So how do vampires work in The United States of Monsters and Supervillainy Saga verse? Probably not a question you have spent much interest in but something that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. There’s hundreds of different kinds of vampires in fiction and getting the rules down for how they work is just the kind of thing I like to do. So, I figured you would like the notes I keep to when writing about them.
If not, well, don’t read the article.
The Origins of Vampires
Vampires are descendants of the demon queen Lamia, who was a human girl from a tribe of early humans from something like 100,000 years ago when neanderthals still roamed the Earth. Sacrificed to demonic forces by her tribe, she was instead possessed by the spirit of Tiamat-Abaddon, Queen of Hell, and transformed into the first vampire.
Lamia constructed the ancient demon-ridden civilization of Acheron and Stygia before ultimately having it destroyed by a volcanic eruption followed by the revolt of transformed human slaves. The vampires, rather than side with Lamia, revolted against her and her demonic masters in order to become masters themselves. Their leader was Lamia’s grandchilde, Marduk, who became known as the savior of the vampire race. Most of their kind died in the subsequent civil wars or at the hands of shifters, mages, and human warriors. Either way, the survivors have forever remained with humanity.
How to create a vampire, draugr, dhampyr, or Blood Servant
The most common way to make a vampire is to suck the blood of a human being and share blood. However, this is actually not enough by itself. The blood is merely a vessel for a sharing of life force. Vampire blood alone cannot turn a dying person into a true member of their race but will instead turn a human being into mindless cannibal draugr.
Instead, the vampire must sacrifice some of their power and it leaves them weakened until age restores it. As such, vampires do not create regularly and it is suicidal to try to change someone under at least fifty or sixty years of age. Most don’t turn until they at least a hundred. Much more common for younger vampires is to make Blood Servants who drain only a little of their master’s power in exchange for halted aging as well as health. It also creates a psychic link between master and slave.
Vampires are capable of procreation, though only a handful of sexual couplings will produce offspring out of thousands. Dhampyr are effectively Blood Servants without masters and age to adulthood before dramatically slowing their aging to a tenth of its normal progression. Most, ironically, end up becoming Blood Servants to gain full immortality. Dhampyr blood is rich and intoxicating that those unprotected by a master often end up as food or pleasure slaves to Old Ones. Dhampyr are notably frighteningly intelligent as well as freakishly strong even as children.
In addition to direct transformation, it is possible to become a vampire by using the Book of Midnight, Bloodsword, or Chalice of Blood that directly transforms one into a Old One. These objects of power created by Lamia are sacred objects to the vampire race and icons representing them are among their few religious objects. Known Progenitor vampires who did this are Dracula and Mandy Karkofsky.
The Vampire Life Cycle
Newly created vampires are called Youngbloods and are extremely weak compared to later incarnations of their race, sometimes causing those changed to be furious with their condition. They are vulnerable to many traditional vampire weaknesses including verbena, holy items, holy places, holy words, wooden stake, fire, decapitation, sesame seed counting [yes, really], or sunlight. Entering a home uninvited weakens them and they are physically dead during the day even in sunless rooms. They are subject to the mental domination of their creators and usually only display enhanced physical attributes plus one or two powers.
The Need is at its worse during this time and few are able to avoid killing if they feed directly, at least not without their master’s control keeping them in line. One small benefit is that animal blood will sustain most of their needs but they must feed at least once a month on human blood or they will degenerate into draugr. They also sometimes develop one or two abilities like the power to summon animals or read minds.
Roughly two hundred years into their life cycle with rare exception, vampires become Old Ones and undergo a metamorphosis. They lose their vulnerability to sunlight, though it leaves them lethargic and also lose most of their vampiric weaknesses. Indeed, they will regenerate any injury even to the point of death barring it was inflicted by another powerful vampire or astral being [demon, angel, or god]. Old Ones have stronger control over the Need and can go weeks without feeding, though doing so can result in them entering hibernation (possibly for all eternity). Only human blood can sustain them, though.
Old Ones develop multiple powers like shapechanging, psychic abilities like the domination of others [animal or man], shadow manipulation, and preternatural movement through time. Most use their shapechanging and mental domination to become unnaturally beautiful and appealing to victims. Magic remains the province of those who could learn it in life and only a handful of vampires possess the ability.
Finally, those vampires who reach a thousand years of age go through a third metamorphosis that turns them into Ancient Ones. Ancient Ones are the inspirations for beings like the Gorgons, Grendel, Baba Yaga, and a variety of other monsters throughout history. They are hideous to behold but capable of assuming pleasing forms when they desire. Ancient Ones have strength and speed that vastly exceed that of their forebearers. They have also usually mastered dozens of abilities that allow them to perform miracles even to other vampires.
Ancient Ones are almost impossible to kill without a holy or unholy weapon of great power. Gods have been known to take human form to prevent their domination of the Earth. Thankfully, a great lethargy usually takes over the Ancient Ones as their Need weakens to the point that even blood provides little joy. Those that do regularly feed on emotional energy as well as life or the Earth itself, leaving their surroundings dead as well as depressed.
Ancient Ones can and do live in caves or ruins with no contact for centuries as they ponder memories or eldritch mysteries. Many live vicariously through their descendants, often possessing them or experiencing life through them. Only a handful have the iron will to maintain active ambitious lifestyles.
Progenitor vampires possess the power of the Ancients potentially but none of the disfigurements or knowledge of how to use their powers.
Despite vampires being capable of sexual reproduction, blood is their primary desire as well as release. For the vampire, the drinking of human blood directly is intoxicating as heroin mixed with sex. So much so that many vampires kill even when full and live for the pleasure of the hunt even when more ethical opportunities for sustenance. A vampire that cannot control their Hunger as a youth is called a Bleeder and considered a danger to all their kind, though, so few are allowed to live if they do not develop control within a couple of weeks.
The Bite noticeably causes an incredible euphoric rush with humans akin to sex or drugs and is every bit as pleasurable for humans as it is for vampires. The magic of it results in the wounds allowing the release of blood at a slower level so that they are not fatal even if they reach arteries as well as seal up quickly. Feeding from the same human more than once every two months is dangerous, like giving blood but many vampires create Harems using their Blood Servant bond. This allows humans to be fed on every few of days and makes them ravenously hungry. They also tend to be addicts and toys for their masters. More like pets than people.