Vampires(Blindsight universe) vs. Dunyain

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natanaj

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« on: December 04, 2018, 08:00:36 am »
Ascended consciousness vs Ascended unconsciousness

Which group is smarter or more competent?

 Who would win in a fight / war?

Would you rather have a Dunyain defend you against a Vampire, or a Vampire defend you against a dunyain?

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Also, if any of you know of any other dunyain-like races to compare them to, let me know. Pak protectors come to mind, but they may be a bit too op.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 12:16:54 am by natanaj »

TLEILAXU

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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2018, 09:40:28 am »
They're so similar in so many ways. Like that part in Blindsight where Sarasti splits Siri's arm in two,  and he thinks it's because of sadism, he projects all these emotions on to Sarasti and in the end it turns out he just did it to make Siri see something. The thinking was long term goal oriented, like a Dūnyain.
Given the specific descriptions of the series though, it's fair to say a Dūnyain would absolutely wipe the floor with a vampire. They're just too strong and intelligent.

Wilshire

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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2018, 03:03:55 pm »
Blindsight spoilers

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« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 06:54:33 pm by Wilshire »
One of the other conditions of possibility.

TaoHorror

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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2018, 06:11:39 pm »
Well, shiiiiiiiiiiiiite, I'm going to have to read this book now, didn't know it had vampires in it!

The answer is situational - in surprise confrontation, the vampire wins. With preparation, Dunyain.

I can't fend off a lion with my bare hands in the moment of surprise - but give me time and the lion doesn't stand a chance. Bad example as I'm not Dunyain, I'm an "ascended" unconsciousness ... like a super hero :)
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natanaj

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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2018, 07:51:09 pm »
Blindsight spoilers

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We see one in Echopraxia. Also, I'm not sure we should call it the ships consciousness, since the whole point of the series is that consciousness is just a parasite of intelligence.

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Wilshire

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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2018, 08:55:31 pm »
lol semantics.

I haven't gotten to echopraxia yet.

But to your original question .... Vampires a la Blindsight have a pretty extreme weakness. I can't imagine it would be difficult for a Dunyain to exploit.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Francis Buck

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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2018, 03:57:01 am »
(mild spoilers for both series ahead)

I think on an even playing field, the Dunyain would almost certainly outclass the Vampires, although there are a lot of issues one could bring up here, since the whole idea has a number of built-in nuances making it weird to figure out (like just deciding on what actually counts as an "even playing field" is hard to imagine).

Nonetheless I've pondered this numerous times, given that both series rank very high among my all-time favorite/most influential pieces of media, period. It's just a bit tricky though, since in the series with arguably more scientific grounding (Firefall) we actually don't get to see all that much of the Vampires in-depth, and certainly nothing on the level of the full-on POV we get via Kellhus. On the other hand, while we have a lot more general information on how the Dunyain mind actually functions and so forth, they're also just plain more fantastical. I'm not saying the IDEA of a Dunyain-like being is pure fantasy, but in my opinion the abilities they have definitely cross further into the line of fantasy than the Vampires do -- although to some extent this might depend on if we're talking about any old Dunyain rather than Kellhus, who is unique even among his own kind (at the very least, a prodigy).

Ultimately though, since both "species" have degrees of realism mixed with speculative ideas (which both authors then sort of just run with according to what their plots demand, using the "smarter-than-a-human-can-comprehend-anyway" flavor of handwavium as needed), I think the Dunyain would probably curb stomp the Vampires. Whether or not this would be an immediate or easy victory is definitely up for debate though, and again brings us to the issue of the context of any such showdown.

The biggest weakness the Dunyain have (discounting anything spiritual because otherwise this whole idea just doesn't really work) is basically their individual, initial exposure to the world outside of Ishual. Beyond that, their only other notable susceptibility to an opponent is the opponent actually realizing that they're a Dunyain. One of the main advantages the Dunyain have is their ability to appear completely human (and thus weak), whereas the Vampires seem to be almost the opposite; the humans in Firefall can instinctively tell the Vampires are "something not quite human" literally just by being in the same room with them...but then, in neither Blindsight nor Echopraxia were the Vampires actually attempting to be deceptive about their identity. Nor do we know if the Dunyain could pull this trick off on a Vampire anyway (considering that the Vampires can literally smell cancer, I'd give them the advantage on this one based  -- they might not know what the Dunyain actually is, but I don't think they'd be fooled into assuming they're just another run-of-the-mill human).

The biggest points of possible contention mainly stem from the fact that, for the audience, the Vampires simply aren't as fleshed-out as the Dunyain, ranging from what they are/aren't capable of (be it in terms of superhuman intelligence or just stuff like strength, reflexes), to whether the Vampires are even sentient beings --and if so, whether that even matters.

From what we do know, however, there's really nothing I can recall off-hand that gives the Vampires any particular edge over the Dunyain. The Vampires do, however, have at least one major weakness -- the geometric pattern of a crucifix causing their brains to fuck up.

