Vampire (European)
Field Guide Classification:  Undead (Class A)
Other Names:  Vampyr, strigoi, nightstalker, and blood ghoul.
Subspecies:  Nosferatu (see: History/Lore, below)
Natural Habitat:  Unhallowed graveyards, crypts, tombs, underground tunnels and catacombs, caverns, sewer tunnels and complexes, abandoned mines, old castles, old mansions and houses, abandoned warehouses, foggy moors, dark and undisturbed marshes or bayous, and abandoned funeral homes.
Breeding:  See History/Lore, below.
Longevity/Lifespan:  Immortal.
Diet:  Fresh mammalian blood; preferably human. When feeding, the vampire usually bites its victims on the neck, breast, or arm (see also: Known Weaknesses/Methods Of Destruction, below).
Legal Status:  Any.
Group Affiliation:  Not applicable.
History/Lore:  The vampire is perhaps the greatest of all metamorphic evils that plagues this world and certainly among the most difficult to dispatch. Although no one knows for certain about the true origins of these dark creatures, one popular theory relates that vampires were first created about 15,000 years ago by an evil cult of Atlantean sorcerors in the pre-Cataclysmic age. The vampires were more powerful than their creators had ever anticipated. This realization swiftly culminated in their demise by the hands (and fangs) of their own abominations. The vampires fled the small continent before it eventually sank, leaving them free to perpetuate their species - and spread their vile scourge across the globe.

Essentially, a vampire is a human being that has died and has been subsequently resurrected by either the bite of another vampire, or through some other supernatural means. Complex diabolic pacts and certain obscure black magic rites have been known to create vampires; evil sorcerers and some lycanthropes that have died may rise again to become vampires; extremely evil men (or women) who die while committing an evil act may return as vampires. The most common and sure-fire method of becoming a vampire is to die from a vampire bite. The sanguinary bite (or "kiss") of a vampire is its method of perpetuating its breed, and those rising from the dead to become  vampires are subject to the will of the vampire that originally bit him/her. The bite of the vampire is usually detected as two small but swollen puncture wounds; often referred to as "the Seal of Dracula". Most vampires prefer to attack victims of the opposite sex.

Many scholars, vampirologists, and vampire hunters alike believe that vampirism is a kind of "supernatural disease", for which there is no known cure. It has been long theorized that the vampire's bite deposits a kind of enzyme found in the vampire’s saliva into the bloodstream of its victim. If the vampire draws too much blood to cause its victim to expire, the enzyme triggers a metabolic change in the victim's body, beginning with the production of a strange dark-green liquid called "ichor" within the victim's bloodstream. In about three days, there is enough ichor to nourish the victim's body the way that blood once did. If the "host-vampire" is not properly destroyed within this three-day period, the victim will return to "life" as a vampire.

If the victim's blood loss is not significant enough to cause death, the victim will show signs of progressed anemia due to the effects of the enzyme in his/her bloodstream, but will not die. Until the enzyme has fully metabolized, the victim will be weak and sickly -as well as being susceptible to the hypnotic commands (whether conveyed verbally or telepathically) by the vampire that attacked him/her. The victim will almost always develop a perverse, often amorous attraction toward the vampire that bit him/her as well. The victim may be spared the horrible fate of becoming a vampire (and returning to normal) if the host-vampire is properly destroyed before the enzyme metabolizes itself -claiming the victim as a vampire. Likewise, should the victim suffer more attacks from the vampire-host during this time, the metabolizing process will be expedited, causing the victim to "turn" at a much quicker rate.

The body of a vampire is technically dead by human standards. It can be said that a vampire’s body is in a state of arrested decay, animated by a supernatural force or spirit residing in its corporeal form, and kept vital by the body’s production of ichor.

Although there are many instances of solitary vampires (i.e. - vampires that operate and travel alone), these creatures are also known to cohabit with one another, forming what is known among vampire hunters as a "nest". There can be any number from 2 - 20 vampires in a single nest, usually controlled by either a vampire of greater power (the eldest) or a Vampire Regent.

"Older" vampires or Vampire Regents are occasionally known to posses human thralls. Such thralls can either be willing or unwilling (i.e. - under hypnotic control) servitors charged with the safekeeping of the vampire and its lair during daylight hours. Thralls may be used to procure or otherwise lure victims for their vampire-masters as well. Willing thralls are usually recruited by the promise of immortality in exchange for their unholy service. Some thralls are made into ghouls (see: Ghoul) to better serve their vampire-masters.

