A Few Stray Stabby Thoughts

The jianghu is considered a lawless place, and I have to say that makes sense. Just think about the headaches of the poor magistrate trying to decide whether or not to let any of these wandering heroes loose on society again. Anqi (hidden/concealed weapons, usually projectiles) make a lot of these guys walking hazards. Sure, they saved the town from the bandits this time, but….

“Defendant Sew-and-Sew is no longer allowed to enter any crafts store. Or soda warehouse.” (A Flying Needles user.)

“Scholar Pan is not allowed to carry buns. Steamed or otherwise.” (Tossed a rock-hard travel bun in a jianghu bar, accidentally KO’d a guy and started a bar brawl.)

“Warrior Bi is only allowed to ride horses. Or anything else without wheels.” (Got a guy with bicycle spokes, it was gruesome.)

“Master Handyman… Unless you’re actively fixing something, the toolbelt stays home. No, annoying neighbors are not an ‘emergency fixit job’.” (Look in a toolbox and use your imagination. He did.)

On the other side of stabby… traditionally European vampires took the form of moths and butterflies, not bats. Meaning a Flying Needles user would be a real threat – especially one that used a threaded needle and could reel them in! Which could lead to dialogues like this.

“So, vampire hunter, huh. How’d you get into this nightmare of a job?”

Badass Bookworm adjusts thick glasses. “Well, I started as a lepidopterist….”

(Behind them picture a wall of corkboard, covered with tiny skeletal vampire moths pinned and dead with hawthorn or silver pins.)

“That’s nothing. I started as a florist.” A Goth maiden in a black lace veil, laying branches of wild roses on graves.

“Casino security.” A guy in a pinstriped suit takes a huge bite of garlic bread. “The Boss don’t like it when they count the cards.”

Rugged cowboy type glances up. “Horse wrangler.” Photos of prizewinning white horses. “This one place, they started stumbling. Looked it up. Wasn’t supposed to be a grave there.” Shrug. “Branding iron stakes work too.”

Ahem. So… how did your vampire hunter get started? And what might your characters pull out as weapons, that most people would never dream were anything but harmless? Give the old standbys a twist!

…After all, that’s how stabs really do damage….


40 thoughts on “A Few Stray Stabby Thoughts

  1. Ooh. I get to be first comment.

    An old woman, clad in a dress that was more patches than solid cloth. “I was knitting a new cap for my grandson when I got a most unwelcome knock on my door.” A pair of silver knitting needles gleam from her graying bun.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. *Cackles* So many left fielders, but they work!

    Small weapons that you can hide on your person, or in an item you wouldn’t expect to hold a weapon, are a favorite thing for me. One of my characters uses a rope dart to fight and keeps it wound on her wrist when not using it. She is a healer-in-training.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Ooooooo, glass or clay bottles! The seemingly-drunken traveler is suddenly a credible threat, especially if one of those bottles has holy water…;)

    Liked by 6 people

  4. “Engineer”.
    Super-soaker loaded with Holy Water.

    Souped-up paintball gun with paintballs filled with HW instead of paint.

    Regular guns loaded with hollowpoint bullets, with the hollow points stuffed with sawdust soaked with HW, capped with blessed wax stamped with a holy symbol.

    House surrounded with sentry guns that use AI to track anything that matches “vampire” signature (fire authority generally retained to humans, just in case). The mobile version for their truck is still a WIP.

    Pocket high-intensity flashlight tuned to emulate sunlight perfectly. Ditto for the multi-thousand candela “flash-bangs”.

    Automated router (basically a Festool Shaper Origin) that can carve protective symbols perfectly into any surface in a few seconds. “*How many* wards per square foot?”

    Anti-hypnotism glasses and earbuds.

    “Space Entrepreneur.”
    Raises hand dramatically, then sweeps down to point at vampire. Suddenly, night turns to day within a 100-meter radius.
    “Orbital solar mirror array. Getting the targeting right took *forever*….”

    Vampire bites someone, has just enough time to look confused before the T-800 grabs them and casually rips their head clean off.

