Vampires (also known as Vampyrs and as Van-Tal in the dimension Pylea) are a species of soulless, undead demons that can only exist on Earth by leaving their own dimension and possessing human corpses. They are hybrids, and are thus despised by other, "purer" demon species. They are well-known for feeding on the blood of mammals, particularly humans.
- “... the last demon to leave this reality fed off a human, mixed their blood. He was a human form possessed ... infected ... by the demon's soul. He bit another, and another ... and so they walk the Earth, feeding. Killing some, mixing their blood with others to make more of their kind.”
- ―Rupert Giles[src]
The history of vampires has remained hazy. According to a legend told by the Watcher Rupert Giles, before departing Earth the last of the Old Ones mixed his blood with a human's, thus creating the first vampire. Maloker, the Old One responsible for siring the first vampire, was eventually sealed within the Deeper Well. A contemporary of Maloker, the Old One Illyria, stated that she had been familiar with vampires in her time, and that they already existed before the Old Ones were driven from Earth. She, like many full-demons, degradingly referred to vampires as half-breeds. Whether or not the vampires contemporary to or followed immediately after the Old Ones were the Turok-Hans, regular vampires, or both were never clear.
Related or sub-species
- “As Neanderthals are to human beings, the Turok-Han are to vampires. They're a primordial, ferociously powerful killing machine, as single-minded as animals. They are the vampires that vampires fear. An ancient and entirely different race, and until this morning, I thought they were a myth.”
- ―Rupert Giles[src]
In the year 2003 in Sunnydale, California, a separate vampire species called the Turok-Han Vampire reappeared after millennia. The Turok-Han shared some traits with common vampires (such as the need to drink blood), but their armored chest cavities were nearly impervious to stakes. Killing a Turok-Han with a stake to the heart was possible, but required tremendous effort to penetrate their thick sternums. On top of that, the Turok-Han were completely immune to crosses, and were only slightly affected by holy water. Their blood was also of a darker coloration, and they were unable to assume a human visage like modern members of their species. They also didn't require an invitation to enter a person's home. Although they were physically much stronger than their counterparts, they seemed to lack independence and intelligence. An entire army of Turok-Han was destroyed in the Battle at the Hellmouth. Spike later mentioned that Turok-Han belonged on a list of "things that just don't exist anymore" (along with "decent punk bands" and his relationship with Drusilla).
"Zompire" is a term coined by Xander Harris to describe all new vampires that have been sired since the destruction of the Seed of Wonder, the source of all magic on Earth. Presumably because the demon spirits that normally animated a vampire's body were unable to completely do so, the zompires were all mindless and feral, with none of their human predecessors' memories and personality traits.
Slayers were capable of becoming vampires themselves. This gave them physical attributes superior to most vampires and Slayers, though with the same weaknesses as ordinary vampires. There have been a few rare cases where a vampire-Slayer was created: Yuki Makimura, Simone Doffler, Tessa Freer, and Buffy Summers temporarily.
After magic was restored to Earth by the new Seed, a red-haired woman awoke as a new, fully intelligent vampire with immunity to sunlight and the power to morph into a giant bat.
Human Awareness of VampiresThroughout most of history, the majority of humains remained ignorant or in denial of the existence of vampires, which notable exceptions including the Watchers Council, Slayers and vampire hunters like Daniel Holtz and Charles Gunn. Rupert Giles explained that people have a tendency to "rationalize what they can and forget what they can't." Aimee Mann, a guest singer at The Bronze, once comically remarked that she hated playing in "vampire towns."
For a period of time in Sunnydale, California, there existed a group of vampire wannabes known as the Sunset Club. Though they were aware of the existence of vampires, they were oblivious to their true nature, and referred to them as the "Lonely Ones"; they believed them to be gentle and misunderstood. They ultimately did discover the brutal and violent truth when they were attacked and nearly annihilated by Spike and his followers; they were saved by the Slayer, Buffy Summers. Additionally, there was a vampire brothel in Sunnydale where humans could pay vampires to feed on them to get a rush from blood loss. Riley Finn made regular visits there until it was burned down by Buffy in retribution.
The Sunnydale High school board and the police department also appeared to be aware of the supernatural goings-on in Sunnydale, and often covered up vampire and demon attacks under order from the mayor, Richard Wilkins. When Spike and them members of the defunct Order of Aurelius attacked Sunnydale High to kill Buffy, Principal Snyder and the police chief wrote it off to the public as an attack by a gang on PCP; apparently, that excuse had been used before. The U.S. government was also aware of the existence of the supernatural to some extent, and even built special units specifically meant for hunting them.
In the early 21st century, the existence of vampires became public knowledge, causing them to become a subject of a fad that capitalized on the fact that many humans experience a thrill when bitten by vampires. Harmony Kendall became the face of vampires to the media, and began starring in her own reality show called Harmony Bites. In response, two new vampire movements appeared: Reform Vampirism, in which vampires drank only from willing humans and never took enough blood to kill or sire, and Vampire Supremacism, in which vampires considered humans nothing but cattle and wished for things to return to the way they were before Harmony made them public. However, with increasing attacks by zompires, mindless vampires sired after the end of magic, public opinion of vampires began to shift, leading the San Francisco Police Department to create a supernatural task force.
In the future timeline of Melaka Fray, vampires were called "lurks" and remained public knowledge, but most humans were unaware that lurks were actually demons, and not simply a particularly vicious form of mutant.
Unlike many other demonic species', the demons present in vampires appeared to have no more intelligence than solitary predatory animals, and were incapable of human speech. The principal evidence for this came from Angel's visit to the dimension Pylea. Whilst there, whenever he took on his "vampire face," he unexpectedly lost control and became a mindless beast. His behavior was remarkably similar to that of zompires (vampires who have been sired in a world void of magic).
A vampire's demon core has no personality of its own. Ordinary vampires gain the qualities of the people they were in life, including memories, fears and desires. As Darla very aptly put it, "What we were informs what we become."  Mentally, the root of a vampire's evil nature is his or her lack of a human soul. They are unable to differentiate between right and wrong, and have little care to do so. They typically lose their feelings for the people they knew upon siring. For example, after he was turned, Jesse McNally told Xander Harris that he was nothing but a "shadow" to him. Most vampires revel in destruction and care only for themselves, but similar to how all human beings possess different qualities, vampires can be equally varied. While all are essentially corrupt, soulless versions of their prior selves, some become direct opposites of the people they were, while others represent an expression of the potential they had in life. When Charles Gunn was turned, he continued to want to help people, and still despised vampires (himself included); however, his actions were held unchecked, and he eventually lost his way. In contrast, William Pratt retained affection for his mother after his siring, and even turned her in order to free her from death by consumption. When she came back as a vampire and taunted him, he mercifully ended her life. Unlike Gunn, Spike, despite lacking a human soul, showed impressive amounts of loyalty and love (two traits that he possessed in spades when he was alive). Vampires, despite lacking souls, are somewhat capable of human emotions like love, but tend to take twisted, obsessive forms, like Spike's affection for Buffy Summers and James's love for Elisabeth. While Angelus and Darla were nearly inseparable throughout their history together, Angel later admitted that they never truly loved each other, and sometimes abandoned one another out of self-preservation. Watcher Duncan Fillworthe observed that vampires are nothing but regret personified, and have a "hunger for life that's been damned to never be satisfied."
- Angelus: As a human, Liam lived haunted by his father's disapproval and expectations that he would never be more than a lazy, womanizing drunk. Upon being sired, Angelus was driven by the memory of his father's contempt to show that he could be something great, and became famous for his sadistic tendencies. He considered himself an "artist", and reveled in destroying people, especially women, mentally and physically, and considered Drusilla his greatest "masterpiece." He also apparently liked the ballet, and was able to enjoy it despite his lack of a soul, and later admitted to enjoying Spike's poetry.
- Spike: William the Bloody was an outcast, rejected and ridiculed by his contemporaries whom he regarded as ignorant and insensitive despite their wealth. As a vampire, Spike lashed out at society, rejected bureaucracy, aristocracy and authority and found pleasure in mayhem and chaos, while still remaining a romantic at heart. In addition, William was a shy, lovelorn young man with a peaceful nature and a love for poetry; in contrast, he later was considered one of the most violent vampires to exist—partly as a result of Angelus' influence over him. Both as a human and as a vampire, Spike demonstrated a potential for all-consuming, obsessive love, first for his mother, then for Drusilla, and finally for Buffy. It is interesting to note that many of the sins Spike committed without a soul were done to retain Drusilla's attention and affection, and much of the good he later did can be attributed to his love for Buffy. He often pursued his object of desire to the point of self-destruction. Spike was also the only known vampire to gain a soul on his own. Angel had his forced on him, while Spike did not have this.
