Ok, the new Skyrim DLC has been confirmed and is being released June 26 for Xbox-360. We will have the chance to either become a member of the Dawnguard , a vampire hunting faction, OR join the legendary Volkihar vampire clan. These options are both interesting and cool, and also present some challenges that Bethesda has hopefully overcome. Now, what i really want to talk about is the lore of it all. We just get this "random" vampire faction out of nowhere who want to block out the sun for all eternity. I mean really?
My first questions were, this is great but, how will they do this? (obviously we have to wait for the DLC to really find out) How powerful are they? How many are there? What resources do they have? I realize it probably would be best to simply bask in the glory of the long awaited new content for Skyrim, but it's just to difficult to allow this to not be expounded upon.
So.. i'll start with how powerful are they? Well, we won't find out until the DLC is released but why not speculate? The Volkihar Clan is known to be one of the most powerful vampire clans, a legend amoung them, and the most powerful one existing in Skyrim. It is said that they are "paranoid and cruel.. living beneath frozen, haunted lakes, never venturing into the realm of man except to feed." The fact that they are very rare (even by vampire standards) leaves alot of room for theory. The fact that they apparently can aquire the power to end the "tyranny of the sun" suggests they are incredibly powerful. Also, they have the ability to transform into an "Underworld-esc" vampire lord from. Which looks very demonic, and powerful. The confirmed abilities this form posseses is an obvious indication that the Volkihar are a cut above the "normal" vampire found in Skyrim or any other game for that matter. Which leads me to my next point, there are already "Volkihar Vampires" existing as an enemy in Skyrim. These are very powerful, high level, foes who dish out massive damage and are a real pain in the ass at first. Now, these enemies are no where near the level of badassary that the aforementioned vampire lords are sitting at, but why do they have the same name/title? Well, hopefully this will be cleared up in the DLC but for now speculation will have to do. My top three guesses, since thats literally all they can be at this point, are as follows:
1. These vampires already in the game are simply vampires who migrated from cyrodill to Skyrim (probably as a result of the war) and have simply become powerful and taken on the name Volkihar in order to ward off potential rival vampire clans, necromancers, guardsmen, etc. While in reality the Volkihar in the upcoming DLC are true members of the clan and are many times more powerful.
2. They are simply lower ranking members of the same clan. So, either members that could not pass the ritual to become a vampire lord, or simply victims of the lords disease and as a result are still allowed membership into the Volkihar clan but are not on the same level of strength. This is also probable because the lower ranking members are still far more powerful than most vampires found in the game, but are not seen transforming into demonic looking beasts. So it is likely that they are the ones sent out by the clan leaders to maintain a presence in Skyrim and make sure the name stays feared.
3. And finally, the name was simply meant to imply they are the only Volkihar vampires and Bethesda was not commited to creating a DLC like Dawnguard at the time. Which would moat likely mean that they will choose either the first or second option to explain the name (if they explain it at all)
No matter what the explaination is, these vampires are immesnsly powerful, and we should expect significant impact on the whole of Skyrim as a result of joining them. Now, my other two questions cant really even be speculated on since nothing even exists to create a limit for what to expect. For all we know they could number in the hundreds, thousands, tens of thousnds, and they could have particle beam weapons as resources. Obviously the last statement was just for fun but in any case it is impossible to know for sure. Still, one can't help but wonder what these vampires will be like, i mean, i dont remember any sort of colossial action taken by vampires in the elder scrolls thus far. Powerful clans from Morrowind such as the Shadows of the Berne, the Mages of the Aundae, and the Warriors of the Quarra, and ones mentioned in Immortal Blood like the Cyrodillic vampire clan have all been around a long time, but never attempted anything as significant as obtaining an Elder scroll, Auriel's Bow, and blocking out the sun, at least that i can recall.
So, we may not find out anything until Dawnguard is released, but that simply means any number of possibilities exist. I've even considered the possibilty the dawnguard are a bunch of werewolves and we have an Underworld problem on our hands. Regardless, this is going to be an amazing add-on (hopefully) and all elder scroll fans should be looking forward to it.
Suffice to say, i won't be joining the vampire hunters anytime soon.