1. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    breaking a vampire's organs

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Ettina, Jul 21, 2012.

    OK, in my story, vampires are basically beings of pure magic that mimic a particular person. As a result, their internal workings are not exactly the same as humans, though some things are roughly similar.

    I have a couple characters who figure out how to cause organ damage to vampires, and decide to experiment with this power. What should some of the results be? Any cool ideas about weird medical problems that could result?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Unique physiology implies unique vulnerabilities. What is the most critical element of their metabolism? What organs contribute to maintaining the delicate balance? What are the single points of systemic failure?

    I'm not posing these questions to receive an answer. I do so for you to consider them.

    For humans, oxygen and nutrition to the brain are the two most critical metabolic elements. Both are carried to the brain by the circulatory system, so destroying the circulation system is highly effective. Decapitation separates the brain from the oxygen/nutrient sources and the circulatory pump, so is quickly fatal. So is destroying the circulatory pump (destroy the heart). Carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide both prevent the transport system from carrying oxygen (they bind with hemoglobin).

    Use the same kind of reasoning when dealing with your vampire physiology. Know the system, and disrupt it.
     
  3. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Well, I was thinking more stuff like Oskar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering's discovery of that removing a dog's pancreas gave it diabetes, rather than insta-kill stuff.

    The weak spot of a vampire is their heart (stake to the heart). In my story, they have magical energy flowing steadily throughout their bodies, and this flow is controlled at the heart (which is located near where a human heart would be but more to the center). A wooden stake just disrupts this flow, but since it disrupts it at the source, every body part gets starved of energy simultaneously and death occurs quickly.

    The thing is, the way I think, it's easier for me to know a system by starting with how to break it and working backwards. Most of what I know about human medicine comes from researching various diseases and disabilities, for example. So if I get good ideas on how to break a vampire's body systems, that'll help me map out how they work. I got the circulatory system figured out but not much else.
     
  4. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    This.

    It's your world. We're just living in it. :)
     
  5. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Ugh. Does anyone have anything useful to contribute?

    The one thing I hate about this forum is how many people think saying 'it's your story, you write it' is a valuable reply to someone asking for ideas.

    Of course some of your ideas won't fit with my vision of how my vampires work. That's for me to decide. But it would be really helpful if you'd actually give some ideas, that I could either scrap, use, or rework and use.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's probably the most useful advice you will ever receive. If you intend to be a writer, you have to learn to exercise, and trust, your own imagination.

    Find your own ideas. That's what writers do.
     
  7. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    Figure out what you want the vulnerabilities to be and then justify it. That's slightly better than "it's your story write it".

    So are you going with the wooden stake to the heart thing? In mythology that did not kill a vampire. It immobilized a vampire in its coffin/grave so the hunter could decapitate the weakened creature. Pinning it to the earth (the bodies final resting place) sapped strength from the unholy beast. It was purely mystical. I use something similar. Stabbing a vampire in the heart slows them down. Pinning them to a tree or ground is like sleep paralysis.

    And why are vampires "pure magic"? Do you mean they feed on humans to steal life force to sustain their corporeal form in our world? The blood is the life! Without doing so they waste away I suppose. Perhaps the blood just permeates their organs without actually doing anything. Vampire the Masquerade did something similar. If you captured a vamp and dissected it, you would every bloodtype that if fed on spread out somewhere. The blood did not run through their veins so much as saturate their body. Of course vampires were NOT scientifically explainable there anymore than they are in my stories. In real life you need to match up blood types for organ tranplants/transfusions. So maybe if the person(s) your vamps impersonate is one blood type, they can only feed on that type.

    And do they destroy the original when they impersonate them? Maybe they keep the original locked up somewhere to go back and "refresh" their disguise every few days.
     
  8. Morkonan
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    Morkonan Senior Member

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    How is this any different than running over them with a car, stabbing them through the heart with a wooden stake, cutting off their head, setting them on fire or shooting them in the face with a bazooka?

    Answer that question and you will have the answer to your question.
     
  9. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    None of you are getting what I really want.

    If they were doing a similar thing on humans, they'd get results like:

    * remove heart - instant death
    * remove lungs - instant death
    * remove liver - acute liver failure
    * remove kidneys - acute kidney failure
    * remove pancreas - severe diabetes
    * remove appendix - no real impact

    I just want you guys to give out random ideas of symptoms of medical problems, and I can decide if I want to use them and if so how they'd work. Just something to jumpstart the creative process.
     
  10. Morkonan
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    Morkonan Senior Member

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    Read my question above. Answer it. It's really that simple.

    I will explain:

    Obviously, your vampires are different than humans, right? You have also decided to single out this "organ destruction process" as something significant. So, why is it significant? That's the question that you want us to answer and we can not answer it because it is your story.

    If this organ destruction is part of a mechanic in your setting or a plot element, it has to be internally consistent. I don't know your setting. I don't know what would be appropriate. However, I do know that it must be different than the expected results of damaging the organs of a human being. That is all I know that you wish to accomplish.

    If you want something in the way of a different sort of approach, then you should go grab some ideas from Oriental Mystics. In fact, that's what I would do, were I faced with the problem you outlined. Start here: Wiki - Traditional Chinese Medicine and assign non-traditional "effects" from the destruction of a vampire's internal organs. A more non-structured, free-form example might be that if the liver is destroyed, the vampire loses the capacity to display emotions. If the stomach bursts, they become violent and uncontrollable. If the kidneys are damaged, they are overcome with a need for physical destruction of their surroundings and anyone that happens to be in the immediate vicinity.

    If your effects are not suitably unique, then the reader is going to wonder why you're mentioning them in the first place and why you appear to insist that these effects are somehow "special." So, make them special. Otherwise, don't even bother with the idea. There is no reason for one to assume that damaging a fantastic creature's organs would result in anything physiologically different than would be experienced by a real creature that shared those same sorts of organs unless you specifically suggest that there is such a difference. And, if you suggest it, it had best be truly different, otherwise it's a redundant and unnecessary setting description.

    Give each organ a "fantastic" attribute, suitable for your "fantastic" creatures, and necessary because you have insisted that it is, since it is part of your setting.
     
  11. Quinn T. Senchel
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    Quinn T. Senchel Member

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    Maybe if you could tell me in detail how vampires are supposed to differ from humans I could help.
    Like Morkonan suggested above, you could always look to how people viewed the human body in the past.
    Look at old Humoral medicine, or how the ancient Egyptians viewed the body.
     
  12. cuetip29
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    cuetip29 New Member

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    you could always do something with poisoning or perhaps they have an organ that cleanses the magic flow (kidneys?) that if impaired in some way leads to death. Its hard to give you ideas because you said they have different organs than humans but didnt give a clear example. You basically answered your own question: pick an organ that if removed/impaired, affects the flow of magic and hampers their strength. Maybe for your vampires, the appendix is essential to their power. Or affecting their thyroid gland could disrupt the metabolism of the magic, etc. The thyroid gland is essential to humans and if production of its hormones are off balance it can have MANY affects. So you could translate this to vampires.

    Hope that helped. Good luck!
     
  13. ThievingSix
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    ThievingSix Member

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    What is the source of the magic?, as in the ultimate source, where do the vampires get their magic from? or are they born with it?, what happens if a vampire-human child is created?

    If we're assuming they "mimic" humans are they affected by the same ailments?, perhaps a lethal dose of thorium delivered through a tranquilliser reduces the flow of magic, hence they are weakened(likened to radiation poisoning), eventually resulting in death(without an antidote e.g. Iridium Hexafluoride).
     

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