- "Into every generation, there is a chosen one. One girl in all the world. She alone will wield the strength and skill to stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness; To stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer."
- ―The prophecy of the Slayer[src]
Slayers were young female humans bestowed with mystical powers that originated from the heart of a demon, which gave her superhuman senses, strength, speed, endurance, agility, healing and occasional prophetic dreams in the fight against forces of evil. While known primarily as the "Vampire Slayer," the Slayer also acted as a hunter of evil mystical forces in general (demons, bad witches, etc.).
There was only one Slayer in existence at a time, because for there to be another Slayer, the previous one would have to die for her powers to be inherited. Because of this, Slayers were often refered to as the Chosen One. This process continued for thousands of years until the intervention of Buffy Summers in 2003.
The First Slayer
- Buffy: "You think I came all this way to get knocked up by some demon dust? I can't fight this. I know that now. But you guys? You're just men. Just the men who did this... to her. Whoever that girl was before she was the First Slayer."
- Shadow Man: "You don't understand."
- Buffy: "No, you don't understand! You violated that girl, made her kill for you because you're weak, you're pathetic, and you obviously have nothing to show me."
- — Buffy Summers.[src]
In ancient Africa, a group of tribal elders known as the Shadow Men used powerful magic to infuse a captive native girl with the heart and soul of a pure demon. This process granted the girl incredible strength, speed, agility, endurance, a predator instinct, and superior healing factor: she became the First Slayer, called to fight the vampires, the demons and other forces of evil that populated Earth and threatened the innocent. Unfortunately, being fully infused with the essence of a powerful demon resulted in The First Slayer - sometimes known as the "Primitive" - becoming little more than an animal, separated from civilization, determined to slay and led completely by an insatiable blood thirst. Despite her having lost her original human nature, however, it must never be forgotten that the First Slayer was a formidable force of good who hunted and killed monsters that preyed on the innocent, and it was said that she also slayed the very last pure demon (Old One) that walked the Earth.
The Slayer Line
Throughout time, the Shadow Men's descendants went on to form the Watchers Council, an organization dedicated to finding, training, and supporting Slayers, and shifting the scales from evil to good, in the never ending battle between the two. Whether the ways they went about doing this were entirely ethical or not, the Council was determined to stop the spread of evil.
However, because of the violent nature of the life of a Slayer, their average lifespan was quite short after being called, under a year at most. Consequently, the Shadow Men's spell also created a large number of Potential Slayers - normal girls around the world who may one day be called.
The Slayer line was not genetic in nature. Slayers did not inherit the calling from their parents and did not pass it on to their children. Dawn Summers was also not a Slayer despite being made from Buffy.
When a Slayer died, one of the "Potentials"—seemingly chosen at random—gained the powers and abilities of the Slayer. The Watcher's Council tried to identify and train these "Potentials" before they are called, locating some as babies, but were not always able to do so, with some girls only being found after they have been "activated" as the Slayer, Buffy Summers being one of those girls.
Each girl that was given the power of the Slayer was seemingly randomly chosen by the "unknown forces that surround the Slayer line." The forces that chose the Potentials, and that activate the one girl in almost two thousand around the world, were a mystery.
This process continued through the generations until 1997, when the current Slayer—Buffy Summerswas killed in battle, only to be revived via CPR, a few moments later. Buffy retained her Slayer powers, but her momentary clinical death was enough for the next Slayer to be called. For the first time in history, two full-fledged Slayers existed at one time, the other being Kendra Young.
For the next several years, two Slayers co-existed: first Buffy and Kendra, who was called upon Buffy's death, and then Buffy and Faith Lehane, who was called when Kendra died, approximately one year later. Nonetheless, Buffy was still referred to as the Slayer and not just a Slayer. Though it was made clear that the Slayer line no longer ran through Buffy, but rather ran through Kendra who passed it to Faith.
