Created By: Koveras on April 30, 2012 Last Edited By: Koveras on October 11, 2012
Nuked

Mass-Produced Monster-Slayer Corps

Humans enhanced by questionable means in order to fight non-human monsters.

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Trope
An organization that systematically subjects its frontline members to a grisly transformation in order to give them a fighting chance against supernatural/alien monsters threatening regular Puny Humans. Unlike individual Superhero Origins, the transformation here is uniform for every subject and brings about roughly the same results in all survivors.

Although "Thou Shalt Not Kill (Humans)" may be included in The Code to enforce Pro Human Transhumanism or at least stave off Transhuman Treachery, Fantastic Racism often plays a role in the interaction between regular humans and their Not Quite Human defenders, especially if the transformation makes them half-monster/Half-Human Hybrids, gives them a Superpowered Evil Side, or infects them with The Corruption. Attempts to exploit them as a sub-human shock troops and outright Super Human Trafficking may be common dangers.

A staple in Dark Fantasy but can also be included in similarly cynical works.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • The eponymous warriors in Claymore have been created to fight the demonic yoma and are actually hybrids with human and yoma DNA. Later chapters reveal that the Organization also produces yoma for Claymores to fight, all in the interest of producing ever-stronger soldiers for a Great Offscreen War.
  • Freezing revolves around the invasion of Earth by an extraterrestrial force called the Nova, and a special force of genetically engineered young women called Pandoras, and their male partners, called Limiters, who are created to combat them.
  • Psyren starts off this way: the characters are pulled to a desolate wasteland called Psyren, given psychic powers, and they have to combat monsters called Taboo. However, the characters aren't mass-produced and the series deviates from this initial premise fairly quickly to focus on fighting other psychic users.

Comic Books
  • In Marvel Comics' Strikeforce: Morituri civilians volunteer to get a super soldier-like treatment which will give them miscellaneous powers in order to fight some invading aliens. Downsides:
    • It's fatal within 12 months of onset of powers, often less
    • The powers received are random and may not help the battle
  • There's a Hulk-based one shot short story where a planet turns all their soldiers into Hulks in order to fight some big bad. After the crisis is over all the Hulks are sent away to die in a volcano.
  • The O.M.A.C. soldiers from DC Comics are enhanced by nano-tech to fight rogue superheroes.

Literature
  • The eponymous witchers in The Witcher series were invented to kill the monsters that invaded the world after the Conjunction of the Spheres. Their creation involves brutal selection and the Trial of Herbs, which gives them superhuman agility, strength, and vision (among other things), but renders them sterile and kills most of the subjects.
  • The Cobra Soldiers from Timothy Zahn's The Cobra Trilogy are enhanced by nano-tech to combat the alien Troft.

Live Action TV
  • Although there is originally just one Slayer in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she later builds up a virtual army of them, becoming this. The Slayers are infused with demon essence, becoming stronger, faster, regenerating faster, and needing less sleep than ordinary humans, in order to fight vampires, as well as demons and whatever other monsters threaten the world.

Tabletop Games
  • Species RPG, based on the film Species. DNA taken from Sil is injected into human beings, turning them into alien-human hybrids and giving them some of Sil's abilities. They are then sent out to hunt down Sil's progeny. Unfortunately, the more of Sil's DNA they have in them the more they're influenced by the alien memories/mentality it imparts, and the harder they must fight against losing control.
  • In Warhammer 40K, the Space Marines are humans who were subjected to a combination of drug treatments, genetic engineering, organ grafts (both organic and mechanical), mental conditioning and The Spartan Way from an early age. The resulting survivors are 6 foot tall superhumans with hands the size of dinner plates who are clad in Powered Armour and wield semi-automatic grenade launchers as sidearms... and the best hope of humanity against the monstrosities the galaxy has to throw at them.
    • A related example is the existence of the pariah gene in humans; it was implanted by the (by no means friendly) Necrons in order to give some humans Anti-Magic powers in exchange for being supernaturally unlikeable. This makes them a useful weapon against the inhabitants of the warp, who are both a threat to humanity and one of the few things stopping the Necrons treating sapient life like cattle.
    • Perhaps the best example are the Soul Drinkers marines, who are all Chaos-style mutants on top of being Marines but fight for humanity anyway.
    • In addition to the aforementioned Training from Hell, the Exorcist chapter of Space Marines also undergo a special ritual where they are deliberately possessed by a minor warp entity which is then exorcized. This is the kind of operation only a madman or a Radical Inquisitor would attempt on normal humans, but it seems to work, and the exorcized Space Marine is now far more resistant to possession and much more effective against daemons.

