A CUSTOM EARTHDAWN DISCIPLINE
A BIT OF HISTORY
Some time in 2007, I believe it was, RedBrick was putting together some manner of Earthdawn Codex, and it was going to include all manner of things: new disciplines, magic items, weapons, armor and, perhaps a new race or two; for whatever reason, the Codex was never completed, which is an absolute shame. As a former World of Warcraft player, I was going to submit the Tauren -one of the coolest new races ever... at least, I think so- although I knew they wouldn't fly, being so obvious an addition. So, instead, I went with one of my favorite classes from WoW, instead; you could say the Hunter, aka Ranger, is my favorite class/career of all time and, if I can get away with it, I will almost universally play a Hunter or Ranger in my role-playing games. I won't go into the benefits of playing a Hunter, except to say there are many places to go in a game if you've been a Hunter, first, and you can always support yourself in the wilds of whatever fantasy world you're in. Indeed, it surprises me that Earthdawn never had such an obvious choice among their other disciplines, nor was it ever constructed officially, or unofficially, to the best of my knowledge.
Without further adieu, I offer you the Hunter Discipline...
On the Ways of Predator and Prey
To sate the ever-increasing desire of my Lord, Zeldian, to find out more about the oddities of the various Disciplines in the world, I was made to spend a great deal of my own money and time in pursuit of and camping with the Hunter Virsach, an Ork of some renown in the parts north of Landis, especially between Claw Ridge and Cara Fahd. Virsach was unwilling to even entertain my constant presence until I was able to flatter him with tales of his own derring-do, and then he was more than willing to aid me in completing my task for the Great Library. Initially, he was disagreeable in the extreme, treating me to an individual camp and remaining entirely in the darkness, until he was able to smell some of the meat I'd purchased in a small village in the eastern-most crux of the Twilight Peaks where Trolls do not molest the ancient patrons there. After the first night of having samples of my skill at cooking, Virsach began to talk.
If you are reading this it is because you've decided to play a Hunter in Earthdawn. This article is meant to give you an idea of how best you might play your character, to impress upon you the theorem of predator and prey. To explain, first, although there have always been mundane Hunters, there was never a need for Adept Hunters until it became apparent to the world, through the magic that flows through all Adepts, that a new Discipline would be needed to rid the province of Barsaive of the remaining Horrors, and their many minions through the arts of tracking, traps, and death. Although you are, indeed, not the first of the Hunters, you are among the first, so finding a Master, or even summoning a Ghostmaster, will be unlikely, and much of what you will learn you will glean from the Disciplines of the Beastmaster, the Archer, and the Scout, as Hunters share Talents from all of these Disciplines.
• Va'andal Thane, Scribe of the Great Library of Throal, 1508 TH
You are the Hunter, the predator, and you are responsible for finding and slaying those creatures which are good in order to feed the masses and yourself, and those creatures which are evil in order to return the world into balance. Of all the Disciplines, this one may be the most important of them all, even though all Disciplines are necessary to maintain balance. If there are too many predators, there will soon be not enough prey, but if there is too much prey for the predators to handle, then soon there will be only predators, almost all of the wrong kind, so all other Disciplines are your allies.
Stealth, and your bow, need to be your primary weapons, for they will aid you in closing on your prey and treating them with the honor they deserve. The good prey you cannot look into the eyes of because their only goal is to survive, so they are not used up by the Name-Givers for their own ends. The evil prey you must look into the eyes of for the sake of keeping your own soul free of the filth of the world. To close your eyes against the evil foe is to invite them to become the predator, and you the prey.
Hunting does not only revolve around slaying your prey, but also about knowing them and learning to respect them, to give them the due they deserve. In order to know them, you must study them and all texts and lore involving them. Hunting this knowledge takes as much of a stern mind and stout heart as finding the prey itself and laying it to rest.
"My thoughts," Virsach began, "have always been focused on the next move I must make to remain on the trail of my prey, to not spook them, and then to treat them with the dignity and honor they deserve for giving their life to me.
Hunters do not need to sacrifice themselves, Virsach explains, for the greater need to be filled. Indeed, since Hunters are the great providers of meat and sustenance to the masses of Name-Givers, it is the Hunters who are celebrated and often loved. However, of the Adept Hunters, many make themselves outcasts in order to refine their magic to find and defeat the Horrors, something mundane Hunters would never be capable of doing. Of a thousand Hunter Adepts borne of the magic of this world since the opening of Throal and other Kaers and Citadels, only a small handful have told Legends of defeating Horrors at the height of their own abilities; of the Horrors slain, few were minor, as the great power of Hunters was able to bring down far greater beings than are known today in Barsaive.
"There is a certain respect one must have for their prey, even for the Horrors. It is good for me to know when to withdraw, when to advance, and when to either kill my prey or allow them to go. I can track them again when it is their time to die; however, if I kill a beast before its time, the balance of the world may be affected. Like we Name-Givers, creatures of all types have an order to their lives, accomplishments they must perform before it is their time, those acts and truths they must write on the world to affect all other circles of life, including for the good of Name-Givers.
"Therefore, respect your prey in all things, and they will treat you well, rewarding you with their carcass, from which many things may come for the sake of our fellow Name-Givers, and the care of their soul, which we must release back to the Aether."
We have spoken of Hunter Adepts and their beliefs and thoughts, but the prey is every bit as important as the predator. The prey is half of this relationship with predators, as they provide the challenge Hunter Adepts require to further their skill and their lives, to provide food for the masses, and to rid the world of the evil they can, sometimes, bring in their wake.
