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So, if this is a science-based world, why are vampires, werewolves and other entities associated with the dark side so sensitive to silver? Well, it has nothing to do with the metal, but rather its inhabitants.

Silver nanites are self-replicating robots that dwell on the surfaces of silver objects, as they require that material in their electronic components. Since silver is a good heat and electricity conductor, these silver nanites tend to be more powerful and resistant than your typical nanites.

Also, they're pretty big, at around 20 micrometers in diameter and also have several contractile filaments and sensors to help them traverse the inside a body.

When silver nanites come into contact with a vampire's skin, they dig through it and head straight to the bloodstream and from there, to the nervous system, where they release a neurotoxin that usually kills within a minute. After that, the silver nanites begin breaking down the body.

Pretty lethal huh? There is a problem, however, a revolutionary invention called armor.

You see, while silver nanites have many advantages because of their size, it's also their crux, as they can easily be filtered, even with linen. Also, they digest tissue as they tunnel through it, but steel and other metals are too stable to be quickly broken down.

Generally speaking, a proper plate mail armor with a gambeson and a closed helmet will stop silver nanites 99% of the time. Sure, you have to place the armor into a furnace every once in a while to properly disinfect it.

Sure, some vampires prefer to fight in their regular clothes or no clothing at all, but those idiots get what's coming for them. The question is, what will your average monster-hunting platformer hero do when they see their silver-chain whip does nothing against a properly armored vampire opponent?

In other words, I just took away the only weapon humans had against vampires (sunlight and UV are too weak), but I want to equalize the battlefield to a degree. Most likely by finding a way for silver nanites to still reach their target, but how?

And while some would answer "Stab them in the armpit", I'd kindly remind you that we're talking about a century-old vampire that has enhanced senses and peak-human strength, so if they happen to know krav maga, you'd be folded in half and tucked into a wardrobe.

The tech level is medieval.

How did vampires and nanites get there?
God and the demons did it, who are actually ancient aliens.

Why not ask them for help then?
They can't interfere with the world now because I said so.

What are vampires here anyway?
Basically take humans, then add

  • biological immortality
  • a mild susceptibility to cancer
  • little to no melanin in the skin
  • scarless regeneration (think of axolotls)
  • acute senses
  • and peak-human physical characteristics (endurance, speed, strength)
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    $\begingroup$ Normal blade weapons need to make contact with the skin of normal humans to be effective. The only difference for vampires that I can think of is that blunt weapons would be a no-go. $\endgroup$ – cowlinator Apr 2 at 23:15
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    $\begingroup$ @AaronF medieval $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Apr 3 at 10:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles sorry, I missed the tech-level, and got hung up on "nanites" :) $\endgroup$ – Aaron F Apr 3 at 11:33
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    $\begingroup$ Or an estoc, or stletto, or misericorde, or any other weapon designed for punching through armor. Plate armor is a solved problem. $\endgroup$ – Austin Hemmelgarn Apr 3 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ What you need is a silver bullet! :-) $\endgroup$ – jpaugh Apr 3 at 23:20

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Cheat as hard as you possibly can

I can think of many ways to get past the defense of armor. Poison them with gas, break their bones with maces or flails, use chains to bind them so they can't move, lure them into traps, gang up on them with a whole lot of humans, etc. There are many, many ways to kill a foe in armor. Sure, they aren't perfect, but armor is an advantage and if you're fighting someone with peak-human level fitness in armor, you will be at a disadvantage no matter what you do, unless you upgrade to the next level of technology.

In other words, don't fight them in a fair fight. Even if you want to use silver, there are great ways of doing it. Powder the silver and throw it into their eyeslits if you can manage that. Lure them into ambushes and stab them there, or sneak around when they don't have that armor on and ruthlessly backstab them. Or, once you don't gain an advantage from using silver, and there are other ways of defeating them (see: above), use those ways instead. Don't be locked into the mentality of 'I must use silver' when using silver becomes a liability instead of an asset.

