Created By: Anura on April 10, 2014 Last Edited By: Malady on March 15, 2017
Troped

Vampire Variety Pack

Our Vampires Are Different In-Universe

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Trope
So you want to put vampires into your setting. But if All Myths Are True, how do you reconcile the many different and contradictory myths about vampires? The most common answer is to pick and choose traits that work for your story, or make some up, and proclaim that Our Vampires Are Different. But another apporach is to say that these contradictory myths are referring to different kinds of vampire that all coexist together.

Often this means that there are multiple supernatural species that are thrown under the umbrella term "vampire", although occasionally they are all the same species but with minor differences. These differences can include different strengths and weaknesses, social structures, preferred prey and hunting grounds, so a Vampire Hunter is advised to be informed about them lest he shove a cross at a vampire of a clan that crosses don't work on.

When a new vampire is created, they will be of the same type as their sire; as such they are usually called "clans" because they are essentially a large family, although "bloodline" is another common term because... vampires, blood... The different clans may get along well with each other, but are usually plotting and scheming against one another for resources (or just to liven up their eternal lives); sometimes they are outright at war with one another.

Often a clan will be named for its originator, who will be the leader of the clan if he/she is still around. It's also sometimes the case that each clan founder in turn share a sire, who may be the originator of the vampire species. If that guy is still active, he's your best best for a Vampire Monarch. If not, expect him to be Shrouded in Myth.

Sub-Trope of Our Vampires Are Different, obviously. One clan may be Chinese Vampires. A Council of Vampires may be made up of representatives from each clan. Compare Actually Not a Vampire. See also Totally Not a Werewolf.


Examples

    open/close all folders 
    Comic Books 
  • In the Marvel Comics universe, vampires are divided into "sects", each with their own abilities and customs.
  • In the American Vampire series, there are many different subspecies of vampire, with wildly different powers and appearances based on a combination of their land of origin and ethnicity. (So a white or black American vampire is a very different creature from a Native American vampire, nevermind one that is native to Ireland, Japan, or Eastern Europe.) Eventually the Vampire Hunter group admits that calling all these creatures vampires is really a misnomer, because while certain strains may be fairly similar, about the only thing they all have in common is that they drink blood, and a person can always be infected by exposure to infected blood, and sometimes simply by being fed on.

    Fan Fic 
  • In the extensive "Sylum Clan" vampire Fan Fic site, vampires are organized into clans.

    Literature 
  • The vampires in The Dresden Files are not a single class of unlife but several superficially related species: the White Court are basically superpowered humans who feed on emotional energy, the Red Court are blood-sucking bat-like monsters who take on human appearance, while the Black Court are the classical necromantic undead. The Jade Court have also been mentioned, and the White Court is further subdivided into three families: Raiths feed on lust, Malvoras on fear, and Skavis on despair.
  • Anno Dracula uses the idea of different bloodlines to draw vampire characters from a variety of sources that use different rulesets, by saying that some attributes are common to all vampires (for instance, weakness to silver) while others only appear in a particular bloodline (for instance, the need to sleep in a coffin full of one's native earth is particular to Dracula's bloodline).
  • In Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, various vampires are noted to be from different bloodlines (that is, they've been turned by a vampire who somewhere up the chain was turned by a particular vampire who produced the bloodline). A vampire can also become the head of their own bloodline upon reaching a certain level of power, although it's rare to reach this level. Bloodlines also tend to have particular powers related to them on top of generic vampire abilities (example, Belle Morte's line are noted for powers related to sex, and Morte d'Amour's line is noted for producing 'rotting' vampires).
  • In the Relativity series, there are two kinds of vampires: The "classic" vampires that Dracula would be an example of, and mindless, zombie-like creatures who live in the sewers and eat rats. It is implied that several centuries ago, a scientist attempted to "cure" vampires and accidentally created the zombie breed.
  • The Saga of Darren Shan has Vampires and Vampanzee. Lady Evanna's future children might also apply.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Kindred: The Embraced (a TV series based on Vampire: The Masquerade) there are five vampire clans which control the city between them: Gangrel, Brujah, Ventrue, Toreador, and Nosferatu (the Camarilla clans from the game, sans the Tremere and Malkavians).

