"There is a generation whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men."
- – Proverbs 30:13
Vampires are mythical creatures and/or people that are known as being malevolent, though the degree of this ranges from someone being forced to drink the blood of others to rage-filled cannibals who are more animal than human.
Vampires mean many things to many people, although they generally have a Gothic aesthetic, but can go from cartoony villains to horrifying monsters.
- 1 Vampires As We Know Them
- 1.1 Vampires in anime
- 1.2 Warhammer
- 1.3 Warhammer 40,000
- 1.4 Dungeons & Dragons
- 1.5 The Dresden Files
- 1.6 Vampire: the Masquerade
- 1.7 Vampire: The Requiem
- 1.8 Nosferatu
- 1.9 Legacy of Kain
- 1.10 Monster Hunter International
- 1.11 Deadlands
- 1.12 Dracula
- 1.13 Darkest Dungeon
- 2 History of the Vampire
- 3 Defining Abilities
- 4 Sexy, Sexy Vampires
- 5 If you're including them in your setting...
Vampires As We Know Them
Vampires in anime
While Japan may have their share of silly vampires, they mostly respected the traditional image of modern vampires. here are some of the traits you may find when looking through weeaboo media:
- Undulated light-colored hair (white, blueish white or light blonde) when it isn't pitch-black
- Red eyes (may brighten when showing strong emotions)
- Long sharp nails
- Pallid skin with fair if slightly sickly features
- White fangs (duh!)
- Bat wings (sometimes may be feathered wings)
- Very very rich (because long term interests are easy when you are a couple of centuries old, may or may not even be the bank owners)
- Preference of early modern age European customs and dresses (may feature black and red)
- Usually of British or west Slavic ascendancy
- May or may not be real nobility
- Crosses (Apparently it doesn't affect them since they aren't christian...)
- Mockingly suave in times of peace, very cultured
- Ferociously sadist when fighting, the beast is unleashed
- Extremely strong close combat and lighting speed
Of course not all anime and manga or vydiagaem vampires fit to the T with this list, but they will have most of this characteristics, expect them to be proficient fighters with all the advantages of old vampires and enough brains to not to fall to cheap tricks such as exposing themselves to the sun due some silly accident.
Warhammer Fantasy Battle plays up the horror aspects of the vampires to 11, knowing that it's what makes them a compelling force to play - after all, the one nice thing about being an undead lord of the night is that you get to be a right and propa evil overlord about it. vampires in WFB are both hard as nails and are wizards to boot, meaning they cover most bases that other armies have to pick and choose, however being masters of necromancy and all, if the general dies then the rest of the undead army under his command usually starts crumbling to dust (not so much after the return of Nagash though) unless another vampire/Necromancer can step in and take over. Steven Sevile's vampire trilogy - Inheritance, Dominion, and Retribution - are great for showing just how monstrous these fiends are.
There were once actually rules for Vampires (spelled Vampyre) in the 40k universe, taken as supplementary rules for Necromunda they represented an abhuman subtype who drank blood, had superhuman statlines and raised gangs of thralls to do their bidding. Even a young, pony-tailed Gav Thorpe got involved with the rules and wrote up a counter character: B'Ufi the Vampyre Slayer which was somehow part of the 40k canon.
Though 40k has generally left Necromunda behind, mention of blood sucking mutants can still be found in Dark Heresy and one of the Freeblade Knights (the Crimson Reaper) is rumoured to be a Vampyre. Rogue Trader has vampires as Warp-Spawned entities that change shape and drink the lifeforce of societies they inhabit.
Also, several tabletop factions drink blood as part of their fluff.
- Blood Angels A first-founding chapter who includes blood in many of their chapter themes and rituals (and their successors usually follow this), basically what would happen when you throw Catholicism and Bram Stoker's Dracula in a blender and pressing puree. The Blood Angels have a lot of modern vampiric themes, mixed with angelic elements, from looking eternally youthful, being long-lived (even by Astartes standards), and have an 1-3 chances of developing a need to quench their partially dormant bloodthirst.
- Blood Drinkers A Blood Angels successor chapter. They have a literal need to drink blood, although unlike their more angelic cousins; they do not do this out of ritual: instead they do it as a way to sate their chapter's innate bloodlust.
- Flesh Eaters Crappy Space Marines who like to eat flesh. Especially if it's raw.
- Dark Eldar While not bloodsuckers, although they might drink their victim's blood if it fancies them; the Dark Eldar partake in a sort of "emotional vamprism" on their hosts to sustain themselves. Said vamprism is carried out usually by slowly torturing the host until he's dead. They also follow the "classic" vampire aesthetics, being a bunch of long-lived, crazy arrogant, pale and nimble wannabe-aristocrats. They even come back from dead in a process which involves crystal coffins.
Dungeons & Dragons
Vampires have been around in pretty much every edition of the game. They get a full smorgasboard of powers, including the ability to shapeshift into animals and mist, climb up walls, fast healing, and the ability to not only drain blood but inflict negative levels with their touch, though they usually can't fly unless they shapeshift into something that can. There're also vampire spawn, which are lesser vamps subservient to their creators and reduced versions of most vampiric powers. Most vampires have special weaknesses, but can also be killed by good ol fashioned damage, though a few require extra steps to stay dead.
The gameline also includes a variety of special custom vampires reflecting the dizzying array of bloodsucking undead monsters in world mythology.
Special mention to everyone's favorite master vampire villain, Strahd von Zarovich, and to the Vampire, the awnsheigh from Birthright where monsters tend to be unique, a tragic figure who hunted down the monster that slew his father, only, in a conflux of different factors, to lose his humanity in the process and become a tyrannical awnsheigh in his own right.
Vampires are now a class in 4e. They were introduced in the Heroes of Shadow book, and yes, they are in fact a CLASS now, no longer a template or curse. There is also detailed in the book a new race, "Vryloka," which are basically vampires in their own right so WHY MAKE VAMPIRE A CLASS, I MEAN SERIOUSLY. Only in the fluff, Vryloka have the power of vampires, just without the bloodlust. Really? That just sounds stupid on paper. And also stupid in general. We got a fucking cornucopia of stupid going on here.
