Something I did for my Alien Space-Bat scenarios (ware the wall-of-text)
My reimagining of the "Greyfriar: Vampire Empire" scenario.[link][link]
(Since I found it Dumb)
A Note on Vampires
The Vampire, or Sapient Leech, is known by modern science to be a member of the small and nearly extinct phylum Exossia, the Boneless Ones. Lacking a true skeleton and decaying rapidly after death, few paleontological traces of the group had been found by the time of the Horror, and the evolution of these creatures remains obscure. Aside from the Vampire itself, Hirudo Sapiens, other known surviving members of the phylum include the Ice-Worm of Scandinavia (the only species identified by European science pre-Horror), the ocean-dwelling White Gulper and Weed Lurker, and the hideous Homens Geleia or “Jelly Men”  of the upper Amazon, the only warm-climate representative of the group.
What all of these species share is a cartilageous, gelatinous body, a decentralized system of internal organs, a blood-sucking diet, and a remarkable hardiness: aside from destruction of the central brain-ring or the main circulatory bladder, all members of the Exossia phylum can take massive physical damage without dying. Aside from the tropical Jelly Men, they also have the ability to hibernate for lengthy periods in the absence of sufficient prey: the Vampire, buried in the ground, can survive as much as five years  without feeding, the Ice Worm even longer.
The Vampire, the subject of discussion, is the most sophisticated and evolved of the group. It is roughly humanoid in appearance, with a cylindrical body from which extend four long, thin limbs ending in clawed hand-feet. Although going on all fours when at speed, the Vampire can walk upright for extended periods of time. The head is large and round, dominated by its large, dark eyes and the pursed, sphincter-like mouth, from which the Vampire’s bloodsucking tongue-spine can be rapidly extended. The color is pasty white, although it may take a temporary rosy hue when the Vampire has recently fed heavily. The black “cloak” is not actually clothing, but a part of the Vampire’s anatomy, a membrane which can be used to conceal the pale Vampire in darkness, or stretches out to form a gliding membrane allowing the Vampire to swoop down on prey from rooftop or treetop level.
Vampires are faster and stronger than humans, and have a terrible vitality. Severed limbs, like a lizard’s, will regenerate, and Vampires will recover from burns or punctures or concussion that would kill any human.
Vampire males and females are largely indistinguishable to the human eye: although they have come to wear clothes with their rule over Humans, Vampires do not understand the concept of “fashion” and do not wear gender-distinct garments. Vampire children are born able to move and feed: few will reach their first year, since Vampire adults, in the pursuit of stronger descendants and a stable population, ruthlessly cull their young before they learn “speech.”
“Speech” is a different thing among Vampires than it is among humans: the telepathic and tele-hypnotic abilities also seen in the Jelly Men and the White Gulper are developed to the highest extent among Vampires, and all Vampire communication is mind-to-mind. Communication with humans, mostly very weakly telepathic, tends to be slow and somewhat cloudy unless a closer bond is achieved by embedding the nerve-rich feeding barb in human flesh: a Vampire can impart a great deal of information to a human while feeding on them – or extract a great deal of information. By feeding on humanity, Vampires have so far kept a step ahead of humans: the Vampire mind remains an obscure thing, while the mind of any human that falls into their hands is an open book.
Aside from a means of communication and information gathering, the telepathic ability of the Vampire also acts as a major weapon, allowing them to deepen the sleep of humans at night, so they can slip in and out of people’s houses or animal barns (as well as humans, Vampires will prey on most large mammals) and feed without awaking their victims. The older and more skilled Vampire can mesmerize a sleeper so that they will, for instance, unlock a shutter or a door while in a sleep-walking state. A Vampire victim will usually be unaware of what has happened, merely feeling weak and exhausted the next day, the Vampire’s sting a barely noticeable red spot.
Vampires mental abilities are less effective against humans when they are awake, generally being unable to paralyze the faculties of more than one human at a time, although they can also “hide in plain sight” by nudging human minds into not paying attention in one direction, or distract them by making them think something scary over THERE! Of course, given some time to work at it, a Vampire can reduce a human mind to pudding: think of the poor hopeless “Renfields”, unable to think any thoughts save those which worship their masters, so mentally damaged as to be in some cases beyond aid.
