Tag Archives: horror reference

For a monster hunting character without the budget or means to get firearms, what sort of melee weapon would you be looking at? (Modern day-ish setting, so something that isn’t too hard to get through doors or keep to hand in a car would be good).

Tire iron. It’s like a crowbar without the suspicion. They don’t even have to explain why they have it, they have a car. Enough said. The same is true of the heavy duty metal flashlight they keep on the inside of the driver’s side door. It’s there in case they get stuck on the road in the dark. Enough said. But if they’ve gotta crack a monster across the side of the head with it, then fair enough. Maybe the character is part of an after work softball club in which case he/she carries around an aluminum bat and a softball bag in their trunk (which may hide other gear).

Your average roadside assistance kit will net you regular flares and a flare gun, useful for signaling when you’re having car trouble. Also useful for burning out a vampire.

I have a less savory character (vampire) that drives around with an average toolbox he bought over the counter at a Target in his trunk. Little does the salesperson know it moonlights as an easy to use set of torture implements. The wrench makes for a great bludgeoning tool. He also carries a set of bungie cords, a tire iron, a roadside assistance kit, a pack of cigarettes, a liter, a set of matches, and two liters of Coca Cola. You may have to think back to chemistry class to realize why the coke is helpful. He also carries guns loaded with explosive rounds, but that’s neither here nor there.

We’ve said it before, if you’re writing monster hunters using modern weaponry in modern day: get Hunter: the Reckoning. The Players Guide and Storytellers Guide are also useful. It has a whole list of useful information covering a lot of different aspects you may not have thought about but are good to include. From weapons, to the monsters hunting you, etc, it’s all good stuff to think about.

One of my favorite anecdotes from the series was the gang members loading their guns with a silver bullet as the third round in the cartridge. They didn’t know specifically what they were facing, but they figured if it could take two rounds to the chest and keep coming then it probably wasn’t human. Better safe than sorry, right? But, they didn’t pack the gun full of silver bullets because, as one might expect, they are expensive.

If you’re looking for improvised weaponry in hand to hand, weapons that are easily overlooked and ignored then every day household items are you’re best bet. You’re looking for the things people don’t think about, objects that are belong.

You don’t question why a smoker is carrying around a pack of cigarettes until they use the smoke to destabilize their opponent and put the lit cigarette out in their enemies’ eye. Nicotine is a potent neurotoxin when combined with water, perhaps that spray bottle in the sport’s bag isn’t full of H20.

That vodka collection and liter are pretty cool, but are they going to a party or plotting one with a different kind of cocktail?

In The Suicide Kings, you’ll hear the Dennis Leary mobster bemoan his frustration at his inability to hit a golf ball. You may not think anything of it, until he takes the golf clubs out of his trunk and starts beating a man for information.

A crowbar has taken on association with crime, see a man take one out of his trunk and you might think something is up. See a guy take out a tire iron and you’ll probably wonder if he has car trouble.

Does your character carry around jumper cables in case of a dead battery or does he do so because he can hook a uncooperative vampire up to the battery?

Decide how rough and tumble you want to get. Hunter is a really awesome jumping off point, especially because it handles combating all the monsters in the Old World of Darkness, from vampires, to werewolves, to ghosts, to mummies, to fairies, to demons, and finally some really weird shit. It’s especially good at discussing the perspective of your character fighting monsters they may not have the knowledge or tools to comprehend and the dangers of those monsters noticing, of hunting them, of using the rules of the society the hunters live in to hunt them.

Think about your monsters. The weapons your character carries will be a reflection of what works against these creatures. They may carry a variety of different items which will work well against different kinds of creatures because they don’t know what they’ll be facing.

Vampires may only be irritated by bullets, but one in the brain may put them down long enough for your hero to get out the stake and put it through their chest. Are they vulnerable to fire? With a little futzing, hair spray and a lighter could work as a makeshift flamethrower. Spray paint in the eyes is pretty nasty. Do your monsters need to see?

Improvised weapon choices are going to be about exploiting opportunity and conventional weaknesses if you’re in a setting where the characters can’t take the monsters head on in conventional warfare. I’d look into guerrilla tactics.

However, when writing monster hunters there are a few different paths to consider. The action path: ala Blade, Underworld, or John Carpenter’s Vampires. Where the horror is secondary to the action adventure. The Noir/Mystery/Thriller: Blade Runner. The detective must solve the supernatural mystery.Noir/Thriller/Horror: Fallen (1998) with Denzel Washington: Detective John Hobbs must uncover the mystery behind copycat killings that are exactly like those of a serial killer he recently put on death row even as he is being framed and hunted by a supernatural force. Action/Horror/Humor: Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Lost Boys. 

All of these are legitimate approaches, but you should figure out what kind of story you’re telling and plan accordingly.

Reading/Watching List

The first ten or so episodes of Supernatural are decently on point for Hunter type monster hunters.

Fallen (1998)

Suicide Kings Denis Leary’s mobster is interesting to watch in terms of improvised weapons.

The Watchers from Highlander. No, not the ones from Buffy. So, very dangerous. Check out any episode dealing with them and see their tactics for eliminating Immortals hundreds to thousands of years older than they are.

Any movie, television show, story, or book where the character is forced to improvise or aren’t really in a position where conventional force works well. Crime movies, especially ones dealing with underworld elements on the down low will be helpful to you.

-Michi

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