Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Witch Hunters

While I was at Half Priced books in Niles, I came across a Warhammer omnibus about a Witch Hunter. Now Warhammer is known for its portral of the Witch Hunter. They are religious zealots that will not suffer the abuse of magic or sorcerer and hunt down those things which use them.

Robert E. Howard was probably one of the first times I was introduced to such a concept through his character, Solomen Kane. Hell, there's even a Savage Worlds game in full color with a few supplements on him.

In short, the character concept is old and while it is often tied to Puritan views, its very existance in Warhammer tied to the man god Sigmar shows that the manner of transporting such an archetype is solid.

But what does that mean for an RPG? Well, outside of serving as an inspiration for a martial character that fights evil sorcery, consider the following:

The character is or at least practices some form of faith and often in a very narrow manner. This may lead to conflict with other party memebers. Such things are as classic as the half-orc assassin trying to adventure with the paladin who may not travel with known evil fellows from first edition though, so its not that much of a hurdle to overcome.

The character, being a member or at least knowing about the religion, may have ties to the church. The church is a massive organizaiton that generally has many small branches thoughout the land. And if Warhammer and history in general has shown us anything, it is that when the cat is away the mice will paly. Those places that are on the edge of empire or well nestled within full corruption may not actually appreciate the good work that such a witch hunter may do and actively seek to oppose him, to shield those the witch hunter would seek out. After all, what does a little necromancy matter if those who practice it still attend to the church and still donate most generously? Let these little things slide.

The character, being a hunter, is a known element and like any known element, may have his own detractors. Has the character ever killed the wrong person? Have any relatives sought to bring the character to their own version of justice? And of course, if the character has crossed paths with any of the more powerful forces, such as chaos or the undead, well, they might want to preemptive strike him so that he doesn't come after them.

The Witch Hunter is an interesting concept and I'm looking forward to digging into this Omnibus and looking over some of my Dark Horse Solomen Kane comics for further inspiration.