Vampires have existed at the top of the food-chain, feeding unseen and mostly unsuspected on large mammal species, for a very long time: some believe that Vampires evolved intelligence as part of an evolutionary arms race with other members of their blood-sucking phylum, and the rarity of other such species is a result of their triumph over the competition. Vampires are a social species: although they may feed on their own young, adults rarely kill eachother as long as they play the complex dances of deference which maintain order in Vampire society. Society is dominated by Great Clans of many thousands of members, which have sovereignty over lesser Clans and small families. Vampires have prodigious memories: they need them, to keep track of all those cousins-seven-times-removed and obscure inter-Clan rivalries extending back millennia. (Vampires have active lifespans of less than a century, but due to their tendency to hibernate in times of dearth or simply instability, may be chronologically several times that).
Vampire society has poetry and religion and philosophy and music of its own, but not much art or artifacts: Vampire hands are clumsier than ours, and as a race of obligate carnivores at the top of the food chain they have never needed fancy tools very much. (On the other hand, a nice heavy club is a nice thing to have at hand if you run into a bear in the middle of the night: and Vampires over generations have built some impressive systems of hidden tunnels near the nests of their prey). Vampire society historically has been fiercely self-policing: Vampire clans have no patience with fools who leave dead bodies lying around practically yelling “inhuman monster broke in and ravened here.” Fools become lunch.
They are a nocturnal species, and dwell in underground burrows during the daytime, emerging at night to feed: they do not burn up in the daylight, but bright light hurts their eyes and they sunburn very easily (therefore the muffling black garments and black goggles which are the uniform of the Vampiric Day Watch). Far more of a problem for Vampires is heat exhaustion: evolved in a cold climate, Vampires have a number of build-in adaptations to cold weather (including a layer of “blubber” under their leathery outer skins) which cannot be removed, and when combined with the full-coverage dress needed for daytime work (full coverage with cloth or at least enough zinc oxide to sink a rowboat), it can be understood that vampire wilt in the heat. An overheated Vampire is slow, groggy, and unable to concentrate to use its hypnotic abilities to any great use: Vampires in the daytime are generally less than their best as temperatures go over 70 degrees, and at over 90 degrees they are very wobbly indeed.
The Days of Blood
It remains uncertain what triggered the Days of Blood: it does seem that Vampires were growing increasingly afraid of human technological power and prowess, and concerned about their ability to remain secret in an increasingly crowded, bureaucratized, scientifically accounted for world. The population was moving from the dark countryside to the crowded and increasingly well-lit cities. Mysterious deaths were investigated more thoroughly, and a body, human or otherwise, found drained of blood would demand a scientific explanation rather than the culpability being thrown on demons or whatever. The Ice Worm had been dissected and studied and classified. Although regular mind-reading of their prey kept Vampires abreast of developments, it was increasingly hard to keep ahead of miners and engineers that threatened to dig their way into Vampire burrows or build stuff on top of them till they collapsed. Vampires had to pack up and move as former feeding grounds were paved over. Wild animal food sources were at the same time drying up, making Vampires more dependent on humans and their tamed animals for prey: while the doctors were investigating ever more closely the “anemia problem.”
One possible clue to the straw that broke the camel’s back comes from a fragment of a German newspaper that followed the Diaspora to South America: it mentions a “astounding new discovery” by one Count Esterhazy of Wallachia, “carried out at risk of his life”, speaks of “strange creatures preserved in ice”, and “armed guards” and of a “scientific presentation” at the University of Vienna. The date this was planned for remains unknown, the relevant material being missing from the fragment. It is also unknown whether any such presentation took place. What is known is that the fragment shows a May 1870 date for the paper itself. It would be in late December of that year, on a particularly icy night, that the Days of Blood began.
It is clear that the Vampires had been planning things for a long while: indications are that the American and European Vampires had gone so far as to make Renfields of a number of telegraph operators to coordinate operations. (Vampires had long been in communication with America by crossing the Arctic ice in winter, along with the Polar bears, and apparently have hijacked boats in the past: but the Days of Blood demanded more rapid communications).
The attacks were carried out with a certain ruthless efficiency: military leaders, from generals to petty officers: politicians: business and religious leaders: kings and queens and princes: all found their houses, barracks, palaces, etc. suddenly penetrated in the middle of the night, guards caught unawares or hypnotically dazed, the sleeping never waking till claws were at their throats. The vampires killed. And killed. And killed some more. Given the need to feed rarely enough as not to seriously incapacitate their prey, the varying levels of access to different humans, the need for darkness and secrecy, the Vampire population in the North was perhaps only one Vampire for every three hundred humans. That meant around 1.7 million vampires, most of them adult. Almost all adult Vampires participated in the attack. Each killed an average of over forty people in that first night.
