The Monster Hunter

Category: Archetype of the Week
Created on Thursday, 08 October 2009 Written by Steve

The monster hunter’s role in fiction is pretty self-explanatory: He fights monsters. Some people fight supernatural baddies because it’s their destiny, some because it’s their job, and some because they just keep running into to the damned things. It should be noted that we’re using the term “monster hunter” in its purest sense, meaning people who actually fight and kill, banish, or capture monsters. A character whose primary goal is discovering, proving the existence of, or classifying monsters and spooks doesn’t really fit into this archetype.

Likely Stories

Monster hunters can be found in any game setting where monsters are real. Common examples of monster-ridden fictons are the historical or pseudo-historical worlds of mythic and literary monster hunters, the monster-filled present common in movies and television shows, and the post-apocalyptic future often found in zombie flicks.

The Name Game

Especially in fictons where the existence of monsters is not widely accepted, monster hunters tend to be eccentrics who don’t fit in well with society at large. It’s not unusual for the names of such characters to follow suit. Monster hunters often have names that are uncommon, anachronistic, or just plain odd.

The Numbers

Body (for bashing zombie skulls, firing proton packs, and staking vamps) and Nerve (to avoid running away, turning to jell-o, or soiling your underpants) are the most important Numbers for monster hunters. A good Brain Number can also come in handy for tracking down the monster and figuring out how to kill it.

Suggested Jobs: Archeologist, B Movie Actor, “Creature Feature” Host, Comic Store Clerk, Cop, Cryptozoologist, Doctor, Drifter, Dragon Slayer, Ghost Hunter, Government Agent, Gunslinger, Knight, M-Forcer, Monster Hunter, Occult Scholar, Paranormal Investigator, Pilgrim, Priest, Private Detective, Professor, Scientist, Soldier, Space Marine, Student, Survivor, Vampire Slayer, Warrior, Zombie Hunter

Suggested Gimmicks: Chosen One, Clue Magnet, Demon Blood, Duct Tape and Chicken Wire, Fast Healer, Fearless, God’s Little Buddy, Hard to Kill, High Tech Toys, I’ve Seen Worse, King of the Road, Local Hero, Nothing Surprises Me, Part God, Prepared, Second Sight, Super Soldier, Well Read

Suggested Weaknesses: Addiction, Bad Luck, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Demon Blood, Enemies, Haunted, Monster Magnet, Never Leave A Man Behind, Nightmares, Outcast, Paranoid, Phobia, Punching Bag, Wrong Place/Wrong Time 

Suggested Skills: Acrobatics, Boomstick, Chainsaw, Combat Driving, Comic Book Trivia, Computers, Conspiracy Theory, Fencing, Firearms, First Aid, Forteana, Headshot, Latin, Martial Arts, Monster Lore, Movie Trivia, Mythology, Occult, Proton Pack, Research, Snappy Dresser, Stake, Tracking, Traps, Video Games

WWPHTIM?: Jensen Ackles, David Arquette, Kevin Bacon, Jessica Biel, David Boreanz, Nicholas Brendan, Bruce Campbell, Neve Campbell, George Clooney, Eliza Dushku, Rupert Everette, Corey Feldman, Nathan Fillion, Brendan Frasier, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Summer Glau, Harry Hamlin, Woody Harrelson, Lance Henrickson, Anthony Hopkins, Mila Jovavich, Harvey Keitel, Kris Kristofferson, Ali Larter, John Leguizamo, Juliette Lewis, Roddy McDowell, Jared Padalecki, Ron Perlman, Lori Petty, Roddy Piper, Sarah Polly, Ryan Reynolds, Henry Rollins, Kurt Russel, Tom Savini, Emma Stone, Tom Waits

Tag Line: “I think I should warn you all, when a vampire bites it, it's never a pretty sight. No two bloodsuckers go the same way. Some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, some implode, but all will try to take you with them.”—Edgar Frog, The Lost Boys

Tools of the Trade: Some monster hunters use all sorts of high tech tracking devices, containment units, and weapons in their pursuit of monster, while others are content using pointy sticks. The weapons and equipment needed to locate and defeat a monster depend on the type of monster being hunted: vampire hunters need stakes and garlic, werewolf hunters need silver bullets, and zombie hunters need something that’ll deliver massive head trauma. If you’re not sure what kind of monsters you’ll be going up against, stick with a chainsaw and a shotgun. They work against just about anything and make you look like a total bad-ass.

Where You’ll Find Them: Fighting monsters, or looking for monsters to fight. Most monster hunters see it as their duty to protect the world from evil critters, and spend most of their free time on the lookout for strange deaths, weird rumors, and other signs of monstrous activities. This, combined with the fact that many monster hunters do a lot of traveling in their pursuit of evil, makes it rather hard to hold down a steady job (unless the character can find a way to get paid for killing monsters) or establish connections outside of the monster hunting community.

Social Circle: As mentioned previously, monster hunters tend to be a bit obsessed with fighting monsters. As a result, most of their friends will be fellow monster hunters, occult scholars, and others who are in the know about monsters. Even if they try to settle down and have a normal life, many monster hunters have trouble relating to people who are oblivious to the presence of evil entities who want to eat them.

Sample Character

Ashley J. “Ash” WilliamsArmy of Darkness (C)1992 Universal Pictures

Body: 13

Brain: 10

Nerve: 15

Job: Deadite Hunter (13)

Gimmick: Duct Tape & Chicken Wire (15)

Weakness: Deadite Magnet (15)

Skills: Deadite Lore +3; Boomstick +2; S-Mart Associate +1

WWPHITM? Bruce Campbell

Dumb Fact: Studied engineering at University of Michigan

Tag Line: “Come get some.”

HP: 15

YY: 5

Notes: Ash is missing his right hand but has several homemade prosthetics for the stump, including a fully functional mechanical hand, a chainsaw, and a bar-b-q fork.

Inspirational Materials

Books & Comics

Beowulf

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, produced by Joss Whedon, various writers and artists

Dracula, Bram Stoker

Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo and Riders, Riders on the Worm and Such, and Shadows West, Joe R. Lansdale and Tim Truman

Monster, A. Lee Martinez

The Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks

World War Z, Max Brooks

Movies & TV

Aliens

Angel

Blade Trinity

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Cemetery Man

Evil Dead trilogy

Fright Night

From Dusk Til Dawn

Ghostbusters

The Lost Boys

Men in Black

Monster Squad

Resident Evil series

Supernatural

Zombieland

Role Playing Games

Bureau 13 (Tri-Tac Systems)

Chill (Mayfair Games)

Deadlands (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)

Ghostbusters (West End Games)

Hunter: the Reckoning (White Wolf Studios)

M-Force: Monster Hunting in the 21st Century (Hex Games)

Spooky: The Definitive Guide to Horror Gaming (Hex Games)

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The Monster Hunter.
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