Friday, February 18, 2011

Dark•Heritage: Vampires in Dark•Heritage

While almost everyone in the region is familiar with the concept of a vampire, since the nation of Tarush Noptii is infamously run by vampires, very few (even within Tarush Noptii itself) have actually ever seen a vampire or understand very much about their nature.

Vampire is actually a catch-all term for all kinds of conditions that utilize cannibalistic parasitism to extend ones life by entering into a state approaching undeath, or undying. This encompasses such wide figures as the leaders of the Tarush Noptii state, who took on the curse of vampirism from the Death god who mythically fell from the sky and is buried under the capital city of Vészok to Bloody Maria, the countess of Segrià who supposedly tortured and killed hundreds of young girls, and bathed in their blood to prolong her own life. And there are supposedly even more ancient and strange vampiric beings lurking in the dark places of the earth; ancient people from the Old World who gave up their humanity, fusing their souls with predatory beings from Hell or the spaces between the stars. Some heretical texts even assert that the fallen Death god Tarush is itself one such being.

Because vampire is a catch-all term, covering a number of creatures that are more mythical rather than observable in many cases, there are a number of differences in what reports of vampires' natures are like. The one thing that is common between them is that they are all deadly predators, easily capable of dispatching a person's life. Most of them are supposed to be possessed of supernatural speed and strength and durability to make them almost impervious to the attempts of people to kill them. In fact, the legendary vampire of Old Terrasa supposedly fed once a year, and the entire military might of the nation was put out at night to stop her, unsuccessfully, for a hundred years in a row before the attacks mysteriously stopped with no warning.

Some vampires are supposed to be so achingly beautiful that they can charm their victims into voluntarily surrendering their lives happily, while others are said to be twisted monsters, completely inhuman and hideous of demeanor. Vampires feed on blood, on raw flesh, or even on the souls of their victims, depending on the account. Some vampires have been noted to have weaknesses relative to sunlight, to garlic, or to other forces, while others seem blissfully unconcerned with such things.

In creating this post, I don't want to give the impression that vampires are by any means commonplace in DARK•HERITAGE. Even in Tarush Noptii, there can't be more than a hundred or so at the absolute most, and that is the so-called "Kingdom of Vampires." However, I do want to stress that vampires are an unknown quantity in this setting. If a character were to come across one, making assumptions about its capabilities and weaknesses would most likely be a fatal mistake that said character would not have the opportunity to make again. Most vampires are, in fact, very ancient beings, infused with the power of ancient sorcery, who have survived as long as they have because of their obssessive-compulsive attention to detail with regards to their paranoia. The drive to seek undying life, or undeath, by stealing life parasitically from peoples around you is fundamentally based on a paranoid fear of death. Vampires are almost impossible to kill, but they are always concerned that they have missed an angle, that someone will find a way through their defenses and safeguards that prolong their life. So a degree of psychotic paranoia that would be classified as insanity by any normal person is actually almost a requirement for vampires, except for the rare exception of people who have become vampiric against their will for whatever reason.

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