image: Deviant Art
Factions and organizations make the fictional world go ’round. They help show that the world moves on its own, completely outside the influence of the PCs. That there are actually people with their own goals and ambitions living in the world as well. In many cases, the factions that PCs interact with most are in the either the same or a similar line of work: adventuring, dungeoneering, monster hunting. Here’s a small faction offering from my home game, Ald Sotha.
The Infernal Hunters
The Infernal Hunters is a group of monster hunters that could be plopped down into any medieval fantasy game. It’s comprised of only three people, all secretly lycanthropes. The name “Infernal Hunters” was made up by their leader, Feng. He’s a man who enjoys some irony, and since lycanthropy can be seen as demonic to some as a curse or demonic, he figured it’d be an indecipherable allusion to what they truly are. Their ilk is that of an ancient one, once simply called The Hunters. Their teachings were brought to near annihilation after a city long ago had accused them of purposefully siccing monsters on settlements to secure work. The truth? It’s been lost in the sands of time. What is true about the new Infernal Hunters, however, is that they serve humanity, protecting it from the shadows that lurk outside the corner of our eyes. The three Infernal Hunters have received their gift from the gods of nature (or the High Druid, if you’re playing 13th Age), to give them the same animalistic prowess of those they hunt. Alternate takes:
- The “Infernal” part of the infernal hunters is actually because they focus on demons. This could turn the hunters themselves into powerful arcanists that draw on demonic power and twist it to do good.
- They could outright be demons that are evil and hunt intelligent humanoids instead.
- They could be intelligent monsters that hunt humans
Feng – The leader of the hunters. Feng is a werewolf, and knowing this before seeing his human form makes one wonder why people don’t guess this off the bat. His hair hangs past the shoulder, straight, and black as pitch. Feng sports a closely cropped beard that matches the color of the hair on his head, the contrast makes his eyes the centerpiece of his face: cold and stoic, the color of a frozen lake. He has a decisive look about him, stony as a dwarf and calm as the most remote lake in the wilderlands. Carrying a great sword on his back, most do their best to avoid angering him. Those that don’t? They regret it very quickly.
When spoken to, Feng defies his image. He’s very open and a fantastic listener. A compassionate soul, he’ll gladly do what he can for most anyone in need. Despite this fact, he’s difficult to deal with due to his tone of voice, which reflects his appearance. When the words and tone don’t agree, it tends to muddle the minds of lesser men. The coin flips, however, when people meddle with his work. Feng prefers to work alone, but with the lasting bond that he nurtures between the other to Hunters, it almost doesn’t show. When outsiders try to step in to a job he’s pursuing, the fangs of the wolf come out.
Boris – The muscle of the hunters. Boris is a bear of a man, quite literally. He’s the tallest of the hunters, and the tallest most everywhere else. His shiny, bald head contrasts with his chestnut brown, bushy beard. The facial hair hides his mouth while he speaks, but his smile shines through like a lighthouse in a fog. Boris has very crooked teeth, though they are as white as fresh snow. He’s a docile man, must slower to anger than Feng. When he does anger, however, someone will pay for it. Boris carries a very large, double bitted axe, and he does what he can to make it acquainted with those who truly deserve to be.
As one could guess, Boris is a werebear. He also has a redeeming quality that makes it almost painfully obvious in his human form: his love of mead. He carries a drinking horn everywhere he goes, with a small barrel of the stuff strapped to his back. The size comparison between the barrel and his chest/gut is stunning. The man is a walking, laughing stone tower.
Harold – The sneaker. Harold has beady little eyes, very patchy facial hair and almost always seems to be hunched over, if standing idly. His scrawniness and seemingly slimy personality make people wonder why Boris and Feng keep him around. Truth is, a wererat is incredibly useful in their line of work. Something about him makes him seem untrustworthy, and that instinct should be heeded.
Harold came from a life of thievery, an instinct that gets them in trouble almost as often as it’s helpful. More often than not, he spends his time in his rat form to sneak around and gather information about people and places to report back to Feng. He gets almost a sick satisfaction from it, the thought of being completely covert and seemingly mundane. It may be hard to warm up to him, but there’s no question about his importance as a Hunter.
In our Saturday campaign, the Infernal Hunters were used as a set of rivals to the party. They were hunting a vampire that lived in the city of New Port, the same ones the PCs were after. Where the Hunters saw themselves as protectors of the city, the PCs had a bit of a grudge against this particular undead revanant, making the two groups not see eye-to-eye. It made for an interesting adventure, and ultimately ended with the PCs and the Hunters banding together to take out a mutual enemy. You’ll get the full story from a campaign update that’ll be coming in the future.
Until then, I hope this sparks some creativity in you to either use the Hunters as written or to tweak them to fit perfectly into your own home campaign. Until next time…
Stay Metal \m/