Forget all you know, or think you know, about vampires.
Vampires. Vampyre. Nosferatu. Mulo. Upyri. Vrykolas. Strigoi.
Every culture has a name. Every name has drawn a shudder in its time. Every time has fashioned its own legend. Every legend tells a story that is fantasy. Every story, holds a hint of the truth.
What the world has known about vampires, is exactly what vampires have wanted it to know. They had existed for centuries. "Had", because in 1629, the last vampire died in Venice from the Black Plague.
But what are they really?
(NOTE: most in the world DO NOT know vampires exist - they are still relegated to fiction.)
Vampire Virus (nocturnaeximius-virus)
Vampirism is caused by a blood contagious virus. Unlike those that crossed from worlds beyond during the Nevus, Vampires have existed in earth's past but were "naturally selected" for extinction. Nature greatly underestimated the strength of this virus.
Egypt was the birth of the original virus centuries ago, and Egypt is where the virus once more revived in 2010. It is believed by the few that even know they exist, that a corpse of one of the "originals" was disturbed during the Nevus event and released the dormant virus once more into the air, contaminating the first "new" vampire. Ausar Kassis is believed to not only be the first to be infected in 2010, but also inherited the knowledge from the "originals", a knowledge he has used to rebuild the secret society that once helped steer events around the world.
In 2010, the virus only has two epicenters, Egypt was the first and strongest dispersion of the virus infecting an estimated 1050 people throughout present day Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece and Sudan. The second was Venice, where the corpses of so many infected had been dumped in mass graves centuries before. It is believed another 800 people were infected throughout Italy, Spain, Greece, Austria, France, Romania, Germany, United Kingdom and Portugal at this second epicenter.
NOTE: infection by the virus will greatly decrease or even eliminate any altered human/magus abilities as well as will completely negate a metahuman Fae's or metahuman Elf's powers completely.
The Vampire Virus (nocturnaeximius-virus), Lycanthrope Virus (lycaneximius-virus) and Zombie Virus (morteximius-virus) cannot be modified by science or magic. This is because they are a corner stone of our setting and any alterations to them would cause drastic changes to our world. Your characters are, however, welcome to experiment away so long as those attempts end in failure. It is already suspected that the super-viruses are a combination of biology and magic, so many experiments are simply trying to prove that theory. Also - unlike the Zombie and Were viruses, there is no known antiviral that can be administered in the first 24 hours to prevent the infection. Because vampires are still myths to the world no one has been publically working on one. If there is one, only the Sheut Nation has it.
These 1850 initially infected are known as the Tepet, or the Firsts. At the end of the Nevus event, these were the only ones "naturally" infected by the Sheut Ka or vampire ancestral virus. All other vampires were "made" either by accidental contact with an infected vampires blood (which happened often in the first year after the Nevus event when people still did not know what they were) or through being bitten. These second generations are known as Khered, or the Children.
The vampire population is still small (estimated at 8500 globally) but they like it this way, growing slowly and purposefully. Hidden again amongst us and having spread small conclaves onto nearly all continents. There are no cities with large vampire populations except in Scotland where they are a part of the Sheut Nations headquarters and even here the population grows when people come for meetings but they do not all live there.
NOTE: the oldest vampires in this game will only be 9 years a vampire. While they existed before in the world, ALL were dead by 1629 so the earliest you can be infected is 2010 - no exceptions will be permitted. Also the only one to inherit any knowledge from the ancestors is co-star Ausar.
EVERY bite a vampire makes either infects the victim or else they must drain and kill them. There is no such thing as a "blood doll" from which they can sensually drink directly. This romantic notion was pushed upon humans long ago to ensure that throughout the centuries there was an appeal for the creatures no matter how horrible the truths, an appeal that often could be used to ensure their secrecy.
A victim can also be infected by exposure to vampire blood (if they ingest the blood or have it injected in them). The virus can survive in the blood outside the vampires body, possibly eternally as evidenced by the rebirth of their race during the Nevus. The infection is not carried in the vampire's saliva, therefore kissing or licking is safe so long as the vampire does not have a bleeding cut on their lip. Thus far there has been no evidence that sex transmits the virus but many vampires are not willing to risk it and instead ensure they use protection.
There is no cure for the virus.
