Battling the Vamps

10 Nov

A little distraction from the election.

A friend of mine pointed this out to me and it got me thinking.

Peaceful co-existence between humans and vampires is vanishingly unlikely. The traditional vampires – even the ones from Twilight­ – are predators; humans are their prey. The idea that humans would tamely accept being turned into cattle is absurd. We would look for ways to fight, ways to take the battle to them. And vampires – outside Marty Sues – have weaknesses.

Traditionally, vampires cannot go outside during the day. Nor can they go inside a building without an invitation. That limits their ability to find prey. (And if a single bite is enough to turn someone into a vampire, they’re going to be adding predators while lowering the amount of pray.) The average person would not open their doors after sunset if they thought there was a very real chance of being attacked. Maybe the average vampire is weak during the day or has to sleep.

Does Holy Water kill Vampires? What happens if you fill water pistols with holy water? Can you bless a river or a lake? Or the seas? Can you water your garden with holy water and turn it into a minefield? Would a vampire explode if he stepped on it? What about water vapour?

Traditionally, stakes kill vampires. What about toothpick-sized weapons? Could you have a gun that fired wooden bullets? What about sawdust? What is it about the traditional stake that kills vampires? Suggestion – wood reacts badly with the magic keeping the vampire alive. What about garlic? Does it have some chemical the vampire can’t stand?

Vampires are supposed to be strong. How smart are they? Do they lose their intellect as they start to grow hungry. Are they stronger than the average SAS trooper? Are they smart enough to hunt in packs? How much blood do they need? Will a single human feed a dozen vampires or do they need one each? What must happen to turn a human into a vampire? A bite? A drain? Or what?

Vampires are supposed to be able to influence people. What limits does the ability have? Can they control someone at long-distance or do they need eye contact? Can they implant suggestions? Will music or some other distraction cancel out their commands?

Can they actually turn into mist or bats? If the former, what happens if they get caught in a fan? Or strong winds?

There has to be a story here, surely. <grin>

27 Responses to “Battling the Vamps”

  1. Jack Hudler November 10, 2016 at 9:53 pm #

    Knowing what you’re doing at the moment, I’m wonder where you find the time.

    • chrishanger November 13, 2016 at 9:00 am #

      It’s a vague idea so far. I may not take it any further.


  2. Jack Hudler November 10, 2016 at 9:56 pm #

    Or can a silver bullet, or killing implement be plated?

  3. Jack Boone November 10, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

    I’d buy it!

    Jack Boone


    • Tommy November 10, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

      Chris, check out a late nineties Channel 4 series called Ultraviolet, it addresses a lot of the points you have raised.

      • November 11, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

        Damn, you beat me to that! 🙂

      • Harry Buttle November 11, 2016 at 12:47 pm #


  4. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard November 10, 2016 at 11:52 pm #

    Chris, have you ever read Barbara Hambly’s vampire stories?

    IMO She’s done a good job of creating a “Monster” (a vampire ally of the humans) who we can “like” but still recognize as a monster.

    Oh, her vampires don’t turn into mist or bats, but have a “don’t notice me” ability which enables them to get close quickly or to leave quickly. 😀

  5. bretwallach November 11, 2016 at 12:04 am #

    Twilight and two daughters destroyed any chance that I’ll ever enjoy another vampire story. Or werewolf story.

    Though if any author was going to have a chance at writing about those mythical characters and having me enjoy it, Chris is the one.

  6. MishaBurnett November 11, 2016 at 1:39 am #

    One of the best examination of vampires from a population biology standpoint is the film “Daybreakers”–which also could be seen as a powerful economic metaphor.

  7. Darkpoint November 11, 2016 at 1:57 am #

    If you really want to write about a vampire, let yourself be inspired by the manga / anime “Hellsing”. Alucard is a real vampire and not a pussy like in many other vampire stories.

  8. Andrew Jones November 11, 2016 at 2:24 am #

    Shotgun with a sabot could deliver a fair sized stake. Something like a rifle-grenade would be plausible. Pneumatic stake launching claymores for home defense, but there are better options for humans due to the lethality and legality of home explosives.

    The bigger question than stakes is “Do bullets stop them?” Even if they don’t kill vampires, if bullets stop them, “hose and stake” becomes a pretty decent option. In some mythologies, silver is also effective.

