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Anyone the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire’s influence as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th). (3.5 SRD; Vampire)

After reading the SRD (my only source for 3.5 material) regarding compulsion and charm supernatural abilities, and comparing that to the Dominate Person spell, it is unclear to me whether or not a vampire's Dominate(Su) ability (if the PC fails the Will save) will continue after the vampire dies/is slain, or, if the dominated state persists until the next time a refresh is needed (which by the spell description would be the next day).

Once control is established, the range at which it can be exercised is unlimited, as long as you and the subject are on the same plane. You need not see the subject to control it.

If you don’t spend at least 1 round concentrating on the spell each day, the subject receives a new saving throw to throw off the domination. (3.5 SRD; Dominate Person)

While I am predisposed to believe that it is dispelled or removed when the vampire is destroyed (stake in the heart, sun melts, etc) the rules text I have found leaves that unclear. After reviewing the SRD entries for the spell, for vampires, for the Dominate(Su), and for Charmed/Compulsion the 'what happens when the vampire is destroyed' leaves me unsure. While being reduced to 0 HP incapacitates the vampire, the SRD does not have the incapacitated condition. (Given the ability to change into gaseous form, and the ability to start regaining HP, I'd be cautious about assuming that "incapacitated" would break the compulsion on the PC. Nothing in the Helpless condition helps me either).

Was this covered in Sage Advice, FAQ, or in one of the books dedicated to vampires?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @cpcodes Comments aren't for any kind of answer, including (and especially) bad ones. (FAQ) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 1 '18 at 1:12
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A vampire's destruction doesn't end its dominion

Broadly, an effect ends when the effect's description says it ends. In the case of the supernatural ability dominate of a vampire (Monster Manual 250—3)—that functions much like the 5th-level Sor/Wiz spell dominate person [ench] (Player's Handbook 224—5) except with numerous exceptions—this is, if allowed to run its course naturally, typically 12 days. (Any vampire's effective caster level for the dominate supernatural ability is largely fixed at 12. The effect can, of course, be used again on the same creature prior to the conclusion of those 12 days to extend the duration.)

As per the spell dominate person, the vampire each day must take a 1-round action to concentrate on the affected creature. Failure to do so means the dominated creature receives another saving throw against the vampire's dominate ability. If the dominated creature fails this saving throw, the dominate effect continues, while success means that the dominate effect ends. Similarly, a vampire that issues an orders to a dominated creature that goes against the creature's nature grants the dominated creature a new saving throw, and the creature gains a +2 bonus on that saving throw. Once again, if the dominated creature fails this saving throw, the dominate effect continues, while success means that the dominate effect ends.

Also as per the spell dominate person, a vampire on a different plane from creatures that its dominating can't issue new commands to the dominated creatures. However, even while the vampire is on another plane, its dominated creatures continue following the vampire's last issued orders. A vampire's trip to the City of Brass doesn't mean party time for its thralls!

As it's a supernatural ability rather than a spell or spell-like ability, a vampire's dominate special ability can't be removed using an effect like dispel magic et al. The 1st-level Sor/Wiz spell protection from evil [abjur] (PH 266) and other alignments specifically don't prevent a creature from being targeted by dominate effects, but such effects are suppressed while such a spell's duration continues, and the protection effect—if employed on an already dominated creature—for its duration suppresses that dominate effect and prevents the controller from issuing new orders. This is, unsurprisingly, likely little consolation to the dominated creature. (The spell protection from evil's duration is only 1 min./level.)

The vampire's supernatural ability dominate is one of the most powerful weapons in its arsenal. This DM has, in the past, gone so far as to house rule the dominate effect ends when the vampire's destroyed as the question describes, and he's even allowed effects like dispel magic to remove the effect as if it were a spell-like ability rather than a supernatural one. A by-the-book vampire that dominates a PC essentially removes from play a PC that possesses a low Will saving throw bonus until what can be over a week after the vampire's destruction: the still-dominated PC desperately attempting to fulfill the last order his master issued, and the other PCs scrambling to use protection from alignment effects on the dominated PC so all the PCs can continue the adventure. While this may be interesting once, I've found that repeated encounters in the same vein kind of suck.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ A vampire's trip to the City of Brass doesn't mean party time for its thralls! That got me giggling. Another thorough offering from HICC productions (and of course +1; the "at table experience" summary is much appreciated) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 22 '18 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Pun intended, I presume. ^^ \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko May 24 '18 at 16:48
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Based on the idea that

Anyone the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire’s influence as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th). (3.5 SRD; Vampire)

this works exactly as the Dominate Person spell I would rule that the effect does not end when the vampire is slayed/incapacitated.

The target actually should be dominated for the actual duration of the ability:

Duration: One day/level

That would mean that the subject is dominated for 12 days and is actively trying to perform the command it was given when the Vampire got the subject under its control.

Except from (as quoted in the spell description)

Subjects resist this control, and any subject forced to take actions against its nature receives a new saving throw with a +2 bonus. Obviously self-destructive orders are not carried out. Once control is established, the range at which it can be exercised is unlimited, as long as you and the subject are on the same plane. You need not see the subject to control it.

If you don’t spend at least 1 round concentrating on the spell each day, the subject receives a new saving throw to throw off the domination.

So, summing up, I would say that with the vampire being dead/incapacitated etc, the subject will be under the dominate person effect for 12 days (actual ability duration) or until it succeeds a saving throw VS domination, as the vampire can no longer concentrate on the spell each day. Whicever comes first will break the effect.

Extra tip

Anybody fighting a vampire and start to see his allies acting strange should immediately run to a cleric and have said ally being cast with Protection from Evil. A simple low level buff that can protect from and break any lingering domination effects who have been put in action from an evil creature.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Re: Protection from Evil. It's not just evil creatures. The spell (and all related spells) provide a blanket protection against possession and mental control and stuff like that, regardless of alignment. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil May 22 '18 at 9:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ To be clear, is it (1) if already under the effect of Dominate, the effect is removed by Protection from Evil, or is it (2) do you have to cast it ahead ot time as a preventative? @cpcodes observed: once the vampire is destroyed, he "and the subject" are no longer "on the same plane" which suggests that the effect would end. Does that fit into your understanding of how this works? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 22 '18 at 12:04

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