By dawn, some sixty million humans were dead.
The Days of Blood were over by the end of January. Vampires, working through Renfields and only lightly mind-poked human collaborators, were in control over most of the North, although chaotic conditions would prevail for years to come. The Human population of the North had been cut by some 60%.
Those who took to boats and fled to sea, the Vampires let go. As a Chinese general once said, it’s always good to leave your enemy an opportunity for retreat.
A third of the Vampires had perished as well. But the humans didn’t know that.
The Great Diaspora and the New Human Empires
Humans continued for some time to flee Vampire-controlled areas, by boat or by foot and by train, where the trains were allowed to run: it would not be until March of 1871 that the Vampires began to take steps to stop prey escaping, pulling up rails extending outside of their territories, guarding harbors, and herding populations north to climates where the summers would not be too unpleasant. With the coming of warm weather, the bulk of Vampire forces moved north away from the Mediterranean: some areas there and in the deep south of the US (Florida had never been invaded at all) managed to rise up and free themselves, at least temporarily. (Marseilles’s heroic 150-year struggle to remain Vampire-free begins here). From these liberated areas, a steady trickle of immigrants followed the first wave to safer climes.
US citizens fled to the Caribbean and Central America, where with loads of guns and some aid from the chaos arising from the world-wide “Vampire terror”, managed to carve out some territories through filibuster. British fled to their colonies. The French fled to North Africa, Ottomans moved south to Syria and Egypt after Istanbul/Constantinople fell to Vampires. The Chinese millions flowed southward, the greatest flood of foot-powered immigrants in all of history. Others went to Brazil, to Argentina, to the Philippines.
One hundred and fifty years went by.
The United States still exists, although the capital is now in the safely Vampire-free Panama area. By war and the voluntary union of disgruntled provincials the US émigré community has carved out a sizeable state for itself, but reached the natural limits of growth nearly seventy years ago, the large and relatively cohesive Empire of Brazil and the Republic of Mexico being quite indigestible, and the Peruvian oligarchy keeps their lower classes on a short leash. The whiter Hispanic population has joined with US whites to form a “creole” ruling class, speaking, depending on the situation, Spanish, English or a hybrid language in which English predominates but “Spanglish” terms come thick and fast (it is essentially incomprehensible to Brits, whether of the Australasian or Indian variety). Euro-Amerindian mixed-races take pride of place over pure-blooded Amerindians, while those with too obvious an admixture of black African blood occupy the bottom: Haiti and Jamaica are likely to remain non-voting territories for a while to come.
It is a corrupt and oligarchic nation, with literacy and employment checks keeping the bottom 20% or so of the population sans a vote, but also a vigorously capitalistic and competitive one. Industrialization has been slowed by a shortage of coal, but the great expansion of the use of oil (Texan and Venezuelan) has driven a rapid move to a more manufactures-centered economy over the last fifty years. Although there are severe disparities in wealth, it has a large middle class and its economy is second only to the Raj in size. It has fought several bloody wars to consolidate its position in the remaining foothold north of the Caribbean, although after the recent bloody Battle of St. Louis more ambitious plans have been put on the back burner.
Enough Ottoman soldiers, bureaucrats, and common citizens fled south to Egypt to seriously disrupt the Khedive’s rule, and when large numbers of armed and desperate European refugees were added to the mix, things went seriously pear-shaped. In the end, a Turkish soldier claiming a family connection to the house of Osman (skeptics were soon either converted to his viewpoint or to fertilizer) came out on top, and proclaimed a new Ottoman empire centered in Egypt. The cosmopolitan city of Alexandria/al Iskandaryya became his capital, rather than the more purely Arabic Cairo. Although the Well-Protected Domains had some tough times, the ruling dynasty has managed to keep up with the Indian and American Joneses well enough to carve out extensive new territories in Africa, and has recently been cautiously extending its influence in the old Anatolian heartlands. Although the weakest of the four major Empires, its troops are well regarded by military men world-wide, and Arabian oil promises to be a major bonanza. Iskandaryya, where European nations in exile, Jews, Turks, Arabs, and African from the south mix and buy and sell and trade and build, is considered to be perhaps the most cosmopolitan capital on Earth.