Three aspects are always reserved for prey, as they are not always prey, and these are docility, defense, and death. How prey acts and reacts within each of these aspects is to be taken seriously by the Hunter Adept, as each group of prey, and each member of that group, treats each aspect differently. We will study each of these aspects and some of the actions and reactions that may take place within each aspect, and hope this will allow each adept to act and react to these individual aspects in their orders.
First, understand that all nature is about deception, although that deception is based around the survival of nature, and so it is innocent deception on behalf of the survival of nature. Plants change colors, shrink, grow, or even develop mechanisms of physical, and even magical, defense. Animals change colors, make themselves appear larger or disappear into holes and tiny places, or even have the skill to run and survive, or fight, or even play dead. Rivers, trees, and even seemingly immobile objects of the earth all do amazing things in their own defense, as well, although those take such phenomenal amounts of time as to be nearly unnoticeable.
Docility. This is the prey in their natural state, when they are expecting simply to live, expecting to eat and feed their families, if they have any, and expecting to gather for themselves and their own to prevent their demise in harsh seasons. Docile prey is at rest, and some prey does not noticeably switch between this aspect and the next, defense, although most will become defensive, perhaps even run, at the first sign of danger. Prey can, normally, sense danger approaching them from far off, although they may remain and attempt to complete whatever purportedly aimless task they are working on at the time, despite that danger. This is when it is easiest to approach and view, in their own habitat, how prey moves, lives, breathes, eats, and gathers for their seasons. The seasons, indeed, provide the times in which prey moves and gathers. The Hunter can learn not only these precious pieces of knowledge about their prey, but can appreciate and honor them all the more; even the Horrors are not above this appreciation and, perhaps, honor. Finally, the Hunter can learn patience, and how to be peaceful when the time for peace and rest comes; these are as important for the sake of the Hunter as they are for any prey, so the prey may not be spooked, the quarry then lost.
Defense. This aspect comes in many shapes, sizes, and speeds, each prey with their own mechanisms for trying to deal with and defeat, or evade, predators. The Hunter must learn, through observing other predators, what mechanisms prey has and when they will use them. If prey cannot outrun the predator, then they will have the advantage of size, being able to make themselves larger to, perhaps, frighten off the predator, or being able to find shelter in some unlikely and inaccessible place the predator will be hard pressed to get to. If prey cannot outsize the predator, then they must play dead, or blend into their environment, or of making themselves, otherwise, inaccessible or undesirable to the predator. The Hunter, beyond learning these defense mechanisms, can also learn to apply them to their own life, should they ever become the prey.
Death. Even this is not sure when it comes to any manner of prey. Obviously, if you see broken bones protruding from fur and blood from a gaping wound painting the ground, the prey is likely dead. However, there is also prey in the world capable of 'playing' dead, and even exhibiting the signs of such, although they are, indeed, only resting, or attempting to fool the predator. These the Hunter must learn and be able to apply to their own life, and be able to turn upon their prey when the time is right. What a species, and its individual members, does when they die is every bit as important as how they present in life, because it can help define the Hunter, and the Adept can learn from the dignity of the prey, or the lack thereof, in what manner they should honor the prey.
On Hunters of Horrors
Even the mighty Horrors can become prey to a skilled Hunter Adept. This is not impossible, and recent tales of Hunters bringing down Horrors with bands of friendly Adepts have been heard in many parts of Barsaive. To beat a Horror, however, one must be skilled in the ways and means of many forms of prey, and then expect large differences.
First, Horrors are intelligent, as much as any Name-Giver, and sometimes more. Although prey in many distinct shapes exhibit forms of intellect, much of that is related far more to instinct, moving in a pattern meant to give the shape and design of intelligence, although it truly is not so. Horrors, however, are truly intelligent, some in a fashion that many Name-Givers fear above and beyond the normal patterns of instinct-in-intelligence. Understand, though, that Horrors are still creatures, and like all things, are to be counted as prey. Dragons may be brought down by Horrors, and they are our largest and most-beloved Name-Givers, even though their mischief is able to cause much misery among the common Name-Givers; thus, extraordinary care is to be taken when hunting a Horror. Likewise, Horrors may be brought low by the study and correct application of force and talent against them; simply trying to take up the mantle of a Horror destroyer without so much as watching their actions will certainly be the Hunter Adepts undoing. Horrors study their Dragon prey, and we must honor them with no less diligence.
Second, Horrors are nearly impermeable unless the Hunter takes time to study their flesh, their armor, their magic, and their very pattern. Without such knowledge, the Hunter is doomed to die unknown.
Finally, a Horror displays trickery and subterfuge far beyond that of any other manner of prey. It is not only in their swiftness, nor in their magic, nor in their brute ability to inflict damage, but how they utilize all of their attributes in concert to inflict what they believe is glorious damage, and how they may survive on the doom, thoughts, and feelings of their victims. Learn these tricks, and survive to send that prey back to the hell from whence it came.
To fight the Horror, a Hunter Adept must weaken it from range, using the tricks learned from other prey as much as possible, to hide, to run, to defend, to trap until the Horror is weak enough for the Adept to move in and finish it off. By then, however, the Horror should be, nearly, dead from the damage the Hunter has accurately put into it. Although the Hunter must meet the eyes of every other creature, it must not be long with the Horror, for the beast will place its tricks on the Hunter through their very soul, marking them. Finally, not until the final stroke is to be struck against the demon should the Hunter ever come in physical contact with the Horror, for he will become marked and though he slay the Horror, begin to lose who he is, having in the end lost the prey.
