They’re suave and sophisticated, able to woe any potential lover with just a look. However, they don’t want love, they want blood. And, frankly, by the time their done, their victim doesn’t even mind that much. The vampire is probably more a part of role playing than even the dwarf or elf. Not only does almost every fantasy system out there have them (usually as bad guys, but still), but White Wolf has a whole game of them! However, the stereotype is prevelant in this character type just as much as any other.
When one becomes a vampire, certain supernatural powers are given that help to form that stereotype. Speed, strength, the ability to charm people, all contribute to that mythology. As such, breaking the stereotype sounds harder than it really has to be. After all, breaking stereotypes doesn’t just have to be in the crunch, now does it?
Last season, CBS has a pretty cool show called Moonlight about the cliche vampire private detective. Granted, it was pretty enjoyable as a show on it’s own, but one episode really showed me how they weren’t running with the typical vampire idea. In this episode, call girls were being killed by a vampire. The killer was a vampire who was turned as a teenager. As such, he still had acne and was socially awkward, just like many teenagers.
That episode broke the Count Dracula stereotype in almost every way, except the need for blood of course. So, let’s have some fun with vampires for a second. (who said I don’t write about anything but D&D anymore? ;))
First, why not rip off Moonlight and play the socially awkward vampire turned in his late teen years? Perhaps he was embraced because of his elite computer skills, desperately needed by his clan, or some other skill needed. Obviously, if he doesn’t fit in with the clan on other levels, you’ll need to talk to your GM. However, this can be fit in within the clan. For example, the Toreador are known for art, so why not have a hacker who is also a talented graphic artist?
Second, how about the vampire physician. You won’t treat humans…far to tasty. Instead, you specialize in vampire physiology and pathology. Sure, vampires are quick healers, which makes your choice the quirky one?
Obviously, there are far more ways to bust up the vampire stereotype than just these two, so play around with the system and see what you can do!