- Darla: As a human, Darla was a prostitute dying of syphilis in the Americas. After being sired, she became cruel, twisted and highly seductive. She despised religion as a human and as a vampire. Angel mentioned that she also had a fascination with religious wars. Christian religion rejected Darla's lifestyle as a human, so it seemed the vampire Darla enjoyed religious war as an example of religion causing destruction and bloodshed instead of salvation.
- Drusilla: Drusilla was a pious and chaste Catholic girl, gifted/cursed with psychic abilities and was disturbed because she did not know what was causing her visions. As a vampire, Drusilla became highly sexual and kinky, and reveled in her psychic powers. As a result of her psychological torture at the hands of Angelus, she was also insane.
- Jesse McNally: Jesse was attracted to Cordelia Chase, who snubbed him for his awkwardness. As a vampire, Jesse approached Cordelia in a predatory manner, filled with confidence and charisma, and for once she consented to dance with him.
- Harmony Kendall: Harmony was a vain, vapid, and snobbish member of the Cordettes before being sired at Graduation. As a vampire, she was still vapid and snobbish, and remarked that it was harder for her to do the right thing without a soul, although she remained mostly unchanged.
- Willow Rosenberg: In Earth's dimension, Willow was a shy, virginal girl who had difficulty asserting herself. In Wishverse, she was a highly seductive, depraved vampire who was not impressed by anyone. Her relationship with Xander was proof of this; while the mainstream Willow was never able to admit her feelings to Xander or seduce him, vampire Willow managed to do just this. She retained common points with her counterpart, such as an attraction to women and a sarcastic sense of humor.
- Xander Harris: In Earth's dimension, Xander was comical, immature and something of a follower; he was consistently ignorant of Willow Rosenberg's attraction to him, and had a habit of seeking unobtainable—or even demonic—women. In Wishverse, Xander was a vampire, and was portrayed to be confidant and darkly diverting. He was also in a relationship with Willow. Like Willow, he retained several of his human traits: he still followed others' orders, and was rather nonchalant.
- Alonna Gunn: Alonna Gunn helped his brother to eliminate the vampires on the streets of Los Angeles, often by serving as bait. However, she blames Gunn for instigating the danger and that he can leave his life. Ironically, she is kidnapped and sired by vampires. Once transformed, she serves as bait again to attract Gunn and suggests him transforming him too, "to protect" him. Her personality in vampire is not unchanged, the relationship is just reversed. It is Alonna who acts as the big brother, fed by certainties while those of Gunn are destroyed.
- Anna Pratt: William's devoted mother feared he was too attached to her but could not bring herself to the cruelty of saying so. As a vampire she has no such compunctions, and taunted William with the insinuation of Oedipal deviancy.
- Sam Lawson: Sam Lawson's need to serve a higher purpose, to be guided by a cause giving sense to his actions, haunted him into his unlife. He found himself completely incapable of obtaining pleasure from killing or torturing. While Lawson believed this was caused by being sired by a vampire with a human soul, Angel believed Lawson merely lacked a purpose in life.
- Charles Gunn: In life, Gunn was a vampire hunter with a particular hatred towards them because one of them murdered and turned his sister. As a vampire, he became filled with self-hatred and blamed Angel for his condition. Despite his new status, Gunn still clung to the idea that he was one of the good guys, even though he had no soul and fed on humans.
The Demon Within
- Charles Gunn: “So that's what the thing inside of him really looks like?”
- Wesley: “In its purest form, I think so, yes.”
- — Charles Gunn and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce[src]
The nature of the Pylea dimension caused a notable shift in a vampire's physiology. This dimension caused the demonic and human aspects of the vampire to separate. When the vampire was wearing its human face, the vampire appeared to be much more human than they would on Earth. They casted a reflection and their bloodlust was muted. The vampire was also unaffected by the Pylean sun. However when they "vamped out", they became a demonic beast known to Pylean's as the "Van-Tal."
The demon that possessed and animated a vampire's body was not the main factor that outlined the vampire's personality. The demon, which Pyleans called "Van-Tal" (Drinker of Blood), was little more than a vicious, hematophagous creature that only added the bloodlust and killer instinct to the vampire's personality. It was also stronger than a regular vampire from Earth (a regular vampire being a combination of the wild, feral Van-Tal's soul and the human body and mind that the vampire had possessed in life). The strength of a Van-Tal was comparable to that of its Turok-Han cousins.
The Van-Tal had green skin and rows of spines on its forehead and skin as well as clawed hands and red eyes. It was incapable of speaking and walking upright.
The Van-Tal was also immune to sunlight; although it was unknown if this was unique to Pylea's sun.
- “To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood and then you have to suck their blood. It’s a whole big sucking thing.”
- ―Buffy Summers[src]
To create a new vampire, blood exchange was needed. Victims of vampire attacks did not turn into new vampires unless they consumed the sire's blood when near death after being fed on by said vampire. If the vampire drained all of the victim's blood, the victim would simply die. A human who imbibed vampire blood when not at the point of death would not change. Vampires obtained sexual pleasure from the act of siring, and sometimes they might sire new vampires by sexual instinct, which would explain why many new vampires were abandoned by their sires.
The destruction of the Seed of Wonder by Buffy Summers resulted in it becoming impossible for demon souls to enter the bodies of newly sired vampires on Earth from the Hell dimension they originate from. Thus, all vampires sired after that point became a mindlessly feral variety that Xander Harris christened "Zompires".
- “Welcome to my world.. It hurts, I know. But it won't for long. Birth is always painful.”
- ―Darla to the newly risen Liam[src]
Following the blood exchange, the victim died of blood loss and, according to Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, would reawaken on the night after the siring, sometime between sunset and sunrise. However certain other vampires raised a few hours after the blood exchange. No special preparations, such as burial, were required for the vampire's rebirth. Vampires mostly rose from graves because they spent a time between death and rebirth as corpses and were buried.
In any event, new vampires often awoke with a sensation of disorientation, in which most vampires were highly violent and feral, before recovering and realizing their new status. This was not however always the case. For example, Sarah Holtz or Holden Webster didn't attack from their awakening. This clarity usually "kicked in" after the vampire rose from the grave or at least after the first feeding. In any event, when the vampire overcame the confusion, they experienced a sensation of clarity that was new and unique, and which they would express in different ways:
- Jesse McNally: "I feel good, Xander! I feel strong! I'm connected, man, to everything! I can hear the worms in the Earth!"
- Andrew Borba: "He is risen in me! He fills my head with song! You're the chaff, unblessed. I'll suck the blood from your hearts, he says I may!" (Caveat: Borba spoke much the same way when alive.)
- Alonna Gunn: "Don't be sad. I'm not. On this side there is no guilt, no grief. I got the greatest guilt cure ever. I can free you!"
- Spike: "Becoming a vampire is a profound and powerful experience. I could feel this new strength coursing through me. Getting killed made me feel alive for the very first time. I was through living by society's rules. Decided to make a few of my own."
- Holden Webster: "No, it feels okay. Strong, and I feel like I'm connected to a powerful all-consuming evil that's gonna suck the world into fiery oblivion."
- Anne Pratt: "It's as though I've been given new eyes. I see everything. Understand... Everything.
All the examples show that the new vampire was commonly astonished by the new sensation of power and the connection to an "all-consuming evil."
The Sire's Psychic Link
Angel dreamed of his progeny Penn's actions, later telling his friends, "I used to have a connection with those I sired. It just means he's close. That's all". Angel also demonstrated this to track down Drusilla when she first appeared in Sunnydale. Darla was later able to use this ability in combination with Calynthia powder in order to manipulate Angel's dreams.
Few vampires have been brought back to life. In 2004, Spike was brought back from the dead as a "ghost" and then re-corporealized as a vampire. After Spike died in the final battle in the Hellmouth, Wolfram and Hart's mystical Amulet would also ensure the survival of his spirit in Los Angeles, and his physical form was returned to him in a packaged spell by Lindsey McDonald, entailing a full resurrection (Darla was resurrected by a ritual performed by Vocah and Wolfram & Hart, but this ritual restored her to life as a human rather than a vampire, requiring her to be sired later when the disease that had been killing her in life began to kill her again).
After the Master's death, the Anointed One attempted to resurrect him using his skeletal remains but was unsuccessful. The spell required the usage of the blood of those who were with the Master upon his death, but Buffy, Xander, and Angel stopped the ritual and destroyed the Master's skeleton to ensure that this ritual would never be attempted again.