The Vampire class has the Shadow power source, and is also a striker, which is apparently all Shadow is good for in 4e, being that all it consists of is Assassins, Executioners (variant Assassins from the Heroes of Shadow), Vampires, and Blackguards, all of which are strikers for fuck-all reason. WOTC explained that they named the class Vampire because they really wanted the players to feel like they were playing one, as most of the powers are based on vampiric lore (turning into bats, mist, wolves, drinking blood to gain healing surges). If so, they still could have come up with an original fucking name either way and kept the fluff relatively the same. This also means that Vampires (the class, that is) cannot be mages or knights without using hybrid classes.
Then there's the Vampiric Heritage feat, which lets any humanoid gain +2 to Perception and Insight checks to find undead while also getting Blood Drain (Encounter Attack; Str/Dex/Con +2/tier vs Reflex when grabbing someone, deals 1d4/tier + Con Mod damage and lets you spend a healing surge). This already is a step above the class by not hamstringing you with the shittiest number of surges in existence and an absolutely pitiful selection of powers. You also get access to the Blood Knight Paragon Path and a few extra feats, though some of them are kinda naff:
- Vampire Alacrity (+1 Speed)
- Mist Form (Requires level 10; replace a level 10 or lower utility power with Mist Form, a sustainable daily power that renders you insustantial with a hovering speed of 8 squares but forbids you from attacking)
- Night's Sight (Gain darkvision)
- Bloodied Regeneration (Requires paragon tier; replace a level 10 or lower utility power with Bloodied Regeneration, a daily utility power that grants you regeneration 5 until you aren't bloodied anymore)
- Domineering Gaze (Requires level 15; replaces a level 15 or lower utility power with Domineering Gaze, a daily ranged 5 attack that uses a mental stat +4 (+6 in epic) vs Will that inflicts either save-ends Dominated (downgraded to save-ends dazed after making the save) or save-ends dazed)
- Savage Bite (Requires paragon tier; you can now use your power on anyone you have combat advantage over)
This also raises a question: Since vampirism was already present in 4e by way of heritage feats (which was already a decently-received idea that enabled for diversity in builds), why not simply expand on that idea instead of introducing both a race AND class that are both vampires? Or better yet, why not make vampire a race in the same way that Revenant is (that is, you choose which race you are a revenant of and can select that race's feats)? As the system is, it is possible to make a Vryloka with Vampire class and the Vampiric Heritage feat, meaning you can gain utility and attack powers that all relate to being a vampire from three different sources with one character.
Another, better idea than they did was themes: optional features that give players a bit more unique character fluff, that came with at least one additional power and others to choose from as you leveled up. Why couldn't they have done this with Vampire? It would have cut down on the feat expenditure, enabled access to unique powers without being shoehorned into any crap class, and offers all the benefits of each without any drawbacks.
Tl;dr There's a Vampire class, it is stupid, blame Essentials.
|Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Classes|
|Player's Handbook 1:||Cleric - Fighter - Paladin - Ranger - Rogue - Warlock - Warlord - Wizard|
|Player's Handbook 2:||Avenger - Barbarian - Bard - Druid - Invoker - Shaman - Sorcerer - Warden|
|Player's Handbook 3:||Ardent - Battlemind - Monk - Psion - Runepriest - Seeker|
|Heroes of X:||Blackguard - Binder - Cavalier - Elementalist - Hexblade - Hunter|
Mage - Knight - Protector - Scout - Sentinel - Skald - Slayer - Sha'ir - Thief
Vampire - Warpriest - Witch
|Settings Book:||Artificer - Bladesinger - Swordmage|
|Others:||Paragon Path - Epic Destiny|
The Dresden Files
A number of species (or "Courts) of vampires exist in the The Dresden Files. While the RPG isn't on the neckbeard's essentials list, the novel series is on /tg/'s approved literature list, and the rich background made from the 15 and counting books, numerous short stories, and a few other forms of media is rife with nasties. This includes a number of species that fall under the umbrella of vampires. It should be noted that while they're largely unrelated, vampires have a few thing in common: each Court is essentially a family clan or a close-knit set of family groups; they feed on humans in various ways; they're agelessly immortal; the older they are, the more powerful and more influential in court politics they are.
The Black Court
The Draculas. Meant almost unironically. The Black Court are what we normally think of with the pop cultural vampire: blood drinking, moldering corpses with superpowers. In addition to the expected super strength, super durability, and super speed, Black Court vampires have a grab bag of superpowers, including subverting the will of humans to make them docile and compliant, or as a Renfield, a physically-empowered beast who is fanatically loyal to their master. Black Court campires are the most powerful, but have the most weaknesses, and it adds up to them being the hardest to fight and easiest to kill. While older, more powerful vampires have some protection against the traditional weaknesses, young vampires have to remain dormant during the daytime. Garlic, sunlight, and getting staked are all lethal, and holy relics are an anathema, and necromantic magic is rumored to be a potent weapon against them. They are also notably vulnerable to more modern means, such as flamethrowers and high explosives. Out of the vampire species, they reproduce the fastest, with victims of their bite getting back up in a matter of minutes and able to create even more Black Court vampires; but the greater their presence means the more attention they draw, meaning the sooner a whole group comes to extinction.
Their rivals in the White Court commissioned Bram Stoker to write the novel Dracula as an expose on their strengths, weaknesses, and signs that a group (or more correctly, a "scourge") of Black Court vampires have taken up residence in an area. This has lead to the court has largely dying out, and natural selection has left the most powerful, the most cunning, and/or the most discreet vampires being left alive, with the odd exception of a young Black Court vampire popping up to cause trouble when an older vampire finds them useful.
The original vampire of the Black Court has the title of the Black King, and in this case it appears to be the original Dracula. His father, Vlad Dracul was ironically even worse, since he was some thing of incredible evil that was trapped in human form (most fan theories posit that he was a demon or a dragon, but juries out if he was something else entirely), and since he was incredibly evil, he was a dick to his son. So out of daddy issues, little Vladdy joined the Black Court according to a snarky magical database, but he might have been mistaken about Dracula having joined the Black Court rather than creating it, as Word of God later posits that Dracula was the Black Court O.G. Whoever the creator was, the Black Court was apparently created when they had made a deal, if not with the Devil, then with a creature of comparable evil and power. Notably, if Dracula was indeed the founder, that would make this Court just more than 5 centuries old, making them the youngest Court.
