The best treatment of vampires I’ve seen in a long time is in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels. They follow the cases of P.I. Harry Dresden, who is also Chicago’s only professional wizard. One of his best friends is a very Catholic knight (sword and all), but that is a tale for another time. In the Dresdenverse, vampires are divided into Courts, by type. The Red, Black and White Courts have appeared thus far.
And now, to complicate this discussion:
***The Red Court **of Vampires are less human-like than the White Court. Instead they are slimy bat-like creatures hidden behind incredibly sensuous human costumes (made of an outer skin). … They use these costumes to trick their prey into being more comfortable and to hide in plain sight. They are incredibly strong and fast, and can shake off any injury quickly. The Red Court is vulnerable to sunlight and to having their bellies cut open, which can spill the blood they have drunk and eventually kill them. Their saliva contains a potent magical narcotic which gives the prey a euphoric feeling and is highly addictive, allowing the Red Court to control their victims rather easily. The narcotic lowers the victim’s inhibitions while dulling the pain of the vampire’s bite. Addicted humans have been shown to go to great lengths to protect their vampiric masters, and willingly provide information from the mortal community as needed.
The Red Court is also capable of transforming ordinary humans into vampires in a two-step process: the human is first infected with the vampiric thirst for blood (gaining supernatural speed, strength and endurance in the process) and then completes the change into the demonic form upon killing a human victim in their first feeding. Infected humans with sufficient strength of will have been known to refrain from feeding for an indefinite length of time (magical bonds, regular exposure to sunlight, and avoiding physical intimacy all help), but no cure has yet been found for the “half-vampire” infected state.
**The Black Court *comprises the most well-known kind of vampire, the reanimated bloodthirsty corpses popularized by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In fact, in the Dresdenverse, the publication of that book at the behest of the White Council is believed to be the primary cause of the Court’s downfall, as Stoker supposedly published the book as a “how-to” manual to hunt the Black Court. Black Court vampires still inhabit the human bodies that they lived in before they were turned into vampires, with the only difference being their bodies rotting like zombies in the time that they have been undead. Black Court vampires possess all the classic strengths and weaknesses of Stoker’s Dracula: they can lift and throw cars with one hand and crash through concrete walls without harm; but must sleep in their native soil and fear garlic and objects of faith. Sunlight, while deadly to younger members of the Black Court, is merely an inconvenience to older members, weakening them significantly, as in Stoker’s novel. …[A]n ancient Black Court vampire, has demonstrated the ability to use magic in the same way wizards do. The Black Court is currently the smallest and (politically) weakest of the Courts, although those few who survived the purges caused by Stoker’s book are among the strongest and most cunning monsters in the world by virtue of sheer Darwinian necessity. They also have the ability to enthrall humans to be passive and submissive, and cultivate “Renfields” (another Stoker reference and similarity to Stoker’s Dracula). Where thralls may have their minds restored with minimal lasting effects, Renfields are thralls that have been altered to the point of psychosis, and their minds are too far gone to be returned to normal. A Renfield has had his strength and agility augmented and will kill in a berserker frenzy until put down. Until let loose by their controlling vampire, a Renfield will appear as a normal thrall in a trance-like state, however their true nature can be seen with a Wizard’s Sight.
It’s not so easy for a vampire to live and let live…