Shotgun

 Range: 5–15 feet

Fire Rate: Medium

Skill Level: Medium

Description: Although most firearms are ineffective when confronting a vampiric attacker due to its accelerated healing factor, there is one exception to this guideline: the shotgun. A weapon that is common in sporting, hunting, and the personal safety arena, shotguns fire shells that contain either round pellets known as shot or solid projectiles called slugs. This firearm is popular for home defense due to its effectiveness in close quarters and the lack of aiming precision required resulting from the spray pattern generated by the shot projectiles.

Being that decapitation and dismemberment are possible tactics in vampire combat, the shotgun is one of the few firearms that has the ability to accomplish either at close range. A well-placed blast has the potential to sever limbs and, if targeted properly, remove the head altogether. The discharge from this weapon also has the capability of knocking your opponent backward a short distance, enabling you to either escape or follow up with an additional attack. It is for these reasons that the shotgun is one of the few firearms that have true promise in a vampire engagement.

Due to the popularity of the shotgun as a “game-changing” weapon with extreme stopping power, it is important to convey the fact that the shotgun’s performance in undead combat should not be misjudged. Many overconfident combatants have relied on the reputation of this weapon only to find themselves in dire straits once its limitations reveal themselves against an attacking succubus. In order to perform the type of shots that are capable of severing limbs, the combatant must be in fairly close proximity to the target. Too great a distance, and the dispersal pattern of the shot will wound rather than amputate the target. Thanks to the vampire’s healing ability, minor shot wounds will mend themselves much like other types of superficial trauma. Although precise aim is not required with this weapon, it does take a moderate amount of skill to wield the shotgun effectively. Should this be one of your primary ballistic weapons, practice with it extensively, mimicking its use in an undead situation by aiming at specific areas such as the appendages and head. The last place you want to discover how difficult it is to blow the limb clean off an attacking vampire is when the creature is seconds away from clutching your throat.

Some may argue that certain high-caliber firearms are equally capable of the requisite damage that can be performed by the shotgun.  This is absolutely true.  However, rifles and handguns of this type are often difficult to obtain and challenging to wield for the everyday citizen with minimal firearms training.  Remember also that with the shotgun, the shot dispersal means that pinpoint accuracy is not as crucial, not so with a single bullet shot from a high-powered firearm.

Melee Weapons

At melee range, you are severely hampered in your ability to terminate your opponent due to its limited vulnerabilities. At this distance, one of the most effective weapons at your disposal is a bladed implement.  When it comes to vampire combat, all edged weapons are not created equal. The type of blade available should dictate your method of attack. The converse also holds true; should you find yourself adept at a particular type of offensive technique, ensure that you have a weapon better suited to your style at the ready.  Given the wide variety of edged weapons available, we have classified the various types of bladed armaments into three distinct categories:

Heavy Blades—Weapons within this class are defined by their wide, substantial striking faces, and includes armaments such as battle-axes and halberds, and improvised weapons such as fire axes and camp hatchets.

Long Blades—Edged weapons in the long blade class include all sword types, such as broadswords, katanas, and claymores. Of our three blade classes, this one is the most adaptable, as it is capable of both a decapitation strike as well as a dismembering blow.

Melee Blades—Bladed arms in this class comprise weapons with shorter edges, roughly twelve to twenty inches in length, and include such weapons as the machete, barong, and kukri blade

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.