The Red Court are Central American, anthropomorphic bat monsters. Unlike most depictions of anthropomorphic creatures, Red Court vampires are grotesque creatures with flabby bodies, pot bellies, spindly limbs, and slimy skin. For them, blood is both sustenance and a drug, sometimes having a narcotic effect with dependence potentially being a very real issue; and instances of insanity and mental instability occurring in Red Court vampires in much greater frequency than in other Courts and human populations.
Red Court vampires are less powerful than Black Court vampires, but also have fewer weaknesses. There are a higher number of magic users in the Red Court than in the Black (though thats a given and its unknown if that's per capita, since only about two vampires of the Black Court showed up, and literally hundreds of Reds). They have super strength, but the fact that they still have a mass comparable to a human has been leveraged against them. Their main weaknesses are divine symbols, fire, and sunlight, being damaging against them, and lethal only with sustained exposure (with fire, of course, requiring slightly less sustained exposure). They can also heal pretty quickly, given they have enough blood to metabolize. They can also pose as regular (albeit incredibly attractive) humans with a second skin called a flesh mask, which can be formed at will over a few seconds, and it provides them with some protection from sunlight. Elder vampires are hinted to be able to alter their flesh masks, allowing them to disguise themselves, and occasionally they happen to have other abilities (one vampire could mesmerize people with a look in the eyes, making them see the things she wanted them too). Lastly, they have narcotic saliva, which can be used to make prey more compliant and willing (imagine an incredibly hot individual who has a tongue than makes you feel great, numbed, and willing to go along with their suggestions), and they can create "renfielded" individuals by making them dependent on the effects of their saliva.
Most members of the Red Court are survivors of another Red Courts vampire's bite. These "dhampirs" have super strength, immortality, and super senses. Unfortunately, they also have a huge hankering for blood that they need to resist unless they want to become a vampire themselves. A group of rebellious Red Court dhampirs have gathered together as the Order of Saint Giles and are conducting a centuries-long guerrilla war on the Red Court. If a Red Court dhampir ever drinks blood, that is to make or fail to resist the choice of taking the life of another to sate their thirst, then they become a vampire.
The leadership is based around hierarchical system of nobility, the very top is a council of twelve who took the name of the Lords of Outer Night, and the Red King being placed above them, and he having taken the title of Kukulkan. Kukulkan has been the Red King for at least 4,000 years, ruling Central American civilizations from the shadows all the while, and nobody is quite certain where he comes from. The Lords of Outer Night have posed themselves as gods, members of one of the Central American patheons (probably Mayan, going by "Kukulkan"), for several thousand years, and the worship and devotion of mortals has allowed them to become deities in their own right; this means they become much more powerful, and exerting their force of will is like a form of telekinesis that most humans don't have a prayer of overcoming. While considered a nation unto themselves, they control several human nations in Central and South America, mostly through secretly pushing their cult and compulsion of key individuals through intimidation, addiction, or promises of vampirism. As a nation, they have several billion dollars worth of resources and entire villages of humans bred like cattle for consumption and occasionally proliferation, including children.
Kukulkan has ruled the red court for his entire life, though through the novels, his subordinates think that it's about time for his tenure to end. By the "present" in the novels, with the possible exception of a few sequel hooked individuals, the Red Court has been driven to extinction.
The White Court
Incubi and Succubi. The White Court are psychic vampires that mainly feed on psychic energy, mostly lust and desire. They appear the most human, having no secret form and no distinction except for glowing silver eyes when their powers are activated or their hunger is stoked. White Court vampires are more born than created; the son or daughter of a White Court vampire is a human born with a demonic symbiote called a "Hunger", and it manifests at puberty, and is awakened only when it sates itself for the first time the nascent vampire makes love for the first time. The effect is that their partner is drained to the point of death and the human scion of the White Court is transformed into a vampire. Female White Court vampires appear to be sterile (though this isn't confirmed).
The White Court is, in a few ways, the weakest of the Vampires. They're still physically superior to humans in every way, have an ability to regenerate from injury that's superior to the Red Court and much better than the Black Court, and when their power is activated, their strongest vampires can go toe-to-toe with a Black Court vampire. But every time their power is used, it draws from their Hunger, draining their "battery" each time, and one of the best ways to beat them is to exhaust their Hunger. They can inspire lust and devotion in their prey, advanced vampires or vampires with a long term relationship with their "food" being able to take the life force from their prey with a touch. At least one of their more humane vampires has developed a semi-functional romantic relationship with his prey, even with the predator-prey dynamic. To compensate the fact that they generally aren't as powerful and that they don't have the sustained power as their counterparts, the White Court has developed a culture of scheming and manipulation. (On the other hand, their relative weakness and tendency to act indirectly means they aren't enough of a threat to be worth exterminating like the Reds or Blacks were.)
The White King is the patriarch of the Raith family, known only as Lord Raith, and he maintains his position at the top of the heap with a long-earned reputation of being the most powerful White Court vampire and being the entire court's best manipulator. There are other families, presumably derived from Lord Raith's siblings. While House Raith feeds on and can inspire lust and desire, the lesser houses of Malvoras and Skavis have a similar relationship with fear and despair respectively, and it is implied in the RPG books there is another house that feeds on anger. The White Court derives at least as far back as the Etruscan civilization, which was one of Rome's neighbors about 21 centuries ago, and the ancient Etruscan language is still utilized by the Court in the present.
The only court that hasn't appeared directly in the novels. The Jade Court are Asian vampires that have the least details known about them, due to the fact that they're extremely secretive and isolationist, they largely constrain themselves to their bases in China's Yangtze River basin and the area around the South China Sea, and that most of the series takes place in North America. They likely date back to the Qin dynasty. They're currently holding themselves up in their homes while they see if the new People's Republic will collapse like previous Chinese governments. While very secretive, they have a reputation for being honorable and respecting the supernatural equivalent of the Geneva conventions. Next to nothing is known about their nature, but fan consensus is that they're Jiangshi, and probably feed on a victims qi.
There are reputedly at least 3 other courts in the 'verse, but they're fleas compared to the others, and thus not really worthy of mention.
