‘Becoming the Monster’ OUTLINE (Part 2): Worldbuilding

Last Updated: 2/13/2021

HISTORY

  • Hundreds of years before the events of the story, the setting’s planet’s gods all died. The gods were the anthropmorphic manifestations of fundamental forces of the universe, so when those gods died the fundamental forces also died.
  • For example
    • the sun, moon and stars are dead, so there is no light. It is pitch black.
    • the planet’s core is dead, so there’s no natural source of heat. Everything is frozen.
    • the gods of life are dead, so life is not born. As a consequence, people have trouble growing food and making babies
    • the gods of the weather are dead, so there is no weather.
    • the gods of the afterlife are dead, so the ghosts of dead people do not move on to the afterlife.
    • the list goes on.
  • Why did the gods die? Yet to be determined.
    • Option1: there was a war, and they died.
    • Option 2: they were assassinated
    • Option 3: suicide pact?
    • Ultimately, however, it doesn’t matter why they are dead, only the fact that they are out of the picture and are no longer major players in this story.
  • As a consequence of the gods dying, human civilization was nearly wiped out. However mankind was able to salvage bits and pieces of life amidst the chaos, using broken relics left behind by the gods, ancient rituals and bloody sacrifice to keep the universe going one day at a time.
    • The mood is like Dark Souls 3- the apocalypse has happened, but people just refuse to give up even though it’s obvious to everyone that they probably should give up.
  • The world used to be ruled by the gods, but with their deaths vampires now reign supreme over the planet.
    • Before, the undead were persecuted by the gods. After the gods died, it turns out the god’s wrath was the only thing keeping the undead down. The vampires, bit by bit, took over the world.
    • But they were clever about it. They teamed up with the Church of the Fallen Gods, using church theology to justify their rulership. Divine right of rulership. Yeah, the gods are dead, but the dead gods are still worshiped anyway
    • NOTE: this is a setting where religion= magic. So while the gods are dead, their ancient rituals still work.
  • In the modern status quo, the Vampire Aristocracy combined the Church work together to perform the spells and rituals required to keep the planet *barely* habitable, even though the gods are dead.
    • The Church provides the ritual expertise, while the Aristocracy provides the raw manpower+raw spellpower required to keep things going.
  • And, over time, it’s failing. Day by day, year by year, the planet is slowly becoming less and less habitable. More of the planet is freezing. Less food is growing. The population is declining. It just can’t go on like this for long.

ALL THE PROBLEMS: WHY THE PLANET IS UNLIVABLE

  • When the God of Death died, the gates of the Afterlife opened up, and the restless wraiths of everyone who ever died washed over the face of the planet, hungry for human life
    • This problem was solved by turning landmasses into floating islands in the sky. The wraiths are land-bound, so by having human civilization floating in the sky the people are safe. Kept aloft through magic.
  • Because the God of the Dead died, when a person dies their soul no longer goes to the afterlife. Instead it leaves behind an angry spirit, intent on destruction.
    • This problem was solved by the Church teaching clerics how to perform exorcisms.
  • Because the God of Reincarnation died, when a person is born they have no soul, as the natural Cycle of Reincarnation was disrupted.
    • The Church figured out how to manually perform an en-soulment ritual upon people. They take the ghosts they exorcised, and stick them into new bodies.
    • NOTE: the Church isn’t very good at reincarnation. The people who are reincarnated possess quite a few jumbled memories of their past lives, which is not something which used to happen back when the God of Reincarnation was in charge.
  • The sun died when the God of the Sun died.
    • Each floating island has a lighthouse, which contains a magical lamp which illuminates the island day in and day out. The light is strong enough for plants to grow, meaning there is food.
  • The universe has achieved a state of perfect entropic decay, because the God of the Sun died. Consequently everything is absolutely frozen solid.
    • Each floating island is protected by a magical dome of protection- keeping the warm atmosphere in and the perfect cold outside out.
  • Plants, animals and humans are barely fertile, as a result of the death of the God of Life.
    • The Church performs annual fertility rituals.
  • There is no weather in the islands. meaning no rain.
    • At ‘noon’ each day, the Church performs a weather ritual, summoning an hour of rain.
  • There is no water cycle on the islands.
    • When a floating island runs out of clean water, they go down to the frozen world below and mine ice out of the planet’s lakes and oceans.
    • Saltwater has to be desalinated first, usually using magic.
  • Because the God of Plantlife is dead, there are no natural ‘ecosystems’ left. No natural source of oxygen inside the floating islands.
    • The vast, vast, vast majority of the artificial floating islands are covered in trees. The houses have trees growing on them. The fields of wheat are surrounded by trees. Trees, trees, trees, trees. Lots of trees. Thus oxygen.
    • The trees also provide heat for cooking.
  • The God of Gravity still exists, but is brain dead and on life support in the Church’s basement.
  • A common theme with most of these problems is that it is solved in part by magic. However, generating that much magic is a problem in and of itself.
    • A problem solved by slave labor and human sacrifice. In this setting magic can only be produced through ritual sacrifice, and human sacrifice is one of the few quick, plentiful, and easy ways to produce a lot of power fast. To keep human civilization alive, mankind has had to devolve back to barbarism.
      • The most common form of human sacrifice is vampirism. A vampire eats a person, then the vampire performs a ritual. Hence, the alliance between the vampire aristocracy and the Church.
      • My intent is to show that human sacrifice is bad.
    • The second sacrifice is through slave labor. The Church partially controls the serfdom, and can force their serfs to turn massive stone prayer wheels. The labor is back-breaking, and through the sacrifice of that back-breaking labor magic is generated.
      • This is the other most common form of sacrifice. The spell/ritual which needs to be performed is enscribed upon a massive stone prayer wheel, invoking one of the dead gods.
      • For example, an island-sized levitation spell
        • First, a massive stone prayer wheel is created, devoted to a prayer of levitation.
        • Then dozens upon dozens of serfs are chained to the wheel to make sure it spins.
        • As long as the prayer wheel turns, the island stays afloat. If the island sinks, everyone dies.
      • My intent is to show slave labor is bad.
  • Together, these two HIGHLY unethical rituals (human sacrifice and slave labor) are how human civilization continues to exist despite the apocalypse. And even put together, it’s just not enough. Day by day, the islands are falling out of the sky, the population is declining, famine is rampant.
    • Human sacrifice is a net-zero form of ritual- you get out as much energy out as you put in raising that person to adulthood in the first place. So not only is it unethical, it’s not working properly.
    • Slave labor in turning the wheels is only slightly net-positive form of ritual.
    • Now there is a caeveat: sacrifice is more powerful when it’s self-sacrifice. If a person volunteers to die/labor, the sacrifice works better than it would otherwise. But even so, it’s clear to everyone who’s in the know that something needs to be done.
    • Why is this happening? When the gods died, the ‘good’ magic died with them. Only the ‘evil’ magic is left. Mankind must now survive using demonic magic and curses.
  • Looking for a solution
    • Simply put, the world needs a new god to set the world to right. Oblivion is crushing in, destroying civilization one island at a time.
    • The major nations (which remain) are vying to create that god. There is a little bit of the divine in everyone- so vampires, when they feed upon people, feed upon that little bit of divinity. Like toxins accumulating in the flesh of apex predators, the most powerful vampires accumulate the most amount of divinity. (This is why the gods persecuted vampires back in the day; to prevent rivals.)
    • The weakest vampire has latent magical skill because they’ve drained the lifeblood from so many people. The most powerful vampires are demigods. Vampire kings and emperors are struggling for power, trying to transform themselves into the next god. If they worked together, they would succeed- but they don’t want to work together. They are rivals to power.
    • Why don’t the vamps just drain all their serfs at once? If they did, then who would they feed on next week?

