Noble hunters are, usually, casteless female dwarves who seek to improve their life and advance their social status in the rigidly defined caste system of Orzammar by seducing members of higher castes and siring children with them.
According to the Shaperate records which govern dwarven society, a child born to parents of different castes will inherit the caste of their same-sex parent. Once the child is born, the opposite-sex parent has the option to petition the Shaperate to change their caste to their partner's caste so as to care for the child, with the additional provision that any close relatives of the caste-changed may petition the Shaperate as well. Even though there is a slim margin of success (dwarven fertility rates are notoriously low, and if a child is born the same sex as the noble hunter the plan will backfire), this is an enticing gamble to dwarves of a lower caste looking to improve their status, and especially to Orzammar's casteless, who have little to lose. It is also enticing, and practical, for nobles as well. Given the attrition the dwarven people face from darkspawn attacks, nobles are expected to produce as many children as possible to provide soldiers in the dwarves' endless battle with the darkspawn. Noble hunters exploit this need. Beyond practicality, noblemen enjoy the status of having a beautiful and sophisticated noble hunter as a paramour as well, so the mutually beneficial system perpetuates itself.
In order to make themselves especially attractive, noble hunters undertake extensive training in elocution, singing, elven poetry, musical instruments such as the string-harp, and even gossip, and enjoy cosmetic enhancements such as gold-capped teeth, making them into the most educated and sophisticated of the casteless dwarves. Some casteless presumably set out to become noble hunters of their own accord but others, such as Rica from the Dwarf Commoner origin, are funded by a "patron" and thus groomed to make them more attractive to higher-caste dwarves. Should the gamble work, the patron can then claim to be immediate family, such as an uncle, of the noble hunter and can join the higher caste along with the rest of the noble hunter's family. Since the Shaperate does not keep records of casteless lineage, there is no record to dispute their claim.
While casteless dwarves are disdained by the higher castes, noble hunters, paradoxically, are looked upon with a certain respect by nobles, as they can provide children and thus more members to higher caste Houses. With dwarven birthrates dipping dangerously low, any plan to supply noble houses with more children is welcomed. In spite of this, it is unknown whether noble wives censure noble hunters or tolerate them as a necessary fact of life.
Known Noble Hunters Edit
- Elsye, mistress of Lord Rousten (mentioned as one of Beraht's other noble hunters in the Dwarf Commoner Origin)
- Noble hunters are known to play Diamondback, a card game. This can be heard discussed in party banter between Oghren and Alistair in Dragon Age: Origins.
- The male casteless who sired Zerlinda's child in the quest Zerlinda's Woe is the only known male hunter, though to call him a "noble" hunter would be inaccurate as Zerlinda's family is mining caste.
See also Edit
- ↑ This is noted in the Dwarf Commoner Origin by Rica, with the caveat that it is also necessary because the wives of noblemen cannot bear enough children on their own to meet the demand.
- ↑ As mentioned by Rica.
- ↑ When a noble hunter is raised up her entire family is brought with her to erase all traces of her casteless past, as noted by Rica.
- ↑ The scorn expressed by female noble NPCs in the Dwarf Noble Origin when speaking of the noble hunters Mardy and Teli would seem to indicate distaste.