- 1 Vampires:
- 2 Darkness of the Mind:
- 3 GM charts: Sunlight damage
Vampires are the undisputed masters of undeath. Vampires are created solely by other Vampires. Their origins are lost, possibly even to themselves. However, their preoccupation with the extent of the 'purity' of their blood seems to imply a common ancestral creator. I cannot find a reason why a member of any sentient species may not be turned into a Vampire, however Humans are by far the large majority.
Vampires are as mysterious as they are powerful. There are far more rumours about their abilities and weaknesses than there are known facts. What is certain has been listed below:
They are immortal:
They continue their existence—seemingly without change—until they are destroyed. A Vampire who is destroyed within a few years of achieving undeath will leave a recognizable corpse, free of the physical ravages of vampirism—even the teeth are normal-looking. An older Vampire will decay rapidly, often before its slayers' very eyes, whereas a centuries-old Vampire may collapse into dust nearly instantly.
They are burned by sunlight:
Although unharmed by either the moons or stars—it is simply a matter of degree—direct sunlight causes a Vampire considerable agony and noticeable damage. This is based on the amount of exposure: indirect light at dawn in heavy robes is painful but tolerable, naked before the noon sun would destroy the Undead within minutes. [They do receive a save vs. shapeshift/petrification at 15 to take ½ damage (this saving throw is used as the Undead flesh is being systemically altered to ash). Vampires burned by the sun are reduced to ashes. The Game Master must determine the percentage based on time of day, cloud cover, or indirectness such as through a window. See both charts below:]
Vampires heal quite rapidly:
They are the only Undead type to do so (zombies do not heal normally, and ghosts generally cannot be harmed by conventional means). They regenerate even faster when their body isn't stressed by light at all (even moon or starlight—it is still technically sunlight, but it is a matter of degree, after all). This is why coffins are commonly used among them. When completely shut away from all light sources—even artificial—Vampires heal three times as quickly. A Vampire's body will restore itself to a "natural" state, free of the minor marks and blemishes that mark a living soul's journey through life. With the notable exception of the twin puncture wounds caused by it's master's fangs—these tiny marks last about two weeks to one month—all of the recent damage done to a Vampire prior to its death is restored. Earlier damage, for example one who lost a finger in childhood accident, will recover over a greater length of time; it may take many years, however. The hair, nails, beard, etc. of a Vampire will often reset itself to the length at death if trimmed. Catastrophic damage, as through combat, repairs at an incredible rate. Even minor damage to the flesh—such as a tattoo or piercing—will heal over time. There seems to be nothing other than the immediacy and extent of the damage that triggers this rapid regeneration—a Vampire can have her hair cut by a barber without great difficulty (it may well regrow to the length at death over the course of the evening and following day), but one who's hair is burned off by fire will regrow its tresses within minutes. Vampires who are starving cannot regenerate. Without this vampiric power, they do not recover from damage at all. [Vampires regenerate one hit point at the end of each minute. A full eight hours "sleep" in a coffin restores 1,440 hit points.]
Vampires drink blood:
They require about two pints per day. The more similar it is to the monster's own the more it prefers it. A Vampire will drain members of its former species before an animal. Their former mortal relatives are treated as a rare vintage. A Vampire cannot starve to death, but will go insane from hunger after about 2 or 3 weeks. [After 2 weeks, daily save vs. mental attacks at 13 or lose control due to starvation. See the Darkness of the Mind section for more details.] There is no limit to a Vampire's hunger or ability to exsanguinate. One can drink dozens of gallons at a time while on a killing spree—I have witnessed an entire herd of Formourian cattle drained to mere husks in one evening by a single Undead. There seems to be no conservation of mass with respect to blood and flesh; the aforementioned Vampire showed no signs of weight gain or bloating, conversely the rapidity of damaged flesh restored to usefulness does not coincide with the volume of blood drank, save for those Vampires who are starving and thus cannot repair themselves.