Angel, Gunn and Darla have all been restored to their human forms on various occasions. Angel was initially turned human by the blood of a Mohra Demon in a negated timeline, but he turned back time when he learned that his new weakness would result in Buffy dying. Darla was resurrected as a human by Vocah as part of a plan to use her as a psychological weapon against Angel, and was later sired to save her life. Years later, the Senior Partners would later transform Angel into a human to make him useless to the Powers That Be, but he was returned to vampire form when he provoked the now-vampiric Gunn into killing him, forcing the Senior Partners to turn back time to a point when Angel was last a vampire in order to ensure that he could still play his prophesied role in their apocalypse. The same temporal fold also reverted Gunn- who had been turned into a vampire when Los Angeles was sent to Hell- back into his human state, although he had to stay in hospital for several weeks afterwards due to his injuries. Any vampires that had been killed while Los Angeles was in hell were restored because of the temporal fold. Any vampires who were sired while Los Angeles was in hell (such as Gunn) were restored to their human state although they kept their memories of being vampires.
A strong electric shock can temporarily cause a vampire's heart to beat as if he or she was alive.
- “You will show proper respect.”
- ―The Master[src]
Vampires largely preferred working alone, though were sometimes found living in groups organized like packs or prides. These groups are commonly organized with the purpose of protection and feeding.
The leading vampire was known as "Master", usually the sire of the group, the eldest one or the most powerful; in any event, the dominant vampire was the one capable of achieving the top position and enforce his authority through strength and violence. There were also some cases in which the leading position was occupied by a dominant couple, like Spike and Drusilla or James and Elisabeth.
The followers were commonly known as "minions" or "lackeys", though sometimes they could also be referred as "acolytes". These were commonly the progeny of the master vampire, or vampires that fell under the authority of the master due to their own weakness or youth. While minions were expected to follow the commands of their master and were punished when failing, there were examples of vampires rebelling against their masters, or even choosing to serve a new one.
In some vampire bloodlines, there was a tradition of choosing new names for themselves after being sired. The Master's bloodline is an example of this.
Vampire Clans, Packs and Cults
- Order of Aurelius
- Darla, Angelus, James and Elisabeth
- Darla and the Roman vampires who rescue Angelus from the Inquisitore
- The Whirlwind: Darla, Angelus, (as the dominant couple) Drusilla and Spike.
- Spike and Dru and their minions: Dalton, Julia, Lucius, etc.
- Angelus and his "boys" - and girls (like Theresa Klusmeyer) as well. (1998)
- Kakistos and the vampires that lived and died for him, including Mister Trick and a female vampire, though these two refused to die for him
- Zachary Kralik and Blair
- The Master and the Order of Aurelius, which included Vampire Willow and Vampire Xander, his most powerful acolytes
- Vampire Willow and Alphonse and the other ex-minions of Mayor Wilkins
- Sunday and her lackeys in Psi-Theta frat house: Dav, Rookie, Tom, Jerry and Eddie
- Spike and the Gem of Amarra diggers: Brian and other vampires.
- Russ and his Punk vampire pack
- Knox the skinhead vampire and his pack, including Ty and Alonna Gunn
- Count Dracula and the Three Sisters
- Harmony and her gang: Brad Konig, Mort, Cyrus and Peaches, until they rebelled against her.
- Whip and the Vampire Bite Den.
- Doug Sanders and the vampire pyramid scheme
- Carl and the rebel vampire posse: Justin, Zach, Christy, Marla, Glenn and other vamps.
- James and Elisabeth and their vampire pack
- The vampire cult of Ul'thar
- Angelus and his "fans": Karl, Paco and others.
- Charles Gunn and "Team Gunn": Tank, Vic, Rod, Truck, Dave, Todd, Pat, Derick
- Toru and the Tokyo vampires, including Raidon and Kumiko Ishihara
- Judas Cradle and his vampire army
Vampire Minions of Non-Vampires
There are cases, though, in which vampires wind up in the service of non-vampires, such as very powerful sorcerers or demons, even though vampires are commonly rejected by other demons who regard them as the ultimate filth since they have human bodies.
- Mayor Wilkins and his lackeys: Mister Trick, Lenny, Alphonse and other ex-minions of Spike and Angelus
- Balthazar and El Eliminati
- The Scourge, an army of pure-bred demons obsessed with scouring the world of "impure" demons who had a part human ancestry, briefly counted Angel among their ranks under the pretense that he despised his own humanity. Due to the Scourge's view of impure demons, this can be seem as the exception rather than the rule.
- Adam and his vampire minions: Boone and his pack (Adam's "first"), Jape (Adam's right-hand henchvamp), Spike, and his many vampire followers.
- The drug lord demon and his henchvamps
- Deevak and his vampire thugs
- Teeth the loan shark and his vampire thugs
- Senator Helen Brucker and Ernesto and the rest of her "campaign staff".
- Wolfram & Hart employs vampires, including a vampire agent, Harmony, and Tamika.
Vampire Masters with Non-Vampire Minions
There are some cases in which a powerful vampire requires the service of human minions and lackeys, and sometimes even demons:
- Spike assumed leadership of a group of revelers and trick-or-treaters transformed into demons and monsters by a bust of Janus one Halloween.
- Russell Winters and his hired muscle, butlers, bodyguards, lawyers and executives.
- Spike mentions that he once employed two Fyarl demons. While demons, both pure and half-breeds, often regard vampires as inferiors, Fyarls are usually too dim-witted to grasp the concept of racial discrimination.
- Dracula and his "manservants": Xander Harris, Butterfield
- As Lord of Beverly Hills, Spike was served by a harem of both human and demon females, his Spikettes.
The Slayer and Vampires
- “To most vampires, the Slayer was this object of cold sweat and frightened whispers. But I never hid. Hell, I sought her out. I mean, if you're looking for fun, there's death, there's glory, and sod all else, right?”
Within vampire society, the Slayer could be described as a source of great fear. Even vampires as powerful as Angelus and Darla preferred to avoid confronting Slayers, keeping a low profile to prevent attracting her attention. Vampires feel a great deal of hatred towards Slayers, the only exceptions being en-souled vampires Angel and Spike who are in love with the Slayer, Buffy Summers.
The killing of a Slayer was considered a great feat in vampire society. For example:
- Following the death of the Master in 1997, the vampires of the Order of Aurelius claimed that whoever managed to kill Buffy Summers would be The Master's successor.
- Killing two Slayers in less than 200 years of existence made Spike an infamous figure among vampires and Watchers alike.
- The prospect of killing and draining Buffy gave Mr. Trick a sensation of euphoria that made him lower his guard, allowing Faith Lehane to kill him.
- “No more sickness. No more dying. You'll never age another day.”
Vampires are commonly described as "dead". Death can be defined as a status in which the body lacks physiological functions, such as having a heartbeat or beathing. However, vampires are able to move, feed, talk and feel despite inhabiting dead bodies. The term "undead" seems much more fitting because vampires, while not alive, aren't dead either.
When a human is sired, their human soul leaves their body and a demon soul takes possession of the corpse, reanimating it and altering its physiology. The demon within the vampire causes these alterations:
- Requires mammalian blood to maintain strength. Usually, this is human blood, but rats, pigs and otters have been consumed as well, though they don't give vampires as much nutrition or satisfaction as human blood. The blood of supernatural, human-appearing mammalian beings, such as the Children of the Senior Partners feeds a vampire as well and often has added benefits (see below). Vampires do not feed on the blood of other demons, and Trask, a member of the Scourge specifically states so.
- Vocalizations such as hissing and roaring reminiscent of lions, tigers, and other big cats whenever they are angered or trying to intimidate and/or frighten their opponents.
- Facial alterations (pronounced brow ridges, golden/yellow eyes, disappearance of eyebrows, elongated upper canines, and pointed upper incisors) when feeding or under stressful situations such as fighting, in which a vampire might assume its real face in preparation for feeding or to intimidate the opponent. In addition to this, a vampire may show their "vampire face" at will (Connor asks Angel to show him his "second face" and Angel reluctantly obliges), when generally angered, sexually aroused, or suddenly and/or unexpectedly injured. This is the vampire's true face, and their ability to disguise themselves with the face of their human predecessor is one of the vampire's most useful powers. Harmony Kendall implies that maintaining "vampface" takes effort and cannot be maintained for too long. However, older vampires like The Master, Kakistos, and The Prince of Lies are in vampface permanently, suggesting that the necessary effort fades over time. Over time, other deformations may also take hold, such as Kakistos' cloven hooves. However, these take many centuries - perhaps even millennia - to occur (Kakistos is from Ancient Greece, therefore at least 2500 years old).
- While their hearts don't beat, vampires have some kind of blood flow which allows the blood in their bodies to be transported. This also means that vampires can be rendered unconscious if blood flow to the brain is interrupted (Spike did this to Drusilla) and that vampires can become intoxicated (Spike becomes drunk multiple times). Male vampires are capable of having sex, so they do have some blood flow enabling an erection.
