The Great Vampires, (TV: State of Decay) also called the djinn, (PROSE: Head of State) were a species of huge vampires from another reality. Central to Gallifreyan legend and history, they were accidentally unleashed into N-Space during the Dark Times and fought by the Time Lords in the Eternal War. (TV: State of Decay) Great Vampires were actually emanations and avatars of a force of destruction known as the Yssgaroth. (PROSE: The Pit, The Book of the War)


The Yssgaroth could manifest in multiple forms, varying based on what species or individual was perceiving them. These included stems of bloody thorns, tearing flesh from whole worlds; bleeding, eyeless lambs on divine thrones; (PROSE: The Book of the War) huge winged snakes with horns, many eyes, and wet, dripping skin; (PROSE: The Pit) clouds of smoke that would fill a planet's atmosphere and induce nuclear winter; (PROSE: Predating the Predators) and the Great Vampires themselves, "blind, screaming abominations made of leather wings and shredded muscle". (TV: State of Decay, PROSE: The Book of the War, Predating the Predators)

Eyes of the Yssgaroth. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

It was often speculated that there was only one Yssgaroth, capable of splitting itself into smaller forms. Some believed that, rather than being alive, the Yssgaroth were areas of hostile anti-structure produced by the collision of the Spiral Politic with another universe, turned into monsters by the Great Houses' and lesser species' projections of their fears. (PROSE: The Book of the War) Another view was that the monstrosities were actually members of counterpart Great Houses from that other universe. (PROSE: The Cosmology of the Spiral Politic) The Seventh Doctor went so far as to hypothesise that they and their universe might have been the N-Space Time Lords' own nightmares, rooted in the fear of their own blood, made real by the Time Lords' dwelling on the possibility of their existence. (PROSE: Damaged Goods)

The Vampires needed to steal energy from other sources to survive. Just one was extremely powerful and could drain a whole planet of energy. (TV: State of Decay) With their incredible hypnotic powers, the Vampires could enslave entire planetary populations. (PROSE: Predating the Predators)

They also had extreme regenerative abilities, and they could survive numerous wounds. (PROSE: The Book of the War) Leela's vision was restored after she drank Great Vampire blood. (AUDIO: Annihilation) Because they could absorb energy weapons and heal most wounds, the only way to kill one was to stab them physically through the heart, usually with a steel bolt. More powerful Vampires needed to have their heart fully destroyed in order to kill them. (TV: State of Decay)

Stahlman's ooze, (TV: Inferno) a sample of Yssgaroth taint capable of turning human into Mal'akh Primords. (PROSE: Interference, The Book of the War)

Yssgaroth biomass was able to hybridise and corrupt ordinary biomass by contact. This property was called the Yssgaroth "taint" (PROSE: The Book of the War) and was caused by the application of the Yssgaroth observer effect on the Spiral Politic. (PROSE: The Cosmology of the Spiral Politic)


The Dark Times[]

Because the story of the Yssgaroth was never recorded in the Matrix, there were varying accounts of their origin; however, whether in one of Rassilon's early experiments creating black holes (PROSE: The Pit, Interference) or during the anchoring of the thread, (PROSE: The Book of the War) all accounts agreed that they were accidentally released from their dimension by the Time Lords. (AUDIO: Project: Twilight) At that instant, one Yssgaroth appeared on the Homeworld, at the site that would later be known as the caldera, as thousands of "servants of the Yssgaroth" began to tear their way into the continuum at many points throughout history. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

Throughout the Dark Times, (TV: The Infinite Quest) the Vampires caused mass destruction and chaos throughout the cosmos. (TV: State of Decay) Through their taint, they created the Mal'akh, (PROSE: The Book of the War) the Saturnyns, (PROSE: The Multi-Faceted War) and Earth's vampires. (PROSE: Vampire Science) The First Doctor also speculated that the Sou(ou)shi were related to the Great Vampires. (PROSE: Venusian Lullaby)

When the Kotturuh brought mortality to the universe, the Great Vampires were the only beings too powerful to be stripped of their immortality altogether by the Kotturuh. Instead, the two species, being of about equal power, were forced to come to an agreement; the Kotturuh forced the Vampires' immortality to become reliant on stealing the life of mortal beings, thus making them into agents of death in their own right. Melody Malone noted that this made them "about as popular as a Weeping Angel at a wedding". (PROSE: The Guide to the Dark Times)

Richard Francis Burton hypothesised that the Great Houses obtained the ability of regeneration by intentionally modifying themselves with the Yssgaroth "taint". (PROSE: The Book of the War) One of the ROO texts revered by the Cult of Rassilon the Vampire claimed that Rassilon allowed himself to be bitten by a Great Vampire and was a vampire himself at the end of his life. (PROSE: Goth Opera)

The ferocity and resilience of the Vampires made their defeat very difficult, even for the Time Lords. (TV: State of Decay) They waged the lengthy Eternal War to drive them back. (PROSE: The Pit) Since conventional weapons were virtually useless, Rassilon ordered the construction of bowships to exploit the one weakness of the Vampires — their vulnerability to being impaled through the heart. (TV: State of Decay) Though billions of people were killed and whole star systems were destroyed, (PROSE: The Pit) the Time Lords were finally able to push the Yssgaroth back into their own universe, and the outlets to their universe were blocked and reinforced by containment shells disguised as planets, including Earth. (PROSE: Interference)

