So in my story Dracula rules over an entire country full of humans and monsters(mainly vampires). Dracula is known by all inhabitants of this country as the one who rules it. Even the humans. Dracula has come up with a way where he and all the vampires can still feed on humans and still rule over them at the same time, how?.

The humans still choose to live here, even though they are at the bottom of the food chain, why?

(Just to clue you in on some context) The setting is victorian city and rural transylvania themed. , most monsters live in the rural areas and most humans live in the cities.Dracula lives in a massive castle in the rural area and rarely leaves.

(Some reasons im thinking of.) The humans aren't helpless theyve but they arent all that formidable. What I mean is they are confident enough to thrive and live in cities like normal humans but regardless they can still be murdered when faced against a monster.

Yeah, I'm open to suggestions how can I make this work?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't see your problem, why would he have any more difficulty ruling his country than any other (brutal or not) tyrant throughout history? I assume there's the standard government infrastructure? so he's at the top of it then, end of discussion .. you're going to need to elaborate on what you perceive the problem to be that you think you need to find a fix for because I don't see one, & I doubt I'll be alone in that. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Nov 16 '19 at 3:18
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    $\begingroup$ Count Vlad Dracula (Vlad III Drăculea) actually did rule over a county. Factually, it happened like this: Vlad was the second of four brothers born into the noble family of Vlad II Dracul. His name was derived from the Latin draco (“dragon”) after his father’s induction into the Order of the Dragon, created by Emperor Sigismund to defend Christian Europe against the Ottomans. Vlad moved to Walachia when his father came to power. In 1442 Vlad went to Sultan Murad II to assure him that Walachia would support Ottoman policies. Vlad returned in 1448 on news that his family was assassinated. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Nov 16 '19 at 3:47
  • $\begingroup$ Vlad fought brutally with his younger brother (who sided with the Ottomans) and eventually became the governor (voivodate) of Walachia, leaving thousands of corpses who had been impaled alive in fields to warn off the Ottomans. He was born in Transylvania but never ruled there. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Nov 16 '19 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ @VogonPoet : "Factually, it happened" : Oh my, "factually" yes Vlad Țepeș was the ruler of Wallachia, howsoever, "factually" a vampire he was not .. as you were, you can carry on now, my sudden attack of unsolicited pedantry seems to have passed, $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Nov 16 '19 at 4:00
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    $\begingroup$ @VogonPoet: We Romanians very much prefer "prince" of Wal(l)achia, not "governor". Wal(l)achia, Moldavia and Transylvania were principalities, not governorates. (The Romanian title is something like "I <name> voivode, by the grace of God sole master and lord of the Romanian Land". And Vlad III was born in Transylvania only because his father had to live there for some time while a rival branch of the old Basarab dynasty ruled Wallachia.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Nov 16 '19 at 4:40

You are describing a classic predator-prey system

To justify how this works, you need to look at how predators and prey coexist in natural ecosystems. Prey species show a number of adaptations to reducing predation risk, including forming groups, engaging in vigilance and defensive behaviours, and "hiding" (whether underground, up trees, or concealed by vegetation. Forms of predator defence work because they increase the "hunting costs" of a predator - by making the predator incur costs - whether these are time or energy costs, or risks of injury - they make each hunt less profitable and so decrease the per capita risk to the prey.

So examining your scenario - humans live largely in towns, while the monsters live in the wilds. So your humans are already forming groups - this might just be a "selfish herd" (Hamilton, 1971) benefit (reduced chance of being the one killed with each monster attack), but will likely allow more organised defence. They live in structures which increase the search time and energy costs of hunting vampires. It might be that your humans take this further - narrow twisting streets might be harder for a vampire to fly down, particularly if the humans put up a netting and canopies (or even hang laundry across the streets). Sealed doors and windows will slow down a hunting vampire. Perhaps the humans also live in small rooms joined together by doors and narrow corridors, each with more doors. Maybe they even move between residences within the town, so that e.g. ⅓ of all residences are vacant at any one time - all to increase the search costs of the vampires.

