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Old 01-23-2021, 11:11 AM   #61
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Default Re: Updating the vampire

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
You could have it that every new vampire takes their sire's vampire template, but they must make a Will roll when they are sired. ...
This sounds like one of those situations that would fit a Power attribute (ala The Fifth Attribute or Call of Cthulhu) pretty well, if you wanted to do some more tinkering.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:55 AM   #62
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Default Re: Updating the vampire

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Yeah, vampires reproducing through actual sexual reproduction is going to be a massive no from me. They're undead; they're not going to be able to carry a child to term. They also pretty much universally don't age, so that's a major change you'd need to make. I do like dhampirs, though, but the kind that are created through pregnant women being infected or maybe cross-breeding between male vampires and human women.
The GURPSwiki has this which shows how narrow our movie inspired vampire actually is:

What is a Vampire

The very term "vampire" comes from a specific Slavic states vampire, the Vampir which has a variant known as the Penanggalen. This happy little piece of nightmare fuel was a flying head with all its guts underneath. Better yet it is not always undead.

Throw in the similarly spelled and pronounced exactly the same way Vampiir which killed not by drinking blood but by laying on top of is victim and stealing the very breath of its victims eventually causing death by suffocation and had no physical body and you see the problem.

As Theresa Bane points out in her book Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology "Most interesting, there is not a pre-existing or commonly accepted idea, let alone a singular, all-encompassing definition that clearly says what a vampire is, specifically." Here are the counter examples she gives:

*Not all vampires are undead: Bruja of Spain.
*Not all vampires are Evil: Talamaur of Australian lore; they are also not undead
*Not all vampires survive on blood: Algul of Arabic lore and Japan's Gaki.
*Not all vampires are nocturnal: many "species" of vampire in the Greek isles which are deadliest at high noon.
*Only one "species" of vampire doesn't cast a reflection: The Zemu from the Moldavia region of Romania
*Even in fiction mot all vampires require a stake to be driven into its heart to be destroyed: In the actual novel Dracula is destroyed by Jonathan Harker beheading him as Quincey P. Morris stabbed in the heart with a bowie knife.

As for becoming a vampire the list had other methods besides being bit by another vampire:

Committing suicide
Being murdered
Being a murderer
Being a witch in life, they die and come back as vampires.
Being a werewolf in life
Being the 7th son of a 7th son.
Being a redhead
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Old 01-23-2021, 02:46 PM   #63
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Default Re: Updating the vampire

If you define the term "vampire" so broadly there is literally not a single universal descriptor that can be applied to all of them, then you've defined it too broadly. One of the most interesting parts of GURPS Zombies was the discussion of what the word means, but that ended with clearly defining the core of what it means to be a zombie.
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Old 01-23-2021, 04:11 PM   #64
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Default Re: Updating the vampire

I'd assume to qualify at least required it to be vampiric. Whether that's draining living people for some personal gain or mere sustenance shouldn't matter too much.
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Old 01-23-2021, 06:19 PM   #65
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Default Re: Updating the vampire

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Originally Posted by awesomenessofme1 View Post
If you define the term "vampire" so broadly there is literally not a single universal descriptor that can be applied to all of them, then you've defined it too broadly. One of the most interesting parts of GURPS Zombies was the discussion of what the word means, but that ended with clearly defining the core of what it means to be a zombie.
While there is "the mindless shell of a human being" there are places (such as the Mummy) where the definition falls apart. Even in the Hammer pictures Kharis is able to break control and do his own thing for a while.

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I'd assume to qualify at least required it to be vampiric. Whether that's draining living people for some personal gain or mere sustenance shouldn't matter too much.
Bane defines a vampire as
"What, then, do all these different species of vampires, from all around the world, have in common? The answer is simple: basic human fear. No matter when or where, how it hunts or what it hunts, the vampire attacks that which man considers most precious. The reason that there is no single definition of a vampire is because each culture of people, from their various time periods and from their various locations, has feared different things. The vampire has become manís fear manifest; as man has evolved, so too has the vampire. What is culturally important to one people is not necessarily so to another."
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Old 01-23-2021, 06:23 PM   #66
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Default Re: Updating the vampire

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While there is "the mindless shell of a human being" there are places (such as the Mummy) where the definition falls apart. Even in the Hammer pictures Kharis is able to break control and do his own thing for a while.
Mummies... aren't zombies? So I don't really know what you're trying to say here.

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Bane defines a vampire as
"What, then, do all these different species of vampires, from all around the world, have in common? The answer is simple: basic human fear. No matter when or where, how it hunts or what it hunts, the vampire attacks that which man considers most precious. The reason that there is no single definition of a vampire is because each culture of people, from their various time periods and from their various locations, has feared different things. The vampire has become man’s fear manifest; as man has evolved, so too has the vampire. What is culturally important to one people is not necessarily so to another."
That has the alternative issue of being so simple and vague as to be completely useless as a way of categorizing things.
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Old 01-23-2021, 07:13 PM   #67
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Default Re: Updating the vampire

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Originally Posted by awesomenessofme1 View Post
Mummies... aren't zombies?
This point has confused me a bit in GURPS treatment.

