Thursday, June 18, 2009 Teratonomy: Exotic Weapons for Monster Hunters

In my wanderings across the World Wide Wasteland, I've encountered a lot of porn. I've also come across some unique implements of destruction that could be easily adapted to the field of night stalking. But mostly it's just been porn.

Here are three unusual but real-life weapons that might be of interest to horror writers and roleplayers.

Season Shot are special shotguns shells, packed with pellets of congealed seasoning instead of lead, for use in hunting fowl and small game. The idea is that the pellets melt while the game is cooking and add flavor to the meat. One of the loads offered by the company is garlic, a traditional vampire bane.

Advantages: If the manufacturer's website is to believed, we have here an anti-monster tool of the rarest qualities - legal, inexpensive, and relatively innocuous.

Disadvantages: The shells are birdshot loads, and while it's likely the same technology could be applied to buckshot, it is unknown how the resulting shells would perform. Birdshot isn't terribly effective against man-sized targets, so a lot depends upon whether garlic is lethal or merely irritating to bloodsuckers. Furthermore, the actual availability of these rounds is questionable, as the Season Shot website doesn't appear to have been updated since 2006. All told, you'd probably be better off working on delivering allicin in aerosol form, ala Ultraviolet's gas grenades.

Linkage: Season Shot Official Web Page

HK P11
The HK P11 is a five-shot pistol designed to be used underwater. Each of the weapon's five chambers is sealed watertight and loaded with a 4-inch, 7.62mm steel dart. The gun operates off a battery housed in the grip, and has a range of around 30 meters above water. Once all five rounds have been fired, the pistol must be sent back to the manufacturer to be reloaded and recharged. Little is known about the P11's history, aside from the fact that it first entered service with special forces units in the early 1970's.

Advantages: The P11 is essentially a semi-auto crossbow that's easier to use and carry. Like a crossbow, it can be fitted with various types of ammunition, allowing a hunter to adapt it to the job at hand. Replace the standard steel darts with pure or electroplated silver ones and you have an excellent weapon against lycanthropes. Coating darts with carbon fiber may make them effective against vampires. And if you're feeling really frisky, you can try experimenting with wooden darts, perhaps formed around a steel spine for strength and stability. While the pistol needs to be returned to the manufacturer for re-loading, it is possible that's only to have the waterproof chambers resealed, which wouldn't be necessary for our purposes.

Disadvantages: Good luck getting your hands on this gun. It's available only to special military units, and in the past Heckler & Koch has denied it even exists. Even if you did acquire one, it doesn't appear accurate enough to nail a vamp through the heart at anything beyond extreme close range. And there's still the possibility that you'd have to send it back to H&K for reloading or recharging.

Linkage: HKPRO.COM - H&K fan site and source of the images above.


Carbon fiber is the hottest material around these days, so it's no surprise that knives made of the stuff have sprung up. Aside from the cool factor, the main appeal of these weapons is that they don't set off metal detectors. Yeah, that bothers me, too. What's exciting to monster hunters, however, is the idea that if wooden stakes immobilize vampires due to their carbon content, weapons made of carbon fiber might be able to do the job equally well.

There are two main drawbacks to carbon fiber blades. The first is that they cannot hold an edge, which greatly limits their effectiveness in combat, and the second is that they are significantly weaker than steel knives. To get around these problems, some makers add metal to their blades, usually in the form of an edge that can be sharpened, but occasionally as a spine to strengthen the weapon. The addition of metal greatly reduces the appeal of these knives to the concealed carry crowd, but it suits us teratonomists just fine.

Advantages: Sexier than a stake, and much less obtrusive. As the aim is to plunge these knives into the hearts of the undead, the fact that they are only good for stabbing isn't much of a problem. Add a titanium edge, and you have a weapon that works equally well against renfields as it does their dark masters.

Disadvantages: Carbon fiber blades just aren't dependable enough to "stake" your life on one. Their legality is questionable, and anyone caught with a weapon that's invisible to metal detectors will draw a lot of scrutiny from Homeland Security. To top it off, carbon fiber's effectiveness against vampires is uncertain at best.

Linkage: I'm staying out of this one, so Google is your friend. Be aware that most knives advertised as "carbon fiber" are actually steel blades with carbon fiber handles or inlays.


Real-life practicality aside, I think these weapons have a lot of potential, and making them work in the context of your setting is half the fun. Fictional monster hunters often have exotic backgrounds, so it's easy to justify a restricted weapon like the P11 in their arsenal. If carbon fiber throwing daggers tend to snap, just have your hero pack a bandolier of them. And I love the idea of humiliating a self-important vampire with garlic birdshot.

Next time, a look at silver bullets. Probably.