- They generate no body heat while at rest, though muscle action produces transient heat. Humans only rarely perceived vampires' skin as cold as Billy Fordham did upon meeting Angel. However, vampires occasionally had visible breath when in the cold, such as when Liam first emerged from the grave and was talking with his sire, Darla, indicating some sort of body heat, even immediately after reanimation. A thermal scanner showed Spike's body temperature to be 62.3 degrees Fahrenheit. However, Winifred Burkle's scans of Spike's incorporeal body showed that he generated body heat.
- Their bodies perform motor functions like human bodies, often better than humans.
- Their lungs do not absorb oxygen or any other gases; vampires thus cannot be drowned or asphyxiated, although their bodies may retain the breathing reflex (Angelus choke-holding Spike. A vampire is capable of speaking and smoking, however, Angel says that he cannot give artificial respiration to a drowned human ("I have no breath"). However, in a possible continuity error, the first Turok-Han held Spike's head underwater while torturing him, and Spike briefly passed out and coughed up sizable amounts of water afterward.
- Vampires heal rapidly, albeit in a similar way to human bodies (Spike's broken back heals, but after months have passed). Angelus, for example, was beaten several times with a crowbar, recovered in little over a minute and was able to engage in a full-blown sword fight with Buffy without any physical handicap. However, they can suffer trauma (such as being put into a coma) that renders them unconscious. They can also have unhealable scars under certain conditions. Xin Rong used an enchanted sword to give Spike the scar on his eyebrow. Faith, aided by the spirit of Artemia, gave Kakistos a permanent scar and blinded him in the right eye.
- Immunity to Diseases - Darla and Spike's mother Anne are both cured when turned into vampires.
- They do not generate life force, and their brains do not have the same mystical qualities of a human brain. This means Glory is not able to feed on vampire brains. Nor could the Root Monster of Couplet suck the life force from Angel, defeating itself trying to do so.
- Their bodies cast no reflection on reflective substances such as mirrors or water. This also causes them to be immune to mind reading powers. Angel realizes Buffy is trying to read his mind and says, "You can't get into my mind." Buffy, taken aback by his realization asks, "How did you ... why not?" Angel responds with, "It's like the mirror. The thoughts are there, but they create no reflection within you." However, they can still be photographed or video taped, as these systems function in the same way as human eyes.
- Even though their bodies are clinically dead, a vampire's hair is apparently still able to grow. For example, Angelus had long hair until the 20th century. By the 1920's he had short hair, but by the 1970's he was long-haired again. Spike's hair also grows during his time in the Sunnydale High School basement.
- A vampire's nerve endings and pain receptors seemed to work just as well as a human's; Angelus was incapacitated with pain after Buffy kicked him in the groin.
- Vampires seem to have fully functional tear ducts and be capable of crying; both Angel and Spike have shed tears on several occasions.
- Vampires have a super-hearing. Darla demonstrates it when she spy Buffy and Willow through a window of the library . She confirms it later to Fred, while they looked for a means to escape the cult of Ul-Thar. Although Fred murmurs his plan to the hollow of the ear of Darla, vampires hear her .
- Modern vampires were unable to regenerate lost limbs, though they can be surgically reattached.
- Vampires are unable to procreate in the human manner, although Angel and Darla managed to conceive Connor seemingly because of Jasmine's manipulations.
- Vampires can survive the extremely high pressures of the deep ocean. Angel was able to sink to a submarine with only weights attached to his legs and no protective suit.
- Vampires are not impervious to magic. For example, Drusilla fell in love with Xander because of a spell made by Amy Madison; Spike fell in love with Buffy, lost his voice, sang and became amnesiac because of magic; Angel became amnesiac because of a magic bottle. and was transformed in puppet . Aditionnally, these three vampires had each a soul generated by magic rites. Vampires are easily handleable by the necromancer.
- They are immune to the bites of the werewolves and certain demons.
- Vampires are immune in the effect produced by pheromones of certain creatures as the She-Mantis. It was demonstrated only once when Claw tries to attack Nathalie French, he has is just enough that she has him a look so that the vampire is frightened by her, implying that unlike the human beings who are charmed by the woman, pheromones give the alert in vampire or at least, make them perceive their real aspect.
- Dogs naturally seem to be afraid of vampires. Maybe of in the fact that they generate no heat and in the smell of death. For example, Mrs. Jacobi's dog is hostile to Harmony. Miss Sunshine is litterally frightened by Drusilla. It is possible that this effect is the same with the werewolves. Oz, for example does not attack Theresa Klusmeyer's fresh body after Angel fed from it.
Powers and Abilities
- “You're strong. I'm stronger.”
Vampires possessed superhuman strength. The exact limits of this strength are debatable and often varied from individual to individual, either because of their age or what supernatural blood they have consumed or simply personality and experience. Some vampires have been shown capable of deforming metal with their hands, while others have been held back by wooden doors. Chains have had varying success at restraining vampires; Angel was able to break out of them after hours of trying, while others found them unbreakable. They have also been shown to throw human bodies anywhere from 5 to 25 ft away.
Angel could break apart a wooden wall with his bare hands and feet more effectively than the combined efforts of Wesley and Gunn who each used stone statues. Additionally, when Marcus Roscoe took over Angel's body he was able to take out a group of men despite lacking any of Angel's fighting skills. Angel even claimed he could literally rip a man's head off his body. Though seemingly exaggerating as he was angry at the time, Angel did rip the arm off a Wraith-er Demon once after being secretly fed with human blood.
Though their strength increases with age, even newly-risen vampires have displayed incredible strength. For example after being re-sired by Drusilla, Darla was effortlessly able to bodily lift Angel, who was considerably taller and more muscular than she was, off the ground by the throat with one hand.
The blood of enhanced human and human-like beings augments their strength to a great degree. Vampires also derive pleasure from the act of feeding off such humans. Examples of vampires feeding on superhumans and gaining a charge include:
- The Slayer's blood is the only cure for a poison called the Killer of the Dead. Feeding off Slayers has been shown to provide a temporary "high" as well; Spike likened it to an aphrodisiac on his first taste. Slayer (Buffy's) blood also provided enough temporary strength to enable the Master to escape his mystical prison.
- For his initiation in the Circle of the Black Thorn, Angel is given "supercharged warrior juice": Drogyn's blood.
- Angel's strength is greatly augmented after drinking from Marcus Hamilton, a supernatural humanoid being infused with the power of the Senior Partners and dramatically stronger than Angel.
Speed, agility, and reflexes
Vampires are able to move faster and react more quickly than humans; for example, Angel once spun around and caught a crossbow bolt fired at his back from point-blank range and could run at such speeds that he appeared to teleport several meters where someone would see him at one direction and he would then immediately appear right in front of them as they looked or headed the other way..
Additionally, a morbidly obese vampire was shown to have enough stamina to outrun both Tara, Giles and Spike (though Tara did affect him with dust from a sobri root which was intended to confuse him, only to make him 'peppy'). Spike could also scale up a 30 foot tower in a matter of seconds.
Resilience and healing
Being undead, vampires can endure and survive near-limitless amounts of bodily damage so long as they are not decapitated or staked through the heart (see below). Their bodies appear more durable than humans and on par to Slayers. Drusilla was once hit by a car, but instantly got up without any visible marks or bruises.. A member of the Order of Aurelius was also hit by a bus, and showed to have no difficulty in killing the bus driver and the passengers. Both Darla and a possessed Angel could fall down long heights without sustaining injury.  However, a certain degree of damage could cause visible or debilitating effects.
Vampires can also heal more quickly than most humans, though the process can vary depending on the severity of the injury, and some vampires could receive permanent scars (see below). Their healing abilities actually seem to be somewhat superior to those of a Slayer; after a brutal fight between himself and Faith Lehane, Angel was barely scorched the next day, while Faith was still healing herself.
Being primarily nocturnal, vampires had enhanced hearing, smell and night vision. They were especially sensitive to the scent of blood, and could distinguish individual humans and vampires by scent, as shown by the newly sired Gunn. Spike was unable to identify Charlotte , nor Harmony to Tamika before they showed their vamp-face. Alphonse and his minions took some time to distinguish between both Willow Rosenberg and her Wishverse counterpart. The vampire Carl was also taken aback by Spike's resistance while they were in confrontation.
Spike in particular has an acute sense of smell; when the Scooby Gang turned on Buffy and forced her to leave, Spike tracked her down by scent alone at least several hours after she had left. On one occasion, Angel tells by scent that Wesley had sex with a bleached blond the night before. Vampires apparently were attracted to bright colors, and the alternate Sunnydale citizens were careful not to wear brightly colored clothing. 