The nosferatu is a rare subspecies of the common vampire whose origins are steeped in obscurity. There are some that believe the nosferatu is the next stage in the phylogenetic process of a ghoul; in other words, a ghoul that has consumed its vampire-master's blood for decades - without being drained of blood itself - may "evolve" to become a nosferatu. This is pure supposition, however, as there is no evidence to support this theory. Little is known about this strange offshoot of the common vampire. What is known, is that the nosferatu are solitary creatures, preferring to dwell in the most hidden and inaccessible locales (normally underground, e.g. - sewer systems or abandoned cellars, etc.). The nosferatu are known to be hideous in appearance; their skin is a pale, greenish-blue color, stretched over their elongated skull-like faces. Their flesh is coarse and they are commonly hairless. They have long, pointed ears, red eyes, and sharp, rodent-like teeth. Their hands are exceptionally large, with long talon-like fingers that act like claws, able to shred through wood and thin-gauge steel. They seem to revel in squalor, and they often appear as malodorous tatterdemalions; adding to their horrific mien. They seem to be inferior to most common vampires in that they are unable to shape-change. Nosferatu are slightly physically stronger than their "cousins", albeit considerably slower and less agile. They possess all the other powers and weaknesses as common vampires, being particularly adept at hypnotic control (presumably due to their inability to commingle in human society because of their appearance). Few Nosferatu have ever succeeded in becoming Vampire Regents, but it has been known to happen.

All vampires share a serious antipathy toward lycanthropes, especially to those of the lupine species. The source of this mutual antagonism between vampire and lycanthrope is as yet unknown, but it has been ongoing since their earliest beginnings.

Perhaps the most popular vampire in history was Count Dracula (Vlad "Tepesch" Dracul), the former 15th Century prince of Transylvania and Wallachia. Dracula was thought to be bitten by one of the original Atlantean vampires, conferring powers upon him far greater than any common vampire - eventually making him a Vampire Regent. Interestingly, Dracula assumed the title of count without any legal basis after becoming a vampire. Regardless of his actual origins, Dracula was certainly the most powerful of all vampires on record. The Count was reputedly destroyed by vampire hunters Abraham Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker, and others in the early 1890s; although his remains have yet to be discovered. In 1931, an expedition excavated his tomb and final resting-place, revealing it to be empty.

"In all the darkest pages of the malign supernatural there is no more terrible tradition than that of the vampire, a pariah even among demons. Foul are his ravages; gruesome and seemingly barbaric are the ancient and approved methods by which folks must rid themselves of this hideous pest." - Montague Summers

"The strength of the vampire is that people will not believe in him!"
- Dr. Abraham Van Helsing

Description:  Humanoid; typically human. They are usually frail or gaunt in appearance (which belies their great strength), having pale skin and fair complexions. Male and female vampires alike are known to possess relatively long fingernails. Vampires usually appear as "normal" humans do, unless they are aroused by bloodlust or enraged. In such cases, the appearance of two, reticulating canine-like fangs may be seen; accompanied by red eyes and a rather predacious countenance. It has been said that vampires possess a foul breath, but this speculation has yet to be verified (it is very difficult to get close enough to a vampire to confirm any hypotheses).
Height/Size:  Average human size.
Weight:  Usually 1/3 lighter than they were in normal life.
Eyes:  Variable; usually dark-colored; often bright red when feeding or enraged.
Hair:  Variable; normal human hair color. Red hair is known to be common among female vampires.
Powers:  Of all undead, the common or "European" vampire is perhaps only subordinate to Living Mummies and Lichs, although the vampire has greater control over the lesser undead (e.g. - ghouls, zombies, etc.). As a Class A-type undead creature, vampires are extremely powerful, arguably the most dangerous among the ranks of the undead.

Vampires do not age, except on some occasions when they have been deprived of blood for extended periods of time (see: Known Weaknesses/Methods Of Destruction, below). Vampires have remarkable recuperative powers. Vampires cannot be harmed by conventional weapons. Bullets and ordinary knives provide only momentary distractions, as the vampire can heal from such injuries within seconds. Moreover, the vampire does not feel pain from such conventional attacks. They can only be harmed by weapons made of the purest silver and even then, their supernatural restorative abilities allow them to recover very quickly. Under optimum conditions (i.e. - when they have been "feasting" regularly), vampires never physically tire. They are immune to all forms of human diseases and illnesses.

Time equals power to a vampire. Vampires that are allowed to develop their powers over the centuries can grow to be quite powerful. These centuries-spanning creatures may eventually become Vampire Regents, who are capable of even greater feats than the common vampire.

