A vampire is an undead creature that feeds on the blood of others.
- It should be noted there is a documentation vacuum on this matter. The only "documentation" available to the scholar is Vampires of the Iliac Bay — The story of a man's journey into vampirism, which offers scant information of use and is unverifiable. Lacking verifiable evidence, Vampirology seems cursed to remain as enigmatic as its subject matter.
It is commonly accepted vampires are undead. Since they have no place in the natural ecology it is difficult to describe them in terms familiar to the zoologist, but there are parallels which may be drawn via analogies which shall not be stretched too thinly.
Vampires do not age, rot, or fall victim to diseases, but there is a noticeable life-cycle of sorts.
Vampires do not consume food as we do, but they must "feed" before they may rest, and they must feed at least once every 24 hours. Unlike lycanthropes, they are not required to feed on the blood of the innocent, but may instead sustain themselves on the blood of any creature. Some of those vampires living within human domains which are close to the various dungeons may be augmenting or even basing their diet on the creatures within those dungeons. This would certainly do wonders to maintain their deception.
Age and Death
Vampires are ageless but they are not immortal. This distinction is important because while any given vampire may be older than the oaks, he too may cross to Oblivion. Since vampires do not die of old-age, all dead vampires have succumbed to a violent end. Vampires, like Lycanthropes, can only be harmed by Silver (or better) weapons.
Barring a horrifically violent end, a vampire continues to learn and advance his trades throughout his (now unnaturally long) life. The benefits of agelessness combined with the capacity for growth of all thinking creatures should be self-evident. Any vampire "ancient" by our standards should be considered a Grand Master in any trade or profession to which he has applied himself. Indeed, if given hundreds of years of practice and study, one should expect any vampire to be extremely adept in any skill or ability and therefore great caution should be exercised when dealing with any vampire.
Vampirism is speculated to be akin to conventional disease, similar to the (better understood) Lycanthropy in this effect. While the acquisition of vampirism has been narrowed to only two vectors, research remains incomplete:
- Infection from a vampire
- Curses from infernal/holy relics, enchanted items, or artifacts
It is only by spreading their affliction can they "reproduce"; or at least a perverted mimicry of reproduction. By this infection mechanism social groups of vampires analogous to "families" are formed, which this document will call "bloodlines". A bloodline has the genealogical attribute (or pedigree attribute, depending on one's perspective) which means each bloodline considers a specific individual as head the patriarch/matriarch. It is widely believed that each bloodline founder can in turn trace their ancestry back to a common source; patient zero. This has yet to be confirmed.
- Gain +20 to the following attributes:
- Gain +30 to the following skills:
- Gain the following spells:
- Gain the following immunities:
- Iron Weapons
- Steel Weapons
- Gain the ability to see the invisible‡
- Suffer damage from Sunlight+
- Vampires suffer continuous damage while exposed to sunlight
- Vampires may not initiate fast travel during the daylight hours, and instead must seek shelter until nightfall
- Vampires suffer continuous damage while inside holy places
- Must feed every 24 hours or else may not rest/loiter
† Only PC vampires and ancient members of a bloodline have this ability
‡ Only NPC vampires have this ability
+ Ancient members of a bloodline do not suffer from this weakness
Vampires are social creatures who organize themselves within their bloodline. Naturally this clannish tendency has created competition among the various bloodlines, as their mutual competition for resources has placed them in oligopolistic competition because the collective goals are exclusive in nature; to dominate in the ascendant position requires placing the remaining eight bloodlines in a submissive position.
The patriarch of each bloodline decides the course of action for the bloodline (another clan similarity), and while they are like any other collective with motives (consider The Merchants Guild seeking lower taxes, or a favorable tariff), they are but a few of the hundreds of political dynasties and factions present within the Empire; they do not secretly control everything from the shadows.
Each bloodline occupies a specific space. Within the Iliac Bay region (the High Rock and Hammerfell provinces) there have been nine bloodlines discovered. The territorial divisions operate similarly to cartel-arranged market-shares.
Please see the attached table for bloodline comparisons.
Even though vampires are unnatural abominations, they do suffer from "predators" of sorts.
While the daedric prince who aligns herself with nature, Namira, is most definitely also supernatural, it is important to mention that she stands in bitter opposition to all forms of the undead since they have no place in the ecosystem. As such, she offers her Ring to any who would hunt this plague on the living.
Given vampires are immune to the base materials of Iron or Steel, vampire hunters must arm themselves with Silver or better weapons; preferably better.
In addition to weapons, the aspiring hunter must also master a few skills. Since these undead can see the invisible, any hunter who wishes to survive (let alone succeed in his vocation) must master Stealth. Given that vampires possess unnatural stamina and vitality, then the hunter must also demonstrate proficiency in Critical Strike. Finally, all hunters must be adept at exercising patience. Because vampires present such terrible risk and danger, the surest path is then to strike only when victory is assured, rather than when opportunity merely presents itself. Tactics of ambushing the fiend in his own lair after feeding are not uncommon.
