Sadly, that is not today. Today is...well, you read the title, right? Yeah. Rather predictably...more Red Hood Rider.
I'll start by saying that I don't anticipate many more days of me talking about them, though. Not because I've lost interest, mind you. Mostly because they've revealed almost everything about themselves to me. There's a few story arcs that I keep developing in my head that I don't blog about, but actual meaty, juicy facts about the characters themselves, well, those I mostly already have. I set the baseline, and they just showed me the rest of them.
Everyone from Ruby to Gary (okay, admittedly he's a fairly simple guy so was easy) to Sally to Hannah to the weaponmaster to Dale to D.D. to Vili to Whitney to Amy. All of them I know, and can introduce basically everything about them. (Though I still need to work a little bit on remembering their names. It's a bit embarrassing. I forget the names of real-life people ridiculously often because names are hard to retain for me, but these are technically still my characters, so I should be better at remembering their names. But they're so much like actual, real people that the trend of not remembering their names has struck me.) I know what all of them look like, more or less, I have their backstories laid out and their personalities are basically refined. The whole package is there, from who they are to what they do (their powers).
...It's on that note I'd like to re-introduce you to Amy. In a previous blog entry, I mentioned that while Amy prefers melee combat, her specialty is in support, via linking and synchronizing her fellow teammates. (Particularly the other Riders of the Elemental Eight, but each member of the Ruby Gang--yes, that is their official group name--gets at least some benefit.)
I wanted to expand upon that, so her specialty is being reclassified into "extreme empathy". In a Trope, it's HeartIsAnAwesomePower. And she knows it, too. She doesn't like that she's not a combat specialist, because she likes to fight, but she is fully aware her actual power is extraordinarily powerful. Why? Well, for a start, it still offers all of the original qualities I gave her, including the synchronization, but now additionally offers her several other powers. Most of which act as amplification of her natural vampiric powers, and THAT is noteworthy:
-She has some degree of mind control, able to influence her target's thoughts, far moreso than a mere suggestion as most vampires have. It basically works by calling out for the target to act on their inner goodness, as a type of heroic brainwashing. Basically, it brings out the better emotions of a person, and turns them into a tangible idea that suits her will. Incidentally, this ability also works on animals, making her an absolute beastmaster above that of even a vampire lord; she can call upon ANY animal and have it serve her. (This, alone, is an ABSURDLY powerful power, albeit one that has no direct combat value, again mostly helping to serve as support.)
-She can transfer memories and emotions--not just her own, but also those of others. They can be shared in a multi-directional link or one-way, both memories and emotions or just one of the two. And it has no limit on how many people can be included. Basically, she can become a hub of knowledge, experience, and understanding, allowing her to bridge gaps. Incidentally, a secondary utility of this power is that it can allow for significantly faster training time: if two people are working on the same training, her linking them doubles how much they learn. Three people, triple. And so on. So imagine with all ten of them working on bettering their skills. It doesn't translate muscle memory, but concepts get passed along. (Note: Amy DOES retain the muscle memory, making her a bit of an ability copier as well.)
-A subset of both of these two powers is that she can instinctively sense emotions of everyone around her as an empath, and if she focuses, she can read the mind of a person without skin contact, albeit only with a limited range (or direct visual contact).
-But by far her greatest power is the offensive technique she possesses: Pain of Sin, her only named empathy technique. In essence, it's my version of the Penance Stare, or Paying Evil Unto Evil: Pain of Sin makes the target feel all the pain and suffering of all their victims, amplified greatly. It's practically worthless against lesser evils, though, because they've not caused enough harm to others for the technique to incapacitate them. Additionally, against greater evils, the technique is so strong that using it risks killing her target, removing any chance of redemption. (Which is the idea behind the usage of it.) So basically, there's only a few villains it COULD work on safely. Thus, she basically never uses it. It's far safer and more reliable for her to use her holy fist melee attacks, which she obviously has finer control over.
I also figured out some more about vampires.