Most vampires acquire superhuman strength anywhere from three to five times as great as they had in their mortal lives. A typical male that is able to lift (press) 200 lbs. in life, would be able to lift (press) up to 1000 lbs. as a vampire. As a vampire grows "older" over the years its strength can increase, and the strength level of Vampire Regents can be 10 - 20 times stronger than they were in their mortal lives. Moreover, a vampire’s speed, agility, and reflexes are up to five times as great as they had in their mortal lives. All vampires possess acute hearing (equivalent to that of a wolf) and night vision, enabling them to see with better than 20/20 perceptibility in total darkness.

Some vampires can control the will of humans possessing lesser mental strength than theirs through a form of hypnotic control. This hypnotic control can be conveyed either verbally or telepathically, depending on the power of the vampire. Powerful vampires and Vampire Regents need only to catch the gaze of their intended victim for a few seconds. With common vampires and Vampire Regents alike, stronger minds require more time to mesmerize. Victims bitten by a vampire are much easier to control, requiring little - if any - concentration from the host-vampire.

Similar to the vampire’s ability to mesmerize the lesser minds of humans is their innate ability to summon and control various "lower" nocturnal creatures, such as the wolf, bat, and rat if they are somewhat local to the vampire’s area. The range and extent of control over such creatures is based upon the power of the vampire. An "older" vampire could conceivably summon entire populations of bats, rats, and wolves within a 10-mile radius.

"Older" vampires are able to exhibit control over lesser undead, such as zombies and ghouls. Controlling large numbers of these lesser undead requires greater concentration. The more powerful the vampire, the better its ability to influence and command larger groups of these creatures. Some very powerful vampires or Vampire Regents can even summon such creatures if they are in the general vicinity (about a 5 - 10 mile radius).

Many vampires (especially the older ones) have learned how to develop their shape-changing abilities, which seems to be innate among their kind. Such vampires can assume the form of a bat or wolf while retaining their own intelligence. Some of the more powerful vampires or Vampire Regents are able to transform into a bat of human proportions, or even that of a mist. It should be noted that only the oldest and most powerful vampires or Vampire Regents can assume the form of a mist.

The longer the vampire has been in existence, the more crafty and cunning it is. Indeed, with centuries of learning at their disposal, the vampire can match wits with even the most brilliant tactician. They are natural and highly-skilled predators, with razor-sharp instincts and incredible powers of perception. They are formidable adversaries, possessing genius-level intellects capable of the most intricate schemes and deceptions known to man.

Known Weaknesses/Methods Of Destruction:  Fortunately, the vampire has several limitations upon their supernatural abilities and existence. Vampires to do not cast their reflections on mirrored surfaces (although they do cast shadows). As such, they harbor a particular revulsion toward mirrors. Their images cannot be captured on film, videotape, or digital video. Likewise, the sound they make (vocal or otherwise) cannot be captured on either digital or analog recording devices. Vampires also have a mystical aversion to entering any human dwelling place which they have not been verbally invited. Once invited, they may enter the place anytime thereafter. Vampires are unable to enter churches, temples, or other religious sanctuaries that represent "light" or goodness, whether they have been previously invited or not. They may only enter such holy places if they have been somehow desecrated beforehand. Some animals, such as horses, and cats in particular, harbor an aversion to vampires and can often "sense" the presence of these creatures.

Vampires cannot cross running water, and they will drown if immersed in such water. This is not to say that they cannot swim, but running or flowing water such as rivers, streams, or waterfalls mystically impede the creature’s ability to swim and stay afloat, causing it to drown and perish. This is but a temporal "death", however. Once a vampire’s body is removed from running water, it will return to "life". Presumably, a vampire can simply change form into a bat or mist and simply fly or float across the errant water if they posses such shape-changing abilities to do so.

The vampire requires fresh human blood for sustenance. Human blood is the preference of all vampires, although they can sate themselves on lower mammalian forms of life for short periods of time. New or "young" vampires need to feed once every two nights in order to sustain their existence. The necessary amount of human blood consumed during feeding varies between one-half and one full quart. Some "older" vampires and Vampire Regents can resist their bloodlust and survive for longer periods without feeding; sometimes over a span of several weeks to a whole month. However, a vampire deprived of viable sustenance for protracted amounts of time will rapidly "age" until it reaches its actual age - ordinarily proving to be fatal, as most vampires are older than the average human lifespan. In theory then, it is possible to "starve" a vampire into destruction. The inherent flaw in this method of destroying a vampire is that the vampire hunter may have to endure while waiting for what could be days or weeks.

Most vampires fall into a semi-conscious, trance-like state during the daylight hours. Older and more powerful vampires do not require such rest; they only need to avoid direct sunlight. During the daylight hours, the vampire's powers are considerably weakened, although it should be pointed out they are still dangerous and certainly powerful enough to wipe out reckless vampire hunters.

