I am adding vampires to my high fantasy world. These are not twilight vampires, they are more like the vampires from underworld or vampire the masquerade. I need to make them better fighters against soldiers in full plate, and traditional vampire features are not good for this.

But my vampires are not exactly traditional, so I could add a feature. The vampires in my world also have healing factors and enhanced sense but their healing uses up blood they've consumed and eventually they will need to drink more blood to heal. They are not harmed by sunlight, or garlic, or any religious power. Stakes to the heart will kill them as well as decapitation and going too long without healing from mortal wounds.

To make them better in combat, I wanted to give them bone claws like wolverine. I know many characters share superpower abilities, such as flight, invulnerability, super speed and so on. But it seems possible I could get into copyright trouble if I had a character exactly like Wolverine, or Spiderman or something, and only changed the name.

So my question is, is there a line to not cross? Can I get into copyright trouble by copying the idea of Wolverine's bone claws? If I need to worry about copyright, I'd welcome alternative ideas to improve combat readiness and stay in the general realm of vampires.

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    I vote to reopen. The OP asks "if I could somehow be sued", and although we may have different opinions on this topic, it is not so much a matter of opinion as other writing topics, like how to present a long conversation, make characters different, invent slang, make exposition less boring, etc. Ways to avoid infringement, cliché, etc seem like valid topics for a writing forum. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Nov 12 '17 at 12:37
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    I agree with Amadeus, and simple edits on the question should probably bring it in line. The question does solicit opinions, so remove those, and leave the bit about copyright issues. – DPT Nov 12 '17 at 15:07
  • I reworded this question to reflect what I believe is the OP's intent, while remaining on topic for this forum (I believe it is now on topic). – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Nov 12 '17 at 16:01
  • It's not so much the bone claws by themselves - it's the bone claws, advanced healing factor, superior sense and (I'm assuming) practical immortality. Slapping "But he's a vampire" on it makes it look exactly like a cheap, Chinese knock-off of the genuine article – user18397 Nov 12 '17 at 22:37
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    And just so I'm clear - you've got a creature that is vastly faster, stronger and tougher than any mortal, with an advanced healing factor able to shrug off anything short of decapitation, presumably long-lived/immortal, with no apparent (traditional) weaknesses and you want to add something to make them better in combat against a guy in full plate? Bone claws aren't the answer. Look to history - war-hammers were designed specifically for that purpose. You're "Monsters" sound very Mary Sue-ish - give them a palpable weakness, not an auto-win – user18397 Nov 12 '17 at 22:41

I strongly advise against it not because it may infringe on another established world, but because it is lazy.

I notice in the critique groups that I attend, that most of us fall into the trap of doing things the exact same way. For example, emerging psychic ability (in every fantasy manuscript by a new author in the groups), is heralded by headaches. Every single time. Headaches. Including in my manuscript. :-)

This is the lazy, easy indicator of emerging psychic ability in fantasy. It is intended to show that something bizarre is happening in a person's mind, and they are acquiring a psychic ability. When I realized that everyone uses headaches for this, I also realized that copying something like that - Well, I don't want to read that over and over again and the audience won't either. And there is no reason for psychic ability to be heralded by headaches, except that it is what someone thought once and it stuck.

So, I worked for a few days on my manuscript and came up with something original to herald psychic ability, and I am much happier. It was work to get there, but the end result is better and the audience will not have seen this solution before.

You should do the same thing. Wolverine claws are not original.

Why does the vampire need claws? Is it only for fighting ('soldiers in full plate')? Killing? Something else? Who (others besides soldiers)? I recommend finding something that would accomplish the same goal, but be your own creation. It might take you a few days to come up with whatever it is, but you'll be happier in the end. The first thought that comes to my mind is for your vampires to have retractable barbs on their forearms, instead of claws on their hands. This still feels lazy to me, but is at least a step removed from Wolverine. Play with what your needs are, find something unique, and write that. I bet you can find a thousand wolverine copy cats. Don't make yourself one as well.

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    I have not seen Wolverine copy cats, but I agree with the sentiment, "Be original", as my comment on the OP question says. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Nov 12 '17 at 12:56
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    I have an idea: Instead of giving the vampire a magical physical advantage like bone blades, give them a magical chemical advantage: Pick a metal that is not iron or steel, it can be soft like copper, maybe silver or something else. The point is, when it is coated in vampire blood, it can pass through steel armor as readily as if it were bamboo or something. So a silver sword smeared with vampire blood cuts armor, stabs through it. When the blood is scraped off, you need more blood: The vampire has to cut himself to make it work again. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Nov 12 '17 at 13:02
  • No need for him to use a weapon. Use just the vampire blood/or saliva/ or special fluid that appears when a vamp cries, which is able to cut through the toughest armor. Coat the vampire's fingers with it and you have the deadliest weapon :). But this is something that an author needs to create. Ninja needs to sit down for a few minutes and analyze what he wants the vampire to do. Wolverine claws aren't original. Bones coming out of various parts of the body, not just the knuckles, and used like weapons have been used quiet a lot. – A.T. Catmus Nov 13 '17 at 8:59
  • BTW, are the soldiers human or not? If they're creatures, you could make a weakness for them and in the process give a 'new power' to your vampires. Could be anything. Plant made or laboratory made substance. Here you need to use your imaginative power, Ninja, not just brute strength. – A.T. Catmus Nov 13 '17 at 9:02

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