Vampires (Homines Nocturnae, Latin: 'Night Human') are reanimated corpses that are infected with a supernatural virus that makes them immortal and endows them with heightened senses and superhuman physical abilities, but also makes them hypersensitive to silver, garlic, EDTA, and ultraviolet radiation, and causes them to suffer from severe hemoglobin deprivation which forces them to drink blood to sustain themselves.
Vampires ate either born or were originally humans who were turned into vampires.
- Natural Birth: This is how purebloods are created.
- Infectious Bite: This is how most turnbloods are created. The vampire virus exists in the vampire's saliva and is inserted into the victim's bloodstream through a bite. It takes approximately 72 hours after infection for the virus to mutate the victim to become a vampire; this can occur even after death if the infected individual is not properly drained of blood. In Blade: The Series, infected humans have been shown to become vampires within a few hours after infection when they are killed after becoming infected. Marcus Van Sciver reveals that transformation from bites is not a highly reliable means of transmitting the vampire virus.
- Blood Contact and Death: Marcus turns Krista Starr simply by injecting her with his blood via hypodermic syringe and dropping her from a two story building onto a car, killing her. She rises as a vampire over one hour later.
On extremely rare occasions, something goes horribly wrong in the normal transition process from human to vampire. The result is a “Revenant”, a badly malformed zombie-like creature. The reason for this is not understood and it is unpredictable, such “mistakes” occur infrequently. Pallid and cadaverous, a Revenant is covered in patches of dying flesh that are shedding and sloughing off. Revanants have an insatiable desire to eat anything, from animals, rodents, and corpses, to humans and even vampires. Revenants are still conscious and capable of complex speech, but their minds are clearly deranged. Vampires usually destroy Revenants when they occur.
In the first Blade movie, Karen’s ex-boyfriend Curtis was infected by Quinn, but to the surprise of Quinn and Frost he turned into a Revenant. They attempted to feed Karen to him, but she bashed him in the head with a bone and was able to escape.
Vampire society on the local or regional level is broken up into over a dozen major clans or "Houses", e.g. the House of Erebus or the House of Chthon. The Houses form a united front in the "Vampire Nation": the international governing hierarchy of the entire vampire race. Over the generations, the vampires have developed an international power cabal: Whistler states that they control about half of the global financial institutions and "own the police", bribing off human officials throughout the world to ignore, cover up, and even aid their activities. Most of the Vampire Nation believes maintaining the truce is in their best interests. Occasionally renegade vampires pop up who disregard the Vampire Nation's rule. One such renegade was Deacon Frost who felt that vampires should rule humans directly. Frost's actions were considered dangerous by the House of Erebus, with one leader warning him that the human governments would make things very difficult for them if their numbers increased too much.
Purebloods vs. Turnbloods
Vampires are divided into two biological/sociopolitical classes: pureblood and turnblood. Pureblood vampires are those who are born vampires, either from turnblood parents, pureblood parents, or a combination of the two. Turnbloods are those who were originally human but were turned into vampires.
Purebloods are held in exceptionally high regard by vampire society, making them the upper-class of their social hierarchy. They are shown to live lives of high-tech luxury, wealth, and privilege. Purebloods tend to take positions of dominance, regarding themselves as superior and looking upon non-purebloods with contempt.
Turnbloods are held in low regard by vampire society, making them the lower-class of their social hierarchy. They often serve as a labour force for purebloods, performing menial tasks, often as lackeys, minions or lieutenants. Turnblood reaction to this state of affairs is diverse and varies between individuals; some accept the hierarchy as natural, while others look upon purebloods with disdain, resentment, and envy.
Familiars are humans who willingly serve either a single high-ranking vampire (usually a pureblood) or a vampire group/organization in the hopes of becoming vampires themselves. Blade contemptuously describes them as "vampire wannabes". Familiars serve vampires in exchange for wealth and protection, and the possibility of one day being rewarded for their service by being turned into a vampire. Familiars usually have tattoos of vampire glyphs located somewhere on their body (e.g. the back of the neck or base of the wrist) which is much like a cattle-brand. This glyph warns other vampires that if they attempt to feed on or harm this human, they will have to answer to the vampire he or she serves. Vampires often choose familiars from society's influential classes (i.e., lawyers, police chiefs, police officers, psychologists, ect.). This gives them assets to cover up their tracks, spread their influence, and to hide their activities from legitimate human authorities.
Powers and Abilities
Vampirism endows the vampire with several improved biological functions that grant numerous superhuman physical capabilities and highly enhanced senses. These are made possible via new specialized organs created during the mutation process.
- Immortality: Vampires have no natural lifespan and have the potential to live eternally. The oldest vampire, Drake, was around 6,000 or 7,000 years old.
- Superhuman Strength: Vampires are ten times stronger than an adult human. They can leap large distances and deliver powerful blows, i.e. able to single-handedly throw an adult male human across a room with enough force to crack solid surfaces such as concrete
- Superhuman Speed: Vampires move with incredible celerity, enough to sidestep speeding bullets.
- Superhuman Agility: They can jump higher and further than any human. In Blade: The Series, Krista Starr, a newborn vampire, was able to jump several meters from one building to another in a single bound.
- Wall-Crawling: They can adhere to solid surfaces, such as walls and ceilings, like insects.
- Superhuman Stamina
- Superhuman Senses: A vampire's senses are sharper than those of a human. They can see into the ultraviolet spectrum and see clearly in total darkness. Their sense of smell allows them to smell blood.
- Healing Factor: They boast regenerative abilities sufficient to regrow severed limbs. Wounds from most objects, even bullets, tend only to slow the vampire down temporarily, healing quickly. This process is accelerated by the amount of hemoglobin absorbed from blood. Vampires are immune to terrestrial illnesses and diseases.
- Ultraviolet Light: Ultraviolet light, either natural or synthetic, will burn a vampire's skin and reduce it to ash.
- Garlic: Garlic is toxic to vampires and can induce anaphylactic shock.
- Silver: The touch of silver will burn a vampire's skin.
- EDTA: Vampire blood reacts in an explosive way to an anti-coagulant known as EDTA.
- Decapitation: Decapitation results in instant death.
- Hemoglobin Deprivation: More commonly referred to as "the thirst", their need for blood is said to be their defining characteristic. A vampire cannot produce sufficient amounts of hemoglobin as the vampire virus burns away what is produced, which is why vampires must feed on blood (preferably human). Ordinary food is edible to vampires, but provides little to no nutritional value. This need for human blood (or blood in general) is known as "The Thirst" and is considered to be a vampiric weakness