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Most regenerative monsters possess a "core" of some kind which must be destroyed in order to kill them. I've noticed this trope at least a dozen times in Japanese media specifically. In fact it's so prevalent that there must be a reason WHY monsters are like this (besides having an Achilles' heel). So I began investigating the subject.

Turns out that when a monster is smashed to a pulp, a core is a good thing to have.

  1. It acts as a beacon and centre of aggregation for the scattered monster flesh.
  2. It serves as a power source for said flesh, which now must survive without organs until they are regenerated.
  3. That is usually where the monsters brain is kept.

With this knowledge, I designed my monsters accordingly: They are artificial lifeforms manufactured by inserting a spherical core into a sort of putty liquid (let's call it monster-sauce). The sauce aggregates and hardens around the core. Then signals from the core make the cells in the monster-sauce differentiate into the various parts of the monster. This is a functional fictional manufacturing process because each core is identical and can be "programmed" to create any monster. Meanwhile the monster-sauce is homogenous and easy to mass produce. Dead monsters liquefy and are recycled while injured monsters can be regenerated by dipping them in the monster sauce.

In combat, no matter how many times the monsters are pierced, slashed or crushed, they will always keep regenerating as long as the core remains intact. The smallest of monsters are only about as large as their core, thus a single attack is usually enough to kill them. The larger monsters are a different story. Their cores are more heavily defended: layers of hardened flesh conceal and protect the core.

When a monsters core is destroyed they will disintegrate, turning back into the monster-sauce. However, if their core survives the traumatic injury (no matter how severe) they will begin regenerating following these five steps:

  1. Liquefy.
  2. Aggregate towards the nearest core.
  3. Form a spherical cyst.
  4. Harden and differentiate.
  5. Return to original shape.

Foreign objects will only be removed while the monster is in liquid form. Afterward it is too late. Things like arrowheads will stay embedded in the monsters flesh until they begin regenerating again.

The core is a solid sphere about the size of a football with the consistency of quartz.

So I ask you, valiant monster hunters, what melee weapon would be ideal to slay such a monster? The technology level is pre-industrial.

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    $\begingroup$ Suppose we are recycling glass bottles. Different broken glass bottles are liquefied and new bottles are created. Molecules of new bottle belonged to many old broken bottles. There is no identity of molecules. Do the monster cells have identity? Can the core identify which parts (cells, molecules) belong to it? If many monsters get injured simultaneously and their cells and cores are scattered and mixed, will each core identify its cells or any core will reconstruct a new monster from any cells? $\endgroup$
    – imtaar
    Aug 8 at 10:27
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe one core makes a large monster by collecting much of the sauce and leaving a little for the other cores. $\endgroup$
    – imtaar
    Aug 8 at 10:27
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    $\begingroup$ I know this isn't really a weapon, but there's already so many good answers I figured I'll throw this in to give you some ideas. Water Have you ever added too much water to your pancake mix? Instead of a nice, fluffy, thick liquid, you get a nasty, soupy mess. Your monsters may suffer from the same condition, with water (or some other liquid) simply watering down your monsters, both melting them and preventing their regeneration as their special proteins and nutrients get mixed water, making them both larger and weaker. Eventually, the monster sauce will be so watered down, it can't even hold $\endgroup$
    – lordg52
    Aug 8 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ Technology level is pre-industrial - I'm assuming this is the technology level of the would-be monster hunters. Technology used in creating the monsters sounds a lot more advanced than pre-industrial. $\endgroup$ Aug 8 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ The way you describe the core, the monster is dead once the core is removed - not when the core is destroyed. Cut it out, wash it off, stick it on a shelf. Without a pool of monster goo, it's just another pretty rock. Is that correct? Because you've designed a core that can only be destroyed with a jack hammer but a monster that, like most living things, is more susceptible to being cut than bruised. BTW: "Best" is usually a poor way to ask a question like this. "Best" is circumstantial and often depends as much on the attacker as the defender. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 8 at 18:49

10 Answers 10

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For the sake of the answer, I will assume "destroying a core" means splitting it into 2 or more pieces.

Option 1 (Monster's flesh has low shock absorbance, strong humans): In this case, a hammer would most likely deal enough damage to split the core in half, through force transfer.

Option 2 (Monsters flesh has high shock absorbance, humans are slightly stronger than usual): In this case, one would have to have knowledge of where the monsters core is. By using the characteristics of things remaining embedded till the core is destroyed, one could use a weaponised hammer and long rock nail, to first embed the nail in the monster's flesh, just near the core, then smash it to deliver full force to the core, bypassing the flesh. Alternatively, you could hold the monster down and get a sledge hammer if you aren't confident about breaking it in one blow.