All vampires are unable to withstand the direct rays of the sun. Sunlight drastically affects the ichor within a vampire's veins, causing it to congeal and the skin to rapidly decay. Direct exposure causes a vampire to completely dehydrate and turn to powder within minutes.

Vampires are limited by their paranormal dependence upon the soil of their land of birth. They cannot travel more than 100 miles from the place they were born, unless they have taken along at least a pound of their native soil with which to line their coffin or sleeping area. A vampire cannot rest within its coffin or resting-place unless it is in direct contact with their native soil. Placing a crucifix (or some other religious object) or holy wafer within the confines of a vampire's coffin or resting -place will defile both the soil and the vampire’s place of rest, thereby causing it to be unsuitable and inaccessible for the vampire. The intrepid vampire hunter should be cautious when attempting this however, as vampires tend to get upset when their sleeping areas are tampered with. Furthermore, many vampires usually have more than one resting-place established for cases such as this (so it is wise to make certain you have gotten them all).

There are certain weapons and tools of defense that can be implemented against these creatures. Vampires have a supernatural aversion to any religious object representing "good" (such as a cross, crucifix, Star of David, etc.) that is wielded or placed by anyone who believes in the spirit the object signifies. The size of the object is not a consideration in its ability to repel vampires, only the strength of the wielder's belief. For example, a believing Christian wearing a small cross can effectively hold a vampire at bay with it, and even sear the creature's flesh by simply touching it with the object. "Younger" vampires are often susceptible to the effects of such objects regardless of the wielder's belief, but faith is required to affect "older" and more powerful vampires. It has been recorded that some very powerful vampires and Vampire Regents have been able to resist the effects of religious objects, but they still remain as the vampire hunter's most potent defense.

Holy water (i.e. - water that has been blessed by a priest or cleric of faith) is another effective weapon against the vampire. While it would require generous amounts to actually destroy a vampire, holy water acts like concentrated sulfuric acid when it comes in contact with a vampire's flesh. Vampires are also mystically repulsed by garlic plants. Although it does not cause them any actual harm, the wearing of at least one clove around one's neck is sufficient to ward off a vampire. Additionally, the vampire cannot use its shape-changing abilities while within about 20 feet of a garlic clove.

A vampire may be incinerated into destruction, but this may prove to be a difficult task to accomplish. They are not immune to fire, but because of their recuperative powers (and the fact that they do not feel pain from fire), this is not a recommended method for dispatching a vampire. Similarly, electrocution may eventually destroy a vampire in time, but this another risky method for eradicating these creatures.

Because the vampire's ichor is similar in function to blood, poisons and other toxic substances that are circulated in its bloodstream will adversely affect a vampire, although no dosage is large enough to cause its destruction.

The vampire's renowned recuperative powers do have their limitations, however. A vampire cannot grow back a severed portion of its body. However, apart from the obvious periodic inconveniences, injuries like these will not critically impair a vampire's "life" or efficacy. The only substances that cause a vampire pain and injury are weapons made of pure silver, and to a lesser degree - unless it penetrates the heart - wood. Complete decapitation of the head will destroy the vampire. Piercing the vampire's heart with wood or silver will also destroy a vampire. A wooden stake or silver blade prevents the heart from supplying ichor to the rest of the body. If the stake or blade is removed, however, even if the creature's body has crumbled to dust, the vampire's supernatural vitality will restore its body in the condition it had before it was destroyed, returning it to "life". It is important to mention that vampires do not "die" immediately when being pierced through the heart. Many vampire hunters have been killed from the mighty death throes of vampires after they have been pierced through the heart. Furthermore, it has been recorded that some of the more powerful vampires were able to remove the wood or silver instrument before "death" occurred. It is recommended that the creature be held at bay with holy objects while the impaling is performed.

There are only two sure methods of destroying a vampire permanently. One is to expose the vampire to direct sunlight and then scatter its ashes. Another is to pierce its heart with either wood or silver, stuffing the head with garlic cloves, and then severing it from the body. The head and body should then be burned in two separate places, scattering the two subsequent piles of ashes in separate locations.

In closing, it should also be cited that in some cases when a vampire has been destroyed, the body releases a kind of "spectral energy", often manifesting itself as concussive force. This force has often been described as a kinetic "explosion", able to shatter glass and windows; toss furniture in the air; and knock an average-sized man to the ground. In cases where powerful vampires or Vampire Regents were dispatched, enormous discharges of pneumatic and kinetic force were experienced. In rarer cases still, extreme electromagnetic disturbances (often electromotive in nature) were witnessed upon destruction. The vampire hunter should be cautious of this phenomena when destroying "older" or more powerful vampires.

See Also:  Vampire Regent and Dracula.
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