But then, again, this an issue of context, since the Vampires we actually see on page have a drug (I think it's a drug anyway, been a little while since I read either book) that negates this handicap. So if we're going to attempt putting the two on an even playing-field, I'd say you'd kinda have to include that in there, in the same way we'd have to assume the Dunyain in this scenario are already at least somewhat acclimated to the world-outside-of-Ishual.

However if we drop all pretense of an even playing-field, and just assume the Dunyain are all still in Ishual with little-to-no knowledge of the outside world, and that the Vampires are functioning without their anti-crucifixion-induced seizure drugs...then I'm pretty sure the mere geometry of Ishual itself would fuck up any Vampire attempting to invade.

Probably the most interesting match-up would be something like Kellhus, post-Leweth but pre-Atrithau, encountering Sarasti in the wilderness. It's the closest thing I can think of to making it "fair" for each side. As someone above mentioned, preparation is a big element here, so it's easier to assume neither Dunyain nor Vampire have any knowledge of the existence of the other species, nor what they are -- or aren't -- capable of.

ETA:

Blindsight spoilers

(click to show/hide)

I'm still genuinely unsure how to parse out where one ends and the other begins with this issue (I feel like Watts has answered it in an AMA or an interview but I've no idea where). In any case, the Vampire we do see in Echopraxia seems to operate essentially on the same level as Sarasti. If anything the Echopraxia character could be SMARTER than Sarasti, although this impression is likely more just because we don't get all that much in-universe exposure to the Vampires period (relative to the Dunyain, that is).
« Last Edit: December 17, 2018, 04:40:04 am by Francis Buck »

Wilshire

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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2018, 12:58:13 pm »
Yeah say ignoring the right angle thing, its probably a closer fight, but the Dunyain would still come out on top.

Even pre-godhood, Kellhus has some exception marshal feats. Dodging a hail of arrows (several times), and maybe most notably killing 3 skin-spies. I imagine the vampires as approximately like a skin spy for marshal prowess, though obviously with much more intellect. There's definitely something to say about predators - nothing quite moves like a hunting apex predator. An entity co-evolved to hunt humans is going to have a lot of advantages, and probably something less than a Dunyain wouldn't quite cut it.

But the Dunyain are just ... too good. They don't really have an exploitable weakness in an open conflict. I can't think of anything in all SFF that a dunyain couldn't reasonably kill in a hand-to-hand fight (that I've encountered). Granted, when you start throwing magic and multiple opponents, sure you can kill dunyain with effort and great cost. But in a quasi fair fight relying on physical prowess, the Dunyain reign supreme.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

themerchant

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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2018, 05:36:13 pm »
The Vampires would come to love the Dunyain.

K∅ringhus

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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2019, 02:08:56 am »
Physically, the Dunyain are doubtlessly superior, and probably by a significant margin.

Intellectually, though, that's a more interesting question. I feel that, depending on the exact nature of the mental contest, either could come out on top. The Dunyain would be much better at anything involving social manipulation. Humans instinctively find Blindsight vampires creepy, and they have some inbuilt tics that they apparently can't or don't care to control, like their habit of making clicking noises when they speak. It's been a while since I've read the Firefall series, but I'm sure that someone (Siri?) describes vampires as essentially super-autistic universal savants, which means that unlike the Dunyain, they are expressly not genetically optimized for social competence. Quite the opposite, really.

On the other hand, vampires may have some esoteric abilities that even Dunyain do not. I recall that in Echopraxia, Valerie did some bizarre thing where she essentially reprogrammed a human's mind or implanted some hypnotic suggestion over the course of several weeks by emitting specific patterns of sounds in their presence, below the conscious threshold of hearing (forgive the vagueness--as I said, it's been a while since I've read the books). Scanning through the online text of Blindsight, I found this:
Quote
"Anyway, that's not the point. The point is they can do something that's neurologically impossible for us Humans. They can hold simultaneous multiple worldviews, Pod-man. They just see things we have to work out step-by-step, they don't have to think about it. You know, there isn't a single baseline human who could just tell you, just off the top of their heads, every prime number between one and a billion? In the old days, only a few autistics could do shit like that."

And from the "Notes" at the end:
Quote
Vampire grey matter was "underconnected" compared to Human norms due to a relative lack of interstitial white matter; this forced isolated cortical modules to become self-contained and hypereffective, leading to omnisavantic pattern-matching and analytical skills

So for example, Sarasti might be better than Kellhus at mathematics, or at the very least, certain domains of mathematical ability.

The two above quotes also seem to suggest that the Metagnostic technique of speaking an utteral string whilst simultaneously holding two inutterals in mind would be rather trivial for a Blindsight vampire. A vampire who was one of the Few would be an (un)holy terror--their sorcery might even surpass the Metagnosis. Three inutterals? Four? What to call those, Supragnostic cants? There's a great fanfic in here somewhere....

TaoHorror

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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2019, 01:02:34 pm »
There's a great fanfic in here somewhere....

Looking forward to your work :) ... welcome, survivor!
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K∅ringhus

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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2019, 11:37:41 pm »