Vampires are a race populated by individuals of other races. Vampirism is an affliction that changes individuals into a race of powerful undead predators that feed off the living. Originally created by the Goddess of Death, Yoma, at the insistence of her mother, Ispa, vampires were made to serve as soldiers and assassins of the armies of darkness that could infiltrate and subvert the enemy during the War of the Gods.
However, Yoma rejected her mother's cause and became a neutral god early in the conflict. Finding the vampires to be a creation more suited to her mother’s malicious goals, she completely washed her hands of them to serve the world as a caretaker for the dead. With Yoma’s defection, Ispa divided the remaining vampires amongst her other children, allowing them to alter the vampires given to them in any way they wished. Craeseth, the God of War, turned his vampires into powerful warriors and hunters; while Suldra, the Goddess of Lust, made her vampires into masters of seduction. Sai’ras, the Goddess of Chaos, changed her vampires into cunning and creative killers that border on insanity; and Belas made his into tricksters and manipulators.
In the aftermath of the war, vampires were left to struggle to survive like the rest of the survivors, but the majority of those that remained found footholds in the remnant of Ageond, the Forsaken Land. Few vampires are found in Thiskel and Kalesten, those that do live in secret and are at risk of being hunted and killed by clerics and exorcists. Meanwhile, Forsaken Land vampires often live openly outside of Danaij nations and even rule over nations populated by humans and other vampires.
Vampires are undead creatures that subsist primarily on the blood of other living creatures to maintain their appearance and abilities. They can be created from any intelligent race, but the majority of current vampires were originally human or Danaij. Amongst the forms of undead that can exist in Aserra, vampires maintain bodily and mental integrity and are the most powerful form of undead--aside from liches, potentially. Vampires are functionally immortal with unlimited regenerative potential as long as they have access to blood.
By consuming the blood of mortals, they can heal their wounds and appear more vital and alive. A well-fed vampire can almost pass for a living person; their heart beats, they have body heat, and the color rises in their skin. A vampire starved for blood becomes more obvious; they are paler, sickly looking, cold, and more like the undead creature they are. Younger vampires are also more vital for the first fifty or so years of “unlife,” but the older they are, the more delicate they are when exposed to the elements. If starved, vampires become withered husks that appear dead, but they can be revived if blood is provided to them. Some vampires intentionally go into long hibernations this way.
Vampires cannot tolerate sunlight, but the degree of tolerance is variable. A vampire that is young and well-fed can stand longer periods of time in the sun, but it still stings after a few moments, reacting like an instant sunburn. Their skin will be constantly regenerating while in the sun, which takes more and more blood to restore the damaged skin. Older vampires and those that have not recently fed are more at risk from sun exposure, and one that is starved can burst into flame like kindling if in direct sunlight for more than a minute. Water is also detrimental to vampires, much in the way of sunlight. To a well-fed vampire, water may cause a slight burn or rash that heals quickly, but to an unfed vampire water will burn like acid on skin, and can kill them if immersed or washed in water until they can no longer regenerate.
Vampires have no inherent magic, but they do have unique abilities including heightened senses, increased physical prowess in strength, speed, and agility, and some psychic abilities. Each clan has its own strengths and weaknesses, but in general vampires are engineered to become predators. Their sense of smell, hearing, and sometimes sight is heightened. They become more physically powerful to restrain prey and sustain damage. They can move faster and with more agility than their living form allowed for. Some vampires even become more intelligent and cunning, able to devise ways to entrap and charm their prey.
Telepathy is a common ability to develop for vampires (most successfully for Suldrians and Belalians, sometimes Sairians, but rarely Cratians). The main purpose for their telepathic ability is to build a powerful connection between a vampire and its sire and coven. This connection blossoms after turning, slowly become more and more powerful to the point where closely related vampires need not even speak with each other and can communicate over a range of several miles (or further if both parties are in a meditative trance). It also allows for the sire of a newly turned vampire to progress conversion to their religion and the vampiric way of thinking into their new offspring, allowing these thought processes to “seep” into their mind. Telepathy can also be used to charm and entrance potential prey, and even implant suggestions if the vampire is telepathically powerful enough.
As vampires were originally members of other races, their appearance mostly depends on what they were born as. However, each of the four vampiric clans have traits that distinguish them physically and psychologically. There are some subtle vampiric traits are universal, however.
Vampires have some configuration of sharp, pointed teeth that enables them to more easily pierce or cut through skin. This includes the canine, or eye teeth in the upper jaw at least, with each clan having their own dental configuration. Upon a vampire's turning, the new, sharper teeth push out the normally blunt teeth to replace them. These teeth are always present, so vampires living secretly amongst humans must be careful to hide their teeth until they make their kill. Sometimes this is as simple as avoid smiling, while others turn to illusionary magic, psychic manipulation, or simply concealing their mouth behind clothing or accessories to blend in.
Well-fed, a vampire looks as lively as anyone else, but as their blood supply diminishes, they begin to look more like a fresh corpse as their skin loses color and their features become more sunken and drawn. The only time a well-fed vampire looks especially pale is when their original ethnicity readily tans in sunlight. Not long after turning, a tanned person who becomes a vampire will lose that additional pigment and return to their natural skin color before sun exposure. Due to the danger of sunlight to vampires, they cannot regain their darker color.
