Azuria’s vampires originated in the Elduran kingdom of Steymhorod. To save his son from the blood-borne illness that claimed his wife’s life, Lord Draego, the ruler of Steymhorod, became the first vampire.
But after Steymhorod’s fall, how did vampires continue their spread? How did they travel from Steymhorod into Eldura and Azuria?
In this post, I answer one of our patron’s questions about the origins of vampires in Azuria and how they spread from Steymhorod.
First, where is Steymhorod now?
Though most of the residents of Steymhorod remain unaware of their location after the fall, Steymhorod now resides in the Shadowlands. (Read more about the planes and their organization here.) But while many residents of the Shadowlands can travel to the prime plane of Azuria, passage in and out of Steymhorod is more complicated.
Who can leave Steymhorod?
Draego and his son Cadogan can’t leave Steymhorod. But the others Draego turned, specifically Hugo and Malthael, his advisor and military general respectively, can leave through portals. Hugo had the ability to create portals himself, and Malthael was powerful enough to have allies who could help him leave Steymhorod.
The vampires who spread across Eldura and Azuria did so through Hugo and Malthael’s bloodlines.
Malthael is still roaming around Tor’stre Vahn (he’s the one who bit Briseras originally), but Hugo is no longer un-living. (Find the story of Briseras’s first encounter with Malthael in this exclusive short story!)
Nassarq’s Vampiric Origins
When Nassarq turned into a vampire, he did so through a dark ritual of consuming Hugo’s blood. This makes him a direct blood descendant of Lord Draego and one of the four most powerful vampires.
Limitations to Draego’s Power
The other catch with Draego being the original vampire is that he cannot harm himself or anyone of his bloodline. That’s part of why he can’t help the party with Nassarq—harming Nassarq would harm himself. The vampire network keeps him strong, so just like the Sisters’ return strengthens them and weakens the vampires, the party killing Nassarq also weakens Draego.
A note from our home game
One thing Jonathan and I have played around with is how Nassarq gets back to Steymhorod from Azuria. In our home game, vampires return to Steymhorod when they die, even if you stab the corpse in the coffin with a wooden stake. (This is similar to how in the Forgotten Realms you have to go to the Negative Planes to truly kill a demon or a devil.)
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