From Optimal Foraging Theory, we can predict that the vampires will attempt to optimise their "energy" returns (in this case gaining sufficient blood to tide them over to the next meal), and so the distance they have to travel to the town to hunt, and the time taken to look for a human to feed on, and whatever energy they use up in the process, have to set against how much they gain from one or more victims. Even if your vampires don't have an energy constraint, they definitely have a time constraint - they have to be back in their shelters before dawn, so the humans just have to hold out that long (and for each individual human, it's about them surviving the night, even if that means a neighbour is taken)

[wouldn't normally pick wikipedia as a source, but the page on optimal foraging theory is pretty good: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimal_foraging_theory]

Now to your question: why don't the humans leave?

First, where would they go? If they leave the relatively safety of the town(s), they'll be in the wilderness, where all the vampires are. Even if they can travel safely by day, at night they will be hugely vulnerable - in a much smaller group, without the protection of buildings and much closer to the vampires' roosts - any groups trying to leave face being wiped out. These humans may have little knowledge of where else they might go - what reason would they have for assuming that the wider world was any different to their immediate surroundings?

Non-human animals in the real world suffer high levels of predation without abandoning areas - which may be because they know where the food is locally (this would also apply to your humans), and the surrounding areas may have hostile groups of the same species - added to which leaving groups sacrifices that protection. In your scenario, it even even be the case that if local food supply can only support each town, humans might be hostile to humans from other towns - because they can't afford to feed extra mouths - or they might also be welcoming, as there's greater safety in numbers. (It's worth noting that if you're going for realism, towns only survive because of the countryside that surrounds them and provides them with food, so you might have to hand-wave away where the humans get their food. Maybe the towns are build above caves that provide substantial mushroom crops, and incidentally provide hideaways from the vampires.)

Real world prey species typically breed faster than predators - the above analysis will collapse if every person fed on by a vampire becomes a vampire - the humans will be wiped out very quickly (timescale will depend on initial number of vampires and number of "kills" per night). If however, vampires breed very slowly (which would be typical of long-lived species - perhaps vampire "reproduction" is different from vampire "feeding") then your human/vampire system will be an even better match for real-world predator-prey systems.

You'll also need a low density of vampires, particularly if humans are their only prey.

So finally, to get to your original question: How is it possible to rule over the whole country?

Humans are scared, and subjugated. They survive as best they can. Each individual has a pretty good chance of surviving each night's vampire hunt (maybe vampires only hunt few times per year?), such that they are likely to survive long enough to have children and raise them to an age where they can reproduce. Living in towns provides that survival edge, but also creates an effective prison. It is too dangerous for the humans to do anything else.

Of course, this raises the question of what sense Dracula rules over the country? He presumably doesn't collect taxes (what would he need wealth for?), and doesn't need the humans to act as an army to attack other countries (or defend against their aggression), as the vampires would be a far more effective force. It would seem that he doesn't so much rule a country as manage a hunting territory.

The other literature you might want to look at concerns the concept of landscapes of fear e.g. https://www.cell.com/trends/ecology-evolution/fulltext/S0169-5347(19)30019-9

  • $\begingroup$ Just to add, under this scenario the towns are likely to be some distance from the vampire hangouts - simply because those closer in will have been wiped out. With lower travel time the vampires will have plenty of time to hunt through the town before fleeing the dawn. $\endgroup$
    – Nick
    Nov 17 '19 at 20:00

WE need to know a couple of things about the feeding. For starters how often do vampires feed? And how much do they need? And lastly can they feed without killing a human? With that in mind there is actually a couple of methods.

  • For maximum effectiveness and brutality you create a slave/cattle group of humans who only exist to be feed upon. Much like slaves. Those would be at the bottom of everything and their sole purpose is to be used for feeding. If vampire can feed without killing the human it's better as it takes a lot of time to replenish humans numbers. But even if a kill is a must it's not that big of a deal. They could be gathered in large farms and might be drugged most of the time to put them into a vegetable like state. This system would be brutal and barbaric of course. And you need a lot of work to maintain a large enough base to actually feed the vampires. We need a lot of time to mature but since you only need something like 15 years for humans to grow up it won't be such a problem. A smart ruler might create such a system in a way so that the nobility and the commoners both benefit from the system. That way it's in the best interest of the majority of people that this system continues. Perhaps when those people are not used for vampire stuff they can be cheap labor.

