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First time poster here. I play roleplaying games (Vampire the Dark Ages currently) and like to write a lot of homebrew material or suggest creative solutions to our Game Master. Here is my latest conundrum: I am trying to devise a good way to dispose of exsanguinated corpses soon after they are bled dry and killed in the open (a dark alleyway, an isolated spot in the wild). It might not matter if they are found, say, a few days or a week later, but they should not be noticed for at least a few days. The period is 1105 CE, for the technological level. It is a vampire trying to dispose of said corpses. Normal human strength is rated in the game from 1 (below average) to 5 (peak human potential), with 2 being average. The vampire in question has strength 14, which goes to 17 if he uses his prehensile snake-like tail to crush, squash and grind the corpses. It can be raised higher too, say up to 20. What a strength 20 corresponds to in crushing power is somewhat unclear in the rules. Each point of strength allows one to carry 10 kgs without reducing one's speed, so strength 20 means carrying 200kg around without it affecting one's speed. In terms of lifting, by what's in the game manual, with Strength 15 (the maximum indicated in the book) one can deadlift 2720 kg. Strength 1 allows 20 kg; Str 2, 45kg; Str 5, 295 kg; 10, 680 kg. I don't know what progression was used by the authors for these values, so I am not sure exactly how much the vampire can deadlift with Strength 20. I am fairly sure that, by how exponential that progression looks, it's 4000 kg or more.

The idea I had so far is to use the superstrong tail to crush, if not outright pulverise, the bodies, which I do not imagine taking long. Then the tail would be used to dig a hole in the ground to dump the remains in and cover them again with dirt.

Would this work? How long would it take? Would it work with several bodies, like 20+, or would that require an excessively big hole? Is that strength sufficient to pulverise things, or at least corpses? I appreciate that deadlifting strength is not the same as crushing or pushing strength, but the book is not too detailed on this.

Thank you for all the suggestions.

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    $\begingroup$ Can your vampire generate heat? Dehidrating the bodies would be the most effective manner. Squashing them would leave stinky goo around. You can't hide the stink. $\endgroup$
    – FluidCode
    Oct 5, 2023 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ (a) For future reference, you are allowed to ask one and only one question per post. (b) Whenever you ask "would this work?" step back and think about what your real problem is. Far too often what you're really asking is "do you like my idea?" which isn't the purpose of this site. Our goal is to help you solve problems, and you appear to already have a solution. (c) Please (please) take the time to read our tour and the following to Help Center pages (help center and help center) to better understand the limits of this site. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 5, 2023 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ You're not going to perfectly and seamlessly envelop a human-sized thing using your tail, so stuff is gonna squirt out everywhere from the gaps between coils in a horrible stinky soggy staining mess that will be much harder to conceal than a regular meatbag. You'll also get covered in a sort of lymph-flavored fecal gravy. This seems like a plan you'll try once, before going back to the more conventional "dig a big hole". $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2023 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ Grinding, crushing, and pulverizing doesn't actually save any space. If I have a rock that's 1 liter in volume and I pulverize it into sand, I end up with 1 liter of sand. The shape becomes (much) more malleable, and the range of containers it will fit in becomes a lot broader, but the total amount of stuff stays the same. Applied to a human, you'd only benefit by the volume of their lungs and other internal air cavities. All their solid matter stays. All their liquid matter squishes out but retains its original total volume. $\endgroup$
    – aroth
    Oct 6, 2023 at 0:27
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome aboard Simone. Consider opening another question asking for the best method for your vampire to hide one or a lot of exsanguinated bodies. All the answers below raise flaws with the squishing approach, so asking for other methods might be useful for you. If you do, you can add a link to this question. $\endgroup$
    – G0BLiN
    Oct 8, 2023 at 10:34

7 Answers 7

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Frame Challenge

(admittedly, this is mainly because I recently re-watched the masterpiece that is Snatch)

BrickTops epic monologue on how to dispose of a body... Using Pigs.

As others have mentioned - a body drained of Blood still has a lot of 'Stuff' and if you crush it completely, that 'stuff' still has to go somewhere. With enough time/space you could try desiccating the body (like the Ancient Egyptians) to remove all the moisture from the body, which will leave you with just the skin/bone/muscle - and then that could be crushed to a powder - but that whole process takes time - 70 days for the Egyptians.

However... although I do not know the exact rules of your particular worlds Vampires - let's assume they have Animal familiars. Could be Dogs, Wolves, Bats or the aforementioned pigs.

Have the animal familiars consume the rest of the body - job done.