On the Tools of the Trade
Hunters must, of necessity, use the tools that will give them an advantage over their prey, because although the quarry may be acting on instinct, more often than not in their natural environs, they are able to outwit the under-prepared, weaving their own threads and escaping within their illusions, becoming part of the terrain. To offset this, Hunters use bows, crossbows and slings to a lesser extent, and hand weapons of all kinds to bring their prey to the ground. As well, Hunters are able to set traps for their pray, built from the natural elements of the quarry's environs. These traps not only attract the prey, but also invite the prey to enter and be captured, as though by their own will.
Because of how important these items are to the Hunter, he must keep them in excellent condition at all time, with rosin for the catgut bowstring, elephant fat for the spine and arms, and the proper ties at the tips of the arms and along the spine to keep the bow from cracking. For the sword, the proper oil and sharpening stone to keep it from rusting. A good hunt requires minimal preparation because the good Hunter maintains his equipment through all of the months, even when the hunt is not good.
Hunter Adepts are a grand mixture of the Disciplines of the Archer, the Beastmaster, and the Scout, their prowess in tracking, finding, and slaying anything that can be hunted remains unrivaled in a world where you are the Hunter, or the hunted. Hunters have the ability to blend into their surroundings, move very quietly, and find their target, relentlessly searching until the hunt is done. Three types of Hunters exist: bowmen, spearmen, and swordmen, each with their specialties in marksmanship, survival, and beast mastery. Hunters will, typically, have a domesticated -or at least very friendly- pet to accompany them on their journey and their various hunts, which may be for sport, for food, or for defense.
Important Attributes: Dexterity, Perception, and Willpower
Racial Restrictions: Obsidimen, Trolls, and T'Skrang
Karma Ritual: There are actually two individual Karma Rituals Hunters may perform; one with their pet, and one if they do not, yet, possess a pet. With their pet, the Hunter begins the Karma Ritual by tracing a line in the air from one visible high point on the earth to another, to another, and up to ten different points. The pet, attuned to the Hunter, follows the points drawn in the air and understands the boundary set for it to hide within. The pet then goes out to hide within the boundary set by their Hunter, and the Hunter, after ten minutes of quiet meditation, begins to track and find their pet. The pet moves around, making as few tracks or signs for the Hunter to follow as possible. The ritual is complete when the pet is found by the Hunter.
The version of the ritual without the pet is similar, with the Hunter drawing the boundary, then naming a type of animal -one that has been observed as native to the area- within the boundary to track. The Hunter then turns their back on the chosen quarry and sits down, closing their eyes and concentrating on the coming day for ten minutes. At the end of that time, the Hunter rises and begins to track the animal. The ritual ends when the quarry is found. This prey may be slain for breakfast immediately after being found, should the Hunter need to eat; however, the death of the animal is unnecessary.
Artisan Skills: Arrow Fletching, Cooking, Sculpture.
D Indicates a Discipline talent
Talents: Animal Bond, Avoid BlowD, Karma Ritual, Missile Weapons, Silent Walk, TrackingD
Talents: Creature AnalysisD, Durability(6/5), Set TrapD
Talents: Borrow SenseD, Preserve MeatD
Karma: The adept may spend 1 Karma Point on Perception-only Tests.
Talents: Melee Weapons, Thread Weaving (Predator Weaving)D
Karma: The adept may spend 1 Karma Point on Dexterity-only Tests.
Talents: Mystic AimD, Ritual of the GhostmasterD, Heal Animal Servant
Defense: The adept adds +1 to his Physical Defense.
Talents: Endure Cold, LifesightD
Karma: The adept may spend 1 Karma Point on Missile Weapon To-Hit Tests.
Talents: Momentum Attack, Second Attack
Defense: The adept adds +1 to his Spell Defense.
Talents: Eagle EyeD, Leadership, Lion HeartD
Karma: The adept may spend 1 Karma Point on Recovery Tests.
Recovery: The adept adds +1 Recovery Test per day.
Talents: Anticipate Blow, Bestial ToughnessD, ChameleonD
Defense: The adept adds +1 to his Spell Defense.
Initiative: The adept adds +1 to his Initiative step.
Talents: Critical HitD, Rushing Attack
Defense: The adept adds +1 to his Physical Defense.
Talents: Develop Animal SenseD, Quick Shot
Defense: The adept adds +1 to Spell and Social Defense.
Talents: Defense, Safe ThoughtD
Defense: The adept adds +1 to his Physical Defense.
Karma: The adept adds +25 to his Maximum Karma Points.
Talents: Gain SurpriseD, Safe PathD, Talent Pattern
Defense: The adept adds +1 to his Physical and Spell Defense.
Initiative: The adept adds +1 to his Initiative step.
Talents: Confront Horror, Vital StrikeD
Defense: The adept adds +1 to his Physical Defense.
Recovery: The adept adds +1 Recovery Test per day.
Talents: Attribute Pattern, Echo LocationD
Hunters may use Half-Magic to identify most creatures, including common and magical animals, monsters, Horror Constructs and Horrors, although only if they've had some experience with the creature, even if that exposure is only by reading a description and/or gleaning information on it. As well, beyond the standard Tracking practices available at 1st Circle, the Adept may attempt to immediately identify tracks compared to their creature, and be able to figure out the most likely habitat it enjoys. One of the most important parts of a Hunter's arsenal are the native area traps they can make to corner or catch their quarry; Hunters may use Half-Magic to locate the proper materials and/or elements necessary to make their trap(s). Finally, Half-Magic may be used in navigation or map reading tests. All of these are Perception-based.
