[RPG] D&D ruling for vampires in sunlight


I'm making a vampire character in a D&D 3.5/pathfinder game and want an official ruling on when the sunlight takes effect.

Can I walk outside with a robe covering me and not take the penalty? The description says "direct sunlight" so is that ANY amount of sunlight? My DM was arguing that even if I was wearing full plate and some sunlight got threw the face slit it counted.

By common sense I figured a vampire wouldn't die instantly when a ray of sun hit his fingertip, but it doesn't explicitly state one way or another. I need a ruling on what the direct sunlight implies. The majority of my body perhaps, or if partially exposed what happens then? Is there any text or books that can give me specifics?

Edit: my DM did not know the penalties to sunlight, he thought is would just burn the exposed skin for damage, he was unaware that it was lethal

Best Answer

There are no official references on the specifics for Pathfinder on how this sunlight has to touch the vampire. No description if they can hide if they wear heavy clothes, if touching the sunlight with their hands has the same effect as touching all their body, or if an umbrella could protect them.

We know that some, really strong, vampires can overcome that vulnerability. Some will resist for longer, while others can completely ignore it. And that there are spells to protect you from sunlight. There are ways to even blot out the sun so a vampire can walk during the day (why not?). But it's also unclear if darkness or deep darkness can completely protect you from the sun.

For the record, I searched on 5 campaign setting books, classic horrors, undead unleashed, undead revisited, inner sea gods and horror adventures. And also on the blood of night and undead slayer's handbook.

And also did a lengthy search on paizo messageboards, the community's view is certainly mixed on the subject. Some people believe that if there is a line directly between the vampire and the sun and nothing to conceal the vampire from it, he is in direct sunlight. While others believe that direct sunlight is talking about the Light Condition (sunlight, bright, dim, etc), so even if you are inside a carriage with the windows open, you are in direct sunlight as well.

There is only one reference of indirect sunlight in the rules, on Vision and Light:

Normal Light

Normal light functions just like bright light, but characters with light sensitivity and light blindness do not take penalties. Areas of normal light include underneath a forest canopy during the day, within 20 feet of a torch, and inside the area of a light spell.

Areas of normal light might include a glade under a forest canopy during midday, the interior of a room illuminated by indirect sunlight, and the space within 20 feet of a torch or an object affected by the light spell. While colors and fine details may not be as vivid in normal light, characters can still see easily without special forms of vision.

Normal light does not impact characters with light blindness or light sensitivity.

This means that vampires are partially safe inside rooms illuminated by sunlight that comes through windows. Probably.