NaNo Update – Chainsaws

No, I haven’t brought in the chainsaws quite yet. But they’ve at least been mentioned!

…Have I said recently I love putting fantasy stuff in modern times? People have so many interesting options, if they’re just creative enough.

Frankly I think that’s something that’s sometimes overlooked in some of the urban fantasy I keep running across. Yes, sure, the proper application of high explosives tends to solve most problems. But there ought to be more happy mediums between “use magic” and “use overwhelming small-army level firepower”.

Because history. And yes, in this case, folklore counts as history. Because if the history of an urban fantasy world isn’t drastically different from the one we know today, then average people with guts and a little knowhow and luck should stand a chance of surviving most supernatural bad guys out there.

(At least the low-level ones. Major demons, bring out the heavy stuff….)

Of course, if someone does want to posit an urban fantasy world where werewolves are both bite-contagious and well-nigh invulnerable, fine. I just wish they’d follow through to the logical conclusion – that some evil werewolf would start the furry equivalent of a Zombie Apocalypse, and what humans survived that would be forted up and extremely ticked off.

And if infectious and only-vulnerable-to-silver werewolves haven’t done that in the urban fantasy setting, then why?

Just a stray thought. 🙂

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31 thoughts on “NaNo Update – Chainsaws

  1. Eh… Outside of Dresden Files and World of Darkness I don’t tend to actually read much Urban Fantasy – don’t get me wrong, it’s a genre I love, but lots of examples I run across tend to rub me the wrong way. Still, most of the writers I see tend to agree: the weaknesses make killing the creatures /easier/, but it’s totally /possible/ without requiring heavy ordinance… It’s just that the explosions tend to be more cathartic.

    I do like the anti-werewolf idea of putting… Oh. Drat. What was it? I think you mentioned it briefly in Count Taka? That silver-based water soluble product that is literally harmless to humans? I can’t for my life remember what it’s called and can’t check right now, but meh. The point was: even before I read Count Taka one of my gaming buddies brought up just dumping that in a city’s water supply as a fairly effective mass-anti-werewolf strategy.

    Granted, it’s basically inherently untargeted. So make sure that werewolves and other vulnerable creatures in the area are /actually/ Always Chaotic Evil and not just Usually Chaotic Evil, Mostly Chaotic Evil, or Culturally Chaotic Evil.

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    1. Silver chloride, or silver iodide if you’re not actually trying to ingest the stuff.

      And, hmm. The amount you’d need to dump in the city’s water such that drinking it would kill a werewolf would be… considerable. Not to mention, the first werewolf to splash himself to shave in the morning would pretty much give the game away.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I imagine that the goal and amount depend on the exact circumstances. You actually want to kill them? Major undertaking, and you better expect side-effects in the civilian population of the area. You just want to weaken them? Maybe more reasonable.

        And what are you thinking? *Shakes head* Everyone knows werewolves are the /least/ likely supernatural creature to shave. They cultivate that whole wild-man look.

        More seriously I figure that your probably look at a confusing mild irritation at with just a splash and a few confused Werewolves. The smart ones may realize that might mean something in the water, but the rest don’t figure it out till they start going to the emergency rooms after taking a /shower/.

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      2. *Haughtily raises nose in the air* /Now/ who’s being sexist? I’ll admit that the term ‘Wild Man’s may be gendered, but it’s my experience that werewolves of /both/ genders tend towards the unshaven look. And I imagine the reaction for to a bath would still be a stop by the emergency room for the whole-body rash, even if the werewolves in question are still otherwise fine.

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      3. You might not be able to instantly kill all the werewolves in a city with the silver chloride in the water supply, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be an effective tactic.

        First; The silver chloride could cause chemical burns that could be used to mark hidden werewolves in a city, or force them to completely stop cleaning themselves.

        Second; The trace amounts of silver chloride could weaken all the werewolves in a city before a planned attack. – like how Dracula lost most of his powers in sunlight.

        Third; the silver chloride in the water supply could be slowly poisoning the werewolves forcing them to leave, or making an area unappealing for supernatural critters to stay in too long. – like, if you wanted to create a reverse Sunnydale.

