Hunter – inspiration for newcomers in rp

So.. You have chosen to start roleplaying a hunter.
You have most likely made a great background story, which ofcourse influences in regards to your race choice.

Why this post then? I often see hunter pets being left alone, ignored in roleplay. I often find, people ignoring their class as hunters. How often don’t you see a witchdoctor pull out a frog and lick it? The nervously minded firethrower fiddling with her fingers, then catch on fire by mistake? This post is meant as a help for newcomers to include their class and pet in roleplay.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way attempting to judge anyones roleplay, there’s not a whole lot of yay or nay in hunter roleplay, although sometimes my Gorrka may find people strange IC. I’m not trying to dictate how you should roleplay, it’s suggestions, attempts of inspiration, and character development ideas. Use it if you wish, ignore it, if it’s worthless.

Furthermore, as usual, I’m not speaking English as my first language, and the Forsaken Grammar Squad (Also known as FGS – For God’s Sake) are hoping to inflict the plague upon every single post I ever write. Bare with me, or now might be a good time to jump to next thread.

Contents:
Hunters – an introduction to the class
Hunters – a way of life
Gun or bow?
Hunters – personality influence
Pets – the basics
Pets and you – is the bonding unhealthy?
Pets – how to involve them more
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Hunters – an introduction to the class
In this first section, I’d like to introduce you to various hunter archetypes. These are not meant as limitation, rather inspiration.

Tracker – Your main concern is finding the prey. You might be with a warband, a hunting group or military unit, but once you have located the object of the hunt, you care less, what happens to it.

Survivalist – think Bear Grylls. This type can survive under any circumstances, hunting, preparing his/hers surroundings, finding shelter, cook anything on a fire, and skilled in trapping prey, to keep starvation away.

Ranger – You are part of a military unit somehow. You might be a farstrider, a rifleman or a scout. Your fellow battlebrothers rely on your skills to track down the enemy, or attempt sniping a target without endangering your fellow comrades in war.

The Nesingwary syndrome – You live for the thrill to hunt. If anyone actually eats your prey is not important. You just REALLY want to hunt down that big shark/bear/crocolisk/elekk. Unique features on your target, will only make your hunt much more exciting. You might be one to brag about your hunts.

Beastmaster – Your skill is really located around your pet. You might even have several. You cannot see a living creature without having to attempt taming it, befriending it, or just cuddle with it. Warning: Druids might be offended, if you attempt taming them (I speak from personal experience here ofcourse.)

Hunters – a way of life
As we have now walked through some of the possibilities, one could be roleplaying a hunter, it is time to check out, how being a hunter might affect you. I say “might”, as there’s right about fifty other ways to roleplay a hunter, only your imagination sets the limit.
Hunters often help new players get settled, as a hunter background might seem easy, sort of like the “insomnia background”. If you never roleplayed before, you simply enter a town/roleplaying hub, and if people approach you, you were out hunting, and simply stumbled across said place. Fast and easily done.

However! This background won’t persuade people around you, to ask deeper, to become interested in your char, or to evolve your roleplaying experience. The rest of your background, age, race etc. might do just that, but why not implement the hunter choice aswell?

First off, you should consider the following questions, and perhaps even make up some more:

How come you became a hunter in the first place?
Did your family starve? Were you supplying a military unit? Did the nearby wolves make the neighbourhood an unsafe place for children, when you grew up?

Are you a decent hunter?
This question might seem simple, but isn’t. Everyone can roleplay being a super hunter, tracking down enemies across the map, being able to locate prey in few seconds and proudly carry several boars home each night.
My suggestion would be to avoid metagaming – don’t use huntertracking IC, and try to keep the skills on a realistic level. You can ofcourse also go opposite ways. A few examples from my own orc, which is adjusted to the rest of her background is:
Gets ill when seeing blood, cutting and gutting a boar made her barf.
Hates to kill animals aswell as humanoids.
Prefers to buy her meat, or if hunting is necessary, lets her pet kill the prey.
Is training her pet to perfection
Tracks her prey with skill. *Gorrka sniffs the dung in front of her, then sticks a finger into it, checking it’s age. She nods as approval, that the prey might be close.*
Use your imagination. Does murlocs make you shiver, thus hating to hunt those? Are your hunter experienced in specific ways within the hunter proffession? Can you tame anything with four legs?
Where lies your hunter expertise?

What do you hunt? Animals, prey, humans? (Sorry humans.. but I’m personally an orc.)
This one often goes with the background story you have implemented.
Did your family die, thus you seek revenge?
Do you only hunt for the necessary meat, to keep starvation at bay?
Do those damned goblins try to blow you up each time you meet them?
Do you hate the opposite faction?