    Providing the weakness exists, garlic is the best defensive bet for everyone, and eventually humans won’t notice the smell. It’s also ubiquitous and easy to grow, but not particularly quick. Preemptive strikes on garlic, plus the massive run on the stuff when the news breaks, could limit the available supply.

    Two schools of thought on Holy water that boils down to “What if I add it to a bucket of not Holy water?” One school says the bucket is now full of Holy water. This is the supreme power of the sacred and not very practical for storytelling (unless you want people seeding thunderstorms with holy water). The other school says any adulteration or mistreatment spoils it, which limits the fun. Then again, maybe that’s actually the source of the running water legend ( Notre Dame sits on an island in a river for a reason you know).
    A suitable compromise is that it stays Holy so long as the sanctity is respected, which required acknowledgement and proper handling, so anything that counts as casual, disrespectful, dismissive or discarding neutralizes the water. Holy-water super soakers don’t work, except for St. Lonnie Johnson (who was divinely inspired to invent it for particular reasons in this universe) and those who have devoted suitable respect for the weapon (think lightsaber).
    The most interesting, and possibly more socially disruptive than vampires, implication of Holy water is that it pretty much confirms the existence of powers beyond scientific detection. Vampires might be a disease or weird biochemistry, but one set of H2O does nothing to them, and another, physically identical, destroys them. God or whatever, the idea that talking at water changes it’s physical properties is a pretty big shift in thinking for most people. You’re pretty much defining Good and Evil at this point…

    Except for the collaborators. Vampires don’t have to do a bunch of voodoo to get humans to obey them. Older, nearer to death, humans have effective control over most of the world’s resources. Enough of them will pay the extortion. If you do go with mental control, be very careful. Mind reading is nuclear weapons…literally. Entire new security systems would need to be developed to prevent mind-hacking. The amount of mind control/reading, aka free agency, may be related to your take on holy water. Either way, be sure to have Ghouls/Renfields/Thralls that can stand guard and pass as normal humans if your vampires have traditional weaknesses.

    Yeh…so I’m just going wild here…

    It all started with the destruction of Notre Dame. The attack, blamed on terrorists, was actually led by the decrepit and blood-starved thrall survivors of the vampiric wars of the early 1600’s. For years their masters were trapped deep in the catacombs, sealed in place by the power of the cathedral, but now they’ve gotten loose.
    The changes in the world caused them issues at first. The vampires tipped their hand, but things were kept quiet. No one wanted a panic. Covert operations were launched, but the 1000 year old masters learned quickly, adapted and began to pull the levers of power again. Programs supposedly for terrorist, secretly intended to monitor for vampires, were turned and used to catalog the cattle.
    Then, a disaster of the modern age. Too many pieces of big data. Too many phone videos. Too much evidence. Even those among the public that laughed at the idea, were giving out garlic at Halloween. A slip, a newly rewarded vampire looses control and rampages across Times Square, and the first vampiric war of the third millennium begins.

    I suspect our heroes include:
    An operative who’s program was canceled just as he was getting close to nailing the “terrorists”.
    A priest on the run after sheltering…
    The girl who knows too much.

    • Dustin November 11, 2016 at 5:17 am #

      I don’t really think I’d say holy water would work on vampires if vampirism was just caused by a disease or genetic aberration. In order for holy water to work, I think vampirism would have to have it’s origin’s through some sort of unholy magic or curse. If it worked just because they were evil then it should work on just regular evil people as well.

      • Andrew Jones November 13, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

        Agreed. The typical reasoning is that vamprism represents an “external intervention”, and is countered by a balancing intervention. Holy water isn’t actually powerful in itself, it’s simply a reply to a specific sort of plea for help against a malign supernatural influence.
        Malign natural influences are mundane mortal challenges.

  9. robertpwills November 11, 2016 at 3:13 am #

    I discuss a lot of these in my vampire short – Easy Street Unpaved. I am working at turning it into a full-fledged novel and a series once I get two other books in my fantasy and scifi series done. In Easy Street Unpaved, Hugh, the main character is a vampire changed in Jamestown colony and has had to learn his own way. Running water weakens him yet traveling by ocean liner does not. He can kind of influence other’s minds and can’t really fly but can make a controlled fall/glide sometimes. He has adapted with the times and is quite strong but (and this is one of the things I really like about my story) is that in colonial Jamestown, he was a large, muscular man at 5 foot 6. Now, adversaries look at him and think “Huh, a fit short guy” and usually pay the price for their misjudging him.

