Fresh (if that is a word that can be used to describe anything involving the undead) information regarding EQ2′s new Vampire race has just been put up over on the official site.
The Freeblood vampire race will be available through the Velious Winter Rewards promotion for qualifying EQII subscribers and EQ2X Gold and Platinum members as part of the February reward. For those who don’t want to wait that long, the race will be available on the Marketplace in late December. Stay tuned for more details!
So Freeblood Vampires will first appear in the Marketplace this month, then folks who’ve been subscribed for the three months up to February, and also purchase the expansion, will get them. Seems kind of the wrong way around to me if you’re trying to reward people for loyalty, but there you go.
These new vampires are described as being the result of one of the Nights of the Dead event’s quests, “This won’t end well…”, in which you are invited to the village of Somborn in the Loping Plains. Upon arrival you are attacked by a mysterious assailant, and awaken a day or two later with no memory of the intervening period. I’m not a big fan of that quest’s story, as you discover that you spent that period murdering an entire family, including children, while under vampiric influence, and you then cover it up! I don’t consider it “canon” for many of my characters, as most would either immediately own up to the crime, or spend the rest of their lives feeling terrible about it!!! As an ex-Bloodsaber, Maltheas has enough youthful mistakes (though nothing quite so serious) to pay for as it is.
Luckily for Maltheas, all the pictures of Vampires so far have been of human/elf females, so it does not look like the world is going to be hit with an influx of the terrifying Ratonga Vampires this time around. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for further information though, as you can never be too sure with bloodsuckers.
The connection to Somborn and “This won’t end well…” dictates that they are of the D’Ryil bloodline (as it was Sarkon D’Ryil and his childer who were the source of the evil there), which splintered off from House D’Morte when Lazarus D’Ryil was abandoned by the D’Mortes and decided to ally with Neriak. To this day, D’Ryil vampires may be found within that dark city.
This is important, because the D’Morte line was begun (in times most ancient) when its founder drank from the Ewer of Sul’dae, a powerful artifact of Anashti Sul, the goddess of undeath who made her return to Norrath recently. Originally the goddess of healing, she went a bit wrong in the head (to cut a long story short), and was banished. Maltheas’ patron, Rodcet Nife, replaced her in the Norrathian pantheon, and has battled against her works ever since. Vitally, the D’Mortes became vampires without the involvement of Mayong Mistmoore, believed to be the first vampire to exist on Norrath (and of course, he, and his progeny, are still going strong).
However, the name “Freeblood” implies that these new vampires have no loyalty to the D’Ryils, but it is always interesting to know from whence the blood has flown. A vampire can call itself free as much as it likes, but it is still a slave to its hunger. Whether any of this lore I’ve mentioned gets retconned remains to be seen. Very little of what we know about the history of Norrathian vampires is certain.
Given that this vampire invasion is going to happen, although I consider it a dubious idea, I’ve decided I might as well have fun with it. Who better to fight against the rise of the Vampires than a priest of Rodcet Nife! I’m going to look into putting together a good vampire-hunting costume for Maltheas. He needs a suit of some sort, and a most excellent hat. I might even sacrifice some of the Station Cash I’ve accumulated to the cause.
Update: There has been a little bit more new information.
One of the special features of the Freeblood is a Racial Trait, “Reveal Inner Self,” which lets the character change from attractive to demonic in appearance.
Another feature of the Freeblood race is a new hand-to-hand combat animation set. In addition, it will include a special “invisible” appearance weapon that lets the character use these combat animations, even if they’re wielding a sword and shield.
Another Racial Trait, “Bloodletting,” grants a minor Lifetap spell to occasionally drain health from targeted enemies.