Vampires are functionally immortal, suspended in an unageing state from the time that they are turned, and maintained by a steady diet of blood. They can regenerate from most wounds and do not suffer illnesses. Starvation will put a vampire in a state of death-like hibernation as a withered husk, but they can be revived when provided with blood.
Vampires are notoriously hard to kill, as many wounds that would fatally wound or kill a mortal can, at worst, only debilitate a vampire and, at best, cause them a minor annoyance. To kill a vampire, the best option is decapitation. Holy spells and blessed items can damage or kill a vampire if powerful enough. Silver can also be detrimental to the health of a vampire as it has a purifying effect on the “unholy.” A “stake” (or any object) to the heart can debilitate a vampire. If not removed immediately, it can partially paralyze a vampire or render them unconscious until removed. Any wounds sustained by a vampire can be repaired by consuming blood.
Vampires cannot tolerate sunlight, but the degree of intolerance is variable. A vampire that is young and well-fed can stand longer periods of time in the sun, but it still stings after a few moments, reacting like an instant sunburn. Their skin will be constantly regenerating while in the sun, which takes more and more blood to restore the damaged skin. Older vampires and those that have not recently fed are more at risk from sun exposure, and one that is starved can burst into flame like kindling if in direct sunlight for more than a minute.
Water is also detrimental to vampires, much in the way of sunlight. To a well-fed vampire, water may cause a slight burn or rash that heals quickly, but to an unfed vampire water will burn like acid on skin, and can kill them if immersed or washed in water until they can no longer regenerate.
Vampires cannot reproduce sexually, and most cannot even have sex—with the exception of Suldrians. The only way vampires reproduce is to “turn” mortals, and to do so, a mortal must consume the blood of a vampire shortly before death. Usually, this occurs when the vampire feeds on a victim and chooses to exchange blood so that they may have an “offspring” of sorts. The vampiric curse only takes hold after the death of the victim, resurrecting and transforming them. If a healthy person drinks a vampire’s blood they will gain some of the regenerative potential and superior strength, agility, and speed of a vampire temporarily (around 48 hours), but if they die while intoxicated, they will be reborn as a vampire.
Vampires can only gain sustenance from blood—ideally of the higher races (human and elemental), but animal blood is passable though not exactly palatable to them. Over time, individuals may develop a taste for the blood of certain races and blood types. Most vampire “connoisseurs” will tend to prefer the blood of Idayn & Dra’nafod as superior, followed by Danaij, Human, Zaedyn, Ochae’nafod, and Brech’mar. They generally do not like the taste of Asath blood for its reptilian traits—mammalian blood is preferred. Mariel blood has a fishy aspect that is even less appealing to most vampires.
Vampires can eat normal food and drink, though they cannot properly digest it. Those who live amongst humans may eat as a façade, but they can no longer digest food and must vomit to remove it from their bodies. Some vampires still crave normal food, but as they can’t digest it, eating it becomes undesirable to them and they eventually lose interest. When drinking, pure water can cause damage and discomfort to their bodies. Fluids are absorbed by the vampire’s body, while some remnants must be vomited out. Water is too painful to ingest, fruit juices and milk are also often have unpleasant effects on vampires, but they are often content to still imbibe alcohol.
Despite coming from different backgrounds and different bloodlines, vampires will all eventually end up with one dominant personality trait; they are predators. They tend to fall on the darker end of the personality spectrum, swayed by their nature and corrupted by their patron gods. Many young vampires, especially those turned against their will, will fight against their darker nature, but they eventually succumb to the darkness. Each clan also has personality traits that are strong in each member, but there is still some room for individuality amongst them, and these traits are often expressed in their own unique ways.
Gender and Relationships
Vampires were originally created by the goddess Yoma, but after she abandoned them they were broken up amongst her siblings. Each clan holds their patron god in high regard, and the majority of vampires are Followers of Darkness. However, individual vampires can come from any belief system, and after being turned they may fight the pull of darkness for years, decades, even a century or two, but eventually they will succumb to the gravity of the god responsible for their bloodline. These vampires may not actively worship the patron god of their bloodline, but their inevitable corruption twists them to take on the personality traits favored by that god in their vampires; Cratians will become more aggressive, Suldrians seductive, Sairians mad and neurotic, and Belalians manipulative.
Vampires can still use many forms of magic, though if they were born of any elemental race but Danaij, they are stripped of the elemental portion of their soul once their former god is aware of the change. As creatures of darkness, vampires that were formerly Danaij retain their Dark Elementalism. Some vampires are even in the clergy of the dark religion. Other vampires devote their long years to arcane studies to become powerful sorcerers. However, vampires tend to turn toward the darker forms of magic. They also become reluctant to rely too much on their own souls for magical fuel as a vampire’s unlife is sustained more by their spiritual strength than they were when they were living. Witchcraft, shamanism, soul-burning, and other forms of magic are rarely practiced by vampires.
Relations between vampires and most other races state that vampires are horrible, evil abominations that must be destroyed at all costs, while vampires view others as their food supply. However, in the Forsaken Land vampires can live quite openly in the societies of Danaij and humans, though they often have to abandon relationships with friends and families of their former races when turned. There are codes of conduct for vampires in these lands to ensure that peace is maintained for the well-being of vampires and citizens. Vampires that break these codes may face extermination, which in turn makes living in the same location very uncomfortable for other vampires for many years.