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Our Vampires Are Different: Tabletop Games

  • Vampires in White Wolf's Vampire: The Masquerade are vulnerable to sunlight and fire as a whole, and various factors have led to the species diverging into a number of different "clans", each having its own additional weakness, some of which also come from the "traditional" list. (The Lasombra don't have reflections, the Ventrue have very specific feeding requirements, etc.) Vampiric powers are represented by "disciplines", with each clan specializing in certain ones. Stakes to the heart merely paralyze vampires in this setting instead of killing them.
    • In addition to the one standard with the clan of choice, additional flaws (including other clans' weaknesses and classic ones like being repelled by garlic) can also be selected at character creation.
    • The Kuei-jin of Kindred of the East are a completely different type of creature altogether. Where Western vampires make more of their kind by transforming mortals, the Kuei-jin are damned souls who managed to fight their way out of the Thousand Hells and back into their bodies. They're still vulnerable to fire and sunlight. They have no clans, instead pursuing "dharmas", paths to enlightenment; the further they progress, the stronger and more potent they become. Rather than feeding on blood per se, they feed on the Chi, life-force, within it, and as they become more enlightened can learn to draw it from breath, then from the very world around them. They possess their own set of disciplines. Wooden stakes will paralyze vampires aspected to Yin, and metal ones vampires aspected to Yang, but vampires whose Yin and Yang are balanced will merely be hurt.
  • Masquerade's Spiritual Successor Vampire: The Requiem repeats the general idea of vampires from Masquerade, though it winnows them down into only five Clans instead of thirteen. Furthermore, each Clan can spawn any number of Bloodlines, which further mould the vampire in new and unique ways. For example, one Bloodline can only truly draw sustenance by drinking from people using drugs, another can only Embrace women, one becomes increasingly obese as it ages, etcetera. In one particular splatbook, Night Horrors: The Wicked Dead, an In-Universe vampire scientist theorises that, rather than the different clans being subspecies of the main vampire race, they're entirely different creatures who have just enough in common to seem that way at a first glance, making it Our Vampires Are Different... From Each Other.
    • The game also has vampiric creatures with little resemblance to the clans, things outside their framework, and details them in the previously mentioned Night Horrors: The Wicked Dead. These include the Aswang (several different varieties of shapechanging blood-drinking monster from the Philippines, who can walk in daylight and often don't even recognize they are vampiric creatures), the Bhuta (a demonic ghost who murders "warriors", which in the present day includes people like police officers and firefighters, to feed on their time), the Formosae (grotesquely obese mock-vampires who drain the fat and ugliness from their victims along with their lifeforce), the Mnemovores (memory vampires), the Ghuls (corpse-eating immortals), Cymothoa Sanguinaria (a particularly nasty human parasite), and more besides.
    • Incidentally, both games take the rib cage into account — staking a vampire through the heart in combat (in other words, when they're awake and your time is limited) requires a miraculous degree of luck on one's dice rolls.
    • The Vampire games also have an example of complicating the matter of propagation. A human who is to be turned must be drained of blood until dead, then the vampire must immediately feed the empowered blood from its own system to the victim. Vampire: the Requiem additionally added the requirement that the sire expend a permanent point of Willpower on the process, to impart the necessary vital spark and stop the blood going inert as it does shortly after leaving the vampire's body (as well as to prevent players from "embracing" hordes of vampires willy-nilly).
      • The aforementioned "Mass Embrace" rule is due to that tactic being one of the Sabbat's nastier tricks in oWoD. Take a bunch of poor bastards, kill them, feed them blood. Then tell them jack shit, and point them at something to use their newfound vitality on. This rarely goes well for the Fledgelings, but the point is entirely based around quick shock-troops, not new longterm members.
  • Mortasheen's non-humanoid vampires tend to be mostly based on aquatic life (Word of God has it that the virus originated from the sea), and the human ones are said to look like Count Orlock. They're considered really powerful monsters, mainly due to their incredibly powerful Mind Control abilities.
    • Also, they've created quite a few servitor races for themselves, mostly different varieties of Fish People, and hunting bats, and some may become a bacteriophage-looking creature called a Viviphage with total control over the blood of others, and which eventually turns into an organic rocket to spread the vampire plague to other world.
