Pathfinder: Dhampirs in Shadowsfall

Artwork by Rick Hershey
The undead are the dominant creature type on Shadowsfall. Living creatures that refuse to accept the more peaceful undead creatures into their hidden community are seeking their own death. That does not mean that these mixed communities are not without their strife between the living and the dead creatures. Vampires in particular prefer to live among human societies exchanging protection against the merciless, mindless undead that wander the wastelands for regular gifts of blood or possibly even a living mate. From these unions between living humans and undead vampires are dhampirs born.

A dhampir straddles the line between life and undeath and are a constant reminder of what the humans living on Shadowsfall must give up in order for their life to continue. For this reason a dhampir is typically considered an outsider among their human kin. Vampires being difficult for a band of angry villages to attack, they find a dhampir much easier to take their frustrations out on. Even fetchlings, natives of Shadowsfall that are several generations removed from their humanity, still hold tight to their prejudices to dhampirs. By contrast, a vampire sees a dhampir as either food or as a creature it can use to accomplish its own ends.

Many dhampirs take to the deserted road where few dare to roam, looking for a place where the prejudice is not so great that they can call home. Because of this toughened resolve, many dhampirs end up serving as the protector of such towns. Other choose to avoid human society all together and instead join treasure hunter bands. A rare few instead choose to become the scourge of life itself and learn to control the shadows, skeletons, and zombies that roam the countryside. Eventually becoming a lich or worse, these creatures have been been known to subjugate city-states to their oppressive control punishing the living by feeding them to their undead soldiers.

While dhampirs have no society of their own, they do have an informal code regarding each other. “Dhampirs are to not make life more difficult for their half-dead brethren,” is central to this code. From there it extends to “Problems between the half-dead are to be handled among the half-dead,” and “Dhampirs are to help each other when possible and not to hold it against the other when that help is not granted.” The last has changed considerably over the centuries, “Dhampirs shall not kill other dhampirs without good cause.” It use to state that a dhampir shall not harm another, but dhampirs needed a way to settle disputes so dhampirs agreed to change it to a ban on killing. Then a rash of dhampirs began leading zombie armies against living creatures. Those dhampirs were killed by other dhampirs who later amended the code, allowing dire circumstances. Over time that got watered down to its current incarnation to where it is almost meaningless. From time to time, however, a dhampir has been known to spare his or her opponent, citing this part of the code.

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