Vampire: the Masquerade
VtM from White Wolf had a pretty good take on Vampires, consisting of an entire campaign setting surrounding Vampires, covering a range of playable clans from the uber-seductive Toreador (presumably what inspired the Twilight books though) to the feral Gangrel, the fucking ugly as shit Nosferatu to the batshit mental as fuck Malkavian. So pretty much the setting allowed players to play the vampire of their dreams.
The setting was real-world too, fitting into real-word mythologies using elements from biblical canon to explain itself away, using the origin story of Cain(e) & Abel and making Vampires to be Caine's cursed descendants, after learning how to master his blood magic from the equally outcast Lilith (Adam's first ex-wife according to Hebrew canon)
Vampire: The Requiem
Essentially a reboot of VtM above, VtR removed the Christian backstory and made vampires more mysterious, and condensed the vast array of playable clans down to five clans that embodied strong vampire archetypes and myriad sub-clans, "bloodlines", that further refined those archetypes.
The classic 1922 silent film is essentially a bootleg version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with a more copyright-friendly name. That doesn’t stop it though from coming up with a few original ideas; it’s notable for inventing the entire idea vampires burn in sunlight, something which has stuck with them ever since. However, the character of Count Orlok is a classic example of vampires being terrifying monsters which prey upon the living. Not much backstory is ever really given about him or vampires in this setting, but to defeat a vampire here, a pure maiden must sacrifice herself in order to vanquish him by exposing Orlok to sunlight. Orlok also has a noticeable rat motif going on, bringing rats with him when he moves to a new town, rats which spread the plague. His powers include telekinesis, levitation, some kind of mind control and turning into his own damn shadow. However, what everyone remembers is his appearance, which is now so iconic it's a go-to for making an especially creepy vampire.
Legacy of Kain
A series of video games from the 90's to the mid 2000's by Crystal Dynamics which has itself some rather unique ideas about vampires and their particular place in the dark fantasy setting of Nosgoth.
While the first game (Blood Omen) plays vampirism rather straight with a few extra tricks like telekinetically sucking blood, there are some vampires that do look rather monstrous when compared to the pale-skinned human the protagonist Kain is. Then came Soul Reaver, which sets itself in a distant shithole of a future where the world's about to end and the vampires are now all very inhuman, each with some very unique evolutions based upon their progenitors (like spider-vampires, mer-vampires, bat-like vampires with sonic blasts, etc.) alongside a developed immunity to sunlight. Even Kain himself looks more like a life-sized gargoyle than a person by this point. Raziel, the second protagonist, makes things even weirder by being an undead vampire who has to feed on souls because he lost his jaw.
Later games expanded upon this by revealing that vampires only became the bloodsucking monsters they are because of an ancient curse by a long-banished enemy that corrupted all vampires and stripped their reproductive abilities from them. With no way to sire vampires or cure their curse, they had to resort to necromancy (Which only made the corruption worse) and eventually became hunted down by greedy fuckwad humans. None of this is helped by the fact that everything's been run by the machinations of an eldritch Lovecraftian entity whose ultimate goal is to own all life in his cycle of life and death.
Monster Hunter International
Monster Hunter International has two types of vampires: Standard and Master. Vampires move faster than humans, drain blood, are weak to silver (like most monsters), holy stuff, faith, sunlight, can't enter buildings unless invited (though invitations are forever and welcome mats count), can be paralyzed with a stake and must be beheaded to kill. Master Vampires are all around stronger and have a few extra powers including only being weakened by a stake, mind reading, hypnotism, more powerful spawn and, rarely, turning to mist. How exactly master status is determined remains unclear, though they are only below Lich (who are very rare) in PUFF value. The second RPG implies normal vampires become masters through age, and in-character speculates the only young master known to exist got that way by using her monster hunting knowledge to feast on other monsters. Normal humans fed on by a vampire will spawn new vampires from their corpse if they die, regardless of how much time has passed, unless it is cremated or beheaded.
Vampires in the Monster Hunter International verse are, like all non-ghost undead, universally evil. Such universal ethics is notable, as there's at least one non-evil demon in the verse (though if he still counts as one is questionable), and at least one other reformed enough for a PUFF exemption. Fiction portraying sparkly, "friendly" vampires is well loved by vampires in this universe: It makes getting victims so much easier. The running jabs are, at least in part, Larry Correia's way of distancing himself from the other, much worse, Utah Mormon urban fantasy writer (though the work of Anne Rice gets a few jabs as well).
In Deadlands, vampires first appeared in the story/adventure module combination "Dime Novel" series, where the third volume "Night Train" featured the Great Rail War getting bloodier because evil Voodooist Baron LaCroix has gathered up a bunch of nosferatu and allowed them to set up shop in trains he's smuggled onto his rivals' tracks, allowing them to ravage the Weird West. The second major source was "Rascals, Varmints & Critters 2", which reprinted Nosferatu stats alongside states for Cinematic Vampires, Penanggalans and Ustrels. It also provided stats for Dracula himself and rules for playing a vampire in the Deadlands Classic system. Finally, "The Great Maze" introduced the Jiangshi and issue #3 of the official magazine "The Epitaph" finished the deal with Nachtzehers, Shtrigas and Upirs.
Vampire strains known to exist in the Deadlands universe consist of the following:
- Nosferatu (with a more powerful variant called the "Ancient Ones")
- Cinematic Vampire (your Gothic Horror style vampire, also a playable "race")
- Penanggalan (spelled with two Ls here)
- Ustrel (a child vampire born from a child who died of neglect, which prefers to feed on animals and has a voracious appetite)
- Nachtzeher (a fangless, ghoul-like vampire that chews on corpses to extract blood and which is marked by its heavily gnawed extremities, a result of its initial hunger upon rising)
- Shtriga (a female witch who feed on blood to fuel her magic and preserve her youth, characterized by her tendency of gorging herself until her belly bloats up like a pregnant woman's and she messily vomits up what she can't fit near the site of her kill)
- Upir (powerful vampires who prefer to strangle their prey before feeding from their tongue)
The vampire. No other vampire is more iconic than Dracula himself who, since his debute in Bram Stoker's novel, has become one of the most iconic villains in horror. In the original book, Dracula is very much implied to be Vlad the Impaler though not outright confirmed, though every single adaptation makes them one and the same. Dracula's abilities in the novel including shapeshifting into a bat and wolf, climbing up walls like a spider, hypnosis, turning into mist, being able to walk around in daylight (though weak while doing so) and a variety of others. Notably, Dracula is written as an elderly aristocrat at the start, but as time goes on, he seems to regain his youth as he kills more victims and demonstrates himself as being fairly competent and dangerous, while being fairly ruthless. Any work dealing with vampires that's set in the "real" world will reference him in one way or another. Strangely, Castlevania is pretty much the only thing that actually gives him the mustache the book describes him as having, probably because Bela Lugosi is so iconic. However he also has a tendency to become a demon as well.