  • Vampires in Palladium Games' Rifts and other games are the spawn of huge, multi-tentacled Eldritch Abominations called Vampire Intelligences. They come in three levels: The Master Vampire, who makes a pact with the Intelligence to become a Vampire, the Secondary, who is created by the Master over a three-day "Slow Kill", and occasionally another Secondary when things go right, and the savage and feral Wild Vampire, which is what happens when a Secondary Vampire's attempt at transforming a human goes wrong. While they can be hurt by silver, wood, magic, or the claws of a Dragon, actually killing them requires sunlight, or impaling (staking) them through the heart followed by decapitation (just staking them turns them into a skeleton, but it's really a cheap form of suspended animation; remove the stake and you'll have a live (and hungry) vampire in under a minute.) and burning both head and body to ash separately. Oh, or running water. Not only can they not cross running water, but merely touching water in motion is dangerous, and can kill them on its own. This makes fire hoses, rain, and even water guns deadly weapons against them. They must also sleep in or near the soil of their native land; a generous layer of the stuff in their coffin will do. If they lose their soil, and can't get any more before the night is over, they can't sleep, and are easy prey for the rising sun. Finally, crosses ward them off regardless of the faith of the wielder (it's not religious but a property of the Intelligences' hyperdimensional geometry), and the touch of a cross will harm them. They are also harmed by the shadow of a cross falling on them. Many Vampire hunters have taken to taping a cross over flashlights or the headlights of their vehicles for an extra measure of protection.
    • Bare-handed attacks from True Atlanteans and certain other creatures can harm vampires, as well. Whether they're terribly effective or not is another matter...
    • The Nightbane game also adds the Wampyr, which isn't a Half-Human Hybrid, but rather a mutation of a Secondary Vampire. They're invulnerable to water, and can stay out in the sun for periods of time, but are not as strong as a normal Vampire.
    • Vampires in RIFTS can actually cross water if they are "sleeping" at the time, or restrained in some way. If they are awake, they will feel extreme discomfort or even pain, as well as an overwhelming desire to get somewhere dry.
    • This may make it seem that Palladium vampires are weak, but keep in mind that in Rifts at least, they're capable of tearing tanks apart with their bare hands. Furthermore, nothing not listed above can even scratch them (no, not even a nuke).
  • The Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay supplement "Night's Dark Masters" gets around this problem by simply listing pages and pages of weaknesses and quirks of vampires, from the classics like weakness to sunlight to lesser-known ones like obsessive counting and fear of sawdust, and then simply says that all vampires have some of them but not others. This is neatly explained by the fact that inbreeding and crossbreeding between different vampire clans has accentuated some traits and rarified others.
    • The Warhammer novel Drachenfels expands on this further, from the point of view of its heroine, the Vampire Geneviève Dieudonné. And if that name sounds familiar to fans of the Anno Dracula series, guess who Drachenfels author Jack Yeovil is a pseudonym for?
    • All of the Warhammer novels with Geneviève are "abnormal" when looking at stereotypical vampires. And just one thing I'd like to add: The blood-suckers from the Twilight novels? Those aren't vampires; Geneviève is a real vampire. Read any of those Warhammer novels and you'll see what we mean.
    • The Vampire Counts of the Strategy game, however, limit Vampires to five major bloodlines: Von Carstein (classic Dracula-style), Lahmian (classic Carmilla-style), Blood Dragon (Fallen Blood Knights), Strigoi (ghoulish and savage monsters in appearance and ability but descended from intelligent, benevolent rulers) and Necrarch (Mad Scientist necromancers, to whom Looks Like Orlok would be an improvement).
    • These bloodlines are also prominently figuring in "Night's Dark Masters". It's just that there is always a chance of some sort of randomness in a specific Vampire's weakness (and to keep the players guessing about a Vampiric Antagonist's weakness). To make the players never rely on the same tactic against vampires.
    • The latest army book has dropped the separate bloodlines, allowing aspects of each to be combined in a single vampire, although the list of powers is still divided by the themes of the bloodlines.
    • In the latest Vampire Counts armybook, there is a section about the various mythical weaknesses of vampires and explanations on why some of them might work and why others are just myths.
    • And then there are the Varghulf. They are vamps who give in to their bloodlust and reverted into mindless predators that look like giant bats.
  • Warhammer 40,000 also has an entire army of Super Soldier vampires, the Blood Angels.
    • In one of the background novels, the vampire analogues are still subtly worked in- the newest trainees are locked in a casket for an entire year while being transformed, they have many rituals and traditions involving blood, and aren't averse to drinking blood when they get the chance. They also make the longest lived Space Marines of them all, quite a feat considering that most marines can live for centuries if they survive that long.
    • And in the Captain Leonatos series, one of the Blood Angels marines is afflicted with Red Thirst, a rare Blood Angel genetic flaw that makes him degenerate into a monster craving blood. When it first activated he was held captive by chaos cultists. He broke out of his cell and killed them all with bare hands before resorting to eating their flesh when their "weak blood" failed to sate him.