If the gamemaster is keen on allowing players to differentiate between ranged and melee specialties, all that needs be done to make the Discipline melee-centric is to replace some of the ranged talents with melee talents. For the most part, this Discipline is balanced as it should be between ranged and melee, as the philosophy is to attack from range, first, and then finish the creature at close range if it is strong enough to last that long.
The Hunter Adept has taken the mantle of this most important of Disciplines to help provide for the masses; fruits and vegetables are not without their merits, but they are not enough, and the Hunter provides what remains, the meat. It would be a natural process for the Hunter to become haughty about his magic, although Hunters are taught from the beginning that nothing of what they capture or kill in the world is theirs, that the prey must choose to give of its life, and that nature provides what is needed, and the Hunter is charged to pay nature back, through conservation, for what is removed, taking all power from the Hunter. In that regard, Hunters must learn to keep their mind focused on the prey, to entice the prey to come to them, to give up its life for their sake, and the sake of those they are providing for.
Although there are hundreds of thousands of hunters in Barsaive, very few of them have the magic to become Adepts, and many do display a haughtiness that gives Hunter Adepts a bad name. For this reason, many Hunter Adepts avail themselves of traveling parties and favor the use of smaller towns. The role of the Hunter Adept is greater than that of mere hunters, so many Adepts have begun to seek out fellowship and employ with groups of Adepts and with caravans seeking to open the various closed Kaers and Citadels and trade with them, in order to hunt and provide for the group, so their strength may be maintained and their wariness sustained.
The outlook of a Hunter must be similar to that of their prey, meaning they must see themselves as prey in service to a predator; in other words, remaining humble. However, once 'captured' by a group, caravan, or small town the Hunter then becomes the predator, the group their new 'pack', and provision is made for them. In the eyes of potential predators outside their 'pack' in populated Name-Giver villages and cities, a Hunter is to show the strength and fierceness with which he corners and captures his prey, although not every opponent needs be seen as prey by them. Hunters are as at ease in populations as they are in the wilds, except for their typical repuation and because their direction and pathfinding abilities may be hampered by the close terrain, often frustrating them and placing the desire in their heart to escape the confines of the populace for the openness of the woods.
Possible Discipline Violations
Because mundane hunters, and by extension Hunter Adepts, are such a necessary part of the world, their role within it is very clear, and many steer clear of one on the hunt. However, if the Hunter is stymied or loses their way, attempts to switch types of prey they are hunting, whether forced or willfully, or forgets they are as much prey as they are predator, they may face a Talent Crisis. Hunting out of malice or contempt of a creature of any size, not showing that creature the proper respect or honor it deserves, is a sure way to send a Hunter spiraling into a Discipline abyss.
A Hunter failing to warn his companions about traps he has set, a stand he has built as a hunting base, or trails he must continue to follow until the hunt is complete, and any of those end up harming his companions, may go through a minor Talent Crisis whereby the Hunter will lose the prey, and the desire to hunt for a short period of time, up to a few days. To correct this, the Hunter may perform a Deed of Atonement in completely repairing and crafting his weapons, building and/or repairing traps, to re-align himself with his desire to hunt.
Rituals of Advancement
Recruitment: The world is filled with hunters, as they are active members of society throughout Barsaive, and likely beyond those borders, as well. An Adept may remain within a populated area for up to several days, observing the workings of the community and those who are, obviously, non-Adept hunters. On seeing a hunter, or a hunting party, leaving on a trip, the Hunter Adept may join them and make an assessment to bring the individual, or one member of a party, into the Discipline, teaching them the basics and aiding them to manifest the magic within themselves to transcend the barrier between mundane hunter and Hunter Adept.
Novice (2 - 4): The Adept is required to live within the environment of a chosen type of prey, becoming part of the environment, and trap animals without disturbing the habitat so much that it chases the denizens away. The type of prey chosen must be increasingly difficult to trick, or increasingly difficult to lure into giving of themselves for the Hunter Adept. Every type of prey at these Circles must be an animal of the forest, not a monster, Horror Construct, or Horror.
Journeyman (5 - 8): The Discipline trainer the Adept is currently working with will select an animal, something difficult to track and slay for the Adept, and will ask a Beastmaster to instruct the creature to go, hide, and defend itself against the advancement of the Adept. Then, the Adept is required to hunt and, at least, bring back the prey, if not slay it after the difficulty it will cause the Hunter.
Warden (9 - 12): The Adept must perform a deed for a town or village near a Kaer or Citadel that requires them to use their Talents to greatest extent, in hunting down some manner of monstrous beast or Horror Construct -even as a pack- in order to advance.
Ghost Master Ritual: The Hunter must take a number of days equal to 10 minus their rank in Set Trap to build a master-crafted trap, and set it in the environment. The Adept then goes away from the trap and hides, making a cold camp for the night. In the morning, the Hunter goes to check the trap and finds the Ghost Master waiting for them.
Possible Discipline Combinations
Although the Hunter may be considered completely secure in their Discipline, never having the possibility of running out of prey, they also do not, necessarily, have all of the abilities necessary to accomplish the things that will bring their hunt for immortality, in story and song, to an end. Therefore, the Hunter may seek out further training in alternate Disciplines that will allow them to advance beyond their current traps and into a wider world.
