Now Available! The Vampire Combat Manual

Today is the official release for The Vampire Combat Manual!  I hope those of you who pick up the book enjoy it as much as I enjoyed analyzing, researching and writing about combat against this unique and deadly adversary.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts on the book.  As you can see, this site is called the Vampire Combat Club, meaning that I welcome everyone’s input on fighting the undead.  Feel free to send me an email with your comments in the About section, or post on the Vampire Combat Manual Facebook Page.

Non Habebis Meum Sanguinem.

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.

Garlic

Garlic is one of the few naturally grown substances that produces an extreme adverse reaction in the undead species. Inexpensive and readily available, garlic can be incorporated into your vampire arsenal in a variety of ways and can be a powerful ally in your battle against a bloodthirsty ghoul. While it is unlikely that the cloves of the plant can be leveraged to completely eliminate your opponent, garlic can be used as a strong deterrent against an attacking vampire, provided it is used properly.

In addition to being cheap and plentiful, garlic has the advantage of being malleable both under normal use and within the context of vampire defense. It can be mashed, chopped, and combined with other elements to expand its deterrent properties to devastating effect. There are some recommended principles governing the use of garlic in order to maximize its effectiveness in vampire combat:

Use Fresh Cloves — Given their portability, convenience, and availability, you may be tempted to use dried powder or flakes in place of the raw product. Do not succumb to this temptation. Dried garlic produces only a mildly irritating effect on your undead opponent compared to the fresh plant, and most dried products were produced in a factory setting some time ago; with each passing day, this dehydrated version loses its already compromised potency. If anything, use of garlic in dessicated form against your adversary will serve no purpose other than to enrage it, making it a more threatening opponent.

Separate and Peel— Although a whole head of garlic can serve to dissuade your vampiric attacker, a much more effective use is to separate the head into its individual cloves. When exposed to the air, peeled garlic cloves have a much stronger effect than those still encased in the layers of its parchment-like skin. Once split and peeled, garlic cloves have much more flexibility in their use, one of which is stringing them together to create a garland.

Close Combat Weapons

Close-quarters combat is the most treacherous range to engage any opponent, be they living or undead. Unfortunately,  it is also the most common range at which vampire combat occurs. A vampire’s ultimate objective in any human engagement is to position itself as close as possible to the target, open a blood line, and commence its feeding session. In order to successfully defend yourself against a vampire’s onslaught and launch a counterattack of your own, you will need to not only be skilled at close-quarters techniques, but also prepared with the appropriate weapon.  And against a vampire in close quarters, the most appropriate weapon is the stake.

Nothing more than a sharpened length of wood, this primal and seemingly unimpressive weapon strikes fear into the heart of every vampire, and should be the cornerstone of your combat arsenal and weapons training. As such, we will spend a significant portion of this section articulating the properties, uses, and finer details that make the stake an effective close-combat weapon in a vampire engagement.

The stake is such an ordinary weapon that its subtleties are often lost on the untrained citizen.  Although mundane in nature, there are several factors you must consider when preparing your staking weapon for vampire combat:

Material Composition—What is the specific element present within wood that initiates the neutralization process when thrust into the heart of the vampire? The reasons are still unclear. Some have attributed it to the natural resins contained within the cellulose fibers. Others have hypothesized that wood’s primary function as a transport system for minerals and nutrients from the earth throughout a plant’s vascular system is what triggers the self-detonating reaction in the undead. What has been established is that regardless of the type, structure, or chemistry, all wood will cause the same violent reaction in the undead once the stake has penetrated the creature’s heart.

Wood Types — While any type of wood will work in crafting your staking implement, certain types that are preferable to others. Different varieties of trees produce wood of varying densities. Should you have the time to select particular materials, construct your stakes from the hardest wood possible. Do not be confused by the terms “softwood” and “hardwood” in your search for materials, as these categories are related more to the plant’s scientific classification than the density of the wood itself, with some hardwoods being softer in density than certain softwood varietals.