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Yes, vampires again. Sick of them yet?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Tom, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Hi, everyone. Get out your garlic and crucifixes; I've got some stuff about vampires I'd like to hear your thoughts on.

    Here are my three newest ideas:

    1. Vampires in my world are mostly solitary, but sometimes they gather in covens. Would it make sense to use wolf pack terminology for a coven, such as having the coven Alpha, their Beta, the Omega vamp, et cetera? I think it would be a nice motif, to show how vampires in covens are generally more "human" than the lone wolves; they've reconnected with the fundamentally human need for a strong social structure.

    2. I've established that once a vampire drinks human blood, their circulatory system pumps the blood around their body for a few days as if it were their own. During this window of time, vampires can actually breathe and have a heartbeat and are pretty close to being human. Because of this, might other vampires want to eat those of their own kind who'd just fed?

    3. This is mostly for psychological horror purposes. Would a vampire deteriorate into a shriveled living corpse if starved of blood? Would the brain deteriorate as well as the body? Would drinking gallons and gallons of blood restore it, or would it have to be put out of its misery?
     
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    1. Personally, the terminology would confuse me. Coven makes me think of witches more than vampires, and pack structure is more fitting to werewolves.

    2. I imagine not, since a vampire would smell differently than a human, even with a beating heart.

    3. That is a horrifyingly awesome idea. I say yes to the first, but I dunno about the second. To use a metaphor, can a raisin be turned back into a grape by pumping it full of juice?
     
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  3. Letharg

    Letharg Troubadour

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    1. For me the whole thing with Alpha is too closely tied with werewolves when it comes down to creatures of the night. But depending on how you introduce it, it might work, though I would be careful about using the term.

    Besides I tend to think of Vampires as loners due to their need to fit in in society, too many vampires in one place would cause a lot of disappearances which would draw the humans attentions. This could be rectified of course if the vampires have enough power to make sure the investigations or questions never surface and would also depend on the setting. In a city rampant with crime that would not be noticed.

    2. Interesting idea, that would make it quite a lot easier for them to hide from detection. Are these vampires hurt by sunlight? And if they are, do the feeding effect the sunlight's effect on them?
    They might attack each other, but I would guess that it would only be done in dire need or from food shortages. Why attack one another if there is an easier pray? Provided of course that they have some sort of advantage over humans.

    3. One would think it did, I guess the "usual" vampire have some magic that keeps the body functioning even without blood. I would like and support this idea if it was presented in a good way. Would the vampires also get weaker as the body deteriorated, or stronger as a result of their blood thirst?
    I would think that they could recover somewhat unless it is not to deteriorated but it would be a great plot element if they had some sort of point of no return.

    Overall I like the concept.
     
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  4. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    1. I was a bit wary about using wolf pack terminology, since it is closely associated with werewolves. But it seems like the only way to go; there are no other alternatives that come to mind that provide the same "feel" as wolf pack rank terms. My novel is set in the modern day, so I could probably explain it as the vampires borrowing terminology to explain a concept (much as we humans do with words from each others' languages).

    @Ireth: I feel the same way about the term 'coven'. It seems to be established for vampires, though. Maybe I could change it anyway, since my covens are odd.

    With my vampires, they're very rare, and few last beyond five years before breaking up. They consist mostly of fringe members who come and go, anchored by about five or less long-term members who either founded the coven together or stick together for personal reasons. New vampires join the coven of the vamp who turned them, but after full maturation (which takes about six months to a year) they're kicked out and have to either become a loner, join another coven as a fringe member, or found their own.

    2. My vampires are hurt by sunlight; when they feed, they usually gain immunity to it. I'd think that they wouldn't resort to attacking each other, but they'd experience hunger from coming in close contact with a recently fed vamp. Just enough to make themselves and the object of their hunger feel uncomfortable and slightly out-of-control. I think it would fit in with the theme of vampires being solitary and alienated.

    3. I think the vampire would get weaker as it deteriorated, eventually becoming unable to move. Now that is psychological horror right there--trapped in your own body, unable to die, as it falls apart around you. Gives me the chills. I can't wait to write about it; it's going to be interesting.
     