Hunter Adepts typically embrace the Disciplines they are compared to the most, Archer, Beastmaster, and Scout, and many Adepts have sought to determine the similarities between those Disciplines and their own. Some, reportedly, have been disappointed as they do not offer the range of new experiences the Hunter craves, although many have found their ability in the hunt greatly improved. Sharing the Archer Discipline, Hunters have found their hunting takes on a new world view, that of the straight arrow and a greater ability to move more directly to their prey. Although Hunters do not, truly, have much in common with Beastmasters, their ability to gain the confidence of and command animals has brought prey much more quickly than the means Hunters normally employ. Hunters are, for all intents and purposes, Scouts who stop a lot along the way to found and ground their quarry, although the stealth and direction finding practices of the Scout help Hunters to arrive at their prey, and home, more quickly.
As Hunters grow, they find they have more in common with Woodsmen and Horror Stalkers as well. Although only Elves may claim the Woodsmen Discipline, Hunters find themselves often in the same realms Woodsmen travel through, and those Elves who are also Hunters often move into the role of Woodsmen, eventually. Becoming a Horror Stalker may, after a time of hunting and killing Horrors -usually not before 10th Circle- become a viable alternative to hunting the prey Adepts are used to bringing down.
The other warrior based Disciplines -Cavalryman, Swordmaster, Warrior, and Weapon Smith- a Hunter may take up, although the world view is not the same as the Hunter in many instances. However, a Hunter may adapt their view to become more than the sum of their ability as a Hunter Adept.
To take on the mantle of a mage or thief, the Hunter would gain advantages over prey that make the hunt itself unfair, causing Discipline Crisis at every turn. There MUST be some modicum of sport involved in order for the Hunter to honor their prey, and these Disciplines do not allow for that honor to be given. Nearly all other Disciplines fall outside the realm of the Hunter's world view, although if a way can be made to allow the Adept to share a world view, then there should be no further limitation. The Hunter Adept should, quite simply, hunt for a good solution the gamemaster will accept.
| "Hmmm, my greatest kill, you ask?" Denaiis took another swig of the ale he'd purchased on entering the lodge a few minutes ago, before being engaged by a non-Adept Hunter, accosted really. Denaiis rubbed his chin a few times, several days worth of stubble greeting his hand with their roughness, and his eyes went unfocused for several moments as he remembered. When his eyes snapped back into focus, a haunted look remained on his face as he answered, not looking the Hunter in the face,
"What does it matter my greatest kill, friend? All of nature exists to serve itself, a circle of life barely understood by the world, and any kill I have made is a result of the prey coming to me of their own volition. You have yet to see enough of the world to understand there are far greater things to be done and seen than the slaying of prey.
"Shall I show some of them to you?" With a slight smile replacing the haunted look on Denaiis face, he stared directly into the eyes, and the heart, of the prey he'd set his heart upon making a Hunter Adept as well.
Dexterity (16): 7/D12
Strength (12): 5/D8
Toughness (12): 5/D8
Perception (15): 6/D10
Willpower (13): 6/D10
Charisma (10): 5/D8
Physical Defense: 9
Spell Defense: 8
Social Defense: 6
Physical Armor: 4
Mystic Armor: 1
Death Rating: 34
Wound Threshold: 9
Unconsciousness Rating: 26
Recovery Tests: 2
Combat Movement: 32
Full Movement: 64
Karma Points: 10
Karma Step: 5/D8
D Indicates a Discipline talent
Animal Bond (1): 6/D10
Avoid BlowD (1): 8/2D6
Karma Ritual (1): 1
Missile Weapons (1): 8/2D6
Silent Walk (2): 9/D8+D6
TrackingD (2): 8/2D6
Versatility (0): 0
Artisan: Cooking (1): 7/D12
Knowledge: Hunting Grounds of the Northern Servos Jungle Valley (2): 8/2D6
Language: Speak Language (2): 8/2D6 - Dwarven (Throalic), Human
Silver Pieces: 13
Longbow (Quiver w/40 Arrows; 9/D8+D6; Range 60-120-240)
Padded Leather Armor (Physical Armor 4; Weight 20)
Dagger (Damage 7/D12; Range 9-15-18)
Trail Rations (1 week)
Ball of Twine (50 feet)
Cookware and Spice Kit (Iron Pot, Flint and Steel, Utensils for one(sharp knife, fork, spoon, cup, small iron plate), Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme spices)
This Adept possesses the Human racial ability of Versatility.
Step Number: Rank + Dexterity // Discipline: Hunter
Action: Yes // Requires Karma: No // Strain: 0
This Talent allows the character to skin an animal, even one they haven't skinned before, accurately and without wasting any of the meat on poor cuts. As well, the character knows how to find the right sort of salt and preservative true earth that will cure the meat and then keep it fresh, even under less than ideal circumstances. The ideal would be to have a cold cellar with mineral and wood lined walls treated against weather that can be sealed as airtight as possible. This Talent allows the character to preserve the meat for up to one week in a large sack.
The character may preserve up to five pounds of meat per Rank in the Talent for one week, or may preserve up to five pounds of meat for one week per Rank in the Talent. Once the time has expired for the amount of meat preserved, the meat will immediately begin to go bad and, after three more days, not only will the meat be completely rotten, but the bag -or whatever the meat was stored in- will be completely useless as well.
Step Number: Rank + Willpower // Discipline: Hunter
Action: Yes // Requires Karma: No // Strain: 0
Beyond the generally accepted meaning of the name of this Talent, there are actually two parts to it. First, there is the ability for a character to locate the necessary materials within the environment in which the character is trying to find food, in order to put together a trap to catch a creature for food. Second is the ability for the character to hide themselves in that same environment, to watch for and be invisible to those creatures they intend to trap and/or kill.
