Vampires are largely as human tradition depicts them: creatures of the night who can be destroyed by sunlight, holy relics/water, and destruction of the heart (it doesn't necessarily have to be a wooden stake though). Myths about silver and garlic are just that, but it is known that vampires cannot set foot on consecrated ground (no matter which deity it is consecrated to). They need to drink the blood of living beings to survive; animals can be used, but only temporarily and as a last resort. Vampires need the blood of humans specifically in order to sustain themselves. Witches are the exception, as Witch blood is toxic to vampires and can, in fact, kill them if they ingest too much of it. Witches and vampires are at war with one another over a slight so long forgotten, no one recalls it any more.

It's also a myth that a vampire has to be invited in; they're quite capable of attacking whomever they please. They can move faster than the human eye can track, and are much stronger than a normal human. Each vampire has a Gift - a special power - bequeathed to them by their Sires (the vampires who turned them from humans into vampires themselves) at the moment they were turned. The term "Sire" is traditional and applies even to female vampires; the Sire in turn views those s/he has turned as their Child/Children (the older spelling "Childe" is sometimes also still used). All vampires can mentally communicate with their Sire and their "siblings" - other Children of the same Sire. Sires also have a hot/cold sense of where their Children are; this ability (as well as the telepathic communication) is weaker with any Children of their Children (their "grandchildren" in a sense), and weaker still on down the line. A Sire can also Command their Children (and, to a lesser extent, grandchildren, etc.); that is, they can essentially shut down their Childe's free will and impose their own if they wish to.

The older a vampire "lives", the more powerful they become. Starting around 1000 years old, the vampire starts to become sun resistant, and this transition continues gradually over more time. Kairos, a Firstborn from the Bronze Age (as an example), can easily walk about at noon on a sunny day nowadays. However, he is still only sun-resistant; if he stayed out there long enough, he would begin to smolder and then to burn. It would be a slow, painful death rather than the quick "flash-frying" that tends to happen to younger vampires, and most vampires have grown to prefer the night anyway.

Vampires do not need to sleep in coffins but they do, if you'll pardon the term, "sleep like the dead" in general. There are exceptions, but generally when a vampire lays down to sleep, they quickly go unconscious and are not easily woken. Vampires can go longer without sleep than any mortal, but they prefer not to. Similarly, though they need blood to survive, most vampires enjoy eating regular food and drinking regular beverages. As much as possible, the vast majority of vampires tend to lead as human a life as is possible for them (though many are very advantaged through skillful use of their powers, abilities, and long-term investments made when they were younger). They are not generally crazed killers unless they were so-disposed in life. Over time, some may grow callous and apathetic towards human life, but very few go about killing everyone who crosses their path (as some of the more salacious stories would claim).

Vampires were the primary target of most Hunters in the pre-DoVE days; some Hunters branched out into weres (and some even Witches), but nearly every Hunter worth his/her salt could and would happily take down vampires. Most of these Hunters joined DoVE immediately; some continued on but were considered "vigilantes" worthy of jail time. By this point, it's rare to find a Hunter not affiliated with DoVE (in fact, they're generally just referred to as Enforcers now); the few vigilantes you do come across tend to be a little ...unsteady upstairs, if you catch my drift.

The first vampires (the Firstborn) were created by the Master Himself. Among the Firstborn is "the Watcher" who is often regarded (wrongly) as the very first of the Firstborn. If the true First of the First still exists, he or she is keeping that to themselves. The Firstborn created the Secondborn, of course, and those created the Thirdborn. Beyond that, most vampires don't keep track. There's a growing movement inside DoVE to track vampiric "lineages" but it's considered to be more of academic than practical interest.

Until vampires revealed themselves to humanity, there was very little sense of vampiric "community". In a strange way, DoVE and its international equivalents have united the vampires into something more like a true culture. Pre-DoVE, vampires tended to live solitary existences. Some few would form friendships or other relationships (dating/marriage, "sibling" bonds between vampires having the same Sire, etc.), but in general vampires kept to themselves. The rise of blood bars helped, and since the Reveal [needs a better name] and the creation of DoVE, blood bars are allowed to operate openly as what they are, giving its patrons an easier time finding and enjoying these establishments.

Banes & Abilities

Each vampire has a special Gift given to them by their Sire. The Gift is not necessarily unique (you'd be surprised how many vampires get the "flying" Gift), but it is that individual vampire's particular special ability. Otherwise, all vampires share the same overall powerset and the same limitations that go along with them:

While not, strictly speaking, a bane as such, vampiric blood can be addictive to other vampires. Even dhampir blood provides a low-level "high" of sorts, enhancing the drinker's abilities and making them stronger, faster. The common report is that they feel "more alive somehow". A vampire who feeds too often on their own kind will become an addict and will choose to attack other vampires and possibly drain them dry rather than accept DoVE rations or willing donors. They will avoid humans and other mortals entirely, because they crave their "fix" of vampiric blood. Such "blood junkies" are often turned over to the local authorities by other vampires, for their own protection. Some can be rehabilitated, but most often they are humanely killed.

Some Gifts can and do override/enhance existing abilities. For example, Kairos's Gift is that his normal Sire abilities extend to everyone of his bloodline. That means he can Command even his great-great-great-great-great-great Grandchildren if he wished; he can track them all down with his hot/cold sense, and he can telepathically communicate with them at any distance. This Gift even extends to his biological children (as they are certainly "of his bloodline"). Some vampires are stronger than other vampires by virtue not of age but of their Gifts.

There is even one Gift that can and does override the most notorious bane of vampirekind: sunlight. The Gift is passed down through the (vampiric) ducal line of the Duchy of Tulcea in Romania. They refer to it as "the Oath", and take it very seriously. The Oath is a contract made between a particular vampire and a particular human. They each draw some of their blood, mix their blood in a bowl, then divide the mixed blood into two cups, each taking one. The vampire will swear his (the Dukes of Tulcea are always male) Oath - whatever it is he is promising the human - and the human will swear their Oath in return. Each will then drink from their cup. The human will be faster, stronger, and heal quicker than they would otherwise for a period of 7 days. For that same period of 7 days, the vampire will be able to walk about in the daylight while still retaining their vampiric abilities. The sunlight will not harm them in any way.

The Oath of the Dukes of Tulcea grants no further protection from any of the other banes of vampire existence, and the ability to move about outside during the day is restricted to 7 days. The Duke may make as many Oaths as he sees fit in his existence, and the only powers of the Oath are the benefits described above to the participants. However, the Duke considers his Oath (and that of the human) sacrosanct, and violation of the Oath would be a great dishonor to either participant who dared do such a thing. Thus, the Duke will not undertake an Oath lightly, and the Dukes of Tulcea are well-known and respected for their honor and dignity.

The Firstborn

The Master made only 7 Firstborn and has yet to make any others. Although this was not a deliberate choice on His part, each of the 7 can be said to represent one of the 7 Deadly Sins:

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