Are you satisfied being a hunter?
Why wouldn’t you be. Hunters are the best class around.
Even though you chose the best class ever implemented in the game, chances are, your char might not agree with you for some odd reason.
Does your char wish he/she was a warrior? To be great at brawls, looking strong, getting the prettiest mates? How would this influence your char’s behaviour? Does the lack of close combat skills make you seem weak when training with other soldiers?
Or does your hunter have a secret urge for healing? Being jealous at priests, trying to nurse people with bandages?

How would you react to close combat?
Hunters are agile. They can dodge anything!
Yes. Hunters are usually agile, but dodging is rarely much fun, for either hunter nor opponent. Consider your chars amount of combat training, if he/she is tired, wounded or similar.
I personally very rarely dodge anything, unless I’m trying to teach a new roleplayer not to poweremote.
It’s not fun dodging a punch, it’s more fun taking the hit, go out with a bang, then need healing aswell as speaking slightly odd, due to a sore dislocated jaw, for the rest of the evening.
Be aware though, if you require too much focus on your wounds, like trying to keep a healer busy for hours, expecting everyone to gather around your bed, then you may bore others eventually. Get the wound treated, then let time heal the rest. (This is just my point of view, others prefer faster or slower healing, nothing is definate.)
Would your hunter back out, if a big mean bear-shaped tauren wishes to fight? Would pride take its toll? Or would the cowardness/love of life kick in?

Gun or bow?
Why make this subtopic? Does the weapon choice even matter?
You might consider, if a silent bow, or an effective sharpshooter fits your char the best.
Sometimes this changes through time, a goblin friend crafts you a gun, and even though your person doesn’t like loud noisy guns, he might not have the brutality, to say no thanks to the kind friend either.
Besides noise, consider range, accuracy, and the need to go pick up your brainshattering arrows after shooting. Sometimes guns are just less.. icky.
Do you hunt prey? One gunshot might scare off the remaining animals.
Are you a sniper? A gun shoots from a bigger distance, but also makes noise, which could be potentially dangerous.
Are your char “one with nature”? Then a gun might just feel utterly violent and wrong.

Hunters – personality influence
Now, we already covered some of the reasons for you to choose the hunter path. However there’s more to hunters than merely choice.
Consider how choosing this path at a young age, might have influenced your personality.
I often see hunters being played as lone wolfs, who prefer the woods above compagny. This makes sense, as the hunter task, often could be expected to be lonely. It’s however also possible to go alternative ways. How about being a part of a group, a cohort or a corps? Or just go hunting with a friend?

How would a life in the wild influence on your personality?
Lack of manners?
Shyness?
Preferring your pet above people?
Or clingy, as you miss being around people?

And how would a life in a hunting cohort affect you?
Strange rituals?
Frowning upon other hunters, not part of the circle?
More skilled due to practise and exchange of ideas?

I personally find, that adding small details like these to your char, will make the personality come forward, making the char much more interesting to roleplay with. When you encounter new things IC, then consider: “How would my hunter react to this?” – Sometimes my hunter even surprises me.
When I started out, I had no clue my huntress would get ill when she spots blood. Appearently she does. *peers at huntress regurgitating in a corner*

Pets – the basics
As a hunter, you usually have a pet or more.
I have met a few hunters though, without pets. I can even remember a hunter I met, who appears to be scared of big cats. Again, only your imagination sets the limits.
Are your hunter allergic to fur? Scared of cats? Going nuts, trying to cuddle every animal you spot?
Again, consider the options, take a stand. A hunter not having an opinion about pets, is weird if you ask Gorrka.
Then again, your hunter might just not be interested in pets?

Alright. You chose to have a pet.
Consider the kind of pet you want.
A great website for choosing a hunter pet is http://www.wow-petopia.com
Some pets might not be great for hunting, others may seem strange for your persons background. If your char never went to Pandaria, it might seem a bit odd, to have a Red Spiked Dragon Turtle from Timeless Isle.
That said, if you have a great explanation why your hunter came across a Dragon Turtle without visitting Pandaria, then by all means, try it out.
You might also want to consider how people might react to your pet. Whenever I notice a hunter with an Infected Grizzly Bear or similar, it makes my orc worried, asking if said hunter needs a medic for his pet. Similarly I chose a lion as pet. It’s a part of my background story, but I had honestly not considered the amount of players frowning upon my pet, being the face of alliance.