  10. PhilippeO November 11, 2016 at 5:11 am #

    There is a lot of different vampire here:

    as long as Vampire is parasitic or predatory, humans will destroy them. but if they provide ‘something’ co-existence might be possible, most story with co-existence describe ‘Vampire Kiss’ as highly enjoyable experience, an orgasmic high. Other vampire, with their super-strength or long life might have some valuable skill that can be used to buy blood.

    • lookingforkeys November 12, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

      And then you get something like Olga Gromyko’s “Witch” (Russian/Polish only). It’s a mostly for laughs series, where vampires are their own species with none of the weaknesses except for being mortal and a need for blood only to deal with fatal wounds (well, a need for flesh really, uncontrolled werewolf response). They were demonized by the rest of the D&D world because the areas they lived in were immensely prosperous. They’re almost extinct at the beginning of the series and no one knows the truth anymore.

  11. Dustin November 11, 2016 at 5:36 am #

    I think you’re looking at it wrong when you say that humans would or wouldn’t roll over meekly as cattle. It would really depend on the temperament of the vampires. If they’re sadistic beasts then the point is moot, but if they just drink blood because it is necessary for them to exist then peaceful coexistence would be simple. In just about any lore, vampires are not an abundant species. I believe there would be plenty of people that would willingly sell their blood for consumption that would more than meet the demands of the vampire population.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard November 11, 2016 at 6:07 am #

      Barbara Hambly’s Vampires need the “human death” to feed their powers.

      Yes, they can survive on non-human blood but for their full strength, they need human blood & human deaths.

  12. Drowe November 11, 2016 at 6:17 am #

    Michael Anderle’s Kurtherian Gambit series is an interesting take on vampires and werewolves. In his series, they are the result of aliens cultivating humanity as a warrior species to fight a war. Their abilities and attributes are the result of nano technology. It starts out as an urban fantasy story, but gradually develops towards space opera or military science fiction.

    Granted it’s nowhere close to Chris’ writing in quality (and the early books are full of mistakes due to lack of editing) but it is a fun and entertaining read.

  13. Anthony Presley November 11, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

    I would argue that Vampires preying on Humans is similar to drug dealers preying on other people. We have laws against it. We actively fight against it. Yet drug dealers preying on people still persists. As long as Vampires had something that people would be willing to destroy themselves for, it would have similar dynamic to drugs.

  14. PQ Ravik November 12, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

    While a number of posts mentioned Holy Water, I find it interesting that nobody mentioned the cross, or faith as a weapon against vampires. If vampires are mystical in nature, and if Holy Water is an effective weapon, it follows that having faith would offer protection as well. Sadly, nobody wants to talk about religious faith these days. There are a ton of books about demons and vampires, but very few go into detail about the “spiritual” defenses against these predators.

    • lookingforkeys November 12, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

      Well, in the (pretty old now) manga Midnight Secretary, the vampires are really sensitive to belief. They can ignore crosses easily, but put someone with a cross/star of david/varja who *believes* in its power next to them and see their vitality crash.

  15. George Phillies November 14, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

    Silver bullets? No, no, silver bullets are for werewolves! Don’t they teach anything in school these days?

    Wooden bullets have been done. It was a western. The vampire has a traditional Hollywood street duel … with the town padre. The vampire loses. Permanently.

  16. PuffinMuffin November 15, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    I’m glad you don’t mention light, being as that’s a 19th century addition to the tradition. There’s enough ways to kill them already.

    As for the holy water – how about putting it in a water pistol?

  17. David Pollard November 15, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

    One of the reasons that stories about “nice” vampires persist is that vampires, as often portrayed are Not predators, but parasites. If you look to nature, you’ll see that normally parasites are not usually aggressive unless in large numbers. Parasite survival depends more on not being noticed, than ability to physically overcome their foes. But then, this type of vampire would probably not make for nearly as exciting reading.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard November 15, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

      Barbara Hambly’s vampires are definitely predators but also prefer (in modern times) to be unnoticed.

      Most of their prey are people who “would not be missed” but the vampires are also very good at spotting would-be vampire hunters.

      Their usual course of action toward would-be vampire hunters is to change their own patterns so the would-be vampire hunters waste their lives looking for vampires but never finding them.

      Note, the greatest danger for vampires are events that destroy cities and their hiding places.

      Only two vampires survived the Great London Fire (for example).

      The vampires of Paris (as of the first book) were much younger than the two oldest vampires of London.

      The French Revolution did a job on the Paris vampire population. 😉

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