CIVILIZATION

  • Their civilization is male dominated. This is important for Alpha’s storyline.
  • The Emperor
    • When the gods died, in the darkness cast by the dead sun, an evil warlock performed a profane ritual to transform himself into a vampire. He drank the blood of a dead god and ate the heart of his own son to ascend to vampirism.
    • He was Patient Zero of of the vampire pathogen, meaning he was the source of the disease. It has since spread outward and downward through the surviving aristocracy. In the absence of the fallen gods, there was no one to stop him from conquering the entire world. And destroying all previous cultures and religions, replacing them with religions worshipping him.
    • He formed the Church of the Fallen Gods, with the purpose of giving himself the divine authority of rulership, worshipping the dead gods and using the authority of the dead gods to add legitimacy to his rulership. As the world died, his authoritarian rule was instrumental in raising the islands, igniting the lighthouses, teaching people how to grow food in the long night.
    • When it became clear that the world was doomed anyway, he decided to turn himself into a god to un-doom the world. He got 95% of the way to apotheosis via vampiric consumption… but right before he reached the finish line he was assassinated by the Dukes.
    • There is no Emperor now, but the Dukes are striving to become powerful enough to make themselves a new one.
  • The Dukes
    • The Dukes rule the various nations of floating islands in the sky. Each Duchy is divided into various Counties, where each County is a floating island of sufficient size to be considered its own unit.
    • The Dukes are vampires, who are able to selectively pass on the gift of vampirism to whoever they choose. Only the most powerful vampire in a family dynasty is able to proliferate more vampires, so they usually only infect their chosen Counts and their heir.
    • The Dukes usually marry human husbands/wives. As the vamps live forever, they are able to form temporary alliances. As a consequence, Dukes usually have a mixture of both human and vampire children. The Aristocracy is 4/5 human, 1/5 vampire, but the vampire are the ones in charge, and the humans are their children.
    • INHERITANCE
      • Inheritance is a complex affair. Here is the order of inheritance.
        • First, if the demonic parasite of survives the death by being transferred into a new host, then that new host is the new inheritor.
        • If the demonic parasite dies as well (which often happens), then the biological sons of the host inherit, so long as they are vampires, split evenly among the sons. (The sons inherit their maternal lands first, then inherit their paternal lands after that.)
        • If There are no vampire biological sons of the host, then it is split among the non-vampire biological sons.
        • If there are no sons, then it is split among unmarried daughters.
        • If there are no unmarried daughters, it is split among the vampire grandsons. If no vamp grandsons, then it’s split among grandsons. If no grandsons, then granddaughters… etc etc all the way down.
        • If there are no surviving biological heirs of the primary host, then the surviving pups of the (now dead) primary demonic parasite can infest any rando human and they are eligible to claim the unclaimed territory.
        • However, what usually happens if the demonic pups can inherit, then something catasrophic has happened. If that happens, then enemy vampires usually swoop in and take over.
      • Upon the death of the (immortal) vampire duke, all living children of the vampire inherit land and properties from him/her, with the chosen (vampire) heir inheriting the lion’s share.
      • Grandchildren/greatgrandchildren/greatgreatgrandchildren inherit a lot less/nothing at all. (They usually get jobs as courtiers, not landowners.)
      • After inhieritance has taken place, the Duchy is broken up into different factions controlled by the various children, who then strive for control. The eldest is technically the Duke, but he’s/she’s too politically/magically weak to hold the Duchy together (the old duke needed a heir for political reasons, but the old duke had to keep the heir weak for fear of a rival).
      • Because the new Duke is weak, his/her various siblings who inherited control of lands from the death of their Duke parent usually form alliances/sell real estate to other Dukes. After this happens, the new Duke has their work cut out for them holding the duchy together.
      • Consequently, the old Duke’s children often try to assassinate one another. They will only inherit land of their own if their father dies, but they don’t want him to die until their rivals are dead. So the Duke is incentivized to have multiple children, give them the resources to defend themselves, and set them against one another. That way they’re busy trying to kill one another instead of trying to kill their immortal parent.
      • In short, the political structure of the Duchies tend to remain static for a prolonged period of time, but after the Duke dies it gets broken up.
  • The Game of Death
    • The politics of the Duchies is cutthroat. Resources are running out, and to keep their islands floating even if it means raiding the other duchies.
    • Murder, backstabing, traitors, hidden alliances- you name it, they do it.
    • They’re vampires. Now that they’re no longer forced to work together by serving under a powerful ubermench vampire (the Emperor), they’re trying to murder their way into becoming a new Emperor.
  • The Church of the Fallen Gods
    • But outright war isn’t allowed. The Church forbids war, because war is counterproductive to the goal of keeping the islands floating. War means chaos, chaos means uncontrolled death, uncontrolled death means islands sink, and islands sinking is no-bueno.
    • For all the brute power of the Aristocracy, it is the Church which wears the pants in this relationship. The Emperor gave all his secrets and strange relics to the Church, for them to use in the upkeep of his Empire, and now that the Emperor is dead the Church still has them.
    • It is the Church which keeps the islands floating, the ecosystems going, people fed, so for all the aristocracy’s brute power they ultimately must follow the will of the Church.
    • NOTE: This is not to say that conflict is entirely off the table. The Church sometimes does allow wars to take place. With the death of the gods, the Church is no longer a religious institution but a political one. Members of the Church can be bribed into allowing wars to take place, the forging of title papers, that sort of thing.
  • Single Combat
    • As a result of the overabundance of