However, unlike their other senses, a vampire's night vision appeared to be inconsistent; Angel at one point used night vision goggles while working a case with Kate Lockley, while Spike needed a flashlight to see in the abandoned Initiative base.
Their powers of perception are so great that, if concentrating enough, they are capable perceiving certain minuscule details that most beings would easily overlook. An example of this was when Illyria used her time-slowing powers to facilitate her and Knox' escape from the Wolfram and Hart Science Lab, Spike was the only one who "saw a blur" just before Ilyria vanished, leading to him, Angel, Gunn, and Wesley to speculate that her inexplicaple disappearance stem from altering time rather than teleportation.
Several vampires, including Dalton, Penn and Marcus, have been seen wearing eyeglasses. William Pratt, however, wore eyeglasses as a human, while Spike does not seem to need them—he has never shown signs of either myopia or farsightedness, and can read books and aim a gun with no problem. According to Angel, if a vampire required glasses as a human, they still needed them after their siring.
Upon being sired, nearly all vampires possess extraordinary combat skills, able to fight with great skill and shoot with great accuracy even if he or she had never possessed such skills as a human. When learning to hunt, Dawn nervously hoped that the newborn vampire pitted against her might not "know all the fancy martial arts they inevitably seem to pick up", though she was proven wrong. 
One exception appeared to be Harmony Kendall, who had poor fighting skills during her first year as vampire, equally matching up against the human Xander in a fight. Over time after her first break-up with Spike, the independent Harmony eventually began honing her instincts, holding her own in fights against Riley, Spike and fellow Wolfram and Hart employee Tamika which showed her to have impressive skill after only five years.
- “Save the hypnosis crap for the tourists.”
- ―Buffy Summers[src]
There are also several instances of vampires possessing abilities granted by practicing magic:
- Some vampires, including the Master, Drusilla and Dracula, are able to hypnotize their victims. Others, such as Angel/Angelus, have never been able to get the hang of this ability.
- Drusilla's psychic powers (precognition, mind reading, hypnosis) came to her as a human, and she retains them as a vampire.
- Marcus the vampire torturer senses Angel's soul and that he has known love. As a vampire is immune to mind-reading, it indicates that he's an empath.
- Darla, like Marcus, sensed Angelus's soul when he was first cursed. Wesley confirms some vampires are capable of sensing Angel's soul.
- Angel's psychic link to his progeny allows him to perceive their actions through dreams and track them down as well, though he can only do it consciously. He is incapable of sensing their presence by intuition. Angel tracked Drusilla shortly after he was aware of her arrival in Sunnydale and Penn after he confirmed his presence in Los Angeles. However, Angel did not similarly perceive Sam Lawson's presence in Los Angeles.
- Dracula is able to take the form of a wolf, a bat and a green mist. He is able to reassemble himself after being staked and turned to dust. Spike claims these powers stem from gypsy magic. Dracula was the benefactor of the Kalderash tribe that cursed Angelus.
- The vampire Marissa, whom Connor chased, scaled up the side of a building like a spider, moving very quickly once she made contact with the building.
- Penn, the vampire that Angel sired when he was still Angelus, is shown to possess superhuman speed - he is seen taking out a room of armed police officers, moving more quickly than what has been seen with most vampires. Angel demonstrated similar superhuman speed.
- Angel possesses the ability to jump 10+ feet in the air. On occasion, he could jump almost 100 feet in the air.
- Angel has recently shown the ability to regenerate lost limbs, an ability revealed after James ripped off his hands and feet, due to a powerful supernatural upheaval about to take place. Illyria claims that vampires possessed such an ability in ancient times.
- There are several instances where vampires' fingernails are shown to be sharper than humans. Vampires as powerful as the Master was capable of wounding skin with a strike of his sharpened nails and Drusilla was also able to slit a Slayer's throat with but one slash of a single nail. Also, both Darla, Drusilla, and Dracula have used their nails to draw their own blood when siring.
- “[...] The Master is centuries old. He has grown past the curse of human features.
Am I gonna get a bat nose like that?
Very few vampires are cunning enough to live as long as I.”
- ―Darla, Angelus and The Master[src]
Being "dead", vampires do not age as living humans do, but the passing of centuries does benefit them.
- Strength, agility, senses, intelligence, speed, and endurance improve with age. The Master's advanced age made him able to kill his victims "before they could draw breath".
- The ability to take on human appearance is eventually lost. Russell Winters, while able to assume human visage, had much more deformed vampire features such as greenish skin, indicating an old age, though not one as advanced as that of the most ancient vampires seen: The Master, Kakistos, and The Prince of Lies. The three vampires did not resemble each other, yet they all have obtained more demonic features. Kakistos had cloven hooves instead of hands and feet, while the Master and the Prince of Lies had elongated talon-like fingers and pointed ears. It is unclear how long a vampire must live for their humanity to fade. Angel was over 200 and Darla over 400 and neither had yet lost any of their human visage.
- To note, the Prince of Lies individually had eyebrows, wherein other vampires' eyebrows disappear when they assume their vamp face.
- The Master's skeleton, uniquely, remained when his flesh turned to dust. The Master also bears a slight resemblance to the Turok-Han. indicating that as a vampire ages, their appearance evolves more into that of their demon soul.
- “I don't breathe, you idiot!”
Vampires do not require oxygen to survive, allowing them to survive in poisonous atmospheres, underwater and resist strangling. Angel was unaffected by gas and was even able to survive in the poisonous atmosphere of the home dimension of Jasmine's zealots. He was also able to survive underwater for 3 months.
However, vampires do maintain some sort of breathing reflex, which allows them to speak and smoke, and gag reflex, which can affect them when choked, though they can learn to ignore it, such as Darla when Angel strangled her or when Angel was being attacked and strangled by a tentacled monster from a portal. While unable to perform CPR, vampires are capable of smoking and speaking. Strangely, however, the first Turok-Han was shown torturing Spike by holding his head underwater.
- “Blood is life, lackbrain. Why do you think we eat it? It's what keeps you going, makes you warm, makes you hard, makes you other than dead.”
A vampire's normal diet consists solely of mammalian blood, they possess the ability to completely drain a human body in a matter of seconds. Though they prefer the blood of humans, that of other mammals, including rats, pigs and otters, seems to suffice. After their ensoulment (and before, in Spike's case) vampires Angel and Spike manage to remain strong and healthy by regularly purchasing pig's blood from butcher shops. Many vampires are shown to dislike the taste of non-human blood, but otter blood seems to be something of an exception. As such, the vast majority vampires feed exclusively from humans despite being able to live on lower animals. Their soulless natures lead them to value the taste (and sadistic joy of the act) first and foremost. However, if a human's blood is tainted in some way, such as through steroid use, it tastes bad to vampires. Certain other factors about the human may also affect their blood's taste as youth and virginity seemed to be rather palatable choices.Humans seem to experience some sort of euphoric rush while being fed off, as was shown when Buffy was bitten by Angel. The experience was so powerful that she unintentionally crushed a metal pot with her hand and kicked a table in response. Establishments called "vampire brothels" or "bite dens" make money off of this phenomenon where humans can pay to be bitten to non-lethal extents.
According to Harmony Kendall, individual vampires can either prefer biting on the right or left side of a human's neck, describing herself as a "right-biter." This has, however, been proven false on several occasions. She may have been implying that biting a certain side of the neck might just be a preference.
While vampires seem to be able to ingest and digest normal food and drink, they are described as having a human-level taste in comparison to their other (heightened) senses. Still, they appear to retain the ability to differentiate liquids. Spike was immediately able to determine that the substance in the Cup of Perpetual Torment was Mountain Dew. Spike also possesses an extremely varied diet for a vampire. He is very often seen drinking alcohol, and enjoys eating Weetabix (which he mixes into blood for texture), chocolate, spices and burba weed (which he mixes into blood for flavor), Buffalo wings, crackers and peanut butter, and fried onion blossoms. Angel, on the other hand, seems to be very fond of coffee, and drinks it often.
Vampires do not die if they are starved of blood, but they do suffer severely debilitating effects if they do not feed for prolonged periods of time:
- First, their strength dwindles considerably and they become paler and experience cold.
- Second, after months of not feeding, they suffer damage to higher brain functions, which can result in extremely vivid hallucinations. Blood from a healthy human is required for the vampire to recuperate.
- Eventually, they become "living skeletons", according to Spike.
According to Trask, a member of the Scourge, vampires do not feed on demon blood. However, Gunn gained visions by feeding on a prophetic demon. Spike also once claimed that demon blood tastes like "astringent" and is "oaky", which he stated after biting Cordelia Chase to determine whether or not she was possessed. When Charles Gunn faced off against an overwhelming number of Scourge demons, he imagined himself as a vampire butchering and feeding from the demons. He speculated that their blood would taste metallic to a vampire. It seems that vampires do not gain any sustenance from feeding from demons.