Video Games
  • The Gray Wardens in the Dragon Age series were produced to fight the Darkspawn. Their only superpower is immunity to the Taint but it's already a huge advantage over ordinary humans. Too bad it's only temporary. Also, since the fact that they drink Darkspawn blood is kept from the public, they actually enjoy high regard from the general populace.

Community Feedback Replies: 39
  • April 30, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Species RPG, based on the film Species. DNA taken from Sil is injected into human beings, turning them into alien-human hybrids and giving them some of Sil's abilities. They are then sent out to hunt down Sil's progeny. Unfortunately, the more of Sil's DNA they have in them the more they're influenced by the alien memories/mentality it imparts, and the harder they must fight against losing control.
  • April 30, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • In Marvel Comics' Strikeforce Morituri civilians volunteer to get a super soldier-like treatment which will give them miscellaneous powers in order to fight some invading aliens. Downsides:
      • It's fatal within 12 months of onset of powers, often less
      • The powers received are random and may not help the battle
    • There's a Hulk-based one shot short story where a planet turns all their soldiers into Hulks in order to fight some big bad. After the crisis is over all the Hulks are sent away to die in a volcano.
  • April 30, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Do they have to be "half-monster"?

    If not I'd say the Space Marines of Warhammer 40,000 qualify.
  • April 30, 2012
    Bisected8
  • May 1, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^ No, read the second paragraph of the write-up...
  • May 1, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    As far as I know (based on the short stories) the witcher induction mortality rate is only about 30%...
  • May 1, 2012
    Koveras
    I don't remember where exactly this is described in the series, but the Witcher wiki says the survival rate is 4 in 10, and I am pretty sure Geralt was the only one of his batch who survived. But I will edit the example a bit.
  • May 1, 2012
    chicagomel
    Would this apply to Buffy The Vampire Slayer or no? I know it was only a single slayer at first (until the whole Buffy and Faith thing) but later there were a whole army of slayers.
  • May 1, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ Please elaborate on how a slayer is different from regular humans.
  • May 1, 2012
    chicagomel
    They're stronger and faster because of the infusion of demon essence back in the beginning. They also heal faster and often seem to need less sleep than 'normal' humans.
  • May 1, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ The "infused with demon essence" is the important bit. Who do they slay? Any kind of monsters or a specific type?
  • May 3, 2012
    Koveras
    Bump. Still waiting for that answer to put in the example.
  • May 3, 2012
    fulltimeD
    I can't help but think that we must have this one already...
  • May 3, 2012
    chicagomel
    Vampires foremost but demons too and whatever other monsters threaten the world.
  • May 4, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^ That's what I thought, too, but while we already have some individual components troped (Half Human Hybrid, Superpowered Evil Side, The Order, etc.), we don't have the combination, which seems to pop up often in fiction.
  • May 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
    I wonder how necessary this is though? I mean if we have the major components, do we need this or is it enough to say that this is an example of tropes "x", "y" and "z" rather than making a trope xyz which would be redundantly listed as an example of tropes x, y, z AND xyz (xyz being just The Same But More Specific and "x meets y meets "z." So I'm not even convinced this is tropeworthy.
  • May 5, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ I believe you forget that tropes are distinct, recurring story design patterns: if the same recognizable pattern occurs in multiple stories by different authors, it is a trope, regardless of whether it itself consists of multiple more basic patterns. Saying that we already have it under five different existing tropes already is like saying that we don't need a word for "car" because we already have words for "wheel", "transport", "motorized", "steered", and "gasoline".

    The trope pages provide examples of various implementations of story design patterns for those interested in them. Yes, of course, those interested in this particular pattern could just visit all the related pages and cross-reference them to find overlapping examples. But since there are so many of said examples already, don't you think it's justified to make them easier to find?
  • May 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Maybe, but if that's the case, I think the description needs work to emphasize the distinctness of this trope. Right now it doesn't really seem to stand on its own. But that could be fixed in the description.
  • May 5, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ OK, give me a list of all the tropes that you think are too similar to this one. I will see what I can do.
  • May 5, 2012
    Earnest
    This may cross the line into Super Human Trafficking if the soldiers are forced to fight agaisnt their will. On the plus side, most of these soldiers will be Pro Human Transhumans, though enough mistreatment and egomania may lead to Transhuman Treachery.
  • May 5, 2012
    SAMAS
    The only difference between this and Super Soldier is that they're made to fight a specific enemy. I don't think that's distinct enough to call it a trope.
  • May 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
  • May 5, 2012
    dalek955
    • The WH 40 K example is taken Up To Eleven by the Soul Drinkers marines, who are all Chaos-style mutants on top of being Marines but fight for humanity anyway.
  • May 6, 2012
    Koveras
    • Super Soldier is about inhumanly enhanced combatants. Not all super soldiers form exclusive organizations or are upgraded from baseline humans, and not all examples of this are enhanced for combat (case in point: Gray Wardens from Dragon Age).
    • The Order is an exclusive organization dedicated to a cause. Not all orders are dedicated to monster extermination and not all put their members through transformation.
    • They Fight Crime laconic: "Two oddball characters are buddy cops." I don't see how it is even related.