    Tabletop Games 
  • The World of Darkness
    • In Vampire: The Masquerade, Caine is the originator of the clans, and each clan traces their ancestry back to one of his "grandchildren", the Antediluvians. Except the Giovanni and Tremere, whose founders diablerized an Antediluvian.
    • The Old World of Darkness also has the Kindred of the East, or Kuei Jin, who dominate Asia. Though they are both called vampires, Cainites and Kuei Jin are two different creatures, sharing only surface similarities.
    • In Vampire: The Requiem, older or more powerful vampires can refine their blood to found a Bloodline, an offshoot of a Clan that develops new, sometimes unique, powers and weaknesses. Joining a Bloodline and gaining access to its abilities usually takes effort and mentorship, though it can happen spontaneously, and an experienced vampire can force itself into a Bloodline other than its creator's.
  • Warhammer's bloodlines can be separated by their hat: von Carsteins (Dracula), Lahmian (Lesbian Vampire), Blood Dragon (Blood Knight-literally, they're knights who strive to be better in combat until they can defeat a dragon and lose the addiction to blood), Strigoi (Looks Like Orlok degenerates from more intelligent vampires) and Necrarch (Mad Scientist / Necromancer).
  • Pathfinder has several vampire offshoots, including the ancient, sterile Nosferatu; the bestial, plague-bearing Vrykolakas; the memory-eating Vetala; and the hopping, Life Energy-drinking Jiang-Shi. Each, notably, has a unique way of resisting Final Death.

    Video Games 
  • Legacy of Kain
    • In this game series, or at least in Soul Reaver, there are six different vampire clans, each descended from one of Kain's lieutenants. Although you never get to see one of them...
    • As of Nosgoth, now you do!
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The in-universe book Immortal Blood describes various subspecies of vampires living in various places in Tamriel, and Skyrim's extension Dawnguard actually introduces one of them: the Volkihar Clan, who are central to the plot.
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has three different clans that are treated as guilds. The clans are Berne, Aundae, and Quarra, respectively Fighter, Mage, Thief, and joining one by becoming a vampire unlocks a quest chain with one quest unique to each clan.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, based on the Old World of Darkness, the vampire clans serve as a Character Class System for the player character and as in-game organizations with distinct histories, characters, and stereotypes.

    Web Comics 
  • Sluggy Freelance
    • Each vampire clan has their own unique set of powers and abilities. Sam, one of the main characters, is the last member of his clan the Lysinda Circle. He has traditional weaknesses such the need to be invited before entering and is easily paralyzed by a toothpick to the heart, but is super strong, fast, etc. Other vampires from other clans we've seen have different weaknesses, but not all of Sam's powers.
    • Chapter 68 reveals more. There are three main "varieties" of vampire. The vorpyrs of Western Europe are divided politically into several "Circles", such as Lysinda's Circle, led by "royal" vorpyrs whose blood is needed to turn humans into more of their kind. The vrykolakas, originally from Greece, are susceptible to silver and weaker than vorpyrs but turn everyone they feed on. While the strakoi from Romania are daywalkers with an array of magical abilities.
  • The Kingfisher has vampire lineages with distinct powers and physical quirks, each founded by a Progenitor who spontaneously rose from the grave.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: Ayla's speech on vampires in Ayla and the Mad Scientist (Chap 12):
    There are vampire-like mutants, and maybe mutant-vampires, just as there are mutants who look like all kinds of animals and all sorts of Class 1 and Class 2 entities. That doesn't make them true vampires. Alex has an eclectic set of talents that combine to give her these abilities, but all that doesn't make her a true vampire. And her ability to be a giant pain in the ass isn't vampiric at all. I waited until the assorted snickering died down.
    I explained, There are vampires who are living humans, and there are vampires who are mobile corpses. Now these are all completely different things, and my researchers said that there was some disagreement over whether all of these are real. There may be some other types out there for which my researchers didn't find enough evidence to include in their list. But there are vampires who are corpses possessed by a demon or a spirit. Those are two different things, and The Magus insists that they're separate entities, with somewhat different powers and strengths and weaknesses. She ought to know. Then there are living people who are vampiric: people possessed by predatory spirits; and sorcerers who practice vampirism for dark magical purposes. And then there are two relative newcomers to the vampire biz. The Amazing Three have fought what Doctor Amazing calls a "symbiotic vampire". Very tough, but very susceptible to their few weaknesses. Doctor Amazing has hypothesized that they're a non-sentient silicoid extraterrestrial lifeform that parasitizes a human.

Community Feedback Replies: 63
  • April 10, 2014
    aradia22
    I think that there are clans or factions in Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and True Blood but I could be mistaken. I'm not sure this qualifies as a trope, though.
  • April 10, 2014
    Earnest
    The Blade series has vampire houses behave like this.
  • April 10, 2014
    rmctagg09
    The Elder Scrolls series has vampires split into different clans, with different abilities according to clan.
  • April 10, 2014
    Koveras
    Subtrope of Our Vampires Are Different, obviously. Vampire Tropes would be an index.

