use permafood can be a problem in lategame, where corpses are less frequent. As long as you play according to your aptitudes and take advantage of your special abilities, you can do very well without too much fuss. Bat Form is extremely helpful as a means of escape, especially early on, and it comes online at level 3 (but it is only available with satiation level Satiated and below). Vampires excel at Hexes and have good magic aptitudes overall. Their Hexes proficiency, coupled with their exceptional Stealth aptitude and stealth bonus when Near Bloodless or Bloodless, means that Vampires are particularly well suited to the Enchanter background.

Skill aptitudes

The higher the value, the better the aptitude.

Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude Skill Aptitude
Attack Miscellaneous Magic
Fighting -1 Armour -2 Spellcasting -1
Short Blades 1 Dodging 1 Conjurations -3
Long Blades 0 Stealth 5 Hexes 4
Axes -1 Shields -1 Charms 1
Maces & Flails -2 Summonings 0
Polearms -1 Necromancy 1
Staves -2 Translocations -2
Unarmed Combat 1 Transmutation 1
Fire Magic -2
Throwing -2 Ice Magic 0 Invocations -1
Slings -2 Air Magic 0 Evocations -1
Bows -2 Earth Magic 0
Crossbows -2 Poison Magic -1 Experience -1


Exactly how to use your variable hunger states will depend on a number of things. At Thirsty and Near Bloodless, you suffer slow regeneration (bad) in exchange for Bat Form (good), stealth (depends), and some resistances (helpful, but mostly unnecessary). Usually keeping around Thirsty for bat form is a good place to be, and gives option to quaff a bottle of blood to push you into satiated. Near Bloodless or Bloodless have stronger drawbacks, but may be worth the trade off once your character is established, depending on your build and where you are in the game. (The Torment immunity vampires get at Bloodless is just next to worthless in a standard 3 to 5 rune game, for instance.)

Beyond that, the lack of a food clock means that you can exploit channeling, via items or Sif Muna, to refill MP. However, be careful with managing your blood bottles while doing this, unless your character is at a point in the game at which it wants to stay mostly at Bloodless, and you have built your late game strategy around this fact.

Your innate escape ability, Bat Form, is usable only at Satiated or less.

In corpseless branches you will have to work around lack of permafood for satiation. Note that all corpseless and mostly corpseless branches are completely optional; all the following advice deals with areas of the game that one shouldn't enter in a 3 to 5 rune game.

You can cope with no HP regeneration while Bloodless, or else get around lack of corpses, in a number of ways.

  • Reusable options available regardless of god choice include stabbing corpse-providing enemies, casting the Vampiric Draining spell, or wielding a vampiricism branded weapon. While these can help you stay at Bloodless throughout much of the game, they will be of almost no use in corpseless areas of the game, which are dominated by unholy creatures that provide no health via the above listed means.
  • A wand of healing is nice for emergency healing, and potions can still be used.
  • Worshipers of Kikubaaqudgha can get a pile of corpses delivered to easily manage your satiation level; this has the advantage of providing out-of-combat healing on demand and can help one fine-tune your satiation level regardless of the branch.
  • Makhleb provides the most consistent healing, as killing anything has a good chance of healing a significant amount of HP. Since you likely won't be consuming as many corpses as other characters, you can send him plenty of blood sacrifices (though if you do need to take a drink every now and then, save the larger corpses for yourself and send him the smaller ones). One downside of this ability for Necromancers or Summoners is that, while Makhleb acknowledges allied kills through Piety gain, he does not grant HP for such kills.

Fun Fact: Unlike most other attack options, many combat-oriented Invocations are not disabled while in Bat Form. This has sometimes been the basis of various self-imposed challenges that center around staying in Bat Form as much as possible by, for instance, worshiping Makhleb and using his destruction and summoning abilities to dispatch enemies.


Prior to 0.17, vampires did not gain a stat every 5th level.

Prior to 0.16 vampire characters couldn't bottle up blood from the beginning.

Prior to 0.15 thirsty vampires received only half the effect from most potions.

As of 0.13 vampires are able to cast Cure Poison whenever they have blood.

Simple Hill OrcMinotaurMerfolkGargoyleDraconianHalflingTrollGhoul
Intermediate HumanKoboldDemonspawnCentaurSprigganTenguDeep ElfOgreDeep DwarfGnoll
Advanced Vine StalkerVampireDemigodFormicidNagaOctopodeFelidBarachiMummy