There are various techniques of hunting differentiated by the focus of skills applied. Many emphasize the importance of Backstabbing, given the complimentary interaction with the base skills' intrinsic affinity for subterfuge. Others seek to supplement their repertoire with Archery or Destruction. Some savvy mages have even turned the tables on these villains using "transfer health" spell effects. The common thread present in all the varied techniques wind down to the core tactics of stealth, accuracy, and patience.
Acquisition of Vampirism
An individual infected with vampirism actually "dies". This is where the truly insidious nature of vampirism shines. If an individual were to suddenly show an interest in drinking the blood of those around him, and to do so "out of the blue", those around him might be able to combat this scourge. Indeed, it logically follows that such advance warning could determine this threat long before anyone was in any real danger. If the farmer said "Frank has suddenly shown an interest in drinking the blood of my wife, so I had to put him down", then it can logically be concluded that no vampire would live long enough to reproduce.
An individual infected with vampirism actually does die a very real physical death. Their heart stops beating, their breathing ceases, and their body is completely inanimate and inert for a time. As a natural consequence, the character is entombed! The reports are unanimous, in that whether their body is discovered immediately (such as dying while resting at a tavern, or dying while exploring some dungeon), eventually the character dies while resting and when their corpse is discovered, it is laid to rest in the nearest graveyard by whomever the discoverer be. On "awakening", the character enjoys all the generic benefits of vampirism in addition to the benefits specific to their bloodline.
Since the character has indeed "died" as far as the constabulary is concerned, it should come as little surprise to learn the "awakened" vampire's reputation with all legal authorities is reset. They are now a new and just born individual, and as such do not have a criminal record.
On learning of the character's death, all guild memberships are revoked. Since the character has died, he then loses all ranks and privileges in any guild of which he was a member. This is not necessarily irreversible, but is usually most tedious. Considerable time and effort must be spent to (again) ascend the ranks of the guilds, but may be accomplished by simply rejoining the guilds and undertaking quests.
Those guilds which operate by invitation, such as the Thieves Guild or the Dark Brotherhood, are a different trouble. Since a character can only join those guilds once and only once, then any character which acquires vampirism after admission into those ranks may not "rejoin" those guilds at all, under any circumstance. The character is also ejected (as stated above) since he has "died" as far as the guild is concerned. Those paths are forever closed to anyone in such a condition. Those who have not joined such guilds do retain the option to join even in their undead state, and simply need to trigger the conditions from which an invitation is extended.
It is possible for one to be cured of vampirism. This will not "reset" the character as acquiring vampirism does, but merely remove both the benefits and penalties of being a vampire from the character. Since guild membership is not affected, any "lost" chances at Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood remain "lost"; i.e. the character may only belong to either of those guilds once and only once, and acquiring vampirism irrevocably ejects the character from those guilds if the character was a member of those guilds. If the character was never a member of those guilds he is still eligible to join, and merely must trigger the invitational events. Likewise, if the character were admitted to those guilds after becoming a vampire then the character retains their status after curing. Being "cured" of vampirism does not impact guild membership at all.
Vampires At A Glance
|Bloodline||Bloodline Gift||Bloodline Territory||Enemies||Allies|
|Anthotis||+20 to Intelligence Attribute||Alik'r Desert, Antiphyllos, Bergama, Dak'fron, Tigonus||Thrafey|
|Garlythi||Shield Spell||Northmoor, Phrygias||Selenu, Lyrezi|
|Haarvenu||Ice Storm, Wildfire||Anticlere, Ilessan Hills, Shalgora||Montalion|
|Khulari||Paralysis Spell||Dragontail Mountains, Ephesus, Kozanset, Santaki, Totambu||Anthotis|
|Lyrezi||Invisibility Spell, Silence Spell||Alcaire, Isle of Balfiera, Koegria, Menevia, The Orsinium Area, Wrothgarian Mountains||Garlythi|
|Montalion||Free Action Spell†||Bhoriane, Gavaudon, Lainlyn, Mournoth, Satakalaam, Wayrest||Selenu|
|Selenu||Resist Cold Spell, Resist Fire Spell, Resist Shock Spell||Abibon-Gora, Ayasofya, Cybiades, Kairou, Myrkwasa, Pothago, Sentinel||Montalion, Vraseth|
|Thrafey||Heal||Daenia, Dwynnen, Ykalon, Urvaius||Anthotis||Vraseth|
|Vraseth||Nimbleness Spell||Betony, Daggerfall, Glenpoint, Glenumbra Moors, Kambria, Tulune||The Travelers League||Thrafey|
† Some would debate the value of Free Action to one who is immune to paralysis