Vampire

Vampires are near-immortal creatures who have contracted vampirism resulting in slower metabolism, weaknesses to heat and elevated Vitamin D levels, and an increased requirement for iron consumption. Known vampires are shunned by society due to a tendency among some of the afflicted to consume blood as an easy source of concentrated iron, although most vampires rely upon more mundane sources such as iron tablets for their nutritional needs.

Basic Information

Biological Traits

A vampire's appearance depends largely upon the species they were before turning into a Vampire. HVV does not cause drastic changes in its hosts' appearances, although all Vampires do develop sharpened canines to assist in drawing blood for feeding, unless their original species already has sharpened teeth. Due to a weakness to Vitamin D toxicity vampires do avoid direct sunlight when possible, resulting in the paler complexion of an individual accustomed to remaining indoors.  

How to Recognize a Vampire:
Given their adverse impact on those around them and their frequent ability to blend in while hunting for their next victim, the need to recognize a vampire has never been a more critical skill than it is today. One cannot expect to defend themselves and their families from these imposter and their bloodthirsty ways without memorizing the signs. Fortunately for you, I am an expert in this subject and have written down everything I know.  
  1. Vampires possessed fanged canine teeth, even if their people generally do not have sharp teeth.
  2. Vampires do not show signs of aging or illness. Sometimes they even seem to age backwards! That neighbor of yours who hasn't aged a day since they moved in eight years ago? Vampire!
  3. Vampires heal quickly. It doesn't matter what injury it is, they will recover faster than you could ever dream possible. But don't cut a vampire yourself just to see this healing in action! Their blood carries the virus and you run the risk of infecting yourself. Instead using a ranged tool, such as a bow and arrow.
  4. Watch what they eat. Vampires avoid eating fish, so if you suspect someone of vampirism invite them to share a fish with you. If they refuse? Vampire. Vampires also eat less than the average person due to a slower metabolism, so if your date picks at their meal? Vampire.
  5. Vampires' skin adopts a slightly pale pallor due to their avoidance of the sun. If your friend is looking more pale than usual, spends all day indoors, and is now unavailable to spend time with you until after dark? They have likely recently contracted vampirism.
  6. Vampires are cold. Their slower metabolism allows them to maintain a much lower body temperature and many are just warm enough to not freeze solid. If your traveling companion feels cold to the touch, they are definitely a vampire. People who appear oblivious to the freezing cold are also likely vampires.
  7. Vampires crave iron, especially blood. If your coworker wants your lunchgroup to eat steak regularly, they are probably a vampire. On the other hand some vampires claim to follow a strict meat- and blood-free diet, so your coworker who is carefully tracking their calories or professes vegetarianism is probably also a vampire.
These are the most prominent warning signs of vampirism. If you notice someone matching one or several of the points above it is important to protect your family by striking first to eliminate the threat. REMEMBER! The only good vampire is a dead vampire.

Genetics and Reproduction

Vampires can still reproduce in the manner of their original species, although they will likely infect both their partner and subsequent offspring with vampirism unless sufficient precautions are observed. Vampirism can be contracted through shared exposure to bodily fluids, most notably blood but also through other, more intimate fluids, although there have been no known cases of transmission by sweat or saliva. Once contracted it cannot be cured.

Growth Rate & Stages

Victims of vampirism will no longer age in the conventional sense, but rather maintain their outward appearance forever. They will, however, become more powerful with age as HVV propagates throughout their DNA and the affliction provides them with higher Imperium production and stronger ties to the Magical Fields.

Dietary Needs and Habits

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— covert advertisement for vampiric nutrient bars
  Vampirism alters the metabolism of its victims, severely decreasing their required caloric intake and slowing their digestion. Vampires can gain nutrients through the consumption of food items, much as they did before contracting vampirism, but due to a quirk of the disease their taste buds can no longer experience the flavors. For this reason many choose to forego traditional foods and instead rely upon processed high-nutrient condensed foods and vitamins.   This change in metabolism also increases the afflicted's iron requirements, leading many to rely upon the consumption of blood for survival. A vampire suffering from iron deficiency will become weak, losing physical and magical strength each day. In severe cases a vampire could even experience Transitory Ungrounding due to a lack of iron unless they can obtain Imperium from an outside source.   Raw Imperium, such as from the Imperial Night Rose, does not have the same adverse effects upon vampires. Rather than developing Hallucinatory Imperium Oversaturation an individual afflicted with vampirism will merely experience severe stomach cramps as their digestive system attempts to metabolize the concentrated Imperium. They can also syphon Imperium from others in small quantities without the typical rituals required to do so. Tales of vampires feeding off of the spirits of others are believed to be a result of individuals witnessing a vampire using this skill.   The consumption of Vitamin D in significant quantities weakens those with vampirism, leading most to avoid sunlight as well as the consumption of fish. On the other hand Vitamin C remains a popular supplement among vampires, as it allows them to better metabolize iron and therefore permits them to feed less often. Vampires attempting to maintain a vegan lifestyle rely heavily upon Vitamin C supplements to better extract iron from their plant-heavy diet.