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    $\begingroup$ If you are in a fair fight, you made a mistake. The conflicts needs to be as one-sided and unbalanced as you can possibly can. When you are the mouse, you learn guile. $\endgroup$ – Gustavo Apr 3 at 3:35
  • $\begingroup$ This automatically makes me think of ninjas wielding silver weapons. You can also see about poisoning an encampment by getting upwind of them and releasing the powdered silver, or get a cook to mix it into the food or water. You can also launch a powder filled projectile with various siege engines. You could do the same with a silver impregnated slime. Even if they don't die right away, they still have to worry about when they eventually take the armor off or when it works it's way through the joints. And even plate armor is susceptible to arrows at times. $\endgroup$ – computercarguy Apr 3 at 16:09
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What you need are medieval squirt guns

Just stir powdered silver into the water first. Or, if you're less for the silly, clouds of powdered silver should do it. If the goal is not really to chop up your foes, but merely to touch them with silver, then you shouldn't get hung up on weapons, or sizable chunks of the metal.

You're going to have some issues with retrieving the leftover silver after after a puff or squirt, true, so against non-armored vampires there are long-term advantages to using weapons coated with silver. But filings should be good enough to get through visors or armor joints. As a bonus, even if your vampire gets away, they may die of attempting to remove the armor if it isn't carefully cleaned after the confrontation. Imagine ultimately killing not only your vampire knight, but also their vampire squires who try to help them after the battle!

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe you can melt it with a magnitizable metal and turn that into filings, creating magnetic silverpowder, sticking to their armour $\endgroup$ – Martijn Apr 3 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ How would you make this squirt gun though and how would you make it man portable? The first vacuum pump dates to the late 17th century and it relied on water immersion for the seal. Whereas the first pneumatic gun dates to the late 16th. This is over a hundred years past the end of the Late Medieval Period. Although to be fair,the author has not stated when in the medieval period (476-1453 AD) this occurs. As the period divided up into the Early Medieval (476-900 AD roughly),High Medieval (10,000-12,000 AD) & Late Medieval (1250-1500 AD). This is important as armour & weapons differed greatly. $\endgroup$ – Obelisk Apr 3 at 11:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Obelisk You don't really need a pump. I said "squirt gun" to be humorous. Any sort of bellows or bladder would do to create a spray or puff. (And after it becomes a question of life and death, expect empirical understanding of how to propel liquids to advance reasonably quickly.) $\endgroup$ – Jedediah Apr 3 at 12:26
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    $\begingroup$ So you're saying you want a pitcher of holy water, that's been "blessed" by the addition of silver... thematically, it fits. Realistically, though, just have a stoppered bottle of silver water, and throw it. It shatters when it hits, spraying water everywhere, like a vampire grenade. $\endgroup$ – codeMonkey Apr 3 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ @codeMonkey I like the grenade idea. $\endgroup$ – Jedediah Apr 3 at 14:31
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A pretty standard warhammer or pollaxe will - with sufficient force - be quite effective at punching through most armor and getting at the squishy vampire underneath. If fighting from horseback, a war pick can do quite well as well. Really any weapon with a lot of mass behind a small impact area ought to do the trick - even if a given blow insufficient to actually hurt the vampire, these sorts of weapons can damage the armor and hinder the vampire's mobility as a result. Give your weapon-of-choice a nice plating of silver nanites and go to town. (Might have to re-plate your hammer every once in a while though.)

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Nanites can move

Sure you can prevent a direct attack with silver, but nanites, by the general definition, are little tiny robots, capable of self locomotion. So they landed on the vampire's armor. Big deal. They can just creep around and search for the cracks and seams until they find their way inside. Unless those vampires are wearing air-tight space suits (somehow made out of metal, which would seriously impede movement - also do vampires need to breathe? That would be a major impediment. And the visor would need to be glass or they'd be effectively blind.), there's going to be holes big enough for them to pass through. If they can slip between the fibers of a fabric material, they can definitely find ways between armor plates.

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Use crossbow bolts with silver coated heads,silver plated lance tips,swords,etc. Also just throw weighted nets on them and they won't be able to move. Armour will restrict their movement and pinning them under nets,luring them into pitfalls,dousing them in burning naphtha or pitch and generally just making life miserable for them.

Another is firebombs,silver flakes in water or oil (oil is flammable so double whammy), use horses for the mobility advantage and use lariats (lassos) or weighted nets to weigh down and restrain the enemy. Polearms like poleaxes or halberds,war hammers,maces,flails and axes are all good against armour. The heavy blows can dent and tear armour;polearms also keep the vampires further away and provide greater leverage to keep the impact force high against the stronger vampires.

