Noble hunter is the title applied to 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. Most noble hunters are female and part of the casteless. The group's somewhat derogatory name derives from the fact that noble hunters are typically pursuing members of the noble caste.
The dwarven caste system operates upon the principle that dwarves inherit their caste from their same-sex parent. In practice this means that if a woman is married to a man of a different caste, her son would be the same caste as his father while the daughter will inherit her mother's caste. In such cases, however, the family would normally live in the house of the parent who belongs to a higher caste. Due to this system, as well as because dwarves have a low fertility rate, the noble hunters are a valuable asset to the dwindling dwarven society. 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. Few casteless presumably set out to become noble hunters of their own accord but most are funded by a "patron" and thus groomed to make them more attractive to higher-caste dwarves. They are even taught how to play Diamondback, a card game. Considering that the nobles rarely set foot outside of the Diamond Quarter, noble hunters have to use bribery in order to enter this district, a practice which is well-known but ignored by the rest of society; however the bribes are costly, so usually only noble hunters with patrons can afford it. Should the gamble work, the noble hunter becomes a concubine, an official member of the higher caste's household so long as the child lives. The noble hunter's immediate family would then also join the household. The patron of a casteless noble hunter can also claim to be immediate family, such as an uncle, and can join the house of the higher-caste dwarf along with the rest of the noble hunter's family, since the Shaperate does not keep lineage records of the casteless to contradict this 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
- This is noted by Rica Brosca, 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 Brosca.
- Mentioned in conversation between Oghren and Alistair.
- Beraht in the Dwarf Commoner Origin bribes guards with gambling, women, and surface delicacies.
- According to Rica Brosca.
- 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.
- Mentioned as one of Beraht's other noble hunters in the Dwarf Commoner Origin.