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Vampires: Race or Condition?


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#1 Nakana

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 07:27 AM

Just wondering how everyone perceives vampirism..

Do you play them as a stand-alone race?
Basically human (typical representation) that can only turn other humans?
Something more monstrous in nature?

Or do you view vampirism more as a condition? Which would mean all or at least most races can become a vampire.
(i.e., dwarf vampire, elf vampire, etc.)

I ask because soon I'll be starting up a game and a player has expressed interest in playing a half elf/half vampire.
Would that mean a character born from an elf and vampire, or an elf that was turned by a vampire?

Lots of ways this could go...

#2 threedeesix

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 09:10 AM

Personally I have always gamed vampires as being a member of the undead and not a separate species. Therefore in my campaigns vampirism is a is a condition inflicted on the living that turns them into an undead. Whether this condition can be passed on to races other than human would be setting specific.

If your player has stated an interest in playing a half elf/half vampire it sounds like they want to play something that is its own species and mated with an elf to produce natural offspring. Which could happen in some settings that allow for that I suppose. Unless you meant to word it as half-elf/vampire which would imply a half-elf was bitten and became a vampire.

I guess it really comes down to whether you are playing in an established setting or one of your own, as I could see vampires working either way.

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#3 Nakana

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 09:42 AM

Thanks for the reply Rod!

It is my world, my setting so I'm not locked to anything else.

It would either be an elf that became a vampire, or offspring from an elf and a vampire. Either way the stats would end up being the same, but the flavor of it would be different. Ultimately I think I'll let the player create the history of how his character came to be.

Stats-wise I'm thinking: lose a few elf benefits, gain a few vampire benefits with roughly half(mild) the vampire restrictions.

I was just curious what the community's take on this would be.

#4 dragonewt

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 10:34 AM

... or offspring from an elf and a vampire.


That would be the new heroic elf champion known as Glade.
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#5 tooley1chris

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:38 AM

I'm with Rod. They are undead and therefore should not be able, or interested in reproduction.
It sounds to me like the player wants all the strengths but none of the weakness of the condition.
It's a power balance, slippery slope that leads to less enjoyment in the end. If you allow it, however, I would definitely add some weakness like:
1. Can't regenerate HP without burning POW and can't regenerate POW without blood.
2. Can't receive magic healing.
3. Silver or holy weapons cause more damage or take more POW to heal.
4. Can't cross running water
or 5. Can't enter sanctified grounds
And DEFINITELY Can't make spawns.

#6 Chaot

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 01:10 PM

That would be the new heroic elf champion known as Glade.


Ha!

I say, if you don't mind it in your game, go for it. Talk to your player a little bit more to see what they have in mind and come to some sort of agreement. It sounds like the makings for a great story hook. I assume there aren't a bunch of half vampire children running around. So what was different that spawned the PC?
70/420

#7 soltakss

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 02:40 PM

Just wondering how everyone perceives vampirism..

Do you play them as a stand-alone race?
Basically human (typical representation) that can only turn other humans?
Something more monstrous in nature?

Or do you view vampirism more as a condition? Which would mean all or at least most races can become a vampire.
(i.e., dwarf vampire, elf vampire, etc.)

I ask because soon I'll be starting up a game and a player has expressed interest in playing a half elf/half vampire.
Would that mean a character born from an elf and vampire, or an elf that was turned by a vampire?

Lots of ways this could go...


I'm with the "Vampire is an undead condition" school, so you can have vampire elves, vampire trolls, vampire humans and so on. RQ/Glorantha said anything that had the man rune could be a vampire, so I'd just say that anything that was once alive could become a vampire.

Having said that, there is no reason at all why you couldn't then have a vampire that has offspring. Look at Blade, Twilight or The Originals for some examples. Just have the parent vampire being affected by some powerful fertility magic and a partner who is into cold and clammy.
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#8 fmitchell

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:06 PM

I'm with the "Vampire is an undead condition" school, so you can have vampire elves, vampire trolls, vampire humans and so on. [...]

Having said that, there is no reason at all why you couldn't then have a vampire that has offspring.


