Mage hunters are specialized priests of Krynn’s moons, utterly dedicated to their code of beliefs. By the code’s decree, by the sanction of their elders and by the Conclave itself, they are charged with finding those who would transgress the Conclave’s laws and bring them to justice.
A mage hunter possesses abilities both magical and martial, and many a renegade has ended up dead or captured for underestimating a seemingly bookish investigator. Though mage hunters are charged primarily with apprehending renegades for trial by the Conclave, they are sanctioned to use any means to neutralize a threat. They are not above killing; in fact, some hunters prefer it — acting as judge, jury and executioner themselves involves less paperwork than a lengthy trial. Their resources are extensive, for the Conclave considers renegades the greatest threat to magic and its acceptance by society.
Mage hunters are quite diverse in personality and method. Some adhere to the letter of their laws, others the spirit. However, they are all willing to die in the pursuit of renegades — indeed, many have. The copper doors of the great Temple of the Moons in ancient Calah and the walls of the Chapel of the Moons in the Tower of Wayreth record the names of those slain in the line of duty.
Before the First Cataclysm, priests of the moons were typically charismatic, yet grim inquisitors with an almost fanatical zeal, thirsting to avenge the death of their founder and his closest disciples. As their anger subsided over time, the flames of righteousness filled them, fanned by the Kingpriest and his minions. Consequently, in the decades before the First Cataclysm, mage hunters were often cold, hard-eyed men and women, intolerant and arrogant, seeing themselves as the true followers of the moon gods. Their bravado earned them many followers, and it was not uncommon for the most renowned to travel in caravans, surrounded by entourages.
After the Cataclysm, when the Conclave absorbed the priesthood, the personalities of the hunters changed. Gone was the defensive attitude and the arrogance, replaced by the determination and piety of a humbled order. Though their holy powers were gone, their skills in oratory and investigation remained. Prior to the return of true faith, they remained at the Tower and advised mages about dealing with renegades, or acted as prosecutors in the Conclave’s trials. When divine magic returned, they leapt at the chance to again prove themselves and took a leading role in hunting renegades. Their zeal has returned, an enthusiasm matched by those who follow other gods and wish to spread their teachings.
In terms of personality, mage hunters possess an extreme dislike and distrust of mages and many profess a desire to convert or otherwise harass them. Moon priests are exceedingly pious individuals, honestly believing the rhetoric they preach.
The Priesthood of the Moons in the Fifth Age
The priesthood suffered greatly in the Chaos War, with many of their few adherents dying valiantly battling the chaos incarnate they had always worked against. Though their patrons and matron are gone, the priests of the moons are ever vigilant. Their numbers are dwindling, as are those of the remaining true priesthoods, but they retain their beliefs and act in their gods’ names. Some have even chosen to study the new magical arts as means to this end, believing that the powers granted can still be used for selfless ends. As before the Second Cataclysm, there are those who abuse their abilities, seeking to use their powers for selfish ends. These are the principal enemies of the priesthood now, for the actions of these individuals turn the people against all magic users.
The Academy of Sorcery had no formal ties to the priesthood before its destruction, nor does the Citadel of Light, though both maintain small chapels at which the few faithful could worship. The Academy’s chapel was formally dedicated to the moon gods, while at the Citadel, it was nondenominational, in fitting with First Mystic Goldmoon’s desires to move beyond the worship of gods. They now have no true temples or meeting places, acting instead as a network of safe-houses and contacts in various cities. They are active in the free lands and the domains of the dragon overlords. Most have adopted a profession to blend into society and work in secret, though some still wear their vestments proudly, having the mystical or sorcerous training to defend their bravado.
In the Fifth Age, Priests of the Moons still adhere mainly to their ancient teachings and codes, even wearing their traditional vestments and equipment, though the enchantments no longer function. Their belief system has evolved away from the moral black and white of the past when dealing with magic and its use; now they seek to quash elements large and small that seek to destabilize society. They travel the land, often alone or in very small groups as in the days before the First Cataclysm, ferreting out renegades, though they presently deal more with those who inflict chaos and upheaval. In a time of tyrants such as the Fifth Age, a group such as the priests of the moons can have a profound impact, even if it is only on a small scale.
Mage Hunter Description
Regardless of the times, an experienced mage hunter has contacts throughout most cities, at all levels, on both sides of the law. From these sources, they gather threads of information, weaving and braiding them into aggressive prosecutions — and in many cases, into a hangman’s noose.
The mage hunter is a specialized champion of the priesthood of the moons; as such, mage hunters are almost exclusively clerics of Solinari, Lunitari, or Nuitari. Membership is by invitation only, and characters must undergo secluded, yearlong training during which they prove their worth by completing small quests and other tests. Two of every five aspirants do not survive the training. Upon completion, they take the following oath and follow it unto death, peaceful or otherwise:
The Code of Alipha:
- Magic is a gift through which the will of the moon gods is worked.
- Those who use the gift selfishly and irresponsibly offend the gods.
- Those who offend the gods must be punished.
To be invited to join the mage hunters, a character must fulfill the following:
- Alignment: Any Lawful
- Race: Though there are no strict codes limiting membership, priests of the moons and mage hunters in particular are almost exclusively human. Some elf worshippers of Solinari are found in their ranks.
