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    Default Do vampires breathe?

    So, assuming Belkar actually DOES get vampirized (he is currently only in the first round and Malack has to get him to 0 Con) that raises the question about whether or not this avoids the "last breathe EVER" prophesy. A lot of people assume it will, but I'm not so convinced as I believe vampires continue to breathe normally, albeit mostly for appearences.

    The SRD seems to agree with this, as it notes that Vampires cannot stand the odor of garlic, which raises the question of how they can possibly smell if they do not breathe.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Of course, vampire lore is generally pretty divided, but in my view of vampires, they are *able* to breathe (or have the appearance of doing so, at least), but they don't need to. As for the garlic thing, i don't think it is the smell of garlic per se that harms them, but rather some supernatural purity of garlic itself.

    Vampires probably have a strong predatory sense akin to smell, but i imagine that, since vampires are undead magical beings, it doesn't require mundane breathing.
    Last edited by pollyanna; 2013-02-19 at 06:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    As undead creatures, vampires do not breathe. In D&D, breathing is apparently not necessary for smelling or speaking.

    If you want an example from pop culture, at the end of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel is unable to save a drowned Buffy because as a vampire he "has no breath," even though he realistically needs to move air in and out of his lungs in order to speak. He is also seen smoking a cigar in a second season episode of Angel. In fact, his breath should be even more useful for giving mouth-to-mouth given that his lungs don't remove any of the oxygen from the air.

    In other words: Vampires do not breathe. No, it does not have to make sense.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As undead creatures, vampires do not breathe. In D&D, breathing is apparently not necessary for smelling or speaking.
    I think this is a semantics question. If you define breathing as the biological requirement to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the air in order to continue to live, a vampire doesn't breathe. It can still use his lungs as a bellows for such things as talking, smoking and smelling, but he doesn't breathe since he doesn't take air and return carbon dioxide.

    As I say, this is semantics: similar to how the answer about the tree falling in the forest making noise depends on how you define "noise" (I, as an engineer, define it as "shock waves propagating" which makes the answer "yes", but others define noise as "waves arriving to a hearing sense" which makes the answer "no").

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    Last edited by Grey_Wolf_c; 2013-02-19 at 08:32 PM.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Hmm this is a fascinating conversation... one thing i was just thinking, and I'd like to get the opinions of you esteemed ladies and gentleman on, is whether or not vampires (and other intelligent undead, i guess) are able to be affected by drugs and alcohol. I think a lot of these vampire biology questions could be somewhat informed by the answer to that. undead are immune to like sleep and charm and stuff, right? also poison? but can an undead get high or drunk? probly a weird question, but I was wondering what you thought of it.
    Last edited by pollyanna; 2013-02-19 at 08:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Quote Originally Posted by pollyanna View Post
    Hmm this is a fascinating conversation... one thing i was just thinking, and I'd like to get the opinions of you esteemed ladies and gentleman on, is whether or not vampires (and other intelligent undead, i guess) are able to be affected by drugs and alcohol. I think a lot of these vampire biology questions could be somewhat informed by the answer to that. undead are immune to like sleep and charm and stuff, right? also poison? but can an undead get high or drunk? probly a weird question, but I was wondering what you thought of it.
    As far as I know from the relevant literature*, the only way a vampire can get high is by sucking the blood of someone with massive amounts of drugs in their blood (and then only the effect to them is rather minor and short lived). A vampire cannot digest food, and has no pulse so injecting the drug (or sniffing it, or any other form of localised drug taking) would not do much either, so the only time when blood goes to every part of his body is when taking it from someone else (the actual biology of how that works is, of course, unexplained).

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    *I have not read vampire literature extensively - I find vampire characters flat and boring - so I may be way off-base.
    Last edited by Grey_Wolf_c; 2013-02-19 at 08:58 PM.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    hmmm that makes a lot of sense :) i guess with all the normal substance delivery systems inactive in a vamp, the only way to feel the high is to swipe it from a live victim. heh thanks for your detailed answer to my question :)

    I am interested in undeadology in general, not just vamps hehe ;)

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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Quote Originally Posted by pollyanna View Post
    I am interested in undeadology in general, not just vamps hehe ;)
    Strickly DnD speaking, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libris_Mortis is a great book with lots of fluff and mudane (there's a giant table of all undead up to that point summerizing the answer to "Does this undead eat?").
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    If the smell of garlic was all that kept vampires away, then they'd just need to cover their nose to ignore it.

    There's some other property of garlic that repels vampires. Maybe it's simply symbolic, or maybe it causes some other severe allergic reaction.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Breathing or not, that garlic issue will seriously handicap his Profession (gourmet chef) skills. Poor Belkar :(

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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    If the smell of garlic was all that kept vampires away, then they'd just need to cover their nose to ignore it.

