Vampires? in MY RPG? Too many min-maxed prettyboys, borderline necrophilia, and emo bullshit. I'm tossing around ideas to put the "Curse" back into things. Old Testament style curse. Not a race or a long term condition, a disease that you REALLY don't want. Here's what I cooked up at work. Feedback would be awesome. If the thoughts come together I'll cook up a Pathfinder template.
The vampiric condition is not necessarily supernatural in the sense of a magical force inhabiting the afflicted, but rather a damaging force which affects a normal human, and leaves them more a “Vampire”. Whether it is bacterial, viral, parasitical, or magical in its nature is not important except for plot and flavor. Beyond everything else, the condition involves light sensitivity, a few specific fears, severer insomnia, and digestive issues. These conditions aggravate and stack on each other, resulting in an experience of psychosis, violence, and even more fear for whoever it affects.
"Vampires" so affected do not lose consciousness. Knockout, shock, sleep, etc, are impossible. The ones that don't loose their shit are able to lull themselves into a quiet relaxation over several hours to recover energy and allow wear and tear on their bodies to heal, whether wounds or just normal fatigue. Needless to say, this has a profound impact on their mental health.
They are not immune to pain, but many develop, to an extent, a tolerance for it. Discomfort still takes its toll in stress, however.
Although not necessarily stronger than a normal human, the condition has given them a sort of lunatic’s vigor and strength. They are able to do things with normal muscle and bone that would outright kill a regular human from the pain.
Vampires have highly exothermic bodies, which results in more than modest motion inducing a fever – like state.
Vampires will not burst into flames any more readily than any other body. They will react badly to sunlight, both due to sensitivity of their eyes, and tendency to sunburn VERY quickly. (As one can imagine, this leads them to fear it) Combine with the extra heat they generate and lactic acid build up, they can actually work their muscles to the point of denaturing the proteins and cells needed to move at all. Even if a vampire can survive beyond its immobilization, the healing from it is likely to drain them beyond the point of being able to feed themselves enough to return to mobility.
Those who are able to rest often choose well covered cool locations. Partly buried, enclosed in a box, basements, tombs, etc, are natural choices.
Obligate carnivores, but left with a highly temperamental digestive tract, blood is the only thing they can reliably consume without painful distress. As a result to the low nutritional contents of blood, they are left in a state of near constant hunger.
Aging is significantly slowed in vampires, though they are not truly immortal. While a properly fed and self controlled one could, in theory, live unnaturally long, this is highly unlikely. The toll of constant pain and hunger from their condition makes prolonged rest all but impossible too. If a vampire were able to block all this out and rest for a prolonged time, they would eventually find themselves starved to the point of immobility, but still fully aware, and linger in the state until the lack of nutrients finally removes all capacity for reason. Those who attempt to abstain from feeding often partly enter this state until neurological damage removes their faculties for cognition to the point where they are driven only by hunger. Some approach this state, and if they manage to force themselves back into motion to feed, will not allow themselves to slip that far again.
If enough rest time and blood can be consumed, a vampire will heal almost any injury. Since the curse renders much of their body useless, this is not significantly faster than normal healing, jsut greater in scope.
Along with the curse come innate pathological fears similar to rabies. Running water is one common phobia. Organized religion and the iconography of such as well. In fact, any sufficiently organized hierarchical group will invoke the same fear if the vampire comprehends it as such.
Ex: A vampire may fear a church or social fraternity it has belonged to. While being hounded by a small group such as a police force or town guard may not invoke this, a society of hunters, Inquisition, etc, will certainly get the same treatment if the vampire learns of them while still possessing sufficient cognition.
Further, this fear only applies to organized groups. Individual representatives or small groups will be viewed with reduced fear and violent aggression by the vampire. An individual who carries themselves with absolute confidence of their power and station, or a small group doing the same will be able to invoke the same fear, but only as long as they keep up the act.
Ex: A nervous administrative bishop or backwoods monk will be only a target. A stalwart cleric used to confronting such things, seasoned Inquisitor, Secret Police officer, etc, will b able to carry the attitude needed. Even a tax collector with sufficient righteousness in his purpose, adorned with proper badges of authority or announcing his station, will be able to pull it off.
Most contracting this state would be hunted down and killed very quickly. If isolated, the fear of approaching them would keep both potential meals and threats at bay, but also chock the vampire’s food source to a trickle. The stress of constant hunting to make up for this would likely lead to a short lifespan. The legend of a vampire killer loose in the woods could persist for years beyond the actual death, however.
As far as actual combating of those afflicted, one pragmatic approach is time and isolation from food source. Well secured livestock and limited exposure of nighttime guards, vigilantes, etc, will starve out or drive off a vampire within a week, as their hunger and paranoia will drive them to easier hunting.
Most often though, the fear of such a creature, and lack of reliable information of their nature will result in drastic methods that just put more food in its way. Strong smelling herbs can be effective in some cases. To many vampires even the suggestion of food is repulsive enough to drive them off. Garlic, rosemary, fennel, pepper, or others, hung fresh cut, or as extracts or tinctures, are workable, but not universal repellents.