Once infected, a vampire is immune to the other superviruses. However, while not normally prone to sickness, vampires can become very ill when exposed numerous times to the other viruses. In what can be equated to the human flu, the vampire loses their appetite, a dangerous fact as lack of fresh blood will weaken the vampire, affecting their speed and strength. They run fevers which are also dangerous as their new natural body temperature is decidedly cooler than that of human's. When the Virus Flu, as it has become known in vampire circles, strikes, it can last from three days to two weeks. This means that vampires never seek sustenance from Zombies nor Lycanthropes and if exposed, will generally seek to get the anti-virals in the hopes of staving off the flu.
Once an Altered Human (Empowered or Metahuman) contracts the nocturnaeximius-virus there is NOTHING left of what they originally were. Perhaps a few abilities may linger, but whatever they were before is gone and replaced by the effects of the virus. They are Vampire. This is the way all of the super-viruses work.
Vampires are not dead. This legend has been perpetuated over the centuries, along with any sensitivity to garlic, religious symbols or holy water. The blossom of crimson tears is also one of those fictionally romantic additions that has never held any truth to it.
Vampires are living creatures that are mutated by the virus. Their blood cells become fragile, requiring a constant intake of plasma to replace them, thus their need to drink blood. Vampires still have a beating heart, and will still breathe. They can even eat food and drink though they get no nourishment from either but can perpetuate the illusion of humanity through doing so. The legends and lore actually help hide the real thing.
The mutation has also caused their canines to enlarge and develop a groove down which their "toxic" blood leaks the way a venomous snake carries its poison. They elongate when aroused, angered or hungered.
Depriving a vampire of oxygen will put them into a state similar to being staked (comatose), as will depleting their entire blood supply. Revival is possible with large quantities of fresh blood. The vampire will awaken within seconds but with a hungered frenzy that makes them dangerous to even fellow vampires if an immediate large source is not available.
The ashen pallor of a Vampire is due to the fact that their infection also leaves them with a severely altered form of Polymorphous Light Eruption (PMLE) - a violent allergy to the sun. Their skin has thinned and the UV from sunlight erupts the flesh into rashes, then hives which soon bubble in boils that break open as the heat penetrates to heat organs that can no longer tolerate temperatures much above 95 degrees. Sunlight (not simply UV light) can actually kill them in as little as 10 minutes on a cloudless day while artificial UV is merely an annoyance. Sun screen is ineffective against this weakness. The longer vampires go without feeding, the more ashen their pallor and their body temperature will cool, which also will cause any resistance to sunlight to diminish greatly. Vampires must feed every 24 - 48 hours, their skin blushing and warming to a faint fever with a good feed.
NOTE: while they can feed on animal blood - this does not offer the same nourishment as human blood. It can help push back frenzy but they will ultimately need human blood or surrender to the hunger.
Those infected with the super viruses are sterile, unable to procreate any way other than by infecting.
NOT KNOWN BY GENERAL VAMPIRES:
Only known by Ausar and his inner circle is the fact that Vampires are NOT immortal. When he inherited the knowledge of the originals, he learned that they actually have a finite lifespan, a fact that has been kept strategically hidden even from his own kind. Those that think they can not die are more likely to be bold. Vampires once infected, age very slowly, causing the "appearance" of immortality. They will only age five or six years the first hundred and fifty years after their infection. However after this they will begin to more rapidly age until by 300 they are wrinkled and gray and enter their final phase of infection. Vampires spend the last 100 years of their lives becoming ever increasingly deformed, the origin of the ghoulish Nosferatu legends came from encounters with these abominations who typically slip into hiding while running their society from the shadows.
Since the first signs they are not immortal will not be seen for another hundred and fifty years, Ausar has decided there is no need to shatter the fictional illusion that has been reborn.
Feeding and Death
They require fresh blood. It can be cold but cannot be stored for more than a couple of days or it looses its nourishment. If a Vampire fails to feed within forty eight hours they will fall into a frenzy, feeding without control, unable to help themselves. If still denied food, a vampire will fall into a comatose state within 72hrs.
Staking: Once more the legend is full of only half truths. While staking a vampire will not kill it (nor explode it into bloody remnants), it will incapacitate them in a comatose state that will linger until the stake is removed from the heart and it begins to heal. The only true way to kill a vampire is to decapitate or incinerate it completely in the sun or fire.
Vampires rendered comatose will remain in this "deathlike" state until fed by someone else. Ausar initially believed that some vampires might be languishing in dusty coffins prime for "resurrection", but upon discovering the last would have "gone to ground" over 400 years ago, he recognized they would have died of old age while languishing comatose in their graves.