Vampires had a tendency to hunt in alley ways as victims were more vulnerable and out of the public eye. They hunted in packs for easier access to blood and there have been cases where a group of vampires has fed on a single human. In times of crisis, such as if there pack leader has left, vampires may become scattered and return to easy feeding grounds such as parks.
Drugs and Poisons
Vampires could be affected by any kind of drugs and poisons just like humans, though lethal drugs and human poisons did not kill them:
- Spike smoked tobacco, but wasn't affected by the smoke. He reported that at Woodstock he "fed off a flower person and spent the next six hours watching [his] hand move," presumably an effect of LSD.
- Vampires could become intoxicated by normal alcohol to the point of unconsciousness, but they had a much higher tolerance for it than humans.
- When going to the Wolfram & Hart Halloween Bash, Archduke Sebassis secretly armed himself with poison darts which he claimed were powerful enough to kill humans "before their next heartbeat," but only enough to render Angel comatose for a week.
- Angelus tried to feed on Gage Petronzi, but spit out his blood because either the steroids in it or the ongoing transformation into a fish creature gave it a bad taste.
- Kralik was treated with and dependent on anti-psychotic medication; without them, he suffered extraordinary pain.
- The Killer of the Dead was a mystical poison. It caused a severe fever and killed the vampire in a matter of days. The blood of a Slayer was the only known cure.
- Angel was paralyzed by a neural paralytic drug that would kill a human being, but he managed to shake off the effects shortly after his attacker left him in his office. He was also highly susceptible to the effects of caffeine.
- Vampires captured by The Initiative were fed drugged packets of blood to be incapacitated for vivisection.
- Actress Rebecca Lowell slipped Angel a "happy pill", which gave him a false sense of bliss and for a limited time causes him to revert into Angelus, making him an immediate threat to Wesley, Cordelia and Rebecca.
- Calynthia powder seemingly augmented Angel's synapses enough to keep him in restless sleep, plagued by dreams, and rendered him more suggestible.
- Vampires got high from feeding off junkies using intravenous drugs, such as Orpheus, a mystical drug.
- Dana, a Slayer, incapacitated Spike with the drugs previously used to disable her, to the point where she was able to cut off his hands before he regained consciousness.
- Wolfram & Hart employee and vampire Tamika was able to make fellow vampiric co-worker Harmony Kendall pass out by slipping rohypnol into her drink.
Vampires could suffer severe injuries and required a long time to recuperate.
- Drusilla, almost killed by an angry mob in Prague, was left extremely weak for months, until she was cured by a special ceremony requiring the blood of her sire (Angel). Angel in turn required time to recuperate from the ordeal.
- It has been mentioned that Angel had well above average healing. This was demonstrated by his recovery from being run through by a wooden beam
- Spike was forced into a wheelchair when an entire church organ collapsed on him, but months later he was back on his feet.
- Gwendolyn Post tried to kill Angel by hitting his head with a shovel, as the trauma would've killed him if he was human, though it only angered him.
- Kakistos was given a deep facial scar and permanently blinded in his right eye by Faith Lehane.
- Wishverse Angel had gruesome burning scars on his chest from Willow's torture (presumably she had used holy water on him).
- Modern vampires could lose appendages, and could not regrow them. However, they could be surgically reattached.
- After being brutally tortured by Glory, Spike was left with numerous cuts, bruises, and a swollen black eye. He was shown, sometime later, to have a heavily bruised face and a noticeable limp, but was then shown the next day to be completely healed.
- Dawn attacked a vampire with a burning chemical substance found in a school science lab. Even though it left visible burns on the vampire's face, it did very little to deter it as holy water would.
Mental and Physical Health
Humans suffering from some sort of mental illness would keep it as vampires, though in a different and less ailing form. This illness would also be central for the formation of the vampire's persona:
- Drusilla's visions and her subsequent ordeal at Angelus' hands traumatized her into some sort of schizophrenia. As a vampire, Dru remained schizophrenic, yet she was not paranoid or depressive like her human predecessor. Combined with her psychic powers, Drusilla's madness gave her a unique perspective in which she reveled.
- Andrew Borba was a religious fanatic who seemed to have carried his zeal as a vampire, despite fearing the cross. 
- Zachary Kralik still relied on his pills to cope with his headaches even after he was turned.
- According to Angel, if a vampire required glasses during their human life, they would still need them after being sired. However, Spike never needed glasses after being sired.
- “You fear the cross. The sun. Fire. [...] I believe decapitation is a problem as well. You fear death. Being immortal, you fear it more than those to whom it comes naturally.”
Vampires die when impaled in the heart with a wooden object, beheaded, exposed to direct sunlight or consumed by fire.
When vampires die, their bodies and clothing turn to dust in a matter of seconds, which is usually followed by a high-pitched scream.
It's shown that any foreign object, by itself and touching/pierced in the vampire's body will disintegrate as well. While the signature robes of a group of cultist vampires would turn to dust upon their death as with the rest of their attire, Angel was able to a keep a robe from dusting by removing it from the vampire wearing it before dusting him. Xander was also angry at Spike for trying to stake himself while wearing his clothes, simply because his shirt would've perished along with Spike. 
Even weapons, such as stakes would dust along with the vampire if it remained in the vampire's body when it dusted. This is shown when Cordelia pushed down on a vampire, causing it fall on Xander who was holding a stake, dusting the vampire before Cordelia landed on Xander. If the stake hadn't also been destroyed, Cordelia would've been struck by it. Even when the broken part of a shovel was used to stake a vampire, the shaft along with the blade dusted with it. The reason why close objects dust along with the vampires is unknown. It's possible that it comes from an exothermic discharge of heat that disintegrated the vampire's body, destroying anything of close vicinity, though the actual cause that makes vampires turn to dust is never explained.
Even with these events, there are others which don't have this result. Buffy killed a vampire that crawled over, accidentally moving into stake that she held over herself in time, though the stake remained unharmed. When Angel staked Sam Lawson, the stake remained mid-air while he dusted before falling to the ground  This similarly happened to Kakistos by a wooden beam, the Master and Marcus, the latter of which were both impaled by large pieces of sharply broken wood. It's possible the type of wood may play a factor as Angel killed Sam with a stake formed by broken wood from the Wolfram and Hart offices while a rather large piece of wood might withstand the dusting process as the wood pieces that killed the Master and Marcus were part of a larger frame of wood. Also, it's shown twice that any rings worn will remain after the dusting. Once when Giles picked up a ring from the dusted remains of a member of the Order of Aurelius and second during a dream of Buffy where Angel's rings disconnected from him when he dusted.
If the heart of the vampire is pierced with a wooden object, the vampire will immediately die. Instances have included stakes, arrows, a tree branch, a pencil,, bamboo" and a chopstick.
A wooden stake in an area other than the heart will not work, nor will puncture of the heart by other materials such as metal, plastic wood grain, or synthetic wood. Bullets and blades can cause great pain, but will not kill the vampire, unless of course they result in decapitation (see below).
The vampire's flesh seems to be especially vulnerable to wood, which would explain why it was relatively easy for Cordelia, who has no fighting training or enhanced strength, to stake a vampire minion during the Graduation Battle, how Candy Gorch gets dusted by the wood handle of a spatula, why Jesse is accidentally dusted when pushed against the stake Xander was holding, or how Kate Lockley was able to impale Angel through the stomach with a broken board and stake Penn while the latter was on Angel's back.
The amount of wood also seems to be another factor to consider when analyzing vampires' weaknesses. A vampire as ancient as Kakistos barely even feels pain when stabbed with a common stake, but dies when impaled with a large beam of wood. The Master was also impaled on an unusually large piece of woodafter being thrown from a roof by Buffy. No previous staking attempt had been made on The Master, but it is presumable that he is also invulnerable to common stakes. Common vampires, however, can be staked with pieces of wood as thin as a pencil. Strangely, the Prince of Lies was easily dusted by a simple stake, despite being 'as ancient as the darkness itself'. Angel suggested the possibility of wooden bullets,. however, no such tactic was ever attempted, even by military officials, meaning it can be assumed that bullets would be too small to do the job.
When set on fire, the body of the vampire will be consumed in a relatively short time. The more powerful and/or older the vampire is, the longer it will take for their bodies to be properly destroyed, which explains why Darla and Drusilla are able to survive being set on fire while an anonymous vampire is quickly consumed when Spike lights him with his Zippo lighter.
