Vile Hunt
Vile Hunt

Vile Hunt

The Vile Hunt

Also known as: The Hunters, The Stalkers

Symbol of the Anarchs’ Guild

“The Vile Hunt is one of the newest of all sects. It has only been in the last three years or so that their existence has become known, although there is evidence to suggest that Hunters have been meeting in secret for about ten to fifteen years. Much about them is still undisclosed, although I am able to present some new knowledge here.

“The Hunters appear to have originated in the Outlands, probably in Ribcage, under a basher named Staran. Initially, they were little more than a group of people who were united by their distaste for intelligent animals. 

“The sect’s philosophy was (and still is) simple; they loath the idea of intelligent animals, animals that can talk, etc. Most of their aggression is focused on the petitioners of the Beastlands, although anything that they might regard as an animal, including some magically constructed creatures such as griffins, and some intelligent races that resemble animals, including bariaur, centaur, wemics, sphinxes, even shedu, hollyphants, moon dogs and phoenixes would meet their displeasure. 

“Then a cutter called D’kess joined eight years ago, and promptly took over control of the group (I have been unable to establish what has happened to Staran. Given D’kess’ reputation, it is entirely possible that Staran was killed). D’kess moved the group, initially to the City of Doors, but they remained here for only about a year and a half. It appears that D’kess had hopes of establishing some sort of alliance with the Hands of Havoc. D’kess appears to have been attracted to the idea mostly because of the violence that the anarchists are capable of. However, the Stalkers were mostly lawful types, and a tentative association fell apart when the two groups couldn’t get along. The Hands are believed to have thought that the Vile Hunt collapsed at this stage (though getting blood from a galeb duhr is easier than getting reliable information from that faction). In fact, the Hunters merely returned to the Outlands, this time basing themselves near Rigus. D’kess solidified his control of the group (not, at this time, either large or significant enough to deserve the title ‘sect’), until he had it firmly under his thumb (around five years ago there was a series of brutal murders in Rigus, with eleven people slaughtered in their homes. I hesitate to accuse D’kess, but at least three of the victims were known to be Stalkers, including Staran’s brother).

“The Hunters were ready to act three or four years ago, and started making raids into the Beastlands, killing those petitioners that they found there. Initially they kept their raids small and discrete, whilst they also stepped up a recruitment drive. After a few successes, they came to the attention of some worshippers of Malar on Carceri. These worshippers manipulated the Vile Hunt into doing some of their dirty work for them, whilst concealing their intentions from D’kess and his followers. Their plot was eventually stopped, but it brought the Vile Hunt to the attention of the Wylders for the first time.

“Debate still rages amongst the Wylders as to how to respond to the threat that the Hunters present (see the section of the Verdant Guild for more details), but the Stalkers have managed to split the Wylders to such an extent that the rift between the two halves of the sect may never be fully healed. However, the Hunt has been unable to take advantage of this dissension amongst their enemies. Currently the official leader of the Wylders, and probably the more powerful of the two rivals in that sect, is Karleona, a ranger who favours aggressive action against the Vile Hunt. That action has so far taken the form of attacks on known (and sometimes just suspected) Hunt members, and several have been killed. At the moment, most of the Vile Hunt has been driven into cover, trying to avoid becoming the hunted.’

—Extract from Forest Nella’s definitive text ‘Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sects (But Were Afraid To Ask)’

Sectol: D’kess (planar tiefling fighter [he/him] / Vile Hunt / LE)

D’kess is barely better than the animals that he hates so much. Sadistic, violent, cruel, barbaric; all these words could reasonably applied to D’kess, though doing so within his earshot is a swift route to meeting your God. 

D’kess, Sectol of the Vile Hunt

Since he took over control of the Vile Hunt he has ruled it primarily through intimidation and sheer strength. Although he is a surprisingly gifted hunter, D’kess is really never more happy than when he is killing something. It is whispered, within the sect, that D’kess’ whole reason for being in the sect is that it gives him a reason to kill intelligent animals, and he prefers to kill intelligent creatures where possible.