If gonnes (hand cannons) and firecrackers or iron spheres (iron cased blackpowder grenade from 11th century China) are available then firing silver bullets (whether partial or full) would be super effective against any armour available at the time.

The vampire may be physically superior,but human ingenuity is one of our greatest attributes. If humanity has superior industry (actual large settlements,leading in advancements,etc) then the vampires days are numbered. Manpower isn't going to be a great problem against the vampires. After all,if the vampires are an existential threat all the more reason to eliminate them first.

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    $\begingroup$ Bold of you to assume that vampires are different from humans. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Apr 2 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ If they aren't more advanced than humans,this will still work perfectly fine. And if they are more advanced,it does not appear to be substantially more. Thus the prescribed methods should work fine. But if vampires aren't different from humans,then they wouldn't be as big of a problem. They may be as smart,they may be stronger and some may be gifted more so just like humans in regards to variety. But unless the vampires have a large number advantage to offset humanities inherent advantages & their own weaknesses;then it will be hard for them long term. Especially if they need people to feed. $\endgroup$ – Obelisk Apr 2 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ are silver harder than steel? or can silver penetrate iron or steel ? $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Apr 3 at 8:27
  • $\begingroup$ The Mohs hardness of silver is around 2.5-3,whereas steel generally sits around 4-4.5 & iron at 4. Although certain steel alloys can range up to 5.5-6 this would be very rare if not impossible with medieval metallurgy. The main issue would be using the right weapons & tactics against the vampires. If using blades you'd want to coat the blade in silver rather than making it entirely out of silver. This is because silver is not as hard & has difficulty holding an edge compared to iron or steel. Keep in mind,lead to make bullets has a Mohs hardness of 1.5. Making it weaker than silver but denser. $\endgroup$ – Obelisk Apr 3 at 11:21
  • $\begingroup$ so you mean coating it or laquered the steel surface with silver, well the wording there make it sounds like you mean make the tip out of silver rather than coating the weapons surface with it. $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Apr 4 at 16:32
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I present you!

The pinata sledge hammer! A blunt weapon designed to crush armour.

But there's more!

With each hit the hammer release the clouf od nanites which use the holes, breaks, dents in the armour.

But the vampires are super strong! Cool it means that, when hit with a hammer, they create force against the head which means the armour is destroyed from two sides!

If your her put a lot of stats in intelligence then he came up with vials of acid. Aqua fortis for example. It will dissolve the armour allowing nanites to penetrate.

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    $\begingroup$ How many times do I have to teach you this lesson, old man?! Plate armor is invincible, no human can penetrate it! Plus, the vampire martial artist in question doesn't behave as an immovable object. While it may look like he took a big hit. In reality, much like Eren, he's mitigating the force of the swing when going with it. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Apr 3 at 10:40
  • $\begingroup$ I mean, there's the static block, then there are parrying and counterattacks. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Apr 3 at 10:49
  • $\begingroup$ That's not how force works. If you "mitigate" it it means you magically remove it from equation. Thus puny vampir give us power to create force wherener we want. Beetwn you, and your invincible armour. And we wait. What's gonna break first. Like a frog filled with C4 in a blender. Mmmmm tasty. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Apr 3 at 10:53
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, Han Solo, but the point was that only a dummy would try to statically block a sledgehammer. Here's a helpful video: youtube.com/watch?v=ixLGXY8mfj0 $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Apr 3 at 11:05
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, no. The anime vampires. Listen here, hahahah, you think you got me, hhho vampire. I was aiming for your feet. Because I don't care WHERE your armour break. Hand, leg, feet. I aim at your armour. Not you. Nanites are for your. I'm fighting an inanimated, subjected to all forces like drag and weight rather unflexible plate of steel. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Apr 3 at 11:30
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Humans would deal with armored vampires in the same ways they've been dealing with armored humans throughout history. Crossbows, longbows, polearms, blunt weapons. With a sharp weapon, you aim for joints.

If I'm understanding correctly, silver just needs to touch the vampires' skin for it to be lethal, so your weapons only need to be concerned with penetrating the armor.

For a go-to infantry tactic, I'd have a front line with good shields and blunt weapons. Their primary goal is defending from the vampires. The second line is some form of polearm (halberds, bec de corbins, polehammers, whatever you want to call them), focusing on knocking the vampires to the ground. The third line is pikes, who will be running their weapons into any vampire who hits the ground in the hope of hitting a gap and touching skin.

