The vampire is one of the most popular choices for players when deciding on the race of the character they are going to play in a role-playing exercise. And why not, these denizens of the dark have an intriguing built in dichotomy which can make assuming the role of such a creature very interesting.
A vampire can be described as an undead being that almost always has a need to ingest some kind of blood. While those two elements remain fairly consistent, there are an infinite number of variations on their characteristics. Some people play vampires as ravenous disease ridden animals, while others prefer to portray them as sophisticated socialites.
One of the most interesting things about playing a vampire is the tension which exists between the human and undead sides of their personality. This will be more important for vampires that feel a strong affinity towards their human side, and will be exasperated by the constant need to feed on blood, often human blood.
The need for blood is one limiting factor when playing a vampire, but it is one whose impact can be mitigated depending on the nature of the character. Some vampires will be fine living off of animal blood while others will have a lust only for the real human stuff. Age and strength is also a factor as the older and the more powerful they become the less they will have to feed.
Some players deal with morality of the need for blood in a variety of clever ways. They can decide only to hunt murderers or the criminally insane, or they can take their victims from death row inmates.
Perhaps the greatest limiting factor restricting what you can do with a vampire character is sunlight. While vampires are virtually immortal, most if not all of them are either severely harmed or utterly destroyed by sunlight.
While this will restrict some of the possibilities your character will have it can also open you up to new experiences. For instance, spending the daylight hours in a sewer, or exploring a mysterious cave, while trying to avoid arrant shafts of sunlight.
Vampire society is largely up to the character. You can have a proverbial lone wolf, a pair of mates or friends, or a whole coven, with an advanced system of government including laws and traditions.
Another complication in vampire role-playing, is the method of procreation. Usually vampires will have the ability to turn other mortals into a vampire, either by biting them, or sharing their own blood with the person.
This can present a conundrum when interacting with humans. Often mortals will ask to be turned in order to gain immortality. This is not a light decision however since it means the creation of an immortal killer. Sometimes the person will change their mind after being turned, feeling regret for the blood driven way they have to survive.
Vampires are some of the richest and most complex creatures that you can play. They have a wide variety of built in struggles and moral questions, which will give you an endless number questions to answer throughout the game. While they are powerful, they are also vulnerable, making them a challenge worthy of a truly creative mind.