The Vamp
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"I am P'Gell, and this is not a Trope for little boys…"1

Basic Information

At first glance, the Vamp may seem to be just the female equivalent of the Casanova; but this does her a great injustice. She is the ultimate expression of the Femme Fatale. She uses her great beauty and feminine wiles to destroy men, undermining their morality and corrupting them, leaving them utterly destroyed.

Her motives may vary. Sometimes she is avaricious and amoral and wishes to drain her victim of all his cash. Sometimes she is an enemy spy, who seeks to subvert men from the other side into, knowingly or unknowingly, betraying their country. (Milady de Winters from The Three Musketeers is quite good at this). Sometimes he is herself a victim, forced to use her powers of sex appeal to serve her sinister masters. And sometimes she just likes to play with her food.

Although the character type is at least as old as Delilah, her name derives from a poem by Rudyard Kipling entitled "The Vampire" about a fool who falls in love with such a predatory female. In 1915, the poem was adapted into a movie called A Fool There Was, starring the silent sexpot Theda Bara, who made a career of playing sultry bad girls.

See Also

"I'm not bad - I'm just drawn this way!" Jessica Rabbit


Game and Story Use

  • The Vamp makes a delicious NPC villain. She works particularly well as the Big Bad's trusted (or not-so-trusted if he's smart) lieutenant/mistress; but a sufficiently powerful Vamp could be a Big Bad Evil Gal in her own right.
    • The key is to keep her ambiguous. She should not be overtly evil — at first — just sexy. She might even portray herself as vulnerable and needing protection.
    • When her evil does become apparent, there needs to be the possibility that she might come over to the side of the angels; or at least that her own selfish goals and the party's coincide for the present.
    • A Femme Fatale might reform; a Vamp never will. So don't let your players know which they are dealing with.
      • Players who are too genre-savvy will start blowing away every cute girl they see just on principle.
  • If the Players are too shrewd to be seduced by an evil sexpot, have an NPC friend fall in love with the Vamp. Then the PCs will have to convince him she's bad news before it's too late.
  • It's possible to have the Vamp be a PC, but difficult. The Vamp is a predator, and all men are her natural prey. You'll need to come up with a reason for the Vamp to work with the Party and for the Party to trust the Vamp.
  • The vamp as actual vampire works - witness Bianca from The Dresden Files, even if she does get squashed under the plot bus relatively rapidly.
    • …or any of the Raith girls for that matter.
  • The vamp can also be a villain who is nothing to do with the BBEG, but a separate power in her own right - she may prove a useful, if dangerous ally, especially if she and the BBEG have "history" (see this played out at - literally - epic level in Paizo's Savage Tides adventure path), but the price may be excessive.
    • It helps to make her a civillain in this role, although characters with pre-modern codes of honour (from "dog doesn't bite bitch" upwards) make PCs less likely to respond with violence.
    • The Vamp as procuress and information broker is a strong character - the Madam Holly Snow appears several times in NCIS fulfilling this role amongst the powerful of Washington DC.
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