Archives of Nethys

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Wild Hunt

Source Bestiary 6 pg. 278
The wild hunt is an awe-inspiring and enigmatic group of fey who stalk and pursue their chosen prey between worlds. Those few who have caught glimpses of these elusive beings and lived to tell the tale speak of clouds of green mist filled with spectral hounds, archers who fire bolts of magic with inhuman accuracy, and the sound of a melodious horn echoing for miles across the landscape.

Although some believe the wild hunt is nothing more than a mere legend, or perhaps groups of vengeful spirits that hunt the living, the riders of the wild hunt are real, and are powerful fey indeed. Countless members of these fey compose the wild hunt—the term “wild hunt” refers to the race as a whole as well as to individual groups of these fey who gather to pursue their quarry.

All fey of the wild hunt ultimately serve a legendary leader they refer to only as the Horned King. The Horned King’s nature is unknown, but its ability to command such powerful followers suggests that it is a fey lord with the power of a demigod—or perhaps even that of a true deity. When the Horned King calls, several wild hunts join into a legion and ride together against legendary opponents. Because of their occasional role as the agents of a reclusive fey divinity, the members of the wild hunt are sometimes classified among powerful entities known collectively as the Tane. In support of this theory, wild hunt fey share the Tane’s ability to instantly acclimate themselves to a new plane. However, the relationship between wild hunts and the Tane is more complex, as the Tane can sometimes become targets of a wild hunt, and on other occasions, wild hunt masters strike bargains to gain the temporary assistance of one of the Tane.

The Horned King’s call is rare, however, and wild hunts are normally left to direct themselves. Each wild hunt follows a wild hunt monarch, who travels effortlessly between the realm of the fey and the Material Plane in search of new quarry. While most missions come from rumors gathered by the wild hunt monarch, they occasionally consider proposals from those rare few brave and knowledgeable enough to seek them out. They accept tasks only from worthy sources, and the payments they demand for their services vary significantly, though they have no interest in material wealth. Wild hunt monarchs take grave offense at unfavorable deals. Those who attempt to cheat a wild hunt monarch or involve one in trivial matters often become the enraged fey’s next target.

Members of the wild hunt usually hail from the fey’s primal homeland, but they frequently venture to the Material Plane to pursue their quarry. Reasons for individual wild hunts vary, ranging from tests or demonstrations of skill to missions of vengeance and even drives to improve a wild hunt’s own numbers.

When they hunt for the thrill of the chase, they choose difficult quarry or intentionally place convoluted restrictions upon themselves to increase the challenge of the task. They try to avoid killing their targets, at least at first, but if their quarry refuses to understand that the purpose of the exercise is a battle of wits and responds with particularly lethal tactics, they reply in kind. After all, if a mortal is too foolish to recognize a friendly competition, it is his own ignorance that is to blame for his death, rather than the actions of a wild hunt.

At other times, a wild hunt fights to kill its prey. In this role, its members act as assassins. If they expect that their prey has means to revive itself, they may transport the remains to another plane before turning the corpse into dust. Should their foes return to life anyway, the wild hunt fey’s reaction is unpredictable, ranging from amused detachment to furious bloodlust. Foes that the wild hunt chases for a second time face a far more ignoble fate than death. For example, some wild hunt monarchs keep a small menagerie of animals made from their most irritating prey. Others simply disappear without a trace, seemingly beyond the reach of resurrection magic.

The rarest reason a wild hunt rides is to seek new hunters for its ranks. Although most members of the wild hunt originate from the realm of the fey, a scant few trace their origins back to the fateful day when they failed to escape a wild hunt’s interest. A wild hunt’s reasons for seeking out any particular mortal are shrouded in mystery, though wild hunts seldom pursue mortals who lack significant strength or power. After a lengthy pursuit, a wild hunt’s monarch ritually slays the quarry, which reincarnates the following morning as a new member of the hunt. When mortals join the wild hunt, memories from their previous lives fade away, though they sometimes retain a measure of personality. If the wild hunt master finds the mortal’s talents or skills particularly impressive, he may choose to preserve these abilities, transforming the mortal into a unique member of the hunt. These specialized hunters retain most of their memories as well. While they occasionally spend time with their old friends and family, the call of the hunt master’s horn is far stronger than any loyalty they felt in their previous lives, making the maintenance of old relationships a fraught endeavor.

