60
\$\begingroup\$

On page 297 of the Monster Manual under the Vampire's Vampire Weaknesses section, it says:

Forbiddance. The vampire can't enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.

If a player were to force a vampire into a residence purposefully (ie grapple and drag in), would this be an invitation? Would it also matter if the player was not an occupant previously and forced him in? Also, if it was accidental (ie they fell from a rooftop through a skylight while grappled), how would that count?

(I'm DMing Curse of Strahd soon so I'm trying to figure everything out about vampires for it.)

\$\endgroup\$
  • 15
    \$\begingroup\$ Ooooh, great question! \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 19 '17 at 1:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ If grapple can force a Vampire in, that mean that Vaps can just rush into resident then blame momentum and trajectory."haaa, It's not me it's the physics, It forcing me to keep my horizontal velocity." \$\endgroup\$ – Drag and Drop Dec 21 '17 at 10:23
40
\$\begingroup\$

Easy bit first ...

Forbiddance. The vampire can't enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.

The vampire can't - other people or circumstances can force a vampire inside. This is allowed because it is not the vampire that is doing it.

Further, once in, there is no obligation on the vampire to leave but if it does it cannot voluntarily re-enter without an invitation.

Now for the tricky bit ...

occupant [2]: one who occupies a particular place; especially : resident

Vampires are not barred from entering non-residences like shops, warehouses, taverns and inns (but private rooms in an inn may be a residence). Given that the occupant described is specifically the occupant of a residence it seems reasonable to restrict the definition to those people who are (or are legitimately acting on behalf of) a resident of the particular residence concerned.

If the character owns or leases the house then they can issue the invitation. Similarly, if they are a guest of the resident they should be able to issue the invitation. However, if they themselves are breaking and entering then they cannot issue the invitation.

invitation [1a]: the act of inviting

intive/inviting [2a]: to request the presence or participation of

Saying "come in" is an invitation. Sending a gilt-embossed party invitation is an invitation.

Grabbing someone by the ear and dragging them inside is also a (very rude) invitation. Indeed, it is an invitation that won't take no for an answer.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm going with this as the answer because I agree that you can be invited in nonverbally, whether it is the wave of a hand or being dragged inside. Some would could even interpret a welcome mat in some instance (that's getting pretty lenient, though I can imagine funny situations where the vampire learns it doesn't count and is immediately expelled from the house). \$\endgroup\$ – bubbajake00 Dec 19 '17 at 16:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 20 '17 at 16:15
33
\$\begingroup\$

There are two ways to interpret this feature.

  • As a psychological obstacle. The vampire is incapable of making the decision to walk through the door unless invited. Forcing the vampire against their will would not affect this.

    However, being forced to act against their nature might cause the vampire some distress, maybe even a strong urge to leave because they feel they don't belong. But there is no game-mechanical effect which represents this, nor is the DM required to handle it that way.

  • As a physical obstacle. There is an invisible wall which blocks the vampire from walking through the door / falling through the skylight. This would work against involuntary movement.

Which interpretation to choose is up to the DM and how they would like to handle vampires in their game world.

But in either case: When the character who causes the involuntary movement is a legitimate occupant of the residence, then forcing the vampire to enter might be considered a form of invitation. A very rude one, but an invitation nevertheless.

When you are planning some trap for a vampire which relies on one of the above interpretations to be true, you might want to ask your DM how vampires work in the campaign world. When this is not common knowledge in the game world, then the DM might require an appropriate ability check from your character to see if they know.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 20 '17 at 16:17
21
\$\begingroup\$

No, they can not enter.

The text for Forbiddance plainly states

The vampire can't enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.

It doesn't use won't, it uses can't.

As in is not able to pass through the threshold. Someone can try and force them through, but they simply can't cross.

Your table may wish to allow an entry like this, and possibly incur problems for the vampire from having crossed, but the RAW is clear in that they can't enter a residence without the invitation from an occupant.

The slippery slope

If the Forbiddance is that easy to overcome, then Vampires would always simply have a human vassal push them through whenever they wanted. The threshold is clearly more than that and must stop a vampire from entering at all.

Similar Language

As Quaternion suggested in the comments below, there are some spells that have similar language: Hallow and Magic Circle. If the Vampire is allowed to bypass this language, then any monster can do so against those types of spells as well - which greatly reduces the impact of those spells.