Edit: If the humans aren't stronger than normal and at most the monsters are made of wood level toughness, working solo, a powerful hammer blow would work, or if the monster is large and tough, using a hammer or chisel would easily fell them.

If you and your pals team up to fight a monster using a pitchfork or polearm to hold the monster down (idea stolen from Daron), and then hammer away at the core, or now that it's pinned, the hammer and chisel would work quite well.

TL:DR If working solo, either play whackamole with their chests if the monsters are weak, or use this bad boy. Hammer and chisel

Otherwise if you and your pals team up, restrain it with polearms and then smash it like its a controller and you just played the worst game of your life.

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  • $\begingroup$ Now I'm curious about the more specialised tactic. "Traumatic injury" just refers to whatever damage the monster's flesh would receive (the core being their only vital organ). As for the monsters toughness, they harden thanks to a protein called catch collagen found in sea stars and other echinoderms. They can go from liquid to as hard as wood. $\endgroup$ Aug 8 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ @LiveInAmbeR, how strong are humans in your world, and how much damage does a core need to sustain before being considered destroyed? $\endgroup$
    – JNC4
    Aug 8 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ No superhuman strength, that's for sure. As for the core... damaging it its surface won't be enough, it has to be cracked in order to cease functioning. $\endgroup$ Aug 8 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ Option1 made me instantly think towards a combat specialist: The Core Destroyer. Others attack and weaken it, rendering it immobile forcing it to go to the regenerative state, then calling in the Core Destroyer, who can come in hammer blazing. One big motherlover with a motherloving big hammer. $\endgroup$
    – Martijn
    Aug 9 at 8:22
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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget that Mohs hardness is just a measure of how hard it is to scratch something. Breaking it with a blow is a different matter entirely, and harder things actually tend to be more prone to shattering. Glass, for instance, is somewhere around 6 on the Mohs scale, and shatters very easily. I've never actually tried to break a quartz crystal, but I expect a good solid blow with a sledgehammer from an ordinary human could probably shatter it pretty easily. $\endgroup$
    – Hearth
    Aug 10 at 5:50
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Introducing the Guisarme

enter image description here

What the heck is a guisarme? It is a hooked polearm with an extra sticky-uppy bit attached to the side.

What the heck is a guisarme for? That question has puzzled scholars for a million years. But now the answer is clear. It is to fight core monsters.

You cannot destroy the core while it is still inside the monster. You'd need to penetrate the goo with enough force left over to shatter the core. And if you don't hit hard enough, then the goo heals over, and you have to hit it just as hard the second time.

The goo cushions blunt trauma and the core is only vulnerable to blunt trauma. It is the ultimate defense.

You cannot poke the monster with a sharp thing, then retreat and wait for it to tire and bleed out. It has no organs or anatomy.

Instead you must outnumber the monster by holding it down with half a dozen polearms. Once all the limbs are pinioned against the ground or a nearby tree, someone moves in, carves open the chest and extracts the core. Then they shatter it with a small hammer.

Of course you need to outnumber the monster to do this strategy. But that's just common sense. Your monster hunters do this for a living. You can't support your family as a monster hunter if every job is a life-or-death struggle. You want to be confident you can kill the monster, get paid, and then return to your family with the same number of arms and legs as when you left.

So ride out and find out how many monsters there are. Then ride away and get six dudes for each monster. If necessary enlist some of the villagers who hired you. These guys are inexperiences. They might die but they are willing to die since the monster is attacking their village and THEIR families.


This is why monster hunters have a bad reputation. They roll into town and before you know it six of your sons and husbands are dead. Then they roll out unscratched.


Another good weapon is the trident. If your monster hunters live by the sea they might have tridents lying around for fishing. Otherwise tridents are harder to believe than polearms, since they were not used for regular warfare.

Edit: The best improvised weapon is one of these bad boys:

enter image description here

A pitchfork! As mentioned above the hunters sometimes enlist local farmers to defend their villages. The farmers use their pitchforks as improvised polearms.

A spear with a crossguard might work in a pinch, to prevent the monster running up the spear to get you.

You get the idea. The ideal weapon is a long thing with two or more pointy bits at the end that you stick in the monster to hold it in place.

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  • $\begingroup$ why would especially a guisame be better suited than a helbard or a luzerner hammer? $\endgroup$
    – clockw0rk
    Aug 10 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ @clockw0rk There are two pointy bits so it is hard for the monster to move. It is like eating food with a fork instead of a knife. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Aug 10 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ Fun answer. I also enjoyed "[image of 15th Centuary tool] ... the use of this has evaded scholars for millions of years..." $\endgroup$
    – Dast
    Aug 11 at 17:18
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Torches for starters...