- Base Attack: +5
- Knowledge (Religion): 8 ranks
- Profession (Arbiter): 6 ranks (This is knowledge of precedents, legal proceedings, and the laws of several lands or institutions.)
- Knowledge (Arcana): 6 ranks
- Spellcraft: 3 ranks
Class Skills: In addition to access to the regular cleric skills, the mage hunter can choose from the following additional skills:
- Bluff (Cha)
- Gather Information (Cha)
- Intimidate (Cha)
- Perform (Cha) (In the case of the mage hunter, the skill is in oratory and legal arguments for trial purposes, as opposed to entertainment skill)
- Sense Motive (Wis)
- Speak Language
Skill points at each level: 3+ Int modifier
Feats: Training for the mage hunter prestige class gives a character the following feats:
- Great Fortitude (+2 Fortitude saves)
- Iron Will (+2 Will Saves)
- Leadership (Leadership score calculated as described in the rules for Leadership on page 45 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.)
Special: Members of this class must have completed their year of training and survived, or they can be in the process of completing a final quest or quests when they join a party.
Spells: Mage hunter spells are divine in nature; characters with this prestige class follow its specific spell progression table (see below). As lawful characters, they may not cast Chaos spells. In addition, mage hunters cannot cast the following: cure light wounds, cure moderate wounds, cure serious wounds, cure critical wounds, healing circle, heal, regenerate, mass heal, and true resurrection. While moon priests worship all three moons, individual priests can pay veneration to particular moons. Spell choice and use should reflect alignment.
Detect Magic: After taking their oath to Alipha and performing the rituals to become mage hunters, characters can detect magic at will, as per the spell.
Martial Weapon Proficiency (scimitar): Upon joining the elite order, a mage hunter is trained in the use of the scimitar.
Resistance Bonus: Mage hunters typically deal with renegade wizards, as such, they must stand against a spellcaster in combat. At 2nd level, a +1 resistance bonus is added to any saving throws a mage hunter makes against spells. The bonus does not apply to spell-like abilities, only to cast spells or item-generated effects.
Exotic Weapon Proficiency (garafa): Upon reaching 4th level, a mage hunter can be trained in the use of the garafa–a crescent-bladed short staff. This is available at the DM’s discretion, and it is presented only when the character has served as a mage hunter for at least three full levels.
Spell Turning: At 10th level, a mage hunter can cast spell turning once per day as per the spell of the same name (as though by a caster of 13th level).
Weapon and Armor Ability: Mage hunters disdain armor, preferring to wear their faith as a shield. Amulets, rings, and their holy vestments grant the mage hunter various kinds of protection. The items worn are chosen by the individual user and are bestowed upon them by superiors or purchased. In combat, a mage hunter uses the garafa, a bladed quarterstaff in combat, or the scimitar, typically worn across their back.
|Fort||Ref||Will||-Spells per Day–|
|1||0||2||0||2||exotic weapon proficiency: scimitar||3||1||—||—||—||—|
|4||3||4||1||4||exotic weapon proficiency: garafa||5||3||2||—||—||—|
Most moon priests wear the Amulet of the Moons, which is a lesser medallion that acts in the same way as an amulet of natural armor +2. Mage hunters also wear the Mantua Divina, their holy vestments, which function as a cloak of resistance +2. Some priests of the moons of significant notoriety and repute are also granted Alipha’s Seal, a ring of protection +3. The bonuses these items offer to saves help offset the moon priest’s lack of traditional armor. Individuals often wear a wide variety of other magical jewelry and items for protective purposes.
The garafa is the length of a quarterstaff, having a bronze-shod foot and a crescent-shaped blade at its head. It is the same overall length as a quarterstaff, though it’s twice as heavy. The blade inflicts wounds much as would a scythe, while the shod end deals damage similar to that of a quarterstaff.
Mage hunters also use the scimitar, and it is commonly found amongst its lower ranks. Some are nonmagical, but some may be ensorcelled uniquely, with no two having the same capabilities. Few of the ancient swords from Alipha’s time have survived.
The most valued and useful possessions of any mage hunter are their manuals, the Persuum Hereticus and the Litigatum Hereticus. The former is a tome of wisdom for use in hunting mages, while the latter is a guide to successful prosecutions of them.
The garafa became the chosen weapon of the moon priests early in their life, when several jealous mages set upon Alipha in a poorer section of Daltigoth where he was doing missionary work in the moon gods’ names. The assailants were his junior in skill, but many in number. He fled, praying to his gods for aid. In his flight, he came across the shop of an arms merchant. Hurrying inside, he was hidden in the storeroom by the sympathetic owner, where he intended to avoid conflict, until the mages entered, threatening the shopkeeper. Alipha was not willing to buy his safety with threat to another, and he emerged from the storeroom, the garafa in hand. He had pulled this traditional Ergothian weapon from a shelf when he resolved to defend his faith and the safety of the storekeeper. The mages fled when they saw him with his forbidden weapon, and since then, those moon priests with martial talents have wielded them. To be given one is a great honor, and they are most commonly found among mage hunters with experience.
Cost: 20 gp
Damage: 1d6 blunt end (1d6 curved blade)
Critical: 20/x2 blunt end (x4 curved blade)
Weight: 10 lbs.
Type: Bludgeoning and piercing/slashing
For more information about Moon Priests, be sure to read In Darkest Days: Mage-Hunt in Ansalon.