I was personally surprised to see them grouped in with skeletons and zombies under GURPS Magic rules. The treatment of the Zombie spell suggests that the resulting animated undead depends mostly on its physical condition at time of casting, and a mummy is an incidental possible result.

One of the Pyramid issues did a stat-up of the Mummy for Dungeon Fantasy (though I can't recall offhand if it was for DFRPG or just GURPS DF). As far as I can recall, there is no Mummy monster type in the boxed set DFRPG Monsters 1 or 2 manuals.

In That Other Dungeon Crawl RPG system, Mummies are several orders of power higher in the undead food chain than mere zombies.
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Old 01-23-2021, 07:51 PM   #68
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Default Re: Updating the vampire

[QUOTE=SolemnGolem;2364037]This point has confused me a bit in GURPS treatment.

I was personally surprised to see them grouped in with skeletons and zombies under GURPS Magic rules. The treatment of the Zombie spell suggests that the resulting animated undead depends mostly on its physical condition at time of casting, and a mummy is an incidental possible result./QUOTE]

As I point out in D&D Lich in GURPS there would be vain mages who would want to go for the Boris Karloff mummy so they could pass for human.

Also even Zombies isn't consistent in its definition saying that a when evil spirits animate dead bodies you get an undead zombie (pg 19)

But that is how some vampires operate - a sprit takes over a corpse and start draining the life energy of the living to keep the body it is animating together.

Then you get things like Dr. Bright of the SCP Foundation who in reality now resides in SCP-963. Anyone wearing it has their mind destroyed and Dr. Bright inhabits the body. After 30 days a copy of his mind is now in the body and the process can be repeated. Is Dr. Bright's body a zombie? But what is Dr Bright himself?

The you have the what ever they are in the I am Legend novel.

More over what is the difference between a flesh golem and a mage who wants to make his golem on the cheap and grabs a fresh corpse and casts Golem on in?

The line between Zombie and other things can blur real fast.

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One of the Pyramid issues did a stat-up of the Mummy for Dungeon Fantasy (though I can't recall offhand if it was for DFRPG or just GURPS DF). As far as I can recall, there is no Mummy monster type in the boxed set DFRPG Monsters 1 or 2 manuals.

In That Other Dungeon Crawl RPG system, Mummies are several orders of power higher in the undead food chain than mere zombies.
True though there was one Zombie (Coffer Corpse) that was on par with a Wright as far as turning was concerned.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:03 PM   #69
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Default Re: Updating the vampire

I think it's a bit silly to expect all these things to match up in any kind of reliable categories and whether something is or is not "a zombie". They were mostly invented separately by people who weren't thinking about the others. It probably works better to compare things based on how they work.
For instance, there are stories of beings that are undead because they deliberately used magic so that they wouldn't stay dead. "The Mummy", for instance. Then there are ones that come back because they did a bad thing, and ones that come back in revenge because somebody else did a bad thing, and there are things where it's basically just supernatural "natural history", as with vampires that are vampires because another vampire made them into one, making them almost like a species.

I don't know whether Dr. Bright can be classified as a zombie, but I'm sure he'd say he was if he thought it was cool.

Personally, when I think of the word "vampire" I'd expect that to mean something that is humanoid, drinks blood, is nocturnal in some sense (whether that's "dies in sunlight", or "nocturnal like a nocturnal animal", as often seen in kids' fiction, or "special powers work only at night"), and has in some way come back from the dead. But if something had only most of those features I'd still count it. Hence why we think of those legends from other parts of the world as "vampires" even though that name belongs to a different story from Eastern Europe - they're not exactly like, and the stories presumably aren't in fact related, but they're like enough that you tend to think of them as "the same kind of animal". And if you were writing a story, or a game setting, where all these things were real, it would be believable to say that they were the same kind of animal, just local varieties.

Anyway, I think maybe we've lost track slightly of what kind of vampire this thread is supposed to be about. Trying to say anything that applies to every kind of vampire, as we've just been discussing, leads to gibberish. The original poster said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
The Vampire template in Basic Set is very Stoker-esque, but a lot of more recent vampire fiction is quite far from the Stoker mold. The general tendency in more recent vampire fiction (from Anne Rice to Buffy to True Blood and the Vampire Diaries) seems to be in favor of giving vampires neither quite so many powers nor quite so many weaknesses.
I do think I see what he means there. There is a bit of a common thread. Twilight is probably in the same tradition, though it's an outlier in that it gives its vampires a ludicrous level of powers. Then there's A Discovery of Vampires, which I think was intended as Twilight for grown-ups, but makes a much better fist of making its "natural history" hang together. What else?
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:54 AM   #70
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Default Re: Updating the vampire

I'm going to list the main features of the vampires in some of those things to see what the common factors are.