A helpfull addition from Fyne, regarding the choice of pets:

I would add a note, were I able, that while different hunter combat pets have different abilities, the appearance of your chosen pet – its type and the “skin” used – can be an excellent tool for helping to express your character concept. In essence, it is the same as your armour, your weapon, your non-combat pets, your vanity items: it is a prop, to help give your “audience” [the other roleplayers] an idea of what to expect from your character, like an actor’s costume on stage.

Playing a shamanistic orc warrior? A wolf might suit, and might go well with any of the furry wolf-mask helmets.

Playing a fishergoblin? There are a number of aquatic pets such as crabs, turtles, gulls, and the like.

A troll hunter from the dinosaur-infested jungles? Raptors are quite common.

A forsaken poisoner? A spider perhaps. A forsaken demonologist? A fel-hound instead.

A gnome marksman? Oh, right, gnome player characters cannot use firearms.

When you are choosing what pet(s) to tame, keep in mind how the visuals of your pet can help to support, visually, the role you want for your character. For high level player characters, also remember that your immediate “stable” of pets are unleashed at once when you use Stampede. Choosing a visually-supportive cast of pets for those five can likewise help to cement your character archetype in the minds of those around you. It is an extra tool in your “character building toolkit,” available only to hunters [and warlocks].

What to name your pet?
A thing to remember here, YOU are not naming it, your char is.

If you do not care much about your pet, you might name it something bad, like “Creature”, “Cat”, or “Fleabag”.

Is your hunter a bit slow, mentally speaking? Then he might choose the same way as my orc named her lion – she asked him, and waited for him to reply, thus he’s now named Grouuw. (Other common lion names are “Hng”, “Roar”, “Growl” and “Purr” * nods *).

An elf, might choose to give his pet a looong, tough to pronounce, elvish name. A forsaken might go for a human name – meet the bear named Rubert.

Again, consider your pet names, make your pet come alive.

What kind of pet do you have?
Now you have chosen your pet, and named it. Now it’s time to get to know your pet a little better.
Any animal lover or petowner IRL may agree with me, that pets have a personality of their own.
So might your pet ingame.

Is your boar grumpy by nature? Does your cat mistake forsaken as bones to gnaw on? Or does your turtle join the fight half an hour late each time?

I honestly believe my lion has more friends IC than my hunter. He loves the attention, and always ends up sitting on a random troll lap, being rubbed on his belly.

Interactive pets creates roleplay, and are awesome icebreakers.

How do you train it?
Are you a beastmaster? Do you train your pet each day? Then you might have a great companion following every single command.
You can also be slacking a bit on the training, which might cause your pet to ignore your orders.

Your pet could also be a rolemodel, to another pet. Like, if your pet is a wolf, and you then use a worg pup or similar as companion. Then your pet could help you train the companion. Again, only your imagination sets the boundaries.

Pets and you – is the bonding unhealthy?
Next step you might want to consider, is your relationship with your pet.

Are you soulmates, catching each others body language, understanding each others without words?
Is your pet reacting to you instantly when hunting? Do you sleep together at night?

Or is your pet more of a slave, you treat it like dirt, and expect it to aid you whenever you require it?

Sometimes hunters might even get a bit too attached to their pets I believe. How would this show, if it’s the case with you and your pet?

Pets – how to involve them more
First off, a few ideas, how to roleplay with your pet. The following addons mentioned, can all be located at Curse.com.

To emote for your pet, I usually just use “/e ‘s pet Grouuw does some random action.” This emote will show as “Gorrka’s pet Grouuw does some random action.” This one is simple, fast and takes no addons. This can also be simplified with the addon “PetEmote”.
“Chinchilla Critter Emote” – This addon can help companions come alive, you can customize emotes your companion might say, or make it react to the standard ingame emotes like /wave.
“Mylune’s Champions” – Another addon which allows pets, companions and mounts come alive through emotes. This addon can also make your pet react to certain situations “Gorrka’s pet Grouuw notices her being close to death and rushes in, to attempt saving her. Grouuw growls loudly.”
Now your pet has a voice of it’s own. Remember to keep it realistic. People might react strange, if your pet starts talking, acting like a human or shows greater intelligence than your hunter.

Consider using your pet as a roleplaying tool. Feed it, give it water, train with it. If you are sad IC, perhaps you need to be comforted by your pet? If you are standing around idling, then your pet might begin to stray, sniffing people, begging for treats or similar?

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I hope this little post have given you some ideas on how to play with your pet in roleplay. Remember, there’s a lot of other ideas out there, so knock yourself out, create the personality you wish for, and have fun!

Finally, I only lack to wish you and your pet good luck in roleplay, I hope you’ll have as many fun moments as I have had with my huntress.

May your aim be accurate, and your bullets be plenty.

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