Vampire Variety Pack

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 approach 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 or Classical Movie 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

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    Comic Books 
  • In the Marvel Comics universe, vampires are divided into "sects", each with their own abilities and customs:
    • Krieger Sect: Western European warriors, considered one of the strongest and most numerous. They wear Prussian / Imperial Germany inspired outfits.
    • Claw Sect: Middle-Eastern ninjas and rivals to the Krieger.
    • Mystikos Sect: American vampires that embraced modern times and masquerade as businessmen. They are responsible for dealing with technology.
    • Anchorite Sect: American rural outcasts who prefer to live far away from humanity and live in peace, they are similar to the Amish.
    • Siren Sect: All-female vampires that use the power of seduction.
    • Moksha Sect: Vampire seers with the power to see into the future by feeding as little blood as possible.
    • Aqueos Sect: Atlantean vampires that live underwater.
    • Several minor bloodlines exist such as the Yiki Onna (Japanese vampires with the power to turn into ice storms), Charniputra (a gargoyle-like vampire race that dwells in the Himalayas) and the Nosferati (a pale, bald vampire race that resembles Count Orlok).
  • 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.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic continuation varies the standard depiction of vampires in the TV show. Season Eight has Japanese vampires who take on some of the characteristics of the stereotypical manga vampire, and Season Nine introduces "zompires", animalistic and unintelligent vampires who were sired during the period when the Earth had no Seed Of Wonder, and New Vampires, vampires with magical powers and fewer vulnerabilities who were sired after the creation of the new Seed Of Wonder.

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

    Films - Live Action 
  • Underworld: For the most of the series, vampires seem to be pretty common outside for the unusual half human hybrids such as Michael, Marcus and later on Selene (all of them are immune to the typical vampire weaknesses and are far, far stronger than their kind). Then the fifth movie introduces the Nordic bloodline, who possess elf-like traits and supernatural powers unlike anything that common vampires possess such as teleportation and telepathy.

    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.
  • In Phoenix Ascendant, set in the magical world of Zarathan, it's said that Zarathan has at least five kinds of creature covered by the term "vampire", with differing powers, weaknesses, and chances of being cured.
  • In The Witcher, the word "vampire" is used as an hyper name to refer to a number of creatures that thrive on blood. Unlike most examples, they aren't really undead or capable of turning humans into vampires, they are actually an interdimensional denizens from another world that were displaced in the series' setting, and are otherwise invulnerable to sunlight, garlic or holy symbols. Composed of several subspecies fitting in these categories, they are split into "low" and "high" vampires: The lowly ones such as Fleders, Garkains and Ekimmas are completely inhuman monsters that live off as beasts, while the high ones such as Higher Vampires and Bruxas possess a more human-like in appearance and are capable of blending among civilized society.
  • The world of Strange Practice has several strains of "sanguivore", including the standard vampire and the vampyre, who is rejuvenated by the full moon and is allergic to the blood of non-virgins. As a doctor to London's supernatural population, Greta Hellsing's primary interest in the distinction is in any unique medical concerns she might need to know when one Sir Francis Varney shows up in bad shape.

    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). Other than the Nosferatu keeping their twisted appearance they all have the same abilities, making the differences purely political.