While Buffy and Kendra immediately were determined to be polar opposites, Buffy and Faith were two sides of the same coin, mirror images of each other, with one being what the other would have become if put under different circumstances in their respective lives. Faith, temporarily became homicidal and joined the other side, though reformed with the help of ensouled champion vampire, Angel, and began to seek redemption. When discussing why "they could never seem to get along," Faith stated that it's because there was only supposed to be one.
Attack Against the Slayer Line
- Giles: "We all feared this day would come. When there'd be an attack, not just against an individual Slayer, but against the whole line..."
- Buffy: "The First - that's what it wants."
- Giles: "Yes. To erase all the Slayers-in-training and their Watchers, along with their methods..."
- Buffy: "And then Faith. Then me. And with all the potentials gone, and no way of making another...It's the end. There's no more Slayer. Ever."
- — Rupert Giles and Buffy Summers[src]
For some reason, Buffy's second resurrection, which was also the first magical one, caused an imbalance in the forces that surround the Slayer which allowed the First Evil to set in motion a plan to end the Slayer line. Her second death did not call a new Slayer, though various references have been made to the possibility of a Slayer being activated if Buffy dies. Following her first death, Mayor Wilkins said that he didn't want Buffy killed too quickly, because he didn't want a replacement showing up. Following her second death, Buffy herself, addressing a group of Potential Slayers, said, "My death could make you the next Slayer." and "It's true none of you has the power Faith and I have. I think both of us would have to die for a new Slayer to be called, and we can't even be sure that girl is in this room. That's the rule."
Breaking the Chain
- "So here's the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power, now? In every generation, one Slayer is born, because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power, should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of this scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up. Slayers, every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?"
- ―Buffy Summers.[src]
After taking the time to find and count them, Buffy stated that there were at least 1800 Slayers in the world, 500 of which have joined the Slayer organization. Potentials where now activated as Slayers when they reach suitable maturation; Soledad for instance, was activated on her sixteenth birthday some time after Willow's spell.
For centuries, the Watchers Council knew of a myth that tells of a Slayer who will change the world and the balance for the Greater Good resulting in the Universe rewarding that Slayer with incredible power and the chance to bring about a new reality, a new world, Twilight. Buffy's Watcher and long-time father-figure, Rupert Giles, came to believe that the myth was true and that this Slayer was Buffy. Giles secretly traveled the world searching for the only item that could kill Buffy if she reached this "God-hood."
During the Twilight crisis, Giles was murdered, giving Buffy the incentive to use the Scythe to destroy the Seed of Wonder, the heart of the world and source of the supernatural. This act banished magic from Earth's dimension, along with many demons, though all pre-existing supernatural beings with inherent powers, such as vampires and pre-activated Slayers, remained.
By the 23rd century, magic had begun to return to Earth, along with the demons, at which point Melaka Fray was called to be the next Slayer. However, the powers of the Slayer were split between her and her twin brother Harth Fray, who had become a vampire. Harth possessed the mental aspects of the Slayer such as the dreams and premonitions, while Mel only had the physical attributes.
- "So it's different, I guess for different people. Some, it's a tickle. They don't even know. Or a rush. Fun. But for me, becoming a Slayer was like Mike Tyson in your face... and not the punching you Mike Tyson, ripping your ear off with his teeth Mike Tyson."
- ―Unidentified Slayer[src]
Powers and Abilities
- "She's like a woman fighting for more than life. She fights like fighting is her life. It's like the air she breathes, and she knows she will win because there is no alternative."
- ―Andrew Wells[src]
The powers that were bestowed upon the Slayer were mostly physical enhancements. It should be noted that while Slayers were stronger than most vampires it was their skill and training that mostly gave them the bigger advantage.
- "You know, not to be rampantly sexist in the workplace, but you've got some serious muscles for a girl."
- ―Ben Wilkinson, commenting on Buffy's strength.[src]
Slayers were endowed with strength greater than that of humans, some demons and most, if not all, vampires.
- Buffy Summers had been known to lift, with great effort, a metal portcullis which an entire group of men were unable to budge.