MAGIC

  • Because the gods are (mostly) dead, the people have had to turn to demonic magic to survive. Demons are people parasites, a la the goauld, or trill.
    • The demons aren’t entirely separate beings. They’re just the corruption of your own personality, made into a separate creature. The demon is it’s own biological organism, but the longer it infests a person the more it’s personality blends in with it’s host’s. And not to the better.
      • A justice-focused person might become vengeful.
      • A proud person might become blinded by arrogance.
      • A cautious person might become paranoid.
      • People have more than one personality trait. Chances are, a single person can display all of the above.
  • Vampires are people who have corrupted and twisted themselves, amplifying their own negative aspects in order to gain power. They are more demonic than undead.
    • Culturally, The Church encourages vampires to resist the corruption. The purpose of purposefully infecting yourself with a demon is to teach yourself discipline.
    • Becoming a vampire means you go demon FOREVER. The parasite can be removed, but it’s hard. Requires complex surgery, killing the parasite, and the parasite is NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT. It will do everything it can to convince you not to kill it.
    • Twist and amplify your murderous instincts, and then resist those instincts- that is strength. Through that strength, the Church teaches, humanity can survive the apocalypse.
    • Pious vampires strive to resist the corruption they invite into themselves, and are able to use it for constructive purposes. Fallen vampires are hunted down and killed by Church assassins, because Fallen vampires are so succumbed to their inner turmoil that they no longer can be trusted to be landholders/the power of life and death.
    • Consequently, deciding to become a vampire is risky.
      • 95% of vampires break and succumb to their inner beasts, and must be killed. Usually occurs in the first century.
      • The 5% who DO NOT succumb are the truly dangerous ones- in possession of their own mental faculties, in addition to both enormous magical and political powers. Also immortal.
      • Most vampires vacillate back and forth for the first few decades, feeling out the boundries of their inner beast, coming to terms with it, gaining control of it. During that time they are watched closely by the Church; if they fall off the wagon, they’re killed.
    • DISCIPLINE is the key. You turn your self into a demon. You must use your power wisely.
  • The holy objects and oaths spoken are also demonic in nature.
    • The prayer wheels, as an example, contain wicked magic. They inflict suffering (force people to spin the heavy wheel), to cause an effect.
    • To levitate a heavy mountain, mankind needs the discipline to withstand a heavy burden.
    • Soldiers/duelists use personal prayer wheels in battle. Such wheels are cursed.
  • As a result of the highly corruptive nature of this magic, the people who wield it are trained from a young age to have mental fortitude. There’s an emphasis on meditation, training, hard work, kindness, empathy. The Knights who fight MUST be Paladins to wield such magic; untrained men and women who pick up ritual objects inevitably lose control. The more ritual objects you wear at a time, the more your personality breaks down. This is why the Aristocracy are such assholes, and why a lot of the people in the Church are assholes.
  • In addition to corrupting your personality, the magic also requires sacrifice as a fuel. Any sort of sacrifice will do, but labor and human sacrifice are the most common. Also burning money, throwing away objects into the void, that sort of thing are possible.

MAGICAL ARTIFACTS

  • People gain magic and sorcery by accepting curses upon themselves, and carrying cursed objects. Such objects come in two forms: specific, or general.
  • General ritual objects can be used for a multitude of purposes, but due to their broad focus can’t be used in a rush.
  • Specific ritual objects can be used to channel only one spell or enchantment. When going into battle, warriors usually carry an assortment of specific ritual objects because they don’t have as much time to perform rituals with general ritual objects.
    • The biggest example of these are the prayer wheels used in this story. By spinning a prayer wheel you invoke the prayer written on the wheel. But as the wheel is cursed, the mere act of spinning it torments you, afflicts your soul and drains your body. You get power, at a price.
  • In general, magical artifacts are kept under lock-and-key. They are UNSAFE. Overtime one of two things happen:
    • If the artifact wielder resists their negative emotions, the magical object absorbs the negative aspirations of their wielder, and thereby grows stronger.
    • If the artifact wielder allows themselves to succumb to their negative emotions, the magical object slowly takes over their mind. The artifact loses it’s curse and becomes nothing more than a fancy object, because the wielder absorbs the curse. They become a demon… and potentially a threat to society. (Just as the vampires are a threat to society, even though they rule society.)

THE BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF MAGIC

  • The fuel for all magic is an edible substance called mana.
  • In the old days, mana would grow on trees. The gods were literal trees, and mana would grow in orchards. There are still some mana orchards, but they don’t fruit as much as they used to.
  • These days, mankind survives using demons. Demons magical creatures, able to generate mana just like the god-trees used to
  • Demons! In this setting the gods are dead, so holy (aka arcane) magic has stopped working. All that is left is profane (aka biological) magic.
  • Demons are pseudo-biological entities which exist on both a spiritual and mundane level. Due to their dual nature, mankind in the real world can use mundane tools to interact with the spiritual world. Unfortunately, this comes with the downside of demons being universally predatory, preferring to eat humans above everything else.
  • Some demons/forms of magic are self-replicating and can be readily adapted to multiple purposes- see vampires. Others are not. Instead those forms of demons/forms of magic are specialized and unique, created for specific purposes and therefore not designed to multiply itself.

