Of all the undead, it is the vampire which provokes the most fear. They are strong, charismatic, utterly unscrupulous and often quite wealthy. These are, it is true, horrific attributes, but the thing about vampires which really terrifies people is the idea that they can sneak up on you while you’re asleep and drain you dry of your life’s blood, and there’s not a thing that you can do about it. (Just like tax-collectors). Of course, vampires are not unstoppable; they have been destroyed in the past and no doubt will be in the future, but any bloodsucker who has been around for any length of time must have one or two clues about the basic techniques of survival. The folklore about vampires differs from culture to culture, and in fact no two vampires are exactly alike. Some really are allergic to sunlight and hate garlic, but others are quite happy to spend their days sunbathing and eating Italian food to build up their strength for the night’s hunting. The only thing that you can be sure of when vampire-hunting is that the Creature Of The Night could be anyone. Well, almost anyone, I mean it couldn’t be you . . . could it?

If caught in the unenviable position of having to deal with a blood-crazed vampire, remember that most of the folklore contains a kernel of truth. So shove that sharpened oak stake right into his chest – who knows, maybe it will work. And if you’re that close with nothing better in your hands than a pointed stick, what have you got to lose? Try anything; throw garlic, holy water, mirrors, squeal holy phrases, anything which might have any chance at all of working.

Don’t count on becoming a vampire just because you’ve been killed by one; it doesn’t work that way, and if you are snuffed by Count Yorga or his cronies you are DEAD DEAD DEAD. The process of being sucked dry by the Living Dead does something really unpleasant to the spirit or soul or whatever, and even if the resulting corpse is magically revived it will never be anything more than a vegetable. A vampire has to make a conscious decision to create a new vampire, and it involves some unspeakable vampire stuff about which Mortals Are not Meant To Know.

Vampires don’t seem to suffer as badly from undeadness as the other types. They must have fresh blood daily, preferably from a human or similar but they can get by on animals if they have to. If they fail to get their daily dose, existence becomes more and more uncomfortable, but at a pinch they can make do with as little as a litre or so a day (they need more if it comes from an unintelligent beast) and so can keep victims around for a while before they become too anæmic to be worth tapping.

The Living Dead are not especially sociable. Other vampires are not only competitors for the available food-supply, but the more there are in an area, the more likely it is that some do-gooding busybody will smell a bat. Nevertheless, from time to time even vampires become lonely (or tired of doing their own housework,) and then they might create lesser vampires to be their companions and/or servants. The process is not particularly difficult, and there is no limit to the number of new vampires which can be created, but it is very rare that more than three or four lesser vampires will be in attendance at a time. Lesser vampires share the characteristics of their master, but they are always weaker in every way and are therefore more easily dealt with. Snuffing these wimpires can provide valuable information on how to deal with the Big Guy, but be warned that he (or she) will almost certainly be more dangerous than all of the little ones combined.

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Valdorian Age - Rising Power on the Frontier Ben_Cretsinger