Hunters & Exterminators

Monster Hunters:

Mages who hunt and kill monsters that menace humanity from the wilderness. This is arguably the most important job of mages from the perspective of humanity as a whole, since non-magical humans have a hard time dealing with the tougher monsters out there without magical support. Without mage monster hunters, humanity would be limited to a handful of scattered enclaves, constantly getting picked off by creatures they could not hope to match.

Monster hunters almost never work alone. They move around in groups of 10 or more, both for safety and to make sure they cannot be easily brushed off when the job is done and it’s time to collect payment. Mundane people have a love-hate relationship with them – they need their services, but they often feel they demand too much in exchange. The line between monster hunters and bandits gets pretty thin, sometimes.

Hunter groups do not have to be made exclusively out of mages, and in fact usually aren’t. Especially in modern times, with guns having decisively proved their usefulness, the numbers are often padded with mundane people. In the past these people were clearly second-class members compared to the mages, but the advent of guns have changed this dynamic to be less lopsided. Not every mage is happy with this, but some mages have discarded traditional group dynamics and simply filled the entire group with gun-wielding mercenaries, with only one mage providing magical support.

Traditional hunter groups usually have several specialists working together – at least one mage skilled in projection to deal critical damage to the enemies, at least one diviner to track down their target, and at least one warder to stop any exotic magics from wiping out the group. Hunter groups usually inform themselves very well about the target in order to exploit its weaknesses and block its strengths. Many of them will refuse to go after completely unknown threats, or will require ruinous fees in exchange.

Exterminators:

A subset of monster hunters that deal with weak but numerous enemies that infest buildings, fields and the like. Rodents, birds and insects are the common target for this kind of thing. This is considered a less prestigious, but safer type of profession from the monster hunter. However, safer doesn’t mean safe. It is hardly unknown for exterminators to end up dying while performing their tasks. Unexpectedly getting swarmed by magical rats or hornet swarms can panic even the most experienced mages, and the true size of the infestation is easy to misjudge unless one has a lot of field experience.

Because of the reduced chances of dying, exterminators rarely congregate in large groups. They commonly work in pairs, and some even operate alone if they’re particularly experienced or confident. If a challenging job comes up, they may form into larger congregations, but many exterminators specifically chose their job because it was relatively safe and will refuse to risk their lives for money. If the infestation is very extensive, many exterminators will just advise the employer to scour the whole place clean with fire or write it off as a loss.

Exterminators often dabble in multiple fields of magic, having wide but shallow understanding of each. They usually have some knowledge of projection, divination, warding and mind magic. Mind magic is employed to manipulate their target, which are typically very vulnerable to mind magic and can thus be influenced by it very easily. This use of mind magic is considered completely uncontroversial.

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6 thoughts on “Hunters & Exterminators

  1. You know, I can’t believe I never considered “monster hunters” as a job in this universe. It fits so obviously into what we already knew. In retrospect, I’d just sort of slotted them under the vague heading of “battle mage”.

    So here’s a question: How do monster hunters fit into the field of settlers? Like… it’s been a while since I took History classes, but I recall at least one period where the government would award settlers legal rights to land that they farmed (so as to encourage expansion). I imagine that the various countries pushing to expand north into the wilderness have a similar policy, but surely in this world the primary requirement for being considered to have officially settled an area is clearing out any monsters in the area. So are most settlers monster hunters looking for a more opportunity? Or do settlers often hire monster hunters to help them clear an area? What’s the relationship there?

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    • Expansion into monster-infested areas involves sending monster hunters to thin out the biggest and most obvious threats. Generally this is done by the state picking up a handful of strategic areas and paying a large number of monster hunter groups to go through the area. Some of them may be paid in newly acquired land, but often they’re not interested in that and the state just pays them for the service. After that, a fort/town is established at the cleared spot and settlers sent/invited there to populate it. If the monster hunters fail to deal with the threats or get massacred for some reason, the state tries to figure out what happened and then either sends in an army or puts the colonization of that particular area on hold for the moment.

      In any case, after this initial center is established, the state is loath to keep pouring more money into hiring monster hunters and instead the settlers are expected to do that themselves as they claim more land and seek to exploit it. Being on a dangerous frontier, the settlers are usually at least a little combat capable, so they may actually tackle smaller threats themselves. Plus, some monster hunters *do* accept a payment in land, especially if they found a good place while cleaning up the area, which gives the new town a pool of capable defenders that can be called upon to help out at any time.

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      • Thanks for the answer! I can’t help imagining that Zach is going to end up being a professional monster hunter after the main story… I know he has a Noble House to run, but he does love his reckless adventures! XD

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      • @Neceros,

        I can see that working better for Zach than most of the alternatives for a battlemage (military, mercenary work, etc.), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him just get rich from raiding some of the many treasure troves he found while adventuring in the restarts and then find someone to settle down with, rebuild his house’s fortunes etc.

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  2. As always reading these world building stuff is fascinating, I do have to agree with Necreos in that I could easily see Zach picking it as a career path in the future as it lets him help people and indulge his desire for combat.

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  3. Reading about exterminators reminded me of witchers a lot, now that I think of it. Jack of all trades grizzled magic pest controller, who walks the countryside looking for work, because there’s less competition (and taxes), than in a big city.

    Now, countryside has less mana and less monsters, but when there is some outbreak or freak accident forces a stronger monster to encroach the outskirts of the settlement, a skilled professional might be worthwhile alternative to dealing with it on your own.

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