And anything else which burns things down.

Torch burning photo
Photo from Andrew Dunn, wikimedia commons

You need to pin them down in order to do any other safe and meaningful action. You could pin them with hooks and spears, but it's going to be hard to maintain a strong grip if the meat around the point of impact liquefies. Think like sticking a hot knife into a butter cube : At first, it'll hold, but then it will slowly slide as the butter melt.

On its side, fire will melt the body, yes, but since the liquid cells are still "alive", the fire will continue to burn and prevent a true regeneration. Add in this :

Step 2 : Monster liquid aggregate towards the nearest core.

This makes it an homing weapon the monster just can't get rid of1. It'll be like melting a candle (or butter stick) from all sides with a blowtorch. If they're not becoming all liquid, it will make any of them paralized in pain2.

Now that your target is very soft if not liquified, it is now unable to defend. You just need then to tighten your fireproof pant, gloves and boots and...

And get hammers for dessert

A drawing of a man striking with a sledgehammer
Archives of Pearson Scott Foresman, wikimedia commons

Hammers are your best tools of shattering : It's heavy-duty, strong and packs a punch. Since your target cannot dodge this unwieldy giant, it's your best bet in shattering the core while being easily doable in these conditions.

If you work in teams, one should take a good, two-handed sledgehammer to finish the job, while the other defend and burn any left-over. If you're alone, a torch in one hand and a smaller hammer should do the job.

If the core is a bit too big and covered by some tough meat, you can add in a chisel to make some precision strikes and weaken the whole structure : Whether or not the meat manages to regenerate, your chisel will still be waiting for your next blow to go deeper :).


1 : The Guild of Dungeoneering deny any responsibility in forest, wheat field, house, and other elements surrounding the monster starting to burn. It is the responsibility of the quest poster to ensure that forests, wheat fields, houses and other elements are protected and out of possible monster's burning reach.
2 : The Guild of Dungeoneering will not pay for psychological care due to "traumas caused by hearing plenty of monsters screaming horrifically for their lives". The Guild of Dungeoneering would like to remember that monsters have no family or friends and don't feel pain.

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    $\begingroup$ Ah, I knew someone would bring up fire! Unfortunately I took that into account when designing my monsters. Fire will only burn where there's oxygen, therefore on the surface of the monster. It can still regenerate underneath! But yes, burnt cells are lost, so the monster will be slightly smaller than before. (Love the warnings at the end BTW) $\endgroup$ Aug 8 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ @LiveInAmbeR Since the regenerative process doesn't seem to "unagitate" heated molecules, a non-stopping fire is like an oven : You'll cook all the way up to the inside (4th degrees burns), which leads to lots of impairements : hyperthermia, systemic shocks by both pain and boiling blood... This is further sped up by the movement of damaged liquids towards the core, effectively speeding up heat transfers. The main weakness to fire is actually if the cells are combustible or not ^^. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Aug 8 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ some concentrated alcohol or other liquid burning agent may help with this. Can be a know-how for the hunter. Hunter will ignite the monster, wait to liquefy and destroy core. $\endgroup$ Aug 9 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ I would suggest adding what kind of hammer, as there are plenty of variations. Also I think a hammer might be far superior than people realise: the blunt force causes a bruise, which is just a lot of cells and bloodvessles being damaged in the area. To heal this the creature would need to liquify the entire region, essentially creating a big whopping crater. A real hammerblow will leave DEEP bruises, a good warhammer/mace/polearm-with-hammerhead will be absolutely devastating unless its a truly enormous beast. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Aug 11 at 18:25
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/This is a functional fictional manufacturing process because each core is identical and can be "programmed" to create any monster./

Reprogram

remote

Destroy a perfectly good monster core? With all that fresh sauce? That someone else paid for? So wasteful.

The owners of these monsters must have codes to reprogram them. Use those codes, commandeer the monster and wipe it, then reprogram it to be something more to your liking.

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    $\begingroup$ I take it you don't like getting your hands dirty. $\endgroup$ Aug 9 at 9:01
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    $\begingroup$ With how remote controls never work properly when you're not at point-blank range, this is indeed a melee weapon XD. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Aug 9 at 11:06
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A bomb

Yes, a humble old bomb. Barrel full o' gunpowder. Ignite.

Yon core is ceramic, which abhors shock. Blunt damage is naught but shock. Should that core not splinter, it will fly many furlongs from yon goo. Wherein is the flaw?

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Blunt weapons

How do you strike at a core that is at an unknown location correctly and destroy it? The only right answer can be a blunt weapon.