VAMPIRISM

  • Vampires are basically types of magical demons, people who deliberately infect themselves with a curse.
  • Vampirism is a PERMANENT form of emotional corruption, unlike dealing with magical artifacts or rituals. When you become a vampire, your negative emotions are ALWAYS hardwired to be amplified.
  • These vampires are traditional flesh-and-blood drinking vampires. Can fly. (has enormous bat wings)
  • Their mechanism of feeding is as follows. It applies to both humanoid vampire feeding and vampire bat feeding.
    • The vampire bites their prey.
    • The vampire injects a paralytic venom into their prey, disabling them. However they are fully aware of what’s happening.
    • The vampire injects a venom into their prey which causes human cells to revert to pluripotent stem cells, which are then released into the victim’s blood stream.
    • The vampire links their demonic blood stream with that of their victim. Two hearts beat as one, and they share circulatory system.
    • The vampire/vampire bat filters out these pluripotent stem cells from their prey’s blood stream. The vampire grows bigger and stronger as their victim grows weaker and weaker.
    • Neophyte vampires experience a rush of emotions
    • Eventually the human victim’s heart dies due to this cell harvesting process. The victim is kept alive from then-on by the strength of the vampire/demon’s heart.
      • The victim feels EXTREME pain when the heart dies, because they have a heart attack. From then on they’re doomed to die, and are helpless to do anything due to being paralyzed. Before this moment it’s possible for the vampire to disengage and the victim will live, but after this, no.
      • Write about this moment from the perspective of the victim. They’re in extreme pain and terror, hoping beyond hope that someone will save them from the vampire. And then they have a heart attack, but keep on living. From that moment on, the victim loses hope.
    • The vampire keeps feeding, either until they decide to stop or until their prey is reduced to skin and bones
  • NOTE: Vampires possess the ability to drain life because the Emperor- aka patient zero- possessed the ability to drain life. If the curse which afflicted him was slightly different, and he became a different sort of demon, then ????
  • As vampiric corruption is permanent, they cannot fully mitigate the hatred and rage it inspires in them; they can control it and mitigate it. It warps your personality in the same way that magic does, twisting you to become the worst, most cruel version of who you were before.
    • A petty man become malicious, an ambitious man becomes backstabbing, a warmongering man becomes bloodthirsty.
    • The clerics of the Church assassinate vampires who get too out-of-hand in the murdering and chaos, so the vampires are incentivized to keep things under control… though this is a recipe for paranoid vampires seeing enemies in all the shadows, with their paranoia feeding off their magic to become stronger and stronger
    • NOTE: Beta’s character arc is learning to balance his vampire side with his Paladin side. He is the first person on the planet to successfully attempt that balance. He gains DISCIPLINE. THat’s the theme for him.
  • Vampires are immortal, but killable. The demonic parasite shares it’s soul with it’s host, and all the pups (pups=baby bat demons) which the host/demon sires.
    • They are immortal because their diet is stem cells. When a cell begins growing old, it is replaced with a young, new cell from their prey
    • The parasite is constantly siring new pups, via parthenogenesis (aka fission). They are released from the host’s body in membranous envelopes, usually sired in litters of a dozen or more at a time.
      • The envelopes are released from a tiny hole in the back of the host’s body, between the wings.
      • These are all clones of the demon. All demons are female, consequently, not that it matters.
    • If/When the host vampire is killed, the primary demonic parasite must QUICKLY find a new host. Can only survive for a few hours at most outside of the body.
    • When either the primary demonic parasite dies or when the demonic parasite chooses to do so, the pups can infest a new host, causing a new infection and becoming a primary demonic parasite itself. When a new primary demonic parasite is formed, the pups psychically attach to it, serve it, ending the ‘breeding’ cycle.
    • Over the years of the infestation, the demonic parasite and their psychically linked pups absorb the host’s intellect/knowledge/personality. As a result, a vampire can live on past their time by infesting a new body.
  • Psychic domination
    • Primary demonic parasites psychically dominate their pups. When one of these pups ‘grows up’ and becomes a demonic parasite itself, the parental demonic parasite still dominates it. As a result, scion parasites CANNOT oppose their parents.
    • A vampire/primary demonic parasite can also infest a pup directly into a human, and NOT initiate the transformation into becoming a vampire/demonic parasite. When done, this allows the primary to psychically dominate the human host. The human becomes a thrall.
    • NOTE: It’s not actual psychic domination. It is closer to the truth to say that the psychically dominated person MUST follow the orders of their sire. The parasite within them can be manipulated by the vampire/primary parasite on a spiritual level, causing the release of hormones like dopamine/adrenaline/pain hormones. The host can resist these emotions, but it’s hard if not impossible to do so.
      • The demon itself shares the soul of the host, as do the pups sired by the demon. By infesting one soul within another- which is what the demons do when they spread- the souls mingle and become one.
      • The vampire/primary parasite can instill simple orders into the sentient parasite, and as the parasite itself can remember those orders, the domination cannot be de-hypnotized or anything like that. The secondary parasite is an extension of the body of the primary parasite.
      • Now that said, orders cannot be given at a distance. The orders can only be given orally. The same goes with all of the primary parasite’s free-flying pups- the pups follow the orders of parasite.
    • A vampire can dominate another vampire. All vamp demons are clones of one another, and share a thread of ancestral soul among them going back to the Emperor who sired all of vamp-kind. Through that thread, un-related vamps can vie for psychic control of one another.
      • It’s a contest of wills, which under normal conditions neither side can win. To win, the two vamps must go to war with one another. Eventually one will capture the other, and hold them prisoner in a dungeon. The prisoner will be starved to the point that they either submit to mental domination, or die.
    • The mechanics of submission are identical in either case:
      • The dominant vamp makes the subserviant vamp (either dungeon dominated, thrall or scion) swear various oaths. The oaths include
      • I will not fight against the dominant vamp, nor betray him/her.
      • I will obey all orders
  • Vampires have increased skill in magic for two reasons: first, their curse innately grants them power. Second, because they have several dozen familiars flying around at all times. These are their pups. The pups share the soul of the host/demon. Those familiars carry prayer flags as they fly, and the act of flapping a prayer flag in the wind generates ritual power (aka mana). This combination of sources of power makes vampires VERY dangerous to combat.
  • Vampires are aristocrats. Once a year it’s blood-tax time.
    • Some lords tax a village by demanding one or two people be sacrificed per year a la Orochi.
    • Other lords meter out the sacrifice. Each person in the village must be drained of a few pounds of flesh annually.
