What is a Vampire?

What is a vampire in the World of Incursion? To answer that, let me quote Doctor Noelle Sorenson, Special Agent of Section 28, Catholic Priest, and member of the Vatican Order, Protectionem Dei Adversus Malum:

If you want to know what you are fighting, you need to understand a little more background. First off, forget almost everything you have ever seen from movies, TV, or books. Very few points are correct and most of the big 'facts' are wrong.

The traditional vampire, what I referred to as the ‘garden variety vampire,’ is not a suave, debonair creature of the night who seduces by looks. They do not have the gothic sense of dress. And they absolutely do not sparkle. Except when you roast them with a flamethrower, then their ashes glow a little.

When a vampire is created or appears from an incursion event, they are monstrous in shape and form. Very animalistic with sharp teeth, not just the canines, filling their mouths. They can quickly grow long, razor sharp fingernails and use their enormous strength and speed to hunt, capture, and feed on their prey.

When they feed, they do not poke two little holes in the neck. Instead, they rip open places where the major arteries are closest to the skin. They will rip open the throat, gnaw on the wrists, and shred the inner thighs. They need the oxygen-rich living blood to circulate in their bodies. Their own blood is cold, black, and sluggish. They can survive off animals, but most prefer the taste of human.

How do you stop or kill a vampire? Again, we turn to Dr. Sorenson: 

Again, ignore Hollywood. Garlic does absolutely nothing against a traditional vampire… except give it bad breath. A cross that is wielded by someone who has faith in that cross will drive a vampire away or make them cower on the ground. And that applies to any religious symbol. As long as the symbol represents the faith of the bearer, it will be effective. I've read reports of the Star of David being wielded by Jews and even pentagrams wielded by Satanists and witches.

The most effective way to kill a vampire is to stop blood flow to its head. This stops the regeneration from happening, and the creature will die. Either separate the head from the shoulders or do enough damage to the heart that it can no longer function—although this takes far longer for the vamp to stop attacking you.

But what about wooden stakes?

The stake has a very weird effect. As best as we can determine, the most effective use of the stake is to use it as a 'grounding rod.' A wooden stake to the body, other than the heart or head, has no effect. A stake to the brainpan will interrupt the function of the brain and end the vampire's life—as long as the stake stays in there long enough to effect true brain death. If you stake a vamp through the heart, it seems to basically interrupt the function of the heart, as long as the stake is there. However, if you can stake the vampire through the heart and into the ground, it completely paralyzes them.

Can they be cured? 

A vampire that was recently turned can be cured by killing its sire, the creature that made it. The death of the sire must occur sometime within the couple days after it was turned, and the timing is different for every turned creature. I've never seen any reports for a successful cure after three sunrises.

What about sunlight or ultraviolet light? Does that hurt them?

This is one that Hollywood gets partially right. The ultraviolet rays in natural sunlight, as well as in artificial UV rays, will burn and blister a vampire. Their skin is about a hundred times more sensitive than ours is, and they have a built-in psychological condition as well. The net effect is that if they could build up the willpower to completely cover themselves, and if they wore some really strong sunblock, they might be able to walk around during the day, but if sunlight hits their skin, they receive a third degree burn within a few seconds.

Silver is also really effective at slowing down the regeneration rates of vampires, and it physically causes a severe allergic reaction when it touches a vampire’s open wound. This causes them to feel a severe burning sensation. It's not quite as strong as the lycanthrope's reaction to silver, but it hurts them.

From an ancient text: "This type of vampire gains power as it grows older and as it feeds. New vampires are fairly easy to kill, with the right equipment; however, some the older masters were notoriously difficult to dispatch. Most masters will have a place where they stay during the day, a 'nest,' if you will. Typically, they have their newbies guard the nest, occasionally having familiars or revenants standing guard."

Familiars? Revenants?

Familiars are humans who have willingly offered their service to the vampire. While they may occasionally be bled for food, typically, they are simply controlled through will, fear, or mind control. It is difficult to tell who a familiar is, as they do not typically wear any outer sign.

Revenants are basically a cross between a zombie and a familiar. They are a ravenous beast that feeds on living flesh. They retain some of their intelligence when they are turned but are completely loyal to their master.

Are there any other vampire types?

That pretty much sums up what we know about typical vampires. There are technically two other types, called the “vampyre” and the “dhampir.” The vampyre is a creature that is typically classed as a “psychic vampire.” They feed on the emotional energy of the humans around them, thriving on intense emotions such as fear, hatred, and even love. They are very intense and have different weaknesses. In fact, this is probably where the legends of the vampire's power of seduction come from. Current records are fairly sparse as this type is very rare.

The other type, called the “dhampir,” is the offspring of a vampire and a human. While they do not inherit many of the more animalistic traits of their sire, they also are not affected by many of the same weapons. Dhampir are mortal and are not necessarily evil. In fact, there are records of some becoming great monster hunters.

- Partially quoted from INCURSION: Knightmare.

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Written by Bryan Donihue, Published 11/20/2016