The Anglo-Indian Raj is the world’s most populous and powerful nation, but suffers from an increasing alienation from its South African and Australasian brethren. Although the current monarch is demonstrably descended from the 12th in line to the throne as of 1870 (1-11 didn’t make it out of Britain alive), the dynasty has to a considerable extent “gone native”, not only intermarrying with princely Indian dynasties, but some of the royal family have actually gone so far as to convert to Hinduism, although the current Empress still is a member of the Anglican Church: some (including those of the European Diaspora in India which still consider themselves a cut above the natives) fear that the ruling house will go the way of the French Africans. This is particularly annoying to the largely lily-white Australians and New Zealanders (rather less so to the South Africans, which have enfranchised their Black and Colored minorities), and there is some talk in Sydney and Auckland of breaking their ties with Bombay and allying with the Americans, or even going it on their own (the Americans, after all, are all partly Dagoes nowadays).
India is run from Bombay, Delhi and Calcutta having been seen as too close to the Vampire-ravaged northern frontier: although the North is largely secure nowadays, the capital remains in Bombay out of inertia if nothing else. The country is essentially a constitutional monarchy nowadays, if with a limited franchise: however, almost anyone save an Untouchable can aspire high - the old “glass ceiling” for non-Christians crumbled quite a while ago, and while those of European descent possess a disproportionate share of the national wealth, the majority of the entrepreneurial class nowadays is Hindu.
The Confederation of Asia is the most “hybrid” of the new Empires, although the Chinese predominate. The current ruling house is descended from a woman with a dubious claim of Ming ancestry and a man with an even more dubious claim to the throne of Japan – since they are mainly a figurehead representing the unity of the Confederation’s mixed populace, nobody cares too much. As one of the largest “nations in exile”, the Japanese remain a bit separate, religiously preserving their language and customs, although they of course also use the complex pidgin that serves as a common language for the Confederation’s population. The Philippines, which gained their independence from Spain without a single blow, and then fought a decade-long civil war to establish what sort of a country it would be, is the closest of its allies: the Indonesian dislike of the Chinese dominance of their economy has been hard to shake, and the Thai worry that the Confederation might just swallow them outright someday. It is even more oligarchic than the US, the One Hundred Great (not an actually number, more of a symbolic thing) of giant industrial combines, most dominated by one clan or other, dominating politics.
Important middle-sized powers include the Brazilians, which are increasingly influential in Africa, the Argentines (the world’s richest nation by capita, slightly ahead of second-place Australia), and the French Africans: after a long period of struggle between rulers and ruled, the father of the current Sultan accepted Allah as the One True God and reconciled himself with his Arab and African subjects, as had quite a few cautious-minded Europeans before him. Currently about a quarter of the inhabitants of New France still identify as Catholic or Jewish, and remain fully equal legally to the Islamic majority, but recent political moves to raise taxes on the wealthy (disproportionately Christians) have convinced some that the writing is on the wall: an increasing number are immigrating to the United States and Brazil.
Much of Africa was never colonized in this world, the Scramble for Africa having been avoided and native Africa lacking the facilities to accommodate many European or North American refugees. By the 1930s the British in India were poking around East Africa again, but in a world where White Triumphalism had taken a bit of a blow at the hands of even paler people, there was less of a sense that what the Africans really needed was a honky: extension of foreign power into the interior has been slow, and a number of native states have survived as either puppets or in some cases independent actors. Some partially Europeanized states exist in the areas of former Portuguese Angola and Mozambique, and whites do predominate in South Africa, but the only true “racial state” is the Boer state, its white population greatly bolstered by German and Dutch refugees who feared total assimilation under British rule. The population of the state is currently 40% European, 55% African, 5% who knows: it is increasingly becoming a bit of a pariah.
The current major concern of all human nations is the coming war with the Vampires. When it will come, nobody is sure: but the general consensus in popular opinion in all four of the major powers is that humanity is now strong enough to liberate the North, and it should be done before much longer. Governing officials, with a more sanguine (ha) understanding of just how expensive and bloody such an effort will be, but nonetheless fond of the idea as long as it is other people who will pay most of the butcher’s bill, secretly negotiate and plot with their equivalents abroad…
Science and Society
Science and technology took a bit of a tumble in the aftermath of 1870: science was still a little sapling at the time, and the number of people engaged in scientific research and pursuits was small enough that a number of fields of scientific endeavor were pretty much wiped out for a while. In most fields, technology is only a bit past the OTL 1920s: planes are mostly bi, airships ride the skies, and warships have only recently moved from coal to oil. An exception of sorts lies in the field of electronics, which has made some important vacuum-tube powered strides: the US and India now have fledgling TV communications, and other nations are working to develop their own networks of idiot boxes. Medical technology, especially in the fields of immunology and parasitology, is well in advance of OTL 1920s, thanks to the struggle to keep tropical disease from wiping out all those sweaty pale people.