Should a vampire survive the fire, the healing process will regenerate the charred flesh, skin and hair. The time required also depends on the age and power of the vampire: Following their immolation at Angel's hands, Drusilla healed faster than Darla because she was now the older vampire.
The light emitted by the Earth's sun (Sol) is extremely hazardous to vampires, should they be exposed directly to it. When exposed to direct natural sunlight, the body of the vampire combusts and will quickly be consumed by the resulting flames. However, older and more powerful vampires like Spike or Angel can resist sunlight better than younger, weaker vampires like Boone's buddies, who are consumed almost instantly. In fact, when Spike was first sired, he and Angelus bonded by deliberately exposing themselves to the sun.
Filtered and/or indirect sunlight may not cause any kind of injury to vampires. If protected from direct exposure to sunlight, vampires can be active in the middle of the day: Angel frequently used sewer tunnels under the Hyperion Hotel, while Spike was often seen traveling under a heavy blanket or in cars with blacked out windows. To protect its vampire employees, the Los Angeles offices of Wolfram & Hart employ "necro-tempered" tinted glass to filter the components of light that are dangerous to vampires, while leaving brightness intact.
Exposure to artificial sunlight such as tanning lamps do not harm vampires either. Also, the light of suns in other dimensions has been shown to not injure vampires in any way. The twin suns in Pylea and the sun in Wolfram & Hart's Holding Dimension are safe for vampires. Whether or not this applies to all alternate dimensions is unknown. Willow Rosenberg planned to create magically artificial sunlight, however, no such spell has shown to ever been made afterward because, if Willow's theory were right, it would've greatly helped the Scoobies whilst patrolling during the period when Buffy was dead.
It was also possible to kill a vampire through decapitation. Like in the case of staking, the vampire would turn to ashes. Decapitation could be achieved through blows with sharp objects such as metal axes and swords, by ripping off the vampire's head, as Adam did with one of Boone's pack mates. Shotgun blasts and even car doors were effective.
- “This symbol - these two planks of wood - it confounds me. Suffuses me with mortal dread.”
- ―The Master[src]
Christianity-based holy items such as Crosses, bibles and Holy Water (water blessed by a priest) burn vampires on contact, producing smoke but not flames. Thus, they are employed to ward off vampires with moderate success. The mere sight of a cross can cause a vampire to recoil in fear. Vampires can enter consecrated buildings such as churches, but doing so appears to produce feelings of unease. Chanting prayers in the presence of a vampire did nothing.
Holy water in particular can be lethal if ingested by a vampire, as exemplified by Zachary Kralik, who swallowed holy water and was burned to death from within. During the Harvest, Buffy was shown possessing a jar full of communal bread wafers among her other weapons, however, she never actually ever used it and what effect it might of had was never shown.
As vampires grow older and more powerful, they become capable of better resisting the pain caused by crosses through force of will. For instance, the Master had become capable of touching crosses, and, though they burned his hand, withstanding the pain. Likewise, Angel was capable of walking over crosses during the trials and enduring the pain of Buffy's cross necklace branding his chest, and Spike bludgeoned Angel with a large cross despite it charring his hands. Similarly, when Willow attempted to use a cross to ward off her Wishverse counterpart, the latter simply knocked it out of her hands, and simply left Wesley alone out of boredom when he threatened her with a cross and holy water. It should be noted that Vampire Willow was only a vampire for at least three years.
Interestingly, Andrew Borba, who in life and unlife was a fanatical Christian, was effectively warded off by a cross, much to his confusion.
The effectiveness of the cross largely seems to be due to the vampires' fear of it rather than the power of the object itself. Adam was able to persuade Boone and his pack mates to overcome their fear of the cross, allowing them to invade a church and take the churchgoers hostage in broad daylight with minimal difficulty.
The substance of the cross is irrelevant: wood and metal crosses have the same effect. However, two rods temporarily held in the shape of a cross are insufficient.
Garlic largely seems to be used as a vampire repellent. Buffy kept garlic in a chest along with stakes, holy water, and crosses, and told Xander that garlic was indeed a useful weapon against vampires. Sunnydale High students hung cloves of garlic on their lockers and in the school hall in the Wishverse. Buffy hung garlic in her bedroom to protect herself from Spike, and did the same thing to protect herself from Angelus.
Vampires can achieve invulnerability to all their weaknesses mentioned above in at least three ways:
- Wearing the Gem of Amarra. The gem of Amara was destroyed by Angel in the year 2000. However, in 2004, Spike discovered another gem. This too was destroyed. The "Forge of Amarra" is mentioned existing in another dimension.
- Having a procedure that removed the vampire's heart and infused his/her body with mystical potions. While having the same effects as the Gem of Amarra, its effects only last for six hours. After these have passed, the vampire instantly dusts. A human scientist seems to have improved the procedure. Instead of giving the vampire a six hour time limit, the scientist is able to extend the effects for 24 hours via removal of the heart. By creating an artificial heart for the vampire with science and possibly magics, the scientist is able to extend the vampire's invulnerability indefinitely, or at least until the artificial heart is removed or damaged.
- Becoming the host for Twilight. Long ago there was a prophecy that a vampire and a Slayer would reproduce and give birth to a new universe. Buffy became a candidate for this prophecy when she empowered the Slayers in 2003. It is ambiguous how Angel became a candidate for this prophecy. The buildup to this prophecy necessitated that the Slayer and vampire must each reach an emotional low point where they experience despair and helplessness. Once this has been achieved, the Slayer and the vampire (Buffy and Angel) were endowed with superpowers which included enhanced strength, flight abilities and absolute invulnerability. While experiencing this invulnerability, Angel was unable to be staked even with an entire tree.
In each of these cases, the vampire is immune to the effects of sunlight and fire. The vampire instantly regenerates wounds, such as those caused by staking. However, it is likely that decapitation would still kill a vampire who is otherwise enjoying invulnerability. Spike cuts off the hand of a vampire who is wearing the Ring of Amara, severing the vampire from the protection provided by the ring. A scientist explicitly warns the vampire not to get his head cut off, because while the artificial heart may protect the vampire from sunlight, the scientist states that "it's not a neck brace." When Angel was invulnerable due to being the host of Twilight; being in the proximity of the Seed of Wonder allowed him to be hurt, injured and possibly killed.
Vampires can enter a private residence, including houses and apartments, only if invited; otherwise they will hit an invisible barrier. Areas open to the public are not protected as such.
- The inviter need not be aware that the invitee is a vampire:
- If the resident of a property invites a vampire in but afterwards begins living elsewhere, they must extend another invitation to allow the vampire into the new property:
- The invitation can be coerced through telepathic means:
- Joyce invited Dracula while under his thrall.
- The invitation need not be immediate or specific:
- Cordelia invites Angel to her apartment before she has found one. Angel effortlessly enters the one she buys.
- Rebecca Lowell invites Angel to watch a movie at her house without specifying a time.
- Wesley posing as Angel is invited by Benny into Magnus Bryce's residence; that invitation allows Angel himself to enter.
- The invitation can be written instead of spoken:
- The inviter must be a resident, but not necessarily the owner:
- Squatters and guests can also gain invitation rights:
- The mystical barrier fades if all residents die. Angel enters the residences of Lester Worth, Tina, Trevor Lockley, the hired rapists, and the Kramer Family. Likewise, Darla enters Liam's former house after he murders his family.
- No invitation is required for temporary accommodations such as motel rooms, hotel rooms, and frat houses or if the vampire is the legal owner of the building, for example, Russell Winters
- Invitation has been shown to be necessary for dorm rooms: When Spike knocks on Willow's dorm room door, she shouts back, "Come in!" which grants him entrance.
- The invitation can be conditional, even if the condition is not met. Catherine Manners was able to invite Angel into her home by saying "Help us." However, Angel instead helps Drusilla and Darla kill the people inside.
- Once invited, the vampire is always free to enter, and the invitation is revokable only through the usage of a magic ritual. This is performed by Willow and/or Tara with respect to Angelus, Dracula, Harmony, and Spike. The invitation can be extended again later, as it was for Angel  and Spike .
- The residences of vampires, other demons and half-demons are not protected. This is the case even if humans also live there.
- Darla enters Angel's apartment.
- Angel breaks into Russell Winters' mansion.
- Angel doesn't require Wesley's invitation to Penn's lair. Even if he did, Wesley's invitation wouldn't work as he's not the resident or the legal owner.
- Spike enters Doc's place at his leisure.
- Angel enters Merl's lair whenever he desires.
- Angel enters Billy Blim's mansion.
- Angel enters Connor's place uninvited.
- Troublesome cases:
- The hand of one of The Three passes the jamb of Buffy's door.
- A pseudo-vampire (a human wearing a cursed vampire costume) enters Buffy's kitchen uninvited; however, it should be noted that this was not an actual vampire, so the invitation rule may not have applied as the pseudo-vampire was not bound by the regular vampire rules.