Of the infantry, only the pikemen really need silvered weapons, but obviously the rest would like it too.

Cavalry and archers/crossbowmen could be used normally.

And of course, never fight a fair fight. Given the expense of plate armor you can count on outnumbering the vampires but still, cheat as much as you can.

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Remember that guns are the great equaliser for a reason. If they're wearing environmentally sealed clothes, then a shotgun will probably open it up for your waterpistol and keep you at a safe range. If they're wearing full plate then a rifle with AP ammunition will quite easily put holes in their waterproof underlay, at which point back to your water pistol and water bombs. These will also deal with the situation where the silver needs to get into the blood stream.

The biggest problem that hunters traditionally face is that vampires are so much faster and stronger than humans. Which is why they use line weapons like the silver whip. In these situations can I recommend the new titanium braided whip with silver plating. 15 feet of leather interwined with razor thin titanium blades that have been silver plated and sharpened to a near monomolcular edge with diamond top keep the edge throughout the fight. We also supply a titanium steel net with spikes made from the same material as the blades on the whip. Once you have slowed the vampire down you can fall back to your favourite gun and liquid formula.

ETA - If you need to stay more period accurate for the medieval period, meaning that the vampires don't have full plate, or the waterproof underlays. I'd like to introduce you to the warhammer/warpick https://www.medievalchronicles.com/medieval-weapons/medieval-warhammer/

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    $\begingroup$ Keep in mind, the OP said that the technology is medieval. They didn't have muskets, let alone shotguns then. $\endgroup$ – Greenie E. - Reinstate Monica Apr 3 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ They also didn't have full plate, or any way of total body protection. The development of full plate coincided with the development of the musket, flintlock, and finally rifling and cartridges. Thus if the vampires can have out of era armour and protection, so can their hunters. $\endgroup$ – Phoenix Stoneham Apr 3 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ Gunpowder comes from East Asia- I doubt that people in medieval times would know exactly where to get the materials to create what was needed to penetrate the armour. If anything, silver-tipped arrows in a crossbow would be much more feasible in this situation. $\endgroup$ – Greenie E. - Reinstate Monica Apr 5 at 0:06
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    $\begingroup$ They had handheld gunpowder weapons in the late medieval period. They'd had cannons for most of it. So fun powder wouldn't be the problem. It was the invention of rifling and cartridges that changed warfare irrevocably. Those came at the end of the period, beginning of the renasan $\endgroup$ – Phoenix Stoneham Apr 5 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ Renaissance even $\endgroup$ – Phoenix Stoneham Apr 5 at 0:45
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You use the same tactics you would against any other armored knight, but with an emphasis on penetration.

Assuming humans outnumber vampires, you could use 'classic' musket tactics with crossbows, with several ranks of crossbowmen firing, and reloading in turn for a massive amount of firepower, and crossbows could penetrate armour. Have a little silver inlay or sleeve, and the moment its in, it does its job. Part of me does wonder how nasty a ballista would be.

Depending on the armour, melee combat would be trickier. You're basically facing an armoured foe with few of the actual disadvantages of armour...

Then again peasant armies have won knights - lots of polearms - a silver inlayed pokey thing might work, as would tactics around reducing enemy mobility, like nets, so you can make a vampire pincushion.

Personally I wonder how fast they'd regenerate covered in burning pitch :D

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One option would be inject into some unlucky voluteneers/prisoners/ undesiable people the silver nanites (assuming they don't kill normal people). Then send them out to be eaten/biten by the vampires who will then be infected by the silver nanites and die. Basically your posioning the vampires food.

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Trap the vampire and vaporize the silver. Silver vaporizes at standard atmospheric pressure at 3542 degrees F. Coal-fired forge temperatures max out in that temperature range. The savviest metal smiths, certainly in the latter half of the medieval period should have been able to get there with existing technology and trade.

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Humans sabotage the armor production factory, add silver to the molten steel of god plate mail. The vamps won’t notice the small pinpricks at first, but because they stay in the armor so much to protect against nanites running around, eventually, it poisons them.

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    $\begingroup$ That's not how medieval-style armor was produced. Armor was a specialty item; you would have to specially commission a blacksmith to make a set. $\endgroup$ – The Daleks Apr 3 at 0:52

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