  • A more moral vampire might just pay people for blood. We don't need all the blood we have and if vampires can control how much they suck out of humans then you can see how thousand of poor people can part with a liter of blood in exchange for money. Not really a problem I think with vampires. You can also manipulate people into thinking that those who are feed upon contribute to the peace between the vampires and humans. Money is not the only incentive. You can choose 1 person every 10 years to turn into a vampire or something like that. I mean if people are willing to be junkies and alcoholics I'm sure they are willing to part with some blood in exchange for money.

  • If you can advance medical science enough so that blood donations is a thing then you can just collect an equal amount of blood from people weekly and be done with it. Again either force it on the people or pay them. But this method seems more fair as all contribute equally. Thought it's always smart to entice people with stuff and make them your creations by means of money or power.

Lastly I would say that if Machiavelli has taught me anything it would be that a prince should be a cunning mastermind manipulating his nation, allies, enemies, and external forces while he is shrouded in shadows. That is the relationship between the vampires and humans should be maintained and kept civil. Propaganda is your friend here. That and not alienating your people. It does not end well. And to be honest with vampires who die from silver or garlic and can't stand the sun, it makes little sense for them to tyrannically lord over humans who outnumber them.

Keep the people fat and happy. Build a strong relationship with the subjects and make sure you are seeing with your people. In fact Machiavelli advises against castle and such measures and insists that the support of the people is a much better defense to a prince than some walls. To be honest Dracula playing the politics game going around meeting with people kissing babies and shaking hands to maintain his state is a far more amusing and interesting story than the typical dressed in black evil vampire who laughs manically every two minutes like he is on a clock. But I digress.

  • $\begingroup$ @Pelinore, Of course. The more information the better. Though I do believe he said "victorian city" On the running the place part. A leader from a minority group ruling a majority of a different group is not always such a popular thing even to this day. Different politics, different religion, different ethnicity...etc all affect political support as you know. And being a monster could obviously hurt his reputation. $\endgroup$
    – Seallussus
    Nov 16 '19 at 4:25
  • $\begingroup$ Though I do believe he said "victorian city" : he did which was why I deleted the comment :) : I still have serious misgivings over the assumption inherent in the question that he'd have any more difficulty ruling his country than any other ruler though, I don't see any plausible reason for that. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Nov 16 '19 at 4:32
  • $\begingroup$ On minority groups, Saddam was from a minority (just to mention one) & he didn't have any problems, until the Americans rolled in, historically the world has a long & proud (hmm.. proud?) history of complete nutters & sociopaths of unimaginable brutality (which was never really an issue, they were there, they were brutal, so we didn't need to imagine it) ruling countries & empires with very few problems (well, for them). $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Nov 16 '19 at 4:51
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    $\begingroup$ Give people tax incentives if they "donate" blood to the vampires. From the perspective of the ruler, it's like paying for their blood, only without that pesky part where you need actual money. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Nov 16 '19 at 4:55
  • $\begingroup$ Besides any of that ^ hereditary rulers have always been largely immune to issues of ethnicity, after all they're nearly always a de facto ethnicity all of their own anyway. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Nov 16 '19 at 4:56

Okay. Here's an idea. Maybe it's symbiotic realtionship? Though living with man eating monsters is bad, invaders and criminals could be just as bad - a problem Dracula could have no problem dealing with. A literal army of vampires would be hard to stop (though this military needs other monsters to deal with attacks during the day). Dracula might not mind fighting dirty and have vampires sneak attack troops, civilians, and maybe even politicians when they sleep where they'd have all the advantages. And they have very specific vulernalbilities and abilities which make them hard to stop and effective killers.

And easiest thing Dracula could do to stop crime is to have punishments be to be food for vampires (with varying times based on severity) or food for those other monsters as a death penalty. Now there's a fear factor to deter crime as punishment gets much more violent. And assuming these monsters are good hunters, they could patrol and be effective at responding to crime - not to mention to nocturnal vampires eliminating the advantage of the cover of darkness.