The first part, traps, cover all manner of creature-subduing traps, which may -if the proper Talents are available- include sleeping poisons, spikes, and even snap-traps, designed to close on and kill a creature caught in its structure. The player, on beginning to build the trap, is required to designate whether the trap is for small, medium, or large creatures. Small traps take around one hour to build, medium traps around three hours, and large traps an entire day or night, roughly eight hours. On completing the time, Set Trap is rolled; on a good success the trap is set, although the creature merely needs to make a good Perception test to avoid the trap, a good Willpower test to remain away from the trap, if they notice it, and Strength Test versus twice the total Rank of Willpower + the Talent Rank to break out if they are caught. If the roll is an Excellent success, the creature still only needs a good Perception to avoid, but they need an Excellent Willpower versus the total Rank of the talent to stay out of the trap, and if they are trapped, anyway, they may not get out. On an Extraordinary success rolled for the Talent, the creature requires an Excellent Perception Test to avoid the trap, and failing that they may not roll Willpower to keep out or, once caught, Strength to break out.
The second part, the duck blind or deer stand, as they are commonly called, otherwise known as a hunter's shelter, is built also using materials from the local environment to conceal oneself and remain undetected by the creature(s) the character is attempting to bring down for food, clothing, or other implements commonly gleaned from creatures of all kinds. This shelter is roughly two meters wide by two meters high by one meter deep, is typically tied to trees or rocks or staked into the ground, and has a small sloped roof from which a cloak, blanket, or some other form of cover may be placed and covered to keep the weather out; this is more than a lien-to, however. Based on the character's Set Trap roll, the amount of concealment and cover are determined. On a Good success, any forthcoming creatures need only make a Perception test equal to the total Rank for the Adept's Talent to detect the shelter. On an Excellent success, half of the Adept's Willpower attribute is added again to the total Talent Rank for the detection difficulty. Finally, on an Extraordinary success, the character's total Talent Rank is doubled to determine detection difficulty.
Unfortunately, both types of traps, creature traps and shelters, require a great deal of patience and willpower to remain silent, virtually unmoving, while waiting for a creature to appear and fall into the trap. Every hour a character has to wait, a normal Perception test is required vs. a difficulty of 5, adding +1 for every hour after the first two in order to keep from spooking the local wildlife and losing access to the prey.
Step Number: Rank + Dexterity
Default Use: No // Action: Yes // Strain: 0
This Skill allows the character to skin an animal, but only if they've seen it done before, accurately and without wasting any of the meat on poor cuts. The character knows how to use the right sort of salt to cure the meat, although this should be done in ideal circumstances. The ideal would be to have a cold cellar with mineral and wood lined walls treated against weather that can be sealed as airtight as possible. This Skill allows the character to keep meat fresh for up to one week without the ideal conditions available, and then to preserve the meat for up to six months in ideal conditions.
The character may preserve up to five pounds of meat per Rank in the Skill in less than ideal conditions for one week, and in ideal conditions for up to six months, or may preserve up to five pounds of meat in less than ideal conditions for one week per Rank in the Skill. Once the time has expired for the amount of meat preserved, the meat will immediately begin to go bad and, after three more days, not only will the meat be completely rotten, but the bag -or whatever the meat was stored in, such as a cold cellar- will be completely useless as well.
Step Number: Rank + Willpower
Default Use: No // Action: Yes // Strain: 0
As a Skill, Set Trap can be used specifically for that meaning, to set normal creature-catching traps. The character may locate most of their trap-making materials in the environment they are trapping in, but many of their materials, such as twine and latches must be brought with them.
The first part, traps, cover all manner of creature-subduing traps, which may -if the proper Skills are available- include sleeping poisons, spikes, and even snap-traps, designed to close on and kill a creature caught in its structure. The player, on beginning to build the trap, is required to designate whether the trap is for small, medium, or large creatures. Small traps take around one hour to build, medium traps around three hours, and large traps an entire day or night, roughly eight hours. On completing the time, Set Trap is rolled; on a good success the trap is set, although the creature merely needs to make an Average Perception test to avoid the trap, an Average Willpower test to remain away from the trap, if they notice it, and Strength Test versus twice the total Rank of Willpower + the Skill Rank to break out if they are caught. If the roll is an Excellent success, the creature needs a Good Perception to avoid and a Good Willpower versus the total Rank of the Skill to stay out of the trap, and if they are trapped, anyway, they may not get out. On an Extraordinary success rolled for the Skill, the creature requires an Excellent Perception Test to avoid the trap and an Excellent Willpower to keep out, but once caught they may not break out.
Although Adepts are able to remain with their traps in order to catch creatures immediately, those who only possess the Skill may not do so, having to come back several hours to several days later to retrieve their kills.
New Talent Knacks
Discipline: Hunter // Talent: Tracking
Rank: * See Text // Strain: 1+ (see text)
The Tracking Talent allows for a limited ability of keeping up with the fading tracks of any particular quarry the character is attempting to find, while Path Stalker allows for a much better defined path the Hunter will be able to follow to intercept the prey more quickly. This Knack allows the Adept to focus very sharply on the general prey, or type of prey, they are searching for, making it easier to delineate their quarry from other types of prey, or to locate all types of prey in one category (small animals, medium and large predatory animals, monsters, Horror Constructs, Horrors, etc.).