- Buffy was capable of bending a steel rifle barrel with little apparent effort and bending open prison cell bars, both with her bare hands.
- Buffy has been recorded throwing human-sized subjects sizable distances and effortlessly bench-pressing steel girders used in construction.
- Buffy once accidentally kicked Riley clear across a room whilst 'holding back a little'.
- While being voluntarily fed on by Angel, Buffy crushed a tin jug with her bare hands and was able to destroy a coffee table with a single kick. 
- Faith Lehane was able to pick up the vampire Angel with one hand and easily throw him short distances, lift him over her head, and slam him into the ceiling.
- Once, while fighting Buffy, Faith punched into a concrete wall to no ill effect.
- Faith was seen picking up a barbell with one hand and hitting a woman in the face with it (the woman was trying to kill Faith at the time).
- Melaka Fray was able to pick up an overweight vampire several times her own size and body mass, lift him up over her head with both hands and throw him over a distance of presumably over 20-25 feet, with no downward arc to his trajectory (which was only interrupted due to his hitting a metal grate, which was extensively deformed on impact).
- The psychotic Slayer Dana is able to, through several violent shoves, knock down a metal door as well as deform the edges of a metal gate as she tore it from its hinges.
- When up against a large group of bullet-proof demons, Simone Doffler was able to easily destroy several of them with her bare hands and feet, leaving puddles of their guts and body parts splattered all over the floor.
Much like vampires, the Slayer's strength seemed to be largely metaphysical, as it did not add to their body mass and they remained buoyant enough to swim. Buffy and Faith, who were of relatively slender build, have performed great feats of physical strength without any apparent added muscle mass.
One example of a Slayer being stronger than most vampires was when Buffy easily lifted Olaf's hammer with one hand when Spike was barely able to do so with both hands. Also, when she defeated the demon Doc effortlessly whereas Spike was defeated by him with minimal effort though Spike was trying to save Dawn and most likely underestimated Doc due to his human appearance. Angel remarked that Buffy was "a little bit stronger" than he was,though the humorous tenor of the exchange suggests he may have been understating the difference, indicating that a slayer was stronger than vampires of 200 plus years.
It appeared that Slayers were able to access even greater levels of strength when upset or angry; for example, during her first battle with Angelus, Buffy was initially outmatched until Angelus went too far with his taunts and insults, after which she snapped and beat him into submission. Additionally, Faith was able to quickly overpower the more experienced Buffy and nearly drown her in a swimming pool during a fit of rage.
Speed, Agility, and Reflexes
Slayers were able to move faster and react more quickly than humans and most vampires. Buffy has snatched a crossbow bolt in mid-flight, dodged gunfire from multiple ranges, and set off a bear trap without getting caught in it. At one point Buffy was fast enough to outrun a raiding motorcyclist on his bike shortly after her resurrection. Faith has dodged shotgun blasts at point-blank range and Dana was able to dodge a tranquilizer dart also fired at point-blank range.
A Slayer was capable of superhuman feats of agility. She could leap to great heights;  though the maximum is unknown (vampires seem to be able to jump much higher), Buffy was capable of reaching the roof of the original Sunnydale High School in a very short period of time, after running up a sloping wall, and then flipping onto the roof.
The Slayer's running speed was also quite impressive. Buffy, for example, was able to run fast enough to keep up with a school bus going at full speed and was able to reach the police station to save Andrew Wells and Jonathan Levinson on foot shortly after Willow Rosenberg reached there via a variation of teleportation.
Resilience and Healing
A Slayer's body was substantially more durable and resistant to blunt force trauma than an ordinary human's. Slayers also had several times the endurance of a common human, so it was difficult, though not impossible, to bruise them, break their bones or strain their joints.
- Buffy has suffered from a sprained arm as a consequence of fighting vampires, but seemingly healed mid-fight, despite the injury taking a toil on her fighting her injured arm being twisted once more, Buffy still could punch a vampire in the face, sending it flying, without any problems later..
