There are a lot of kinds of vampires. Beyond different bloodlines, different weaknesses, and different cultures around them; vampires are an incredibly diverse group of monsters and not-monsters. Ignorant villagers and the superstitious often mistake things that are objectively not vampires, and call them vampires or think they share weaknesses. Vampires hunters sometimes mistake things that are objectively vampires as to not be vampires; even things that are vampires are indeed very different from each other. Here's a comprehensive guide.
|Art @Julia Lepetit|
Vampire bats, intelligent or made into a Wizard's familiar. So to are the anthropomorphized vampire bats not actually vampires, even though they drink blood and fly around. You don't think you'd have to specify this one, but it happens.
People with porphyria in real life, or a blood-anemia disease in a fantasy world. They may drink blood to help them live longer lives and maintain their health, or people who need to steal blood because their blood doesn't clot correctly. Not actual vampires, just inbred nobles with a disease.
Vampire Cultists and vampire worshippers. These beings may drink blood, wear capes, or offer up blood to the night sky to attempt to woo a master vampire to come down and give them immortality. Also includes vampire hunters who drink the blood of vampires, since drinking addictive vampire blood may transfer some of their power into the mortal for a short period of time with none of the weaknesses, though it does require hunting some dangerous prey.
Blood collectors are not vampires. Some hemomancers and degenerate nobles bathe in the blood of virgins to regain their youth, some even drinking it to fortify their inner body, but they are still not vampires. Many become vampires eventually or are well on their way to it though.
Mosquito men who live in human skin suits. People often try to “turn” these undead to find no effect, they aren't undead, just gut sucking insectoid monsters. These are not vampires no matter how similar to how they feed; they just drain peoples fluids and wear their skin-suits to blend in to find their next victim; they aren't actually undead vampires. Can usually be told apart by feeding through a proboscis sucker out of the mouth instead of fangs.
Things that are Vampires
Recently raised from the dead Strigoi vampires. These are just dead corpses that came back to life, either due to improper burial rites or because they died too early and wished to remain alive so badly they came back. They sneak out of their graves at night, sneak into people's houses and drink their blood, returning to the grave. These are a weaker vampire type, and have little intelligence or magical powers beyond their supernatural strength and agility. It is also said greater types of vampires can anoint a tombstone with some of their own blood to create more of these vampires as lesser thralls.
Greater vampires, or Vampyr are the classic type. They feed off of the life force of living mortals; usually in the form of blood, and many were once dark sorcerers who chose to transform themselves into these creatures to become immortal. Vampires of this type come in a million different varieties, with a strong bond between sire and offspring for each vampire generation. This creates a vampire hierarchy, with the original progenitor of the bloodline usually sits on top, and a web of intrigue as the vampyrs in the line jockey for position and prestige. Each generation of vampire gets weaker, but they inherent some of the power of their ancestors the older they become, and sometimes if they overpower and kill their elder vampires they can drain their blood to become more powerful.
Genetic vampires, also called Dhampirs or blood-touched, are a type of undead that isn't totally dead. They still have a little warmth, and a heart that beats about once an hour. This vampirism is a trait that runs in a family; parents can have children which grow to adults, just much slower then normal. They have some resistance to, but are still harmed by sunlight, and they are still turned by holy symbols. Any destroyed result instead has them paralyzed for an exploration turn. Also, as a less-mystic type of vampire, these vampires can survive on any kind of blood and often herd goats or cattle to feed off of at night, though human blood is the most delicious and addictive.