The Western world is home to many monsters: dragons, hydras, manticores, minotaurs, ogres, pheonix, gorgons, cave horrors, trolls, Ettins, and so forth that while on the whole less aggressive than native folklore makes them out to be they threaten towns and cities. Many of these creatures make their home in mountains, dangerous tracks with high background magic, deep caves where armies can not go and often have hides that can turn away a blade. For this reason, their are slayers.
Slayers are a fairly broad category of western warriors trained to deal with these creatures. Typically Slayers are either Humans or Dwarves with the occasional Elf. Most slayers are mercenaries though a few are retained by kingdoms. In both cases, they are among the fiercest and Dangerous Barbarian warriors of the west. Considering the perils they face this is no surprise. Some have likened them to Nagato sword saints, although slayers are far less specialized in their mastery of combat. They are quite capable at passing unseen through woods and making quiet dispatches, but their mastery of stealth and silent death falls far short of Nagato Shinobi or Dark Elf Assassins, especially when it comes to hiding in plain sight. The way of the slayer involves the mastery of several forms of combat, including fighting at a distance and getting in close to deliver a killing blow. The trademark weapon of a slayer is a heavy double handed sword or battle axe inscribed with ruins to maximize durability and damage. That said, Slayers are supposed to capable with a variety of weapons including one handed weapons, knives, bare handed combat, clubs, improvised weaponry, thrown weapons, bows and in modern times firearms and explosives (it is rare for them to master all of these, but generally slayers are capable of fighting). They typically wear a heavy high end runic breastplate and helmet to allow maximum durability and mobility. Their equipment is expensive, but they command heavy fees for their services.
Typically Slayers train their sons to be slayers as well as taking foundlings and promising young men. In any case their training is set out to weed out the weak and those who overspecialize (those who do so often become masters and can command powerful salaries as instructors or mercenaries). Newly graduated slayers tend to have high attrition rates on their first missions. Generally slayers will normally alone or in small groups of no more than ten. In addition to fighting wild monsters, they are often employed to engage tamed monsters and things like golems. The biggest weakness of slayers (outside of lack of numbers) is that they are not good at engaging large numbers of enemies in the open. Slayer training is optimized about dealing with threats one at a time or in small groups in short intense combat. They also are not ones for micromanagement. Their are maybe 2,000 slayers in the west, a number which is always fluctuation because of attrition.
Since the Zhong invaded, Slayers have been among the greater dangers. Being a rowdy, uncontrollable lot of Barbarian mercenaries. While they have suffered considerable casualties in doing so, they have been responsible for the destruction of Walkers, Phoenix Warriors and Iron Beasts while attacking supply lines at night and harrasing Zhong formations. That said, in the first three years of the Invasion, some 1,300 slayers were killed. Since then, a new generation of Slayers has emerged, which has become a bigger threat. That said, while they are a definite risk to soldiers on the field and to specialized equipment they do not pose a threat to the Zhong Empire's presence in the west. Typical tactics when engaging a slayer is to spread out and converge.
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