Supernatural Strength, Speed and Resilience
The vampire mutation causes:
- Strength - five times the strength of a virile human male
- Speed - nearly ten times as fast as humans
- Pain Resistant - Tolerance to pain makes torture nearly useless on vampires
- Healing - Injuries are quick to mend, typically regenerating from deep wounds like bullets within hours (though one to the head would make them comatose until fed heavily). During the time of regeneration, they will need to feed soon after getting wounded, or they will risk going into a frenzy.
However their mutated abilities have limits. Unlike their movie icon stereotypes, these enhancements are not limitless. Top speeds are only maintainable for seconds and their strength is not tireless. A vampire cannot "zip" across the country or hold up a building for hours. They can sprint at half speed (five times a human) for nearly thirty minutes if they absolutely must but most vampires reserve their speed for use in a fight. Their muscles also have a huge boost in strength but it is short lived. They can flip a truck the first couple times but will struggle by the fourth or fifth time and by the seventh look downright silly trying to heave it up. Simple rest restores them, the length of rest depending on just how exhaustive their use of these abilities was.
Magic and Abilities
A vampire’s abilities, such as regeneration or great speed and strength stems from mutation by the virus. While a Vampire can have abilities beyond that which is given to them by the virus itself, a vampire cannot be for example a full Magus, mainly because they cannot manifest to the full capabilities of a human Magus as the virus stunts any other abilities that might have manifested from the Nevus. The virus WILL reduce or even negate completely current abilities when someone is newly infected and cause the loss of most if not all magical ability in Magus! NO vampire will be approved with magic ability beyond a very low level Magus.
As documented in the Books of Sheut, recovered by Ausar in 2011.
The books are the chronicles of the Sheut Ka and the Sheut Nation civilization which was hidden in 1625 when the last of the vampires realized they were unlikely to survive the Black Death. It remained buried for nearly 400 years, waiting for the Nevus to awaken a new generation of Tepet vampires. Ausar is the only one that knows the entire contents of the history of the vampire kind. He has been sparing in what he has shared with the growing race which helps ensure his control over their future.
Mid 1200BC - While human history credits Ramesses II with the construction of the House of Nephthys, it was in truth build by a vampire devoted to the "mother". The legend of the vampires says that when Nephthys took pity on her slain brother Osiris and helped to restore him with her sister, her dedication to the dead tainted her tears so that the next souls she stood watch over as they crossed the river were blessed with a second life, a shadow sparked (Sheut Ka) life. These were the first vampires. Modern theological discussions among the vampire inner circles suspect that more likely there was a previous Nevus event during the middle of the 19th dynasty that resulted in the birth of the Sheut Ka virus that infected Egypt. Nephthys was "Friend to the dead", mother of Anubis, the ascension and descent of night. The Sheut Nation grew quietly within the walls of her temples, sheltering not only the vampires, but those that began to ally with them as keepers of the world's secrets.
1087BC - By the end of the New Kingdom in Egypt, the vampire race has found a leader, Herihor. An army officer that became High Priest of Amun, Herihor quietly unites the vampires and begins setting the laws of a secret Nation hidden within a Kingdom. He also is the first vampire to sit to the side of power, as those of the Nation continued to do throughout the centuries, not clamoring for the visible figurehead at the top, but rather took their place in the shadows behind the figurehead, offering their "guidance" and wisdom to help direct world events. As Herihor forms their Shadow society, he pulls into the ranks the uninfected, strengthening the Nation and giving them allies that do not suffer their own weaknesses while giving their strength to the weak. In time, the Nation is not solely run by vampires, the main council is blended.
860BC - The first documentation that vampires are not gods, but mortals that age is recorded in the Books as the Firsts begin the decline into ghoulish old age. These early documentations seem to imply that with their advanced age came even more power and it is clear that as vampires continued through the ages, the Elders are respected even once they vanish into seclusion from the world. This is not the first time it will be implied in the books that the Elders, unseen ghouls hidden from the light of the world, are the ones that play chess with the events of the ages.
540AD- The first true sign that vampires were not as invincible as they liked to believe. The black plague occurs in Pelusium, Egypt. While it kills humans as well as vampires, the vampires fall in far greater percentage than the humans. Based on the writings, modern discussions have led to the conclusion that something in the virus' alteration of human biology, left them fragile to the plague. But whereas some humans seemed immune, the vampires had no resistance, the plague breaking down their altered state and effectively eating their organs away until all that was left were husks. Not a single vampire in Pelusium survives. Fortunately, by 540AD, vampires have expanded their nation well beyond the Egyptian borders.
