This article is listed as a "species" page. While slayers are generally considered human, they are also supernaturally distinct from ordinary human beings. As such, slayers can be considered in some ways an offshoot of humanity, and their "species" is most often listed as both Human and Slayer.
"Slayer" was the title given to the first human woman in a line of mystically enhanced warriors, called by an ancient spell to protect humanity from the power of dangerous supernatural creatures. Often known (not quite accurately and rather reductively) as "vampire slayers," these warriors fought all manner of dangerous monsters and beings. For much of history, there was only a single slayer at a time, so each slayer was often called "the chosen one." During that time, the power of each slayer would pass to a new host upon her death. Thanks to a spell cast by Willow Rosenberg, there can now be many slayers at once: anyone born with the potential to be a slayer now actually is a slayer.
What it means to be a slayer is a constantly evolving thing, such that the words of the original Prophecy of the Slayer have been shown, in some ways, to be false--or, at least, a great oversimplification. For more information on this, look at the "Key Notes" section, below. Today, many slayers are allied with Buffy Summers and Angel Investigations as much as with the Watchers Council. There is no central organization of slayers, but between Buffy, Angel, the Watchers, and some other allies, their powers are largely turned to ends that serve the public good.
- Looking for a list of slayers? Check Here.
The following are purely OOC notes, provided by the staff of At the Crossroads to help contextualize the idea of "slayers" within the theme of the game and the wider world of our setting.
In the canon of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Angel, the job of slayers was fairly simple: kill vampires, fight demons, etc. In our world, the supernatural world is far, far more wider and more complex. While the Buffyverse shows addressed the idea that not all non-human creatures were evil, it seldom looked very close at the premise that killing vampires was morally reasonable, no matter what, and it did little to examine the problematic question of being a "slayer" of such creatures when such creatures might be a lot more complex than just "generic bad guys." In our setting, we don't have that luxury.
So, one of the major themes we try to focus on, here, is the idea that slayers are increasingly realizing that their job is much harder than just killing vampires. Instead, as Dawn once put it, they have to do the harder thing and actually "live in" the world. This means that the answer to any given problem is usually not just killing the enemy--unless, of course, there's no other choice. Some creatures are just plain bad, but it's because of the choices they make, not because of their species. The result, here, is that slayers are more protectors than killers, but their fundamental mission is much the same: protect the innocent, especially those who cannot protect themselves.
Wherever slayers are concerned in fandom, one big elephant in the room always seems to be the assumption that all slayers are female. While this worked well enough for the narrative of the show, which existed purely on its own terms, the staff of the game now must seek to integrate the show's understanding and attitudes toward sex and gender with those of other sources and of the world we live in -- and we would like to think that our social understanding of sex and gender have evolved a little since the early 1990s. While it is not the project of this game, nor of its staff, to set forth a definitive treatise on the nature of gender, we do accept the idea that gender is a spectrum, not a binary.
This means that saying "all slayers are female" is really problematic. It's also what the source material does say. So, what do we do? Well, our solution is to say that "previous slayers have been women, and present and future slayers predominately continue to be women." We do not define "women" biologically, nor do we strictly preclude the concept of male slayers--but we will be extremely selective about allowing them, if we allow them at all. Most likely, male slayers will have to challenge gender assumptions in some way, but we have established that they are possible. Is this because gender is way more complicated than the Shadow Men realized? Is it because Willow's spell changed the rules a little, based on her more nuanced 21st Century understanding of gender?
The world may never know.
In ancient Africa, a group of tribal elders known as the Shadow Men used powerful magic to infuse a captive girl with the power of an ancient demon. This process granted the girl a variety of enhanced abilities, and she became the First Slayer. Training and instinct led her to fight to protect other humans from vampires, the demons and other dangerous supernatural creatures. When she died, the essence of the slayer was passed on to another girl, who became second in the line. As this line continued, the Watchers Council began to monitor them, and in time the Watchers began to guide, train, and--the truth being known--to manipulate and seek to control the slayers, believing that such power was better directed by their council than by any particular slayer, herself.
So the pattern continued for centuries, until Buffy Summers became the slayer. When Buffy died facing The Master, Kendra Young inherited the power of the slayer; however, Buffy was resuscitated, and then after there were two slayers. After Kendra's death, Faith Lehane became the next slayer, working alongside (and sometimes against) Buffy. Buffy also shook up the slayers' relationship with the Watchers, forcing a renegotiation of the way the group worked. From then on, the Council worked more to legitimately support the slayers, no longer able to manipulate and control them. Then, on some years ago, Willow Rosenberg cast a spell that awoke the power of all potential slayers. From then on, anyone born with the potential to be a slayer would become one.
These changes led to some difficulties, as the world now had many slayers in it who needed to be trained to understand their power and use it safely. Buffy and her allies were assisted by Angel Investigations in doing so. The world has also become an increasingly magical place since the Dislocation Plot was resolved, and slayers have had to confront the reality that their job is not so simple as once believed. There are far too many supernatural creatures with far too many varied motivations for the method of hunting and killing such creatures to be the slayer's main duty. As a result, the slayers' role in the world has continued to evolve and change. Now serving more as protectors than mere hunters, they find themselves in a much wider and more complex world than ever before.
Especially paired with their heightened senses, a slayer has exceptional reflexes. They have increased physical agility and manual dexterity, as well as moving faster in general. They are able to outrun a motorcycle, leap several times higher and farther than a regular human, and can even potentially dodge or catch projectiles.
Slayers have dreams steeped in history and lore. These may teach them things, reveal insights, or even be prophetic glimpses into the future. They may also experience the same dream as someone else, usually for a specific reason.
Slayers can take a beating that would land a regular human in the hospital, then keep fighting. They are highly resistance to traumatic force. It's difficult to break their bones, and they can survive falling from several stories, electric attacks, and being hit by moving vehicles. They are also resistant to natural disease and sickness.
If a slayer is injured or somehow becomes sick, they recover very quickly. More serious injuries, which would most likely kill someone not gifted with such superhuman abilities, may take longer or even render them comatose until they have recovered. More minor wounds typically heal within seconds or minutes.
With reflexes and a tremendous awareness of their surroundings, slayers are able to operate at a higher sensory level a regular person. They are, consequently, able to respond to stimuli faster and more effectively, which among other things is a tremendous advantage in battle. They can sense the presence of non-humans, although they typically have to first encounter each kind discovered its nature.
Slayers are strong enough to bend metal with little effort, throw hundreds of pounds a significant distance, and crack reinforced concrete with unarmed strikes.
Slayers are gifted with formidable fighting abilities. Even before the potential slayer is activated, they have a natural ability to defend themselves, which seems to be triggered by supernatural threats. This ability further allows slayers to learn combat skills and tactics at an astounding rate, learning in days or weeks what would take the average human years or decades to master.
Slayers are infused with a powerful magical essence, drawn from the same wellspring that created the First Slayer. Those with sufficient mystic knowledge or perception may be able to detect or even track that essence. In a broader sense, it makes them stand out from a crowd of normal humans, even before seeing their superhuman abilities.