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Forums > RP Discussion > What kinds of vampires are most interesting?

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I’ve got a question to pose, but first, some background!

TL;DR I’m looking for some opinions and advice on reworking a vampire character of mine.

I’ve been on a major vampire kick lately, and I’ve been wanting to revamp my character Kai Merrill for a while, but I’m not sure what direction I want to take her character in any more. Currently she’s set up as a recently turned vampire who hates her condition and is struggling to survive. This is something I don’t see often in vampire characters, and when I first made her this way I wanted to explore that angle. But I’m not really satisfied with Kai, and I’m having a hard time figuring out how to set her up in such a way that her end goal is survival and acceptance of her vampirism rather than seeking a cure, because if she becomes human again that’s kind of boring. I’m also a real sucker for the more bloodthirsty and savage type of vampire, the kind who revel in carnage and are unabashedly monstrous. I’m tossing around the idea of overhauling Kai into such a vampire. However, I already have a character like that, Ghaurug, and I’m reluctant to make two characters who follow the same archetype, even if one (Ghaurug) is a fandom-specific character and therefore gets less usage.

So I’m turning to you, RPR! What kind of vampire characters do you find most interesting? I want to make Kai into a character I enjoy, of course, but I want her to be someone others enjoy playing with, too. Would you prefer a reluctant vampire, or one who’s come to love what they are? Or something in between? I’m also interested in what kind of vampiric powers people like to see,as Kai’s current toolkit leaves a lot to be desired and has one iffy power in particular, that being her hypnotic ability. I struggle with balancing my characters and making sure they aren’t too overpowered or underpowered, so I’d like some input on how to make her fall within an acceptable range of strength. I’d like her to be more powerful than your average human, but not an indomitable force that isn’t fun to play with. She isn’t a character I expect to see a lot of outright combat with, but I still expect confrontations and violence due to the nature of vampirism.

That’s a great topic! <3

Personally, I tend to shy away from vampires, but I recently discovered a type I absolutely adore. Imagine living so long that one gets to witness history, discover so many things and places, and hoard a treasure of forgotten lore and knowledge. Being a vampire like that is making me giddy with the possibilities. I would love to write something like that! <3

Personally, I have noticed *real* Savage blood thirsty vampires are rarely played.

I usually see more ... Twilight. Veggitarian vampires that are more romanticized or dislike their condition rather then embrace it. I find this style to be overdone when it should be more.. rare.

I'd prefer to see more bloodlust savage vampires in the wolrd; I myself intend to build one. But then again I like more adult themed, dark gritty horror based monsters.

Others might prefer the romanticized versions more, after all they are popular. Just not very unique because of how popular they are. Even so, I have a soft spot for cliches

My main character's been a vampire for over a decade, now! I've adored exploring different facets of their lore: powers, turning, thralling, and all the odd struggles like maneuvering in daylight or needing to be invited into places. One thing I would suggest, though, is making the vampirism what they are, not just who they are. Vampirism and all its quirks can be such a satisfying flavor to add to a character. But if all they're doing is feeding, you're gonna get burnt out real quick. For example, my main guy was a nobleman when he turned. He'd been trained to act with etiquette and composure all his life, so he had a real psychological clash with all the savage instincts he had to confront. It gave him something to struggle with and develop out of. Set down a strong sense of who your character was to begin with, then build and decide how they would "react" to their own undeath. Did it get in the way of any life goals? Did it ruin friend + family relationships, or otherwise alter them? Has it helped somehow? Maybe immortality prevented death by a fatal disease, or granted them the power they needed to achieve something otherwise impossible. For me, some of the "most interesting" vampires are those with a purpose.

As for powers and types, there are so many more in lore. I tried to go with a sort of "standard European" approach when I made mine, but there are crazy creatures all over the world that qualify as "vampires". There's one in... Greece, I want to say? that can turn into an insect! You don't just have to choose between Dracula and Twilight. Knowing what culture they come from, too, helps with figuring out their identity and how that influences them as a character.

I found a page with about every vampiric trope going back to the earliest Medieval legends. Back then they were more like corpse eating ghouls. I enjoy the Dracula type. I add humor, making it probably more like Count Chocula just by sheer sarcasm alone.

I’d say pick your type and have fun establishing their identity and traits. Search for ‘The Sanctuary’ group for really cool supernatural stuff. We’re trying to restart. We should do something for Halloween. Maybe a vampiric ball thread?