Besides that, maybe these monsters could even help the society. Nocturnal vampires might choose to do some work at night or be chosen by Dracula to do so to ensure that their food supply is well taken care of and more content with things being that things are done twice as much. Maybe these vampires just want something to do with their long lives and take up jobs and trades for a number of reasons. And these other monsters are likely stronger and more physically daunting and would be better at labor further increasing progess. Maybe some humans might even find the time to be educated and could lead to a boom in the arts or technology.

And I have no idea how you depict Dracula but I have heard about some depictions where he is a charming guy which could help him gain people's loyalty. The Castlevania anime depicts Dracula as being a very educated vampire being that he has the resources and a whole lifetime to study (and in said anime he had even made discoveries earlier than anyone). This knowledge even in this time could not only be valueable for someone in this position of power but for everyone since his decisions can benefit everyone and he could even become a professor if he chooses to share his knowledge and pass on some of it to who ever he wants.

I'm no historian or scientist so I know I had to have made some mistake so people feel free to correct me. I'm just a guy spitballing ideas.

And I really want to know what these "other monsters" are. They could be very important to making this work since they can be in the daylight and cover the weaknesses of the vampires and it would give us better picture of the society.

  • $\begingroup$ Other monsters include Giants, Ghouls, Witches and others i havent come with yet. And to be clear in my world werewolves are a massive threat to vampires so any that enter the country will be delt with, they hwve a home in another country. $\endgroup$
    – user70451
    Nov 16 '19 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Wow. Don't know much about Ghouls but the witches have the flexibility to solve a whole lot of problems and the giants could get so much done - even in low numbers, the amount they could do is so valuable. $\endgroup$
    – Banana Dan
    Nov 16 '19 at 20:40

Because they get something worth the costs

This question isn't really all that different than asking why people in Shirley Jackson's famous story put up with The Lottery. Because they get something out of it. One of the interesting things to note about that story is how Tessie only starts complaining about the lottery after she's the one who's been selected. A similar thing will happen here.

If the vampires are taking people left and right, enough that the death rate significantly exceeds the birth rate, then simple math dictates there can't be a stable kingdom because, err, there's no stable population. Everyone will die. So the odds of being taken have to be somewhat low.

So, what could humans get out of this relationship? There are many different things. Fundamentally, a monster is a really powerful creature. Commanding an army of really powerful creatures means there is a lot that Dracula can do to provide for his citizens.

For example, if you're a neighboring country, you'd have to be really stupid to invade. Your armies will be destroyed, the larger the army you send, the more food you are sending Dracula's hordes and that only makes your enemies more powerful. Consequently, there will be folks - really, really desperate folks - who decide accepting Dracula's protection is worth the price that might perhaps need to be paid. If Dracula treats these people well, they will be fanatically loyal to him even if some of them have a bad time every once in a while.

Or imagine a large-scale fire breaks out in a city, and suddenly an organized regiment of the Count's Infantrywolves turn lupine, and proceed to rescue all the civilians and fight the fires. Because of the intervention of these - most definitely monstrous - authorities, many lives are saved. Sure, there's the matter of how they're fed, but really, the laws as quite clear. As a citizen, or even as a properly documented visitor, you're mostly safe unless you don't follow the rules.

Finally, it is actually advantageous, in a way, to have the monsters organized. You can lay down what are essentially the rules of sportsmanlike hunting. No monster is allowed to just go rampaging through the human communities. There are specific rules, and no human who follows these rules may be attacked. Any monster breaking this rule will be kicked out of the community, and has to go fend for itself. What those rules are needs to be carefully considered; you need a reasonable supply of food for the monsters, but also a reasonable way for most people to protect themselves.

For example, werewolves could hire themselves out as hired muscle. You go to the werewolf clan, and negotiate an agreed-upon "going rate"'s worth of people from your group (town, clan, guild, whatever), who the werewolves will hunt for sport. Anyone who survives for (say) thirteen hours goes free; and after that time, the wolves will do what you've hired them to do (and they'll leave your people alone outside of the Hunt).


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