A fresh entry. That’s what’s needed here.
Bit of a break from the pattern established in this, the Ideas thread resurrected. After all, I’m not done with filling this page (page 3) up with old posts, at which point I’d cap it with a new post if I were to keep to the pattern.
No matter. Perhaps someone will pass over this post now, only to discover it a few months or even years later, and be delightfully surprised.
It’s settled, then. We’re writing for a good cause.
1. If there really is to be a Huntsman creature included in my Cormyr sourcebook (in a future appendix detailing new monsters, that also includes entries on what the monsters listed in the Monster Manual are up to in Cormyr), then said creature ought to do something interesting, and not just [B]be[/B] interesting.
2. What should the Huntsman do? Grant an extra life, of course. (Thanks, Beauty and the Beast).
3. If a Huntsman is a humanoid paired with a four legged animal (typically a human paired with a hound or a wolf), and if the human was once a werewolf and the animal is the essence of lycanthropy that infected the human, then why not make it so that if either the human or animal is slain then both of them die on the spot.
4. 24 hours later the human revives, regardless of what shape the human was in when they were slain. The revivification (say that ten times fast) is the result of the spirit of the lycanthropy returning to the mortal and renewing them one last time.
5. So any Huntsman (which could be a man or woman–it’s a tough word to keep gender neutral) that is encountered as a creature (and not as a PC, for which you have plans, or an NPC, since there are plenty of foresters and rangers that fulfill the role of a Huntsman in everyday Cormyr) would have undergone a ritual of purification–even against their will.
6. How? In a manner similar to what I describe here (this is a Discovery via the Hermit Background that will find its way into my sourcebook eventually): [quote]#62: You know that Huntsmen have been a part of the Forest Kingdom for as long as anyone can remember. Before the lands of Cormyr, Orva and Esparin were joined under one banner and the strife in the Wolf Woods was ended, Huntsmen served the rulers of all three rival lands ably. You have seen the men and women in leather armor, each accompanied by a faithful hound or wolf, as they returned from a hunt for criminals and outlaws, and they never failed to catch their prey. During your hermitage you stayed still as a rock whenever you thought a huntsman was nearby–you were no criminal, but you’d angered enough people back home to be banished to the deep heart of the wood, and better safe than sorry. When you saw several huntsmen and their hounds moving through the woods with a captive bound not by ropes, but by chains, your curiosity was piqued. That night, under the full moon, you saw their captive freed in a glade. You didn’t expect her to transform into a werewolf, nor did you expect priests of the moon goddess Selûne to be present. The roar of the werewolf was answered by the priests, who let forth a great howl made louder by the Huntsmen and their hounds, and as the howl died away the werewolf fell apart, becoming woman and wolf under the light of the moon. You learned the secret of the Huntsmen that night, and count yourself lucky to have departed before anyone noticed you.
7. The thing I like about this is that it ties forest-based NPCs–especially rangers–to the goddess of the moon (Selûne), as opposed to the typical deities one would associate with foresters, huntsmen, rangers, etc., namely Mielikki, Silvanus, Eldath or even Chauntea.
8. Malar the Beastlord is the other side of this coin. Malar is worshipped openly in Cormyr, and I just can’t help but think there’s a history between Malar and Selûne that played out for centuries in Cormyr’s past, and that is still being played out in the year 1479 DR when the deities are gambling their futures on the actions of mortals, all in preparation for the Sundering taking place 10 years later.
9. That, and human settlers called the forested lands the Wolf Woods well before Faerlthann Obarskyr assumed the throne of the nascent human kingdom called Cormyr.
10. Arabel seems like the perfect place to serve as a backdrop on which the covert–sometimes overt–activities of the followers of both deities are played out. Probably been going on for centuries, if not a millennium.