There are many ways you can use Vampires, cursed folk returned from the grave in your games as Player characters. Here are some questions to run through to help you define Vampires in your games.
Vampire can be player characters may feed on blood of animals, or strong emotion, or even mana points/spell slots.
- In some stories Vampires are tied to bats. How Bat-like or how Human like are these Vampires? does this change when they feed or rest?
The best Vampire stories are where the characters have two strong drives. They struggle with their thirst and with their desire to finish their quest, protect their loved ones or remove other creatures of the night.
Importantly the Vampire character will need a link to one or more of the characters in the plot, so the other PCs don’t haul out the stakes and holy water every time they see them Vampire.
You don’t want characters becoming invincible slaying beasts at low level/campaign start, so you can reduce their immunities and stat bonuses of their new Vampire form, but allow them to enhance those traits with feats etc later on in the game. In character they go on a trek to the Shadowfell to get in touch with their unliving nature, or feed on a variety of creatures to learn about their gifts.
For example-Start with half damage from regular weapons but double damage from holy weapons. Then later progress to no damage from regular weapons and gain Bat form once per day.
You don’t want to give every vampire the ability to fly, change into a bat, run along the walls, super speed, super strength etc. Better to offer one ability every milestone or every other character level.
Typically characters have some sort of mark or trait that shows their unliving nature. This may be pallid skin, nervous disposition in sunlight, no reflection or repelled by garlic.
- How long were the characters alive before they became a Vampire? are any elements of that life still present?
- How long have the characters been Vampires? what lore or resources have they gained in this time? what experiences have they had?
They will need to hide their scent from other creatures, especially if you have humanoid creatures as races like Lizardfolk, Catfolk etc. They can use cinnamon, lavender, jasmine or aniseed on their clothes or in their regular food.
Players can describe their characters feeding. Is it surprising, quick, painful or delicious? Does their eyes, mannerism or voice change?
- Does their personality change? Are they more manipulative? Are their drives more sedate once their hungers are satiated?
- If the Vampirism is some kind of curse of demonic gift – Perhaps demons leave them alone, and they get headaches when they go in good temples?
One way to expand on their returned nature is characters can have shared dreams with loved ones. Some of the dreams are real events from the past, some of the dreams are potential events in the future, but all have elements such as death, birth, blood, hunting and sunrise.
Vampires in TV/Film
• Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel TV series.
• True Blood tv series.
• Underworld movie series has Lycans vs Vampires.
• Being Human – tv series, BBC & US versions.
• Interview with a Vampire & Queen of the Damned movies.
• Van Helsing, movie.