Buffyverse vampires are dead bodies possessed by demons. The demon possessing the body has all of the knowledge of the dead person, and much of their personality, but make no mistake: this is not the dead person reborn. While the vampire looks and talks and maybe even acts like the person it used to be, the vampire is a vicious killer and unredeemably evil.
A new vampire is created when a living person is killed through draining by a vampire. The new vampire will rise the next night, ready to feed. The new vampire will instinctively understand its powers-- increased strength and speed, and an invulnerability to most forms of damage. The demonic nature of the vampire is evident now in its red eyes, extended fangs, and thickened, animalistic facial features.
After its first meal, the vampire will be able to assume the appearance of the human it used to be. A new vampire understands its place in the demonic hierarchy of the undead. The older and stronger a vampire is, the more respect it commands. Most strong vampires rule like warlords over as much territory as they can control through force.
Like all demons, vampires are contentious, devious creatures. Young vampires seek to usurp power from old vampires, and strong vampires take power from weaker ones. The vampiric social structure is held together through fear and violence. It may be instinctive in vampires to fear their sires, although this is not certain. Many vampires take up nomadic lifestyles as a result, not wanting to bow to any master. Some vampires serve demonic masters, others serve only themselves. The only thing that can be said for sure about any named vampire is that it won't be like any other.
Being a demon living inside a dead body has certain advantages and some serious drawbacks. The demonic essence pervading the body grants incredible powers to the walking corpse. Greatly increased strength and speed are the most obvious advantages, as well as near invulnerability to most forms of damage. Vampires gain natural weaponry in the form of fangs, and some gain the ability to grow claws as well.
Contrary to mythology, vampires do not gain the ability to shapeshift, although their appearance can change from human to demonic in an instant. This change usually occurs when angry, injured, or hungry. Elder vampires may accumulate all manner of bizarre powers, some even taking up sorcery.
In exchange for great power comes great weakness, however. While vampires cannot be killed by conventional weaponry, they can be hurt by it. There are also several ways to kill a vampire: staking, sunlight, and decapitation. In addition, vampires do not heal naturally. They must feed on human blood (or something *very* similar, like pig's blood) in order to lose accumulated Wound Points.
Newly-created vampires gain all of the vampiric Schticks and Weaknesses (below). Unless modified by a Schtick, they otherwise retain all of their mortal attributes. The knowledge of the mortal is still locked inside the mind of the corpse, so all skills and Schticks also transfer to the vampire. Should a player character become a vampire, it is advised that the character be taken out of play. While the vampire may look and sound like the old character, it is an incorporeal demon given human form to act out its cruelest urges. In most games, it is probably not suitable as a heroic character (although there is an exception to even this rule; see below).
You can beat on a vampire all day and you won't kill it. Shoot it, stab it, rip off its arms, it's still fighting. Ordinary damage will not kill a vampire, but it will slow it down. The vampire starts taking AV penalties at the same point as an ordinary human (Vampiric Big Bruisers keep their schtick). Instead of falling unconscious and risking death at 35 Wound Points, the vampire continues to accumulate AV penalties for every 5 additional Wound points. At 60 Wound Points, for instance, a vampire is at -6 to all AV totals but is still up and fighting, although likely to flee.
Vampires are stronger than mere mortals. Upon creation, a vampire gains a +5 to its Strength attribute. This schtick can be taken more than once with experience. Each additional Schtick of Vampiric Strength adds another +2 to Strength.
This functions exactly like Vampiric Strength, but for the Speed attribute.
When a vampire is angry, wounded, or hungry the demon inside shows through. Their eyes glow red, their features become more animalistic, and their canine teeth lengthen into fangs. The Demonic Visage grants a +2 to the vampire's intimidation AV (this is the Vampire's Horrific Form bonus). The fangs are Abysmal Spines for all intents and purposes. The vampire can bite for +2 damage in hand to hand combat. The vampire must grapple his opponent before biting. Once the vampire has bitten a victim, the vampire can use its Vampiric Drain schtick each action until the victim breaks free or is dead.
Once a victim is grappled and bitten, a vampire may drain their blood. Each round the Vampiric Drain is used, the vampire rolls a Strength total against the victims Stamina. The result is subtracted from the victim's Body attribute. When the Body score reaches 0, the victim is dead and will rise as a vampire the next night unless precautions are taken (staking or beheading being the most common). This is an automatic form of Corruption, included in the Vampiric Drain. In addition to killing and creating new vampires, the Vampiric Drain has another advantage: Body points stolen in this fashion subtract from the vampire's Wound Point total.
Vampires are susceptible to direct sunlight. Sunlight filtered through glass or clouds will not hurt a vampire, although they will be uncomfortable and suffer a -1 to all AV totals. When touched by direct sunlight, a vampire erupts in flames and takes 5 Wound Points per segment. This damage is not reduced by Toughness. The flames will continue to burn until extinguished or out of fuel (the vampire is burnt to death). The vampire will die and crumble to ash when it has taken 35 (or 50, for Big Bruisers) Wound Points from sunlight. Ordinary fire will not kill a vampire, but fire damage is not reduced by Toughness. Vampires burning from ordinary fire will go out on their own after taking 35 (or 50) Wound Points from fire.
Driving a wooden stake through the heart of a vampire or cutting off its head will also kill it. Only a wooden stake will work for piercing the heart, but any edged weapon long enough to cut through the neck will work for decapitation (as well as shotguns at point blank range). Striking either the heart or the neck is a called shot at a -6 penalty. In addition, named vampires will almost always actively dodge such an attack if they are aware of it. If the Outcome is five or more, the vampire is dead and crumbles to dust. Even the toughest vampire can be killed like a mook. Be warned: in older vampires, the heart may not be in the usual place or may be so large and hard that an ordinary hand-held stake can't pierce it.
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