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When a D&D-vampire picks up an object, what do you see in a mirror? With the vampire having no reflection (and neither his clothing), does the item float? Does it get invisible? Does it depend on D&D rules version and/or the setting in use?

"Real world" reason for the question: A PC sits in a bar with a large mirror, back to the common room. Would he see a vampire sneaking up to him that picked up a stool to smash it on the PCs head in the mirror?

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Are you OK with the possibility that there may not be an official answer to this in any edition? – SevenSidedDie Jun 24 '12 at 17:50
Sure. It would be helpful to know if this was officially addressed in any publication. – TeXter Jun 24 '12 at 18:20
Would a classic vampire casting no reflection (with or without a stool) not be too afraid to even enter a room featuring such a huge mirror? (It would recoil from a small handheld mirror, keeping a distance of at least 5 feet, according to RAW.) – OpaCitiZen Jun 25 '12 at 8:55
This is not about the vampires feelings, nor about spot checks. It's about the narrative implications. – TeXter Jun 26 '12 at 4:47
This seems like it's meant to be a reference to a vampire's mythical qualities. In literature, vampires' lack of reflection is usually meant not as an advantage, but a quirk (and weakness, as it aids discovery). I would say make the object float: – Superbest Apr 21 '14 at 23:02
up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is no RAW for this, but with the intention of following the RAI I would look for similar effects already stated. Therefore I would rule that the effect of an Invisibility spell apply to the reflection of the vampire:

"If the recipient is a creature carrying gear, that vanishes, too. [...] Items dropped or put down by an invisible creature become visible; items picked up disappear if tucked into the clothing or pouches worn by the creature."

Within the limits of common sense, of course; for example, the vampire's reflection wouldn't become visible after attacking, making this actually a Greater Invisibility spell, and of course the effect cannot be dispelled since it is a supernatural effect.

The above description works for 3.5e; I am not familiar with the mechanics in the different D&D editions, but whatever happens to the reflection will be tied to what the game you're playing defines as being invisible.

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+1 for looking for similar rules. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jun 27 '12 at 0:09

Unfortunately I have not found any specific references to what does and does not reflect in D&D. I have looked at a monster manual for editions 2-4 and each of them only says one thing "casts no reflection in a mirror". Although, the AD&D book said "no reflection in glass" if you needed to be specific, so a steel mirror could technically catch them. Otherwise, I was unable to find a reference in D&D. I would judge that whether or not items show up in the mirror should reflect (ha!) on the vampire's weapons too. IE, if you can see when a vampire lifts a candlestick, you should also be able to see the +4 sword on his hip and the backpack on his shoulders.

In theory, if you want to go with what the text says solely, and implicit deny everything else, it does not include clothing or equipment, just the vampire itself so you might see a set of clothes hovering like someone put them on an invisible mannequin.

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Alternatively, (since we're stuck in the realm of making it up for ourselves) the things that don't cast reflection are those with which the vampire has a personal connection: stuff that counts as part of the vampire's person. Therefore, the candlestick just picked up would show, but the vampire's clothes, sword, and backpack, being personal effects, wouldn't. How long it takes an object to become attuned would have to be decided, too. – SevenSidedDie Jun 25 '12 at 17:26
+1. Might have to use a similar effect in a game. Vampire steals someone's clothes because he narrowly escapes a fireball and his reflections show the clothes. – CatLord Jun 25 '12 at 17:27
Only the vampire but not his clothing casting no reflections sounds odd to me, but I can't remember any official module or novel that would describe vampires in front of mirrors. If this is really not defined, I would apply the Invisibility-Spell of the corresponding D&D-Version, e.g. in 3E: item get nonreflecting if hidden under the clothing, visible if dropped. Everything the vampire has when it got a vampire (like when the Invisibility was cast) is also non-reflecting. – TeXter Jun 26 '12 at 4:45
It's kind of trivia, but I have heard that it was the silvered backing on glass mirrors that was the reason they were not reflected, not the glass itself (frankly, the mythology is all over the place). Of course, there's also an alternate explanation that mirror reflect souls and vampires, lacking souls, lack reflections. Water might not reflect them either. – Sean Duggan Mar 13 '14 at 17:57

This is a pretty clear cut case of "spirit of the rule", not letter. The above answers are entirely accurate, and they basically say the same thing I would add. Just use common sense. The Vampire is a legendary creature and it's traits should be considered in the scope that they were intended. In my world, the Vampire would be non reflective, but if that vampire decides to mount a horse, no deal on the horse. Same as if he leaned on the wall of his castle. I don't care how long he leaned there, the ability to not cast a reflection will NEVER transfer to the castle. If the vampire decided to spend two decades using it's great strength to truck around a wagon that was firmly lashed to it's back, at no time would wagon ever be considered a personal effect and receive the non reflective ability. Just use your own knowledge of the legends of vampires, and that should help you make a decision. What's reasonable within the scope and spirit of the legend?

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Excellent argument! If I recall correctly, the non-reflectivity of vampires was something to do with them having no natural fate, and thus no reflections, what with how reflections are (obviously) indicative of the future. So I guess a vampire's clothes would... Wait. What DOES that mean? – GMJoe Jun 27 '12 at 4:57

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