- Vampires crash Tito's party. (It's possible that the unseen Tito invited them off-camera, but the scene suggests they crashed right in.)
- Angel asks Buffy if he can come into her dorm room, to which she replies, "I guess". He then states that he needs a more definite invite. A similar situation occurred when Angel was unable to enter Willow's bedroom until she specifically said, "I invite you to come in." However, Sunday's pack seemingly does not need invitations to enter dorm rooms, including Buffy's, allowing them to entire and either steal or kill at their leisure.
- Angel breaks into Allen Lloyd's shrine. It is never revealed whether the shrine was at Lloyd's residence or at some public place, like Lloyd's offices.
- Angel broke into Dick's apartment while Faith was living there without an invitation from either Faith or Dick. Dick was not dead as Kate and another police officer questioned him later.(However, it should be noted that Faith earlier told Angel that he had an 'open invitation' to fight her, which may have counted as an invitation to the apartment as she was in it at the time).
- When Angelus enters Sunnydale High to murder Jenny Calendar before she can find the Ritual of Restoration, Jenny is surprised to see him and asks how he got in, to which Angelus points out that the school's plaque translates to "All those who seek knowledge may enter." Of course, it is highly likely that he was merely joking.
- Spike enters the house of a person who fled Sunnydale in pursuit of Buffy following her expulsion from the Scooby Gang. Spike mentions that the power of the Hellmouth has grown so great, he no longer actually needs an invitation to enter a house in Sunnydale.
- Willow informs Spike that the Scoobies are attempting to find a way to un-invite him from the Magic Box, while acknowledging that it, being a store, is a public place; thus, Spike can enter and exit the premises at his leisure. Despite this, Spike is never un-invited and this is not referenced again.
- Angel rushed into Kate Lockley's apartment to save her from a drug overdose. Kate said, "I think maybe we're not alone in this [...] I never invited you in" indicating that there may have been intervention from The Powers That Be.
- When visited by Spike in Dawn and Xander's San Francisco apartment, Buffy told him that she could not invite him in because it wasn't her house, when squatters and guests normally have invitation rights. This can be explained as Buffy not wishing to have him in the house and Spike taking her word for it and not attempting to enter.
- Un-inviting a vampire:
- After Angel lost his soul, Buffy and Willow performed a ritual to keep him out of her home. This involved some ritual chanting and the hanging of crosses.
- The same ritual was used to uninvite Dracula, who had been invited by an enthralled Joyce, as well as Harmony, unwittingly invited by Dawn.
- Buffy invited Spike into her home on the night of Angelus' plan to resurrect Acathla and, for unknown reasons, did not bother to uninvite him until she discovered that he had fallen in love with her, nearly three years after their original alliance against Angelus.
- “Looking in the mirror every day and seeing nothing there... an overrated pleasure”
Vampires can't be seen on reflective surfaces like mirrors, glass or water. The cause of this is unknown; even though tradition states it was due to a vampire's lack of a human soul (as mirrors were believed to reflect a person's soul), Angel and Spike don't cast reflections either. However, vampires can be seen in photographs, daguerreotypes and video tapes, as these systems function in ways similar to human eyes. A vampire's clothing also has no reflection. Vampires do have reflections in certain dimensions, such as Pylea, as its physics differ to those of our reality.
The lack of reflection also works on telepathy: a vampire's thoughts and memories can't be read, except in the case of extremely powerful telepaths like Splenden Beasts. However, vampires can receive projected thoughts, as Willow successfully telepathically communicates with Spike.
However, a vampire's mind is still susceptible to other sorts of mystical links, which allowed Buffy to be put into Angel's dreams and Darla to experience the Three Trials through Angel's eyes.
However, empaths are capable of reading vampires, as their powers are not telepathic in nature.
- As a protagonist (Angel and Spike) or a regular monster species, vampires appears in every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel with the exception of the episodes, "Witch", "The Pack", "I Robot, You Jane", "The Puppet Show", "Inca Mummy Girl", "Living Conditions" and "Fear, Itself".
List of Vampires
Behind the Scenes
- Whedon's vampires owe more to the cosmos of H. P. Lovecraft than they do to the European and Christian traditions that inform most such creatures, being remnants of an ancient race of demons, or semi-demons, that ruled the Earth before the advent of humans, were displaced by humans, and are now seeking to wrest the world away from humans. The writers added their own ideas, often based on popular culture, to the vampire myths that they, with Whedon, collectively developed throughout the duration of the series. These popular culture sources included a few of the traditional myths, comic book villains, The Exorcist, and makeup artists' ideas of how to depict demons, some of which ideas were inspired by reptiles (specifically, alligators).
- When discussing Penn's superhuman speed, Tim Minear, stated, "...to my mind we didn't really invent new powers for our vamps. Penn did leap into a second story window, but he had been feeding and was fueled with adrenaline. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. As far as anything that may have seemed new... I made a point to have Penn 'speed up' or go all Matrix-y when we were in a scene that was Kate's POV"
- Vampire dusting was a CGI effect. Visual Effects Supervisor Loni Peristere stated "Joss had a very specific ideas about what he wanted to see when a vampire turned to dust. He wanted it to feel as if, at the point of impact, all the moisture in a human being's body were just eradicated in this chemical explosion. So all these things were great and Joss was like 'yeah that's great, but how do we do it when the character's moving in live action, how do we integrate those kind of effects without having these tedious boring knock-offs?' and I said 'well, that's where we'll gonna have to go to 3d animation and compositing'." When filming a dusting, the actor would be required to enact being killed then leave the frame, giving several seconds for the dusting to take place. Applying the effect afterwards would take around 5-6 days to complete. The process needed a computerized rough skeletal or geometric form that would be added with elements such as textures and shading which would be layered together before being animated. Unable to see a visceral connection between the actor and the effect, Peristere brought tinfoil to the compositing bay and by adding a moving light so the process could be seen. In earlier seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, vampires would explode upon impact, though later by the third seasons the skeletal structure of vampire could be seen in nearly every dusting in both later seasons of Buffy and the seasons of Angel. The introduction of the skeleton allowed a frame-by-frame process of flesh eroding to dust then eroding to bones. In the comic book continuations, the vampires would explode in a burst of green dust.
- The pronounced browridges were done by a foam prosthetic that was glued onto the actor's face. It was then smoothed around its edges before blending into the skin with products like latex. The next step was color which would start by painting a reddish tone on to the foam piece before adding the skin tones because the piece was opaque while skin is translucent. After that, details were added and airbrushing was done. Finally, the eyes were darkened as Makeup Supervisor Todd Mcintosh found it was essential, as even though the vampires look feral, they needed to look mean. The teeth were custom made for recurring actors by a silicon mold so they could pronounce words, while background actors and extras had a generic shells with acrylic relining material to set in their teeth, though its bulkiness prevented them from talking.
- The Master's more demonic look was intended to be an advancement of vampirism. John Vulch from the Optic Nerve special effects team said "When we initially designed the Master, it was Joss' intention to make a more advanced than any of the other vampires would be and that got us in this kinda mindset that somehow this vampirism in his mythology was some kind of disease that you progress into, you have different stages of. So we actually developed a series of drawings, like six or seven drawings that show the differing degrees of vampirism and as you turn more and more into a vampire the features become more bat-like and more pronounced and the Master is so far be he's the most advanced version we've done."
- The vampires from the non-canonical film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, shared several differences between the vampires depicted in the series which are accepted as canonical in the Buffyverse. In the film, the vampires had relatively human features except for fangs, pale skin and bat-like ears. They also did not crumble to dust when slain.
- Additionally, in the unaired Buffy pilot, the vampires shared the same characteristics as the canonical ones, save for their dusting effect which instead of instantly exploding they gradually broke down in seconds.
- Despite garlic having several minor appearances throughout the series as a repellent against vampires, the actual effect of garlic has never been shown. Jane Espenson herself has said on her DVD commentary of "Rm w/a Vu" that "garlic doesn't really seem to do a lot for, against our vampires. And we're pretty consistent with that".
- The fact that a vampire's clothes would dust along with their body was probably due to budget constraints. For a vampire to dust with its clothes remaining would require the actor's costume to be removed or doubled and meshing live material with a computerized dusting, which would be difficult.
- Each dusting featured a notable, high-pitched scream (presumably intended to simulate the idea of the demon escaping the vampire's body), which was also used in off-screen dustings to inform the audience of the vampire's death without having to spend money on the visual effect. This effect was present throughout the seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer but interestingly not in the fourth and fifth seasons of Angel.
- Vampires section at "All Things Philosophical on BtVS and AtS"