Even if you know the sphere is where the brain is, the sphere can still be relatively small compared to a normal brain. Anything that pierces or slashes is at a disadvantage. You just have to hope on a direct strike againsylt the core to kill the monster. But this is further complicated by the form and nature. It is a hard core inside a hard shell. Any direct strike has a large chance to deflect, doing minimal to no damage.

Blunt weapons circumvent this. These weapons try to maximise the energy behind a blow, putting it all into a large area where you strike. Each part gives some of the energy to the next, allowing blunt force to go deep. A strike not only requires healing, it can also damage the core without ever touching it.

Will it damage it? Probably not immediately or enough to destroy it. But this problem is much worse with other weapons. Here you have a chance to go deep. If the flesh tries to heal it leaves the core more vulnerable. It'll liquefy, allowing you to go deeper with a blunt weapon and hopefully hit close enough to damage the core. A durect hit is also more likely. If it hits the outer shell of the core the energy will go through the outer shell, changing the shape and probably damaging if not destroying the core.

So grab the maces, morning stars and big tree branches. Smash a head and hope to kill the core. If not, look for it in or around the creature and apply direct force. You use a hammer to smash things. Never a sword.

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The obvious answer for destroying the core is, of course, a big ol' hammer. Give it a few good whacks, and you'll shatter the core, ending the monster for good.

However, before you break the core, you're going to need to get the core out of the monster - and here's what everyone is missing. Yes, you might be able to fashion some sort of crazy spike that stabs into the monster and shatters the core while it is still wrapped in its warm goo, but that's (literally) hit and miss. You need a strong arm and good aim to do that, and that's a great way to lose a bunch of good fighters. Or at least your arm.

Instead, you want a modified ballista - a giant crossbow capable of hurling telephone-pole-sized missiles across the field of battle. The ballista itself can be largely ordinary - a huge crossbow, reinforced and bolstered with heavy springs - because the real key is the ammunition. The ballista bolt needs to be heavy, streamlined, and most importantly, tipped with a mesh of incredibly sharp blades. The blades will slice through flesh like a knife through pudding, but not the core - but because of the terrible speed of the bolt, when it slices into the creature, it will capture the core in the mesh and continue out the other side, landing (hopefully) a good distance away.

As the rest of the monster begins its melt-and-reform process, the workers on the other side of the field can grab the core (removing whatever goo still stuck to it), move it to a hard surface, and smash it into useless shards.

To use this method, you will need three teams:

  1. The "worriers", who will use fast horses and long, light weapons, to annoy the monster and grab its attention, to keep it away from the other teams
  2. The ballista team, who will set up the weapon, load it, wind it, aim it, and fire it at the monster
  3. A group of mounted, well-muscled troops armed with knives and hammers, to grab, clean, and smash the core
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Frame-challenge: don't destroy it.

Rip it out of the sliced-up monster (swords would do fine here), immediately put it in a box too small for coalescing around. It's inert.

Eventually sell it at the village. Should fetch a reasonable price due to its potential for experimentation. Even if it can't yet be reprogrammed to the holder's purposes, wheels are turning.

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/Mode_Shape_of_a_Tuning_Fork_at_Eigenfrequency_440.09_Hz.gif

The ideal weapon is a diamond Diapason (Tuning fork), with a incredible thin tip, that penetrate the material of the core, thinner then a hair. Then the whole assembly is set into vibration, resulting in either slicing damage to the core- or if done right, it just gets the cores shell to swing and tear itself apart because there is that one frequency it can not withstand.

Such a weapon would be fragile and difficult to handle, needing years of training and the ability to improvise. After all corse might have different frequencies - or worser still, soft spots, were the fork will only produce bloody carnage. So first assault you slice a wound to the core, then you place the fork, finally you "sing" the core apart by applying controlled vibration.

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    $\begingroup$ I cannot stress enough how cool a sonic melee weapon is! Though the question is: would the metal be able to vibrate while inside a soft body? Or would it be too dampened to cause any real damage? $\endgroup$ Aug 11 at 8:10
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Pointed weapon

The weapon must pierce into the monster flesh in order to reach the core so it should be a pointed weapon. An arrow or a spear may do that but not edged or blunt weapons. You can use a bow or a spear-gun to throw the weapon. With trial and error method, you can roughly estimate the strength needed to throw the weapon to a given sized monster.

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    $\begingroup$ Know that Terraria's (and most games') weapons are balanced for game-design, not for world coherency ^^. It's a very arcadish game, after all! $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Aug 8 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ What is up with the Terraria references? $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Aug 8 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ Those references were only for fun, not to be taken seriously. But I am forced to remove them. $\endgroup$
    – imtaar
    Aug 8 at 13:14

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