Sunday, March 11, 2018

Mechanics Talk: Explain to Me How to Hunter

Time to talk about the next group of badasses - the Hunters! Hunters are all about chasing, finding, and going, which might involve chasing down other people, might involve running away from other people, might involve just going places with great determination. Let's check out a day in their lives! (As always, remember: a Hero with the Hunter Aspect doesn't necessarily have all of its Talents, just access to them depending on how they want to stat themselves, and of course all Heroes have multiple Aspects, so no Hero is only a Hunter.)

What do you do on your adventures and for your group when you have Hunter?

Animal Handling: Hunters are the Heroes who are most comfortable in nature, and nature's active representatives, animals, are easier for them to interact with as a result. They're able to act as animal handlers and whisperers, calming upset creatures, communicating with potentially dangerous beasts, and convincing them to do things that might help the Hero and their team out (for example, acting as mounts or guards). Just being a Hunter makes it less likely that animals will take a dislike to a Hero, so even if they aren't actively interacting with the local fauna, they're less likely to upset a territorial bison bull just by traveling through its domain.

Sprinting Like a Champion: Hunters are fast, all by themselves - no one runs as fast as a Hunter or is better at hauling themself at high speeds wherever they need to go, whether it's in short sprint bursts or long-distance marathon racing. Heroes with Hunter can outdistance even vehicles and mounts on foot if they're good enough - yes, they absolutely can sometimes run faster than a less skilled enemy in a Jeep can chase them - and have access to Blessings that can help their friends do the same, let them chase down specific targets that are trying to escape them, or drop obstacles in the way to slow everyone else down. Other heroic Aspects allow Heroes to move fast in their own ways - Warriors can be fast in combat, Tricksters can be fast when they use vehicles and technology, and so on - but for sheer self-motivated speed, no one beats the Hunter.

Naturecraft: Hunters are also the best at dealing with nature - they're good at sustaining themselves on roots and berries, reading the signs in crushed leaves and dropped branches, finding water in the desert or animal tracks in the forest, or navigating treacherous terrain. Surviving in the wilderness is one of their major skills, and when the Heroes' adventures take them out of civilization, the Hunter becomes the MVP really quickly.

Traveling: Whenever there's a long journey to be gone on, the Hunter is the one who's best at it; just like they're good at quickly traveling short distances, they're good at planning, executing, and succeeding at long-range travel and extended trips. Hunters get access to Blessings that let them shorten Travel Episodes or else mess with their contents, potentially avoiding dangers and obstacles or planning routes that take the Heroes through peaceful or even helpful areas. Travel is one of the most dangerous things for Heroes, who are embarking on long exposed trips where enemies and misfortune can strike at any moment; the Hunter helps make those things easier and faster, taking considerable pressure off the whole group.

Looking for Clues: If there are clues hiding in the vicinity, a Hunter is the Hero you want to look for them. While other kinds of Heroes (Sages, most notably) are good at noticing and interpreting things, too, Hunters are the ones who excel at finding traces of past events or physical clues in their environment, and who are able to use them to reconstruct what happened there and what to do next. They're so good at this that some of their Blessings actually involve getting useful information about what's going on in the Saga at large directly from Destiny, as a result of putting together so many things with their Sherlockian eye for detail.

What is the Hunter Effortless At? Hunters, as a group, don't really get tired. Fatigue is something that happens to other people, probably people who don't need to go places and find out what's happening there. They have to eat, drink, and sleep far less often than the average Hero, letting them go on long haul journeys and through long periods of concentration and focus without worrying about little nuisances like "physical maintenance", and they also don't have to worry about getting exhausted as quickly when they're doing taxing physical activities, nor do they feel as much pain as the average person when they get hurt. This even applies to death - when a Hunter gets Mortally Wounded, they even manage to cling tenaciously to life for longer than most other Heroes could before they kick the bucket. Hunters are just tough, no matter what a beating they put themselves through during the chase or how much they don't stop to take care of themselves.

What are the Hunter's Drawbacks? A lot of the Hunter's skills are really badass, but don't always let them help their companions out very much; they're very self-sufficient, which is great when they end up separated from the group or navigating the wilderness alone, but can be frustrating when they're trying to chase down an escaping suspect and their friends are all stumbling along like a huffing and puffing chess club behind them. Also, because so many of a Hunter's skills deal with nature, they can occasionally find themselves at a disadvantage if they're confined only to very civilized spaces; if there are no plants or animals around and nowhere to travel between, they have fewer (although still not none) of their most impressive skills available to them.

In playtest groups, Hunters have recently been incredible successes by finding a safe(ish) path for their group through a huge and hostile swamp; convincing animals at the local zoo to help them find a missing friend; cutting down on a long and dangerous car trip by rerouting the team so that a limited number of bad things could happen along the way; and searching for clues around every area the Heroes visited so effectively that they discovered the identity and location of the secret mastermind behind the plot well before they otherwise could have.

The Talents under the Hunter umbrella are Mettle, Naturalism, Pursuit, and Tracking; their names are pretty self-explanatory, so you can probably figure out which ones handle which things above if you take a quick look at them!

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