Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hemophagia: Myths and Facts, part 9

Myth: Hemophages belong to clans with different strengths and weaknesses.

Fact: Little is known what, if any, social structure exists among Hemophages. Like all diseases, HHV has many strains and each has its own characteristics. While the Hemophagic condition is much more mutable than popular culture portrays, there are some ways to identify different "bloodlines" without lab tests or direct contact.

There are four main types of Hemophage dentition, including "unchanged" normal human dentition. The other three are:

Elongated canines
Elongated lateral incisors

A quick examination of bite marks on a Hemophage victim can help narrow down the possible strains of the virus.

Other characteristics will be dealt with in later entries.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Hemophagia: Myths and Facts, part 8

Myth: Hemophages turn to dust when killed.

Fact: This myth is based on the belief that decay and decomposition will "catch up" to the reanimated flesh once it is devoid of necromantic energy. However, much of the natural decomposition process is the result of the work of bacteria, insects, and other living, external organisms. Most of these processes cannot begin until the hemophage is no longer active. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hemophagia: Myths and Facts, part 7

Myth: Hemophages are alive.

Fact: Hemophages are only superficially "alive," in that they are animated Thaumaturgically. Their muscles can move and neurons can fire because of Necromantic energy, not the regular chemical processes that sustain biological life. Normally necessary functions like respiration and digestion therefor do not need to occur.

This can lead to some confusion about whether hemophages breathe as we do. Many reports of "rank breath" would indicate they do. However, despite not needing to breathe to live, hemophages still need to inhale and exhale air (not necessarily oxygen) in order to speak. It is also possible some hemophages respire out of force of habit.

Whether or not a hemophage's heart beats or blood circulates varies. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hemophagia: Myths and Facts, part 6

Myth: Zombies are a kind of vampire.

Fact: The word "zombie" is almost universally misused outside of the medical community. A zombie is a living human being poisoned with a cocktail of drugs, including tetrodotoxin, which causes a temporary, death-like coma. When the effects wear off, the "zombie" has lost most higher brain functions and becomes a simple brute.

In contrast, a revenant is a truly dead body that reanimates through Thaumaturgy. Some forms of revenantism are in fact produced by specific mutations of the Hemophage virus and function in similar ways. The most studied strains (known as Pennsylvania HHV) differ from "classic" Hemophagia in the following ways:

  • Rapid infection and reanimation, usually within hours.
  • Loss of sapience (higher brain functions, language) and deteriorated motor coordination.
  • This lower intelligence also means that revenants do not exhibit Hemophage powers, but are also immune to psychological inhibitors (such as pain or the threat of pain)
  • Stronger resistance to sunlight.
  • Flesh-eating (though presumably for the same need for blood as Hemophages)
Rumors persist about an "Apocalypse" strain, with a 100% infection rate.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Hemophagia: Myths and Facts, part 5

Myth: Hemophages are repelled by religious items.

Fact: There is psychological phenomenon among a minority of those infected with HHV to believe they are cursed and to have an intense fear of the paraphernalia or liturgies of some or all religions. This reaction can often be so severe that physical contact with a "holy" object can cause a rash in the immediate area. Anecdotal evidence of such behavior among actual Hemophages abounds.

However, an equally large body of experience suggests that many Hemophages have no such reaction. Trusting in a crucifix and holy water is no guarantee of safety against the undead.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hemophagia: Myths and Facts, part 4

Myth: Killing a vampire will destroy any vampires it created and cure anyone infected by it.

Fact: This is likely the most dangerous myth that exists around Hemophages. The only way to cure someone of HHV is through medical treatment, not vampire hunting. Many people have lost their lives focusing on destroying a "master vampire" and then falling prey to its progeny (which they had expected to self-destruct.)

See also http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NoOntologicalInertia

Thursday, November 24, 2011

HHV contagion rates

[This is for reference only, not a replacement for medical advice. If you have been bitten by a Hemophage or HHV-infected individual, or otherwise exposed to HHV+ blood, seek immediate medical attention.]

To address misinformation on the subject of HHV contagion, here is a short list of factors that influence whether someone will become infected with the virus:

  1. Method
    • Infection rate (on average)
      • Blood transfusion: 90%
      • Ingesting HHV+ blood: 25%
      • Unprotected sex with HHV+ partner: 1%
      • Hemophage bite: 0.1%
  2. Strain
    • There are many species of virus under the umbrella of HHV and many strains of each species. Some are simply more virulent than others. For example, even within the Eurasian HHV-A virus species, the infection rate from a single bite is 200 times higher for the Styrian strain than the Levantine strain.
  3. Genetics
    • Hemophages were, until the modern era, local creatures not prone to relocation. As such, populations usually developed a resistance to the local strain of the virus. So, for example, a European is less likely to contract the Styrian strain than Sino-Tibetan even if exposed to both, while the reverse would be true for someone from China.
  4. Hygiene
    • HHV is a blood-borne pathogen, which means a bite should, theoretically, never result in infection (see above for the comparative infection rates). However, many Hemophages self-cannablize, intentionally or not, leaving infected blood in their mouths and then transferring it to the victim's bloodstream. This is worst among Hemophages with exposed fangs as the elongated, unretracted canines constantly puncture and draw infected blood from the Hemophage's lower lip.
  5. Repeated exposure
    • Obviously each time a person is bitten it will introduce more virus into the bloodstream and increase the chances of infection.