    • In truly ancient 40k background (from the time of Rogue Trader), there is a mention of an alien race commonly known as vampires. They don't seem to have much to do with the typical vampires, being shapeshifting creatures who feed on psychic energy (their natural form is batlike though).
    • In James Swallow's Deus Encarmine, Arkio's metamorphosis makes him vampire-like, and Rafen, fighting him, explicitly thinks that they do not talk of that word: vampire. Later, in Red Fury, faced with Bloodfiends derived from their gene-seed, a Blood Angel and a Flesh Tearer (a successor chapter to Blood Angels) agree that it is vampiric.
    • Oddly, the Blood Angels are one of the nicer Chapters (relatively speaking) of Space Marines, probably because of all the self-restraint they have to go through to deal with their... issues.
    • The Dark Eldar always had some vampiric characteristics, but their most recent codex update plays them up to a much greater degree, and in a manner similar to the angst-ridden Anne Rice/Masquerade fashion, to boot. Needless to say much of 40k's main fanbase, paragons of over-the-top manliness they are, balked at this development, fearing GW was using the Dark Eldar to try to cozy up to the Twilight crowd the way they used the Tau to reel in the weeaboo market. However, as one astute fellow pointed out, there is an Alternate Character Interpretation if you don't like seeing them as some whiny goth kid's wet dream. To wit, since the Dark Eldar are ambitious, sex-crazed, easily shot down, boat & aeroplane loving pseudo-aristocrats haunted by a terrible curse, they are not vampires, but in fact, Kennedies.
  • All vampire PCs in Demon Hunters are of the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire variety by virtue of an artificial blood they can drink out of water bottles. However, vampires are still subject to something called The Chill: since vampires aren't technically alive, they are cold blooded, and they can feel it. The only thing which makes them feel warm (other than sitting in a sauna or something) is drinking human blood.
  • In older versions of Dungeons & Dragons, vampires had the somewhat inexplicable ability to permanently drain life force (in the form of levels) by simply hitting their victim in melee, which for sufficiently low-level characters (like, say, your average peasant) would basically translate into an automatic no-save-allowed death touch; depending on the precise edition and type of vampire involved this could be in addition to or in place of drinking blood. They were also resistant to nonmagical weapons, could create a Charm Person effect on eye contact, and had the ability to turn into bat, wolf, or mist form... as well as the traditional problems with sunlight, running water, and having to sleep in a coffin.
    • The Draconomicon supplement provides rules for vampire dragons, who have to sleep in their treasure instead of a coffin (though this is appropriate for dragons; some dragons who got their treasure stolen were unable to reach the afterlife, and had to stay as ghosts) and they have reduced weaknesses compared to "normal" vampires. Strangely they still can't get into houses uninvited, though a vampire dragon may decide to just demolish the house. You don't have to be invited to enter in a pile of rubble.
    • This was expanded further in the Ravenloft campaign setting, which included a bewildering array of vampires: Not only were the standard type given expanded weaknesses (and opportunities to NOT have those weaknesses), there were also Vampyres (living creatures that feed on blood), Nosferatu (slightly different powers than normal vampires), elven vampires (who kill plants and are vulnerable to moonlight), dwarven vampires... Even the dreaded Kender Vampire. Van Richten's Guide to Vampires, rather than dispelling the classical vampiric weaknesses, lists less common variations and spent a lot of time detailing how vampires got around them: A vampire could not cross running water for instance, but nothing prevented them from being *carried* (including in a carriage); a vampire could not enter a home uninvited, but Charm Person is a wonderful way of getting an invitation extended. Oh, and if you're thinking of hiding from Strahd Von Zarovich, remember that as the legal ruler of his domain he technically "owns" any house in Barovia...
    • 4th edition vampires vary almost as much, including spirit-form vampires and the Vampire Muse, which looks like a goth eladrin.
  • d20 Modern, which is the D&D system for the modern world, has a Vampire template with the most well known vampiric strength and weaknesses, although a vampire can remove any weakness by removing one of its powers.
    • And d20 Future adds mutant vampires. That is to say, mutants with fangs and blood cravings. And, for some of them, a violent reaction to UV light. Those are mostly normal (except for possible other mutations other mutations) beyond that though.
  • Dragon Dice gives us its spin on the vampire - a light mage unit in the undead army with the unique ability to convert killed members of other races into undead. They have mediocre spellcasting abilities and can also perform better in melee than a more focused mage.