What is certainly true is that D’kess borders on being a sociopath. All of the reasonable rivals to his rule have died violent deaths, and although there are no witnesses to any of the crimes, it is almost certain that D’kess was responsible. His primitive instincts, lack of intellect, and habit of always going for the most obvious answer has brought trouble for the sect in the past; firstly in the ill-fated alliance with the Anarchists, and the with the even more disastrous association with the Malarites. Nevertheless, currently there is no-one in the Vile Hunt with the courage to stand up to D’kess (or, more accurately, the ability to survive doing so), so D’kess rules unopposed.

Sect Headquarters: It will come as no surprise that the Hunters do not have an official headquarters. After all, if there’s a bunch of bashers searching for you in order that they can do something fairly terminal to you, one of the last things you are going to want to do is all collect together in a building and proclaim it as the best spot to find you to all and sundry. The closest the sect come to a headquarters at the moment is wherever D’kess is living at the moment, not that most members will know where this is as he tends to keep on the move. D’kess keeps tabs on much of the membership through three friends (though the word thugs could also be applied to them), named Jharlain (planar human fighter [he/him] / Vile Hunt / NE), Karin (prime human fighter-wizard [she/her] / Vile Hunt / NE) and Sorloth (planar tiefling fighter-thief [he/him] / Vile Hunt / LE). All three are every bit as brutal and vicious as D’kess, but are well aware that they aren’t though enough (yet) to stand up to him. Pretty much all the headquarters the sect needs is room for the four to meet, so that D’kess can give the others their tasks. On rare occasions the entire sect gathers, but this hasn’t happened since Karleona took over control of the Wylders and ordered an all-out war on the Vile Hunt. They are unlikely to meet as a group again until this threat has been removed.

Role-playing the Hunters: It is not really anticipated that the Hunters are going to be played as PCs. This is for a number of reasons; they are a small and fairly weak sect, they are on the run from a much larger and more powerful sect, they are predominately evil in alignment, and they tend not to be particularly nice people. Nevertheless, some people may fancy trying their hand at the Stalkers as a challenge, and DM’s may benefit from some idea of how to handle them as NPCs.

As mentioned, the sect is predominately evil, although there are some neutral members. The exact alignment of a Hunter is the first guide as to how to play them. Unlike most other sects, and certainly unlike the factions, the Hunters have a specific goal (the eradication of intelligent animals) rather than a philosophy, per se, as their basis. Consequently, Stalkers should really be played as normal people who happen to have fixated on the idea of killing intelligent animals. The fact of the matter is, however, that much of the membership of the Vile Hunt just plain like killing. They may give few, if any, external signs of their violent impulses (not all members are as overtly brutal as D’kess and his followers), but most will have at least some degree of sadism in their nature. Often they will dislike more than just intelligent animals, having a passionate hatred for some other type of being as well; be that animals in general, a hatred of a particular race such as elves, or for a particular type of person, such as merchants or priests. No matter how outwardly sane the Stalker may appear, these people are awash with cruelty, hatred and violent impulses.

Membership of the Hunters: Currently, the Hunters are not admitting new members. This is for the simple reason that they cannot be sure that any new member that they admit is not a spy for the Wylders. When they were admitting members, it was by simple word of mouth, with prospective members being either approved or rejected by D’kess. Good aligned characters are not admitted. Originally, the sect only admitted Lawful Evil people, but they will now acknowledge any non-good alignment, though evil remains the most common. Both rangers and druids are unable to join the sect, both for alignment reasons, and because they completely oppose the views of the Hunters. 

Allies and Enemies: The biggest enemy of the Hunters are the Wylders. If that comes as a shock to you, you’ve clearly not been paying attention. A few other groups also have a certain amount of enmity for the Stalkers, though. Both the Sensates and the Signers have close ties with the Wylders, and tend to act against the Hunters for that reason. Druids and rangers everywhere are at odds with the Stalkers, and will do all they can to oppose the Vile Hunt. 

Lastly, the violent, sociopathic tendencies of most of the sect, including it’s leader and his closest allies, means that the Harmonium tend to regard the Vile Hunt as dangerous subversives from the same mould as the Anarchists, and will try to stamp the sect out.