Based on the similar language used across those spells and the Vampire's Forbiddance, it needs to be a barrier that cannot be bypassed physically. However, as Vampire's Forbiddance doesn't carry the same charm, possess, etc. language as those spells, then they do have that option available to 'convince' an occupant to invite them inside.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ What's the reason for the rule though? Is it magical, or just old fashioned vampire manners? If it's the latter, then the vampire could be forced into a residence, but in regards to your slippery slope example: "then Vampires would always simply have a human vassal push them through whenever they wanted", well they don't want that at all, and it's not in their character to try to bend the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Question Marks Dec 21 '17 at 16:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @QuestionMarks THe fluff behind it can be whatever you want it to be - but the text is clear in that they can't \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 21 '17 at 16:15
12
\$\begingroup\$

Forbiddance. The vampire can't enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.

It is, of course, down to the DM's interpretation of this rule, specifically the highlighted terms. This alone, as always, is not useful in an answer so this is a break down of the rule using the definition of the terms and given it is a magical effect.

  • what does can't enter mean? google defines "enter" thus: "come or go into (a place)". It does not mention volition. So can't ("can not" to be pedantic) enter means a prohibition on coming or going into the place referred to, voluntarily or otherwise, which given it is magical and has no other caveats means it is a total prohibition, not subject to the common sense of "our world"
  • what defines a residence? google defines residence thus: "a person's home", with home defined by google thus: "the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household."
  • what is the definition of an invitation? google defines invitation thus: "a written or verbal request inviting someone to go somewhere or to do something"
  • what does one of the occupants mean? google defines "occupant" thus: "a person who resides or is present in a house, vehicle, seat, etc., at a given time" which means one of the occupants is anyone who is inside the place referred to at the time referred to.

Putting all this together gives: the vampire is magically prohibited from coming or going into a person's home (a place where someone lives permanently), voluntarily or otherwise, without a written or verbal request inviting them to enter from someone (anyone at all) who is already inside that home at the time that request is made.

Clunky and full of clauses, but (hopefully) complete.

So looking at your specific scenarios:

  1. If a player were to force a vampire into a residence purposefully (ie grapple and drag in), would this be an invitation?

It is not a verbal or written request, so no, this alone would not be an invitation and the vampire can not enter.

  1. Would it also matter if the player was not an occupant previously and forced him in?

If the player's character was not in the home when the request was made then the vampire could not enter. If the vampire was forced to enter without a written or verbal invitation then the vampire can not enter. So on two counts this would be a no, the vampire can not enter.

  1. Also, if it was accidental (ie they fell from a rooftop through a skylight while grappled), how would that count?

No, the vampire has not been invited by an occupant so can not enter.

How a DM might choose to describe what happens to disallow their entry is very dependant on the setting and style of the campaign. A flashing force field like effect to more "by chance" mundane, if bizarre, accidents (catching their clothing on a nail) are all good, as is the vampire taking an otherwise impossible, and probably revealing, action themselves to avoid the catastrophic consequences to their very being should it happen. All down to how you want the look and feel of it to be.

Further a DM may choose to relax the definition of an invitation to include non-physical verbal communication as the definition above does not allow for the existence of telepathy or use of illusions for instance. However the standard trope for this is that you do actually have to speak (even if done telepathically) or write the invitation, just beckoning them in or using an illusion does not work.

Lastly whether or not intent is important is much more difficult. Can the vampire deliberately misinterpret something as an invitation? "If I knew you, you could come in and look for yourself." is not an invitation by intent, but I might rule that the vampire could introduce themselves: "I am Count Dracula", and now they know him he can walk right in, having satisfied the letter of the "invitation".

In the end it is magic, it is mysterious and arcane, the intent of the rule is that vampires cannot enter a home without deception, ignorance or manipulation of their victims, it is supposed to be hard for them. My advice is whatever you do don't let rules lawyering (either way) break the atmosphere and tension of having a vampire at your door... The story is king.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't agree that "come or go into" is equal to being thrown or pushed into. Never encountered such usage in real life. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Dec 19 '17 at 13:44
  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ But is common in D&D with no end of forbiddance spells, anti-X shells, etc. I prefer this answer because it interprets “can’t” as “can’t”, not “won’t”. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Dec 19 '17 at 14:01
10
\$\begingroup\$

Does Your Question Invite Answers that Might Help You?

This answer does not settle the question you're asking. Instead, it challenges the notion that RAW answers are ever truly possible for questions of this form. Namely, RAW cannot settle questions about how specific elements of monster mythology work in a perfectly general sense. To do so would be tantamount to defining elements of vampirism in terms of the real world fundamental laws of physics. This would not be a fun way to play role-playing games or participate in collaborative story-telling. I do give some specific advice at the end.

TLDR;

The only useful answer will be contextualized to your specific goals. In other words, what would be fun for the players in your game, what would make a more interesting story, and so on. Any other answer is hopelessly arbitrary and will bear unsatisfying loop holes in various contexts.

Indeed! This is true of many "how do monsters work...?" questions. For example, why don't zombies fall apart in the first month of the apocalypse (weather conditions, bugs, animals, clumsiness, difficult terrain, and so on).