They are ferocious combatants:
Quite true, becoming a Vampire seems to impart a second instinctual intelligence to the newly fledged Undead. This feral heart can instinctively fight, is instinctively afraid of the sun, and prevents the Vampire from ending its existence. This other "self" (sometimes called the Darkmind by Vampires) can take over the sentient mind during stressful times: hunger, combat, self-preservation, photophobia or other fears, etc. [Save vs. mental attacks at 17 to avoid loss of control.] It has been speculated that this is the Superego being fragmented into the Id and Ego, but the doctor making such a claim was snorting too much of his own "medicine." One interesting factor in this alter-mind is that phobias known to the Vampire in its mortal days are never responded to other than as a man; that is, one scared of spiders in life will react the exact same way in undeath, rather than being possessed by the ferocity it shows when the fear of the sun takes hold. This supernatural instinct towards killing imparts a great boldness in battle, indeed in most facets of its nightly existence, because it knows that even the most feeble and untrained individuals in life are deadly combatants in unlife.
They no longer think or feel as Humans do:
They have a smaller emotive range, but feel those emotions with far greater intensity than what they ever could when alive. Hatred, despair, anger, desire, fear, greed, and especially Hunger, are increased dramatically; whereas love, pity, remorse, or kindness are typically absent from their emotional repertoire. This is the subtlest, but most frightening, change incurred by the transition to undeath. A loved one turned into one of these creatures is no longer the same person—they do not even think things the same way, and in many cases are quite opposed to those things that they cared about while alive. Some one whom you once knew who says that she "needs you," really mans that she needs the warm red blood flowing thought your arteries; everything else is a secondary concern to her. What she truly needs is to be put out of her misery—for her sake as well as the safety of the community—so that you may go about the delayed process of grieving her loss. It is often painful for one who seeks to destroy a Vampire who was someone they were companions with in life. Seeing what they have become is much more difficult to deal with emotionally than their death was—either time—knowing that this person you once called friend, wife, son, or neighbour, is now a monster in body, mind, and deed.
Vampires cannot breed:
They are able to engage in sexual activities for enjoyment's sake (although most of them have no desire to do so), but Vampires cannot procreate in the traditional sense. A Vampire can neither impregnate nor become pregnant. If a pregnant mortal woman becomes a Vampire, her child is usually aborted. The rare instances where a child has been carried nearly to full term—that is, if the mother had simply died & the child could have been saved via caesarean—then the child could potentially be saved if excised before he or she expires. This does not grant any extraordinary abilities to the child—there are no Vampire half-breeds. In fact, the child does not usually survive long as the mother does not produce milk (which helps the child avoid illness & promotes general infant health), nor can she care for the child adequately during the day. All parents are awakened at some point while trying to sleep by a crying baby, but a Vampire parent has the added trouble of potential incineration. I had unearthed the highly disturbing skeletal remains of a Vampiress who was supposedly the victim of an experiment to create a half-Vampire child. According to the story I was told, she was with child, and had carried to within days of labour. When she was slain and converted into an Undead, her child died as well, but the shared body-and-blood between mother and child meant that the child turned as well. Horrifyingly, the miniature Undead spawn attempted to claw and chew its way free. She was destroyed in the process, and the little bundle of unholy joy was left for the sun once it was discovered that it was merely a common Vampire, rather than the semi-mortal half-Vampire hoped for by the experimentators.
Physically, the Vampire is recognizable by their semi-retractable fangs. These enhanced teeth have a variety of configurations: a single pair on the upper set, two pair on the upper row, or two on each row of teeth. They may be found in front of, behind, or—most commonly—replacing the canines. With few exceptions, the fangs are still partially visible when retracted, and appear fully when the Vampire attacks or feeds—the mechanism for this is unknown; there is no mechanical or biological explanation for this sudden growth. The skin of the Undead is typically rather cool to the touch, being close to the temperature of the surrounding air. A motionless Vampire is nearly invisible when viewed via thermal vision—appearing as an object rather than as a person. A Vampire that has fed recently, within an hour or so, is flush with the stolen warmth of the blood, and has the same temperature as living flesh. There are exceptions to this, with Undead that are always quite warm or cold [see Vampire Traits].
