Vampires are the classical undead blood-drinkers of myth. They have many of the characteristics of their mythical counterparts and have infiltrated all levels of human society.
Vampires have existed for millennia. The cultures of Mesopotamia, Israel, Greece, and Rome all have stories of the dead rising to drink the blood of the living. The first entry into the Templar Codex Nocturnis dates from 325 AD in secret Vatican documents from the First Council of Nicea. The documents state that the vampires were becoming a problem and the Church would create a body of hunters to secretly protect the innocent. This was the true beginning of the Knights Templar.
For over a thousand years the vampires and the forces of humanity have been in conflict. The oldest and most powerful of them, the Vampire Lords, remember the time before men organized and drove them back into the shadows. It is rumored that the Vampire Lords may have ruled entire regions of Europe and Asia before the Church council. Over the centuries, they came into conflict with the werewolves, who consider all undead as affronts against nature. Now vampires can be found in nearly every major city on the planet. They hide themselves carefully, but occasionally, one will let his bloodlust get the better of her and she will be careless and reveal herself. When this happens, the Paladins descend.
Vampires are organized into Houses, which are ruled by a Senate. Each House has representation and a single vote. There is a Prince over the Senate, and he or she has veto power. No one knows where or when the Senate meets, and the Houses are very good at keeping their domains hidden from the eyes of men. It is known that they have their claws in every level of infrastructure, possibly as high as national governments.
Vampires are very powerful and not to be underestimated. Even the youngest of them has superhuman strength and speed, phenomenal regeneration, and razor sharp claws. Using these in conjunction with their keen senses and natural stealthiness, vampires are deadly killing machines who see humans as food. Vampires are also able to compel zombies and ghouls to obey them. As they age, they only become more powerful. The Templar Codex documents a wide range of abilities including mental domination, animal control, flight, and metamorphosis. It is possible that the elder Vampire Lords that rule each House have other powers as well.
Balancing these potent powers are the vampires’ inherent weaknesses. Sunlight is lethal to them, as is decapitation. Impaling through the heart will incapacitate a vampire, but not kill it. Fire, silver, and consecrated weapons cause wounds that will not heal supernaturally and mortal wounds made with these will kill a vampire. Vampires are repelled by holy symbols wielded by a true believer. They also must rest during daylight hours.