One interesting vampiric trait is transformation. I did art for Zane in two forms. One is a half bat monster that really gives him another angle. In that form he’s almost more of a Nosferatu.

revamp haha

I like vampires that harken back to Nosferatu and then some. Unnaturally long limbs that bend at wrong angles, a face that's just teeth, one braincell pinging around in there; all they want to do is hunt and eat. But, I understand those don't always make the best characters to write about!

Some ability suggestions, ripped shamelessly from popular games:

- Elder Scrolls (Skyrim in particular) style, wherein vampires descended from the original bloodline have the ability to temporarily transform into monstrous-looking creatures with a host of powers to cherry pick from

- a system similar to The Masquerade Bloodlines where vampires take to the powers of whoever sired them

- Vampyr had mixed reviews but the abilities might give you some ideas

Thank you all for your responses and input, they've helped me a lot!

DorianM wrote:
Imagine living so long that one gets to witness history, discover so many things and places, and hoard a treasure of forgotten lore and knowledge. Being a vampire like that is making me giddy with the possibilities.
Ooh, yes, that's a cool idea! Normally I shy away from making characters that hail from a time in the real-world past because my historical knowledge isn't all that detailed, but you raise a good point about how interesting that could be. I'm still deciding what time period I want Kai to have been born and turned in this time around, which will determine some important parts of her character, but there are so many possibilities immortality brings to the table with regards to how her character has changed and grown over the years/decades/centuries...
Mipps wrote:
Personally, I have noticed *real* Savage blood thirsty vampires are rarely played.

I usually see more ... Twilight. Veggitarian vampires that are more romanticized or dislike their condition rather then embrace it. I find this style to be overdone when it should be more.. rare.

I'd prefer to see more bloodlust savage vampires in the wolrd; I myself intend to build one. But then again I like more adult themed, dark gritty horror based monsters.

Others might prefer the romanticized versions more, after all they are popular. Just not very unique because of how popular they are. Even so, I have a soft spot for cliches
Interesting that you've encountered more Twilight-style vampires than evil, scary ones. I've had the opposite experience, but then, I haven't actually gotten a chance to RP with many vampires. In all honesty, I vastly prefer the monstrous kind over the Twilight kind, which is probably part of why I'm not satisfied with Kai as she is right now. I think I'll definitely rework her into a more savage creature this time around.
Libertine wrote:
snip because this is a long one
Thank you for such good advice! I've just finished reading over that list (and Dralt's absolutely fantastic profile), and it's helped me come up with a lot of fun ideas, too. You make a good point about vampirism not being the defining feature of a character, that was definitely one of the flaws of Kai's original conception. She also lacked a purpose other than survival, which was too broad and generic to give her much motivation. I definitely want to explore further how her being turned affected her life and how she reacted to it, especially since she'll become more than a little bit unhinged in the process of turning. I don't want to say evil per se, but the Horror Hunger trope is a favorite of mine and I plan on her being more than willing to indulge it.
Yersinia wrote:
revamp haha

I like vampires that harken back to Nosferatu and then some. Unnaturally long limbs that bend at wrong angles, a face that's just teeth, one braincell pinging around in there; all they want to do is hunt and eat. But, I understand those don't always make the best characters to write about!
Yay, someone noticed my vampire puns! Ah yes, horror vampires are lots of fun. I agree, though, the ones with no human intelligence left can be difficult to use in RP because they're such slaves to their thirst. I do like the idea of Kai going through a more or less "feral" period of her unlife, though, and somehow managing to recover some of her sanity and regain control of herself. Hm... I'll have to play around with that.

when I play around with my vampire-esque creations I tend to make them very much mentally unstable and directly attribute that with how often, or rather how rarely they consume there live source. I am interested when people take vague concepts attributed to vampires yet run with them. I have played several vampires in which are severely debilitated by their OCD.

As far as which powers I enjoy play with or interacting upon blood memory is one of my favorites, in which a vampire can glean information from another from consuming their blood. For this character I am responding with I have taken that up several thousand notches. He effectively assimilates the memories and lives of those he drains. Much similar to how you state poisons can effect your creation from ingesting their blood; Vlade here can assimilate powers through such a condition.

Vampires are such a vague existence it becomes encumbersome to effectively decide what it is a vampire can or cannot do; Different cultures explore different aspects for their vampiric lore. some attribute vampires more similar to spectral beings, while other have a vast variation. The Moroi in Romanian Lore are more akin to witches that sold their souls, while the Stirgoi are the traditional reanimated corpses one generally associates with vampires.