There are quite a few possibly fallacious ideas about Vampires that are currently under investigation. [These are the theories of the common folk, and many are wrong. Darketh is methodical in his pursuit of the truth about Vampires and will neither accept nor discard any idea without proof. The following should be considered "common knowledge" for the player characters until they learn otherwise.]
- Vampires are demonic. These two types of scourges against mankind seem to have no special affinity for one another. Magic that is designed to specifically affect one type doesn't affect the other.
- Anyone killed by a Vampire becomes one. Alternately anyone who is bitten and lives becomes a Vampire. These are both absurd. All of the world's realms would be filled to capacity with the Undead by now. Vampires create one another through a careful ritual of draining the prospective Undead of blood to the point of death and then having him or her drink of the Vampire's blood. The victim dies and is 'reborn' in 3 days as a new Vampire [not quite, the 3-day process is not needed, but results in stronger progeny].
- They can change their shape. There are a few instances of the Undead flesh being stretched or twisted in ways that would be impossible for living tissue. However, many of these instances can be attributed to the Vampire's incredible fortitude and resistance to pain; any true shapeshifting that has been investigated has been as a result of sorcery rather than inherent in vampiric physiology. [Not exactly, some Vampires are quite adept at manipulating their flesh. See the vampiric abilities section: Stupid Vampire Tricks.]
- Vampires are held at bay with garlic (or belladonna, or sometimes monkshood). There is no evidence that this is true. Vampires do not need to eat, so would be little affected by herbs & flowers. Experiments are underway to determine if it is an instinctual fear of injected poisons that founded this notion. Possible poisons are being developed. [Not being affected by garlic, mirrors, et al, is true. The poisons derived from those plants are as ineffective as any ingested poison against Vampires.]
- Vampires cannot eat or drink. I have personally witnessed Vampires who were in fact able to eat and drink. These Vampires also seemed immune to ingested poisons. The exceptions seem to be with poisons in the victim's blood, or with alcohol—Vampires can become inebriated. Most Vampires cannot long retain solid food in their bodies.
- Vampires are immune to poisons. While this holds true for ingested & contact poisons, Vampires are still affected by ethyl alcohol. There is also a rare alchemical substance that harms them when injected directly into their bloodstream. This causes me to believe that other toxins may affect them—whether injected or through contamination of the blood of their prey, although I have yet to find any other substance for injection, or a toxin that is not lethal to a potential victim.
- Monstrous animals are created with their blood to serve as servants; these can even fight in the day yet have many of the Vampire's powers. I cannot recall how often I have heard this story, or variations thereof, about Hellhounds or Vampire-bats or some other such creature created with a similar—but obviously lesser—method that is used to create more Vampires. I have never encountered anything but fable in this regard; I cannot say that I have even met someone who has encountered a Vampire who was other than Human. The other species may be immune, or they may simply have not been infected in numbers. Vampirism is, at any rate, a Human problem. There are prevalent myths that suggest otherwise, notably the legendary original progenitor was supposedly a Ghoul. [Whether Vampires can come in other flavours than Human is up to the individual Game Master. Cardinal Kinslayer's personal games have both lycanthropy and vampirism as being exclusively Human concerns, but the Lost Souls Publishing staff and writers of Midian are aware that other Game Masters & their groups might prefer to have non-human Vampires.]
- The oldest stories discuss Vampires moving about during the day. I pray that this is false. These legends would be about older Vampires of purer blood—they would be that much older and more powerful today.