I suspect these kinds of questions are impossible to answer meaningfully in a vacuum, because the magical laws that bind mythical creatures are hopelessly inconsistent, and resolving this often dooms them to boredom. That's no surprise. After all, monster rules are about creating a creepy feeling or communicating a deep metaphor about an aspect of human life, or in the context of game rules, to furnish some engaging player interactions. So...universal generalization is not really a sensible goal during their creation.

To demonstrate this of vampires specifically, consider the following thought experiments:

Edge Cases for RAW

  1. (An owner spontaneously arrives) A vampire enters an abandoned shack. No one owns it or lives there. Back in town, an adventurer purchases the deed. It is now their house. What happens to the vampire? Is he launched out or destroyed by the expansion of an "invisible barrier"? Is he free to stay, but not to re-enter? Can he even leave?

  2. (The house consumes the vampire) A vampire is walking along when a person's house without floor settles around him Wizard of Oz style. The occupant's are still inside, transported by the magic tornado. They do not want any vampires to join them. What happens to the vampire?

  3. (The vampire is redirected by magical means) A vampire walks through a way-gate pointed at his castle. It's like a Slider's style gate, and while the vampire is en route, someone points the tunnel's destination at a house instead. What happens to the vampire?

We could develop arbitrary resolutions for these, and probably even we could develop arbitrary loopholes between them so that they produced different arbitrary answers in different contexts. But why? Monster mythologies express very specific metaphors and ideas. They are not part of the furniture of fundamental physics, so they do not make any sense in the general way that such things do. They only make any sense at all in specific contexts that are compatible with the specific, narrow range of things they are meant to communicate. No published material or errata could really fix this. How could they?

The only way to adjudicate these scenarios is to first decide your goals as a story teller, since it is only from the story-teller's perspective that the rules are sensible. For example, see the list of vampire weaknesses as applied in popular fiction. Notice how inconsistently the many vampire traits are applied, even among hugely influential touchstone works? For example, neither Nosferatu nor Interview with the Vampire keep the only-when-invited rule. That's because those story-tellers didn't have anything to say about entrances, or this bit of lore conflicted with what they did want to say.

So in order to play the game with vampires, you'll have to ask yourself what you want to say about vampires. This might be impossible at this point. What you want to say probably depends on how your players are responding to a situation, and this conversation is external and peremptory of any actual game. Here are some examples of how I might decide to apply this rule:

Applied Interpretations

Lets take RAI in the most general way. Something like has been suggested in other answers: if a vampire would find themselves by any means physically located inside of a house without invitation by its occupants, the vampire is ejected. Note that there are many other RAI we could take as a starting point.

Even still there remain all sorts of open questions. Maybe it's like Pleasantville, wherein the vampire just appears back outside the front door of the house, and no one can understand how. This sounds like it could be fun. Maybe your rowdy barbarian will be disoriented by the sudden vampire's disappearance. Maybe so is the vampire!

Maybe the vampire is instantly destroyed. Is there any way for this outcome to be fun for your players? Do they have access to a means of moving a house or tricking the vampire, as for example by purchasing the house in secret?

But "what would be most fun right this second?" isn't the only lens through which we could view this. Are you telling a story that explores the gravity and complexity of consent? Then maybe the way this plays out should be super complicated and nuanced. Or maybe you should invite your players to reflect on how it works. Or maybe it should work in subtly different way for every vampire in the game.

Are you playing with young children? Maybe this vampire element is part of a cautionary tale about interacting with strangers. Then the lines can be super cartoonish and clear (as in the invisible wall interpretation).

Summary

Monster myth rules cannot be applied consistently in a fully general sense. To do so would violate the spirit of monster myths, and be generally no fun. It would be impossible to use monsters metaphorically, and would hugely constrain the bounds of play.

Instead, ask what you or your players want to say about monsters, or what experience they'd most like to have. Apply all rules in a way that is consistent with those goals.

Regarding vampire entrances specifically, it's probably easiest to ignore the special cases. The implications of taking it more seriously would be very bizarre. Most popular vampire fiction throws away at least some of the rules for exactly this reason, as demonstrated by several goofy thought-experiments.

\$\endgroup\$
4
\$\begingroup\$

This is another opportunity in my opinion to look at the underpinnings of a ruling and interpret its mechanism in the world your in. This will help you determine how the rule would be interpreted in a variety of situations.

Does forcing a Vampire indoors count as an invitation? It depends on what is otherwise keeping the vampire out.

If you take @Protonflux's literal interpretation (which I loved for this very reason), especially the force field flavor, you could very well have some one standing in the threshold of this aforementioned residence, grab the vampire by the shirt collar and slam him repeatedly again this invisible wall. Or, if the door opened to the outside for some reason, you could bash him with the door. But, he would not fall through the sky light at all in this case, just kind of sit there.