When I play an extremely powerful vampire I enjoy ramping up their weaknesses exponentially. and severely limit there ability to function without proper etiquette. for example when I play as Vlade where i set a condition for moving water to be a weakness for him. If he would be outside while rain fall exists it would be like acid upon his flesh. Vlade is what I classify as a "Mad-Faeng" a term i coin to mean a vampire so far consumed in their blood lusting that they no longer are cognitively aware of functioning reality. Essentially beyond insane.

TL;DR It all depends on where you want to go with it. draw inspiration from a single culture rather than all of them.

Malachite wrote:
Thank you for such good advice! I've just finished reading over that list (and Dralt's absolutely fantastic profile), and it's helped me come up with a lot of fun ideas, too. You make a good point about vampirism not being the defining feature of a character, that was definitely one of the flaws of Kai's original conception. She also lacked a purpose other than survival, which was too broad and generic to give her much motivation. I definitely want to explore further how her being turned affected her life and how she reacted to it, especially since she'll become more than a little bit unhinged in the process of turning. I don't want to say evil per se, but the Horror Hunger trope is a favorite of mine and I plan on her being more than willing to indulge it.

I am so happy that helped. There's a ton of awesome old lore out there, but not a lot of vampire stories from other countries make it into modern media, so most of the types we tend to see follow a similar theme. (Thank you for the compliment, too <3 The profile feels like it's in a perpetual WIP state, I'm glad to hear it was a helpful example)

Horror Hunger is a BOSS trope. It keeps things interesting because it offers you the excuse to play "two in one", giving a calm character an about-face when they're hurt or hungry. There is something special about having an OC go Rob Zombie Superbeast in an instant. Or, if being a beast is their thing, Horror Hunger really works to embellish "random violence" into something more animalistic and ferocious. Work on that purpose-in-unlife, sure, but still live up that feral trait too!

Human ones, bluntly. Monstrous vampires are just...boring.

The so-called "orginal vampires"-the savage monsters-that people hold up as "true vampires" or "real vampires" aren't anything of the sort. The first vampire story on the literary record, put down near a century before Stoker first put ink to paper was a sexy, seductive vampire. Not a horrid undead monster. A villian, certainly, but hardly a Nosferatu. Not long after that, a vampire story appeared that starred a female vampire who was a great help to the heroes and aided them in slaying the aforementioned vampiric villian.

And going way way there's a statement in the Midrash that argues vampires helped save the life of the Biblical King David. Meaning that the notion of them being good, or even holy, dates back a solid 1,500 years, and explicitly does not involve them being monsters. The idea of vampires being originally literary monsters and simply being hijacked by Twilight is solidly untrue.

I'm forced to note, even in Twilight, the vast majority of vampires matter of factly kill people and feed on them-with the vampires the protagonist knows being the sole exceptions.

I confess, I don't know what people are talking about when they say they've seen more...well, moral vampires then the monsters. What I've noticed has been the opposite. It's easy to write a monster-making a vampire whose human is far more difficult and I would argue, far more rewarding. How does one deal with their need for blood? How does one view their unlife? What is their philosophy? What keeps their life interesting? There's a rather nice quote on this that I find somewhat stirring:

Quote:
"He has to feed him, when he himself hasn't eaten food in centuries. Can he even remember how to buy bread? How to select cheese and wine? And then he remembers the rest of it. How to prepare a meal, how to make a bed. He remembers his first glory, his armies, his retainers, and what he is reduced to. The loneliest part of the book comes when the man accidentally sees Dracula setting his table."
When one shifts from viewing Dracula as a monster and instead considers him as a man....things get interesting. How lonely must he be, in his castle? How far he has fallen from what he was. How lost he must be, in the modern world. When you start answering the questions having a human vampire, a vampire who retains some form of existence rather then being more concerned with blood and murder...I think you get good character concepts.

Vampirism might not, in my view, change who one is, but it certainly changes their life. Or perhaps unlife. It can be a damnably lonely existence. How do they cope? What's their social life like? These are interesting questions. Questions you don't need to answer if the vampire is an amoral monster more concerned with the next feeding then anything else.

Heck, and these are the questions you'll get without factoring in other things. A vampire is liable to be facing down hunters or angry mobs. If I might vex everyone with another quote....
Quote:
"Horrible. It's all horrible."

"To be able to fly? To be smoke, or a wolf; to know the night, and live in it forever? That's not so bad. You call us monsters, but when you dream, it's of flying and changing, and living without death. You envy us. And what you envy..."

"... we destroy."
In my own approach I try to marry all of these disparate concepts. Some vampires are monsters-the same way some humans are monsters. Some just want to live their lives, much like any one of us. Having to suck blood to survive doesn't change who one is, at the end of the day. But that is a sword that cuts both ways, at the end of the day. Someone who is a monster as a vampire would have been one as a human just as well...and being hunted might not bring the best out in one.