    • The vampires in The Dresden Files are not a single class of unlife but several superficially related species: the White Court are basically superpowered humans who feed on emotional energy, the Red Court are blood-sucking bat-like monsters who take on human appearance, while the Black Court are the classical necromantic undead. The Jade Court have also been mentioned, and the White Court is further subdivided into three families: Raiths feed on lust, Malvoras on fear, and Skavis on despair.
  • April 11, 2014
    Arivne
    • De-capitalized some Significant Capitals: Clans and Bloodlines in the Laconic, Vampires and Vampire (x2) in the Description.
    • Corrected spelling errors: it's -> its (x2).
    • Added blank lines between Examples media sections for readability.
    • Added a space between the * and the first word of examples.
    • Namespaced and italicized work names.
    • Added [[foldercontrol]] to the Examples section.
  • May 18, 2014
    Theokal3
    Here is a slightly more detailed entry for the Elders Scrolls:

    • Appears to be the case in The Elder Scrolls universe; the in-universe book Immortal Blood does describes various subspecies of vampires leaving in various places in Tamriel, and Skyrim's extension Dawnguard actually introduces one of them the Volkihar Clan, who serves as a major plotpoint.
  • May 18, 2014
    Folamh3
    Soul Reaver is the second game in the series, not the first. Unless I'm misinterpreting you.
  • June 6, 2014
    captainsandwich
    Warhammer Fantasy does this, it affected gameplay more than it does now. I got this from second hand sources if that makes any difference.
  • June 8, 2014
    captainsandwich
    How about Vampire Bloodlines (for the name). I think that is what Warhammer Fantasy calls them, plus it has blood in it.
  • June 8, 2014
    JonnyB
    In the extensive "Sylum Clan" vampire Fan Fic site, vampires are organized into clans.
  • June 9, 2014
    paycheckgurl
    In Sluggy Freelance each vampire clan has their own unique set of powers and abilities. Sam, one of the main characters, is the last member of his clan the Lysinda Circle. He has traditional weaknesses such the need to be invited before entering and is easily paralyzed by a toothpick to the heart, but is super strong, fast, etc. Other vampires from other clans we've seen have different weaknesses, but not all of Sam's powers.
  • June 9, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Comic Books
    • In the Marvel Comics universe, vampires are divided into "sects", each with their own abilities and customs.
  • June 9, 2014
    zarpaulus
    • Also in Masquerade each of the clans traces their ancestry back to one of the third-generation vampires or Antediluvians, Caine's "grandchildren". Except for Giovanni and Tremere, whose founders each diabolerized an Antediluvian. In both games the Clans are further divided into several "Bloodlines".
    • Many other World Of Darkness gamelines do similar things. For instance in Werewolf The Apocalypse werewolves are divided into tribes. Though there's a rite that allows a werewolf to leave his ancestral tribe and join another, while tribes in Werewolf The Forsaken are purely ideological with no relation to blood, like "Requiem's" covenants.
  • June 10, 2014
    zarpaulus
    The description could also use some work. It just says that these are vampire "factions", and could just as easily apply to either the Clans of both Vampire games, or the Covenants of "Requiem" or even the Camarilla, Sabbat, and Anarchs of "Masquerade".
  • December 11, 2014
    Anura
    Been a while, but I've added the new examples.
  • December 11, 2014
    StarSword
    Video Games (The Elder Scrolls sub-example):
    • The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind has three different clans that are treated as guilds. The clans are Berne, Aundae, and Quarra, respectively Fighter Mage Thief, and joining one by becoming a vampire unlocks a quest chain with one quest unique to each clan.
  • December 11, 2014
    Chabal2
    Warhammer's bloodlines can be separated by their hat: von Carsteins (Dracula), Lahmian (Lesbian Vampire), Blood Dragon (Blood Knight-literally, they're knights who strive to be better in combat until they can defeat a dragon and lose the addiction to blood), Strigoi (Looks Like Orlok degenerates from more intelligent vampires) and Necrarch (Mad Scientist / Necromancer).
  • August 18, 2015
    Anura
    Updated examples. I'm now leaving this up for grabs.
  • August 18, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    Why do this just for vampires? This can apply to various kinds of creatures.
