Vampire Houses

Sylvantha has been home to a number of noble vampire houses since the earliest recorded history of the land, and in fact, they may actually predate the founding the Kingdom of Sylvantha itself. There are many individual vampire houses but nearly all of them trace their lineage back to one of the major houses and typically reflect their major house's features.

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Vampire Nobility: Vampires in Sylvantha view themselves as nobility or specifically the nobility. More often than not, they see themselves as literally superior to their mortal counterparts and have an equally haughty sense of pride and self respect. Vampire culture, regardless of house, mirrors the noble lifestyle of humans. They prefer to dress in finery, live lavishly, and act with culture and manners. This attitude stands in stark contrast to the feral nature of vampires and the brutality that they can display with roused to violence. Generally, this means that most vampires from Sylvantha have the following social quirks.

  • Haughty Many vampires believe themselves to be of a noble heritage, and may view dhampir as bastard children of nobles, better than peasants but not by much. Many see normal humanoids as peasants, or in some cases cattle. Because of this, if a vampire chooses to take a human mate for longer than a feeding or simple tryst, it sometimes draws criticism from others who may see it as slumming with commoners.
  • Prideful Vampires in the darklands often have an intense sense of self-respect and prefer to not do things they consider beneath them. This can also reflect in a sense of prideful honor and/or personal codes (such as not breaking their word, or engaging in conflicts in formal ways, such as open challenges to hunters, etc). This pride can extend to their dhampir offspring who may rather die as vampires than live as humans, if given the choice.
  • Bold While vampires are certainly capable of subtlety and deception (especially when abroad), in their own lands where they reign, they are more likely to make no attempts at hiding their nature than not. This may include certain formalities, including (but not limited to) having a herald of some sort announce their arrival on evenings when they intend to venture into the human villages of their lands, or openly demanding sacrifices and tribute be paid to them.

The Major Vampire Houses
Most vampire houses are offshoots of the major houses, with very few exceptions. These houses date back to Sylvantha's founding or even further and rarely do the heads of these houses ever appear as more than legends or rumors, and each commands enormous respect from darklands vampires by mere precedence of reputation and position.

  • House of the Rose The Rose House represents the silk tongue of the fallen angel Sariel, patron deity of the Sylvantha vampires. Those descended from the rose tend to be alluring and social creatures. Their virtuous charms and romantic hearts are contrasted by their vices of lust and gluttony.
  • House of the Blade The Blade House represents the blade carried by the fallen angel Sariel, patron deity of the Sylvantha vampires. Those descended from the blade tend to be noble and powerful creatures. Their martial prowess and lordly demeanor are contrasted by their vices of wrath and ruthlessness.
  • House of the Chalice The Chalice House represents the blood filled chalice carried by the fallen angel Sariel, patron deity of the Sylvantha vampires. Those descended from the chalice tend to be wise and magical creatures. Their healing arts and knowledge are contrasted by their vices of arrogance and manipulative natures.

The Unofficial Major Houses
There are two houses in Sylvantha that were not of three houses of Sariel. Exotic vampires from other regions, such as Jiang-Shi and Vetala are generally members of one of these houses, except in rare circumstances where they are invited into one of the major houses of Sylvantha.

  • The Ferals When vampires speak of the "Ferals", it is something of a mockery. Not truly a formal house or family, it is a catch-all for wild or feral vampires, usually those who have forgotten, cast aside, or never knew the refinement of nobility or the vampire traditions of Sylvantha, which includes both exiled vampires from other houses and those who were turned and left without the guidance of their vampire elders (often done as a form of cruelty or to sow chaos). Those of the feral "house" are frequently seen as only marginally better than peasants by the other houses, though some of the more benevolent members of the three major houses may take them under their wing and claim those they find worthy. However, as rogue vampires often recklessly spread their vampirism, the ferals are one of the fastest growing houses and could pose a threat to both the major houses and Sylvantha as a whole.
  • The Black Court The black court isn't technically a vampire house, but it has similarities and counts some vampires (as well as a number of other undead) as its members. The black court is essentially a cabal of necromancers, ghouls, and foreign vampires. At its heart, the black court is a cult that worships the fallen angel Sariel, much like the vampire houses, which means many of their traditions and desires are similar. The court was among the first to agree to the Moonlit Covenant and has grown very powerful in years since it has had the backing of the vampire houses in its struggles against The Divine Order.

Minor Houses
There are countless minor houses that are found throughout Sylvantha, some large, and many small. A minor house is essentially an individual family or coven of vampires, so it can be a small as a pair of vampires (or even one for the particularly ambitious lone vampire or surviving member of a former house). Each house is descended from one of the three major houses, or doesn't trace its lineage (essentially being feral, though if they act the part, most of the other houses will accept them as new nobles). Generally, the older the house the more history it has, and the more pride and self-respect members of the house have.

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