Vampire: the Masquerade.
  • Portrayed as fierce, agile predators, but no enhanced strength, speed or senses unless by actively using magic.
  • Unaging.
  • Sterile (except the 14th and 15th Generation, in whom the vampire traits are most diluted).
  • 13 conspicuously different strains ("clans") and many sub-strains, inherited from "sire" to "childe".
  • No pulse or body heat, otherwise appear normal (and often more than averagely good-looking), except for one clan who are all monstrously disfigured and a few other exceptions. Retractable fangs.
  • Mentally: Liable to go berserk, especially when hungry. Otherwise, by default no different from humans, to begin with, and often obnoxiously cultured and stuck-up. Some are eventually driven insane by the weird and gruesome lives they lead, and one clan are all naturally unstable anyway.
  • Created by: bleeding a human to death, then feeding them vampire blood.
  • Can't eat people food, at all, it makes them vomit.
  • Can feed on animal blood, but need twice as much in that case.
  • Special powers: lots, although that's dependent on how much blood they've had. Only one clan can shape-shift. Without actively using magic, senses no more acute than anyone else's.
  • Unkillable except by sunlight or fire. A stake through the heart stops them temporarily but they'll get up again if it's removed. Revert to corpses or dust (depending how long dead) when killed.
  • Unaffected by religious symbols (usually), garlic, running water, or any of the other fancy things.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Portrayed as fierce, agile predators; super-strength, super-speed and superhumanly acute senses.
  • Unaging.
  • Probably Sterile (usually).
  • Apparently only one type.
  • No pulse or body heat, otherwise appear normal unless fighting or about to drink blood, in which case their fangs appear and their faces go gargoyly - this is a reflex they have no control over.
  • Mentally: Psychopaths, to a man, or woman. Explained as due to "having no souls" (this may or may not be accurate, though something magical is definitely going on); care nothing for anyone other than themselves, including each other, will cheerfully kill any humans they can get and not see any problem. In addition to this also have some kind of predator instincts thing going on, even the few freak cases who somehow got their "souls" back, and some are liable to go berserk, especially when hungry.
  • Created by: bleeding a human to death, then feeding them vampire blood.
  • Can eat small amounts of people food, but it doesn't do anything. (Affected normally by alcohol and drugs).
  • Can feed on animal blood.
  • Special powers: No particular magic powers and can't shape-shift.
  • Unkillable except by sunlight, fire, beheading, or a stake through the heart. Anything else is survivable - one was shot through the heart, went down, but a few minutes later got up again. Collapse into dust when killed (even recently turned ones).
  • Repelled by garlic and crosses, no reflection, cannot cross a threshold for the first time until invited.

Twilight. (Thanks to LokRobster. I've only read a comic-book version of the first one.)
  • Portrayed as fierce, agile predators; super-speed, superhumanly acute senses and extreme super-strength (crushing car doors by accident almost).
  • Unaging.
  • Females are Sterile, males may not be but it's not straightforward.
  • Apparently only one type.
  • No pulse or body heat, eyes amber or black depending on blood intake, otherwise appear normal and eerily beautiful, but, notoriously, sparkle in strong light.
  • Mentally: Apparently normal, but most are arseholes all the same. Liable to go berserk, especially when hungry or when they smell blood.
  • Created by: by biting somehow.
  • Can eat tiny amounts of people food, but compared it to "eating dirt".
  • Can feed on animal blood, but prefer human.
  • Special powers: Each has one magic power. Can't shape-shift.
  • Invulnerable to anything except fire and some supernatural things like werewolves.
  • Unaffected by religious symbols, garlic, running water, or any of the other fancy things.

A Discovery of Witches (books). (From memory and a Wikipedia article, and I've only read the first two. If any of this is wrong feel free to correct it.)
  • Portrayed as fierce, agile predators; super-strength, super-speed, superhumanly acute senses.
  • Unaging.
  • Sterile (usually).
  • Apparently only one type.
  • No body heat and heart beats only once or twice a minute, sharp teeth, otherwise appear normal and more than averagely good-looking.
  • Mentally: Mostly normal, but have weird "pack instincts", displaying unreasonable loyalty to certain people. Liable to go berserk when extremely hungry or when they smell blood.
  • Created by: bleeding a human to death (or, at least, a lot), then feeding them vampire blood.
  • Can eat small amounts of people food, but it doesn't do anything. (They prefer it raw, owing to hyper-senses).
  • Can feed on animal blood, and usually do.
  • Special powers: When they drink a creature's blood they relive a random selection of its memories. Can't shape-shift.
  • Not Unkillable but can survive an awful lot of punishment.
  • Garlic hurts their delicate wolfy noses; otherwise, the fancy things don't apply.

I haven't read/watched a lot of the others, can anyone else contribute?
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Last edited by Inky; 01-24-2021 at 11:24 PM.
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