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In the adventure module

"White Plume Mountain" from Tales from the Yawning Portal,

a vampire is encountered guarding treasure in the same room where its coffin is. I am preparing to run this encounter, and the party is unlikely to have wooden stakes or access to running water or sunlight.

A vampire's Misty Escape trait reads:

When it drops to 0 hit points outside its resting place, the vampire transforms into a cloud of mist (as in the Shapechanger trait) instead of falling unconscious, provided that it isn't in sunlight or running water. If it can't transform, it is destroyed.

While it has 0 hit points in mist form, it can't revert to its vampire form, and it must reach its resting place within 2 hours or be destroyed. Once in its resting place, it reverts to its vampire form. It is then paralyzed until it regains at least 1 hit point. After spending 1 hour in its resting place with 0 hit points, it regains 1 hit point.

So if and when the party drops the vampire to 0 HP, the vampire will transform into a cloud of mist, fly across the room to its coffin, and revert to its vampire form, where it will lie paralyzed. Note that its Regeneration trait will not work while it has 0 HP.

At this point, can the party just kill the vampire by hitting it with one or more attacks while it has 0 HP? Or if not, what am I missing?

I know that the

magical darkness

in the room will complicate this, but not make it impossible.

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Yes you can

  • You don't require any of the 3 things you mentionned (stake, sunlight or running water) just drop the vampire to 0HP, destroy it's resting place or make it impossible to have access to it (in any order as long as it does not reach it in mist form but even so, you have 1 hour before it heals!) (assuming the vampire only has one) and if the vampire can't go into its resting place it is destroyed! (good luck for the vampire if it has only one and it is destroyed...)

    it must reach its resting place within 2 hours or be destroyed.

  • Another way (it does play with words though) Use aaron9eee's tactic but instead of a wooden stake,but you could use any other wooden piercing objects such as a dagger, wooden crossbow bolt, javelin etc. A regular crossbow or arrow should not work for this even if they are indeed made with wood+metal, in my opinion at least, nothing stop you from breaking one and make an improvised wooden piercing weapon though.

    Stake to the Heart. If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into the vampire's heart while the vampire is incapacitated in its resting place, the vampire is paralyzed until the stake is removed.

    But the rules refer as ''stake to the heart'' then talk about any piercing weapon made of wood so even though it is not a stake it is mentionned as a ''stake to the heart'' wich I would point out is different but the question asked could be mentionning the item in question or the specific rule about the vampires.

    Be sure you use a wooden piercing weapon, and if my players would try to do this with a regular arrow/crossbow bolt they would have a very bad surprise later on...

  • You could also use spells that mimics/creates sunlight (wich is not really sunlight as the question asks):

    As @BBeast pointed out:From memory, the lowest level sunlight-producing spell is sunbeam, a 6th level spell (available for casters of 11th level or higher). This is likely out of reach of characters facing White Plume Mountain, which is recommended for characters of 8th level, but sunlight-producing spells are a valid generic consideration. (If you don't have your own sunlight, store-bought is fine.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd also like to add (need confirmation) is there spells in 5e (probably) that can mimic real sunlight that could potentially kill a vampire without having ''real sunlight'' this could help the community and @mdrichey I believe. \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Feb 23 at 11:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ From memory, the lowest level sunlight-producing spell is sunbeam, a 6th level spell (available for casters of 11th level or higher). This is likely out of reach of characters facing White Plume Mountain, which is recommended for characters of 8th level, but sunlight-producing spells are a valid generic consideration. (If you don't have your own sunlight, store-bought is fine.) \$\endgroup\$ – BBeast Feb 23 at 11:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BBeast thank you, your comment is in the answer now :P \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Feb 23 at 12:00
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Not according to RAW, but...

There are plenty of ways to slay vampires according to myth, and you're certainly able to rule on what makes the most sense in your campaign.

However, the only RAW ways to destroy a vampire are found in the Monster Manual under the description for Misty Escape:

Misty Escape. When it drops to 0 hit points outside its resting place, the vampire transforms into a cloud of mist (as in the Shapechanger trait) instead of falling unconscious, provided that it isn't in sunlight or running water. If it can't transform, it is destroyed.

While it has 0 hit points in mist form, it can't revert to its vampire form, and it must reach its resting place within 2 hours or be destroyed.