In the videogame Darkest Dungeon, "Bloodsuckers" as the game insists on calling them for some reason are people who, depending on the person, suffer from/revel in what's called "The Crimson Curse," although the game doesn't make it clear whether this is a disease, an actual supernatural curse, a supernatural disease, or whatever.
The most notable feature of this setting's vampires is that they actually turn into mosquitoes instead of bats (and yes, even the guys suck blood).
History of the Vampire
In ancient cultures, there weren't any creatures called "vampires" or any word that roughly translates to "vampire"; however, stories were told of demons and spirits that drank blood or ate flesh. Even the devil was directly associated with the eating of flesh and drinking of blood, and the gods and goddesses of some cultures were credited with these activities.
The Persians were one of the first civilizations to have tales of blood-drinking demons: creatures attempting to drink blood from men were depicted on excavated pottery shards. Ancient Babylonia had tales of the mythical Lilitu, synonymous with and giving rise to Lilith (Hebrew לילית) and her daughters the Lilu from Hebrew demonology. Lilitu was considered a demon and was often depicted as subsisting on the blood of babies. However, the Jewish counterparts were said to feast on both men and women, as well as newborns. The closest this got to the idea of vampires in recent history was that some demons would possess corpses and then use them to drink the blood of people.
Medieval and European Vampires
Many of the myths surrounding vampires originated during the medieval period. The 12th century English historians and chroniclers Walter Map and William of Newburgh recorded accounts of revenants, though records in English legends of vampiric beings after this date are scant. These tales are similar to the later folklore widely reported from Eastern Europe in the 18th century and were the basis of the vampire legend that later entered Germany and England, where they were subsequently embellished and popularized.
During the 18th century, there was a frenzy of vampire sightings in Eastern Europe, with frequent stakings and grave diggings to identify and kill the potential revenants; even government officials engaged in the hunting and staking of vampires. This was due to a combination of hysterical accounts from deathbed-bound plague victims and the simple fact that symptoms of what we now know to be corpse decomposition (e.g. bloating, pallid "bluish" skin and leaking of apparent excess blood) wasn't a fully understood thing yet.
Despite being called the Age of Enlightenment, during which most folkloric legends were quelled, the belief in vampires increased dramatically, resulting in a mass hysteria throughout most of Europe.
The panic began with an outbreak of alleged vampire attacks in East Prussia in 1721 and in the Habsburg Monarchy from 1725 to 1734, which spread to other localities. Two famous vampire cases, the first to be officially recorded, involved the corpses of Peter Plogojowitz and Arnold Paole from Serbia. Plogojowitz was reported to have died at the age of 62, but allegedly returned after his death asking his son for food. When the son refused, he was found dead the following day. Plogojowitz supposedly returned and attacked some neighbours who died from loss of blood.
In the second case, Paole, an ex-soldier turned farmer who allegedly was attacked by a vampire years before, died while haying. After his death, people began to die in the surrounding area and it was widely believed that Paole had returned to prey on the neighbours. Another famous Serbian legend involving vampires concentrates around certain Sava Savanović living in a watermill and killing and drinking blood from millers. The folklore character was later used in a story written by Serbian writer Milovan Glišić and in the Serbian 1973 horror film Leptirica inspired by the story.
The two incidents were well-documented: government officials examined the bodies, wrote case reports, and published books throughout Europe. The hysteria, commonly referred to as the "18th-Century Vampire Controversy", raged for a generation. The problem was exacerbated by rural epidemics of so-claimed vampire attacks, undoubtedly caused by the higher amount of superstition that was present in village communities, with locals digging up bodies and in some cases, staking them.
Although many scholars reported during this period that vampires did not exist, and attributed reports to premature burial or rabies, superstitious belief increased. Dom Augustine Calmet, a well-respected French theologian and scholar, put together a comprehensive treatise in 1746, which was ambiguous concerning the existence of vampires. Calmet amassed reports of vampire incidents; numerous readers, including both a critical Voltaire and supportive demonologists, interpreted the treatise as claiming that vampires existed. In his Philosophical Dictionary, Voltaire wrote:
"These vampires were corpses, who went out of their graves at night to suck the blood of the living, either at their throats or stomachs, after which they returned to their cemeteries. The persons so sucked waned, grew pale, and fell into consumption; while the sucking corpses grew fat, got rosy, and enjoyed an excellent appetite. It was in Poland, Hungary, Silesia, Moravia, Austria, and Lorraine, that the dead made this good cheer."
The controversy only ceased when Empress Maria Theresa of Austria sent her personal physician, Gerard van Swieten, to investigate the claims of vampiric entities. He concluded that vampires did not exist and the Empress passed laws prohibiting the opening of graves and desecration of bodies, sounding the end of the vampire epidemics. Despite this condemnation, the vampire lived on in artistic works and in local superstition.
Celtic mythology features the Baobhan Sidhe, which resemble the archetypal modern horror vampire, as they are beautiful women who take the blood of men while "dancing" with them (usually in a murderous fashion), but have to return to their burial mounds before the rise of the sun. There is also the Lennan Sidhe, or Barrow Lover, who is the tamer, more good natured, monogamous style of vampire girlfriend, who inspires her pet artist but also drains him, sometimes driving him into an early grave. There's also Abhartach, a dwarf magician and tyrant who, according to legend, rose from the grave after he was killed and demanded the blood of his subjects. He was finally killed using a sword made from a specific type of tree wood.