  • In Exalted, the only way the Abyssals can regain essence when not in the underworld is to grow fangs, and then either suck blood or eat people. (Or with a charm, suck out their essence by cutting them with magic swords). As a single normal person drained to death only gives you back the essence required to grow fangs in the first place, this is only effective when killing large numbers of people at once.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, vampires used to be the staple creature type for rare fliers for black. They often have a "feeding" mechanic that made them stronger by killing creatures in combat, but it was of limited use, since they don't often get into combat. More recent vampires have dealt with this by focusing on the bat aspects or by feeding on players. Since 2010, creative decided to focus on Demons as the main black rare creatures, and vampires became more common and therefore simpler, sometimes lacking abilities. Lifelink, an ability that allows the player to gain life when they deal damage, is common on vampires. They don't have explicit weaknesses due to creature type.
    • In Ravnica, most vampires were horrific skeletal or vulturelike creatures, except for the leader of House Dimir, but he doesn't exist and neither does the guild. Move along.
    • On Zendikar, vampires are more common, and apparently alive and immune to sunlight. They do have a blood lust, though: Several vampires get more powerful when an opponent is at 10 life or less. Interestingly, the method for turning is a slight variation on the normal variety. On Zendikar, only specific vampires (called Bloodchiefs) can create other vampires. The rest create zombies, referred to as nulls (and a vampire family's status is apparently related to the number of Nulls it has)
    • An interesting method of turning would be that of Crovax. His method of transmission? Glass shards that imbedded themselves into his skin resulting from a curse after killing his former Guardian Angel.
    • The vampires of Mirrodin are exceedingly different, sucking blood through two giant claws on each hand.
    • On Innistrad, vampires were created through consumption of angel's blood by the progenitor Edgar Markov. They are not technically undead, but apart from that share most of the common vampire traits. They behave in an aristocratic manner, can "turn" their victims by feeding them their blood, can be repelled by the holy symbol of the archangel Avacyn, etc...
    • One of black's most well-known characters, the planeswalker Sorin Markov (grandson of the aforementioned Edgar Markov), is also a vampire. Apart from the pre-Time Spiral planeswalkers and Nicol Bolas, he is the oldest planeswalker and one of the most powerful. Most traditional vampire weaknesses probably don't even apply to him any more, notably because he created Avacyn himself so that vampires would not wipe out humanity entirely.
  • The vampire template from GURPS: Fantasy has the odd flaw that it cannot heal from injury unless they bathe in blood. Wood is the only thing that can kill them and crosses won't repel them unless imbued with real divine power.
    • The old GURPS Supers had as a sample character Nightflick, a vampire who rejected his sire and only needs to feed during the full moon— retaining almost all of his human traits and personality, he becomes a Super Hero. He can fly in the form of a man-sized bat, bullets pass through him without harm, and he hides his identity while vigilante-ing by dressing up as... a vampire. Pale makeup, black cloak, fake fangs, red contacts, speaks in Vampire Vords, etc., the Full Lugosi.
  • In Unhallowed Metropolis, feral vampires with mere animal cunning instead of reasoning intellect are the majority. Sentient vampires are a growing minority, however, due to the phenomenon of Legacies — a sentient vampire is more likely to create another sentient vampire, that sentient vampire is even more likely to create a sentient vampire, and so on. No matter how long the Legacy, there's never more than a 60% chance of a vampire creating a sentient vampire. Infection is spread through exchange of bodily fluids, but is rare under ordinary circumstances — there's only a 1% chance of it on each instance of transfer. Large, deliberate transfers of bodily fluids, such as a victim being fed a quantity of the vampire's blood, drastically increase the chances to one in ten. Unless the disease is diagnosed and treated with a complete blood transfusion within a week of initial infection, the infected will never be human again — those who die of the disease become vampires, while those who survive become dhampiri. Vampires can be killed by enough normal injury, but it takes a large amount of very severe wounds to do so. Any sufficiently dire wound to the head or heart will destroy the vampire, as will outright decapitating them or removing their heart. A wooden stake to the heart will only kill under the same circumstances as any other damage to the heart, but a lesser wound that still manages to stake them will paralyze the vampire. Vampires are not actually harmed by sunlight, but it is uncomfortable to the point of being debilitating — being out in one of the rare instances of direct sunlight in Neo-Victorian London virtually cripples a vampire, while even being out in the typical overcast weather severely hampers them. Sentient vampires have mind control abilities, are destructively passionate and intense in their emotions, and are almost invariably twisted sadomasochists who have difficulty not killing someone who shows pain or fear. Somewhat unusually for a serious modern portrayal, the vampires here actually are averse to garlic. Not to the point that waving around a clove will protect you if one wants to kill you, but they find the smell incredibly unpleasant and avoid even being in the same room with it if possible.
