Monday, July 21, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold: Dhampr

Dhampr: The Children of the Cursed

"Sorcerous capacities of Vampires do not bar them from membership among our number.  Magic enlightens, not restricts."
-Ithic Senator Harco Gatesbinder, after the signing of the 25th Accordance

Dhampr are born of the union of a vampire and a human; in such couplings they always breed true, half-breeds established firmly by their Vampiric heritage.  Sometimes Human pairings will give birth to a Dhampr, a result of a vampiric ancestry.  Dhampr have long been a part of the community of Crux, just as long as Vampires have been.

Ithic law recognizes Vampires as citizens.  It sees their magical abilities, and confirms them the same status as Wizards, Clerics or any other with some knowledge of some sorcery.  As citizens, Ithic law also protects them from violence and all the other prerequisites of Ithic citizenship.  Allowing undead to hold the same rights as the living has caused no small amount of angst and trouble from other nations and certain political factions within Ith itself.

Dhampr make two choices about their vampiric heritage.  Some choose to distance themselves from their heritage, hiding it like Skinwalkers or some Tieflings do.  This is especially true of Dhampr born into faiths that frown upon the undead like the Church of the Twins.  Others embrace their heritage fully, benefiting from tying themselves to certain Vampire clans.

Crux: Deep beneath Crux, Vampire Clans have long been part of the city and its history.  Through various Crusades, Witch Hunts and other trials, the Clans have always been there.  The deep undercity of Crux has many layers, and they secret themselves away in their own Quarter near the surface.  Although not the most populous of places within Crux, it is where Vampires move about the most freely.

Since Vampires hold court in the Blood Quarter (most of the time anyway), their Dhampr children frequent the quarter as well.  The Blood Quarter almost has a derived Dhampr culture of its own.  But even with a open region of Crux devoted to Vampires, a great deal of other Dhampr continue to hide their heritage throughout Crux.

Dhampr associate themselves with specific Vampire clans.  These are the five most prominent Vampire clans to be found in Crux:

The Walridr Clan: Dream-Vampires. Associate with Cats, Pigs, and White Butterflies.  They specialize in a sort of Dream Sorcery echoing back eons.  The Walridrs settled in Crux from parts of Ainesia during a Crusade five or six centuries ago.

In addition to their talents in dream manipulation magic, the Walridrs have a strong lust for good entertainment.  They pay good coin for the talents of a superb musician, and often a Walridr will pay for the privilege to witness dreams of such talented entertainers.  More than few Walridr Dhampr own and run luxurious theaters and dance halls in the Blood Quarter.

The Visconti: Gold-Vampires.  Associate with Dogs and Moles.  They specialize in Earth school magic, although some claim they just have a preference for the tint of gold itself.  The Visconti are investors, using their talents in Earth magic and wealth to obtain sway over Banks in Crux.

Visconti also aren't beyond using their Dhampr to start new ventures.  They consider it a fine test of their Dhampr.  Of course, they aren't above finding ways to put anything new found by such Dhampr to good use.

The Patrizo: Fish-Vampires.  Associate with all kinds of fish and bats.  They specialize in magic of the Water school.  The Patrizo prefer the sea and the bottom of the river to mingling with other Vampires.  They manage a series of darkened coves deep beneath Crux.  They deal with ships and a smattering of all kinds of trade, if only to buy more privacy for themselves.

Patrizo Dhampr run ships for their Vampire parents.  More than a few Patrizo Dhampr turn to piracy, using the hidden coves deep under Crux to move all forms of smuggling without worry of being caught.

The Medama: Spire-Vampires.  Associate with Ravens and Rats.  The Medama specialize in Air School magic, and spend the least amount of time underneath Crux itself.  Perhaps the most willing to mingle with humans and other races, the Medama often are the public face of the rest of their kind.  They are curious vampires, and more than a few of them visit Crux University and spend time amongst the Esoterium Machina.

Medama Dhampr often stray away from the Blood Quarter.  Medama vampires place no real requests on their half-breed children, only demanding that they spend as much time as possible learning about the world.  These Dhampr strive to impress their scholarly and aerial vampire parents with their knowledge.

The Inculti: Fire-Vampires.  Associate with Bats, Rats and Wolves.  The Inculti focus on mastering Fire school magic, preferring to learn how protect themselves from one of the banes all vampires share.  Inculti know secrets, some including how to protect themselves from Sun's glare.  The Inculti know many more such dark secrets and mysteries, but they refuse to even sell the knowledge to those outside their clan.

Inculti Dhampr often join the City Watch.  A few find ways to join the Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow.  They join, a few, as Eagles, despite any misgiving the order has toward Vampires.  If anything, the Inculti Clan seems only impressed with those Dhampr who prove themselves in any field outside their half-breed nature.

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