  5. 1. I think there are better ways of demonstrating a human need for social structure other than using something like the Alpha Vampire. People do not need to be assigned ranks to know that there is a structure. I'm sure if you've always seen how some of your friends have more of a dominant presence than others, and how sometimes you almost feel like you need to ask permission to do certain things in their presence. If you really are set on using a ranking system, I would recommend something other than a terminology usually associated with werewolves. Master, Lord, Lieutenant, Right Hand, Enforcer, etc.

    2. I think that the more extreme members of a coven would try to eat their own kind. They might do it as kind of a delicacy, or maybe do it our of desperation. I would imagine that as a whole, it would be looked down upon with a certain stigma if the vampires see themselves as a collective; similar to how murder is looked down on universally in human culture so that we can preserve our race.

    3. This question depends on how you see blood. Is blood their only source of nutrients? Do they eat? From a writer's perspective, I would definitely go with the idea that going too long without feeding is irreversible. It might cause them to insane or even hallucinate as they get weaker and weaker. You are trapped in your own body as your mind becomes increasingly disturbed, culminating in a final point where the creature is allowed the sweet release of death.
     
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  6. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    In terms of vampires and their need for blood, why dont you try something from elder scrolls skyrim.
    I do like your ideas though.
    Skyrim: has vampires groups/clans and they get more power from drinking blood and there full vampiric forms last longer.

    also theres a thing where if they dont drink blood they could go feral and lose all reasoning and even attack other vampires.
     
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  7. Hainted

    Hainted Sage

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    I could see a drained vampire being more like the modern zombie. Deteriorating, almost mindless, with an unquenchable need to feed in a futile attempt to restore itself, spreading a virulent disease with every bite.
     
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  8. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    It sounds like you're basing your vampires more on blood as their power source, and less on mystic energy supporting it than most vampires or other creatures. By that logic, when a vampire's low on blood, they'd lose more and more of everything. Probably self-control first and then strength (unlike people, but they're predatory beasts under it all), and finally they'd start to suffer real "brain damage." And the last would be permanent even if the starved vampire was given blood, unless their brain cells heal better than human. They might be zombie-like in the later stages too, if some of their physical strength and most of their minds were gone, and all they could do was shuffle around trying to catch something slow. :)
     
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  9. Noldona

    Noldona Scribe

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    1. I would go with the term clan over coven or pack. It is a well established term for vampire groups, and is less confusing. If you need a ranking system, and as this is a modern day setting, look at club structures. President, Vice President, Treasurer, etc. Or you can use more medieval ranking if they clan structure is a hold-over from an older civilization.

    2 and 3. It really depends on the lore of your vampires. How do vampires work? Were the created by a botched exorcism as in John Carpenter's Vampire? Are they caused by demon possession passed by blood as in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles? Is it more akin to medical vampirism (can't find the proper term for the disease, but it deals with issues with the hemoglobin and causes painful sensitivity to sunlight)? Or is it some other form of supernatural/spell?

    If you go with the medical vampirism angle, you can treat not drinking blood as not getting proper treatment and their condition worsen. If it is is demon or supernatural in origin, it depends on the origin of the demon or spell. It really could go either way.
     
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  10. Noldona

    Noldona Scribe

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    After some further though, if you go with the spell angle, you could do with some sort of immortality spell which requires the ingestion of blood. And by not drinking blood, they revert to the normal mortal aging state. For older vampires, returning to the state can cause their bodies to revert to the state of what they would be if they had actually aged to that state including shriveled, fail bodies and brain issues caused by old age. The turning of a new vampire could be a ritual in where the new spawn is first shown the ritual and feed some of the blood of the sire bonding them. The new spawns stay with the sire possibly forming a clan while the spawn is trained in the ways/path by the sire. Once their training is complete, they leave off to spend their own immortal lives doing whatever.
     
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  11. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Is it possible to have a vegetarian vampire?
     
  12. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Eh, that idea's already been explored--moderately well by Anne Rice, and not very well at all by Stephenie Meyer. I prefer to have my vampires wrestle with the moral and ethical complications of drinking human blood. It's a thorny situation, full of the snags and snares I so love to explore.
     
  13. Noldona

    Noldona Scribe

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    This concept was explored in Being Human pretty well. At least the UK version, I never watched the US version.
     
  14. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    The US version wasn't as good, but I did enjoy the quintessentially American spin on the plot. And yes, it features vampire "vegetarianism" as well.
     