If you take this tack, where does the force field come from? Yes, its obviously magical, but what kind of magical?

I'll invoke the Gods for this one: if there is some supreme over-diety, maybe there is literally some scroll up in it's lofty heavens that details this very rule, with fine print and everything, and says that, indeed, a magical wall will bare the way. But, the god probably has a reason. Maybe vampires are anathema to it.

However, lets just say that this vampire was a worshipper of this god. Being a supreme diety, it doesn't have to be good aligned (and the vampire does not have to be evil aligned). There maybe caveats that say "All who worship me are family, and no one of me can turn away another", and thus its interpreted as any worshipper should enter anyone else's home, including this pious vampire. But, that technically means the good holy vampire could be drug into someone else's house and beaten to death, would indeed fall all the way through a sky-light.

Also, say the owner of the residence is an enemy of this god. Maybe the prohibition doesn't work at all.

If the intent of the divine law was only to keep vampires and humans as segregated as possible, for their MUTUAL safety, then the effect would be more gentle: less of a wall and more of a strange, instant canceling of inertia. Consider your mouse pointer on your computer. No matter how "hard" you "bash" the edge of you monitor with the pointer, you will break neither the edge of the monitor, nor the pointer. The vampire just kind of stops. So no amount of throwing him inside will hurt him, but he won't enter either. Door bashing might not even hurt at that point, since the magic drains inertia from the door. IF you go that route, then, so long as he pressed himself against the threshold he can't enter, weapons will do nothing to him.

And, if segregation was the intent, consider why? Because humans and vampires are always at war? Well, in that case if the vampire has no real bad intent, then he may go in and out. This is very different from the anathema interpretation: a vampire could not even enter his lover's house with the anathema unless he/she invited him in at least once, or even every single time depending on how much the god hates vampires.

On the other hand, with the "peace through segregation" interpretation, you could indeed have a vampire lover come and go as he pleases, but the very minute the relationship goes south he will be barred, unless the lover invites him in again. Depending on your tone, this could even be an interesting way for the vampire's lover to put him in the dog house.

And belligerently dragging a vampire in would be at cross purposes to this ruling, so he would probably be kept out if someone tried to force him in, since it was not a genuine, benevolent invitation.

I could go on: the Vampire is barred with an exceptionally strong fear, is briefly brain-dominated to just not enter, goes into an alternate dimension if really pressed, all kinds of things. Sky's the limit.

\$\endgroup\$
-4
\$\begingroup\$

Yes, if the vampire ended up in the building without intending to be there. He was either invited in or already inside to begin with.

Let's go with the dragging or pushing the vampire inside. In the case of pulling, you are saying with your physical actions, "Come inside." In fact, you're not really allowing no for an answer. Conversely, a person pushing you is saying, "Go that way, or go inside." It's still an invitation; it's just a nonverbal one. If people for some reason are really pissed at this I feel the need to remind them that they are trying to abuse a vampire's weakness, and if they think that Forbiddance is really a big issue for vampires, may I remind them that the vampire could always just set the building on fire, or have any of his army of servants he has from either money, or Charm ability, or natural charisma to get an army of them.

Edge cases:
If the vampire somehow unknowingly ends up inside of a building (like, let's say, magic circle), I would say that so long as the vampire didn't intend to enter the building without permission, then he's just inside - but this won't happen again, since he knows about it now... so it's perhaps a good time to take advantage of this unique moment.

Say an abandoned building gets purchased while the Vampire was inside. I would say that he doesn't get ejected - or die, for that matter (I've seen some people do that). I would say the vampire would be allowed to stay inside, but when he goes to reenter, he can't... It could be a good idea for a good or natural vampire to hunt the party because the village sold the deed to his house!

Ultimately, so long as the vampire didn't intentionally violate his vampiric weakness (or honestly, it could just be manners), then I would just say it's avoided altogether. No need to complicate things with it. The vampire as is has quite a few weaknesses:

  • Sunlight, for one
  • They can't go near rivers or large bodies of water during storms, since they are running water.
  • They can only come out for 8 to 10 hours a day (or night, in this case).
  • If they are staked while trying to get some rest, they become paralyzed - or die, if they are vampire spawn
  • And they need to drink a couple pints of blood to live every night.
\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Iron Templar, welcome to rpg.se! Take the tour and visit the help center for more information. Firstly we prefer answers that have support from rules or experience this post doesn't seem to be drawing from any rules except your own opinion. Second, while curses are not strictly banned we before to avoid using them unnecessarily. You can edit your post to add support for your view. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Sep 7 at 3:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.