Romanian mythology also contributes heavily to the modern, sociable, attractive notion of vampires, who seem to usually be gingers, and could sometimes pass unnoticed in human society or even procreate or marry; even female vampires could bear offspring. The children are usually fated to become vampires after death. Romanian vampires come in countless varieties, from evil spirits to owls to vampire babes to actual living witches. Romanian vampires potentially have a shot at becoming alive again -- it involves marrying a foreigner, changing their name and leaving the country, however, which sounds a lot less like "becomes human again" and more "sneaks off to bite people elsewhere." Idk, you tell us.
An outbreak of tuberculosis in the 19th century in New England caused a Vampire panic. Tuberculosis, also known as consumption, was understood to be caused when a dead relative began to drain the life of their surviving relatives. Corpses of the dead relatives were dug up and organs ritually removed, such as the heart, and burned to stop the vampire from attacking the local population. How this shit jived with the baptist and protestant communities is a mystery some nerd is probably writing a thesis on in quarantine. The Qanon of it's day, these practices were limited to New England and spread by a moral panic and some real panic but a complete lack of understanding of Tuberculosis. Notable figures are Mercy Brown of the Mercy Brown vampire incident of 1892. She and many of her family members died from consumption and the remaining ones, fearing for their lives, exhumed the dead. Mercy's body showed the least amount of decomposition having been stored in a crypt which acted like a freezer, and so gripped with idiot-boomer fear the town removed her heart and liver burned them. This story went national and collectively everyone looked on in horror at what the then-backwoods small townsfolk of New England were doing, and intervened to stop it.
Louisiana has a strong history of vampires within its folklore traditions. Many of these appear around the same time as the New England Vampire Panic and history nerds suspect an origin in tuberculosis. New Orleans being a dummy thick port city saw many travelers who would have easily spread diseases. With a very lax understanding of germ theory and more non-existent ways of containing them outside of ship quarantine, diseases spread fast. Many of the New Orleans/Louisiana vampire myths are heavily tangled New Orleans Voodoo. It is sometimes referred to as Mississippi Valley Voodoo to describe the wider region it is practiced in. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions developed by the West and Central African populations of the Louisiana area. Voodoo is one of many incarnations of African-based spiritual folkways, rooted in West African Dahomeyan Vodun. This subculture is an important staple of vampire fiction, with Louisiana being a recurring setting, as well as characters practicing voodoo. Important plants such as garlic may have found their way into vampire myths from voodoo wards. Do not confuse this with etsy witches appropriating plant theory. In the 1980s and 90s emo and goth subcultures split off and a few groups known as “Real vampires” began to form in New Orlands.
In the late 1800s, vampires were still widely regarded to be nasty little weirdos like Count Orlok, creeping around in the night looking freakish and completely the opposite of sexy. Literary examples go back as far as the 1740s, though the works that codified vampire as we'd come to know it wouldn't be codified proper until the 19th century, with the likes of Carmilla, Dracula and The Vampyre. Carmilla in particular was one of the first notable instances of a lesbian vampire, and actually predated Dracula by about 27 years. From this root a popular archetype would emerge, primarily in 20th Century film, of the lesbian vampire would who seduce a straight woman, the already-present themes of vampirism-as-sexual-predation amplified by the presence of a then-"taboo" sexuality, and people took notice of the unfortunate implications - once most of 'em finished fapping to it, anyway.
As for Dracula, the novel by Bram Stoker laid much of the groundwork for modern vampire stories: Dracula was originally a thin elderly man with a hooked nose, pointed ears, thick eyebrows, thick mustache, blue eyes that went flaming red when he was mad, and hairy palms, though his appearance became more youthful as he fed on blood. There were also three female vampires who lived with Dracula in an ambiguous relationship that held both familial and romantic/incestuous overtones, and they tried to seduce people into surrendering to them. This novel also added weather manipulation to the powers of vampires, though it's implied as a product of Dracula studying black magic rather than an inherent vampire ability (in fact, one oft-forgotten aspect of that novel is that Dracula was a practitioner of black magic even before he became a vampire, and that this was in fact the origin of his vampirism).
Though hints of their romantic and sometimes erotic aspects had long begun to manifest around the time of Carmilla, and even well before then, it was Tod Browning's adaptation of the aforementioned Dracula that elevated the vampire from their typical creepy unattractive status to the suave ladies' man inspired by the film's star Bela Lugosi. The film "rehabilitated" Dracula into an eloquent and charming (if manipulative) fellow, the likes of which would be firmly embedded into the public consciousness along with the traditional weakness to sunlight (which we incidentally owe to 1922's Nosferatu; before this, even Dracula himself could walk in broad daylight, though his powers were weakened, and if he'd shapeshifted he was stuck in that form until noon).
Lady-types developed a metaphorical hard-on for vampires, and vampires supposedly got literal hard-ons for ladies until 1976, when Anne Rice published the first book in her series, The Vampire Chronicles, which established a more... primal interpretation: Vampires had free will, but all of their needs paled before the all-consuming need for fresh blood to feed upon. This is where we started to see more classical portrayals, the vampire pulling triple-duty as sociopath, glutton, and sophisticate all at once.
Discussion of the vampire mythos and their descent into Suedom/Studom cannot be had without careful analysis of the culture at this time. Vampires, up through the 1980s, had always been associated with gothic horror - it's one of many reasons that there was such a resurgence of Victorian-style fashion amongst the Goth crowd, which admittedly a lot of /tg/ finds impossibly hot. Goth culture celebrated vampire mythos for this very reason; they were a worthy bit of admirable folklore, the source of many an interesting BBEG, and an inspiration for a lot of things in Goth culture. This "classical" archetype is what we would see with most Vampire portrayals throughout movies, comic books, television series, and so on during this time.
Sadly, in the early 1990s, cross-contamination by the "Emo" subculture caused this to bottom out in a parasitic fashion - Emo glutted itself on anything it could encounter and claimed that it belonged rightly to it, and Goth subculture, with its established fashion sense and habits, was a natural target. The prevalence of Emo bullshit caused the bulk of the Goth subculture to retreat back to its Victorian roots, but not before Emos had secured vampires as "their own." Similar fates would happen to other genres: Grunge, Punk, and even the Beat movement would all likewise be absorbed by Emo attempts to claim it, which is why many stereotypes - including Emo fashion, music stylings, and predilection towards poetry - persist to this day.