They are not without their allies, however. Although the predominately lawful Hunters could not agree and alliance with the primarily chaotic Anarchists, the Stalkers and the Revolutionary League remain close to each other on some issues. Although it is impossible to make the Anarchists agree on anything, there are quite a few cells that actively support the Vile Hunt. Evil members of the Mercykillers also will, on occasion, help the Stalkers, mostly because they recognise kindred spirits in some of the members. Other than these few associates, however (neither of which have the full support of their factions), the Hunters stand friendless.

Advantages and Disadvantages: All members of the Vile Hunt gain the Hunting Non-Weapon proficiency for free, and all members may select the Tracking proficiency at a cost of only one slot (regardless of the class of the character). Furthermore, Hunters can use the Tracking proficiency as if they were rangers (that is, they do not suffer an automatic -6 penalty to their proficiency check). Stalkers also must select a specific animal which they hunt for preference. Usually a family of animals will be selected; cat, dog, etc. When hunting this ‘species enemy’, the Stalker receives a +2 bonus to all related proficiency checks, and a +1 to attack and damage. This applies to anything related to their enemy. For example, a Stalker whose enemy was cats would receive this bonus tracking any member of the cat family, any cat petitioner of the Beastlands, the Cat Lord, even against druids shapechanged into the form of a cat or creatures polymorphed into the form of a cat.

Stalkers cannot conceal their hatred for their species enemy; reactions are always hostile. To any other animal or nature-related being (druids, rangers, Wylders, possibly elves and maybe creatures that are partially animal in nature such as centaur, bariaur, wemics, etc.) they suffer a -6 reaction adjustment penalty. 

The Current Chant: There’s not much chant coming from the Hunters at the moment. The entire sect are lying low, trying not to let the Wylders find them. Still, D’kess does have some irons in the fire. He is well aware of the current situation within the Wylders, and is attempting to exploit that. It might seem that he would want Aaronatak to win, as he is advocating a less confrontational attitude to the Vile Hunt. Despite that, however, D’kess works against Aaronatak as often as for him. This is because D’kess hopes not to bring a less aggressive leader to the forefront of the Wylders, but to drive such a wedge between various members of the Verdant Guild that the sect breaks apart from within, splitting into (he hopes) several smaller, and weaker, groups. He intends to then restart his recruitment programme, and attack and destroy these smaller groups, leaving the Beastlands exposed to his depredations.

DM’s Dark: Although D’kess is unaware of it, Karin and Sotloth have recently become lovers. They are aware that neither could challenge D’kess yet, not even if they joined forces, but they are making their plans for the future. Both are smart enough to realise that D’kess will seek either to kill them, to remove them, or to weaken them before he considers them to be a threat to his position. They believe, however, that working in concert they will be in a position to challenge D’kess before he realises the danger he is in. Currently, their planning is proceeding along two avenues; to let D’kess become preoccupied with the Wylders, and by using their position as two of D’kess’ enforcers to lean on members of the sect, trying to bring them to their side.

Both D’kess and Jharlain, meanwhile, have had the same idea; to gather power to themselves by forging an alliance with fiends. All that differs is the fiendish race in question; D’kess has gravitated towards the baatezu, and has sent messengers to a number of powerful fiends, from Lords of the Nine, to the Dark Eight, to pit fiends, and a few other baatezu of various rank. D’kess is nothing if not ambitious. Most of his messengers have never returned (the sensible ones probably never went—what are the chances of really interesting the Dark Eight in such a matter, let alone the Lords of the Nine?), and most of those that have come back have sent refusals of varying degrees of politeness. However, the pit fiend Ganathorn has sent no fewer than three messages of support to D’kess. Ganathorn is one of the major generals of the Blood War for the baatezu, so whatever he is planning is almost certainly going to involve that. Jharlain, meanwhile, has been attempting to attract the support of the yugoloths. So far, he has had no success.

Canonical Source: The Vile Hunt was introduced in Something Wild [2e] p9, and this piece expands upon the lore.

Source: Galzion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *