Friday, June 14, 2013

The Dhampir

Of the known Accursed witchbreeds, the Dhampir are amongst the most normal in appearance. At first glance, a Dhampir may appear completely human, and only a glimpse of her fangs or the crimson glint in her eyes may reveal her true nature.

The origin of the Dhampir lies with blood—it is the essence of their power and their curse. During the assault that toppled nations and conquered Morden at last, the Witches transformed countless citizens of the Outlands into monsters known as Banes. The Blood Witch, Sanguinara, turned the passions and desires of her victims against themselves. Those who failed to control their desires were crafted into terrifying Vampires, monsters who thrived on consuming the blood of the innocent. However, many Outlanders somehow found the strength to deny the Blood Witch’s seduction and find some measure of control over their passions. These brave folk were instead changed into Dhampir and became one of the Accursed. Their forms became supple and lithe, their movements graceful, their voice and manner lush and soothing. It is said that a Dhampir could charm a man out of his own soul.

Aside from their presence and charisma, Dhampir are also universally swift, agile, and sure-footed. Dhampirs tend to prefer lighter, faster weapons to suit their mobility, such as rapiers, main-gauches, and black-powder pistols. It does not hurt that such weapons are also light, generally easy to conceal, and are not unusual amongst the nobility of Morden—a group often fooled by the silver tongue of a Dhampir. Dhampirs are often pale of skin, dark of hair, and all possess a sharp sense of sight that helps guide them through the darkest of nights.

Although related to Vampires, Dhampir do not require drinking blood to survive. They still possess a powerful hunger for fresh blood, however, and tasting even a single drop is pure ecstasy to a Dhampir’s senses. Like the sweetest wine, many Dhampir become addicted to drinking blood. The fresher the blood, the sweeter its taste, and heart’s blood—taken directly from the veins or suckled out of the heart itself—is the most potent of all. A Dhampir’s hunger is difficult to suppress whenever she is exposed to spilled blood, but some have managed to master this more monstrous side of their persona.

In addition, Dhampirs share some of the Vampire’s weaknesses along with their strengths. For example, Dhampirs suffer grave wounds from weapons made from wood. Dhampir find that even touching the texture of wood makes many of them uncomfortable. For this reason, few Dhampir master archery, preferring black powder weapons instead.

The Dhampir who join the Order of the Penitent are often motivated by a sincere desire to control their bloodlust. This is because many older and more experienced Dhampir can be found amongst the Order, formenting rebellion against Sanguinara’s rule in Valkenholm. Others choose to assist the Order to slay Banes and other minions of the Witches, but the Order always requires that Dhampir pass several tests before they can be trusted – there are few noticeable differences in appearance between a Dhampir and a Vampire, and the Order cannot afford to be lax in its vigilance lest the Witches root it out entirely from the lands of Morden.

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