    …what? You *said* “go nuts!” 😀

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Do remember that you should use specially made holy water, consecrated for the purpose of fighting vampires. Holy water made for sacerdotal purposes is desecrated when you use it to fight.

      Likewise, waterguns and any other tools used for holy water fighting should be consecrated. In particular, never to be used as tools again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wellll, that depends. All holy water is supposed to be exorcised before it is blessed, and is hence exorcistic in nature. Blessing oneself with ordinary holy water, in any context, basically is an aid to get rid of demon botheration, so it is somewhat aggressive in its very nature.

        Using holy water with violence against a legitimate demonic threat would therefore not deconsecrate holy water.

        Although trying to, say, sacrilegiously drown a Mafia hitman in a baptismal font full of Epiphany water or holy water, would be the kind of violence that would deconsecrate the water and maybe the whole church, unless it were really really self defense.

        Generally, sacrilege can have some high bars in canon law, because most people do stupid things and don’t mean it.

        Holy water is a sacramental, not a sacrament, so there is a fair amount of layperson leeway on storage. I mean, clean and fitting, but not necessarily a consecrated vessel. It would make sense to have it in something blessed, and there are lots of nice weapon blessings…

        But laypeople traditionally cook with holy water and blessed salt,.or do other things that are associated with “normal” uses, if there is need. And of course blessed food and drink are pretty common at holy day festivals,.and it isn’t like you can never use the pan again.

        There is a lot of theology of Creation involved, and different views of the spirituality of sacramentals. So there are different ideas of what is fitting, what is superstitious, etc.

        People do some odd things when they are desperate, and they often get some very interesting results. Canon law and moral theology tend to give laypeople the benefit of the doubt… so the power of binding and loosing can get very loosey-goosey on lay devotional activities.

        So a holy water squirt gun versus a demon? Probably okay. A holy water squirt gun to baptize a baby? Probably a liturgical abuse even if valid in its effects, and also sacrilegious — unless there were a really good reason (no other way to reach the baby in a prison camp behind a wall, that sort of thing).


    2. Also, things like the laser/flashlight trick depend on _why_ that light works. After all, moonlight is reflected sunlight, but it usually _doesn’t_ have negative effect on vampires (sometimes even a positive effect, in some versions), so why should a flashlight producing _artificial_ “sunlight” actually work? If what makes sunlight work is the specific intensity, or spectrum, (ie, in a “sciencey” setting, where “gadgets and science solve the day”) then it should work. If it’s a setting where it’s something conceptual, like worship/faith/etc, or “the sun being a source of life” then it probably shouldn’t (but, while a laser or ‘sunlight’ flashlight shouldn’t, maybe growlights for plants should?).
      Dogbertcarrol has a good analysis of this in a few of his many fragments books on fanfiction.net.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah so that’s why there are no vampires in *Winter’s Curse*.

        I had a young wizard instructing in magic and how light spells are sunlight, relocated


      2. In Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, new vampires can take everything but direct sunshine. Then they start to lose it. First twilight is unsafe, then moonlight. . . really old ones could use name magic except our heroine is called Sunshine and they can’t say the word.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Chef: Guy wanted spaghetti with meat sauce. My recipe requires garlic salt. The manager was not happy, as the vamp dusted right in front of that senator, so…

      Cosplayer: Yes I used hawthorn wood and dipped my wooden sling stones in the Church Font! Any real cosplayer would do the same thing, as the character was an exorcist! Goes well with the blessed silver crucifix and the rosewood tonfa. Spent 3 months on this Onmyo Mage Nioh fanfic character sheet, and you accuse me of imitation PROPS!?

      Liked by 2 people

    4. K, I got curious and went to see if someone had asked Catholic Answers or other resources
      how about holy water applied via a humidifier?

      Can you use holy water or blessed oil (like Lourdes oil) in a humidifier?
      Yes. This would simply be a way of applying these sacramentals, perhaps an unusual way, but if done with the right intentions of faith and confident devotion, it’s perfectly fine.


      :laughing like a loon, now:

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Someone being saved because their fussy granny is using stuff properly, to help them heal, is a delightful mental image. 😀

        Oooh, or for countering demonic Infestations in houses, too, since it’s hard to get priests to come bless a house these days…..

