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This is an idea that I've been wondering about for awhile now, and I can't come up with a satisfying answer. Most of the reasons I've come up with are pretty petty, and considering that this would be a very harsh curse, I don't think that a petty reason will cut it.

In context of the curse, it would make it so that people who are cursed are forced to hunt monsters down, or suffer mental and physical consequences. It's not one of the worst curses, but it is pretty close.

P.S. I apologize if what I'm trying to say isn't clear, because I do have issues communicating ideas sometimes.

Also, if this doesn't fit the guidelines, please let me know and I'll try to fix it.

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closed as off-topic by Elmy, Mołot, Renan, Frostfyre, Vincent Dec 12 '18 at 15:52

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    $\begingroup$ You may wish to edit from ‘person’ to ‘people’. If it happens to one person only it’s about their story, if it keeps happening to people it’s about your world. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Dec 12 '18 at 6:50
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    $\begingroup$ There's an error in your title (missing a word or three) but I'm not sure what the correction is because it depends on what you mean to ask. Which is correct? 1) Why would someone need to be cursed in order to hunt monsters? 2) Why would someone curse a person so they are forced to hunt monsters? In order to answer the question we should also know if only cursed people can be monster hunters. No volunteers? $\endgroup$ – Cyn Dec 12 '18 at 7:24
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    $\begingroup$ Are we talking about hercules? $\endgroup$ – user6760 Dec 12 '18 at 10:28
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    $\begingroup$ @user6760 wasn't exactly "cursed to hunt monsters". First, it wasn't a curse but an atonement for his actions. Second, it was 10 "tasks" (labours). The exact details and interpretation of those were left out to his brother, which is why Hercules ended up with 12 - the brother disqualified 2 of the feats. And the tasks weren't even all about fighting monsters - cleaning the Augean stables, for example, had no fight involved. In theory, the brother could have tasked him with carrying 10 pebbles individually and called it a day but the intention was for Hercules to die. $\endgroup$ – vlaz Dec 12 '18 at 12:05
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, Sans Seraph. Please note that the Worldbuilding SE is dedicated to providing detailed answers to specific questions you have while developing your fictional world. However, we do not address issues of story, plot, or character here; this question appears to fall into at least one of those categories and may be closed for being too story-based as a result. If you haven't already, feel free to take the tour and check out our site culture to get a better understanding of the site. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 12 '18 at 13:36

10 Answers 10

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I am literally writing a fantasy story with a character like this. The character has murdered people and got caught, he gets a choice: the death penalty or get cursed to roam the lands and hunt down monsters and demons while avoiding people as much as possible. The curse makes them live for the hunt while becoming uneasy to downright in terror when near groups of people. Of course the curse isn't perfect and a story ensues.

This is a criminal that people want to get rid off rather permanently, so sending them out to do dangerous Jobs that will kill them eventually and protect people with it seems to be a perfect atonement for their sins and a delayed death penalty.

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    $\begingroup$ Ah yes, community service that leads to a violent death. It's a classic way of dealing with criminals (and especially repentant criminals). A curse means that the to don't have to worry the non repentant ones deserting! $\endgroup$ – Arcanist Lupus Dec 12 '18 at 7:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Demigan that is one very cruel punishment indeed. $\endgroup$ – Alexis Dec 12 '18 at 7:52
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Have you ever heard of vampires?

You can modify this basic idea as you wish, e.g.:

  • The curse is not directly making the person to hunt, but to lust for flesh/blood (and monsters can somehow be more favourable as a prey)

  • The curse itself can be contageous, so the character can get bitten by another "vampire", because the said "vampire" urgently needed a way to satisfy his hunger.

If the question was about "why would one will to bestow this curse on himself", then it can be literally anything, limited only by imagination, starting from it being a side-effect from a deal with some demon/monster, ending with your character being young/stupid/not-really-knowing-what's-he-doing.

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    $\begingroup$ That's an interesting concept. A vampire need not require human blood, so how about one that requires Designated Bad-Guy Race blood? $\endgroup$ – Codes with Hammer Dec 12 '18 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ Or perhaps the vampires can drink human blood, but it makes them violently ill? you could have some who hunt people after developing a resistance to toxic human blood, while most stick to hunting other species such as monsters. that opens you up to having good and bad vampires, depending if they hunt people or not $\endgroup$ – user43712 Dec 12 '18 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ I know of a video game called Pandora's Tower which had a comparable situation. One of the character's must eat the flesh of monsters to avoid becoming a monster herself. In the context of the story, the curse was intended as a combination an assassination attempt and means a to dishonor her family (I think. It's been a while). $\endgroup$ – Pinion Minion Dec 12 '18 at 23:50
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The monsters have some ability that makes the curse necessary.

Bandersnatches are fierce and terrible monsters who love eating small children. But they have a psychic ability that makes people near them forget why they are there, or want to run away, or makes the Bandersnatches look like loved ones.

To overcome this, the curse was devised. It forces the chosen hunters to fight Bandersnatches even when under the Bandersnatch's power. It's not a fun curse, but it's a necessary job.

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It's a win-win situation for the witch/wizard/gypsy that cursed them. The witch doesn't like all of these monsters roaming around, and wants to thin down their numbers. The witch also doesn't like some poor sod for whatever reason, and wants to be vengeful against that specific person.

So, they place a curse that the person must eat a monster's heart/ bathe in a monster's blood once a week, or else suffer unimaginable pain. The person is doomed to a life of torment constantly hunting monsters, and the witch is cackling. There's nothing of value lost to the witch; only two inconveniences matched against each other.

