There are many schools of thought out there, some old as mankind itself about the Vampires, arguing about something fictional would be futile, so for my own storyline, I combined a few old myths with artistic freedom to form the creatures I wanted to have in my own game and storyline (and legacy).
THE ANATOMY OF A VAMPIRE:
At the very core, any Vampire looks and to a degree acts exactly like a mortal, because all of them, at some point, were mortals.
A Vampire is basically a form of mutation, shutting down all food processing systems of the human body as well as the heartbeat, while forming other ways to absorb a different sustenance, blood/plasma. Aging becomes significantly slower than for mortals, most seem to be stagnant at somewhere around 25-35 years of age, but every several centuries in any Vampire’s life some aging process continues, very slowly, meaning you will see some ancient Vampires with wrinkles, and other signs of old age.
The mutation into a full Vampire also allows teleportation. How exactly that is possible has still not been fully explored, but it is a trained skill that takes most Vampires years to master.
Vampires are either turned or born naturally with what is called ‘the spark’, which makes them turn into Vampires upon reaching puberty. That ‘spark’ cannot be stopped, there is no way of keeping them from turning when the time comes. Before that, they have heartbeats and appetites and the ability to process food like any mortal can, but their blood types don’t register, a telltale sign that a baby was born with ‘the spark’. Vampire children can withstand the sunlight but cannot tan. Another subtle telltale sign.
Once the puberty hormones trigger the mutation, the change is the same as for an adult being turned into a Vampire.
Vampire fangs grow in permanently and are not retractable, unlike some myths claim. Along with the lack of heartbeat and noticeable coldness radiating from them they are the telltale giveaway that is hard to hide while trying to blend in with regular mortals, as is the inability to eat, which can be circumvented by taking a special serum. While the food will be expelled unprocessed later, it gives the appearance of normalcy among mortals. All Vampires can drink clear liquids without issue, not requiring any serums.
Vampires see and hear better than mortals and have a sort of special sense for other occult, which needs to be trained to be fully functional and reliable. Same is true for compulsion, a sort of hypnotic mind-control skill.
Vampires are capable of reproduction, producing viable offspring through birth rather than turning is always preferred to preserve and continue genetics. Once a Vampire reaches Elder Status, usually around 250 years by mortal count, even though they may still look young, the chances for successful reproduction are near zero. Attempts with a very young mortal can have some success, but it’s exceedingly rare.
Contrary to popular belief Vampires can die, just not of natural causes by simply running out their clock. There are several ways to kill a Vampire, and there have been instances of them committing suicide. Newly turned Vampire left without their Sire or another Vampire to teach them usually don’t make it past the first week, unable to feed themselves and find proper shelter from sun exposure reaps them quickly.
Sun exposure is still the leading cause of death for most Vampires, even though most modern Vampires are daywalkers, capable of withstanding sun exposure to certain degrees, but if weakened by lack of feeding, injuries or poison any Vamp exposed to sun they won’t have a prayer.
There are several toxins lethal to Vampires, most notable and widely available is concentrated garlic oil, which is deadly to all Vampires, even the strongest and most ancient ones.
When a Vampire dies, they instantly progress to the age they would naturally be, in most cases hundreds of years old, which is the reason why most fall to dust, leaving nothing but a memory behind. More recent turns will leave a body that can be buried as with any regular mortal.
Vampires are split into two main groups, those born as such and those turned. Natural born Vampires are always more powerful and stronger than those turned later, and hence often seem to feel superior over ‘turns’, just like as a general rule, all Vampires feel superior to mortals.
All turnings require prior authorization by the Grand Master Elder (aka coven leader, the highest ranking of all Vampires, basically, their “King”, in my storyline this would be Caleb Vatore ever since he defeated Vlad Straud almost a century and change ago), or the offender will be punished severely. Usually turning a mortal will involve a special ritual, but there have been accidents circumventing that ritual still resulting in a successful turn.
New turns become the warden (aka offspring) of the Vampire who Sired them, who is responsible to mentor their offspring until they are a full member of the Vampire society. Failure to do so once again results in severe consequences.
