Ultraviolet (UV) Light

Of all the creature’s weaknesses, a vampire’s incapacity to withstand exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is the most noteworthy. All members of the vampire species suffer from an extreme form of xeroderma pigmentosum – the inability to repair cellular damage caused by exposure to UV radiation.  Any protracted exposure to UV light will set off a chemical reaction that causes the creature’s exposed epidermal layer to oxidize and combust within a matter of seconds. Based on recorded empirical data, the following timing sequence occurs during a vampire’s exposure to UV light:

  • 1–10 seconds: third-degree burns
  • 10–20 seconds: spontaneous combustion
  • 30+ seconds: full immolation

While the specific activators that cause this violent reaction have yet to be analyzed, it is apparent that UV light has a powerful effect on the undead species. It is surmised that the reaction is similar to the use of light to eliminate bacteria and as a disinfecting germicidal agent—albeit in a much more powerful context. Whatever the reason for this reaction, this liability not only enables a human combatant to leverage a powerful ally in the warming rays of the earth’s sun; it also keeps the undead at bay for roughly half the operating day, allowing humans to go about business in broad daylight with little concern of being attacked by a voracious ghoul.

However, it is not only direct exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays that make the daylight hours a liability for the undead. A vampire’s biorhythm, its physical clock cycle, seems to be directly tied to the rising and setting of earth’s heat source. Thus, a vampire’s physical advantages seem to ebb and flow as the hours pass from sunset until sunrise. It comes as no surprise, then, that most vampire attacks occur between the hours of midnight and three a.m., when the creature’s physical biorhythm is at its peak. Conversely, a vampire will grow increasingly vulnerable closer to the hours of sunrise as its physical cycle begins to wane.  The creature is at its weakest when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are at their peak, approximately twelve p.m. to three p.m. Understanding the creature’s physical cycles can help you ascertain your level of vulnerability during a combat entanglement with the undead.

While the rays of the sun are the most obvious source of UV light, they are not the only source. Due to the growing popularity of indoor gardening, many artificial sources of ultraviolet light are now available to the public in the forms of fabricated lamps, beams, and light bulbs. These sources can be just as effective as the light of the sun, if not more so due to their portability. Be cautious in their use, as exposure to UV light through these portable devices can be as damaging to a human’s skin and eyes as the rays of the sun. They are also notoriously fragile; wielding such a device in the heat of vampire combat will in most cases cause your opponent to shatter the light source before mounting its counterattack.

Teeth/Fangs

Perhaps the most well-known and universally recognizable attributes of a vampire are the creature’s modified upper maxillary canines, otherwise known as its fangs.  This physical asset is the primary tool used by the undead to feed upon its prey. Although a vampire’s fangs are renowned even among individuals with limited vampire knowledge, they are still often misunderstood in their application.. All mammals are equipped with what are known as cuspids, or “eye-teeth” for their position over the eyes.  Longer and pointier than the neighboring incisors, their length and shape denote a singular purpose – to firmly retain prey and tear it apart.  Although humans have evolved to a point where the cuspids are barely distinguishable from the adjoining teeth, in other species such as tigers, wolves, and bears, the canines continue to serve their much needed purpose in the wild.

While it may appear that a vampire’s fangs are an evolution of the creature from its Homo sapien form, it is more accurately stated that upon conversion, the human de-evolves, returning to a more primal state where sharp canines are an essential factor to its hunting ability.  Approximately six to eight millimeters longer than standard human canines, the teeth themselves do not extend or retract as commonly depicted in the media, nor are they hollow like the fangs of a poisonous serpent.

Like other predatory animals, a vampire’s fangs are ever-present, although some members of the species may use dental prosthetics to mask their pronounced length in order to blend further into human society.  Their application is similar to the use of the canines by a wild animal –  to secure its victim and tear at the flesh in order to cause extensive soft tissue damage, with the goal of opening a major artery. Once a primary bloodline has been accessed, the vampire will draw from the open wound into its throat, not siphoning through the fangs themselves. While there are some rumors that the bacterial compounds that cause human conversion originate from a vampire’s fangs, this has not yet been verified through any formal laboratory analysis.

Anatomy

Found on every continent and every human-inhabited landmass on the planet, a vampire will often adopt the dress, mannerisms, and cultural subtleties representative of its host nation. Despite these superficial differences, the fundamental biology of the creature appears to remain consistent across cultures and societies. Detailed knowledge of the vampire’s anatomical structure is limited, as a full-scale vivisection of the creature has never been conducted; much about the vampire still remains a scientific mystery.  However, enough information has been anecdotally confirmed to make ourselves a viable threat to the creature’s defenses.  Since the intention of this work is to provide practical combative data rather than deep medical analysis, we will focus our anatomical discussion on details that have specific ramifications in a hostile engagement with a member of the vampire species.

 

The Vampire Heart

There is no question that in a close-combat vampire encounter, your primary attack target should be the creature’s heart. In the human species, this organ is responsible for managing the circulatory system, delivering nutrients and oxygenated blood throughout the body. While the vampire heart still retains some accountability for this circulatory task, it does not function as it did prior to the subject’s transformation. Since a vampire does not require oxygen to survive, its heart serves a different purpose. Although detailed research is still pending, it seems that this organ operates in coordination with the creature’s mutated digestive system to deliver nutrients and energy ingested from its feedings to the rest of its undead body.

One of the most well-known legends of vampire lore is that driving a sharpened object into the undead heart will end the creature’s existence. Although many elements of vampire fables are complete fabrications, in this case the myth is indeed accurate. It is unknown why the species has allowed what is probably their most critical vulnerability to spread unabated throughout the human population, but it is true that destroying the vampire heart will neutralize your attacker immediately. There is still shome confusion surrounding the details of this maneuver, the greatest of which is: What type of sharpened object?

Given the creature’s aversion to silver, it is often assumed that a pointed stave crafted from this rare element is effective at eliminating the undead. This is wholly incorrect. While silver and silver-based implements can play a role in your arsenal against the undead, it will not neutralize your target. Penetrating the vampire heart with a silver implement, while causing the wound to remain open and decelerating the creature’s advanced healing capabilities, will not end the confrontation. This common misconception has caused many brave yet ignorant warriors to fall at the hands of their adversary just when they believed victory was at hand.

In order to take full advantage of this specific vulnerability, a sharpened object crafted from wood or wood-based material is required. While a detailed chemical analysis regarding the precise compounds contained within the material is still forthcoming, the hypothesis is that the natural resins contained within the fibers of the wood react with the altered chemistry of the vampire’s heart, setting off an irrepressible chain reaction resulting in the creature’s demise within seconds.