    There's some other property of garlic that repels vampires. Maybe it's simply symbolic, or maybe it causes some other severe allergic reaction.
    No, the SRD explicitly says it is the smell.

    However, the SRD also says undead do not breathe.

    So I think my issue is, as mentioned above, semantic. We -know- that Belkar is still perfectly capable of drawing a breath, but from a strict rules perspective it may not actually count as breathing.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    I think this is a semantics question. If you define breathing as the biological requirement to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the air in order to continue to live, a vampire doesn't breathe. It can still use his lungs as a bellows for such things as talking, smoking and smelling, but he doesn't breathe since he doesn't take air and return carbon dioxide.

    As I say, this is semantics: similar to how the answer about the tree falling in the forest making noise depends on how you define "noise" (I, as an engineer, define it as "shock waves propagating" which makes the answer "yes", but others define noise as "waves arriving to a hearing sense" which makes the answer "no").
    I always say the waves themselves are sound, and the sense of hearing them is noise. You a hear a noise, from the soundwaves. Its kinda pedantic.

    But you know, the Oracle is also pretty pedantic. And genre-savvy. So if he says 'last breath' he probably means it in the most literal-possible way. And in this universe, that means RAW, or whatever the author wants to use as the in-story equivilant of RAW.
    Last edited by urkthegurk; 2013-02-20 at 02:52 PM.

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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Quote Originally Posted by FujinAkari View Post
    No, the SRD explicitly says it is the smell.

    However, the SRD also says undead do not breathe.

    So I think my issue is, as mentioned above, semantic. We -know- that Belkar is still perfectly capable of drawing a breath, but from a strict rules perspective it may not actually count as breathing.
    I think this goes into "the creators of 3rd ed did not understand biology as fully as maybe they 'should' have" territory, to be honest.

    For now, I will personally assume, regardless of semantic parsing, that Belkar being "turned" might well count as the fulfillment of the Oracle's prophecy. We shall see.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quorothorn View Post
    I think this goes into "the creators of 3rd ed did not understand biology as fully as maybe they 'should' have" territory, to be honest.

    For now, I will personally assume, regardless of semantic parsing, that Belkar being "turned" might well count as the fulfillment of the Oracle's prophecy. We shall see.
    Because there's absolutely no suspension of disbelief or things that are physically impossible anywhere else in DnD.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    I want to pose a deep hypothetical question. Can anyone here imagine an OOTS without Belkar?

    The answer, of course, is no.

    So, another one. Can anyone here imagine an OOTS with a vampire Belkar?

    My answer: yes, easily. Therefore I assume that Belkar will not die - at least, not in a way that renders him incapable of stabbing things for our amusement.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Tentacle View Post
    I want to pose a deep hypothetical question. Can anyone here imagine an OOTS without Belkar?

    The answer, of course, is no.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Procyonpi View Post
    Because there's absolutely no suspension of disbelief or things that are physically impossible anywhere else in DnD.
    Uhhh... you realize that actually helps the "the writers didn't understand biology as well as they ought" statement, right?

    Suspension of Disbelief refers to an audiences' ability to accept a world founded on unfamilier principles, such as the existence of magic. Whenever an event occurs which is not internally consistant with the world the audience has come to accept, that is a breech of their suspension of disbelief and a failing of the author.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Tentacle View Post
    I want to pose a deep hypothetical question. Can anyone here imagine an OOTS without Belkar?

    The answer, of course, is no.
    Quite easily, actually.
    Last edited by FujinAkari; 2013-02-20 at 07:30 PM.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Quote Originally Posted by FujinAkari View Post
    Uhhh... you realize that actually helps the "the writers didn't understand biology as well as they ought" statement, right?

    Suspension of Disbelief refers to an audiences' ability to accept a world founded on unfamilier principles, such as the existence of magic. Whenever an event occurs which is not internally consistant with the world the audience has come to accept, that is a breech of their suspension of disbelief and a failing of the author.
    So what's wrong with "vampires can smell and talk using magic?"

    I mean, there's actually a semi-narrative reasons for that, as opposed to a lot of the rules of magic effects and stacking that are basically "it interferes, because game balance."
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As undead creatures, vampires do not breathe. In D&D, breathing is apparently not necessary for smelling or speaking.

    If you want an example from pop culture, at the end of the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel is unable to save a drowned Buffy because as a vampire he "has no breath," even though he realistically needs to move air in and out of his lungs in order to speak. He is also seen smoking a cigar in a second season episode of Angel. In fact, his breath should be even more useful for giving mouth-to-mouth given that his lungs don't remove any of the oxygen from the air.