It depends on one's mental model of vampirism:
  • A vampire is a corpse that rises again. Corpses cannot produce offspring.
  • A vampire is a living creature with an infection, (retro)virus, or parasite that radically changes its metabolism. Living things can produce offspring, but offspring may catch the disease. This could result in a full vampire, a half-vampire (dhampir?) like Blade with partial or weakened symptoms, or something altogether different. Note that the mate may also catch the affliction if it's carried by other fluids besides blood.
  • Vampires are magic. They can do whatever the GM needs them to do (e.g. Connor from Angel).

On the other hand, the fact that a normal person (elf, troll, etc.) can become a vampire argues for it being an acquired condition. A "race" (or species, really) is an innate and immutable trait, except when some force radically rewrites a creature's biology (e.g. magic, complete cyborg conversion, Mind Flayer ceremorphosis, etc.).
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#9 Hexelis

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 06:40 AM

In D&D 3.0 vampire was a template that could be added to any race.

#10 Nakana

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 06:03 AM

Lot of great feedback!

I am leaning toward:

*Vampire as a condition instead of a stand-alone race. (Because being able to have vampire elfs, dwarves, orcs, etc. is more interesting than it only affecting humans.)
*Vampirism is classified as undead. Therefore no procreation in the traditional sense is possible. (The protocol for making vampires already exists, plus who has ever heard of a pregnant vampire anyway?)

As far as the half-elf thing... He'll just have to accept that he was an elf who became a vampire. =\
With weakened elf abilities, mild vampire abilities, and mild vampire weaknesses. Specifically blood thirst, and daylight. Plus, as an elf who has now been corrupted as undead, he will no longer be allowed in the "veil" as it were.

That's the way I'm leaning anyways... it could change. lol

#11 threedeesix

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 10:24 AM

;t)

Sounds like a good foundation.

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#12 tooley1chris

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 12:16 PM

Don't forget the torches and pitchforks if the locals find out his condition. Lol

#13 Nakana

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 07:53 AM

Thanks for all the help and advice everyone!

#14 sylvermoonkitten

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 10:16 PM

Depends on what you mean..the modern interpretation, the Hollywood, hollywood historical, folkloric etc..In "Sins of the Blood" the vampire condition has many forms..obe manifests after a vampire has children..another type fathered a child as he was transforming but it was killed in utero as some were afraid by it's potential...in places of the baltic etc where vampires are still believed in they are nothing like our modern understanding..quick but weak dancing along fences and hanging in trees always hungry..

#15 Simlasa

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 01:16 AM

Condition for me.

In my homebrew setting vampires are mostly forms of possession by a spirit (though sometimes the spirit is of the original vampire, a lich-like sorceror ala Dracula)... that gains power by draining the life force from others (not just other people, the entire area around them can be plagued by their hunger). A sufficiently powerful vampire spirit can subdivide itself to create other vampires by possessing further victims... leading to more power and therefore more vampires.

#16 TrippyHippy

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 06:16 AM

I like the approach to vampirism as a form of psychological disorder. There may be some sort of root biological issue - sensitive to light, etc - but I find the scariest ‘vampires’ these days are the people who have constructed a whole world view trying to convince themselves of having a particular condition, or belonging to a particular race giving them reason to commit psychotic acts on their victims.



#17 Simlasa

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 06:31 AM

I find the scariest ‘vampires’ these days are the people who have constructed a whole world view trying to convince themselves of having a particular condition, or belonging to a particular race giving them reason to commit psychotic acts on their victims.

Except maybe for George Romero's 'Martin' that approach is odd/new to me... what are some examples of that variety in books/movies?



#18 TrippyHippy

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 09:33 AM

Well, apart from Romero’s Martin (which was my main fictional source), there were also lots of references to Hannibal Lector being vampire-like in both books and movies. I’m sure I’ve played in a Cthulhu or possibly Unknown Armies scenario where that was the case too. Beyond that, however, there are real world cases. E.g.:

 

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Rod_Ferrell 



#19 Simlasa

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:40 PM

Yeah, crazy/delusional humans are my most used monster... my CoC games were primarily about cultists.
I suppose any villains who see other humans as 'prey' or as lesser beings have something of that 'vampire' air about them.

#20 USAFguy

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 04:54 PM

No elf or half-elf vampires in Glorantha....due to the reaction to iron found in the blood.  Sure, they could limit their blood sucking to horseshoe crabs (copper-based blood).  Other than THAT setting, cool beans.






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