Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Magister's Notebook: Vampires

One of the Fallen
While vampires and the were kin clans are two very different subsets of humanity, they share something of a common origin theme with their Abrahamic religious counterparts: temptation.

Who and were these events happened are lost to prehistory, but the basic story remains the same. A being of some power appears to an individual and offers what amounts to a "devil's bargain". While this being has never been identified as the Christian Devil, the name has stuck and those who took the bargain became known collectively as the Fallen.

There are differences between the bargains the Fallen made and those in the morality tales of the Devil. There was never any talk of selling one's soul, no obligation of any kind, just the offer of power of one sort or another. While this could have a multitude of variations the two surviving variations of the Fallen make up the were kin and vampires of the modern age.


One of gift offered the Fallen was that of true immorality. They would never age, heal any wound as long as life existed in the world. As long as there was a blade of grass or even a microbe, they would survive. In a world of seven billion humans and countless other species of plants and animals, the immortality of these beings is assured. At some point in the distant past, however, it was discovered that a corrupted version of this gift could be passed on to others through the transmission of blood. In living humans it could heal anything short of mortal wounds. Those beyond help become vampires.

The process converting the body into the vampire state takes seven days. During this time, both body and brain are repurposed in order to function in a vampiric state. Muscles strengthened, reaction time heightened,  but the most signification change is the rewiring of the brain. The need for blood takes the place of several base functions; most significantly hunger and mating. For a vampire drinking human blood is akin to the best sexual encounter one could ever have, a sumptuous banquet of all one's favorite foods, one's favorite piece of music played by the most talented musicians, all wrapped into one package. There are vampires who drink blood from animals such as cows, goats, or pigs, but this practice is looked upon as strange, though very few vampires will state that openly for there are powerful members of the Arcana who follow the practice.

It is safe to say that vampires, like their human and were kin counterparts, vary in their abilities. All vampires possess superior speed, agility, strength and durability, along with near instantaneous healing. Only four methods will permanently destroy a vampire: full destruction of the heart of head (the latter does include decapitation), fire, or direct sunlight.

Vampiric skin is tear resistant and reacts similar to Kevlar when dealing with normal projectiles at medium and long ranges, though vampires are not immune to soft tissue damage caused by hydro static shock. Such damage would heal quickly, unless massive in scope, which could theoretically tax the healing ability, debilitating a vampire for a few moments.

Wounds that would either penetrate skin or bruise heal withing moments. The traditional method of severing a vampire's head requires a great deal of strength, speed and skill to overcome the healing factor, though many apply an additional application of trauma such as fire. In the age of technology high powered rifles with large caliber bullets, tracer rounds, or hollow point rounds specifically prepared with chemical compounds that burn on contact with oxygen are favored by those who are brave enough (or stupid enough) to hunt vampires.

Bone breakage does not heal instantaneously, due to the more complex structure of bone tissue. Small fractures may take minutes. Major breaks may take hours or even days depending on the severity of the break. Shattered bones may take weeks to heal, without other complications.

While vampires shrug off various physical trauma with apparent ease, fire and direct sunlight can be fatal.For unknown reasons the light must be natural, not man made UV light. UV lamps will be uncomfortable for a vampire but will do damage, much like indirect sunlight.

Vampires burn more quickly than humans, what would be a first degree burn on a human being might be a second or even third degree on a vampire. Burns, either by fire or sunlight, heal even more slowly than they do on humans as well. Depending on severity and size of the burn it could take weeks to months to heal. And burns tax a vampire's healing factor more than any other wound, so a vampire suffering from burn damage will have to increase the intake of blood to compensate for the energy spent on healing.

Certain objects of faith, depending on their creation may damage or drive back vampires. True consecrated ground will discomfort or even injure vampires with they stay too long, thought there are rumors of a few who have some resistance of even immunity to such things. However, the average holy symbol bought at a religious boutique or a jewelry store will have no effect on a vampire, unless the person wearing it has absolute faith in what the symbol represents. Such faith is uncommon in the technological age, but vampires can sense it, even when the person who has it, isn't exerting it overtly.

Ariella's shape-shift to raven form
Shape-shifting is a another power found commonly among vampires, and like the were-kin, most shapes follow the physical law that states mass cannot be created or destroyed. So they take on larger variations of the predator forms they mimic. There are three strange exceptions to this. Vampires who can turn into bats, ravens or crows conform to the normal size of those animals. When asked about this, one of younger vampire responded, "You know where you leave your keys, go searching around for them and then find 'em in the same place? That's where the mass goes." That vampire hasn't been seen since.

Extra sensory abilities and the more mystical powers associate with vampires: control over animals, second sight, changing to mist et al have been see on a case by case basis, but usually in more ancient vampires

However, power does not completely depend on age. A young vampire who is closer to the Fallen of that bloodline may be stronger than an elder who is not. It is generally taken that elders are more powerful, but there have been cases of young vampires taking on powerful elders and surviving or even winning partially because the power of blood was of a purer strain.

Notable Vampires of Magister as of the String:
Dame Inspector Ariella Goldstein, Order of the Gargoyles First Class
Lord Devon Cahill, Duke of Chicago