The Bloodletters are an ancient and infectious race of vampires that have embedded themselves into the folklore of countless races across the universe. They were once a massive universal power but were destroyed in a bloody war with a combined force of several galactic empires. Their King and his court was able to escape to a pocket universe where they were spared from the genocide.
The Great Vampires were once an ordinary species, whose true name has been lost to history, from the Black Eye galaxy. Their technology took two major roads: biotechnology and Essence technology, and they used these technologies to physically augment themselves. The government and economy of this species ran on a laissez-faire system ruled by a rich elite; parasites in the metaphorical sense whose augmentations made their parasitism more and more literal. They mutated first into what are now known as Lesser Vampires, before reducing that mutation to a "middle-man" and becoming the gargantuan Great Vampires. They reduced their nation to a straightforward despotic kingdom, and began heavy militarisation and expansion. They embraced their nature as mega-exoparasites and built up a pseudo-religious fervour around their new forms.
War with the Liiedhric Foundation
The rapidly expanding Bloodletter Swarm, as it now called itself, consumed countless civilisations, quickly becoming a great power within the Black Eye Galaxy. This called the attention of the resident hyperpower of the galaxy, known as the Liiedhric Foundation. The Liiedhra recognised the threat the Bloodletters meant to them, and immediately attempted to exterminate the vampires. The Bloodletters responded by infected several Liiedhric worldships and turning them against the Foundation. The infectious nature of the Bloodletters gave them an advantage in bridging the population and technological gap, although the Liiedhra were not so easily defeated. The Liiedhric Foundation called in allied civilisations from across the Gigaquadrant, and in a thousand years of horrific war were able to overwhelm and destroy the Bloodletter Swarm.
Faced with imminent defeat, King Raktatholian and his high court used their powers to create and tunnel into a pocket universe, escaping the extermination of the Great Vampires by the Liiedhric Foundation. This pocket universe was contained within a red crystalline artefact. The King calculated that the Liiedhra would ransack the Bloodletter worlds and discover the crystal, and take them to be studied; the crystal designed to trigger a release when placed under a mass spectrometre. The plan did not work out, however. The Liiedhra simply burned the Bloodletter worlds from orbit, never discovering the crystal. When the crystal was discovered, it was by beings with no curiosity and the artefact spent millions of years being traded as a trophy for the rich and powerful. Eventually one of its owners had their property invaded by the Mantisorac, which took the crystal in their hives, away from anything capable of triggering it.
The Great Vampires are the original beings behind the Bloodletters. They evolved on a planet somewhere within the now destroyed Black Eye Galaxy. They are immense creatures and are highly intelligent with a natural affinity for the darker forms of Mystic Energy. They are capable of traveling through the vacuum of space and can generate their own portals for interstellar travel. They are incredibly resilient creatures, and can only be killed by the complete destruction of their cardiovascular system or through starvation. Using their dark powers, Great Vampires are capable of draining the life-force out of an entire planetary population at once. Although capable of sustaining themselves from devoured neural-intellectual energy, directly drinking blood is much more nutritious for the Great Vampires, albeit a little impractical considered their size. They are capable of drinking the blood of any species, thanks to their biotechnological self-modification.
Using a mixture of biotechnology and their dark powers, the Great Vampires are capable of creating Lesser Vampires from other species, though this takes significant energy. The Lesser Vampires will then manipulate planetary populations into obeying the will of the Bloodletter Swarm.
The Lesser Vampires are the creations of the Great Vampires, created from species that the Great Vampires have attempted to conquer. They have lost the function of their digestive systems and therefor cannot gain any materials needed to create blood. Consequently, they must feed on the blood of others of their species. To do this, they use specially mutated fangs that can drain blood directly into their circulatory system. The fangs are also capable of injecting a venom that mutates the victim into a new vampire. Other effects of the mutation include enhanced strength, speed and healing, with some limited abilities of flight and an increased ability in psychic powers and Mystic Energy. As such, they are formidable and highly resilient creatures. They can only be killed by destruction of their cardiovascular system, neural system, starvation or asphyxiation.
The Lesser Vampires are created by the Great Vampires for the purpose taking control of or infecting populations in order to feed or serve the Bloodletter Swarm. Within the Swarm itself, the Lesser Vampires are used as the middlemen between the Great Vampires and the greater populace, managing the running of the state, alleviating their masters of any real work.
The Great Vampires often aim to create lesser vampires from the leaders of civilisations. Pre-existing Lesser Vampires will also aim to instill dominion over people using their powers. Consequently, the Bloodletter Swarm controls vast populations of non-Vampire followers from countless conquered species.
The Bloodletter Swarm is an despotic autocracy; supreme power is in the hands of a single King Vampire who has absolutely no restraints on their decisions. In the Bloodletter Swarm, this individual is the oldest and most powerful of the Great Vampires: King Raktatholian. In the theoretical event that he should die, control of the Swarm would fall upon the next oldest and most powerful Great Vampire.
Beyond the undeniable authority of the King Vampire and the other Great Vampires, the Swarm is highly decentralised and the Lesser Vampires are allowed considerable autonomy. The King Vampire and the other Great Vampires keep direct communication with barely any of their conquests, so the Lesser Vampires are given considerable Autonomy. They have a general guideline to how they rule (they must somehow contribute to the expansion of the Swarm) and then they are left to their own devices. Government set up by Lesser Vampires vary greatly, covering the entire spectrum between military dictatorship to pseudodemocratic constitutional monarchies.
The Swarm does not engage in diplomatic relations with other civilisations. Anything not under the control of the vampires is viewed upon as prey. This is not to say that they should be considered at war with all other species: the Swarm will focus on a number of chosen targets and acts neutrally to any civilisations beyond their selection to avoid overwhelming opposition. Targets are chosen with care. The Bloodletters are not ignorant of politics outside their conquests, and will pay attention to any developments that may effect them.
The Bloodletters have occasionally offered diplomatic conferences. These are always traps to gain new vampires from high ranking opposition.
The military of the Bloodletter Swarm is a largely decentralised collection of the forces mustered up by the various vampire-run vassals. Consequentially, the Swarm's military is highly diverse in materials and tactics. The bulk of soldiers are conscripts from the non-vampire populations, though vampires themselves are occasionally used a elite troops. The general strategy employed by the Swarm is the wave attack, using mass numbers to overwhelm opposition with no regard for their own lives. After battles, cleanup duty is a highly important task for the Bloodletters, so that the blood does not go to waste.
The Great Vampires themselves rarely participate in war, out of fear for their lives, but when they do they are a force to be reckoned with. With their abilities they can drain the life out of entire planetary populations, though this wastes potential slaves. They may also suddenly convert entire enemy divisions into vampires and turn them against their former companions, though this takes enormous amounts of energy.
The Swarm's military is highly inefficient, though the Great Vampires have only recently started to care after the incompetence risked their lives too many times. They have begun looking at centralising and standardising their armies for better results.