    In other words: Vampires do not breathe. No, it does not have to make sense.
    On a related note, the fact that they dont breathe, have no heartbeat, also implies that it shouldnt have been possible for buffy and angel to have sex. Physical arousal requires blood flow. Vamps have no heartbeat. Now THERE is a bit of a plot hole for you. Unless he dipped it in glue and waited for it to dry, I dont think her first time was very thrilling.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    On a related note, the fact that they dont breathe, have no heartbeat, also implies that it shouldnt have been possible for buffy and angel to have sex. Physical arousal requires blood flow. Vamps have no heartbeat. Now THERE is a bit of a plot hole for you. Unless he dipped it in glue and waited for it to dry, I dont think her first time was very thrilling.
    I got the impression that they could get temporary blood flow from feeding on human blood.

    I remember when Xykon first became a lich there was a comment on how he could talk without lungs or breath and the answer was that his voice was now powered purely by negative energy. No reason why that can't be the same for vampires.

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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    On a related note, the fact that they dont breathe, have no heartbeat, also implies that it shouldnt have been possible for buffy and angel to have sex. Physical arousal requires blood flow. Vamps have no heartbeat. Now THERE is a bit of a plot hole for you. Unless he dipped it in glue and waited for it to dry, I dont think her first time was very thrilling.
    It got thrilling later when he started trying to kill her.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charity322 View Post
    I got the impression that they could get temporary blood flow from feeding on human blood.

    I remember when Xykon first became a lich there was a comment on how he could talk without lungs or breath and the answer was that his voice was now powered purely by negative energy. No reason why that can't be the same for vampires.
    Probably due to the shows rating they never got into explaining it. Although i doubt it since buffy vamps arent necromantic, they are blood demons infesting a corpse or some such thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    On a related note, the fact that they dont breathe, have no heartbeat, also implies that it shouldnt have been possible for buffy and angel to have sex. Physical arousal requires blood flow. Vamps have no heartbeat. Now THERE is a bit of a plot hole for you. Unless he dipped it in glue and waited for it to dry, I dont think her first time was very thrilling.
    Everything in the body requires bloodflow. Muscles burn oxygen to operate, for example. That's why vampires don't actually exist in real life. But I think we can have a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. The rules /book descriptions/traditions don't say anything about the vampires not being able to get their (ahem) "groove" on, only that they don't [need to] breathe as a biological necessity, just like they don't need to eat (how strict the no-eating policy is depends on the story, of course. Some vampires can eat but only require blood, while others are made sick by anything other than blood).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charity322 View Post
    I remember when Xykon first became a lich there was a comment on how he could talk without lungs or breath and the answer was that his voice was now powered purely by negative energy. No reason why that can't be the same for vampires.
    Forgetting Buffy. This was the important part of my post (and probably shouldn't have been posted with the Buffy stuff).

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    It's called "dead space."

    That's where the name of the video game, Dead Space comes from; it's the act of breathing without actual respiration taking place.

    And let's not forget that the Oracle probably can't even give clear predictions to save his/her life, so let's not accept the most obvious answers to Oracle-related questions first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by karkus View Post
    It's called "dead space."

    That's where the name of the video game, Dead Space comes from; it's the act of breathing without actual respiration taking place.

    And let's not forget that the Oracle probably can't even give clear predictions to save his/her life, so let's not accept the most obvious answers to Oracle-related questions first.
    I believe Rich said in the DStP commentary that half the point of that sequence was to discredit excesively lawyery interpretations of the prophecies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by karkus View Post
    And let's not forget that the Oracle probably can't even give clear predictions to save his/her life, so let's not accept the most obvious answers to Oracle-related questions first.
    Yeah...

    "Vaarsuvius," "In his throneroom," and "Girard's Gate" are all extremely vague and confusing prophesies.

    The Oracle actually has a good record on giving very clear predictions. Even his "vague" ones are recognized as being the prophesy at the time they come true.
    Last edited by FujinAkari; 2013-02-23 at 12:39 AM.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Vampires are not alive, and therefore do not require oxygen. Perhaps they suck in air and expel it to form words, but that is nothing at all like respiration.

    Yes, it doesn't make biological sense. If it did, vampires would exist in our universe. Perhaps in some other universe they do, where the laws of nature are VERY different from ours. But it's equally useless to say that the designers of the game were 'ignorant of biology' -- because vampires are biologically impossible no matter how you cut it -- or that they must respire because they can talk.

    Belkar, as a vampire, will have drawn his last breath ever. There's no need, IMO, to complicate it, because you're always going to run into the fact that vampires are impossible anyway, so saying that it's impossible to talk without breathing is no more cogent than saying there's no biological way they can turn into a bat at will.
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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    The purpose of breathing is to replenish the oxygen in the blood. The vampire doesn't need to replenish it; he keeps getting new blood.

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    Default Re: Do vampires breathe?

    Biologically, you do not need to breathe to smell something. It's just the most efficient way to get airborne scents up against your olfactory sensors. Some creatures use different methods. (A snake's tongue comes to mind...)
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