Vampiric Bloodlines of Oerth: An Introduction
Date: Sun, April 03, 2005
Topic: Campaign Articles

This is the first in a planned series of articles that will explore the origins and nature of vampirism, as well as the varying vampiric bloodlines of Oerth and the regions they inhabit, focusing primarily on those of the Flanaess, and perhaps a few from beyond. This will by no means be a complete catalog of vampires from Aerdy to Zindia, as much as such a resource would be inexhaustibly useful, but will hopefully infuse some (forgive me) “fresh blood” into the vampires of the Greyhawk campaign world.

Vampiric Bloodlines of Oerth: An Introduction
By: Nathan Udell, aka setanta with special thanks to Kenneth Newquist

Vampires have plagued the lands of the of Oerth for millennia, their true origins being largely unknown, even amongst themselves, to all but a select few. Their mere mention among most folk invokes primal fear, and legends of evil, bloodthirsty killers who prey on the living and seek nothing more than a supple throat from which to drink the warm life-blood of their victims. These same folk would likely also mention a slew of tales regarding ways to detect, ward off, or combat these creatures, of which, sadly, only a few hold any grain of truth.

The 'curse of feeding' has befallen both the high and low-born throughout the ages, and many theories have been put forth by scholars and sages as to the exact nature of the affliction of vampirism. Vampires are one of the few types of undead that requires nourishment from the living in order to maintain their vitality, in their case in the form of blood, and preferably from a humanoid victim. There is also much conjecture among the learned as to why some undead may be sustained solely by the initial infusion of negative energy at their creation such as with skeletons and zombies, while others must feed, such as vampires, ghouls, and ghasts. The predominant school of thought is that those types of undead who retain the spark of intelligence and free will after death, and possess a corporeal form, must consume some essence of the living to fuel their dark spirits and keep their bodies animate. Others speculate that the hunger which drives vampires to fulfill their sanguine lust is solely by design a curse from the dark powers such that the afflicted must feed upon those of their own kind, perhaps those whom they knew and loved.

Whatever the source of their hunger, what is even more contested are the theories as to their origins. It is well known that vampires can beget more vampires or spawn, but the real question is: how were the first vampires created? To this question, there may actually be multiple answers, as it seems that there are several 'bloodlines' of vampires on Oerth, each with unique origins, inhabiting different regions, some with specific motives and some with slight variations in their powers, but all evil to the core. Each of these bloodlines can trace their descent back to a single, powerful vampire, who was the progenitor of their line. The circumstances of how each progenitor was made a vampire often differs greatly from one bloodline to another, whether through some lost necromantic ritual, a divine curse (or gift) from the gods, pacts with the dark powers of the lower planes, or the eldritch powers of the greatest spells and artifacts. It also seems that the progenitors of each line, and perhaps those within a few generations of the progenitor, are much more powerful than others further removed in the bloodline. These 'greater vampires', or vampire lords as they are referred to among their own kind, are truly beings of legendary power.

The next article will be the first dedicated to a specific bloodline: The Sons of Kas. They are one of the older sects to originate in the Flanaess, and the article will relate the origins of their progenitor, their motives, their unique powers and current area of influence and membership.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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