All Vampires are bound by a set of very firm, unbendable rules and by extensive tomes of laws. As with any society most abide by laws and just want to live their lives peacefully, while others succumb immortal or sinister ideas and become a problem, not only for mortals, but are what the Vampire community considers ‘Rogues’, dangerous rebellious Vampires, endangering this secret society further, risking bad publicity and exposure.
Any failure to abide by the strict Vampire laws and rules always results in punishment by the Grand Master Elder. Punishment depends on the offense, it can be small, such as several hours of additional studies and training all the way to incarceration, exile or even execution. Rogues are almost always executed on sight.
It is strictly forbidden to feed on underaged or pregnant or otherwise weakened mortals. Likewise, is it forbidden to feed publicly and without consent. Blood-alternatives, such as artificial blood and plasma fruit are strongly encouraged.
Killing anyone, but particularly other Vampires or mortals is punishable by death.
It used to be prohibited for Vampires to engage in romantic relationships with other species, but those rules have since been loosened, except for Werewolves, the archenemy to any Vampire, much like Witchfolk. Witches/Witchers are the ultimate Vampire Hunters, have been throughout history. Witches’ blood increases a Vampire’s strength dramatically, often giving them special skills, making them the preferred meals for the ancient Vampires, so to save their kind from extinction the Witchfolk were responsible for starting the monstruous myths about Vampires causing mortals to fear and hunt them as bloodthirsty, heartless monsters dwindling their numbers at lightning speed, leaving them no choice but to hide in places inaccessible to mortals, meaning far away from access to blood to feed on. This, in turn caused the Vampires to start the well-known witchhunts which resulted in eradication of most of the Witch/Witcher population until both species were down to small numbers of well-hidden survivors here and there. All this left enough bad blood between the species to make any truce or treaty between them very volatile. Werewolves are very feral at the core with a natural, primal hatred for the Vampires. No records of any long-term successful attempts of peace between the two have been recorded.
Grand Master Elder Caleb Vatore is the oldest and most powerful and experienced Vampire in existence, admired and respected almost like a King. From Vatore Castle in Forgotten Hollow he governs over all Vampires worldwide.
Caleb rules as just as he can, with his nephew Riordan Vatore being his right hand and advisor. Caleb’s son Caelan and his son Connell are his highly skilled and trained Punishers, they hunt and apply punishment according to Caleb’s rulings on perpetrators as well as protecting the coven members from outside threats. That position is admired and feared alike. Despite the fact that it constantly requires the holders of the position to put their own lives as risk, it is also a grand honor and has to be awarded by the Grand Master Elder like a knighthood in medieval times or handed down from forefathers.
Vampires are an ever evolving, highly adaptable, but also a very ancient society and unfortunately for many older covens that often means old-fashioned gender segregation, casting females in the often unfavorable and unwanted gender role of mothers and caretakers with little influence on politics or say in large decisions. Obviously, that does not resound well with the younger crowd, often splitting the Vampire society further into the ancients and the moderns.
While the majority of Vampires prefer to keep among their own kind living in Forgotten Hollow, some, old and new, choose to ‘hide in plain sight’, meaning they live among the mortals, most of the time because they are in a relationship with a mortal. Most of the time they live among the mortals without anyone knowing who and what they really are, except of course those closest to them, as it is still rare that Vampires expose themselves to anyone they are not related to by blood or bonded to in another way.
Worldwide, Vampires are met with a shared reception, after their existence was exposed very publicly and undeniably some decades ago now. There are those who just accept them as a fact of life and move on as before, which seem to be the majority. That majority is further split into those that don’t mind befriending or even potentially welcoming a Vampire into their fold, and those who prefer them at a distance. And then there are the extremists, split into those who absolutely idolize them, sometimes crossing the line into unhealthy obsession and the total opposition, which can be dangerous as they have been known to rally the people against them, driving them out of towns or even secretly hiring Vampire Hunters, hoping to eradicate them on a large scale.
All Vampires prefer all-black outfits for probably very obvious reasons, rather than a mere fashion statement. It is much easier to blend into the background in dark, not too memorable clothing, especially when trying to find a place to port away from or to without being detected doing so.