And then there are the psychic sciences: with clear proof of Vampire mental powers, investigation of the nature of mental forces has been considered a priority for 150 years. The dissection of a great many Vampires has yet to determine a “psychic organ”, but after a great deal of study and the use of a lot of Mysterious Oriental Techniques and funky drugs, psychic abilities have been successfully induced in humans: these are comparatively quite feeble, though, and the Raj Imperial Psychic Corps is mostly employed in determining if witnesses are lying (not admissible in a court of law, but useful for investigators), running scams against illegal gamblers, and locating missing persons (a time-consuming procedure involving retracing the missing person’s route step by step with half a dozen psychics constantly averaging their best guesses as to which way they went). Some of the strongest can protect themselves against Vampire tele-hypnosis, a most helpful thing given that the mechanical defense involves sitting inside a cage of metal bars charged with powerful electromagnetic fields (the portable version is not yet very portable, involving a 20-pound helmet and a 40-pound battery pack). The Confederation of Asia is trying for a breeding program, generously paying stronger psychics to marry each other.
The world is in many ways racist, sexist, and conservative, but at the same time it is cosmopolitan when it counts: Hindu Indians and European Christians, American Protestants and Hispanic Catholics, ancient and often hostile Asian peoples have managed to join together to maintain and enlarge human technological civilization, rather than trying and failing to build a system based on old-fashioned racial supremacy that would have inevitably collapsed messily by now. There is a common sense of humanity in the face of the alien Other, and if the Big Four each find much to criticize in each other’s society, there is also a certain mutual respect.
With the great dying and the need for many children simply to keep up with the terrible death toll of the tropics, Women’s Rights were set back rather badly for a while. (The lack of sexual dimorphism in Vampires was actually used for a while as an example of why Women should not act like men). However, improvements in medicine, increased wealth and education, and the grandeur of Victoria II, Empress of India and Further Lands, all helped bring it back out of exile by the 1970s, and nowadays property-holding women hold the vote in both the United States and most of the states making up the greater British sphere, and there are signs that the vote for women might even be making headway in ultra-Macho Argentina and the Philippines.
The Border Lands
To keep their subjects from fleeing en mass to human-run territory, the Vampires long ago drove their human cattle from a wide stretch of lands too warm in the summer for Vampire comfort. These borderlands are thinly inhabited, and are a hunting ground for Vampires: humans who flee south are tracked down for sport in the wastes, and now that most humans have departed, they provide excellent hunting in deer, bear, moose (introduced from America), etc.
There are more here than Vampire hunting parties and fleeing refugees, however. A lot of humans left behind in the chaotic early periods managed to create fortified towns and refuges in the deserted areas: many were later destroyed, but some survived on the “more trouble than it’s worth” principle. Survival requires a mix of concealment, fortification, access to firepower from human nations, out-of-the-way location, and willingness to trade favors to the vampires: fortified cities nearer to Vampire nations will sometimes provide blood to travelling Vampires and ship human refugees back to Vampire territory in exchange for a blind eye, while ones with easy access to the Mediterranean tend to be rather more intransigent. Still, it is a spectrum: even Marseilles has had its shady dealings with the Vampires, and there are cave villages in the Pyrennes which have never had dealings with Vampires save at the end of a pike.
There are other peoples in these lands: spies looking to slip in and out of Vampire territory: solitary wilderness-loving crazies of various sorts: tiny hidden communities living underground or in swamps or dense thickets or atop cliffs: solitary, clan-less Vampires: and the occasional travelling holy man. Much of the Border Lands, especially in Central Asia and parts of the US, are pretty Vampire-free in summer, making it the season of choice for travel in these debatable lands.
The Vampire Kingdoms
Much of the North is ruled over by the greater Vampire Clans (Iceland and Greenland, able to support only a small human population in turn supporting quite small Vampire populations, are an exception), divided into some twenty-five domains. Here, working through human agents (Renfields and collaborators of tested toadyness), the Vampires rule over their human cattle, who are tattooed with the mark of the Clan that owns them.