More relevant, however, is the damage that Emo subculture did to the popular perception of vampires, romanticizing them into individuals for whom the taste for blood was little more than a dietetic quirk. Identifying with the angst of the undead condition to the point of hanging all their pots on that one hook, these teenyboppers would drag the reputation of the vampire down to levels of "brooding wangsty limpdick loser" as it was increasingly associated with make-up, bad poetry, and incense lit to conceal the smell of pot so the "vampire kid's" parents don't come in and scold them in front of his friends from high school. Emos continue to drink tomato juice from plastic Halloween goblets, dress up like shitty vampires, and whine endlessly about how they supposedly hate life to this very day, whilst everyone else who remembers the good old days just shakes their head in disgust, goes "son, I am disappointed," and walks off, depressed.
...and then there was the Vampire: the Masquerade LARP scene. Yet even that paled in comparison to the influence of one infamous work...
The /tg/ Invasion
/tg/ at large became aware of Twilight shortly after the release of the first book, when random (presumably) teenyboppers and/or neckbeards began popping up on threads squeeing about seen this awesome new series with its SoKewl vampires and asking for advice on how to stat them out as characters — or worse, suggesting that they were superior to 'proper' vampires and should totally replace our icky night crawlers as a superior breed. These questions and "suggestions" were met with reasonable counterpoints, which became more eloquent after some few elegan/tg/entlemen actually read the book.
This rapidly expanded into a multiple-year-long discussion when the real-life popularity of the books (and later the movies) grew so great that it became impossible to avoid, and Edward Cullen became the poster boy and (especially) punching bag for vampires everywhere. /tg/ did what they did, raging day in and day out against the "dying" of the scary and badass monsters-of-the-night that vampires originally were - joined (somewhat surprisingly) by the rest of popular culture.
A pleasant byproduct of this backlash was the surge of more and more media that not only took the piss out of these overidealized sparkly wangsters, but eventually went fully in the opposite direction and made vampires actually frightening and dangerous again. Believe it or not, this was partly spurred by Edward Cullen himself - the actor who played Ed, Robert Pattinson, mentioned in interviews long after the fact that after reading the books he immediately made Ed for the creepy antisocial loser he was, and played his part to its logical conclusion.
The wellspring of righteous fury on the subject has long since run dry, aside from a brief revival in 2020, and even then it no longer has the cultural relevance to even halfway justify any further sustained vitriol - less of the frothing, passionate hatred of old that became well-ingrained into pop culture itself, and more of the apathetic "yeah, fuck that series" disdain that comes with hindsight and the passage of time.
Even after you filter for the usual population of folks who blow up at the slightest provocation, the Twilight invasions remain one of the most epic RAGE inducing eras of /tg/ history. And yet, for all that, the image of an all-powerful badass creature of the night that can be both repulsively monstrous and charmingly human retains its appeal, showing that sometimes, just sometimes... there's nothing wrong with just liking things. Even with the usual fleet of derivative hacks, a good idea is a good idea, and there's a reason the public is willing to remember them more often.
As a small side note, an occasional /tg/ sentiment is that there's possibly a better story hidden under all that Mormon schlicking material -- the vampire mechanics are not that bad, if you're not going to have them burn up in the sun, and the vague plotline of the first book ("'Vegetarian' vampires come into conflict with wandering criminal vampires") sounds like something that could make a fairly good Vampire or Hunter campaign.
Though vampires as a species have gone through the gamut in regards to what powers they do or don't have or how to identify one, there are some very common powers that a great number of vampires possess.
- Bloodthirst: THE defining feature. It occurs usually because vampirism is a product of black magic or demonic involvement, so it's either the price for all their powers, blood fuels their powers or something demons added because well... they're evil. Regardless of reasons such as simple survival, slaking an addiction or just sadism, almost all vampires have to drink blood, usually through their fangs. Also comes with bad side effects if they don't such as going blood-crazy like a rabid dog, weakening until they're paralyzed or dying. It also serves as the main source of conflict for vampires, as it can potentially lead to a conflict in conscience or morality by putting another's life at risk (if not ending it altogether) in order to preserve their way of life.
- Healing Factor: Like any self-respecting BBEG, a vampire's gotta have regeneration if they plan on living past one fight. Usually, drinking blood hastens the process. Anything that causes continuous harm (such as drowning or burning) might even overwhelm the healing factor.
- Hypnotism: As part of their drop-dead sexy, vampires tend to have some sort of hypnotic power, usually in the form of some entrancing gaze (For an example, look at Mephiston's Transfixing Gaze or Dio's flesh buds).
- Shapeshifting: Vampires tend to have some form of shapeshifting, even if it's just to conceal their less human features from unsuspecting eyes. There are also those vampires who can shapeshift into animals (typically bats, but they can also turn into wolves, rodents, and even mist). Some vampires can also shapeshift into more monstrous forms, reserved for when they're truly pissed off.
- No Reflections: For whatever reason, vampires do not show up on mirrors, but anything they wear does. Sometimes this is played with, like making it that they only show up on mirrors not lined with silver or making them not show on photos. It's usually a dead giveaway that vampires aren't human.
- No Shadows: When in a room without mirrors (which can happen quite a bit depending on setting), a vampire's inability to cast a shadow might be a giveaway. Just pray that said shadow isn't planning on double-teaming you.
- Shadow Magic: Whenever vampires are allowed to use magic, they tend to focus on using shadows or necromancy. Telepathy is another frequent power, especially when communicating to lackeys/vassals.
Just like the features of vampires, their weaknesses have also gone through various interpretations, but they usually follow some common tropes.
- Sunlight: Despite what pop culture says, sunlight doesn't always kill vampires. Even in Stoker's classic, sunlight really just hampered Dracula's power to the point that he's effectively powerless. Again, thank Nosferatu for that particular bit of suck sauce. Of course, some settings have vampires be resistant enough to sunlight that it just irritates, if it bothers at all. And then there are those that just...turn into fucking sparkles upon exposure to sunlight. Whatever the case, sunlight's not a nice thing to a vampire, so they tend to sleep in their coffins to pass the time.
