Welcome to the party, have a drink my dear. You would be surprised to see what will be on the menu this time around... Or rather, who.
With many attempts of achieving immortality, some people found a way to prolong their lives via consuming that of others. Referred to as Vampirism with the victims known as Vampires, it is a curse that grants one eternal youth at the cost of their humanity.
The Basics of Vampirism
Vampirism is when an entity drains the lifeforce of a living being. Since for many it resides within their blood, one is forced to make victims bleed to obtain it.
By consuming the essence, one is capable of adding time to their lifespan. A few droplets might only give seconds, while buckets worth can add full-on years. Hence why such practises often result in bloodshed, drinking blood like water.
How one achieves this varies from person to person. One can drink it straight from the veins, others bleed their victims dry, while some even skip the blood to go straight for the lifeforce. Everything from natural traits to artefacts get used, sometimes both at the same time. In the end, there's no limit to how people rob somebody from their life essence.
The Slow Decline
Of course, for every benefit consuming lifeforce has, it also has downsides. Over time, the body starts losing their own essence, leading to the Vampire starting to rely on it to survive.
Like a drug, it becomes addictive, with Vampires that stop their feeding suffering from Withdrawal. Physical and mental health decline, causing scars that damage both permanently. Age will catch up, the body starts rotting and higher mental capabilities break down.
One can downright go feral if not careful with it. It is why younger Vampires maintain some sense of humanity, while ancient ones get aggravated at the lightest form of hostility.
While many drain life to extend their own, Vampirism might come with some extra side-effects. One of them being acquiring skills of the victims, such as their knowledge and even magic.
The problem is that not all blood is good for Vampires, being able to cause some nastier effects. Most of them are mental, from fake memories forming to forgetting their very own. With enough decades, a Vampire might not even remember their past anymore.
Society of Bloodsuckers
As the constant need of blood and victims is the driving point of most Vampires, they form connections to make it easier. With enough wealth and ties, they can turn places into feeding grounds where nobody would miss a person or two. Whether it be criminals taken from their cells to feasting on the poor of the city.
But as one Vampire might claim a city, others get attracted by the rumours. With enough time, nobility is replaced by their kin, accelerating the bloodshed they might cause. Either they work together to exploit the system, or betray eachother to claim the region for their own. Both can even happen, leading to Vampiric clans fighting over territory.
Regardless of the situation, it's rare for a society of Bloodsuckers to stay formal for long. Once demand outweighs supply, it's only a matter of time before the first nobles fall... If the common folk don't find out about it sooner.
They're great actors until they see the first drop of blood. Then you may witness the sight of someone who long ago lost any dignity they once had.
While their blood sucking can provide Vampires powerful abilities, not all of them come from it. Many Vampires have a long history with arcane research, as their prolonged lives allow them to practise as they please. Everything from abjuration to transmutation, both the common spells taught in schools to the lost arts from centuries ago.
Through this, they create an illusion of what Vampirism is capable of. From the shapeshifters that stalk the night to the total obedience their words can cause, all to disorient the common folk. And as people have no idea what to expect, Vampires become harder to predict.
In the same vain, anonymity is crucial to the life of a Vampire. While there are those that show off, most prefer to keep up a disguise during daily life. Hence why illusions and disguises are common, even when meeting other Vampires. In a world where anyone can hunt you down, having a disguise is always handy.
Slaying the Threat
Of course, with the lurking threat of Vampires also comes the attempts to slay them. Unsurprisingly, since they are Undead, holy items are efficient at handling their kind.
While they don't have a fatal fear of them, it can hold a Vampire back or tamper with their powers when near an idol or artefact. If one seeks to kill a Vampire, a proper stake through the heart made of holy wood works well. Regular wooden stakes can work too, but it only incapacitates them rather than straight up kill.
The importance is that a Vampire has the stake stay in until the body disintegrates. Depending on both their age and how well-fed they are, it can take anywhere from seconds to minutes to slay one. Removing it early can make some survive, even if crippled to some degree.
Sunlight is also effective, although it needs to be direct skin contact for it to work. Even spells that mimic the nature of sunlight work too, making it crucial in most Vampire hunter kits.
While Vampires often occur in a more willing form, sometimes they occur naturally. Entities like the Jiangh-Shi and Vetala Vampires for example come from improper burials. They lack any proper society, instead being more Undead predators hunting any prey they encounter.
Their weaknesses can also differ from regular Vampires, including common ones like stakes and sunlight. Hence it is important to know what Vampire one is dealing with, should you need to get rid of it in the first place.
Vampire Spawn & Dhampirs
Although it is believed that Vampires can produce more Vampires, that isn't the case. Instead, either through bite or magic, they create Vampire Spawn, or lesser Vampires. While still having an unquenched thirst for blood, they lack major parts of a Vampire's skillset. The only way they become a full-blown Vampire would be to feast on blood long enough to complete the transformation.
In the same vain, Vampires can create offspring through rituals, resulting in Dhampirs. These half-bloods have some Vampiric traits of their father, but maintain a sense of humanity their mother had. However, the taboo around them makes their kind rare, as neither side has fond opinions on them.
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild