Dhampir [Vampire: The Requiem]

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Vampire: The Requiem

Half-Damned for Vampire just finished its post-editing development phase, and is entirely in the art process now. So today, courtesy of Vampire developer Danielle Lauzon, I’d like to present a day in the life of a dhampir.

A typical day in the life of a dhampir will look very different for a dhampir deeply immersed in the All Night Society contrasted against one who instead spends her nights hunting monsters. And for those who know nothing of their heritage and nature, things are different yet again.

Dhampir in the Dark

Dhampir have carved out their own place in the nocturnal world, though they always stand apart from — and the covenants often place them beneath — Kindred. Most statuses Kindred can achieve are also achievable for dhampir, with the notable exceptions of joining the Invictus, along with a few specific roles in the Circle of the Crone and among the Sanctified.

That said, dhampir face their own problems, chief of which is their reputation as murderers and renegades. Relatively few dhampir hunt vampires (though proportionally more often than mortals, their low numbers mean dhampir hunters are still few and far between), but these few, along with their depictions in myths and pop culture, have earned the dhampir some measure of wary respect from their wholly damned family. A dhampir among vampires has a threat profile higher than it should justifiably be, and that means he must watch his back constantly, or someone might just stick a knife there.

That said, a large portion of these dhampir have a patron in the form of their Kindred parent, affording them some measure of protection. So long as they stay on daddy’s good side, any strike against the dhampir is an attack on the vampire, which discourages excessive adventurism. Of course, this protection comes at the cost of independence, as these dhampir mostly have their whole lives regimented by their parents, who after all had them for a reason; at the very least, they must run errands fairly frequently.

Parentless dhampir have more freedom, but pay for it in danger. They have given up a bit of safety for a great deal of liberty, but that safety is vital for survival in such a dangerous environment. For this reason, independent Society dhampir usually cultivate strong friends, often trying to find a coterie to fit into or enough minor vampires to lean on to secure their places.

Dhampir also prize mundane resources — money and secular power can buy a lot of conventional security, and are also tempting for Kindred. And being able to provide things some vampires want or need, such as rare films or drugs at a reasonable price, can buy some measure of loyalty from vampires who don’t want to see their valued supplier run dry of goods because they ran dry of blood.

Dhampir at Dusk

Though those dhampir who hunt their full-blooded kind are a minority by far, the dhampir vampire killer is a frightening prospect. To the Kindred, it recalls the stories of the 70s California Eagle Killer who left behind a feather with every headless Kindred body, and Pyre Jack, who burnt his vampire cousins on the stake throughout Birmingham’s 1910s — or even the legendary Blood-Stained Cavalier who menaced newly-founded St. Petersburg’s nocturnal population, mortal and vampire alike, in the 1700s.

Some dhampir hunt like normal humans do, fighting with a group of like-minded sorts, while some hunt solo, relying on their own cunning as well as Breaks and Malisons to provide the needed edge over their Kindred quarry. Whatever the case, dhampir hunters draw upon their tainted blood often and early, either from natural inclination, or from having learned the hard way how close a thing their chosen path often is. They stand with one leg in the daylit world and one leg in damnation, trying to turn their monstrous side into a weapon while also fighting against its influence.

Known dhampir hunters not only face the fear and hatred of the Kindred, but are viewed askance by fully human hunters as well. To have vampire blood in one’s veins is to be part of the darkness that hunters are trying to put out, to be impure and potentially dangerous — in short, to be a monster. And perhaps that monster is useful, and perhaps that’s enough to make it a compatriot in the struggle. But then again, is it worth the risk? Most hunters consider fellow hunter groups containing dhampir to be inherently compromised “cancer cells” because of their presence, and not many dhampir can honestly say they feel safe in the presence of their comrades-in-arms.

Some dhampir have formed a group called the Boogeymen, focused on hunting vampires using their innate corrupt gifts. The name comes from the fearsome reputation a dhampir hunter can enjoy among vampires, and is symbolic of the irreverent, sometimes reckless, tactics they use. To be a Boogeyman leads to a short life expectancy, keeping the group’s numbers low. Each city generally has at most one cell, and its members can usually be counted on one hand, with the total number of cells probably numbering roughly a dozen. The group operates in a “honeycomb” structure, with independent cells which keep in touch via highly secure online channels, forming more of a movement than a true organization. This allows the Boogeymen as a whole to survive despite the elimination of a cell by their Kindred enemies being a fairly frequent occasion.

The Boogeymen’s lack of respect for their trade and their enemies is mirrored by their lack of respect for themselves. Redemption is a common theme in Boogeyman ideology: vampirism is the ultimate sin and evil, and being tainted by Kindred blood makes them into monsters and inferior beings. They accept mortal members as well, but in a distinctly secondary and somewhat patronizing role — mortal lives are fragile and precious, to be protected and placed on a pedestal.

The Boogeymen also willingly provide help and support for independent dhampir hunters, though association with other hunter groups is often enough to make them cut the connection.

They are loud, proud, and rowdy, and not too concerned with making absolutely sure they have the right target. To them, hunting is basically an extreme sport bound up with psychological issues surrounding redemption and inferiority, and that redemption can only be found in dying for the right cause. No Boogeymen parties are quite as raucous as their wakes.

Dhampir in Daylight

The mortal lives of dhampir can seem quite similar to their fully mortal relatives and friends, but the taint of darkness has a way of making its presence felt. Even a life entirely untouched by anything else still takes on a decidedly vampiric shade, as dhampir are troubled people at the best of times.

It all begins in the teenage years. Already difficult enough for most kids, the dhampir finds herself developing strange powers and dark moods that just don’t fit with what her peers are going through. The powers might seem neat at first, but eventually, she begins to realize that her conscious control over them is limited.

When her mother dies in a car accident, the young dhampir can feel it deep in her blood. She knew it before it happened, she knows it before she is told, and that argument she had with her mother last night? The one where the kid said she wished she’d never been born and she wished that her mother was dead? She knows things occasionally just happen around her when she wants them to — did she kill her mother?

Ominous events surround a dhampir even when fully adult. Things don’t turn out quite right, she gets what she wants but not how she wants it. Sometimes, she can feel something deep and dark inside her stirring, something monstrous — to a dhampir, the idea that everyone has a dark side is much more direct and immediate, and that dark side is terrifying.

Dhampir tend to end relationships and lose jobs. Even the best-adjusted dhampir every so often snaps and does something stupid, and afterwards, for the life of her, she can’t remember why. It was pointless, out of character maybe, and she didn’t want to act that way before or after. It’s like possession, lashing out for no reason and every reason because something else took over for a bit.

Adult dhampir with no idea of their heritage tend to suspect something. They’re not quite normal, but they have no idea why. Their “symptoms” only vaguely match certain conditions, but if they try to get treatment, it’s entirely worthless. Therapy can help, but when the therapist has no idea what’s going on with his patient, it only goes so far.

Dhampir who know of, but reject, their ancestry fare slightly better. They at least know what’s wrong with them, even though they can’t do much about it. A few resources exist for dhampir to cope with their rare state, online and in the form of dhampir therapists who help others of their kind through the rough spots, but these are hard to find and by necessity hidden and obscure. A dhampir needs to be clever and resourceful, or be in touch with other unusual sorts, to find these things. Most never do.

The dhampir blood does not breed true, and creating a family can sometimes be difficult both in terms of keeping partnerships and raising children. Often dhampir choose to be child-free for fear of messing someone else up as much as they are. Sometimes two dhampir will try to make a family together, but the rarity of two being in the same place at the same time makes this unlikely in the extreme.

  4 comments for “Dhampir [Vampire: The Requiem]

  1. YOLF
    August 3, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Well, this is *interesting*. They’re definitely presented as more pertinent player options and characters with roles in a chronicles of bigger breadth and depth. I’m curious to see the whole thing for them.

  2. Alexandra Manthei
    August 3, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Whoa! Seeing I played both a couple of humans and a couple of (Daeva) vampires, I am excited to try out a Dhampir myself. Now to make a believable story.

  3. Corwyn_Ulhar
    August 4, 2017 at 1:45 am

    Dangit, now I REALLY want to see the full write-up for Dhampir in 2nd Ed!

  4. Spectacular Tentacular
    August 4, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Are dhampirs the ones who can wield luck like a weapon? I’d be interested in a splat devoted to that. Just saying.

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