- Stakes: Yes, the other trademark weakness. By piercing a stake (usually of either silver or wood) through a vampire's heart, sometimes at a crossroad, you can effectively cancel out their blasphemous regenerative properties and kill them for good...then again, this is just as lethal to normal folks and tax collectors/recruiters.
- Decapitation: Another weakness that's just as lethal to normal people!
- Holy power: Since vampires are almost universally unholy creatures if not being demonic themselves, the power of God or gods is a major weakness of theirs. This includes things such as holy water, holy objects (some vampires can't even touch a copy of the Bible) and symbols; Crosses are a popular choice, especially if there's a demonic/Satanic element to vampires, though in some settings it's based on faith rather than divine power or they don't work. These can repel, hurt or even outright kill vampires. Certain substances can also be effective such as thorns - like Crosses, deriving power from Christ's crucifixion ala the Crown of thorns - or salt because the purifying properties of salt extend to the supernatural or it just repels evil spirits. Sometimes this ties into staking, because for the Stake to kill them it has to be from wood that's either blessed or considered holy. Most modern versions nerf this to require someone use these objects to channel True Faith in order to avoid asserting a single religion is correct. This can even extend to non-religious faith, like to communism, being able to do the job.
- Silver: Silver works fine enough on werewolves, why not use your silvered weapons here too? Interestingly, in some stories werewolves could change into vampires giving another reason for the shared weakness.
- Running Water: For some vampires, running water, be it rivers or aqueducts, is an effective way to block them off, even when they could just fly over it. Maybe it's because it reminds them of blood flowing in veins. Maybe it's because water's acidic to them, as is the case in the Legacy of Kain series.
- Garlic: A persistent weakness involved vampires having a phobia of garlic, originally because superstition (a lot of cultures thought garlic was a symbol of health or holiness) and nowadays because it's frankly hilarious. Expect vampires to be crippled by it either because of how it smells awful or because it has some sort of property that's lethal to them like some supernatural food allergy. Then again, some vampires can't taste a thing and wouldn't even notice.
- Arithomania: In case you ever wanted to mention a very petty or stupid weakness, there's spreading sesame seeds somewhere - some vampires have a obsessive-compulsive need to count the fuckers - even when it leads to them counting until sunrise. This plays into the demonic factor, as in some folklore and mythology demons are very OCD.
- Permission: Another very unusual habit some vampires have is their inability to enter a residence without permission. This usually plays hand in hand with their hypnotic factor, but if denied, they'll just pace around angrily until they can try again if they don't decide to go to greener pastures.
Sexy, Sexy Vampires
|This article or section is about Monstergirls (or a monster that is frequently depicted as a Monstergirl), something that /tg/ widely considers to be the purest form of awesome. Expect PROMOTIONS! and /d/elight in equal measure, often with drawfaggotry or writefaggotry to match.|
When Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stoker wrote their vampire novels (Carmilla and "Dracula" respectively) in the 1800s, setting up the modern vampire, both included heavy erotic themes from the gate. Carmilla was as much a lesbian stalker as you could make a character in 1871 and invented the b movie staple of the “lesbian vampire”. While ol' Drac himself was not exactly portrayed as the handsomest individual, the book's scenes of Dracula's attacks on sleeping women had a darkly erotic undertone (and two of Drac's attacks on women who are awake read like rape scenes) that women readers instantly picked up on. Add in Dracula's far more handsome portrayal by actor Bela Lugosi in the first ever film depiction, and you had the beginnings of the vampire's descent into sexual fandom amongst the growing Goth movement. Add in Anne Rice's sexually charged Vampire Chronicles books, and thus the "Vampires Are Sex Gods" trope was born.
Though it initially tended to be the male vampires who get presented in this light, dominating the niche genre of "supernatural romance" for women by an enormous margin, there are MORE than enough voluptuous, sexually provocative female vampires in media that monstergirls fans aren't left entirely in the dust.
In fact, it's not actually unprecedented; the Balkans had stories of Dhampirs, the offspring of vampires and their human wives, for centuries before Anne Rice put pen to paper, so people have been seeing vampires as sexy for a pretty long time.
In the Monster Girl Encyclopedia, the vampire is presented as a kind of succubus with a taste for bloodplay and an affinity for necromancy. They are arrogant, conceited tsunderes, demanding only the very best in a potential human mate. Unless you feed them garlic, whereupon they turn into a horny, submissive slut.
If you're including them in your setting...
If you're including vampires in your worldbuilding, you should probably decide what general metaphor and niche you're going for.
To provide some examples of niches:
- The inhuman monsters who are merely pretending to be human.
- The tortured and persecuted people struggling with their inhuman and/or monstrous wants and/or needs.
- Both of the above, with the more inhuman ones being the ones who fall off the slippery slope.
- Always Enemy Mook types, who it's perfectly okay for protagonists to murder by the bucketful.
- Superhuman badasses who in turn have some very obvious vulnerabilities.
- In other words: A just about perfect opponent for an "asymmetric warfare" scenario.
And some of the more obvious metaphors to reach for:
- Human predators, whether social or physical.
- "Aristocrats are evil parasites" cliches made literal.
- Violent criminals generally.
- The inhuman creature who mainly serves as an exploration of immortality.
- On the positive side, it's fairly easy to make "attempting to be good" vampires into "recovering addict" metaphors.
The two most important questions are "Are they protagonist material?" and "Are they by default antagonists?"--and it's quite possible to answer "Yes" to both, with the "good guy" vampires being in some way the exception to the rule (for example, a spell exists to grant a vampire a human soul)--or, for that matter, "no" to being default antagonists (for example, if they don't need to kill when they feed, nor do they have to feed on humans, "civilized" vampires may emerge).
Another question to ask is whether you want to give them an animal motif, and if so, what animal. There are actually a number of options here. There's the obvious classical bat, but that connection actually only arose when European settlers arrived at North America and learned that some of the bats there drink blood; prior to that, vampires turned into wolves. The film Nosferatu actually gave Orlok (yes, that was the vampire's name) a plague rat motif. And as mentioned above, the Bloodsuckers of the videogame Darkest Dungeon brilliantly utilize a mosquito motif, and then there's a mod for that game where an individual of a different strain comes along who has a leech motif.