(Post originally published on March 31, 2021.)
Vampire hunters heavily come into play in War of Nytefall: Savagery, which is a slight change from previous books. Until now, they’ve really been pawns and random encounters for other characters. Due to that role, I didn’t have to put a lot of thought into them. Even now, details weren’t necessary because you’re going to see the start of the monster hunting guild. Vampire hunters are in a gray area too. Still, I needed to consider a few things to make them work. Let’s consider a few of them.
- Vampire hunters tend to be underdogs even if they’re superpowered. The big reason is because they are mortals going up against immortals. Having it be an immortal hunter vs an immortal vampire takes away the risk. At least, that’s if the hero is the hunter, so the scenario can change if you’re watching the vampire. The point is that part of the fun of this type of story is that one party has a considerable disadvantage even if the other has clear weaknesses. For example, a super strong hunter still needs to stake the vampire, but that involves getting close. Wrestling with something that will drink your blood isn’t a great idea.
- Removing superpowers from the equation, the hunter needs to have some way to fight back. This means that they need to have weaponry knowledge of some kind. Punching and kicking aren’t useful with the addition of magic or powers. So, create an arsenal or one really strong weapon that will give them a chance of victory. Personally, I prefer giving them multiple weapons since the threat of disarming is always high. Even if they have the big one, it’s best to have a backup for emergencies.
- Brains. There has to be some level of cunning and smarts involved here. A hunter usually can’t go toe-to-toe with a vampire. Those with equal strength can still be overpowered because of the primal savagery that mortals can’t really match. This is where traps and precision strikes can help. Readers will take the hunter more seriously if they are attempting to weaken the vampire or eliminate it without a direct confrontation. Otherwise, it’s a brute going up against monsters and people may wonder why there aren’t more mortals beating up the undead.
- Holy magic and symbols aren’t always necessary. It’s not a bad addition, but it doesn’t make as much sense if you remove the religious aspect from your vampires. Many times, authors seem to take this aspect as essential. Well, it’s really not. In fact, more vampire stories are being down without the holy addition because their origins aren’t in angering god.
- Give your hunters a reason to go after vampires. Given that these tend to be secretive and mysterious creatures, there has to be a reason for the hunter to know that they really exist. They can’t just go out hunting because they thought vampires exist and happen to be right. They’re more likely to kill a bunch of depressed teenagers under the bleachers, which is plain old-fashioned murder. This reason doesn’t only reveal why the hunter knows that they exist, but explains their anger and desire to wipe them out.
- No whips! That’s been taken.
- Hunters might be as interested in keeping vampires secret as their prey. Part of this could be due to their identity as a hunter. If everyone is doing it then they won’t be as special. There’s a slight level of ego in some of these characters because it’s their unique calling. Also, making them public could cause people to either sympathize with vampires or push to get changed. If vampires have to remain a secret then they will keep their numbers relatively low. There are many other reasons that you can come up with, but consider if your hunter will want them exposed or not. This will determine how bold and big their actions are too.
Such a great topic! Even my father loves Buffy! 😊 A great list of tips, particularly the motivation factor (number 5).
Thanks. I really was surprised something so niche made the top 5. Not sure what that says about last year.
I like it, and your tips are good ones. I write a monster hunter, and vamps are part of that world. I like the pressure of keeping everyone from finding out about this. I think something is lost if it’s a widely known thing. There are ways to make publicity fun, but I feel it would shorten my series.
It depends on the world too. Vampire hunters being a secret in Windemere doesn’t make much sense since they’re prey is public. Makes a lot of sense for Earth though.
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That makes sense.
Great tips, Charles. I enjoyed it again.
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