Biological Cycle

As a side effect to their vampirism a vampire's body temperature is maintained at a much colder temperature than pre-affliction, just enough to prevent freezing. Some consider vampires to be cold blooded, although the majority of the scientific community rejects this classification because vampires still regulate their own body temperature.   They are known for a weakness to sunlight but in actuality their immediate adverse reactions are due to the accompanying heat, rather than the sun itself. Most vampires do attempt to avoid direct sunlight however, even on cold days, due to a weakness to Vitamin D toxicity, but as it takes time for the body to convert sunlight into Vitamin D the effects are not as immediate.

Civilization and Culture

Common Myths and Legends

Many myths surround vampires, most of which have basis in facts. A few of the more common misconceptions are broken down below.  

Blood and Infection

The most common tales of vampires speak of nocturnal monsters seeking to drink the blood of the innocent, and occasionally infect another with vampirism. While vampires of this nature do exist they are on the fridge of vampiric subculture, as most vampires would prefer to live in harmony with the rest of society and resent the more violent vampires for living up to the fears of the general populace.   Blood contains high concentrations of iron, and infections with the haemovapira virus (HVV) does increase the afflicted's daily iron requirements due to the increase in Imperium production caused by the virus. Vampires can smell iron, and would therefore be aware of blood as an iron-rich food source. Most vampires rely upon simple iron tablets for their daily intake requirements, but vampires without a mentor or a vampiric family frequently follow the myths of blood drinking out of hunger, desperation, and just not knowing any better way to consume what they require.   When it comes to infection, ironically it is safer to be bitten by a vampire than to fight with one. HVV is not transmitted via the saliva and so an individual bitten by a vampire will not contract vampirism unless the saliva also contains blood, such as from an open mouth wound. When fighting, however, there is a greater chance of both parties experiencing open wounds which will increase the odds of an exchange of infectious fluids. This is not to say an individual should simply submit to any passing vampires, but it is an important factor to consider when responding to such a threat.  

Sunlight and Garlic

Vampires are not weak to sunlight itself, but due to their slower metabolism and lowered body temperature they are extremely vulnerable to heat. In addition, they experience Vitamin D toxicity at much lower concentrations and so prolonged exposure to sunlight could actually make them sick as they process the sun exposure into Vitamin D.   This is also the root of the myths detailing vampiric aversion to garlic, which is not harmful to vampires and actually quite beneficial due to its high iron and Vitamin C content. Vampires do, however, avoid the consumption of fish due to the high Vitamin D content in the more fatty varieties. Garlic remains a popular ingredient in many fish recipes throughout Fillimet and has therefore been confused with the refusal to eat the fish itself.  

Coffins and Undeath

Vampires without a mentor or vampiric family are forced to fend for themselves, finding what peace and shelter they can on the outskirts of society. Older graveyards remain a popular choice for these abandoned individuals due to the low traffic and various cultural superstitions, and so it is not uncommon to find a vampire in residence within a crilumbling mausoleum.   Vampire families seeking new members have also taken to patrolling graveyards in the hopes of locating these abandoned vampires to indoctrinate into their own family beliefs and way of life, which only adds to the myths. Their lower regulated body temperature does little to assuage these beliefs.  

Transformations

Some claim that vampires can transform into bats to more easily consume the blood they crave. Reports are backed up by tales of pursuing a vampire until they suddenly disappear, sometimes accompanied by the sound of wings.   In actuality the vampires are transforming into Nighthunters a nocturnal bird known for its effective pollination and forming the backbone of Pollination by Night. This skill of transformation requires a more advanced case of vampirism for the HVV to spread throughout the body, as well as training under a more experienced vampire, but all vampires will be able to transform at will once these requirements are met.  

Stakes and Beheadings

Vampire hunters argue as to whether a stake through the heart is an effective method to kill a vampire, or if beheading is a more guaranteed method to ensure their destruction. The simple truth is that both methods are equally effective, as is any method which kills the vampire outright rather than relying upon them succumbing to their injuries.   HVV boosts the immune system and healing processes of individuals afflicted with vampirism but it cannot bring them back from the dead. Therefore the most effective way to kill a vampire is to kill them.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Members from any other sapient species can be converted into Vampires, so their opinions on other sapient species are actually quite diverse and typically built upon their opinions before becoming a Vampire. Many of course now view non-vampiric species as inferior lesser races only useful for food or labor, but others still hold great respect for their former kin. It's all a matter of the perspective of the individual.   Other sapients view vampires with distrust and unease and will actively shun known vampires, even if they had formerly been held in high regard. As a result those afflicted with vampirism tend to uproot their lives every few decades to avoid uncomfortable truths about their behaviors and lack of aging. Others prefer to live alone, or in vampire-centric communities.   Vampires who do not consume the blood of sapient species, and even those who choose to attempt life as a vegan vampire, have been unable to break free of the stigma of the hungry, predatory vampire draining the life essence of the innocent.  