- Buffy looked relatively unfazed after she had a vase smashed over her head by Tucker Wells.
- Buffy appeared only to sustain some minor damage after being shot by a high-voltage blast from the Initiative's taser blasters while normal human beings and even demons were shown to be incapacitated and require time to recuperate afterward, Buffy was fit enough to escape.
- Melaka Fray was hit with a steel girder thrown at her from a demon and recovered within minutes; she also fell from a height of over five stories to land face-first on a cement sidewalk and be only dazed before fully recovering in moments, and at a later time, to fall four stories down, crash through the cement roof of an adjacent building and fall down the height of one more story, and recover instantly.
- Buffy could leap from a two-story window with a man in her arms, landing on the ground and letting her body take the brunt of the fall.
- Buffy has been hit by a moving car, got up and walked off, uninterested by the offers to help from bystanders while continuing to pursue her goal.
- Faith has fallen from a height of three stories on top of a closed dumpster, rolled off it to hit the ground and got up immediately with no signs of damage; she also was able to hold her own in a fight with Buffy less than 24 hours after waking from a nine-month coma - a coma which she entered after surviving a deep stab wound to the abdomen immediately followed by a fall from the top of a multi-story building into a moving truck. Also, in an attempt by the Watcher's Council to capture Faith without killing her, they prepared a tranquilizer that was capable of knocking out a man twice her size which is more than enough to subdue an ordinary young woman her size.
- Despite being closest to the bomb, Faith survived an explosion that caused an entire sewer tunnel to cave-in, killing several potential slayers in the process. Although she was severely wounded and weakened, Faith was ready to fight Turok-Han vampires after about a day of rest.
- Slayers also seem to recover quickly from blood loss: Buffy was almost completely drained of blood by Angel, but recovered in time to be able to lead the fight against the Mayor.
Despite these feats, the Slayer was far from invulnerable. For instance, Buffy has been knocked out by blunt force trauma, such as being hit over the head with a lead pipe by a possessed Cordelia Chase and with a detached mannequin arm by Ethan Rayne, and rendered unconscious when Drusilla jabbed her with a cattle prod, though it should be noted that it took two jolts from the cattle prod to knock her out. In addition, the Slayer could be injured by conventional bullets, bladed weapons, and more advanced weaponry just as easily as an ordinary human can, but they could recover from even very severe injuries in remarkably short periods of time. Usually, Buffy was completely healed within 24 hours of being injured, though more serious injuries have taken at least a few days; Buffy suffered from a severe stab wound to the belly that required at least a few days to heal, and, according to Vi, was heavily bruised for several days after her second encounter with the Turok-Han. Also, the Slayer could receive scars; Buffy had a scar left from the Master's bite on her neck, though Angel and Dracula have also bitten her in the exact same spot. Buffy has survived contact with a live electrical wire; the normally lethal jolt simply melts her shoe soles.
Buffy is noted as almost never getting sick, but did contract the flu during a period of great emotional stress. This indicates that the Slayer also has a heightened immune system. While a regular person may require eight to ten hours sleep, a Slayer seems to require considerably less, but needs some rest to function. Buffy herself has been seen staying awake for days although she will usually "crash" and sleep for half a day with no lingering handicaps.
SensesSlayers possessed a heightened awareness of their surroundings. This heightened awareness could, with experience, allow the Slayer to know the position of an attacker and fight them blindfolded or in the dark. This was not a constant ability, however. This skill must be honed through practice and the Slayer usually must focus to achieve the full benefit.
Buffy once was able to sense the presence of the invisible Marcie Ross by standing silently for a few seconds to hear her movements before landing a prefect punch. Rupert Giles once required Buffy to hit him by throwing a ball while blindfolded. Despite initially missing him when throwing the ball, the ball bounced off the wall she threw it at and landed on him.