  • August 18, 2015
    Koveras
    ^ Because vampires are the most connected to the concept of bloodline, I think. I do agree, however, that there seems to be a Missing Supertrope here, too.
  • August 19, 2015
    randomsurfer
    In Kindred The Embraced (a tv series based on Vampire the Masquerade) there are five vampire clans which control the city between them: Gangrel, Brujah, Ventrue, Toreador, and Nosferatu.
  • August 19, 2015
    StarSword
    ^^Could go with Monster Subspecies as a more general "multiple distinct subtypes of the same overall variety of monster within one work" trope. The Dresden Files has three or four different kinds of werewolf as I recall (my memory of Fool Moon is a little fuzzy, unfortunately).
  • August 19, 2015
    crazysamaritan
    I am thinking of proposing Breeds Of The Same for that supertrope idea.
  • August 20, 2015
    zarpaulus
    @randomsurfer: You realize that list is simply five of the seven Camarilla clans of the RPG?
  • August 21, 2015
    AgProv
    In the Discworld novel Carpe Jugulum, the extended deMagpyr clan/family is meant as a parody of this trope. There is a certain amount of career congestion and frustrated expectation, for instance, when "Father" simply will not do the expectedly decent thing and die permanently, so younger members may inherit. And with younger vamps such as Lachrimosa, an exasperated mother and father discover that those difficult stroppy teenage years when daughters are such a trial go on.... for centuries.
  • August 21, 2015
    randomsurfer
    ^^I didn't "realize" that since I've never played the game and barely know anything about it, and they're not listed on this page. Regardless, it's still a separate bullet point because it's Live Action TV rather than Role Playing Games.
  • November 28, 2015
    Anura
    ^^That's... not this trope. This trope describes multiple different types of vampire existing within the same setting, not families who happen to be vampires.
  • November 28, 2015
    DAN004
    Uh, so the clans must exhibit biological varieties of a particular species? Why so?
  • November 28, 2015
    zarpaulus
    Chapter 68 of Sluggy Freelance reveals more about the vampires of the comic. There are three main "varieties" of vampire. The vorpyrs of Western Europe are divided politically into several "Circles", such as Lysinda's Circle, led by "royal" vorpyrs whose blood is needed to turn humans into more of their kind. The vrykolakas, originally from Greece, are susceptible to silver and weaker than vorpyrs but turn everyone they feed on. While the strakoi from Romania are daywalkers with an array of magical abilities.
  • November 29, 2015
    PaulA
    • Anno Dracula uses the idea of different bloodlines to draw vampire characters from a variety of sources that use different rulesets, by saying that some attributes are common to all vampires (for instance, weakness to silver) while others only appear in a particular bloodline (for instance, the need to sleep in a coffin full of one's native earth is particular to Dracula's bloodline).
  • November 30, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    • In Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, various vampires are noted to be from different bloodlines (that is, they've been turned by a vampire who somewhere up the chain was turned by a particular vampire who produced the bloodline). A vampire can also become the head of their own bloodline upon reaching a certain level of power, although it's rare to reach this level. Bloodlines also tend to have particular powers related to them on top of generic vampire abilities (example, Belle Morte's line are noted for powers related to sex, and Morte d'Amour's line is noted for producing 'rotting' vampires).
  • November 30, 2015
    DAN004
    Oy, can anybody answer me?
  • December 1, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    ^Where does it say they have to be biologically different?
  • December 1, 2015
    DAN004
    Description. It says "providing an in universe case of our blablabla".
  • December 2, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    ^There is no mention of biological differences though.
  • December 2, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ Our Vampires Are Different implies differences of kinds of vampires, including biological. Examples also are like that.
  • December 3, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    Just because it can include biological differences doesn't mean they must be biologically different to count.
  • December 3, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ then it needs a little rewriting.