  • Vampires are made into vampires by infection via parasite. The parasite is a gross parasitic skinless demon-bat which acts as a secondary digestive tract for the human it infests. It’s based vaguely on trill symbiotes and goa’uld symbiotes
    • The parasite bat evolved from a regular bat, heavily modified by evil warlock magic.
    • The bat is ENORMOUS, but it is incapable of flight outside of human host.
    • When it infests a person, it burrows completely under the human’s skin.
      • The demon has a complex lifecycle.
        • It reproduces via fission. (see above, with the vampire shapeshifting into vampire bats. Each of those bats is a
        • infests the host as either a pup
      • The infestation process
        • The demon enters the human body through the abdomen. It crawls up past the intestines, lungs and heart, not harming them. It burrows it’s head up through the meat of the neck, sticking it’s skull into the skull of the human host.
        • the pup’s skull quickly degrades and the pup becomes a demonic primary infestation. The demon’s brain integrates itself into the human brain, forming an additional lobe.
        • The demon’s esophagus/teeth/jaws remain fully functional inside the human’s mouth. When the human vampire desides to feed, the demon’s teeth/jaws extend out from the back of the human anatomy throat a la the Alien from Alien, latching onto the prey and feeding.
        • The demon’s lungs attach to the host’s lungs. As a result, vampires cannot hold their breath as long as non vampires- they’re breathing for two.
        • The demon’s wings integrate themselves in with the ribcage of the human host, effectively acting as a second set of arms lower down on the ribcage compared to the normal arms. (Bat wings are anatomically arms.)
          • The integration process involve the bat’s vertabrae, arms and scapulae integrating themselves in with the host’s vertabrae, arms and scapulae. As a result, a vampire is taller after infestation than before.
        • In the months/years which follow, the host’s bones become exceptionally light-weight and delicate, enabling flight. Same goes for their build- they lose the extraneous muscle/fat in order to maintain flight. Also, their fingers grow longer and become webbed, due to bat hormones released because . (Bat wings are really extended, webbed fingers). The host’s toes become strong and clawed, to the point that they need specialized shoes. Also, their claws are strong enough to be used as weapons.
      • The demon bat annihilates the host’s immune system so the host doesn’t reject the parasite. Ordinarily this would be a bad thing, however bat immune system are better than human immune systems, and the bat parasite shares it’s immune system with it’s host.
        • For this reason alone, it’s difficult to disentangle parasite from host. No immune system afterwards.
      • The demon bat degrades the host’s digestive tract, causing it to become inactive and reduce in size. This includes the digestive tract itself, along with associated organs like the gall bladder. In the mean time, the parasite occupies the space freed up by the loss of those internal organs.
      • The demon replaces the host’s digestive system. See above for the how of how it’s done (filtering out the blood of the vampire’s prey). Here are some minor details.
        • The DEMON”S circulatory system fuses with the prey’s circulatory system. Consequently, there are two active circulatory systems within the vampire: the standard human circulatory system, and the digestive circulatory system of the demon. As the vampire/demon feed on their prey, the heart of the prey quickly dies under the strain. The vampire/demonic parasite’s heart keeps beating, keeping blood circulating in the prey, draining the host even after heart-and-brain death of the prey.
        • The Demon’s Belly: this storage organ is where the demon’s digestive/circulatory system stores the harvested stem cells. Think of it like a food reservoir, slowly digested and shared between both demon and vampire host. It takes many days for this storage organ to completely shrink back down to normal size. When The Demon’s Belly becomes empty, the vampire/demon must feed again. The demon makes the vampire feel more and more hungry, until the vampire finally snaps and eats anyone.
          • Vampires who ‘graze’ on their human prey (draining just a little at a time from one peasant at a time) must constantly feed. These vampires are always a little ‘vampire like’ in personality, and are always on the verge of snapping and killing people.
          • Whereas vampires who go whole hog and completely devour their human prey to the death can go months at a time without feeding. Because they are sated so often, these vampires personalities are more ‘human’ more of the time. Lots of self control, never on the verge of snapping and killing people.
          • Vampires who eat nonhuman animals (chicken, beef, pork) are usually grazers, as it’s a waste to kill such expensive animals when you can snack-and-go. Consequently these vamps are more ‘vampire like’ in personality and always on the verge of snapping. This is Beta at the beginning of the story.
          • Vampires are more ‘human’ when their Demon Belly is full. The emptier it is, the more demonic/hungry they become. After a certain point they lose control/stop being human. This is very true for Beta.
          • This organ’s structure
            • It is attached to both the circulatory system of the host and the demon.
            • The organ is filled with tons and tons of foldey membranes, like the alveoli in the lungs, or the membranes inside of a mitochondria, or circular folds in the small intestine. This increase in surface area is how the parallel circulatory systems a) provide oxygen to the harvested stem cells and b)extract cells from within the harvested stem cell reservoir.
            • This organ is HIGHLY expansionistic, capable of storing up to 8 gallons of harvested cells aka 65lbs. The larger it becomes, the more of a mosquito-belly look the vampire has. When they are super-full like that, they lose the ability to fly.
            • Inside this organ, the harvested stem cells float around, unattached from one another, inside a plasma/saline solution. However they are never so far away from either circulatory system that oxygen cannot get to the free-floating cells.
              • Consequently, vamps do need to drink water, as well as salt. Or just blood, for the water and salt.
            • They are able to enter into the circulatory systems of the vampire and the demon only after the DNA of the stem cells has been successfully modified. To make this movement, they pass through large cell-channels which can detect if the cells have successfully been modified.
        • The demon reprograms the stem cells to become equal to the vampire’s DNA, and the demon’s DNA.
      • The vampire has bat wings, and can use them to fly and feed.
        • Most of the time the wings are folded up, grasping the torso of the vampire, hidden under the shirt.
        • The scapulae of the wings are underneath the scapulae of the human arms. Instead of having a classic S-shaped spine of a human, a vampire has a straighter spinal column. They aren’t hunched backs.
        • Remember that bat wings are arms/hands, so vampires can use them as an enormous and strong set of hands/arms.
        • When a vampire feeds on their prey, the wings curl around their human prey, holding them tight while they are drained.
        • Vampires have CRAZY strong back muscles in order for them to fly. They also have VERY fragile, hollow bones
      • d
    • The bat itself is sentient, but not sapient. It is animal like- it has self interest, awareness, but it lacks reason.
      • It can do rudimentry math.
      • It can use human language.
      • It is motivated by carnal desires: food, rest, reproduction, survival.
    • Like a goa’uld symbiote, the worm’s neurons directly interface with that of the host. Unlike with the goa’uld, the demon cannot