  15. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

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    1: I also immediately think of wolves/werewolves when I hear terms such as "pack" or "alpha". Have you thought about maybe looking into different social hierarchies? You could use terms from different periods of time. Terms like signoria, praetor, or kris are all terms that represent some kind of position in society or government. Since vampires have been around for centuries, it would make sense for them to draw upon historical terminology for their hierarchy. You could look into everything from Persia to Rome to Gypsy culture. I feel like you could find something that would accurately represent a small commune of vampires (speaking of which, commune might not be a bad word to use instead of coven). Also using terms that are associated with known social structures would help convey that need for social interaction and classification, as opposed to the animalistic connotations of pack and alpha.

    2: Does the blood go straight to the veins, or does it take time? Is the blood still human at this point, or is it converted into usable vampire blood? If the blood is still human, in theory it could make sense that other vampires would want to feed on them, although I would think that there would be some kind of punishment for feeding off of their own kind. Or perhaps another health issue that would prevent this. It really comes down to vampire anatomy though, as well as the structure of their society and their laws.

    3: There is actually a movie that explores something like this. It's called The Hunger, and stars Susan Sarandon and David Bowie. Bowie plays a vampire who begins aging for an unknown reason, and because of this his body starts shriveling up. Also, in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Dracula looks younger after feeding, and is stronger as well. I think it would be interesting to have vampires that shrivel up after too long without feeding. Once again though, it all comes down to the anatomy. This also brings me back to point 2. If a vampire has starved for long enough, there is potential for it to turn to feeding on another vampire, the same way that people have turned to cannibalism in the wake of starvation (for example, the Donner Party).

    Hope that some of this helps!
     
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  16. writeshiek33

    writeshiek33 Sage

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    I don't know who but i know that i read an urban fantasy book where group of vampires was called something to do blood
     
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  17. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Was it blood-clan or something like that? There seems to be a general consensus that the correct term for a gathering of vampires is a clan. I like that a lot better than the term coven, actually.
     
  18. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    what is a clan anyways? also Tom your inbox is full, tried sendin a message. Clan sounds the best for a group of vamps
     
  19. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    A clan is an extended family group. Its meaning kind of varies between cultures. In Scotland, it refers to people who share the same last name and a common male ancestor. For the Haudenosaunee, a clan is a group within a tribe who share a common female ancestor. Here in the US, we often informally use 'clan' to refer to a large family group.
     
  20. Panda

    Panda Troubadour

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    I'm not sure how I feel about the terminology, but I like the idea of a pack of vampires. Buffy the Vampire Slayer actually did this really well, IMHO. The vampires are mostly psychopathic (i.e. they have no empathy for each other), but they have some degree of instinctual loyalty toward their sire, resulting in a sort of unofficial chain of command. (If A sired B who sired C and D, C and D will probably obey A's commands, although that's not a guarantee since some vampires are more independent than others). Of course, that raises a lot of questions about the psychology of your vampires. Are they psychopaths? Can they have feelings for each other? Can they have feelings for humans?

    This could be an interesting source of conflict between the vampires in the clan. Maybe eating another vampire is taboo, but some vampires just don't give a crap about social conventions.

    Are you going to have any sympathetic vampire characters, or are they all bad guys? If the only thing you want your readers to feel for the vampires is fear, then making them weaker when starved is counterproductive. Maybe make them become desperate in their hunger, so they become more violent. I read somewhere once that cats become more energetic when they're hungry, so they'll hunt better. Maybe use something like that. Add in some horrifying descriptions, of course (they become gaunt and skeletal from the starvation, their eyes bulge, maybe their flesh starts to rot...).

    If you've got a sympathetic vampire, though, and you want the reader to worry about them or feel pity for them, then by all means make them become weak, frail, and unrepairably damaged. Make Buffy watch in horror as Angel becomes a brain-damaged living corpse.

    The first time I ever heard of Twilight was a review of the first book, in which the reviewer said that the story revolved around Edward's struggle to not drink Bella's blood. The reviewer noted that Meyer is Mormon (a religion that forbids consuming addictive substances, including caffeine), and I walked away with the impression that Twilight was a serious allegorical commentary on drug addiction instead of an insipid teenage love story. :rolleyes: I think I made it through three chapters before giving up.

    Anyhow, what I'm saying is that if you write a story that actually explores moral and ethical issues with vampires, I will read the hell out of it. :D
     
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