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      4. In response to the ‘evil plan’ comment…
        Heh, I was thinking of having this show up specifically in the Chronicles of Darkness setting. Either the government affiliated monster Hunters of Task Force Valkyrie are trying to get this done in a city with a suspected large werewolf population, or the werewolves find out and are trying to stop them.

        Worse… in Chronicles of Darkness setting there are two major groups of werewolves, The (moderately-Heroic) Tribes of the Moon and The (thoroughly villainous) Pure. Both are weak to Silver, but The Pure are far more vulnerable, having an actual rash break out on skin contact. The Tribes of the Moon just have to worry about Silver Weapons, those deal more grievous wounds then they normally would and ignore werewolves’ accelerated healing. I figure what that means is that while any Pure who drink the water are more likely to get severely ill and/or die, for the Tribes of the Moon they probably don’t notice anything until suddenly their werewolf regeneration stops working.

        So if Task Force Valkyrie is successful, maybe it’s just a precursor to a larger assault, and the villainous werewolves are the ones most likely to notice ahead of time and avoid the problem entirely by finding an alternate water source. Especially since the Pure tend to have a higher percentage of packs that live out in the wild between/near cities or try and live off-the-grid in general. And that’s ignoring that The Tribes of the Moon are the ones who patrol the Spirit Realm and deal with animistic spirits causing hauntings or problems.

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  2. My biggest peeve about urban fantasy, honestly, is just how little respect guns are given.

    Now, I’ll be the first to admit it – I’m a bit of a long range weaponry nut. If there’s a game where I can roll a rogue class and snipe things, you can bet that’s what I’m going to do.

    And in stories with myth and magic and whatnot, some of the biggest reasons that weapons work against the forces of the supernatural is ‘intent.’ Look at Kyudo – one of the steps is letting loose your arrow and knowing that it has already struck the target. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is – and guns are the same, pretty much. Just because it’s not as physically taxing to use a gun doesn’t make the focus or intent behind it any less real, and can you imagine the potential for spelled bullets?

    The amount of people who write guns off because it doesn’t fit with their urban fantasy aesthetic of ‘humans are weaker than the supernatural, and thus so are their weapons’ is disappointingly large, and I’m totally team human all the way, so when humans get clever and *use* their intent in ways that allow them to come out on top, I’m all for it, to be completely honest.

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    1. That plus…. so i watched the extras for the movie Sniper. After a certain point, long distance shooting will literally blow a body apart. Arms one place, legs another and here is part of the torso. The rest is mist and mush. And you want to tell me that that wouldn’t hurt a werewolf. Assuming magical reinforcement keeps the body intact and essentially makes up for even a heart shot….bones are a lot harder to regenerate than regular cardial tissue. Plus i doubt magic changes the layout of the nervous system. So you could convince me that a pistol wouldn’t do more than piss it off unless you shot it through the eye. But if you have a GOOD sniper who believes he will hit that gosh darned werewolf in the head from 500 yards out with a 308 high velocity round and it is going to poke too big a hole in the brain to survive…. God help them if he makes it a silver alloy bullet. Physics plus intent… Archimedes and his big lever.
      On a side note if the werewolf apocalypse happens i call dibs on Bob Lee Swagger as my survival mate.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. From a real-life perspective, my home city has enough gun violence that I’m pretty leary of stories that add to the American cultural mythology of the gun-wielding hero. There are too many people out there whose definition of ‘monster’ involves being the wrong religion, race, orientation, political alignment or relationship-status for me to comfortably enjoy stories of gun-wielding monster-killers.

      I’m not saying there ought to be a law against writing guns in urban fantasy or something. But from a personal perspective, give me methods of killing the supernatural that are /less/ effective against baseline humans, please.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A lot of traditional publishing moves through New York City, hence tends to be parochially tied to New York culture, which may be an alternate explanation for the narrowness observed by Silver.

        I understand that in some parts, local law enforcement used to be able to decide if local political dissidents could be lawfully armed. The history tells us this was abused to have proxies murder some to keep the rest terrorized into compliance. If a man was known to be disarmed, a group of, say, six unarmed men could quietly overpower him, and hang him. If the law took him in for refusing, the local powers that be would need to be able to field a mob big enough to intimidate any tongues that might otherwise wag about the ‘law’ handing a man over to be murdered. A contemporary estimate was that for a certain flavor of dissident, those that survived such incidents were the ones who made the cost of murdering them high, because they had firearms.