I'll start by going on a bit of a tangent. I mentioned before that the weaponmaster ends up training the Ruby Gang, or at least I'm pretty sure I did. What I didn't mention but which was always part of his character from his very conception was that he's more accurately defined as being a 'Hunter'. This being a superhero setting, vampires aren't the only monsters that come into existence in large numbers, although they are the most prominent. Hunters are generic monster hunters, who hunt down monsters. They are NOT, however, hunters of an entire species. They only target the monsters among the beastkind, evil vampires, evil werewolves, and such.
There are more specific sub-guilds of the Monster Hunters Guild, though. Vampire Hunters exist. Werewolf Hunters exist. You get the idea. They GENERALLY follow the same principle, just with a more specific skillset that's been honed for their target prey, but it's not necessarily the case; there are some who hunt indiscriminately.
The weaponmaster started out as an indiscriminate vampire hunter, but over his career, quickly changed his ways. First, to hunting only evil vampires, then to the general hunter philosophy of monsters. He's since expanded it even further to not be beastly things and just be any evildoer, which is why he's one of the heroes in the first place; he's in the same business as them.
The thing about hunters, though, is that being human, they're generally outclassed by their foes. They require specialized training, outmaneuvering their opponents, outsmarting them sometimes, and generally still rely on a combination of blind luck and their opponents' arrogance of superiority. The final thing hunters have in their favor? Lots and lots of equipment, and, yes, weapons. So the weaponmaster is called the weaponmaster because he's a master of weapons. He's the de facto teacher of the group, and everyone takes lessons from him on a regular basis.
Whitney also contributes with a few professional tips she's picked up in her career, and most of the Riders' fighting is done on instinct rather than this training anyway, but it does contribute. Yet back to the vampires...well, I just described how a human would deal with a vampire. How does a vampire deal with a rival?
Well, it comes down to one factor: respect. Does the opponent respect you, or not? If not, then vampires actually use the same tactics as a human: let them underestimate you, then outmaneuver them, and even use the same gadgets the hunters do to take their unsuspecting opponent down. This is why several vampires actively seek out hunter training: learning from a hunter has the obvious benefit of allowing you to counter any hunter attacks on you, but it also allows you to use their techniques to hunt your own vampiric prey.
A vampire with hunter training both offensively and defensively and underestimated > A vampire with hunter training in offense and underestimated > a vampire with hunter training in defense and underestimated > a vampire without training that's underestimated > a vampire who is trained yet not underestimated > a vampire untrained and not underestimated.
Of course, this is if they don't respect you. If they do? Well, then, the solution is simple:
Believe it or not, most Lords are not nearly as tough as they make themselves out to be.
Oh, they're not to be underestimated. They're stronger than any lesser vampires; they're lords for GOOD reason. They are by no means weak. It's just that they generally prefer not to get in fights for a variety of reasons: risk they could lose, it being a waste of time, it being annoying, maybe the rare case of a moral against it, whatever the case, they generally try to avoid conflict.
So when conflict looks like it may arise, they use their reputation to their full advantage in order to resolve it. As an example, Lord Darkblood was the strongest vampire generally, but while he was the strongest vampire, and by no means rusty in combat (basically every vampire lord actively fights vampires that are near their level of strength, actual fights not mere spars, which keeps their skill level up), he could still be beaten if circumstances made it so that his opponent held the upper hand, which there are multiple scenarios that could make this true. If his opponent held the upper hand, he would have to resort to a bluff in order to 'win' the conflict. And as his reputation as the strongest vampire shows...he always did.
These lessons are part of Vlad's training to Ruby, and Ruby puts them to good use. Vlad can't train Ruby as well on the hunter offense, but offers a few tips for hunter defense, as well as how to be a little bit more bold in vampiric encounters. Basically, by talking the talk, she would be able to talk down enemies more effectively, making situations where she needs to scare them like she did with Dale less frequent. And if they didn't, well, she'd walk the walk and give them a pounding.
Like mother, like daughter. Recurring theme in the series if you couldn't tell, once Amy becomes a magical girl.