1347-1351AD- The beginning of the end for the vampires and the Sheut Nation. The Black Plague, long forgotten to most vampires began spreading through Western Europe then blanketed Alexandria, Cyprus, Italy, even as far reaching as Russia and Ireland. The vampires again seem to have no natural immunity to the Black Death. Dying out completely in areas where the plague had epicenters. But unlike the humans, it seemed to carry even beyond these borders. Vampires as far as Japan begin to show signs of the plague and even with strict quarantines being observed across the Sheut Nation, nearly 85% of the vampire population is laid waste.
1629AD - The final nail is driven into the coffin. This last epidemic of the plague spreads like wildfire among the vampires and in 1629, the last of the vampires dies. The race effectively exterminated by a disease that for the rest of the world, merely culled the weak. The Sheut Nation however continues, carried on by the allies of the vampires who now are entrusted with the secrets of the world, though some time in the late 1800s it seems the Sheut Nation too finally dies out.
2010AD - The Nevus event alters the landscape of earth and releases the dormant vampire virus once more. Ausar is the first to be infected in Egypt. He is also given fleeting memories of the one that infected him. While he has never said, many in the inner circle suspect it is Herihor himself that has infected Ausar, which explains how quickly he began to move to draw the vampire together once more.
2011AD - Ausar finally manages to track down the Books that have haunted his dreams since he became infected. The history of the previous Sheut Nation and the vampires that started it had been buried in Burgos beneath San Lesmes church. He also begins to pull the infected together and institute a new Shadow Nation. Like Herihor before him, he includes the uninfected in the building of this new society for there is strength in diversity.
2013AD - Scientist Thomas Lison begins experiments on the blood of the new generation of vampires at the request of Ausar. Three months later it is determined that if the Black Plague were to erupt again on earth, the new vampires would survive. It is found that the antibodies that the humans had developed in the 400 years since the extinction of the vampires, were able to fight off the plague 75% of the time in the infected blood. This time, their kind would survive another Black Death epidemic.
Present Day - The Sheut Nation now have council members of multiple races around the world with Ausar leading the Nation.
Tepet, or the "firsts", are vampires that contracted the virus naturally during the Nevus event and not through viral contact with other vampires. These were transformed into the "original" carriers of the 20th century supervirus. In the early days after the Nevus, these Tepet vampires attempted to establish themselves as "first class" citizens of vampire society, too inducted with romantic vampire lore. Very quickly Ausar put them back in their place. Their perceived superiority lost any glamour, as Ausar chose the first Council of Ministers, among them, non-vampires.
Tepet are to be afforded respect from their own progeny however. As in all things, "children" are expected to mind their "parents". To ensure control of their population and their people, Tepet are only allowed to have two existing vampires of their own at any time. If one of their progeny is killed, they may create another to fill the void. Tepet are held responsible for their progeny's actions. If a progeny is found guilty of a crime against the nation, their "parent" may determine their punishment. These punishments can range from steep fines paid to the Nation, a loss of status/rank or in serious cases, death. If a Constable should find their punishment too lenient they themselves may be subjected to judgment.
In ancient Egypt, Tepet were only permitted a single progeny, but Ausar determined there was a need to help them reestablish their place in the world. Any Tepet convicted of violating this rule, or any of the Laws will face immediate judgment by the Nation, whether or not they consider themselves part of the Sheut Nation. ALL "first" vampires are subject to the creation rule to help ensure the Nation can resuscitate itself without being discovered.
Vampires infected by original carriers (Tepet); whose numbers need to be maintained in a responsible manner are the Khered, or "children". Khered are still often treated as “Working” class citizens by their "parents", but within the Sheut Nation they are able to hold any positions of power so long as they earn the right themselves.
Khered may only have a single progeny of their own at any time. They must also have the permission of their Tepet or the Regional Governor before doing so.
Vampires that choose not to be a part of the Sheut Nation but who have pledged to live their life in secrecy. These are watched by the Nation but are for the most part left alone.
Undocumented progeny, outcasts of the Nation or rogue vampires that choose to live in disregard of the laws are called Hesek, or the "cast off". Hesek are considered a threat to the secrecy not only of vampires, but the Sheut Nation as well and therefore deemed illegals. A Hesek may "renounce" their status and become a member of the Nation, albeit they will be ranked lowest in the eyes of the Council. This rarely occurs. More often a Hesek renounces and becomes Bau, pledging to live their life in secrecy but to have no part of the Sheut Nation.