Last updated: 10/11/2017 – Racial Rebuild per this blog post.
Morrigan, goddess of death and destruction, tried to bring her own children to life in ancient times, but none were able to withstand the terrible forces that surround her and everything she raised died around her. Over time, her despair grew so great that it gained form and became her spouse, Samhain. As they encountered the dead of other mortal races, they tried together to raise them back to life and each time failed, creating the races of mindless undead that populate the world today. One group of these attracted the attention of Compassion, who granted them sentience, creating the first vampires. A terrible and horrific race to behold, their lack of lifeforce is only matched by their desire to become the living once again. These desperate hungers and longings drive their every action, and are impossible for a Vampire to ignore.
Vampires have an odd place in society. While Fallen (when identified) are usually shunned, Blessed vampires are commonly found throughout the lands and generally tolerated and accepted, not only because of the effects of their blessing but because of their natures as social and friendly creatures (by necessity). some of the most powerful people in the realms have been vampires of both types, and a large number of Turned vampires exist on the fringes of society, usually unnoticed by most.
A small number of vampires are those who have contracted the Vampire Plague, a crafted disease made by humans originally to help them fight after suffering mortal wounds that had serious and disastrous consequences. While curable, doing so is incredibly difficult and more often than not a lifelong pursuit.
The vast majority of vampires are the Fallen, a race of life draining undead that seek out and quickly consume the lives of other creatures for themselves, taking the life drained for themselves for a short time. This quick fix has a cost, and with each feeding the life consumed lasts a bit less. Mature Fallen, those that have lived for centuries, generally gain only a few hours or days of life from draining an average mortal creature, a process which usually kills the creature in question. Because of this horrific and predatory exchange, fallen are considered to be the most terrible and horrific of the undead.
Fallen vampires tend to appear as the type of creature they originally were born as (usually human, but occasionally Clont or Werefolk), only generally in an advanced state of decay. Many legends of powerful mummies, revenants, corpse-walkers, and worse originate from Fallen vampires in their naturally decayed state. Upon consuming the life of the living, they regenerate to a state of of vibrancy that makes them appear almost more beautiful and alive than even the most energetic of their race. During this state they gain a sense of powerful euphoria, but it is short lived. As time continues they immediately decay, first returning to the appearance of a normal member of their race, and eventually starting to decay back to their corpse-like state.
Fallen vampires are unable to conceive unless they remain in a euphoric, living state for the duration of their pregnancy, an act that is at extremely high cost of life to maintain. Those children born of a Fallen are always Fallen themselves, but are not bound to their parents for succor. These unfortunate children grow to maturity as living creatures, needing only the smallest amount of lifeforce to remain living, but upon reaching adulthood begin to decay as their hunger grows exponentially.
The majority of Fallen vampires are created through the Turning, with a Fallen vampire sedating or binding a creature and forcefully draining them of all of their life essence, then passing all or most of it back to them after it is consumed. This process is excruciating to the turned, frequently driving them to madness and rage in the process, making doing so to even a willing subject nearly impossible without bindings or drug-induced unconsciousness. these turned mortals become entirely dependent upon the succor of their vampire parent, needing life energy from them, and them alone, in order to remain in their state of undeath. The death of their Fallen vampire parent generally leads to the death of all of the turned vampires they created, though a small portion are able to withstand this and live on as Fallen vampires themselves. The very smallest percentage might become restored to their previous lives, though this is incredibly rare.
The Blessed vampires are those descending from the ancient vampire given charge by Morrigan to warn Compassion of the plot made by the gods to kill the Fool and steal her treasures to give themselves the powers of life and death. A Fallen vampire, she fought across the realms of the living where she was driven away as a monster and horror, shunned by all, before finally coming before Compassion to warn her of the danger. As a gift in exchange for her great sacrifice, Compassion embraced her and her hunger left her. Her flesh was restored to great beauty, and her eyes were opened to see the beauty in all things around her. The first Blessed, she gained a longing for the moment of that initial embrace with Compassion, where life and love filled her and made her whole for just a moment, and that longing was passed on to all those Blessed who followed after her.
Blessed vampires are, even more than Fallen, nearly always human in appearance. Though that appearance has been greatly altered by their blessing. Their skin is always a perfect, even tone of unusual caliber, frequently pure alabaster or ebony, though in rare cases gold. Their eyes have a glow to them that persists in the dark, though the color of this glow varies between clans of Blessed. They always appear as perfect specimens of physical health and their beauty is both striking and hard to ignore for those speaking with them. Those who meet their eyes find themselves entranced and are hard pressed to resist their requests and desires.
The Blessed vampires have the Longing, a powerful physical and psychological need for love and acceptance. They must surround themselves with the living, specifically those who wish to be with them in companionship, and are in constant need of physical contact. A Blessed that goes without immediate living company begin to diminish and love energy and vibrancy, to very real and painful effect. While this longing cannot kill them, an isolated or trapped Blessed vampire will quickly become in a state of pure agony that cannot be restored without the touch or embrace of the adoring living.
For this reason Blessed then tend to be very social creatures, frequently using their charm and hypnotic beauty to surround themselves with adoration and love. They make excellent entertainers and performers, and equally adoring parents and lovers. Blessed can conceive children with mortal spouses and their children have a 50% chance of becoming a Blessed vampire once they reach maturity, usually manifesting around adolescence.
Blessed do not need to use their gifts to force those around them to grant them the love and life they need to survive, but many in desperation do and find that this cycle leads to a horrific feedback as those they have charmed come to hate them whenever they are not under their sway.
Blessed also have the ability to cause the Turning, but theirs is not possible until a creature they love is killed by unnatural means. They have the ability to embrace those that fell and try to grant the same blessing given to them to the recently slain and, on occasion, it may raise the creature as a turned vampire. Such vampires are mentally changed by the process, and have no choice but to adore the vampire that raised them and, to a certain extent, obey their commands. This usually leads to heartbreak, as the Blessed almost always has to be close to the creature before and, in saving their life, causes them to lose some of their free will. Turned in this fashion also tend to perish with the death of the one that raised them, though a rare few might become Blessed vampires fully themselves and a tiny portion may become once more alive as they were before.
While it is hard to make generalizations about vampires, some things tend to be true across all of them.
The Fallen are the feral undead touched by Compassion to have hope of gaining life. Appearing as corpse-like beings, their state of decay is directly tied to the amount of living essence they have consumed. A Fallen that has fully consumed the life of a human might appear to be fully alive and well, and remain with that simulacrum of warmth and beauty for several hours before signs of decay once again appear. Over time, they slowly burn away the living essence until their body once again begins to decay down to a withered husk of zombie-like flesh until new blood is found.
The Blessed are the vampires descending from the solitary vampire who fought through the hatred of the other races to deliver Morrigan’s warning that the gods were coming to kill the Fool and steal her treasures. Rewarded for her sacrifice, the first Blessed was granted great beauty and charm, allowing her to be loved by all those who saw her rather than to be shunned as a monster as most of her Fallen brethren had become. The Blessed who came after are still undead, and their skin typically has either an unusual alabaster or ebony sheen that is too perfect to be found among the mortal races. Their eyes tend to glow faintly with an uncanny light, and those who look into them find themselves charmed by their appearance. The Blessed remain undead, but no longer have the desperate need to feed upon life that their Fallen cousins seek, though that does not mean they do not crave life. Indeed, their dependency is perhaps even greater; without sources of ambient and loving life around them Blessed immediately begin to wither. their need to be surrounded by companions make them at once both highly social, as well as potentially manipulative and controlling creatures.