It didn’t cross my mind until recently that there might be some confusion when vampires turn up in War of Nytefall. Specifically, the concept of non-humans races getting turned into vampires. Since they are normally found on Earth (or space, but still our reality), they are only seen as corrupted humans. Sometimes you get a vampirized animal like an elephant or crows or a bat. They can also be called ghouls and not true vampires, which gets even more confusing. This means the exposure of non-human vampires is incredibly small because the two categories rarely interact.
I can think of a few reasons why you don’t see this often. Vampires that take on the role of the main villain tend to be outcasts from a human society. So, their target ends up being the same group that ostracized them. If the vampires are simply creatures that a hero can run into then they’re put to a default human. You don’t even get a real description a lot of times beyond pale, fangs, blood, and an affinity for black clothing. That means the reader decides on human because that’s what we’re used to. So, the sudden appearance of a character like Gregorio Roman, who is a gnomish vampire, can throw people off if they aren’t ready for it. I was actually surprised how many people sent me public and private messages asking about him. Hence, this post.
The simplest way to explain why non-human vampires are possible is to look at the basic method of vampirization. They aren’t born, but made from biting, magic, or blood ingestion. For me, this defines it as an infection that attacks at the biological or magical level. A world could prevent cross species turning if it’s stated that blood transfusions and breeding are impossible between them. This gets blown away the instant you have a half-anything show up though. So, a vampire’s infectious bite should be able to turn other species since fertile offspring are possible and diseases can cross over as well. It’s really up to the author though, but the reader needs to be ready for such things when they see a vampire turn up in fantasy. More than likely, you’re safe as long as you don’t detail the vampires, but this isn’t possible if you’re using them for more than fodder.
The Dawn Fangs add their own wrinkle into this, which is that they function like their own species. They call themselves Dawn Fangs before their original race because that is what defines their abilities at this time. It’s the society that they feel more connected to as well once such a thing is established. One could say that Dawn Fang is the primary species and whatever they were born as is the secondary. The truth is that nobody in Windemere really thinks about this very much. There is more curiosity as to what they are and if they’re a danger instead of if they were a gnome, human, or fireskin first. Still, a lot of this labeling is for the reader and doesn’t always carry into the world itself.
By the way, in Allure of the Gypsies there is a vampire named Kalam who is also the dragon-man species known as a fireskin. He isn’t a Dawn Fang, which some people didn’t realize because he was functioning in the sun. The truth is that he drank enchanted blood from a god-magic throne and that gave him immunity. Nobody really questioned it in the story because they assumed he was a Dawn Fang. So, there are pseud0-versions of the various vampire types too and these tend to be found within the nonhuman species because they do have ‘extra’. Fireskins are natural casters, gnomes have ‘The Void’, dwarves have no central heart, etc. These are abilities that carry over to their transformed selves to make some racial differences. It’s another reason why vampires focus on the basics instead of using the nuances to make further divisions.
Anyway, this is just something for people to consider if they read a fantasy book and see a vampire show up. Then again, I have a feeling most authors will just go straight human and this might be a fairly unique problem to me.