Traditionally, the fey of the wild hunt consist of five distinct races. While these five types of fey can be encountered alone or in small groups, they are at their most dangerous when banded together into a true wild hunt. This gathering of fey consists of a specific number and combination: one wild hunt monarch, one wild hunt scout, three wild hunt archers, three wild hunt horses, and four wild hunt hounds. As a whole, this dangerous group constitutes a CR 21 encounter, and thus could make an excellent capstone encounter for a campaign.

Creatures in "Wild Hunt" Category

NameCR
Wild Hunt Archer13
Wild Hunt Horse11
Wild Hunt Hound10
Wild Hunt Monarch19
Wild Hunt Scout15

Wild Hunt, Wild Hunt Archer

This lithe, androgynous humanoid has pointed ears, glowing green eyes, and six fingers on each slender hand.

Wild Hunt Archer CR 13

Source Bestiary 6 pg. 279
XP 25,600
CN Medium fey (wild hunt)
Init +13; Senses greensight 60 ft., low-light vision, scent, see in darkness; Perception +31

Defense

AC 28, touch 24, flat-footed 19 (+5 deflection, +9 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 187 (22d6+110)
Fort +12, Ref +22, Will +19
Defensive Abilities instinctive cooperation, wild grace; DR 10/cold iron; Immune cold; Resist electricity 10, fire 10

Offense

Speed 30 ft.
Melee gore +16 (1d6+7)
Ranged +5 icy burst seeking composite longbow +26/+21/+16 (1d8+10/19–20/3 plus 1d6 cold)
Special Attacks infuse arrow, wild gaze (DC 26)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 13th; concentration +18)
Constant—know direction, speak with animals, speak with plants At will—vampiric touch
3/day—black tentacles, haste, slay living (DC 20), sleet storm, stone tell
1/day—cloudkill (DC 20), disintegrate (DC 21), freezing sphere (DC 21)

Statistics

Str 20, Dex 28, Con 21, Int 16, Wis 23, Cha 21
Base Atk +11; CMB +16; CMD 40
Feats Deadly Aim, Far Shot, Improved Critical (composite longbow), Improved Initiative, Improved Precise Shot, Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (composite longbow)
Skills Acrobatics +34, Handle Animal +27, Intimidate +27, Knowledge (nature) +28, Perception +31, Ride +31, Sense Motive +31, Stealth +34, Survival +28
Languages Aklo, Common, Sylvan; speak with animals, speak with plants
SQ living bow, planar acclimation, wild hunt link

Ecology

Environment any land
Organization solitary, squad (2–6), ride (1–4 wild hunt archers mounted on wild hunt horses), or wild hunt
Treasure standard (mwk composite longbow, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Infuse Arrow (Su) A wild hunt archer can cast a single spell-like ability with the range of touch as a part of a full attack. If he does so, the spell infuses his bow and travels with the next arrow he fires. If he hits a creature with that arrow, the target is also subject to the effects of the spell. If he misses, the spell vanishes from the arrow. Alternatively, he can infuse his bow with a spell-like ability that affects an area as a standard action. The spell’s area of effect centers around wherever the arrow lands. If he hits a creature with such an arrow, that creature takes a –4 penalty on saves and checks it attempts against the effects of the spell, and also to its CMD against the spell effects (if applicable).
Living Bow (Su) Any non-magical bow that a wild hunt archer picks up gains a spark of life, sprouting small leaves and becoming a +5 icy burst seeking composite longbow for as long as the archer holds it. The archer’s quiver produces arrows automatically as the archer draws them; these arrows vanish after 1 round.
Wild Hunt Link (Su) The weapon attacks and natural attacks of all creatures in a wild hunt archer’s wild hunt link ignore miss chances from concealment, as long as they target the correct square.

Description

Wild hunt archers are methodical hunters who fire their bows with uncanny accuracy. Since wild hunt archers tend to be slower on foot than most of their companions, they will often rely on wild hunt horses to provide increased mobility. Rather than carrying normal arrows, they can produce arrows from magical quivers—these quivers do not function in this manner for anyone other than wild hunt archers. Rarely, they carry specific slaying arrows to augment particularly dangerous hunts.