To break this Knack down and understand its intricacies, one must understand there are two halves to this Knack: one is stalking a specific creature, and the other is stalking all creatures of one type. In order to stalk one specific creature, such as a particularly lawless Name-Giver, the Hunter has to have had contact in some fashion with that creature, perhaps only by some trinket, hair, a personal item, etc. Once that's accomplished, the Adept will be able to track the target for a number of weeks equal to only their Talent Rank, not the total Rank of Talent + Attribute. The other type of tracking allows the Hunter to cull out of their senses all creatures but the type they're tracking at the moment. Although the Hunter may sense all creatures of that one type in the area, their senses remain largely unfocused and they must use other senses, Talents, etc., to allow them to find their quarry. Alternately, the area in which the Adept may sense these creatures is equal to 1-hour radius per Talent Rank.
For each four hours of tracking a single creature of one type, the Hunter takes 1 point of Strain, with the first point taken at the very beginning of Knack use, and at the beginning of each four-hour period from there on. For each one hour of tracking all creatures of one type within the established radius, beginning as soon as the Knack is activated, the Adept suffers one point of Strain.
There are many types of filters that will allow Hunter Adepts to track all manner of various creatures, and they are picked up at certain Talent Ranks, each Path Stalker Knack purchased separately, as listed below:
• Stalk Animals: Rank 3
• Stalk Name-Givers (non-Dragon): Rank 5
• Stalk Undead: Rank 7
• Stalk Elementals: Rank 9
• Stalk Horror Constructs: Rank 11
• Stalk Horrors: Rank 13
• Stalk Dragons: Rank 15
Discipline: Hunter // Talent: Set Trap
Rank: 5 // Strain: 1+ (see text)
When building traps, Hunters eventually learn how to make the trap so inviting to creatures they become very difficult to resist, indeed. For creatures whose Willpower Step is less than the total Talent Rank Step (Attribute + Talent), they cannot resist the trap and will be caught. For creatures whose Willpower step exceeds the Hunter's total Talent Rank Step by a difference up to 5 points, they go through the normal procedure of evading the trap, if possible. For those creatures with a Willpower Rank 6 points or more above the total Talent Rank Step of the Adept, they will avoid the trap by miles because the allure of the trap makes their head hurt.
The Adept takes one point of Strain per hour of waiting for the trap to be sprung while Trap Singer is in use, the first point taken immediately on activating the Knack, and another at the beginning of each hour from there on. This means, should the trap be filled even after only a few minutes, and the Hunter retrieves it and resets the trap, if they activate Trap Singer again they begin taking strain from that point forward.
DePatterning Rating: 0 // Enchanting Difficulty: 14
Cost: 180 // Weight: 1 // Availability: Unusual
In situations where space is open enough and a fight is ensuing, a character may fire a single arrow into the air with the express idea of harming as many opponents as possible; unfortunately, if fired too closely to friends, it has an opportunity to harm them as well. On trying to activate the Arrow Storm Blood Charm, the character selects a single target and rolls to-hit, as normal. Talents and Knacks that may improve the chance for the character to hit with the arrow may be used. If the character receives an Excellent Success against the target's Physical Defense, the fired arrow splinters into at least a dozen very sharp shards and split out to cover every character within three yards of the target. If the Physical Defense of any potential targets in that range exceeds the original to-hit roll, that target is not hit. Full damage is done to the original target, while all others within the burst radius have damage done to them reduced by three steps.
Attaching an Arrow Storm causes 2 permanent points of damage, and each time the Charm is activated by the will of the character, they take 3 points of Strain, whether the hit is successful or not, and a GM rolled Willpower test is made to see if the Blood Charm is consumed and broken, or if it remains to be used again. An arrow storm looks much like a targeting strike, with three rings of carefully woven leather straps, each ring a bit smaller than the outermost one, and in the middle is a rock quartz with three arrows carved into it, points downward, which each fill with some of the characters blood on activation.
Maximum Threads: 2 // Spell Defense: 21
Despite appearances, this is no normal longbow, with a true pattern that, if looked upon, shows a fantastic history and power. As well, upon closer inspection, one can see the language of the Elves of the Servos Jungle Valley imprinted into the bow, carved there with the greatest of care during times of relative peace by Anatha Sora'ion, a pre-Scourge Hunter who died fighting the Therans to the last, just as their retreat to Thera was taking place. Legend reports that Sora'ion missed her chance to get into any Kaer or Citadel before all of them were closed, and she remained to fight the Horrors to her last breath.
Rank 1 // Cost: 350 LPs
Key Knowledge: Anatha Sora'ion was an Elf Hunter of renown, although her last years in Barsaive were spent in the Twilight Peaks after the massacre there years before by the Therans, aiding in the defense and rebuilding of the various Moots of the Peaks. She came to despise everything the Theran's stood for, though less than a year before the massacre she was completely dedicated to their cause, only beginning to become disillusioned with their practices as she became older and less idealistic. Once the massacre took place, however, and she went to see how she could help the Trolls there, the sights of devastation and fervor of the Twilight Raiders against the Therans brought her to the conclusion that all Theran's must die. The new wielder must learn the name of the owner of the bow.
Effect: Add +5 steps to the character's Strength step for Damage Tests, rather than the standard +4.
Rank 2 // Cost: 550 LPs
Effect: The bow adds +1 step to the wielder's Missile Weapons Talent step, and +1 step to the character's Perception step when actively trying to detect possible Theran spies.
Rank 3 // Cost: 900 LPs
Key Knowledge: The Elvish inside the grooves along the spine and arms of the bow must be deciphered and the name and location of the pre-Scourge Troll village Sora'ion lived in must be learned.
