Welcome Variants, to spooky season! Today is Vampire Awareness Day. As such, I would like to illuminate the lore behind vampires and hopefully grant some protection from these undead on Hollows Eve.
Some of you may be surprised to learn this, but originally Vampire Awareness Day had nothing to do with the denizens of Ravenloft or Transylvania. It was originally created by the electronic elemental known as Best Buy, to raise awareness of a Vampire Load. This is the electricity consumed by a device in standby mode and how it saps electricity even when not in use. (also known as phantom electricity)
However, this is not why we are here. We are concerned about the scourge of the night! Originally, vampires were a type of undead or demon that haunted the night. While stories of these entities stretched across most of Europe, they were particularly common in the Balkan Peninsula. It is also hard to dismiss the influence of Vlad Dracul of Wallachia, known as Vlad the Impaler. This Transylvanian noble became the inspiration for many myths of vampires for years to come.
Modern vampire lore started with John Polidori’s “The Vampyre” in 1819, but of course, the monster was catapulted to fame by Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula from 1897. This novel brought the vampire into the 19th-century Gothic Horror genre and codified the modern image of a black suit and cape-wearing creature of the night we know today. Dracula made appearances in movies, television, and eventually made his way to various games.
Some of the most popular vampires in gaming are Alucard, son of Dracula from the Castlevania game series and recent Netflix series, Strahd Von Zarovich from the Curse of Strahd Dungeons & Dragons adventure, and Vampire: The Masquerade provides ttrpg players with a chance to join the legions of the night themselves. The comic character Blade also made a jump from the pages of comics to the big screen in the late 1990’s, and another Marvel vampire, Morbius is getting his own big-screen debut in the near future.
Whatever your favorite vampire is, today is certainly the day to celebrate them. Just be sure to keep some garlic and a crucifix nearby to ward them off!