DreamsAll Slayers through the ages shares a psychic link, manifested in dreams. A Slayer would frequently dream of herself as a Slayer in another time and place, even before being called. They could also experience prophetic dreams related to upcoming crises. Dreams existed in their own mystic plane or "dream space" where, for a Slayer, precognitive sense and the inherited memories of other Slayers could manifest themselves. One consequence of this power was that a Slayer has essentially fought all the battles of the Slayers before her. Also, Slayers have appeared in each other's dreams, as Buffy and Faith shared several dreams while Faith was in a coma. Faith provided the first cryptic reference to Dawn Summers' arrival.
Melaka Fray, a Slayer of the 23rd century, lacked these abilities. Her twin brother, Harth, received these visions instead. To the best of her temporary mentor Urkonn's knowledge, it was unheard of for a Slayer to have a twin before.
A Slayer naturally had formidable fighting skills.
- Buffy easily fended off multiple vampires at the same time while under a memory loss spell, with no memory of her combat training - relying entirely on her natural Slayer instincts. (Although this could be attributed to muscle memory. The body will often remember things that the mind does not.)
- Dana was seen holding her own against Spike without having any previous combat training.
Potential Slayers had innate skills in combat, even before being called, as Amanda was able to defeat a vampire without any previous combat training. The Slayer's Watcher trained her to hone these talents, and to teach her specific fighting skills, such as various martial arts. The training helped her to battle the occasional demon whose physical strength outclassed her own. For most situations, however, her strength sufficed. To test a Slayer's natural ingenuity and capability, the Watcher's Council administers a test known as "the Cruciamentum" if/when they turn eighteen, which striped the Slayer of her powers and forced her to fight a powerful vampire without them. It should be noted that the compound used to weaken the Slayer made her typically weaker than most normal humans. This rendered a Slayer who would still normally be physically fit without her powers remarkably feeble even for a human. This forced the Slayer to rely solely on her intellect and wit.
Overall, the Slayer's abilities seemed to be enhancements of normal human attributes, rather than extra abilities garnered from a magical source; Buffy trained constantly and worked out to enhance and maintain her abilities, suggesting that they would atrophy otherwise. A "normal" workout routine that would enhance a regular human's strength and speed increased her abilities much faster and at greater magnitude. Also, Giles said muscle relaxants and adrenal inhibitors would have the same effects on a normal human as they did on Buffy; the effects were simply more pronounced. Also, regular illnesses such as the flu affected the Slayer not greatly different from its effects on humans; once again the handicap was more noticeable given the Slayer's usually enhanced abilities, though this nearly cost Buffy her life while fighting Angelus.
Sometime after establishing the Slayer Organization, Buffy gained a multitude of new powers: her strength, speed, agility, and reflexes were greatly enhanced, and she developed telescopic vision, superhuman hearing, flight, and a level of invulnerability. Willow initially theorized that these powers were a result of Buffy unwittingly absorbing the collective powers of all of the Slayers who had died since they began the Slayer Organization, but it was later discovered that these abilities were granted to her by the Universe as a reward for changing the world and the balance of the grand design. However, Buffy lost these new powers when she destroyed the Seed of Wonder.
Beginning with the Primitive, the Slayer was always meant to act alone. According to the "Slayer Handbook," as stated by Kendra, the Slayer was supposed to separate herself from civilization for 'security'. Spike himself remarked, "A Slayer with family and friends. That sure wasn't on the brochure." 
Buffy was known to be unique as she had a support system stemming from the Scooby Gang, her mother and later her sister, though, she still constantly felt alone, even after the activation of all of the Potential Slayers. Buffy stated that the feeling of being alone comes with the package of being The Slayer. Robin Wood, the only known child of a Slayer, Nikki Wood, once referred to this as "isolationist Slayer crap."
Buffy and the core Scoobies, Willow, Xander, and Giles, channeled the spirit of the First Slayer by performing the enjoining spell, infusing mind (Giles), heart (Xander), and spirit (Willow) with Buffy's strength, to become omnipotent and have enough power to kill Adam. The spirit of The First Slayer was not pleased with this, and attempted to kill the Scoobies in their dreams demanding that the Slayer act alone, though she was defeated by Buffy.