Sometime during the war, the Dalek Time Squad captured a Great Vampire by attacking a coffin ship that was transporting one. The Prime Strategist and Scientist experimented on it, extracting its DNA to create the Dalek Symbiont. (PROSE: All Flesh is Grass)

During the war, entire worlds were turned into laboratories of cruelty where the Yssgaroth destroyed the bodies of the inhabitants until only their nervous systems remained, alive and in agony but without any hope of help. (PROSE: The Book of the War) Every thirteen local years, their servants on each world would round up a thirteenth of the population and ship them to the Vampires' galactic headquarters in the Blood Citadel of Alukah, where they would be harvested for blood. (PROSE: Predating the Predators) These "fallen" worlds were retro-annulled by the Great Houses at the end of the war. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

The King Vampire dies. (TV: State of Decay)

Though the Time Lords were able to find and destroy all other Yssgaroth, the swarm leader was able to escape. (PROSE: Interference) This sole survivor hid in E-Space, using his great power to draw the ship Hydrax with him. He turned the three humans on this ship into vampires to feed and serve him for a thousand years until the Time of Arising. (TV: State of Decay)

Since they had emerged at the beginning of history, the Yssgaroth taint remained in the fabric of the universe even after their defeat; it couldn't be removed without unweaving time itself. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

After plugging the last hole to the Yssgaroth's universe with an artificial planet, the Engineer murmured to himself that he hoped no one would ever try drilling through to the core. (PROSE: Interference)

An alternate perspective[]

In a TARDIS projection during the Eighth Doctor's infection with anti-time, the head of the Arcalian Chapter Houses, Provost Lord Tepesh, revealed himself as a Great Vampire in disguise, even saying he was a direct descendant of the King Vampire. Tepesh claimed the Great Vampires were a peaceful lot, content to drink the blood of non-sentient, genetically bred cattle, until Rassilon showed up, declared the Vampires should not be allowed to exist, and began a 500-year war of extermination. (AUDIO: Zagreus)

Recent history[]

Some Yssgaroth survived and tried to reenter the universe. (PROSE: The Pit)

One of Rassilon's titles was "Conqueror of Yssgaroth". (AUDIO: Zagreus) His throne appeared to be made of the skeletons of giant bats. (PROSE: Christmas on a Rational Planet)

By the time of the Doctor and Romana, the Great Vampires and their history were not widely known on Gallifrey. However, the Doctor had heard distorted versions of the tale from an old hermit, and basic instructions were still included in the oldest part of the TARDIS databanks - the Record of Rassilon. (TV: State of Decay)

The Fourth Doctor and Romana II encountered the King Vampire and his minions in E-space. When he awakened, they used a scout ship from the Hydrax to pierce his heart, killing him. (TV: State of Decay)

Great Vampires attacking Dalek saucers. (COMIC: The Bidding War)

During the Last Great Time War, the Time Lords, at the command of Cardinal Ollistra, released the Great Vampires from their universe to fight off a fleet of Dalek saucers. Despite the War Doctor's protests, Councilor Voltrix proceeded to open a rift, allowing them through. The memories of this event proved the Ninth Doctor's memories of the Time War were authentic. (COMIC: The Bidding War)

The Cold could suck its target into another universe, where it would be destroyed by the inhabitants. Those creatures sought to enter the universe through the Cold, attacking it with their gigantic black wings, enormous clawed hands, and huge teeth. One's face was the size of a Drashig. (PROSE: Interference)

Lolita once pressed against the Very Fabric of Time and Space to show Count Dracula a glimpse of the Yssgaroth wanting to enter the Spiral Politic. (PROSE: A Blooy (And Public) Domaine)

Jendrickenses speculated that the Yssgaroth would be able to return through the Grandfather's Maw. (PROSE: The Brakespeare Voyage)

Alternate timeline[]

During one of Romana II's, Leela's and Narvin's trips to alternative Gallifreys, they visited one where Rassilon was killed by the Great Vampires after completing the transduction barrier. The Vampires then darkened the barrier to block out all light so they might live safely on Gallifrey. Over the next millennia the vampires gradually took over the True Lords, until the battle between the vampire Lord Prydon and the True Lady Magestrix Borusa. During this battle, with Leela's help, Narvin and Romana helped Borusa and recaptured the transduction barrier, increasing the light levels allowed to pass through and destroying the Vampires. (AUDIO: Annihilation)

Behind the scenes[]

Information from invalid sources[]

According to At the Mouth of Madness, the ancient Vampire Gods were home to the Weapon-Worlds of the lost galaxy of Nosfera II. This could be accessed through a wormhole called the Hellmouth, which the Daleks attempted to enter to verify the stories. However, as the Dalek fleet prepared to enter the wormhole, a hundred thousand Chiroptera came shrieking out and tore the fleet to pieces. Legend said that their screams could still be heard echoing through the Astral Fog. (NOTVALID: Bats Out of Hell!)

External links[]