Deed: The character must travel to the ruins of Tinktata -Sora'ion's Troll village- and attempt to locate where her home stood before the Scourge. Found there is a magically protected sheet of parchment, blank but indestructible. The character receives 900 Legend Points for this Deed.
Effect: Add +6 steps to the character's Strength step for Damage Tests.
Rank 4 // Cost: 1,450 LPs
Effect: Add +7 Steps to the character's Strength step for Damage Tests, rather than the adjusted +5. Add +1 to the wielder's Physical Defense Rating.
Rank 5 // Cost: 2,350 LPs
Key Knowledge: Among the ruins of Tinktata the character found a sheet of indestructible parchment that seemed to be blank, but when close to the bow it began to glow faintly blue, as though linked by a thread to the bow. The parchment, upon achieving this rank, becomes full of words, and in modern Sperethiel describes Sora'ion's first airship-to-airship battle against the Therans. All the character needs do is read the names of the dead Trolls who suffered in that battle.
Effect: The bow adds +2 steps to the wielder's Missile Weapons and Damage Tests. The wielder also gains +2 steps to tracking Theran-aligned opposition. The range of the bow is increased to 65-120-300. Finally, add +2 to the weilder's Spell and Social Defenses.
Rank 6 // Cost: 3,800 LPs
Key Knowledge: During her travels to hunt and slay Therans, Sora'ion managed to save the life of a particular Obsidimen due to her skill with this Longbow. It is alluded to in the parchment retrieved earlier, although no specifics are given, as though someone else made the entry. The character must study the lore of the Obsidimen and learn its name.
Effect: The bow adds +3 steps to the wielder's Missile Weapons and Damage Tests. The Adept also gains another +2 to their Physical Defense Rating.
Rank 7 // Cost: 6,200 LPs
Key Knowledge: The weilder must learn the location of the current home or travels of the Obsidiman.
Deed: On learning of the location of the Obsidiman Gekx, the weilder must travel to speak with him about Sora'ion, her life and accomplishments, and hear the tale of how she saved his life. On completion of this task, the character must journey back to The Great Library to retell the story, which will give the character 12,000 Legend Points because his name will then be associated with Anatha Sora'ion's.
The tale is that Gekx and the brethren from his ancient Liferock had come under attack by a Theran armada so locals in the villages surrounding the Liferock, having been made Theran slaves, would be able to harvest the Liferock for its precious minerals, including Orichalcum and True Earth. Gekx and his fellows held out against the armada for several hours before a small fleet of Troll airships were able to respond. Just as a Theran Kila was preparing to blast Gekx with a massive fireball from one of its cannons, Sora'ion jumped from her vessel and knocked Gekx off-balance and out of the way, taking most of the blast on herself. However, when she rose, Thystonius himself must have blessed her, because except for some singed armor, she was well. At that moment she turned and fired a string full of arrows into the Kila as it was preparing to fire again, and the cannon exploded, sending the burning hulk of the Kila to the ground beyond the Liferock.
Effect: The character gains the Stone Skin Talent, despite their Discipline, at a Rank equal to their present Circle.
Rank 8 // Cost: 10,000 LPs
Effect: Add +5 steps to the wielder's Missile Weapons and Damage Tests. Add another +2 to each of Physical, Spell, and Social Defense Ratings.
Rank 9 // Cost: 16,500 LPs
Key Knowledge: The wielder must attempt to find out the last place Sora'ion was seen. This was close to Sky Point, and the villagers who went to the Kaer there saw her walking in the direction of Sky Point, along with around a dozen Trolls, in the last few days before they closed their doors against the coming storm. She left the longbow standing in a corner of the village tavern, though, and the keep of that tavern picked it up and took it into the Kaer for safe-keeping, leading the keep to believe she was not intending to be gone long.
Effect: Add +8 steps to the wielder's Missile Weapons and Damage Tests. Add another +2 to Spell Defense. Add another +1 to Initiative step. When hunting Therans of any arm of life throughout the world, though the wielder must first have an understanding, or some manner of physical contact with the individual, regardless of Race or Discipline, the Theran may be tracked for any length of days.
Rank 10 // Cost: 30,000 LPs
Deed: The wielder must seek out and kill the current overlord at Sky Point, through any necessary channel, although the wielder must physically do it themselves. Completion of this deed will bring the Legend of Anatha Sora'ion, her sacrifices for the Troll nations of the Twilight Peaks and of herself, personally, to light in the recorded writings of the Therans, and the association of the current wielder's name with hers will bring the character 35,000 Legend Points.
Effect: The Sperethiel characters etched in the furrows of the bow will glow a light blue from now on. Death to Therans is instantaneous from arrows fired from this bow, and the Sperethiel changes from a light blue to a very bright, though not vision-obscuring red for several seconds. This does not make the character invulnerable in the least. The bow adds +10 steps to the wielder's Missile Weapons and Damage Tests otherwise. The bow also adds a final +2 each to Physical, Spell, and Social Defense Ratings, as well as a bonus of +2 to Mystic Armor Rating.
This is up to the new wielder to carry on the Legend of Anatha Sora'ion, interwoven with their own Legend. Sora'ion lived her life, and now it is time for her legacy to live on in the hands of another. Over time, as the bow continues in service with the new Adept, the true pattern of the bow and, thus, it's abilities and bonuses for the Adept, will change, and it is up to the GamesMaster and the Player to determine what that looks like.