Master Vampires are a higher class of vampires that have more expansive powers and fewer limitations than the average vampire. Master vampires are usually senior vampires or vampire elders with greater knowledge, authority, and experience than most of their kind, although Anita has occasionally met "baby" Master vampires who are relatively young. A sourdre de sang is a Master vampire so powerful that he or she can begin his or her own bloodline or "family" of vampires.
Becoming a Master is innate to each particular vampire and regardless of age. Some vampires will never become Masters, no matter how old they become; although their abilities continue to increase with age within certain, unspecified limits. For example; although Damian is more than twice Jean-Claude's age and more powerful than most non-Masters, he is still not a Master himself and is unlikely to grow any stronger without magical assistance (such as his metaphysical ties to Anita Blake).
Some Master vampires have the ability to control the power development of vampires under their control (either via direct descent or blood-oath). Some master vampires can share, enhance growth, or retard the development of power. For example, Nikoloas prevented Jean-Claude from growing in power when she was Master of St. Louis and he was blood-oathed to her. A sourdre de sang may retard the development of Master status in his or her followers; Warrick, for example, had his powers grow and became a Master during an extended absence from Morte D'Amour's presence.
Powers & Abilities
Master vampires are more powerful than typical vampires with regard to the general abilities discussed above, have the ability to control lesser vampires, and may also develop additional powers. Some of the abilities that master vampires may display include the following:
- Call Animals - Some Master Vampires have one or more animals to call. Mr. Oliver had the ability to call snakes, Belle Morte can call felines, and the Master of Beasts can call nearly every animal. This ability also allows them to summon and command animals and Lycanthropes of that type. A sufficiently powerful lycanthrope can interfere with this call, however. For example, Nikolaos had the ability to call rats and wererats but Rafael temporarily blocked her call, preventing her from calling the wererats of his Rodere against their will. Some masters can call non-animals: Samuel, for example, can call mermaids and mermen.
- Rise Early - Some Master Vampires, such as Nikolaos, Mr. Oliver, and Warrick, are able to wake, move, and use their powers during daylight (but must remain in shadow). It is unknown, however, how far Warrick's power extended. Aubrey, although not a master vampire, was capable of at least reflexive motion during daylight if threatened. Damian, Anita Blake's vampire servant, was able to move and survive in the sun in Incubus Dreams after receiving the fourth mark from Anita.
- Superhuman Strength - Master vampires possess superior strength to a vampire of comparable age and may be stronger than vampires a century or two older than them.
- Empathic Voice Manipulation - Jean-Claude and Mr. Oliver have the ability to form an emotional or hypnotic connection with their voices. Anita characterizes Jean-Claude's voice as having an almost physical sensation, and typically describes his voice as "silk against skin" or "fur against skin". Asher also has this power, but while Jean-Claude is able to portray joy and pleasure better, Asher is able to portray sadness and bitterness better. It is somewhat unclear whether this difference is inherent in the power, or simply due to the individual vampire's personality.
- Human Servant Creation - Human Servants are permanently bound to a Master Vampire by a magic called marks. There are four types of mark needed, and when the servant is bound by the fourth (final) mark, he/she becomes immortal. The Human Servant can only die by violence or when the vampire they are bound to dies. Most Human Servants die as the Vampire they are bound to dies, but in the third book Anita survives killing the Vampire she is bound to, albeit briefly comatose. Also, if the Human Servant is killed, either by blade or bullet (they cannot be poisoned or catch a disease), sometimes the Vampire they are tied to dies too.
- Animal Servant Creation - A Vampire with the ability to call animals may also form a Vampire-servant relationship with one animal or lycanthrope subject to the vampire's call. The series does not provide many details about animal servants, but the process and relationship appears similar to that of a Human Servant. The nature of a triumvirate, however, implies that the two are different enough that a Vampire can have both at the same time.
- Triumvirate - When a Vampire binds a human servant and a lycanthrope who is also their animal to call, within a sufficiently short period of time, the three may form a triangular relationship called a triumvirate. This relationship forms a virtuous circle that magnifies and shares the abilities of all participants. It also seems possible for Anita to create a second triumvirate with her animal servant, Nathaniel, and her vampire servant, Damian. In the case of a triumvirate, the one who binds the animal servant and the other servant, whether vampire or human, uses their energy to keep the others alive and be able to have mind-to-mind communications. For Anita's case, if she does not eat, or feed one of her many other hungers, she will begin to feed off of Damian and then Nathaniel until she feeds those hungers.
- Resist Silver - Some vampires, including Rotting Vampires, are not hurt as badly by silver and some are not affected at all. It depends on how much power the vampire has and how old the vampire is, though age rarely has that effect.
- Summon Blood - This ability allows a vampire to cut or skin an opponent, but only if that opponent has a magical aura.
- In Bloody Bones, Seraphina says she usually accomplishes this by using a vampire's own 'aura of power' against itself, and that humans normally lack the aura and therefore cannot be harmed this way. As necromancers, Anita and Larry each have an aura of power, which enables Serephina, for the first time, to cut humans from a distance just as she does vampires.
- Jean-Claude admits to being unable to do this, though he does hold the knowledge of how it is done. It was demonstrated in The Killing Dance by Sabin, aimed at Anita, though Sabin claimed it was an accident.
- Anita has inherited this vampiric ability to cut a vampire's aura. Anita first demonstrated the ability Burnt Offerings, when she accidentally cut Yvette, out of anger. Later, in Incubus Dreams, Jean-Claude helps her control the ability as they were trying to control Primo.
- Drain Power - A Master is capable of drawing all of the power from vampires that he has personally sired, reducing them to a weakened, near-skeletal state. (Examples: Jean Claude; Belle Morte; Obisidian Butterfly).
- Call Shadows - Some master vampires can call shadows, cloaking an area in darkness. Serephina conceals her orchard this way in Bloody Bones.
- Pyrokinesis - Some vampires have a minor level of pyrokinesis (the ability to create and control fire with the mind), but major pyrokinesis is almost unheard of among vampires because flame is an element of purity, with the exception of Warrick, who originally gained the ability during his human life and believed it to be a gift from God in Burnt Offerings.