Darkness of the Mind:
A Vampire is possessed of a secondary, feral intelligence. This is sometimes called by them the "Darkmind." It is noteworthy that this is not a separate mind—in the sense of someone suffering from multiple-personality disorder—but rather a form of Unholy survival instinct unique to Vampires. Of course, it may seem like a separate mindset when it takes control of the Vampire's actions, but one must remember that a Vampire thinks quite differently than it did when alive—all Human-like actions are merely the result of clever parody on the Vampire's part. This Darkmind is concerned with two things, and two things only—hunger and survival.
The Darkmind automatically and instinctively knows its capabilities and restrictions as a Vampire. It knows how to hunt and kill. It knows that sunlight will destroy it. It knows its own Dark Gifts and Flaws. A fledgeling Vampire can instinctively use its fangs as its "natural" weapons, knowing exactly how and where to bite [no skill penalty, damage is 1D4 + Strength damage]. It also understands a hierarchy of taste: animal, man, family, and it is for this reason that those who lost a loved one to a Vampire's attacks often find themselves prey of one that they formerly called mother, sister, or child.
This feral heart will force its vile wishes upon the Vampire. The sight or smell of blood will cause it to attack with reckless abandon, attempting to feed on the crimson flow. It will prevent a Vampire from ending its Unholy existence, by going into the sun or other suicidal acts. When the Darkmind takes over, its sole thoughts are to kill, drink, and "live" to see another night. This can result in a frenzy of violence and destruction, or it can result in the Vampire escaping by any means necessary.
A Vampire's hunger is terrible. In some, it is an all-consuming thought, to the exclusion of all others. I have witnessed a captive Vampire tear its own arms off in an attempt to drink the blood it smelled after my scribe received a paper-cut. After a month of its incarceration, this Vampire was reduced to a raving monster that seemed incapable of doing anything except throwing its body at the cell bars in a futile attempt to feed on even the rats and roaches that infested the dungeon. Even when a Vampire appears to still function as a living person, one must be aware that all of its thoughts and actions are still overlaying that terrible hunger.
Perhaps the one saving grace of this fierce intelligence is that it is all-consuming in its goals. Once the Darkmind takes over, it does not seem to plan its actions, instead reacting only to the moment.
GM charts: Sunlight damage
Degree Of Sunlight (Cloud Cover & Time Of Day)
|Die of Damage||1—point||1D4||1D6||1D8||1D10||1D12|
|Examples||Tiny ray of light, BMNT/EENT||Cloudy dawn, sunset, or through a window||Cloudy day, or clear dawn/dusk||Partly cloudy at noon, or clear & earlier/later||Nearly full sun||Noon, no clouds|
|Amount of Flesh Exposed to Sunlight||Dice of Damage Per Minute|
|One hand||1 die|
|Both hands||2 dice|
|One arm||3 dice|
|Covered by normal clothing||6 dice|
|Covered by light, clothing||8 dice|
|Covered in full, heavy clothing||4 dice|
|Completely clothed from head to toe in heavy garments||2 dice|
|Extreme measures (i.e. wrapped in thick blankets||1 die|
|No protection (nude or nearly so)||12 dice|
|Visual (sunlight hitting your eyes)||4 dice in addition to flesh damage|
|Indirect light (bright sun, but in shade)||Half of the above listed damage|
For more detailed damage assessment: 2 dice for just seeing sunlight (such as simply looking out a window, even if the rays are not shining in), one die for each 9% of the body exposed, and one die for what light will penetrate normal cloth. For example, a Vampire wearing normal Formourian merchant attire at 3 p.m. on a partly cloudy day (60% coverage) will suffer from 10D6 points of damage per minute—only 6D6 if he keeps his eyes tightly shut. A Vampire that is tied down, stripped, at noon, with no clouds in the sky, and his eyes propped open, will suffer from 17D12 points of damage per minute, or up to 204 points of damage every sixty seconds. Damage occurs at the end of the minute.