Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Huntress
- The Faerie Queen to Kaede
A fairy-tale retold. Warring Fae Queens. A world plunged into an endless, lightless winter. Two powerful (even if they don't know it yet) female leads. Romance. Betrayal. World changing events? It's like author Malinda Lo was reading my Christmas list!
But seriously. Huntress is a prequel to Lo's fantastic Ash, a retelling of the Cinderella story. In this case we learn of the history of the King's Huntress and how she came to be. Though Kaede is not the Huntress of Ash, not is she a Huntress yet, but it is no spoiler that she will be. If she survives this tale first.
The story focuses on two 17 year girls, Kaede and Taisin. Both are in the academy of sages. Kaede is from a well to do family, her father is the Chancellor to the King. She is not a great student and really has no magical talent to speak of. She is good at throwing knives and picks up the bow through out this tale. Her father wants to marry her off to a Lord in the south to strengthen ties, but Kaede, who prefers other girls, wants nothing to do with that. In truth, she wouldn't want it if her father offered to marry her off to a noble Lady either. Taisin, on the other hand, is from a poorer family, but she already has the Sight and is capable of other magics. It is Taisin's vision and an invitation from the Faerie Queen that bring them together and place them on the road north to Taninli, City of the Sidhe.
The world is currently into its third year of a seemingly endless winter; or rather the summers are poor, there is no light and things are getting worse.
Kaede, Taisin along with the Prince and some his guards must brave to road to the Faerie Queen's land to find out what is going on and how to stop it.
We also must learn what Taisin's visions of Kaede mean and if there is anything she can do to change them.
Like I said, this book is overflowing with the things I love. Long time readers here will immediately see the parallels between this story and my own "Come Endless Darkness" campaign here. There are lots of really, really good ideas for my games from this book.
Are their witches? Of course there are! One could consider Taisin a witch. That label certainly fits her better than "Wizard" or "Oracle". There are also named Green Witches in the form of Mona later in the book. Also, Ash tells us of a Green Witch that cast spells to protect the Huntress. If this is a prequel to Ash, then how do we know that the Green Witch so mentioned wasn't Taisin herself?
If I extend the concept a bit further the idea of a Huntress is similar enough to my Witch Guardians in practice, if not form. Malinda Lo is drawing on some deep mythological concepts here and breathing new life into them. It's one of the reasons I could not put this book down.
In fact, I could not but help think back to the otherwise dreadful "Snow White and the Huntsman" and wonder how a "Snow White and the Huntress" would fare in Ms. Lo's more than capable hands.
Using this Story in a Game
Without giving too much away the line of Huntresses starts here. The Huntress would be charged with protecting the lands between the human and sidhe worlds.
Books Read so far: 6
Witches in this book: Taisin, Mona and the Faerie Queens.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Everyone does good as they see it, even if it doesn't look that way to others.
Best RPG to Emulate it: Any form of D&D will do. Must have a good witch class and a Feywild.
Use in WotWQ: So many ideas. First and foremost there is the obvious ideas for "Come Endless Darkness", the effects on the people and the land. For War of the Witch Queens there is the answer of why my Witch Queens would want to involve mortals in their affairs. Easy, they can't act directly against each other.
Personally, I would be shocked if Kaede didn't make a guest appearance in my games someday. In Pathfinder she would easily be dual classed witch/ranger. She started out as a witch (or maybe a cleric, oracle or something) and then became a Ranger.
In Blue Rose she would start out as an Adept and then move on to Warrior/Expert.
In fact, I think she might have to appear with an army of Sidhe warriors just in time to save the characters from undead before they get into Death's Ride. If I do 5e, then she would have the Sage background, one or two levels of wizard (with limited spell choice) and maybe 13 levels of Ranger. OR this would give me a good excuse to try out an Oath of the Ancients Paladin or the new Hexblade Warlock for 5e.