This is all excellent and I’m just throwing out some other ideas for consideration. Here’s a quote from the fantastic British series Ultraviolet on this problem of vampires and feeding. It’s an amazing show and it has some pretty neat insights into vampires that are worth lifting. It also has Idris Elba as a vampire hunter.
- The FAQ here says it takes about a month to replenish the pint of blood that normal donations ask for. You should probably go by that law or maybe cut it a little closer – say, every twenty days – to avoid killing the human or giving them severe anemia. You should probably bring more people into the blood fold so the vampire can feed more often.
- Your vampire could suck the blood out through an IV, straw, or any other device that keeps the vampire mouth away from human skin. Or the human could give the pint of blood and the vamp could suck it out of the donation bag. Alternately, you could come up with a different method of spreading vampirism, like a spell or being touched with a talisman or dying in a certain way.
Just a note: blood isn’t a very good nutrient. The vampire bat drinks about half its weight in blood at every meal to get the nutrients it needs. To compare, an 80 kg vampire would need to drink 40 L of blood (84.5 pints) almost daily if they had the same blood-evolved digestive system as the vampire bat. Also, at the end of feeding, the vampire bat is too heavy to fly, so it urinates most of the liquid in the blood it has drunk. Most vampire books don’t address this – and I’m not saying you should either – but it’s something to think about.Mike: How is all this kept quiet? I mean, a body turns up drained-Doctor Angie Marsh: Doesn’t happen. Successful parasites don’t kill their host. They don’t drain their prey unless they want to recruit, and they’re very careful about who they recruit. Like we are
You get into trouble if you think about vampires as predators, but instead as parasites. A vampire doesn’t have to kill, in fact, it’s better for them in the long run if they don’t because they can keep themselves fed on a safe, steady supply of blood without having to worry about the mess that comes with having to constantly dispose of the bodies.
If you’re dealing with a variant of vampire that has to completely drain the host to ensure their own survival then this won’t apply, but if a vampire can leave the person their feeding on alive then they should because that person is a replenishing supply of blood. Now, your vampire is going to have to have developed some measure of self-control to be able to do this and depending on the kind of person the vampire is that may be difficult. It’s also going to depend on how often the vampire practices feeding. A vampire who feeds on human beings constantly is going to be better at controlling themselves than a vampire who does not do so regularly or one that usually completely abstains, such as Stefan Salvatore of Nicholas Knight. A vampire who turns up their nose at being a vampire isn’t going to be a very good at actually being vampire when it counts.
You’re going also going to have to ask yourself a few questions:
1) How much blood does the vampire need to drink to survive?
A vampire who needs to devour the whole amount of blood in the human system to replenish the blood they lose daily may actually choose to feed from multiple different people everyday instead of just one. If they only need a little blood, they may just use a single individual.
2) How often does the vampire need to feed?
If your vampire needs to feed every day, then feeding from the same person could be a problem. If the vampire only really needs to eat every few days or only needs fresh blood every few days while alternately subsisting on blood bags or animal blood, then they’ll probably give the human the time they need to recover before they feed again. Will they be living with the human or will it be a standard drop by situation?
3) How do people become vampires in your setting?
Sometimes, the process can be complicated. Sometimes, depending on the vampire society, it can be highly and carefully regulated. How people become vampires is going to depend on how many people know that vampires exist or if the existence of vampires is common knowledge. If turning someone into a vampire without the express permission of the local vampire government is illegal, then it’s likely that your vampire is going to be very careful when he or she feeds.
4) Why isn’t the vampire just taking the blood?
Vampires don’t generally pay for blood, so this is something that you’re going to have to cover in your story if you haven’t already. It can be moral reasons or the vampires not possessing powers of mind control, but the reason should be fairly upfront to avoid confusion.
Ultraviolet (1998): This fantastic British serial from the late nineties starred Jack Davenport, Idris Elba, Suzannah Harker, and Philip Quast. It may be a little hard to find, but you should look at it.
Forever Knight (1989-1996): This campy show starred Geraint Wyn Davies as the 800 year old vampire Nicholas Knight, who was looking for redemption and worked as a cop in Toronto. It’s ridiculously campy, but the vampires are done very well and might provide you with some ideas for getting out of the Anne Rice box. (If nothing else, Nigel Bennet as Nick’s sire, Lacroix is memorable.)
Vampire: the Masquerade: I usually throw this one out there, but it’s a great toolbox for how vampires might live in the modern world and what sort of societies, rules, and laws they might generate. Specifically, the source book Ghouls may be helpful to you for generating ideas on how other vampires might view your vampire’s arrangement with your human and how other relationships between vampires and humans evolve. If you want the experience of being a vampire or existing in the Masquerade world, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines is a great video game RPG to get you thinking like a vampire (just don’t play the Malkavians first).