        Liked by 1 person

    1. But do remember that some denominations insist it’s not a HOLY place.

      Meeting houses in colonial New England were chiefly used for Sunday but were open for any honorable purpose precisely to undermine the notion of its being holy. (There were a lot fewer Episcopal churches, but we have more surviving ones from the earlier periods. They were consecrated, where the unconsecrated meeting houses tended to be made over into whatever the current fad for meeting houses was.)


  5. Dang it, somehow hit send, librarian/bookaholic is what I meant, and books aren’t always made out of just paper, I mean some of those oriental scrolls with hawthorn sticks… Or books made out of wood. Farmers. Oh boy, could farmers get VERY CREATIVE. Especially with heavy equipment. Electrician…. Oh that’s fun to think about too. Oh this is fun!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anyone living/working in the chemistry department and/or stock room.

    In the West… heh… lots of access to silver in some form or another and they’re probably a closet pyromaniac in the first place otherwise they wouldn’t be in the chemistry department to begin with.

    In the East… alchemy of various kinds is one of the oldest ways to become immortal and is very often used to make all kinds of OP items and potions.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Dad went to a few Cowboy Action Shooting events a while back, and there was apparently this one guy who was constantly fiddling with his blackpowder composition ratios, specific to each gun. He was looking for the perfect smoke-to-fire ratio, you see.

    The perfected mixes more or less shot fireballs out the barrels. And if that doesn’t work as a deterrent of Things That Go Bump In The Night…

    Liked by 3 people

  8. “Self, what is the natural intersection of a martial hero or an immortal hero, and a vampire hunter?”

    “Well, unquiet dead should be a potential problem for corpse puppet users. Seriously, doing stuff to corpses sounds pretty creepy and dangerous when you are looking intensely and closely at some of the superstitions about the recently dead.”

    “Yeah, but the usual answer is giving corpse puppet users powers over the undead, instead of this random vulnerability that they don’t know about. Do they really /deserve/ those sorts of powers?”

    “Okay, well, remember vampire tools? Cultivators can die, and cultivators sometimes cultivate a magic weapon. Some old cultivator dies, is buried, and something goes wrong, and their axe or whatever starts doing some of the traditional lore vampire things.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, it gets better. While reading Journey to the West, I came across this in the footnotes. It’s… a pretty awesome thing to play with if you want a source of un-dead stuff while also having immortals. Behold! Immortals who can fake their deaths by making false bodies… that may or may not be actual bodies…

      “Magic of Releasing the Corpse”
      The term may be translated as “release or deliverance by means of a corpse [or something like a corpse],” and the general meaning stems from the long-held conviction by Daoists that when a transcendent departs this world, his true spirit may leave but the corporal form left behind may or may not be his physical body. It may look like a corpse, but it may also be something else (i.e., a transformed object) used or appropriated by the person attaining realized immortality.

      the term has to do with the meaning of how the human body is “exuviated or sloughed off (shuiyi).” The creature frequently implicated in the metaphor is the cicada that casts its shell , invoked to indicate how death separates the form from the spirit or in different transformation.

      the various substitutes for the physical body range from artifacts like a sword and a staff to natural elements like fire and water.

      The context for this is a monster that manages to leave her transformed body behind before Sun Wukong can actually kill her… only to somehow have another body not too long afterward. The bodies are *actual* bodies that behave like bodies and everything *thinks* is a body. It’s just that the spirit inhabiting them managed to leave the body before it was really “dead”. This is *not* the last time we see an immortal monster/spirit use this technique this way.

      You can just imagine the possibilities of this for undead shenanigans though…

      “Yeah, that monster was actually my sword that I had transformed into my body so I could fake my death a century ago… always wondered what happened to that thing!”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And then he gets cited for “Improper disposal of a sentient object” and “releasing a menace on society”.

        Which really should be criminal charges in some of these universes.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, but you never know what sort of laws are actually in place.

        Then there may be creative charges. Vandalism and littering, perhaps.

        Liked by 1 person

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