After a brief talk with another player he insisted that silver bypasses a vampires immunities simply because it doesn't say the vampire is immune to non-magical attacks, only immune to normal weapons. I can see how he views it that way but wanted to hear the intent of the creator.
Besides that one argument where does silver fit in? Is it just a something for that inbetween area where PC's might not have magical weapons but need to have something? Or is it simply in as a counter to the three or four creatures that have weakness to silver?
Not the creator, but on p. 104:
Some monsters can be damaged by magical or silver weapons
only. Monsters that can only be affected by these kinds of
weapons can always harm each other, and monsters with 5
HD or more are able to affect these monsters through natural
ferocity. Weaker monsters, and characters without silver or
magical weapons, cannot harm such foes."
That doesn't really help. While generalized in that one paragraph each monster entry is different as to what hurts it and how. For examples of the 5 monster entries that mention silver weapons the Demon Boar, Lycanthrope, and Wights are harmed by them normally. Wraiths take half damage from silver weapons, and Specters take no damage.That is silver doing different things in 5 entries. Notice the Specters take full damage from magical weapons a differnce of power level or effectiveness of the material?
There are a few creatures that are immune to non-magical or interact with non-magical arms and armors, which is easy to say silver isn't magical. It's the fact that Vampires call out Normal Weapons as the immunity. It's worded slightly different enough, and there are enough differences in monster entries, that it could just be an oversight or intentional. I don't know so I am asking the creator personally.
IANAA, but I run it as silver only affects creatures as/when the creature entry calls it out by name; in other words, as a particular counter against creatures weak against silver.
I see how your player got there, but it strikes me as a case of trying to interpret rules written in natural language by the standards of legalistic language. It's the wrong tool for the job, and it leads to contortions that may be exactly backwards.
Tangent: by the time your players have the monster manual (er... chapter) memorized, it's probably time to change things up anyway. Fortunately vampire legends are all over the place before Bram Stoker, and later Hollywood, popularized one subset of them. I'd forget about the garlic and wooden stakes, and bring on the iron needles, and the lemon to leave in it's mouth. And tell them silver's straight out while you're at it.
Re: Monster Manual Memorization: Eeeehhhhhhhh. I tend to advise against doing stuff like that. Rewriting the stats on common monsters seems like it'd be more frustrating than fresh. I'd much rather hear the DM say "This is a bjagjaghhajkghruaighhhhh! It's got all sorts of traits you don't know yet." than smugly announce "Actually, now that you've cast fireball on him a couple times, you should know that my trolls are vulnerable to something else entirely! Fire is so passe." Unless you're going to do the reasonable thing and tell them some vamprie legends from your world, but if you're explaining how the new vampires work, then they're familiar with them again and you're right back where you started!
Fair enough. The protection from normal weapons spell in the Players Companion doesn't protect against silver, if that helps.
there's always James Raggi's Random Esoteric Creature Generator, loosely compatible with most OSR games.
There are ways to do it without totally screwing it up for the players. The vampire has a spell to shatter all mirrors, uses unnatural winds to remove the scent of garlic. Then for the actual stats for the creature you could introduce armor, weapons, and magical tools. They still have the knowledge how it works and you can bypass it sometimes. Ham fisting changing a creature's weakness to something else or removing them entirely would be annoying but if given clues as a player I wouldn't be mad. Example include finding out the cross breading wizard loves hell hounds and monsters are surprisingly thin in the area. If I ran into a fire resistant troll I might put two and two together, even more so if the trolls have the mark of the wizard or something like that.
The legends are only sort of over the place. Mystical horrors are weak to things that are associated with purity or mystical power. It's not a matter of the players memorizing their monster manual, it's a matter of knowing which items hold such power in your mythos. Changing it up is fine if you're in the mood, but I'm of the opinion that generalized knowledge of such should be included in the adventuring proficiency.
(Though the trolls cross-bred with hellhounds thing is hilarious).
My intent was that magical weapons were required to hit vampires. I apologize for any confusion in this regard.
I've always liked treating vampires as basically immortal: they do not die. Ever. Sure you can "kill" one by jamming a sharpened 2x4 through it's chest, that will do in most things so no surprise there, it just won't stay dead after someone pulls it out. Hence all the decaptation, dismemberment, incineration and other sundry rituals that go into vampire slaying. Even then all it usually takes is some jerk bleeding on the ashes to start up the whole mess over again. Everyone's just trying to find something, anything that will make the damn bloodsucking monsters stay down for good.
With that in mind, I have no problem with silver weapons being effective against such horrors. Prospective vampire hunters already have plenty to worry about than just how to hurt their quarry.