A vegan vampire? Now I've heard of everything. Just wait until you're starving for iron, hunger always shows the truth. You vampires are all predators, eventually.
— overheard conversation

Lifespan
Semi-Immortal
Average Height
Dependent upon original species
Vampiric Families Vampires fortunate enough to locate their own kind tend to form their own groups and clans, called Families as a nod to their close personal bonds. Many of these families seek out fledgling vampires with the intent of training and indoctrination into their own interpretation of life with vampirism.
  While most of these families strive to teach their members how to find their place within society despite the prejudice against them, fringe groups exist seeking anything from violent blood revelries to the domination of non-vampires. Still others form vampiric cults, willfully afflicting those who seek them out.   Most families reject these more primal interpretations of living with vampirism, pointing to them as reasons why they are rejected and even actively hunted by the unafflicted.
 


Cover image: Nature Forest Trees by jplenio

Comments

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28 Aug, 2020 22:36

Ooh, this is a nice take on vampires.   And of course ... you know I have a question! :D   Ok, so vampires can get iron deficient due to a metabolic imbalance. That makes complete sense and explains why go after the blood of a sapeint (or maybe not so sapient) ...   BUT! Have any Vampires sought out a healer for a treatment for the metabolic imbalance? While it may fall under the 'cannot cure permanently' as can be the case with a damaged say ... immune system or other metabolic process ... would said healer have found a way, or would healers be looking into a potion that could act as a kind of medicine for vampires ( that wish to go that route ) to give them some measure of their former non-vampire life?

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
28 Aug, 2020 23:39

So I am still poking at some of the specifics, which is why they're not all in the article yet (will be writing vampirism article eventually and then pulling important information back to here).   Currently my thought is vampirism as a viral infection, one of the nasty sorts that really digs into your DNA to replicate itself. And one of the side effects is this higher iron requirement, which is needed because the virus adds to the afflicteds' connection to the magical fields and amps up their Imperium production - because it needs that, too. And while experts could use Zokinesis as gene therapy to try and weed it out, the thing replicates too effectively for this to work well in most cases. Too easy to miss things.   So the metabolic imbalance itself isn't something you want to fix, because if you don't metabolize enough Imperium for both you and the virus the virus will take it all, you won't get any, and then without any supply you can't make any more and so now you and the virus are cut off and it's going to do whatever it can to survive so it starts consuming other bits of you and it's not so great. (I still need to add that bit to the article too). But this is why a vampire can consume raw Imperium with minimal side effects, because the virus consumes enough of it the afflicted don't suffer the full effects of Imperium poisoning.   BUT Iron tablets are highly effective, especially if taken with Vitamin C to help absorption, meaning that in this day and age a vampire does not need to live as a blood thirsty killer... It's a choice, or a desperate last minute effort. Either way, this means the ones who do live this way are even more dangerous, and doesn't do any favors to clear up the prejudices against vampires as a whole, even those who are actively trying to avoid consuming blood.   They're only vegetarian until it isn't enough iron, after all.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
28 Aug, 2020 23:48

Ooh, cool! I had first wondered if Zokinesis would work, but then I thought ... ah ... probably not. But that's SO COOL it's a viral infection (of a sort).   Thanks! I'm looking forward t reading more when you have it up!

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
Master AzounIV
Luca Poddighe
9 Sep, 2020 17:15

Interesting revisit of vampire. I liked it. Just two considerations, I feel there's a conflict when in reproduction you say that virus is transmitted by all bodily fluids and later on when you mention that is only blood to transmit the virus, of the two one; I have noticed a few typos, contact me on privately if you want to have them pinpointed. Altogether very interesting article!

9 Sep, 2020 21:39

Thanks for catching that bit under reproduction! I had originally intended it to be all fluids, but realized I would have a vampire pandemic unless I removed saliva (and therefore sneezing and coughing) as a possible vector. Should be clearer now, thanks!   Regarding typos... I probably have quite a few, I fixed the ones I spotted again. When I do my next formatting pass I will be on PC and hopefully catch them with spellchecker. I am always open to help in that regard. Autocorrect sometimes adds its own flair to things. Ha!

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
Master AzounIV
Luca Poddighe
10 Sep, 2020 06:46

I know from my own work, typos are everywhere especially if I work from mobile. That's the reason why if I see some I offer help, not because I feel smart**s. Regards to the amended version of "Genetics and reproduction" now it makes perfectly sense, adult persons will understand, younger people may have some embarassing questions for parents, nothing they shouldn't be prepared in any case.

10 Sep, 2020 16:55

Oh! Don't worry, I never thought you were trying to be insulting. <3 Typos are everywhere. I do what I can to stomp them out but they're even in professionally published works with editing teams so... Occupational hazard, but certainly nothing to be ashamed of!

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
Grandmaster Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
22 Sep, 2020 00:17

'Therefore the most effective way to kill a vampire is to kill them.' Hahaha, love it.   This is such a great take on vampirism. I really love how much thought you've put into this, especially in regards to the vitamins and deficiencies. I also really like the fish/garlic confusion! :D

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
22 Sep, 2020 02:02

I am rather proud of my vampires. I am so glad you enjoyed them!

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
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