    • And for extra fun, this is just the type primarily found in England. There's various other types, and the Continent is virtually overrun with countless types of vampires with varying abilities and weaknesses.
  • Everway supplement Spherewalker Sourcebook. Queen Sunset the Undying, ruler of the Red Merchants, removes their souls and places the souls in a receptacle, which causes them to become a form of vampire. The newest are called Knights, and with time (at least 50 years) they can become Barons or Baronesses, and even Dukes or Duchesses.
    • They must feed on blood. Knights must drink the blood of a close relative. Barons and Baronesses can feed on the blood of any human being. Dukes and Duchesses can survive on the blood of any creature with a soul, and if they drink the blood of an animal they can take that animal's form.
    • Knights are immune to aging in the normal way, but their bodies will decay over time. Barons and Baronesses can avoid decay as long as they drink blood regularly.
    • Knights are damaged by sunlight, repelled by roses and silver and harmed by silver weapons. Barons and Baronesses are similar, except that they can overcome the effect of roses. Dukes and Duchesses are vulnerable only to prolonged sunlight and weapons made of silver, water, or spirit.
      • Some new Knights are repelled by a picture of a rose and are vulnerable to ordinary weapons.
    • Barons and Baronesses regenerate all damage within two days except for harm inflicted by silver weapons, by ice, or by weapons of the spirit, which heals at the normal rate for humans. Dukes and Duchesses can heal damage taken in one day regardless of source.
    • Some Barons and Baronesses can take "whisper form", which allows them to become fog-like and move around in that form. All Dukes and Duchesses can do so.
    • If the container holding a Red Merchant's soul is opened or broken, the soul flees and their body is destroyed.
    • A wooden stake to the heart can inconvenience a Red Merchant but not destroy them.
    • Many Dukes and Duchesses have high charisma and a dominating appearance.
    • Red Merchants are deathly pale, a condition which can't be changed by feeding. Most use cosmetics to cover this, with varying success. They are corpse-cold as well, and they neither sweat nor bleed.
      • Dukes and Duchesses who have recently fed gain a ruddy color and the warmth of the living.
  • Talisman:
    • The Vampiress player character can treat her followers like portable health potions by sacrificing them to heal herself. She can also charm the followers of other players, and is one of the more durable character choices (reflected by having a higher starting life value than most other player characters.)
    • The vampire prince and vampiric dragon enemies drain the life of one of a defeated player's followers (thereby killing the follower.) If no follower is available, the enemies will take an additional life token from the defeated player character instead.
    • The lord of the Vampire's Tower board space demands a blood toll of any player character attempting to cross the space on their way to the Crown of Command in the inner region. This toll can be paid either by removing some of the character's life tokens, or sacrificing one or more of the player's followers.
  • In Glorantha, vampires are devouts of the cursed chaos god Vivamort. Being a worshipper is almost compulsory for becoming a vampire in the first place. Apart from this detail, the vampires in the setting are actually extremely close to the traditional Victorian vampire mould. For example, sunlight does no direct harm to them, but it robs them of most of their powers, and since they must rest 12 hours every day in their coffin, it's simply more natural for them to be nocturnal.
  • The Vampire archetype from the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game.
  • Night's Black Agents is a game that presupposes your characters, all veterans of the intelligence trade, learn they were not working for a specific state interest, but to further the unknowable machinations of vampires. Beyond that, however, the game is very flexible on what kind of vampire, with four base origins involved - Supernatural (mystical but not necessarily evil origin), Infernal (explicitly demonic origin), Mutant (human subspecies), or Alien (inhuman species). From there, the game offers various powers, regenerative techniques, feeding methods, and propagation methods, all with suggestions on which is best suited for which origin.
  • There're a number of possible ways to become a vampire in Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine - some have cause to come back from the dead, some are cursed, and some are turned by other vampires. No matter the cause, they share similar properties: they're undead, they don't age, they're typically superhumanly strong, tough, fast and graceful, they don't need air, water or human food, they have predatory body language that unsettles humans, and they can create more of their kind. They can feed on blood or negative emotion, and even those with an active taste for blood are typically against assault and murder; some drink "pillow-teeth tea", which makes their teeth squishy, in order to reassure humans. They're vulnerable to sunlight, but some are strong enough to ignore it. Their capacity to love is broken - they can love, but they don't know how to be friends, so their relationships can be dysfunctional. They can have additional strengths or weaknesses as well.
    • There's also mention of vampire princesses, who can walk in the sunlight and hide their predatory body language.


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