    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. Each clan has access to Disciplines, many of which are unique to a single clan and are classic vampire traits, such as shapeshifting, mind-control, illusion-casting, blood-magic, etc.
    • 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). There are also a few vampires who don't quite match any of the known types (like Genevieve), and others who are sired by one bloodline but end up learning the abilities of another (like Ulrika).
  • 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 
  • BloodRayne: vampires come in a very varied bunch, some fit the classical mold like Kagan and Zerenski, others have some strange traits (Ephemera has shadow-based powers and Xerx looks like a Frankenstein's monster) and few are truly inhuman such as Hedrox, a self-regenerating beast that is otherwise impossible to kill, and Slezz, who belongs to an ancient breed known as "Babylonian Winged Shikab" that looks like a gigantic reptilian beast that lives underground. Dhampyrs are nearly indistinguishable from vampires in the sense they share pretty much the same weaknesses, but are said to be not as powerful as them.
  • In Legacy of Kain: 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 {at least not until Nosgoth).
    • Dumahim are hulking brutes without any special abilities, and can be found scattered about in almost all areas.
    • Melchahim are zombie-like creatures, slowly shuffling about and attacking by bursting out of the ground. They're stated to be in a constant state of decay, and need to strip the flesh from their victims to replace their own. They are found in the Necropolis area.
    • Zephonim are spider-like creatures with long, spindly arms and legs. They can climb walls and drop down on prey from above, which they then cocoon in webbing so they can be devoured slowly. They are found in the Silenced Cathedral.
    • Rahabim are shark-like creatures that evolved to be immune to water, but are extremely weak to sunlight. They are the only vampires that can swim. On land, they move slowly but can fire energy projectiles at enemies. They are found in the Drowned Abbey.
    • Turelim are some of the toughest regular enemies in the game. They're strong, fast, intelligent, and can fire energy projectiles. They are found around the Lighthouse and in the Oracle's Cave, and one serves as a mini-boss in the Sarafan Tomb.
    • Razielim were unseen in the game, apparently having been wiped out in the centuries between Raziel's death and revival. They supposedly had wings.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has over 100 known vampire bloodlines, with many differing appearances and abilities depending on the bloodline. This is also used to explain the differing powers of vampires between different games in the series. To note:
    • In general in the series, Vampirism is technically a form of disease, generally starting off innocuous before developing into full Vampirism, after which it is nearly impossible to cure. The diseases which cause Vampirism can be transmitted through any wound inflicted by a Vampire. There are numerous regional bloodlines of Vampires (with over 100 known, according to some sources) with many differing features and abilities. These bloodlines generally have a few traits in common, however, such as the presence of fangs, pale skin, agelessness, immunity to other diseases, enhanced night vision, sensitivity to sunlight (ranging from irritation to outright burns upon exposure), and the need to consume humanoid blood (or another vital substance). The in-game book Immortal Blood describes some of the various subspecies of vampires living throughout Tamriel.
    • Daggerfall has nine clans with varying powers and abilities — although unlike later games, there are no actual differences in the quests you can receive between the clans.
    • Morrowind has three different clans that are treated as guilds. The clans are Berne, Aundae, and Quarra, respectively fitting the Fighter, Mage, Thief breakdown, and joining one by becoming a vampire unlocks a quest chain with one quest unique to each clan.
    • Oblivion only has one vampire bloodline present, but it is stated in-game that this bloodline (which is blessed with ability to blend in with normals much more easily than other clans) has worked to eliminate any other bloodlines within Cyrodiil.
    • Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC introduces the oldest vampire bloodline in Tamriel, the Volkihar Clan, who are central to the plot. Their elders received their strain of vampirism directly from the Daedric Prince Molag Bal, the progenitor and patron of all vampires. This gives them the ability to transform into a "Vampire Lord", a Super Mode which greatly enhances all of their vampiric abilities. The plot of the DLC allows you to either join them, or destroy them as part of the titular Dawnguard.
  • 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:
    • Clan Brujah, modern Buffy-esque vampires with Celerity and Potence making them a Lightning Bruiser in combat and able to fight unarmed very well. However they are very prone to Frenzy.
    • Clan Gangrel, savage Beast Man vampires, Made of Iron thanks to Fortitude and potent in combat and movement thanks to Protean and Animalism. Also prone to Frenzy, but at least they're much more powerful than other vampires while they do it.
    • Clan Malkavian, comically insane vampires with the Super Senses Auspex provides, and Dementation and Obsfucate allowing plenty of tricks and illusions. Their insanity can give them special insights more sane vampires would simply pass over, but can also be a liability.
    • Clan Nosferatu, hideously deformed vampires and Stealth Experts, forced to avoid contact with most humans but able to feed on rats for sustenance and sneak around with Obsfucate and Animalism. Also has Potence so are deceptively powerful in a fight.
    • Clan Toreador, emphasises Vampires Are Sex Gods, have Auspex and Presence and gain bonuses to using the latter in dialogue. Also has Celerity, making them quite a Fragile Speedster. As the most in-touch with their former humanity, Toreador have all Humanity gains and losses doubled.
    • Clan Tremere, the Evil Sorceror vampire clan. Able to use the powerful Thaumaturgy discipline, plus Auspex and Dominate. Overall quite well-rounded, if a little limited in physical stats.
    • Clan Ventrue, the Blue Blood Upper-Class Twit vampires. Able to use both Dominate and Presence, masters of social situations and dialogue with unique buffs to those skills. When that fails, they can still rely on Fortitude to fight their way out of a bad spot. Unfortunately, also a Picky People Eater.

    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.
  • Charby the Vampirate has at least four types:

    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.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VampireVarietyPack