More then that though, I try to take a look at the all the various cultural concepts of the vampire. As you might have guessed from my opening rant, I've done a fairly deep dive into the lore of it all. Something I found most interesting was the fact that vampires being created through turning is a fairly recent concept. Much of the earlier myths had them as something dead people could just....become. While turning has clear utility in a story, I was struck by that thought.

So in my own approach, an approach I naturally find interesting, vampires are not created through turning alone. No. They're something natural, at their heart. Something anyone who dies might become. How?

A person of great will, might in a truly heroic act of denial....refuse to die properly. In doing so, they become a vampire. Some mechanism, hidden in each member of humanity....activates. And they rise from their own graves. The ultimate irony to it all-vampires are hunted and thought of as monsters...but really, they're just as much a part of humanity as anything else. A handy metaphor in these trying times, I find.

My approach might not be the approach for you of course-but I feel the method is valuable. Dig into the lore behind vampires. Research the myths. Go through their literary evolutions. See what you like. That's the best advice I can give.

Also this gave me an excuse to rant about things I've wanted to rant about for awhile, so thanks for that.

The first stories of vampires were Medieval legends about grave robbing ghouls. I'm not sure what book 'a century before Dracula' that you are calling the first.

Zane wrote:
The first stories of vampires were Medieval legends about grave robbing ghouls. I'm not sure what book 'a century before Dracula' that you are calling the first.
There's a difference between legend and literature.

I assume you also missed the bit about the Midrash?

And the difference is that the legends came first. One does not just disavow history in the way you just did. The first stories about vampires were the ones I mentioned, despite whatever semantics anybody wants to dredge up. Legends existed before written representations because spoken word was basically the only medium for commoners at the time. It had the same or similar function as literature did in later times.

Spare me the tomato-tomato argument.

I get that you want to rant. That doesn't mean nobody will call certain parts out. Your opinion that only human vampires are interesting was said in a way that just doesn't sound creative to me. I'd prefer transformation. At least into a bat or some other form. Just plain human vampires remind me of the sparkle laden-kind.

From the point of view of somebody who does their own character art, adding features beyond a typical human are WAY more fun. Look at how Zane looks the same but totally different in his alternate form. Adds so much more depth to his persona...

gl-99033-1531172746.jpg

His body form also stretches to different proportions, as seen on his page.

Zane wrote:
And the difference is that the legends came first. One does not just disavow history in the way you just did. The first stories about vampires were the ones I mentioned, despite whatever semantics anybody wants to dredge up. Legends existed before written generation because spoken word was basically the only medium for commoners at the time. It had the same or similar function as literature did in later times.

Spare me the tomato-tomato argument.

I get that you want to rant. That doesn't mean nobody will call certain parts out. Your opinion that only human vampires are interesting was said in a way that just doesn't sound creative to me. I'd prefer transformation. At least into a bat or some other form. Just plain human vampires remind me of the sparkle laden-kind.

From the point of view of someone who does their own character art, adding features beyond a typical human are WAY more fun. Look at how Zane looks the same but totally different in his alternate form. Adds so much more depth to his persona...[/img]
Well, if you want to make that argument, you can stop ignoring the Midrash. The part I'm referring to dates to the first millenia (1-1000 AD). The stories you're referencing, near as I can figure, hail from the Romanian idea of the Strigioi-which came later, the 16th or 15th centuries depending on which figure you believe.

We do know Jure Grando is considered the first "historical" strigoi. The first thought to be one and recorded as such in records of the time. He lived...roughly...from 1579 – 1656 AD. He's the first hard evidence of the Strigoi myths. They likely developed before hand, but that still leaves hundreds of years between them and those references in the Midrash.

Even being generous, the Midrash came first. Especially if you just go from the records of the time. The hardest evidence.

Professor Daniel Sperber did some stirling work with translation, under his view the Midrash Shmuel directly references vampires. Particularly, one hid under the bed of David so he might escape King Saul's henchmen. Putting their life at risk to defy a murderous, tyrannical king.

Bluntly, someone is disavowing history here. But it's not me.

And looks don't really matter much to me characterwise-what matters is personality, history. The things that make them tick. You can look at a picture all day, but you can't really roleplay with it can you? I don't care if a vampire can turn into a bat or not-that's honestly cool-but if you make it more about their powers or how they look, well...that doesn't seem like much of a character.

gl-99033-1532453805.jpg

Also... Carry an axe which looks like a bat. 😃

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Forums > RP Discussion > What kinds of vampires are most interesting?