Worldbuilding: Vampires and Portion Control

So I was thinking that Tales of the Drunken Unicorn is like the Anti-Buffy, for values of Big Bads that have no interest in harming humanity. There are werewolves and vampires and demons, but they all coexist quite peacefully. But that means that vampires can’t go around killing people… Which got me to thinking about how much blood a vampire really needs.

Humans have about 4-6 liters of blood in them. Which, looking at the 2-liter of Diet Coke sitting on my desk, is quite a lot. No way anyone would be able to down a 2-liter in the few minutes it takes the TV/Movie vamps to off someone. (Assuming 50% blood loss is instantly fatal)

Plus humans can lose (donate) a unit (450 ml) of blood without problems. Losing 800-1500ml requires medical attention (transfusion of crystalloids or synthetic colloids), but is survivable.

355ml if 12 fl oz or a can of soda. Now swap out two cans of soda for cans of soup and you get a decent vampiric meal. All without requiring the host to do more that grab a cookie and some fruit juice.

So really, why would vampires kill people? Unless the neck wounds are more along the lines of ‘whoops, was that your jugular? sorry’ the blood loss isn’t fatal.

And seriously, what evolutionary trait requires biting into a major artery? Wouldn’t it make more sense if instead of being hollow that the teeth were porous like a sponge? (–who lived in a pineapple under the sea–) Then no matter where they bit they’d be able to feed.

And don’t get me started about the whole ‘undead’ bit, or the ‘demonic possession’ or any of the other silliness that abounds.

…I do need to read that sparkling vampire book though, sounds amusing.

*wanders off*

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. meggins

    I may not be 100% on this, but I believe in Dracula he came back, night after night, to feed on the same victim, so it was the accumulated blood loss. But then you have the whole he or she-who-is-bitten-by-a-vampire becomes a vampire. It never made sense to me. A predator wants more prey around, not more competition.

    1. Martha Bechtel

      But you also figure immortal people are probably pretty lonely, so they’re more apt to make other people to hang out with. *ponders*

      Still, there’s a lot of different ways you can do vampires, although at this point werewolves/cats/etc seem to have transitioned into Urban Fantasy’s little black dress. ^_~ *grin*

      I need to start reading again. Something other than textbooks and fanfic and LJ posts. ^_~;; heh

      1. meggins

        Oh, yes, I think vampirism/immortality is a good way to explore loneliness (among other things) and have no problem with a vampire deliberately making companions. It was the vampire bite=automatically becoming a vampire mechanism that bugged me, and I think most modern authors have gotten well away from that.

    1. Martha Bechtel

      It’s a unique definition of ‘works’, yupyupyup ^_~ heh

Leave a Reply