THE PALADINS OF AWARENESS

  • The most dangerous fighters on the planet are the Paladins of Awareness. They use meditation to counter the corrupting effects of demonic magic. Simple self-awareness is all you need to overcome the greatest of demons, knowing your true emotions versus what the magic is making you feel.
  • The most valuable Knights are Paladins because they have so much self-control. You know you can trust them, because they won’t be tempted into disloyalty by corruption. They view discontent as the chief sin, and believe that as all is temporary any negative emotions they feel are temporary.
  • To a Paladin, prayer beads are greater weapons than any sword. They are the greatest warriors on the planet, but their awareness makes them realize that they must first try to solve problems peacefully before they solve them with violence. It is with a last resort that they resort to evil magic and bloodshed, because both are corruptive
  • Beta and Epsilon are both Paladins. Or rather, Epsilon is a Paladin, while Beta is merely a squire.
    • Beta is a squire who at the beginning of the story is about to flunk out of his training. Simply put, he doesn’t have control of his emotions.
  • Paladins gain power by resisting temptation. It is that simple. They view discontent in all it’s form to be the ultimate enemy.

RELIGION(s)

  • The Church religion values Temperance, Contentment, Community Spirit. This is because resources are limited (Temperance and Contentment), and everyone has to work together to survive (community spirit).
  • The Paladins value Community Spirit, Service to a Greater Cause, and Discipline.
    • Their religion is a branched faith of the main Church religion. Ostencibally the Paladins answer to the Church, but in actual fact they have a fair degree of independence.
  • The Aristocratic ‘Religion’ (really their cultural ethos) values Protectionism, Domination and Discipline.