So here's what I'd do to be sure Ctenmiir dies:

Once they defeat him, and he's done his whole Misty Escape thing, the party can stake him through the heart with an arrow or crossbow bolt while he's incapacitated/paralyzed in his coffin. Both have wooden shafts, and both are piercing weapons. Honestly, any wooden implement will work, including smashing up the coffin lid! The below quote from the Vampire Weaknesses section explains why:

Stake to the Heart. If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into the vampire's heart while the vampire is incapacitated in its resting place, the vampire is paralyzed until the stake is removed.

While they're waiting for him to regain that one hit point, they'll need to drag/carry the coffin to the ledge overlooking the mud pool from the last room. Then, just let him sit in his coffin for an hour until he regains the 1 hp. He's still paralyzed per the above Weakness. In fact, he can actually heal to full and still be paralyzed!

Once he get's 1 hp back, the party takes him out of his coffin, and tosses it into the pool of boiling mud. As soon as it sinks out of sight, hack off the head of the still paralyzed vampire, forcing him back into Misty Escape. However, since he can't reach his coffin now, he'll die per:

it must reach its resting place within 2 hours or be destroyed.

On a side note: I prefer the cosmetic changes that were added in the 3.5e version of this dungeon, but it is still a super fun module regardless - have fun!!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If the Vampire has more than one resting place (it is allowed I believe) that tactic is useless, plus you'd better use the same tactic but instead wait until it is day and take it a bit far from it's resting place (or any place that could be a resting place the vampire established) and it is mentionned : Misty Escape : When it drops to 0 Hit Points outside its Resting place, the vampire transforms into a cloud of mist (as in the Shapechanger trait) instead of Falling Unconscious , provided that it isn't in sunlight or running water. If it can't transform, it is destroyed. \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Feb 23 at 10:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ So you could just drop him in running instead and damage it there (can't go into mist form so instant death) or in sunlight while paralized wich will also kill the vampire. Wich is way better and you don't need to wait 2 hours if there is running water around/day is <2hours away. And you wait for the 1hour to be sure that the vampire does not escape in mist form I see and just destroy the coffin instead of dropping it in a pool of boiling mud, just in case there would be a chance that a little crack or a passage exist to enter back in... \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Feb 23 at 10:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Regular Arrows and Bolts will not work unless you break them and make them wooden piercing weapons though... \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Feb 23 at 10:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MaximeCuillerier: this question is asking about a very specific vampire in a module for a dungeon located hundreds of feet below ground, not vampires in general, so there are no additional resting places. I happen to be very familiar with this module, and while there is running water available in it, it would be almost impossible to get the vampire to the water. Also, regular arrows would most definitely work, as they are wooden piercing weapons that just happen to have a steel tip. \$\endgroup\$ – aaron9eee Feb 23 at 11:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells the vampire still has 0 Hp (or less) when it goes into it's resting place, you can damage it as much as you want, if it can rest 1 hour, it will be back at 1hp if you let it in it's coffin... no matter how many damage you do (IMO I guess), if you remove it from it's coffin then it will return to mist form if you damage it again, even if the vampire is at -99999999 HP if you let it rest (let it in it's coffin) for 1 hour, it will come back, ''Vampires have no general immunity to dying at 0 HP'' is not true, you can't kill unless you prevent going in, (unless in water or sunlight). \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Feb 24 at 9:03
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Whiteplume Mountain has plenty of running water.

The adventure Whiteplume Mountain is set in a volcano with highly active hot water springs, hence the name of the mountain. Not to spoil particular encounters, but it should be entirely possible for the party to drag the vampire's unconscious body from where it rests to one of those hot water springs so that you can dump it into one and kill it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The question is: Killing a Vampire without Sunlight, Running Water or Wooden Stake. But I guess it could be mentionned otherwise, as a suggestion or a comment perhaps? \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Feb 24 at 9:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MaximeCuillerier It's an XY problem. They're asking about how to kill a vampire in a particular adventure, and are mistaken about the availability of one of the vampire's weaknesses in said adventure. \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 Feb 24 at 9:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ maybe you could modify the title or something? I know what you mean, but it feels wrong to me, I could revote in that case. \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Feb 24 at 9:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ "You're asking the wrong question to solve this problem" is a valid answer to a question. \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 Feb 24 at 9:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 I've DM'd both the original module, and the 5e version, what you're suggesting is by far the more difficult method. While there is plenty of water in WPM, the only running water is the stream in rooms 23 & 24. So, you want to somehow carry a heavy corpse back across the discs suspended by chains over the boiling mud, to the complete opposite side of the dungeon? Good luck with that - oh, and that's assuming you went down that branch to even know the stream was there! \$\endgroup\$ – aaron9eee Feb 24 at 9:49

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