The Vampires have substantially increased in numbers: with no need for secrecy, they can exploit their prey to the maximum still consistent with a healthy herd. Every month, all adult humans must report to be fed upon: thanks to Vampire hypnotic ability, most do not remember the experience afterwards. The day after is a day of rest and feasting, so the humans can recover. Anti-vampire conspiracy is unknown, given their ability to extract information from those whom they feed on: a feeding Vampire may not always look beyond surface thoughts, but the only way to keep any anti-Vampire plans from the Vampires is to be never fed upon, and the Block Wardens and the collaborator-run bureaucracy make sure nobody is missed. Of course, there is a certain amount of random anti-Vampire violence: this is punished with extreme severity.
Cities are not too much changed, although houses are by law of a fairly flimsy construction, save for the great castles and palaces where the Vampires dwell. (Partly. There are always tunnels, going down and down…) People travel by bicycle or public transport: a car, after all, could run down one of the masters. There are no dogs, which generally do not deal well with Vampires. Streetlights – any bright lights – are notably absent. In the day, the black-clad forms of the Day Watch lurk in corners and atop roofs: at night, humans stay indoors, for the streets then belong to their masters.
Vampires toy with human products: some collect human-made art and artifacts, others wear the oddest combinations of bits and pieces of clothes (no sense of fashion, as I said). Generally speaking, however, most are fairly indifferent to human ideas of what is True and Beautiful. Vampires are however magpie gatherers of news and information, and there are nowadays even some Vampire scientists, which tend to go through human research assistants rather fast.
It’s not all bad in the Vampire run territories: if you do the crime, you get eaten by Vampires, and everyone incriminates themselves whether they want to or not, so there is fairly little human-on-human crime. There is little hunger: the Vampires want their cattle well-fed. And everyone has a job (in some cases, whether they want it or not). There is even a fair amount of entrepreneurship: Vampires are not quite sure about how this free market thing works, but it seems to work for humans, so if their subjects want to buy and sell and make things it is no skin off their flat, slit-nostriled noses.
The main problem is Vampires Behaving Badly: although the clan chiefs generally hold that humans are to be kept happy and docile, there are Vampires of a sadistic streak, the ones that will hurt or kill humans for a lark, those who keep their prey all too conscious when they feed, those who delight in rubbing human’s prey animal status in their faces. Such are usually in the end punished (with extreme prejudice) by clan elders, but if they are of high rank they may get away will all sorts of shit: if they are Clan Heads…well. If life is mostly tolerable in the lands of most Vampire clans, in the lands of the Siberian and the Wallachian Clans, things can get pretty nightmarish…
The Clan Heads may argue ferociously among each other, but they do not war among each other – there is one thing they all know: the humans will be trying to take back their lands again before long. The Vampires are making ready for war. Unlike 1870, when claw and stinger and maybe a really good club were the major weapons (along with a certain strategic use of stolen high explosive), Vampires are now armed for bear. Human craftsmen build duplicates of free Human guns and machine guns and cannon: there are now fleets of Vampire warships and mine-layers, with humans aboard to wash the decks and handle the fiddly bits Vampire claws have trouble with. There are Vampire airships and barbed wire and mines and rockets and incendiaries and poison gas. Vampires often raid the borderlands in winter to kidnap skilled human engineers and mechanics and chemists to drain them of their knowledge and duplicate new human weapons. Human craftsmen of course are the most closely watched of their human servants, often subject to out-of-schedule feedings to make sure they aren’t up to anything: weapons are kept in Vampire palaces under Vampire guard, but who knows what might go missing in their construction? Light firearms are not used by Vampires: too much fine aiming and in any event it would be like giving a tiger a knife. But a Vampire can hold and fire one hell of an automatic weapon.
Still, this is not enough. Vampires know that if they fight humans on an equal basis, sheer numbers mean they lose: and the only subjects reliable enough to arm without fear of them switching sides are Renfields, which due to the whole pudding-for-brains thing means they are not good soldiers. There are long-term plots being hatched: humans are often capable of hating each other as much as they hate Vampires. There are rivalries, between the Raj and the Confederation, between Brazil and the United States, between the French and the Ottomans. There are little nests of wooly caterpillars lurking in the minds of many a Tropical politician which had at one time slept while a Vampire clung to his or her roof. Vampires are weak and impaired in hot weather. But that does not mean that they are helpless, or cannot slowly travel by night, southwards and ever southwards…