THE GODS AND THE PANTHEON

  • The religion is based vaguely on the gnostic belief of divine emanations.
  • The Mon
    • The Mon is alive.
    • The Ultimate Reality, from which all originates. All that is, is The Mon.
      • The Mon is a mystic energy field which pervades all reality. Think of it vaguely like the Force, but instead of telekinesis it allows miracles.
    • It existed before the beginning of time and place; time and place are emanations of The Mon.
      • What is an emanation? An emanation is a separate being/entity which represents certain aspects of another being/entity. It is separate from the greater part, but it is nonetheless still a part of the greater part.
    • There is debate about whether or not The Mon is a sentient force, or a nonsentient force. Some people view it as a personal god, a la the Demiurge or the Divines. Others view it as merely a powerful energy field from which the lower-order gods originated.
    • The Mon is not strictly good or evil. It is like Anu from the Diablo mythos; containing both good and evil. The Mon represents all possible timelines, all possible events, free will, conflict, change, stasis, hope, fear, life, death. The Mon is everything. The Mon is both perfect and imperfect, because it contains both perfection and imperfection.
    • Madmen are believed to be most in tune with The Mon.
    • The Mon is separated from reality by The Demiurge’s Veil. When anyone performs magic or a miracle, they access The Mon’s divine pluripotency by applying pressure upon The Veil. Magic can only be performed if there is a cosmic imbalance between reality and unreality in favor of mankind. The Demiurge is The God of Sacrifice; The Veil is only permeable by acts of sacrifice.
  • The Demiurge
    • The Demiurge is dead.
    • The Demiurge is an emanation of The Mon. The Demiurge was initially created by The Mon when The Mon sought to expel the profane from itself. The Demiurge is the Manifestation of the Profane. (NOTE: The Demiurge is not evil. It’s profane in the sense of being mundane; ordinary; earthly; Laws of Physics. Nonsacred.)
    • All which is The Demiurge is profane; all which is not The Demiurge is sacred, or holy, or eldritch, or arcane.
    • CREATION MYTH
      • The Demiurge, due to it’s being the only profane being in existence, grew very lonely. It selflessly sacrificed itself to create all of reality. And so The Manifestation of the Profane became The Manifestation of Sacrifice. The Demiurge’s brains became clouds; it’s blood became oceans; it’s eyes the sun and stars; it’s flesh and bones became mountains and earth. Yada yada, creation myths.
      • The other emanations were moved by this selfless sacrifice by The Demiurge. Out of respect and pity, they granted The Demiurge’s creations souls. Thus mankind (and all the gods who emanated from The Demiurge) are unions of body and soul.
    • Because The Demiurge is OTHER compared to The Ultimate Reality, there is a separation between All Reality and the rest of reality. That separation is called The Demiurge’s Veil. It is through that veil which all miracle must pass. Miracle is by it’s very nature a part of The Ultimate Reality, not The Demiurge. To create miracle, a god or human must do as The Demiurge did in the beginning- namely, sacrifice. Ritual and Sacrifice are how humankind were granted souls, so ritual and sacrifice is how the impossible become reality.
  • The Other Emanations On A Tier With The Demiurge
    • Are eldritch horrors/entirely unknowable beings. Mankind are OTHER compared to these entities. As a result, our biological brains are COMPLETELY unequipped to fathom them. Things man was not meant to know.
    • Additionally, these beings/emanations really don’t give much of a shit about biological life. We are OTHER to them as well.
    • They and their emanations can be summoned via Hermetic-style magic, but to only moderate usefulness. Communication with these beings is difficult at best, and even if they aren’t actively antagonistic to humankind, consorting with them is unwise due to the fact that fundamentally they don’t understand our intentions, and we don’t understand their intensions.
    • The Angelum
      • The Angels are the eldritch emanations of the Demiurge’s peer divinities.
      • Go full cosmic horror angels with these things. More conceptual and many-angles than organic things.
  • The Physical Gods
    • They are dead.
    • Fusions of matter and spirit, these primordial deities were the first-order emanations of The Demiurge. They are organic life with great mystical import. They are collected, distributed consciousness of humans and plants, focused around a central core intelligence/divinity in the center of the web.
    • There are thousands of the gods, scattered among the stars. Three of them settled on the planet the story takes place on. Those three are dead, or very close to dead. They were killed in a faction war between all the different physical gods, years ago. (There was no war amongst The Three Gods, but against The Three Gods and the physical gods of the stars.)
    • All of the gods were intelligent, but none had human-like intelligence. They COULD NOT think fast, but they could think slow, and fathom concepts and plan over a vast period of time. Think like a really big, really slow super computer. They relied on their human worshippers a lot for day-to-day religious activities, while the gods themselves focused on the sacrifice needed to keep their planet habitable. They become smarter and smarter the more sub-units are connected together (trees/hives/fungal networks)
    • The Three Gods are (were)
      • Asha, Who Whispers In Wind
        • The mother god. She was a massive tree. Apple tree.
        • She was a Forest, her intelligence made in the root network connecting all the trees to one another. Those trees were able to think, because those roots were modified to conduct electricity like brain cells.
        • Forest-orchards. Her fruit was mana-fruit, which the human priesthood would eat to perform rituals which would keep the world spinning.
        • Her forest was as big as a small continent, always growing larger, mangroves reclaiming land in the ocean. Her worshippers spread her religion outward via ‘rooting,’ meaning they’d extend the range of her influence by spreading the forest in long, thin lines, roots connecting to roots, tree to tree, species to species, all the way around the world. Her worshippers would even dredge up shallow portions of the ocean and plant kelp forests to help her spread. Everywhere her sacred forest extends, so does her magic.
        • Her worshippers communed with her by fusing their flesh with plant matter, and intermingling their nervous systems directly with hers- think about the dryads from Ravnica.
        • She was killed when the enemy dropped a meteor on her main forest. She still exists in the minor forests around the planet, but not in the critical mass large enough for sentient thought.
      • Tevash, Who Sleeps During Day
        • Was a sacred tree, like Asha. Son of Asha. Unlike asha, who had dominion over the plantlife of the planet, Tevash focused on Flowers and pollinators.
        • Rose tree, rosehip fruit.
        • He was a god of animals, his intelligence made up by many-twisting ant-tunnels of several thousand ant-colonies.
        • Ants, bees, wasps- any hive-based, colony-organism was Tevash’s go-to. He would take an ordinary hive/colony, and their DNA would ‘spontaneously’ mutate to exhibit supernatural behaviors.
        • His mana would come in the form of honey. His hives would create honey-mana, which his priesthood would consume to perform holy rituals.
        • Tevash, like Asha, was not a single conscious entity but a distributed, emergent consciousness. Tevash in LOCATION A might be slightly different from Tevash in LOCATION B.
        • Tevash’s influence would spread on the wings of drone-ants and bees. His worshippers would spread the influence by bottling up a queen/hive/colony and carrying it to a new home.
        • His other main symbol were flowers, and new-growth in spring. Tevash is spring, Asha summer, Yona Autmn.
        • His worshippers communed with him by developing a code, understanding what different insectile signals meant. (Morse code, but with ants leaving a colony hole.).
        • Asha, Tevash and Yona were killed by a meteor. They were in a sacred grove together, so one meteor was all that was required to kill all three.
      • Yona, Who Mourns The Living
        • Intersex God, daughter/son of Asha, sibling of Tevash. Also a sacred tree.
        • Coffee tree. The seed is addictive, but in high enough doses TOXIC.
        • Symbolized by fungus, the toadstool, mold, death, and the going-into rebirth in spring.
        • There was debate as to whether or not Yona and Tevash were the same being, just in different seasons.
        • Yona’s physical tree would flower and green during autumn and winter, and be stark and bare during spring and summer.
        • Ran the underworld. The dead were interred underground, and Yona would decompose the body as well as absorb the souls of the dead.
        • His mana would come in two primary forms: alcohol and poison toadstools. His priesthood would consume these psychoactive poisons during holy rituals, and in those moments of ecstacy perform rituals to keep the cycles of the universe keep going.
        • Was killed by a meteor
      • Together, the three gods formed an ecosystem. Asha fixed sunlight. Tevash’s insects ate Asha’s plant products. Yona’s mold decomposed Tevash’s dead insects, feeding Asha with nutrients
      • The gods still live today, technically.
        • Without a doubt, the mother-trees are dead, as are the vast forests-clones which once existed of the gods.
        • HOWEVER, the Church’s priesthood keeps cuttings of the gods on hand at all time. They wear clothing with flowerpots built into them, and carry tiny god-tree bonsai with them all the time in bandoleirs, hats, pockets, waist-pouches. (Each cleric keeps several dozen bonsai-ed god-trees, kept continually in bloom/fruiting. This is so they have a continual source of to-go mana.)
        • Each floating island has a god-orchard with clone-trees of all three gods. The fruit of all of the above is key to maintaining the islands. The fruit contains mana.
      • There are trees throughout the floating islands- they float because of the trees. The trees share a collective consciousness. Over time the forests grow and more soil is needed; when that happens, humanity goes on expiditions to the land far below and mine for soil and stone to expand the island.
      • In the center of each island is a massive tree, and in the branches of that tree is a massive growing sunstone crystal. That sunstone provides all the light for the island; it is fueled by the god-tree in which it rests.
  • Humanity
    • Together, the gods created humanity to act as their caretakers. The gods propagated humanity, and in turn humanity propagated the gods. Humanity watered Asha, fed Tevash, and returned their bodies to Yona. The gods, in turn, made their planet habitable.
  • The Fourth God
    • Humankind is presently attempting to create a Fourth God, to re-establish a stable reality as it was before. The first three gods were emergent phenomena, creations of pure soul inside a self-replicating communication matrix of organic matter. To re-create this, The Church and the Aristocracy is attempting to exploit a shortcut in reality to create an artificial god.
    • This shortcut applies to vampires, as vampires are able to turn into a cloud of bats.
      • Step 1: The vampire turns into a cloud of bats, but when they transform back into human they maybe leave behind one or two bats in feral form. Thanks to conservation of matter but unity of soul, those one or two bats retain the soul of the vampire whom they were cleaved off of. (1 starving vampire + 2 Bats)
      • 2: The vampire loses mass in this act of creation (again, conservation of mass), so they need to replenish their mass by devouring prey. (1 fed vampire + 2 bats)
      • 3: The vampire then repeats the cycle of turning into bat-form and back into human-form, creating one or two more feral form bats… (1 starving vampire + 4 bats)
      • 4: the cycle, in theory, can be repeated an infinite number of times to create an infinite number of bats all linked to the same soul… aka a self-replicating communication matrix of organic matter.
      • The rate of growth for numbers of bats depends on how frequently the vampire can feed, which is the major hurdle. The human population has been devastated, as has access to resources needed to repair this devastation. As vampires feed on humans, this slows things down in a big way.
      • But the situation is not beyond hope. The quantity of vampire bats created in this way can reach a critical mass that the new-born vampire god will be able to repair the devastation… but of course should that happen, humanity will be enthralled to a vampire god, which would be bad after the utopia of the old gods.
    • There is no ‘psychic link’ between any of the individual bats which make up the emergent phenomena of the in-theory god, just as there’s no psychic link between the individual trees, insects and fungus which made up the Tribunal Gods. They can communicate with one another in bat-language, but they possess bat-level intelligence.
    • NOTE: All vampires keep around one or two dozen feral bat familiars at all time. The bats generate mana/sacrifice/ritual power by flying around and carrying prayer flags. Flying around carrying those flags generates energy. These ferals act as familiars for the vampires, giving them a wellspring of power into which to tap at any moment. THIS is why the average vampire is so dangerous, because they have a renewable source of power onto which to draw which the average human doesn’t have access to.
    • Vampire aristocrats harvest ‘blood taxes’ by sending these ferals out to succor upon their peasants. As vampire society is feudal, lesser vampire lords are then fed upon by greater vampire lords, who are in turn fed upon by vampire kings, who are fed upon by vampire emperors.
    • Eventually the vampire at the top of the food chain will tax so much blood from his lessers (wealth flows uphill), that he/she will turn into a god. (But of course this never happens. Whenever a vampire gets close to metamorphosing into a god, another vampire kills them.)
    • And finally, the feral bats a vampire leaves behind act as a sort of respawn mechanism if they are assassinated. The human body might be killed, but their souls are still linked to the aerial bats still flying around. Those aerial bats can coalesce back into a human. Assassinating a vampire is therefore fairly tricky, as you must thin out the population of vampire bats of the enemy as well as assassinating their humanoid body.

