Vampires were an early, aggressive jump during the Third Age towards a "perfect" human. The attempt was made for an immortal being with enhanced strength and mental ability. In the process, the created species became allergic to sunlight, to the extent that bright lights weaken them. Strength and mental ability were successfully enhanced. A secondary effect was increased physical beauty, despite their pale skin. The lifespans of this experiment were indeed extended, but with the requirement that certain components of their blood be replenished on a regular basis. While it was possible, this was provided by artificial means. However, once the virus that wiped out most of humanity spread, those artificial means were generally lost, even though the species itself was not affected. For a period of time the vampires earned their name by drinking the blood of humans. However, a large faction of the vampires split off and began using magic to regenerate those needed components. When magic returned, vampires also gained additional abilities. Their strength and speed increased beyond their already enhanced abilities. Their mental abilities were expanded to allow them to mentally influence others. Finally, their sustenance comes from the magic around them rather than food. They still require frequent replenishment of their blood. While vampires are rumored to be able to turn into bats and/or mist, they are not capable of any form of shape shifting. Rather, their ability to mentally influence others allows them to manifest those beliefs in the minds of others.