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    $\begingroup$ As a supporting note: having animal familiars is totally within the power of vampires in the setting. There is a whole vampiric line of powers that allow influence over animals called Animalism. The most basic level allows speaking to animals, the next one calling them to you. Outside this power, vampires are also able to feed their blood to others, including animals, which produces what's called a "ghoul". Dog and wolf ghouls are quite common. But pig ghouls should be entirely possible. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Oct 6, 2023 at 15:10
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Just because you CAN does not mean you SHOULD

In theory, you can reduce the size of a human body by crushing it because membranes rupturing would cause your intracellular and gastro-intestinal fluids to leak out. It would be like wringing out a sponge. Getting 100% dehydration may not be doable, but you could probably get at least 50% of a person's liquid mass out this way.

That said, this is not a good idea for avoiding detection. The best tool for finding a body in 1100CE was the common dog. Wringing all the fluids out of a body before you bury it will leave a massive scent profile for dogs to follow telling people exactly where to dig... heck the giant puddle of body fluids will send up some immediate red flags even for our simple human senses. Instead you want to try to bury the body in as pristine of a condition as possible as this will leave no signs of your murder on the surface. And the burial itself will hide the smell of the decomposing body. In general, bodies are buried at a depth of 6ft because that is how deep you have to go to not just mask the smell from humans, but to prevent dogs and other scavengers from smelling it and trying to dig it up as well. Trained bloodhounds might still respond to a body this deep, but most dogs will not.

That means that the most important question here is can your character quickly dig a 6' hole with his tail? Even without any boost, a strength level 17 character in VtM is strong enough to throw a main battle tank making him much stronger than your average mining excavator. At this level of strength, it should be trivial for your vampire to plunge his tail into just about any kind of terrain, pull up 6 feet of dirt and stone, throw the body in, and cover it up as a quick and simple action.

A few swift smacks of the tail to close the seams and the only evidence will be a slight bulge and some minor signs of the ground being disturbed there. That said, it will not look at all like what happens when someone uses a shovel to bury a body; so, unless someone knows your Vampire's MO, both people and dogs will likely just ignore it.

Additional Setting Notes

This is a bit off-topic, but in VtM, the Camarilla was not founded until the 1400s when the progress of technology made it clear that humans would eventually become dangerous and the Masquerade was born. In your homebrew, you could start the Masquerade at an earlier date, but at a base strength of 14, you are looking at a Methuselah level vampire. Even a common vampire had little to fear from 1100s humans; so, unless humans have some kind of fantasy special forces to throw at you, your vampire would more likely than not just live in the open killing as he pleases, and probably even be worshiped as a god as most of the Methuselah were.

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    $\begingroup$ "a strength level 17 character in VtM is strong enough to throw a main battle tank making him much stronger than your average mining excavator" at strength 17, I'd be more worried that the vampire would be accidentally destroying digging tools like toothpicks. Although, the simple solution is for the vampire to just pick up a big stack of steel shovels and lug them to where the dig site would be. Then it's easy to discard and replace the broken ones. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Oct 6, 2023 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ @VLAZ I just assumed that he'd be using his tail like a super-powered backhoe. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Oct 6, 2023 at 21:59
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You won't be saving much space

Smashing or grinding up a corpse doesn't really change the volume of the corpse, so in terms of size you're pretty much fixed. However, smashing and grinding will help your vampire to fit the corpses into containers that are less body shaped, like boxes or sacks. These may be easier to pack multiples close together.

One other advantage of smashing the corpses, is that the remains may no longer be identifiable as human, especially after most of the meat has been eaten by local wildlife or a pack of stray dogs (either by chance or because the vampire fed it to them on purpose). So even if the remains were discovered by a person, they might just think it was the remains of a pig or some other animal. If you want to be really dark, your vampire could cook the ground corpses and do some Sweeney Todd stuff.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for pointing out that human bodies aren't particularly compressible (other than through dehydration, then perhaps powdering...). However, I do see value in pulverizing the body in that it would "wash" into the ecology much more quickly (e.g., fluids absorbed into the ground), leaving only the bone shards as possibly identifiable as human. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 5, 2023 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ The compression issue derives from the fact that only gases are really compressible. So aside from the lung volume and the odd air bubble, there's not much of the former in a body. The very definition of a liquid is that it is incompressible. $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2023 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ @MindwinRememberMonica Incompressibility is a necessary but not sufficient property of a liquid. Certain rocks are less compressible than water, one cannot define a liquid as "something incompressible". $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2023 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ It's also worth noting that even if a body were compressible, smashing it wouldn't compress it, as a single smash wouldn't maintain any pressure. The only thing that smashing does is it allows any internal gasses to be released. $\endgroup$
    – Mathaddict
    Oct 5, 2023 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ @NuclearHoagie mind the context and be charitable. Might you be reading too much into one casual sentence? I was not writing an essay about what defines a liquid. I was comparing it to a gas. I affirmed that if B, then it has A and that C doesn't have A, so it's not B. You say that D also has A but is not B either. I never affirmed that if A then B. You committed a logical fallacy or two in there. Affirming the consequent and a strawman. $\endgroup$ Oct 6, 2023 at 15:35
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Frame challenge: There's no forensics, and you have a horrendously strong prehensile tail. There's much better solutions

