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Vampire spawn have the trait "chained to the grave" which includes the phase "Every vampire remains bound to its coffin, crypt, or grave site, where it must rest by day."

Vampire spawn also have the flaw, "Stake to the Heart. The vampire is destroyed if a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into its heart while it is incapacitated in its resting place." True vampires are merely paralyzed by such an attack, and no mention is made of them being incapacitated while resting.

  1. What does "must rest" by day mean? Are vampire spawn not allowed to be out of their grave sites in the day? Could they choose to be up and about (subject to the rules of damage in sunlight) with the only penalty being that they are forgoing rest, or are they rules-required to be in their grave sites? Can they break their rest and wake up if damaged during the day, or if they hear something with Passive Perception per the optional rules for sleep?

    [Note that while this question is similar to What happens if a vampire can't rest in his coffin?], it is not the same, in that it specifically asks about vampire spawn. The higher voted of the two responses in the other question references Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, saying that vampires that cannot rest become vampiric mist. But I am asking about vampire spawn, which do not have access to a true vampire's misty step ability.]

  2. Does the state of "rest" that vampire spawn are in also incapacitate them, in the same way that an unconscious PC is incapacitated? Or must characters find some way independent of it being day to incapacitate them in order for the stake to instantly kill them? That is, is the incapacitation a result of the forced rest in the day, or an independent requirement in order to destroy them?

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Background

Vampire Spawn Need Sleep

While nearly all creatures with 'undead nature' don't "require air, food, drink, or sleep" (cf. Skeleton, Specter, Wight, Wraith, Zombie, Banshee, Death Tyrant, Crawling Claw, Demilich, Flameskull, Ghost, Lich, Mummy, Revenant, and Shadow), and will o' wisps don't need air, drink, or sleep, for both vampires and vampire spawn, 'undead nature' says only that they do not need air. Thus they do need sleep.

Those vampire spawn that do not get this sleep are then subject to whatever optional rules a particular DM applies for creatures that go without sleep. What happens if you don't sleep?

Sleeping creatures are unconscious; unconscious creatures are incapacitated.

Vampire spawn are incapacitated while they are sleeping.

While sleeping, there is a chance that creatures can respond to noise and awaken

Perception While Sleeping

Answer

  1. I suggest that vampire spawn may choose to be active and out of their coffin, crypt, or grave site during the day. However, they do so at the cost of not being able to rest or sleep while so doing. I interpret "must rest by day" to mean that a vampire spawn may only sleep and rest during the day, and only within their coffin, crypt, or grave site. No other location or time will allow them to rest or sleep, and by going without rest or sleep they will accrue whatever penalties the DM applies for other creatures that do not sleep or rest. If approached while asleep, a vampire spawn has the same chance as any other creature to awaken, based on its Passive Perception.

  2. A vampire spawn attacked with a stake while awake takes only the weapon damage from the stake as normal for combat. If attacked with the stake while asleep (incapacitated), it is helpless, its heart may be accurately targeted, and it is thus automatically destroyed. This is an extension of the 'automatic critical for attacks on incapacitated opponents' rule applying only to vampire spawn. If a means is found to incapacitate a spawn while it is awake, a stake attack is also an automatic kill.

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