FACTIONS

  • The Vampiric Aristocracy (General Notes)
    • Vampires rule the world. 1/5 of the aristocracy is vampiric, while 4/5 are human.
    • Spread into different fiefdoms. The largest of which are Duchies, which are furthest broken down into Counties.
    • Each Duke and Count holds court over their lands, attended by an assortment of courtiers
    • They control the land, and extract taxes from the peasantry. They then use those taxes to enrich themselves, and pay to keep the islands floating. They do extract monetary taxes, but their primary form of taxation takes the form of vampiric draining/human sacrifice. They are vampires, after all.
    • So the peasantry pay taxes to the counts and the counts pay taxes to the dukes. Life energy moves up the food chain from bottom to top. The peasantry keeps getting weaker, while the nobility keeps getting stronger.
      • Note that blood sacrifice is how the islands stay floating. It’s a grim business.
    • They’re a bunch of cunts. Being a vampire means corrupting yourself with personality-corrupting magic. They try to resist the temptation of the corruption, but it’s always there, wriggling it’s way into the corners of their brains. There is a cultural expectation that they resist the corruption, as the Church assassinates anyone who gets out of line. Even so, to survive in the harsh political climate of the floating islands they have to be crafty political animals who are willing to betray and murder on a dime.
    • The ones who do resist the corruption are still monsters, as they do eat people unrepentantly.
    • The human aristocrats are less jerky, but even so they tend to mirror the powerful men and women in their courts (ie vampires).
  • HOUSE A- The House of the Spirit
    • Beta and Alpha
    • Initially Epsilon
    • The most powerful House on the planet. Their patriarch/scion/father has plans on becoming the next god. We find out about this shortly before he’s killed. He’s killed because another family wants to take control of their territory/become a god.
  • HOUSE B- The House of the Leech
    • Gamma and Epsilon, after Epsilon’s Betrayal
  • HOUSE C- The House of the Ghoul
    • Allies to Faction B
  • HOUSE D- The House of the Bat
    • Initially allies to Faction A, but switch to B at the moment of the betrayal
    • Alpha was going to be married off to these people in the beginning to secure an alliance, but SOMETHING happened to prevent this.
      • Maybe Gamma was hired to assassinate Alpha’s fiancé, thus nixing the alliance? She is an assassin, after all.
      • Maybe not. Maybe she is trying to find the assassin. The Church assassins do not approve of anyone getting assassinated, when they’re not the ones doing the assassinating.
  • THE PEASANTRY
    • Need to think this one over. It’s the biggest, most important faction of all.
    • Maybe base them off of the Soviets in WW1 era, mixed with some guerilla tactics a-la the NRA?
    • I think I need a peasant protagonist. Not just Epsilon- he’s been fully indoctrinated into the Paladin order. I need a rebel.
  • The Paladin Order/The Awareness Paladins
    • The military branch of the Church, they sell their swords and prayers to the aristocracy.
    • Magic and violence are corrupt acts, so they embrace purity of thought to counter that corruption. They focus on meditation and self-awareness to persevere in the face of that corruption.
    • The Paladin Order contains the strongest fighters on the planet precisely because they are able to control the corruption. They are able to wield magic offensively to a greater extant than other people and not be corrupted. And as wars are decided by 1v1 combat, being the best warriors means they are the most in demand.
    • Due to the in-demand nature of Paladins as champions, they act as the interface between the Church and the Aristocracy, a relationship which is otherwise fairly fructuous.
  • The Church of the Fallen Gods
    • The Church is devoted to saving mankind and reviving the gods, in that order. They view the vampires as a necessary evil to make that happen.
    • In the wake of the god’s death, the Church stopped practicing holy magic and started practicing unholy magic, and now wields that unholy magic to keep humanity alive in the middle of the apocalypse. The universe is dead, only extreme measures can people alive in the corpse of reality.
    • They possess the magical artifacts and expertise needed to keep the islands floating and islands alive, but they don’t have the raw energy required for it. They use the aristocracy as the glove to extract blood magic from the peasantry, keeping their own hands clean in the process. The aristocracy needs the church, the church needs the aristocracy, and both need the peasantry.
    • They aren’t strong enough to directly fight the aristocracy- the aristocracy do have armies, for all that those armies rarely fight. But the Church does have the Paladin Order, meaning that the Church can’t just be crushed by the aristocracy.
    • They do provide a countermeasure against the vampires of the aristocracy. If one of them ever steps out of line and becomes too corrupt/bloodthirsty, then the Church can and does send in assassins to deal with the problem. Any aristocrat can call in a hit, but the Church won’t always honor that hit. They’ll only follow through if the hit meets certain qualifications.

FACTIONAL CONFLICTS

  • Aristocratic Cannibalism- In particular Foie Gras Cannibalism
    • The aristocracy contains quite a number of vampires and ghouls, and they eat people to survive. The aristocracy is also deeply corrupt and prone to decadence. Not only do they eat their peasantry, but they also fatten them up like geese, then harvest their livers to eat raw on crackers. That’s right- this is an explicate parallel to modern foie gras.
    • Foie Gras cannibalism is highly controversial, especially among the Peasantry, but less-so by the Church and the Paladin order. It happens anyway because livers are tasty to vampires.
    • Normal vampiric cannibalism is tolerated by the Church and Paladin orders as a necessity after the apocalypse (it’s not tolerated by the peasantry, but they don’t get a vote). This new decadent and evil habit has everyone pissed off, but the aristocracy loves flexing it’s muscles and proving that it is the strongest of the pillars supporting human civilization. The other factions don’t have the power to stop the conspicuous consumption of human sweetmeats.
    • For an approximation, go back to Stargate and the Goa’uld. In the final hours of their empire they turned to orgiestic cannibalism of symbiotes.
    • (Good gods this is gross. When you write about it, make sure to make the subtext as viscerally disgusting as possible. That will make for emotionally compelling reading, helping the reader empathize with the victims instead of the vampires. And as a side effect, hopefully change the reader’s mind about modern practice of foie gras.)
  • Interfactional strife- namely between aristocratic clans
    • There is a push-and-pull of alliances between the different clans.
      • On one hand they NEED alliances with one another to prevent other powers from conquoring them. So they forge marriage alliances with one another.
      • But on the other hand, those marriage alliances open up the possibility of children who will have the right to inherit the titles of both their parents. Those children can be used as pawns in a proxy fight between their two clans. The clans are allies one generation, but a generation later they’re at one another’s throats.
      • As a result of this push-and-pull, there are HIGH rates of murder among the aristocracy. Two clans are joined through union and childbirth, but as soon as the alliance becomes unnecessary the married couple are either divorced or murdered and the child is killed by the weaker of the two allies.
        • Why only the weaker of the two powers? Because the stronger faction wants to keep that child alive, to use his inheritance rights to try to conquor the weaker power.
      • Fundamentally, this is why alliances occur in the first place: protect one another now, and possibly conquor one another later.
      • No one wants to ally with stronger powers, because they know that they’ll be conquered if they do.
  • d

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s