The following content assumes that your game includes vampires, either as monsters, enemies, or player characters. The aim here is to help give them a more defined position and purpose for both players and GMs, but without including any mechanical stats. Enjoy!
“The vampire has a body, and his craving for blood is to obtain sustenance for that body. He is neither dead nor alive, but living in death. He is an abnormality, the androgyny of the phantom world, a pariah even among fiends. How fearful a destiny is that of the vampire who has no rest in the grave, but whose doom it is to come forth and prey upon the living.” – Leipzig, 1760.
“Throughout the whole vast shadowy world of ghosts and demons there is no figure so terrible, so abhorred, yet endowed with such fearful fascination as the vampire, who is neither ghost nor devil, but who partakes of the dark natures, and possesses the mysterious and terrible qualities of both.” – Unknown
Around the vampire have clustered the most somber superstitions, for he is a thing that belongs to no world at all. A exile even among demons, foul are his ravages, – gruesome and seemingly barbaric are the ancient and approved methods by which folk must rid themselves of this hideous pest. Even in this twenty-first century, in the more remote districts of Europe itself, in Transylvania, Slovenia, the isles and mountains of Greece, the peasant will take the law into his own hands and destroy the carrion who, as is yet firmly believed, will issue at night from his unhallowed resting place to spread the infection of vampirism throughout the countryside.
Vampires are created through the use of the slow bite. As the vampire drinks some of the human’s blood, he gives up some of his own life force and transfers it to his victim. This kills the human, banishes the soul, and creates an undead creature.
Afterward, the person feels sick, as if he had the flu. He can’t stomach anything, not even water. Not until he drinks the blood of another will the sickness subside. Where the blood comes from does not matter. It could be from his master, another vampire, a human, or even a rat. The end result is always the same – the glorious satiation that blood provides.
Such bloodlust never fades; it is ever-present in all vampires. The occasional rush of blood over a vampire’s lips is simply divine.
Master vampires create pureblood vampires for protection. Purebloods create half-breed vampires in the same way, and many times half-breeds create more half-breeds (also using the slow bite).
Master Vampire Creation
All pureblood vampires have the ability to become master vampires… they must simply bide their time and play their cards right. Not until the pureblood vampire has reached a point of maturity (usually several hundred years old) may he attempt such a feat. This undertaking involves killing several mature purebloods and drinking all of their blood… one pureblood per night, for a full moon’s entire cycle (30 nights). Each vampire that he kills must be at least a few hundred years mature.
If he is unable to perform this ritual on any given night, the sequence is interrupted, and he must start again at the beginning of the next full moon cycle before he can attempt another ritual.
Being that master vampires are territorial (and that other purebloods prefer ‘life’ over death), this undertaking can be quite dangerous for the prospective pureblood. When all is said and done, the vampire becomes a master vampire, bathing in Chaos.
The master vampire is the unrivaled fiend of demons. No other freely walking demon commands the fear, respect, and disdain as the master vampire. His is strong and powerful while being elusive and cunning. Yet, ironically, as commanding as he is, he must rely on his get to safeguard his reign, as great power is not without its costs.
There is no rule concerning when or how often a master vampire will terrorize a countryside or city. Some go out at night, sometimes every night, and select a single target to prey upon, while most wait to do it once every couple of months. Still others might go years without terrorizing, only to indulge in a large sadomasochistic rampage involving several ill-fated families. The general consensus among master vampires is that they hunt rarely, and have their purebloods follow suit. This ensures a low profile.
Master vampires spend months selecting humans or pets to become pureblood vampires. The selection is based on the master’s view as to how beneficial of a vampire the human will become. What kind of role the pureblood will play; his skills, aptitudes, persona, etc. are all part of the selection. A master vampire wishes to create the most effective group of protectors, and so does not take the matter lightly… His get has to be perfect.
“The quintessential stalker of the night, the pureblood vampire.”
Purebloods are created by masters and referred to as a master’s get, or following. They are vampires in every sense of the word, but are bestowed the responsibility of ensuring the survival of the master and of the get itself. A master can have as his get be anywhere from a few purebloods to over a hundred.
All purebloods are created with an innate sense of loyalty to their master (half-breeds are not always so loyal). Purebloods understand the need for discipline and organization, and look down on other vampires that do not. They are the ones that usually end up cleaning the messes that half-breed vampires leave behind. While it is not impossible for a pureblood to stop respecting his master and move on, it certainly is rare.
Another distinction that purebloods have is that they are always beautiful creatures. Even if they weren’t so comely as a mortal, their immortal self takes on an assemblage of qualities that always makes others’ heads turn. Sometimes, this trait is too pronounced, instilling not only fascination, but a fearful fascination as well. Their superbly elegant grace can, at times, work against them, as some mortals subconsciously become intimidated by the predator’s presence.
Pureblood vampires always feel the drive to hunt humans, but do so very rarely, lest they endanger the get and their master. They also sometimes choose to avoid confrontation with their enemies for the same reason (to keep a low profile), only attacking them when their territory is encroached upon.
A “get” is a group of pureblood vampires that serve a master vampire, and is divided up into a few groups, or social classes. Each has their own purpose.
- Sentry – sentries are expected to learn as much as they can about security and combat, since their duty is to protect the lair from enemies and threats. They do not normally leave the lair unless special circumstances dictate.
- Socialite – socialites are responsible for all aspects of contact with others outside of the lair. They run businesses, take care of legal issues, and otherwise interact with those that need attention (human, demon, or otherwise).