Weapons and EquipmentSlayers typically used weapons to fight vampires and other demons. Simple wooden stakes, crucifixes, and holy water were commonly used due to their effectiveness against vampires. Swords, axes, and knives were the most common implements used for dispatching demons, though other melee weapons (generally of medieval European design) were also used. Ranged weaponry was usually confined to crossbows. On occasion, more sophisticated weaponry was used; Buffy Summers has used a military-issue rocket launcher to defeat a particularly tough demon. Buffy had a strong distaste for guns, and one of the rules of her Slayer organization was that no Slayer used them. Rogue Slayer Simone Doffler and her group, on the other hand, were enamored of guns.
The Slayer Melaka Fray used weaponry native to her time period, such as ray-guns, as well as traditional Slayer weapons.
Main article: Scythe
"Slayer Emergency Kit"
Main article: Slayer Emergency Kit
- Sineya: The First Slayer.
- Artemia: A Slayer from Ancient Greece who made a deal with a Vengeance Demon.
- Yuki Makimura: A Slayer turned into a vampire.
- Xin Rong: The first Slayer to be killed by Spike.
- Nikki Wood: A long-lived Slayer, a mother and the second Slayer Spike killed.
- Buffy Summers: The Slayer responsible for the activation of every Potential Slayer in the world, along with preventing several apocalypses, slaying the Master, forming relationships with vampires, besting Dracula in a game of wits and many other achievements.
- Kendra Young: Activated after Buffy's temporary death, creating two Slayers in the process.
- Faith Lehane: Briefly a rogue Slayer and the last one to be called under the original succession line before its abolishment.
- Simone Doffler: A rogue Slayer turned into a vampire.
- Melaka Fray: A Slayer from the 23rd Century who had all the physical attributes of the Slayer but none of the psychic abilities, which were instead inherited by her twin brother.
Main article: Slaypire
Slayers were capable of being turned into vampires just as ordinary humans were. The resulting "Slaypire" would have the combined strengths of both vampires and Slayers, but retain vampiric weaknesses.
Because the creation of a slaypire also called a new Slayer, it is notable that there has been at least one incident where there were two slayers before Buffy and Kendra's time. However, as one was a vampire and no longer a true Slayer, Buffy and Kendra arguably maintain their status as the first two contemporary slayers.
- As a protagonist (Buffy and Faith), supporting cast (Kendra, Sineya, Nikki Wood and the activated Potential Slayers) or enemies (Faith, Sineya, Dana and Simone), Slayers appear in every season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, at least once, Angel with the exception of Angel season 3 which didn't feature any Slayers.
Behind the Scenes
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel often shows inconsistencies in their characters' physical strength; for example, Buffy was unable to kick in a bomb shelter door despite repeated tries, but has shown to be able to casually kick down solid steel doors. This has been acknowledged frequently in commentaries and interviews by writers and creators of the shows. According to Riley, Buffy gets stronger every day.
- In the 1992 film, the ability to detect vampires manifested itself in the form of feminine cramps. (Merrick describes this as a "natural reaction to their unnatural presence.") This ability was inconsistent, as Buffy was unaware that a vampire was hiding in a photo booth right next to her. The movie, however, is not considered canon, and this aspect of her powers was not carried over to the series.
- During the first two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a short prologue would be used inconsistently throughout each season at the start of each episode. It went:
"In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer"
- In the second season it was narrated by Anthony Stewart Head. It was featured in the episodes "Angel", "I Robot, You Jane", "The Puppet Show", "Nightmares" and "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" in season one and in episodes "Some Assembly Required", "School Hard", "Inca Mummy Girl", "Reptile Boy", "The Dark Age", "Ted", "Bad Eggs", "Phases", "Go Fish" in season two.
- The First Slayer
- Slayer timeline
- SlayerFest '98
- History of the Slayer
- Tales of the Slayers
- Potential Slayers
- Vampire hunter
- Demon hunter
- Slayer Sanctuary