Creatures that were once Elves, but which were twisted by foul magic into blood drinking creatures of the night, Vampires are a force to be reckoned with, not just because of their impassive, predatory attitude towards other humanoids, whom they regard as tools at best and food at worst, but also because they are immensely intelligent and are capable of all manner of evil, manipulation and cruelty. Though the exact knowledge of how they came into being has been lost to the collective memories of most peoples, it is thought that the first Vampire was originally and Elf, who was renowned for being a potent spell caster. However, this individual became obsessed with cheating death, to the point where they dabbled with all manner of hideous necrotic magic, which eventually backfired and turned them into the first Vampire.
Physically, Vampires are very akin to Elves, with the exception that they tend to be slightly larger in terms of height and bulk; their skin is much paler, frequently described as being a deathly pallor; they primarily have either black or red pupils in their eyes and; their top row canines are significantly larger and more prominent. One notable thing about the anatomy of Vampires is that they are incredibly sensitive to light. Not only can their eyes only tolerate a small amount of sunlight, their skin burns even from brief exposure and these burns are so severe that if a Vampire is not removed from sunlight quickly the burning may well end up being fatal.
Genetics and Reproduction
One of the effects of the dark magic that turned them into the creatures that they are, is that Vampires cannot reproduce on their own, though they can still engage in sexual activity. Instead, Vampires can choose to pass on their curse to those that they feed upon, which converts the victim through a reportedly incredibly painful transformation into a Vampire themselves.
Growth Rate & Stages
As most new Vampires are created when the humanoids they had once been were already adults, they do not go through a period of growth once their transformation has been completed, though most individuals will find that they become slightly taller and unnaturally stronger as part of the initial transformation. However, children who are transformed into Vampires do still go through their normal humanoid growth stages, though the Vampiric curse elongates this process enormously. For example, whilst in humans the period of adolescence is about ten years, it can last up to 500 years for a Vampire. Rumour has it that children who are transformed and then grow as up Vampires are by far the strongest and most powerful of their fell kind.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Vampires need blood to survive and though they can drink the blood of any mortal creature, millennia of experience has given them a strong preference for the blood of humanoids, to the point where a Vampire would have to be truly desperate to drink the blood of any other creature.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Theoretically as they are highly adaptive creatures, Vampires can live anywhere. However, on the whole they will tend to prefer areas where there is a lot of cover or inside areas, be that through tree cover, urban environments etc., and they will tend to avoid large open areas, or areas that get a lot of intense sunlight during the day, such as deserts. As Vampires stemmed originally from Elves, they naturally tend to prefer living in urban areas, partly because as a species they have always been used to the creature comforts that a town or city provides, but also because such areas provide an ample supply of humanoids to prey upon.
Whilst it is not true of all Vampires, on the whole they are incredibly intelligent creatures. This is partly because they are so long lived, so have centuries and millennia during which they can increase their knowledge in all manner of subjects, as well as experience all manner of the circumstances life can throw up; but partly also because Vampires tend to be naturally picky about which humanoids they purposefully turn into a new Vampire and which they simply use as sustenance. In general Vampires will only turn humanoid that meet certain standards of beauty, intelligence and aptitude in their own eyes and will rarely turn someone who doesn’t match their exacting standards.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
As nocturnal creatures, Vampires have superb night vision, to the point where they can see in the dark to the same level of detail that a humanoid would be able to see in daylight. They also have an excellent sense of smell, to the point where it has been suggested that they can not only detect a humanoid that is within a mile of location, but can also identify individuals using only their sense of smell. Vampires are also incredibly magically sensitive, with almost all of them being able to wield the arcane arts to a higher standard than even the Arch Arcanists of the Imperial College of Arcanists. Combined with this is an inherent ability to shape-shift, though this is limited to them polymorphing between simple beast forms, with bats and cats being the most common, and a form reminiscent of a wisp of mist.
Civilization and Culture
Because they cannot be born to a mother and a father as other humanoids would be, Vampires instead are renamed at the completion of their transformation. They will be given a first name; which are normally are old Elven in character and a surname; which is the first name of the Vampire who created them, combined with the Elven word for progeny or spawn – ital. So for example, a newly transformed Vampire created by one with the first name Trimal would be given the surname Trimalital.
Major Language Groups and Dialects
As they stem originally from Elves, most Vampires speak Elven as their mother tongue, and many, particularly those that dwell in Ymeris do not speak any of the languages commonly spoken in the Empire of Turelion or its provinces. Their long lives, intelligence and ample academic resources means that many Vampires also speak other more academic or rare languages.
Common Etiquette Rules
Vampires exist in a gerontocratic social system, whereby the older a Vampire is, the more prestige and influence they hold. As a result, younger Vampires will always be expected to show deference to their elders whenever they enter the presence of an older Vampire – usually through a bow. They are also expected to be loyal to and uphold the lineage that they have been created in – with Vampires regarding the individuals that spawned them as a mother or father, with a whole network of pseudo familial relationships spreading out from that. As a result, the oldest Vampires are heads of huge dynasties of creatures beneath them, making them a powerful force to be reckoned with.
Interspecies Relations and Assumptions
Given that they prey on humanoids for food, Vampires on the whole tend to have a bad relationship with the vast majority of the other sapient species who dwell on the surface of Kelbonnar. Elves, those who live in single species communities like Sparos in particular, find Vampires particularly abhorrent, primarily because the first Vampires where once Elves themselves. However, since the establishment of the Empire of Turelion, the relationship between Vampires and the Imperial establishment has improved enormously. Machestaro I made a rare point of opening diplomatic relations with the major Vampire Kingdom, Ymeris, primarily it is thought because he did not want to drive such a large nest of the creatures underground, where they might cause all sorts of havoc within his new and still very fragile Empire. Whilst Machestaro I managed to broker a treaty of friendship and mutual cooperation with Ymeris, diplomatic relations between the two improved yet again when successive Emperors realised that the Vampires of Ymeris were an effective population suppressor for the Exiled Tribes who dwelt in the north of the Spiny Mountains, helping to keep them in check and through that curtailing their raiding activities in the north of Norgantho and Greltor Provinces. More recently still, since the cessation of Nova Norgantho from the Empire in 490AIF, the subsequent Emperors have been keen to impress on their Vampiric friends that they should view the Rebel state as another feeding ground, something which they have reportedly taken up with relish. So popular has the effects of Vampires living near areas of discontent and pockets of rebellion that the The Imperial Court has for centuries now encouraged the settling of Vampires, with gifts of land and purpose built keeps across the Empire, hoping that their presence will help to keep the local populace in check. It is also believed that Vampires in general have regular contact with species that dwell in the Underdark, though as the Imperial Policy on the Underdark is to deny the existence of sapient species below the ground, to what extent Vampires engage with the denizens there and the exact nature of their relationship is hard to quantify.
Unless they are killed by the hand of another creature, contract a fatal illness, or cannot find enough food to sustain them, it is believed that Vampires are immortal.
On average between 5'5" to 6'5".