        There are only so many cities with high rates of gun violence. There is a good chance that to my eyes your city would appear to be a similar case. With a legal environment to prep the killing zone, and utterly deniable proxies to do the killing.

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      2. And this is the main reason the second amendment exists – a lot of the Founding Fathers had lived under regimes like that, and they’d had enough of it.

        And yeah, NYC-based publishing is one reason I went with CreateSpace. Enough portraying practicing Christians as idiots, already.

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      3. I can see your point about gun violence – not being American myself, the gun laws are a lot stricter where I am from, and most people that own a gun are farmers or actual soldiers. I’m not sure about conceal/carry laws here, but I know my dad can only use his rifle on our property, on the wallabies and the cows.

        What I mean by ‘respect’ for guns isn’t just that – its tasers and pepper spray and a billion other modern weapons that humans have developed that *would* definitely be useful against creatures made of flesh, even if it only downed them for a little while. A gun, quite literally, packs a punch – I mentioned it because it was the most lethal modern option I could think of for one person to use, and even if a werewolf could dodge an arrow – could they really move out of the path of the bullet?

        I was thinking more along the lines of Sharla from Xenoblade Chronicles then anything; she’s a gunner but also the team medic/mage. Her bullets are lightning and can inflict instant death on some enemies, but she also grants buffs and heals party members. In fact, that’s mostly what she does, and in an urban fantasy setting the idea of charmed bullets intrigued me.

        I’m not too sure about stories of gun wielding heroes – must be an American thing – but I can see all your points and I apologise for wording my original statement badly, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.

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      4. We just had a very contentious election. This time last week I may have been napping so that I could stay up late watching the returns. Tensions are fairly high, and you might not believe how many different issues might considered relevant. You might not even believe how many disagreements over three hundred million people can have.

        I’m not convinced that your wording was an issue.

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    3. *G* Likewise! I haven’t researched sniping enough yet to be absolutely sure I’d write it correctly, but yep, firearms work.

      “God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal,” works with nonhuman bad guys, too….

      Though I admit I tend to lean on, the major advantage humans have is organized cleverness. We’re not just lone heroes, we group up and defend ourselves, too. 🙂

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  3. I was very pleased in PARADIGMS LOST when the hero tricked the werewolf into a bath of silver nitrate by leading him by the developer room for x-rays. We’re losing that option with digital photography, but at the time the story was written, it was totally plausible. The wolf survived – he’s the King Wolf and very tough – but now respects our hero and has ordered hands off for all other wolves. This one guy is his. That and our hostess’ COUNT TAKA is the only place I’ve seen that kind of thinking.

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    1. That was, indeed, very cool – I read it as part of Digital Knight, which later got expanded to Paradigms Lost. Need to read the expanded version sometime!

      You might also look at Barbara Hambly’s Bride of the Rat God for a different use of photography and demon-slaying. “White man stealum soul with magic box,” as the photographer in question wryly puts it.

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  4. Yes, you should read Paradigms Lost, especially if you’ve read the Phoenix trilogy. Khoros sneaks in to Jason’s side, although if you blink you’ll miss it. Also more about Xavier Ross, and clues about Tobimar’s ancestry and the linked worlds.

    I have read most Hambly up till about ten years ago. BRIDE OF THE RAT GOD is a good read and cretaive with the magic. I got tired of her vampire novels, and the mysteries hit my ‘formula’ button. She writes historicals, too, under a psuedonym, I think it’s Barbara Hamilton. Oh, and someone here in comments somewhere was recommending her Darwath – yes, read the trilogy. Then stop. There are two others, and I don’t know why she thought they needed writing. My very favorite of hers is DRAGONSBANE, though. another where I say read just that, not the sequels – or take them cautiously, they must work for some people. But she was in a very bad place when she wrote them.and it shows.

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  5. I seem to have confounded these two, and have not been able to easily find a longer excerpt.

    “If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast.”

    “I hate newspaper men. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are.”

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