Your average medieval house was built by trial and error, with no engineering knowledge. Collapses, fires, etc were frequent, even on the best built buildings (we have at least one church that, after a newly leaded roof, collapsed and crushed the entire congregation)

I'm pretty sure your prehensile tail equipped vampire could pull down or crack enough support beams to bring down the building. Victims found drained of blood? vampire. Victims crushed under building? horrible accident.

Similarly, lumberjacks (get them with a falling tree), poachers (falling tree or animal attack)

Even simply using the prehensile tail to throw them as far as possible would provide a great alibi - "No, your honor, I left the inn to clear my head, and came back in before the next round - how could I have murdered the guy found a mile and a half away?"

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Just pull them underground

You don't exactly need to eradicate corpses, anyway the smell of rotting flesh would uncover the corpse if it's somewhere around. Also human body isn't quite compressible, as it's 70% water :D But your hero has super-strength and a tool that allows him to plain drag bodies underground. So you grab a corpse and pull down into a hole, plumb the hole with mud and severed turf, and leave it be. If the corpse gets pulled for more than 1m down, a 1100 CE-armed searcher would not find it, especially if he'd have chances to end up alongside the corpse.

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About fifty percent volume reduction

Supposing an adult weighting about 70 kg, 40 of those will be water.

But of those, 5 kg (approximately after some rounding, not exactly) will be blood that the vampire drank.

The remaining 30kg are bone, fat and other stuff.

Water is considered incompressible for engineering purposes. You need the weight of the ocean to compress water a bit less than 5% at depths greater than 4km.

So if you squish a body with an hydraulic press which is what your vampire could approximate with a Strength rating of 20, you could turn bone and fat into a fine paste, and the remaining tissues would still occupy around 35L (about half the person's original volume, if the victim was fit). That would also probably ooze through the vampire's tail to form a very stinky puddle that would be far easier to detect than an intact corpse via smell.

Have you considered cremating the body? That evaporates all the water and volatiles, and the remaining ashes could fit in a jar.

If the pyro way out of this is out of question, with Strenght scores WAY lower than that and claws you should be able to dig a very deep hole in a single scene. It would be so deep that it might take weeks for regular medieval peasants with a strength score of no more than five to be able to dig that corpse out.

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    $\begingroup$ Strength of 20 is a "hydraulic press", +1. When I googled pig squisher I couldn't find it. Which is just as well I guess because that crap is messed up. $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Oct 6, 2023 at 1:26
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Let the nature do it for you:

  • suck the victim dry
  • stick a stake through their heart
  • give them a taste of your vampire blood

This should leave you with incapacitated fledgeling you can simply finish off at which point its body would crumble to dust

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    $\begingroup$ Eh, not quite. In VtM, vampires which meet Final Death are supposed to go through accelerated aging to catch up to where the body's decomposition is supposed to be at. For most walking corpses that means disintegration or at least very advanced body decay. Because they've been walking corpses for years. A literally just now killed vampire should be almost not different to a regular corpse. Although it should be more flammable at least. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Oct 9, 2023 at 11:08
  • $\begingroup$ @VLAZ Hmm, I didn't know that detail... Ok, what if for the last step we leave the victim in the open so that Sun finishes the job? $\endgroup$
    – Dartarian
    Oct 12, 2023 at 8:10
  • $\begingroup$ That should work. Drain, stake, leave to the sun. Or just set the corpse on fire. Both would work basically the same as vampires are vulnerable to both of these. But seems a bit roundabout. You can also set a regular mortal's corpse on fire. Would probably need more prep (fresh non-vampire corpses are not very flammable but can still be cremated). So you probably need to build a bonfire and light it. Or whatever other cremation options people used in the middle ages. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Oct 12, 2023 at 8:15

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