    I still don't understand you concerns, SAMAS and fulltimeD. Do you expect misuse/example redundancy?
  • May 6, 2012
    Medinoc
    • About 40k, the Lexicanum's "Abhuman" page also lists Gland War Veterans (there are like three of them left), humans who were modified to repel a Tyrannid invasion.
  • May 6, 2012
    fulltimeD
    ^^ Yes. To a very large (and I think possibly unnecessary) degree. But if this trope gets launched and that doesn't happen, I would concede that I was wrong.

    Right now this is an order of augmented humanss who fight monsters.

    I do however agree with Samas that this is barely distinct from Super Soldier (specifically, it's a group of former human Super Soldiers created to fight a particular enemy. Meaning it's covered by Super Soldier.
  • May 6, 2012
    Koveras
    The Order is a type of The Organization, Super Soldier is a type of Badass, and Monster Of The Week is a type of Plots. We don't need any of those tropes because they are all parts of more general tropes.

    You are arguing in favor of not naming a subtrope on the grounds that a supertrope exists. I am arguing in favor of creating it on the grounds that sufficient examples exist. I don't think we will come to a consensus.
  • May 6, 2012
    fulltimeD
    in that case just go ahead and if it becomes a problem later it could always go to TRS
  • May 7, 2012
    Koveras
    Thank you. :)
  • May 8, 2012
    fulltimeD
    No prob, I just see a huge potential for misuse where people would shoehorn any team of superheroes in here. It took me several reads to determine that that wasn't what you were going for. Now I get it, but the description could probably be clearer, maybe emphasizing the specificity of this trope and explaining why it does not cover any given team of supers like the Avengers, X-Men, Justice League, etc...
  • May 8, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ Oh. Now that, I agree with immediately. I will rewrite the description to make it clearer. Probably needs a better title, too...
  • May 9, 2012
    Koveras
    Rewrote the description. The title still sucks.
  • July 15, 2012
    Koveras
    More feedback, please...
  • July 15, 2012
    TBeholder
    So it's essentially splitting Super Soldier?
  • July 15, 2012
    Bisected8
  • July 15, 2012
    LordCirce
    There are two manga I know of that have this trope: Freezing and Psyren. Freezing fits it prefectly, the series revolves around the invasion of Earth by an extraterrestrial force called the Nova, and a special force of genetically engineered young women called Pandoras, and their male partners, called Limiters, who are created to combat them. Psyren is less of a fit, but esentially the characters are pulled to a desolate wasteland called Psyren, given psychic powers, and they have to combat monsters called Taboo. The characters aren't mass-produced though, and the series deviates from this initial premise fairly quickly to focus on fighting other psychic users.

    The OMAC soldiers from DC Comics seems to fit, as do the Cobra Soldiers from Timothy Zahn's Cobra Novels. Both are enhanced by nano-tech, the first to fight rogue superheroes, the second to combat the alien Troft.

    It seems to me that this trope focuses on creating soldiers to fight monsters by using the essence of whatever monsters they are trying to fight. Am I understanding it correctly? This seems to be an expansion on the idea of Fighting Fire with Fire, or Beat Them At Their Own Game. Maybe it should be named Fight Monsters With Monsters?
  • July 15, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^^ I don't know about splitting, but it certainly looks like a subtrope.

    ^^ I like your titles but they still don't quite capture it... Fight Monsters With Half Monsters, perhaps?

    ^ "It seems to me that this trope focuses on creating soldiers to fight monsters by using the essence of whatever monsters they are trying to fight." -- Not exactly. This is about creating soldiers to fight monsters and preserving (or trying to preserve) their humanity while giving them monstrous abilities of any kind (be it the same as said monsters use or differently sourced).

    I will add your examples.
  • July 16, 2012
    Chabal2
    Also from Warhammer 40 K is the Exorcist chapter of Space Marines. In addition to the aforementioned Training From Hell, they also undergo a special ritual where they are deliberately possessed by a minor warp entity which is then exorcized. This is the kind of operation only a madman or a Radical Inquisitor would attempt on normal humans, but it seems to work, and the exorcized Space Marine is now far more resistant to possession and much more effective against daemons.
  • October 11, 2012
    Koveras
    This YKTTW wasn't going in the direction I wanted it to be going, so I decided to discard it and start anew with a clearer write-up. I apologize to everyone whose examples didn't make it to the new page.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=7l9ix92pvo79jyszylhojra0&trope=DiscardedYKTTW