Vampires are a topic of much debate amongst scholars, primarily for the reason that they do not wish to be studied. Most of what has been gathered on the subject are from posthumous reports, mainly on physiology. Vampires are not a race in and of themselves, rather, the general consensus is that vampirism is a supernatural disease, transmitted when one is bit by another afflicted with it. There are conflicting reports in this area, in which some claim that vampirism can only be passed along by pure-blood vampires, while others say merely a touch can turn a victim.
Vampiric origins are unknown as of yet, though there is plenty of speculation and conjecture circulating amongst the academic community. Some claim vampires have always existed, while others claim they were spawned from a malevolent deity.
Facts (Meta Info/OOC)
The following is the canon for vampirism in Umbros. From a lore perspective, very little of this is commonly known to even the most astute scholars, or even to vampires themselves, for perspective.
At the highest echelon of vampiric authority sits the Voiden One called Moghul. He afflicted mankind (and eventually all other warm-blooded races) with vampirism for a two-fold purpose. One, this was his curse upon man, in addition to Zhalgo and Abythine's curses, respectively. Vampirism is infallibly incurable, save for miraculous intervention from one of the Ancestors, though the instances of this actually happening over the past several millennia number less than fifty occurrences. It sentences those that contract it to an eternity of constant misery, and forces even the most pure of heart to commit deplorable deeds daily, lest they become a grotesque and mindless ghoul, hell-bent on eviscerating anything and everything with a pulse. Second, this was an effortless avenue of assembling a massive, immortal army. The most ancient vampires were under direct mental influence from Moghul, and were compelled to do his bidding. They fought alongside the undead hordes against mankind until the Voiden Ones were banished.
In the ages to come, vampires would operate of their own accord, though many still swore fealty to the Voiden, if only out of respect, or perhaps as a result of being disowned by the Ancestors. In the most recent age, the origin of vampirism has become riddled with conjecture and half-truths, and as a result the true account has been reduced to myth, appropriate for the age in which it took place.
While they still existed, the Ancient Vampires were near demigod-like in status. These were the select few that were smote with vampirism directly by Moghul's void magic. They possessed drastically amplified abilities of the typical vampire, while suffering from none of their weaknesses. If two Ancients conceived a child together, he or she would be born a pure-blooded vampire (covered in the following section). No other variety of vampire is capable of conventional reproduction. Much like their fellow Arkhonan generals, the Ancients were largely wiped out at the close of the Age of Myth. Those that survived either ended their own lives after several millennia, or were driven deep into seclusion. In either case, none have been mentioned in any form of modern historical record, and it is widely accepted by the vampire-kind that the Ancients are effectively no more.
Pure-Blooded vampires are the current reigning authority in the vampiric hierarchy (save for Moghul himself, arguably). As such, their numbers are very slim, deliberately so, to stave off power struggles or endangering global supply of food. Pure-Blooded vampires (referenced henceforth as "Royals") are obviously the vampire royalty. The Royalty has kept and preserved an inconceivably ancient artifact of Voiden origin, in which the ritual for converting a human into a pure-blood is detailed. It is forbidden for any one Royal to memorize the entire ritual, and it requires the cooperation of several rival clans. It's assumed this system was put into place by Moghul himself to compensate for the volatile power dynamics/political practices of any given vampire court.