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Vampires or Demons - Which should my baddies be?

I need to decide what to call the core enemies in my setting. What I call them won't change anything significant about the world, it is more a matter of style.

The enemies are trying to invade the world from another dimension. They have a hierarchical, roughly feudal structure, and move from one populated dimension to another, consuming all life and even the gods. Their ruler is a god-emperor, below them are lesser nobility, denoted by titles kings & queens, princes and princesses, and such down the line to lords and knights. They do not, however, have any family lineage at this time. If they once had such ties, they were forgotten millions of years ago as the roamed the multiverse.

In this universe, they were stopped long ago as they tried to invade. When they saw the chance, some of their number turned against their god-emperor and helped force him out of the realm, and were trapped when the gates between dimensions closed. After that, they used their power and the tense alliance that followed to establish themselves as rulers over all mortals across the world. Some of those that were trapped though were still loyal, and they fight to reopen the gates, while the rebels knowing they would face their former ruler's wrath have created a corps of Inquisitors to hunt them down to stop them.

I see calling them demons and describing them as such as the safer option, but perhaps more generic. Vampires seem more high-risk but high-reward. On one hand, vampires are overdone, but they are overdone because they are pretty awesome. And a world that is openly ruled by vampires with mortal nations claimed by their feudal rulers as their herds seems like an interesting setting, though not totally original since it was inspired by aspects of the Ravenloft D&D setting. However, since they are beings foreign to the dimension, they cannot turn mortals into vampires, so vampire overpopulation is not a danger.

On the other hand, grotesquely deformed lesser demons and horrifically impressive greater demons would make for an interesting setting too. But which to choose. What does the community think?


Vampires are generally beings that were once humans and were turned into blood-sucking monsters. Demons are from someplace else and are creatures of chaos and evil. If you call them vampires, people are going to be really confused because nothing about them sounds like vampires. I'm really not even sure where you got the idea to call them vampires, because calling them mugwumps or Ewoks or something would make just as much sense.


Echoing Chadejxyz: your description is way closer to demons than vampires.

If you want to have your cake and eat it too, you might try something like demons being immaterial and possessing mortals (human and otherwise) and turning them into vampires. Sort of like replacing the mortal mind and soul with a demon. Then lesser demons make vampires that are just pale guys with fangs while greater demons make big gargoyle-looking vampires. And the demons sustain their new material bodies via blood drinking.

But that would all be pretty out there and require some in-story explaining.
Your point about them not really being undead is really a bigger change from the many vampire traditions and fiction than the Lost Boys/Twilight sparkly vampire thing (sorry for the mild trolling if anyone is a Lost Boys fan, I love the movie though heehee). I think I'll just go with demons because that gives me a lot more freedom to come up with horrific creatures too. :D

Thanks for the advice!

Insolent Lad

The idea of vampires being dead—well, undead—humans possessed by demon souls was sort of the underlying concept of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If one goes back a way in vampire lore, vampires are more like demons and not dead humans at all; Stoker's Dracula popularized our current notion of them. And undead humans were more like the barrow wights of Tolkien (which, incidentally, were sometimes called 'trolls' in Norse lore).
Your baddies don't sound quite like either to me. Why not call them something else? Make up a name for them?

They could be Other Siders (I don't really like that, but it's the first thing that came into my head). Or Out Dimensioners. Or named for the world they came from, if you've given it a name. Like Star Trek has Klingons and Arcturians and so forth.
Insolent Lad: Fair point. I've definitely gotten a feeling for that kind of vampires, but couldn't point to a specific source. Thanks for filling that in for me.

Rosemary Tea: My first draft version (that I'll probably repurpose later in some form) was some kind of insect-like critters with a multi-tier hive structure which I called The Phage, but they were more 2-dimensional baddies so the idea evolved into something more anthropomorphic. Coming up with another name that is more unique and also less burdened by the audience's preconceived notions is a great idea though. Just in case I want them to sparkle or something haha.
in thinking about this more, I think that the protagonist of the first series will end up becoming the progenitor of the world's vampires by drinking the demons' blood to gain the power to defeat their god-emperor. Besides I like the theme that those who fight monsters must be careful not to become monsters themselves.