Mostly a group of elves, humans, half-elves, shifters, halflings, and half-orcs the Hunters are those people who accepted the Werewolf’s offer to become Hunter Gatherers. A few clans claim that they have always been Hunters and never were enslaved by the Demon, but this has never been proven and is extremely unlikely to be true.

Hunters have no agriculture nor permanent buildings. They do have sacred sites where shamans live permanently, and regular meeting places they return to, but they do not mark these with structures in the normal sense. Their technology is herbal and natural, they make armor out of special leaves which can be bound together to form cloth as tough as leather. A few can craft armor from leaves and wood that is as protective as the best metal armor. Their most famous weapon technologies are the glass and the stone weapons, both of which are guaranteed to kill, but break after one use.

Hunters are a hostile but smaller third party in the war between the Monsters and the Royals. They are opposed to both sides and prefer to play them off against each other, helping whichever side seems weakest so as to prevent either one from winning and hoping to find a way to break them both in the long run. They are slightly more likely to side with royals, due to royals being less likely to betray them, and because Monsters are rather horrible things. That said, many royal lords have met their downfall because they assumed Hunters were completely loyal allies and forgot that the Hunters want to remove all cities and agriculture.

They are essentially environmentalists who are not so extreme as to be eco-terrorists, but who are at war with two sides, both of whom seek to enslave nature.

Hunters are a mashup of stereotypical/cliche/racist misunderstandings of Native Americans, Polynesians, laplanders, Ainu, Homo Erectus, Neanderthal, and DND orc, but mostly good aligned. There are evil Hunter clans, but those are uncommon. They would probably be loyal allies of the royals except that agriculture is seen as enslaving and raping the world, forcing it to produce more food and taking for only one’s own self what should be freely available for all living things. They dress mostly like plains indians with feathered headdresses only for war. They use many animals for steeds, but do not domesticate them, instead calling them only when needed and releasing them again once the journey is finished.

They do not only work wood and stone, but their greatest crafters actually guide a plant’s growth so that the desired object forms naturally, or guide the stone’s erosion over years so that the finished shape emerges naturally. By far most of them do not know how to perform these techniques, but quite a few tribes have at least one master crafter who can. The greatest objects are worked on across generations, or by the particularly long-lived hunters like elves.

Hunters are a highly evolved and fully intellectual civilization, they are not savages nor primitive. Their technology and skill and art is just as advanced as the royal civilization, but it does not use or rely upon metallurgy, architecture, agriculture, or animal husbandry. They can accomplish all the same tasks, and have all the same information and philosophical depth, it is just that they came at Iit from a different angle. Their population is smaller because without agriculture there is necessarily less food. But in all other ways they are a match for the royal civilization. They see themselves are morally superior and intellectually superior while the royals see them as primitive savages with dangerous ideas who would be willing to commit genocide if they could. The hunters, when confronted with this attitude, just shake their heads sadly and point out that overpopulation is a self-correcting problem. If everyone just walked away from the cities and spread out across the wilderness, then agreed to have fewer children, the population problem and city problem would be solved in less than 2 generations without anyone needing to be killed at all. They know, because they are all descended from people who did exactly that.

Hunters and the Oath of Fealty

How the Hunters can exist and not owe loyalty to either the Monster Lords or the Royals without getting cursed by the Oath of Fealty is something is speculated about and debated endlessly. Some Hunters claim that because the Werewolf killed the Demon, anyone who follows his instruction to abandon civilization and return to nature is freed from the Oath. Most Hunters say that their leaders are bastards of the royal family, or they have given loyalty to descendants of the werewolf. Those few clans who claim they were never enslaved also claim they were never bound by the Oath and never will be. Most scholars grudgingly say that the bastard royalty claim is plausible if not probable, but there is great doubt about the other claims. There are also a large number of alternate less likely theories and claims.

Hunters, Primal Spirits and the Fey

In general, Hunters are on positive terms with the Primal Spirits, especially the Lords of the Fey. Hunters are found in all three layers of reality (prime, feywild, shadowfell), and they have members of all races both mortal and fey. About half of Shadar-Kai and 10% of Shades are Hunters, as are over a third of the goblinoid races (goblins, orcs, hobgoblins, bugbears). Fey typically are somewhat civilized, the eladrin and elves have cities, they don’t live like Hunters. Primal Spirits, by contrast, are mostly animalistic and live without structure. Hunters mostly accept the civilization of the Fey because it tends to be integrated with the natural world rather than imposed on the natural world. There are some tribes that refuse to associate with civilized Fey and only work with the wild fey and the primal spirits. Most Hunters, however, don’t see elven towers or structures as being “civilization” and some even live near Fey cities and can be found inside them from time to time. By far and away most Hunters, like the Primal Spirits, live in the remote wilderness away from any civilization. Warrior tribes, especially those with lycanthropes, tend to move near civilization and raid.

What little religion the Hunters engage in centers around reverence for the Primal Spirits. They don’t worship or pray to them, but they do invoke them and call on them for assistance. They mark sacred spots with dolmens, warding stones and enchanted plants, and often use warforged or similar constructs to guard them. Warforged created by Hunters tend to be wood and stone with no metal parts and they are sometimes incorporated into the warding stones directly.

The Hunters Long Game

As a military force the Hunters are fewer in number than either the Monster Lord’s people or the people who owe fealty to the Royals. While their champions are among the most powerful of all mortals, and because they are allied to Fey Lords and Primal Spirits thus unlike deities or primordials their immortals can intervene in worldly events at will, they are simply too few and too scattered to win militarily. Thus they have a different plan. The Hunters are seeking to unbind the Monsters from the land, freeing nature. They figure this upheaval will severely disrupt both their enemies, and will allow nature enough strength to fight back against civilization all on its own. They are also developing ways to awaken the land, creating new Fey Lords and Primal Spirits with the intent of taking land from civilization and putting it under the control of an immortal.


About GavinRuneblade

I'm a gamer. Currently in Darkness Rises, Star Wars the Old Republic and Fantasy Grounds for D&D. RIP City of Heroes, I'll never forget you. Check out they rock.
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