    On a second thought, tho, I think "multiple variations of a same race in a work" is a trope in itself.
  • July 8, 2016
    Morgenthaler
  • January 29, 2017
    Anura
    Added the examples, and rewritten the description to hopefully be a little more clear.
  • January 30, 2017
    Arivne
  • January 30, 2017
    Morgenthaler
    Vampire Clans sounds too similar to Council Of Vampires because "clan" is used in a political context just as often as a kinship one. How about Vampire Breeds or Vampire Species?
  • January 30, 2017
    Prime32
  • January 30, 2017
    PaulA
    Or just "Vampire Varieties"?
  • January 30, 2017
    TheWanderer
    • In the American Vampire series, there are many different subspecies of vampire, with wildly different powers and appearances based on a combination of their land of origin and ethnicity. (So a white or black American vampire is a very different creature from a Native American vampire, nevermind an Irish, Japanese, or Eastern European one.) Eventually the Vampire Hunter group admits that calling all these creatures vampires is really a misnomer, because while certain strains may be fairly similar, about the only thing they all have in common is that they drink blood, and a person can always be infected by exposure to infected blood, and sometimes simply by being fed on.
  • February 8, 2017
    Anura
    Problem is, those names sound too similar to Our Vampires Are Different. I know that this trope is just a variation on that, but I don't want the two to be confused.
  • February 8, 2017
    intastiel
    Tabletop Games
    • A sub-example for Vampire The Requiem:
      • Older or more powerful vampires can refine their blood to found a Bloodline, an offshoot of a Clan that develops new, sometimes unique, powers and weaknesses. Joining a Bloodline and gaining access to its abilities usually takes effort and mentorship, though it can happen spontaneously, and an experienced vampire can force itself into a Bloodline other than its creator's.
    • Pathfinder has several vampire offshoots, including the ancient, sterile Nosferatu; the bestial, plague-bearing Vrykolakas; the memory-eating Vetala; and the hopping, Life Energy-drinking Jiang-Shi. Each, notably, has a unique way of resisting Final Death.
    Video Games
  • February 9, 2017
    zoop
    Literature:

    • In the Relativity series, there are two kinds of vampires: The "classic" vampires that Dracula would be an example of, and mindless, zombie-like creatures who live in the sewers and eat rats. It is implied that several centuries ago, a scientist attempted to "cure" vampires and accidentally created the zombie breed.
  • March 4, 2017
    intastiel
    Webcomic:
  • March 4, 2017
    Prime32
    What about "Vampire Clans Are Different" as a name? Should make it clear that the clans being different from each other is the important part rather than their mere existence.
  • March 5, 2017
    Xtifr
  • March 9, 2017
    Anura
    I like the sound of Vampire Variety Pack, it must be said.
  • March 9, 2017
    Anura
    Also, the current page quote for Our Vampires Are Different would be absolutely perfect for this trope. Do I need permission from someone to change it?
  • March 9, 2017
    crazysamaritan
    Yes; ask in the General Page Quote thread.
  • March 11, 2017
    Getta
    Thinking that a "Monster Variety Pack" trope would be good too.
  • March 11, 2017
    zarpaulus
    I think "Vampire Variety Pack" sounds a little too cheesy myself.
  • March 11, 2017
    Anura
    "Monster Variety Pack" could be easily confused with Monster Mash.
  • March 11, 2017
    Getta
    ^ MVP could at least be an exampleless supertrope like Our Monsters Are Different.
  • March 11, 2017
    Malady
    Folderize...

    Web Original:

    • Whateley Universe: Ayla's speech on vampires in Ayla and the Mad Scientist (Chap 12):
      “There are vampire-like mutants, and maybe mutant-vampires, just as there are mutants who look like all kinds of animals and all sorts of Class 1 and Class 2 entities. That doesn’t make them true vampires. Alex has an eclectic set of talents that combine to give her these abilities, but all that doesn’t make her a true vampire. And her ability to be a giant pain in the ass isn’t vampiric at all.” I waited until the assorted snickering died down.
      I explained, “There are vampires who are living humans, and there are vampires who are mobile corpses. Now these are all completely different things, and my researchers said that there was some disagreement over whether all of these are real. There may be some other types out there for which my researchers didn’t find enough evidence to include in their list. But there are vampires who are corpses possessed by a demon or a spirit. Those are two different things, and The Magus insists that they’re separate entities, with somewhat different powers and strengths and weaknesses. She ought to know. Then there are living people who are vampiric: people possessed by predatory spirits; and sorcerers who practice vampirism for dark magical purposes. And then there are two relative newcomers to the vampire biz. The Amazing Three have fought what Doctor Amazing calls a ‘symbiotic vampire’. Very tough, but very susceptible to their few weaknesses. Doctor Amazing has hypothesized that they’re a non-sentient silicoid extraterrestrial lifeform that parasitizes a human.”
  • March 11, 2017
    RonnieR15
    The Saga Of Darren Shan has Vampires and Vampanzee. Lady Evanna's future children might also apply.
  • March 14, 2017
    Anura
    I think this is just about ready to go, then. I'll put in a request regarding the page quote after launch. A better name would still be nice, but I think this is as good as it's likely to get.
  • March 14, 2017
    Malady
    Folderized.
  • March 15, 2017
    zarpaulus
    @Ronnie R 15: Mind explaining the difference?
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