- Pet – a pet is a human familiar, one that usually serves a socialite. They are normal people who will do anything to please a vampire, so as to eventually become one. Pets are used for a number of purposes, mostly when things need to be done during the day, or if the task can have no vampires associated with it. Many times, a pet is marked with a scar or a tattoo, indicating to other vampires that he is taken. Not until the pet has proven himself and his loyalty will he be presented to the master, and then turned. Pets represent the majority of the purebloods’ origins.
- Nightstalker – sentries that shine past the rest, that excel where others are merely competent, are elevated to the status of nightstalker. Nightstalkers are the elite that go out on missions to find and kill enemies whom threaten the lair. Of the purebloods, they are the rarest.
Sometimes, a pureblood vampire may find himself without a master, and may take it upon himself to start siring others. However, the result is different from that of the master’s…
When a pureblood performs the slow bite, the end result is a half-breed vampire. The main difference between the two is that the half-breeds do not have an innate loyalty to the one that sired them; half-breeds only follow those vampires that they fear or respect. Another difference is that they do not take on the stunning and commanding presence of the pure-bloods (a truth that either satisfies or infuriates more than a few).
Regardless, half-breed vampires relish their new lives. They feel empowered from day one and quickly integrate into a nest. It seems that the only rule of half-breeds is to do what you want as long as the nest doesn’t become endangered.
Actually, few half-breeds are created by purebloods, as most are created by other half-breeds. The only time purebloods sire others is when they try to create their own nest, and that usually only happens when they find themselves without a master. This undertaking can be dangerous because the nest may get out of control… not something that the pureblood is used to.
When siring others, half-breed vampires do not follow the same lines with regard to the selection process. They may sire someone based on any number of preferences. They may even sire their enemies. This lends itself to the creation of less organized or effective nests. In addition, the leader of a half-breed nest may change from time to time, as some leaders die or are overthrown.
A “nest” is a group of half-breed vampires that band together, many times under the direction of another half-breed. It is also divided up into a few groups, but the line between each one is pretty thin. Nests tend to be less organized and a bit chaotic.
- Bruiser – such vampires are the bulk of the nest’s fighting force. There aren’t too many of them (about 10%), but they are incredibly fierce. Most other half-breeds think that bruisers spend too much time worrying about threats, and in truth, such a station requires dedication far beyond what a typical half-breed is willing to commit to. Even so, no one disrespects a bruiser, unless they’re hoping for a brutal beating.
- Raver – the vast majority of half-breeds are ravers. Such vampires love nothing more than relishing their existence night after night. If they aren’t hunting, they’re having a good time. Actually, those two usually go hand-in-hand.
- Pet – pets are few and far between among the half-breeds. Most half-breeds simply sire others on a whim. They often feel that pets are a waste of time; nothing but a bunch of wannabes. Actual pets of a nest are usually unappreciated, overworked tools, many times killed off anyway. Only those that are in useful civilian positions or that continuously prove themselves worthy get the respect of the nest. Such pets are also marked in some way.
Cursed Vampire (PC)
“How tragic is it for a penitent man, that he be forced to remorse forever?”
A cursed vampire is an unfortunate one, even more so than the fiend he once was. Some of them live out their existence with the memories of the horrors they have done, while others still have yet to kill.
Regardless of why these unusual vampires have gone vegetarian, they will still always crave the blood of others. They will always be fearful that, in a moment of weakness, the demon caged inside will emerge to kill an innocent. Other vampires cannot understand the plight of the cursed, which is why they have given them such a name.
A cursed vampire is always either a pureblood or half-breed. Regardless of which, he can no longer be a member of his nest or get. If the others don’t kill him, he’ll certainly be ostracized. Should he ever associate with a vampire hunter, all ties are severed and he becomes the hunted.
Freeing the Demon
Under times of stress, when angered, when hostile, or when biting someone, the vampire frees the demon. This involves his fangs growing larger and his irises becoming a different color (player choice). This is performed as a free action, either voluntarily or otherwise.
Vampires hunt to drink the blood of others, since they cannot sustain their own. The blood of the living is the most delectable, while the blood of the dead is the most detestable. Vampires can sustain themselves on the blood of animals, but such vegetarians will always crave the blood of humans.
For vampires that haven’t consumed any blood recently, they are in danger of going berserk and attacking the nearest human. This is usually some sort of Willpower roll, and is based off of the Threshold (the longer you go, the more often a roll is required – depending on your game).
The longer a vampire goes without drinking blood – the more agitated he becomes. One’s threshold is the number of nights or weeks that applies to each stage of Bloodlust (based on your game). So if you go a number of nights or weeks equal to your threshold without drinking blood, you fall to the next lower stage of Bloodlust.
Drinking blood until you recover all stun points, hit points, fatigue points, wounds, etc. will raise your Bloodlust stage up to Tempted or Satiated.
You are in full control of the demon and can avoid any temptations involving blood. When at this stage, you never need to make any sort of roll against Bloodlust roll. The only way to get to this stage is to drink fresh, flowing human blood.
While tempted, you still usually remain in control of the demon. Unless you drink fresh, flowing human blood, you cannot improve beyond this stage. You can live on other types of blood (like animals), though it will never fully satisfy you. Your longing for human blood never really seems to go away.
Your fierce desire for human blood is almost always on your mind. It’s difficult for you to stay focused. Mental rolls (like Willpower or Cool) take a penalty, and you might have to make Bloodlust rolls randomly, depending on the situation.
Drinking blood is pretty much the only thing on your mind. Little else really matters. Mental rolls (like Willpower or Cool) take a huge penalty, and you’ll definitely have to make Bloodlust rolls randomly, especially if you bare witness to spilled blood, even if only a single drop.