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The term 'vampire' is a catchall that describes humanoid predators which consume either blood or spiritual energy ("spiritus vitae") to survive. They come in a variety of species and with wildly varying natural or physical properties, some mystical and some genetic in nature. There are many subspecies, variants, wildcards and unique entities that escape the categorization here.

Biology of Vampires

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Homo Vampiris
The most commonly encountered vampire is Homo Vampiris. These are largely human in terms of their physical characteristics, and are all distantly descended from a specific progenitor: Vlad Drakul. They are significantly more common in America than Europe due to powerful European covens edging them out for resources and territory. Being more tolerant to sunlight, H. Vampiris visited the New World much earlier and more successfully.

Their affliction is genetic and transmitted through forcing humans to consume vampire blood. Their bodies can no longer produce hemoglobin unless it's harvested from a living mammal. These vampires are very resistant to pain and physical trauma. Sunlight is unpleasant but not immediately fatal. Silver provokes a severe allergic reaction. Coagulated human blood is a powerful sedative. Vampirism makes them extremely resilient and allows them to operate at peak physical capability, but it is not typically what one would call 'superhuman'. The only methods of reliably killing them are decapitation or dismemberment. Extreme trauma to the cardio or central nervous system can neutralize them as well. H. Vampiris look human but have additional teeth in their mouth that aid with exsanguinating their target. H. Vampiris have subtle powers of telepathy and mental influence. Older and stronger vampires are capable of a hypnotic effect and even telepathic communication with their progeny. H. Vampiris can eat normal food but require blood to survive. They are unaffected by icons of faith.

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Hominus Nocturne
Hominus Nocturne are a vastly more powerful cousin to H. Vampiris. H. Nocturne comes from a much older progenitor-- Drake and Akasha. Selective breeding and recruitment keeps several 'pureblood' hereditary lines in good health and with great powers of their own. Many arranged marriages of Europe owe their existence to the influence of these breeding programs. Whereas H. Nocturne is largely a genetic disorder, vampires of the H. Vampiris strain are almost universally a product of deranged and forbidden magic.

Noble vampires are extremely sensitive to sunlight, purified silver, and garlic, with fatal results. They are significantly faster and stronger than humans. The strongest can lift several thousand pounds and and dodge bullets. H. Nocturne often exhibit low-level telepathic abilities and influence that can grow over time. The older vampires can change their physical appearance and create distracting and confusing mental effects among humans. They are extremely resilient and can recover from even major injuries and wounds if exposed to sufficient fresh blood. Regular consumption of blood is necessary or they will die. Many can affect something akin to flight, effortlessly defying gravity to scale walls. Fire, sunlight, garlic, and dismemberment are effective means of destroying them. The conflict of once-human spiritus and profane energies that keep a vampire alive make them highly vulnerable to consecrated objects. They are unable to enter consecrated ground without being severely harmed. Holy symbols worn or wielded by a person of faith are very dangerous to vampires. A crucifix worn casually around the neck would be of little protection; one that was a gift for a First Communion would be a potent defense.

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The Black Court
The Black Court is the source of the ancestral legend of the living undead. These are H. Vampiris who have embraced an existence as the living dead, their souls profaned and polluted into something truly monstrous. Black Court vampires are universally powerful and dangerous creatures. The only sustenance they truly require is fresh vitae. Their individual mutations are unique and unpredictable. Most of them are capable of regenerating near-instantly from physical trauma. Others have superhuman senses, can transform into small animals or vermin, or even walk between planes of existence. Black Court vampires are solitary creatures who even other vampires avoid.

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These creatures of myth originate in the ancient era of Chinese mythology. Jiangshi are the end result of a mortal soul damning itself by taking a mortal life. They have a profound hunger for the spiritus vitae of the mortal soul. Instead of harvesting this by drinking blood, they steal the breath of their victims. Those who survive this experience are left shriveled and traumatized, mentally and physically.

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Half-vampires, or demi-vampires, are extremely rare and a product of unique magical circumstances or genetic mutations. Notable Dhampirs include the man known as Michael Morbius and the Hunter known as Blade. Dhampir abilities vary wildly; some are immune to sunlight, others don't have the Thirst. Most are tortured souls, distrusted by even those who wage war against vampire society. Dhampirs are effectively sterile. Deliberate efforts made to replicate the process of creating Dhampirs or preserving their genetic legacy have been universally failures.



The functional difference among low-level vampires is often a matter of academic interest only. Young vampires are much hardier than mortals, but are not impervious to injury. It can take many decades for a vampire to grow strong enough to attain truly superhuman abilities.

Vampires have a strong pack mentality and tend to have only one leader in any given enclave or group, no matter the size. The largest groups are known as covens, and serve a second purpose as a diplomatic neutral ground for mediation. The leaders of covens convene to discuss issues like feeding habits, management of pooled assets, and alerts about anti-vampiric activity in the region.

Carefully cultivated pureblood breeding programs preserve the potency certain bloodlines. Younger vampires may be allowed to feed on Elders, gaining more strength every time they do. This grooming directly correlates to rank, status, and supernatural power in the vampire community.

Pure-blood vampires are often centuries old and canny enough to avoid conflict. They breed very rarely and only by design, with the approval of the breeding programs. By contrast, Dracula spread a lesser form of vampirism like a disease over Europe until he was exiled into Transylvania. Predation from groups such as Clan Akkaba as well as organizations dedicated to hunting down vampires largely destroyed Dracula's direct progeny, but were unable to stamp out the remnants of his armies.