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What are vampires?
Torn from slumbering death to awaken in an eternal, undead cycle of night, vampires endlessly hunger for the former lives they lost. The maddening morbid craving for the blood of the living consumes their nocturnal consciousness. Vampires long to walk among the daylight but loathe the sun, as its touch can incinerate their undead remains.
Most vampires appear nearly identical to what they did while alive. However, their skin loses color, their features harden and become more feral, their hands grow into vicious claws, and their eyes slowly change to the color of blood. Their undead bodies no longer cast shadows or reflections, need air, or require ordinary sustenance. Vampires who wish to hide their undead affliction move carefully among the darkness and avoid situations that may reveal their inhuman behavior.
Regardless of a vampire's memories, the emotional attachments of its former life are slowly twisted and changed by the endless centuries of undeath. What may once have been love and friendship rots away, leaving only obsessive thirst and bitter jealousy. A vampire's typical emotions become replaced with hunger, a desire to pursue distorted representations of the sentiments they sought in life. Children may become objects of fixation for vampires obsessed with the concept of youth. Others may surround themselves with art and books in the pursuit of somehow slowing the endlessness of time. Some vampires may even collect torture devices or trophies of conquest, hoping to reclaim a sense of former social prominence.
Unable to sire children, vampires create progeny by transforming their unfortunate victims into vampire spawn. These turned, ravenous creatures become lesser vampires subservient to their creators. Though it is rare, there are two ways in which a spawn can shake this control and evolve into a true vampire. The first and potentially more common is if the true vampire controlling them perishes. The second is if the spawn consumes the blood of their master, an act that rarely occurs outside of the controlling vampire's will.
Where do vampires live?
As nocturnal creatures, vampires become bound to their coffins, crypts, or gravesites, where they must rest and take refuge from the sun. However, not all vampires receive a formal burial. Those turned may transition without the need for a grave, while others may have been too poor in their former lives to receive such treatment. Vampires seeking respite with these circumstances must instead lie beneath a foot of earth at the place of their turning.
Regardless of the situation, not all interment areas are advantageous for an undead's wicked pursuits. Fortunately for them, vampires can move their burial ground by relocating their coffins or a substantial amount of the dirt from their gravesite. In this way, they can also create several different resting places, expanding their hunting grounds or areas of influence.
Vampires can exist in virtually any setting within Dungeons & Dragons. However, they often seek a grand yet defensible location when moving their resting place. Castles, fortified manors, or even modest walled abbeys are all commonly inhabited by vampires and their spawn. Their coffins, or relative substitutes, are often hidden among underground crypts or vaults fiercely guarded by those they have turned or other loyal creatures under their employ.
Though clutches or broods exist, it is rare for a sizeable vampiric community to live together. In one such instance, Mordoc SeLanmere, one of the most powerful vampires to ever exist in Toril, amassed a considerably large army of vampires at the Keep of the Pale Knight. He constructed the keep within the Battle of Bones, a rocky valley named after an old battlefield. However, the army quickly dissolved and dispersed after Mordoc's demise at the hands of a group of skilled Harpers.