The curse could be like an addiction; the victim becomes an addict, and the only way to get a fix is to kill a monster. The witch wants to get the best possible use out of her power; fewer monsters and fewer enemies.

Alternatively, you could easily replace 'witch' with 'government', 'military', 'church' or 'cult'. Perhaps the curse is a punishment used to run them of prisoners or undesirables. Instead of a hangman, they sentence people to death by monster hunting - a brutal form of community service, perhaps.

The reason why might be extremely petty indeed. It could be as much about getting rid of the person as is about getting rid of the monsters.

Alternatively, you have an effective means of turning a person into your slave. It is the ultimate torture/control. Any evil tyrant would spam the hell out of the ability and use it as much as possible.

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    $\begingroup$ This could be the act of a cold hearted saint "for the greater good". The saint is OK that one person suffer in the process of making the world a better place for everyone else. $\endgroup$ – Willk Dec 12 '18 at 13:59
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In the times before your story, a tribe of people while fiddling with magic ended up releasing these monster into the world, and where not able to close the portal releasing the monsters.

As a consequence other tribes investigated the issue, and when the guilty were found they were cursed to hunt down the problem they created, or to suffer stronger consequences.

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The monsters search for the cursed human

I think you have this the wrong way around. The curse does not make the criminal hunt down monsters, it is sort of target placed on his back. The target draws nearby monsters to the criminal and he must kill them or die.

This is a death sentence and torture in one, because the criminal cannot sleep without the chance of something dangerous stalking and killing him. As a bonus, monsters are drawn away from the rest of the area giving some relief for normal villagers with the potential of the criminal being successful in killing a few.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very similar to the answer I would have given, but would combine this monster lure effect with Demigan's discomfort around other (non-cursed) people. Cursed people could band together for mutual protection, while drawing monsters away from the general populous except for short visits for supplies etc. $\endgroup$ – Mr.Mindor Dec 12 '18 at 15:46
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The curse might cause terrible pain (over time). And the only possible way to ease the pain is to wash yourself in monster blood or get blessed by a member of the church.

  • It might be a way to solve the curse by slaying a demon general or higher, or be blessed by a bishop.
  • The pain
    • might be a very worse memory that gets implanted with the curse, which the cursed person must go through again and again. The monster blood might be a drug that makes you high enough to endure the memories. The severeness of the curse may differ from the implanted memories.
    • Or the curse could be a monster, which eats the cursed all the time until the cursed give it some monster to eat. That could explain gaining special powers as cursed (from the monster). The blessing of a member of the church stalls, or stuns the monster curse

I hope this helps :)

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In a slightly less punishment driven scenario your curse could have a viral component. When the current holder of the curse dies, the curse passes to the nearest person who is then filled with the compulsion to hunt monsters.

If you'd rather make it a bigger problem, the curse could be more easily transmitted, perhaps as an STD. If the curse is a well known issue within your setting, this could lead to some interesting social issues as well, depending on how strongly the compulsion manifests.

Under this type of curse, the individual(s) who are cursed don't have to have done anything wrong themselves, they're just in the wrong place at the wrong time. This could equally lead to people who are spectacularly unsuited to being monster hunters being the victims of the curse.

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The curse is lethal but not instantly, the victim slowly weakens and eventually dies. There is no cure but there is a temporary antidote: the monster's heart (or other body part). The condemned man is forced to hunt and eat the monsters, inevitably he will not be able to catch a monster in time. So it works like a combination community service death penalty. With the advantage that no guards or enforcement is needed after the hunter is cursed.

As to why such a curse would be devised: monster hunting is super dangerous, nobody does it if it can be avoided. To get monster hunters you've got to make the need to hunt unavoidable.

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  • $\begingroup$ It feels like this may be too easily hacked. So the judge orders the criminal to be cursed.... but he's a mob boss. He doesn't want to fight monsters, that would be dangerous, so he finds people who look like they could handle a monster or 2 and has a loved one kidnapped. They want them back? bring a monster heart! Or he could just offer cash rewards for anyone who can bring a heart. $\endgroup$ – Murphy Dec 12 '18 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Murphy if the intent is to get rid of monsters. the hack still has a net gain, and may be even more effective than the cursed person fighting directly. If the curse slowly kills you, then it makes sense you will slowly get weaker and weaker becoming less effective as time goes on, but if you can force/hire others to fight in your place your own hunting ability doesn't come into play. If the boss offers enough incentive, there will be competition to get the most hearts... more monsters killed than 1 cursed individual could manage alone. $\endgroup$ – Mr.Mindor Dec 12 '18 at 15:37
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The monsters came into the character's life when he was young and killed all his loved ones before his eyes, or dragged them away into slavery, or something similarly traumatic. This snatched the character's childhood innocence away and changed him forever; he now makes it his sole purpose in life to hunt down and destroy all the monsters.

Non-magical only

Monster slayers are ostracised and looked down upon in society, like night soil collectors or sin eaters. This is because monsters mainly afflict remote villagers who can't afford to pay well for monster exterminators, and also because since monster activity takes place in rural activities, society at large takes an "out of sight, out of mind" view to their existence.

Yet at the same time, your character cannot simply walk away. His childhood memories and need for vengeance compel him to hunt them all down. The curse here is mental and social, but not physical.

Magical

The monsters are werewolves who also bit the character and thus marked him as one of theirs unwillingly. The character hates all werewolves for forcibly "recruiting" him as one of their own, and thus seeks to wipe them out of existence. With this, your character would bear the physical downsides of lycanthropy like a thirst for blood, as well as the additional burden of self-loathing. This can be added on top of the purely non-magical option.

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