The Haunters in the Dark Places - a possible missing link Species in The True Dark Ages | World Anvil

The Haunters in the Dark Places - a possible missing link

The Haunters in the Dark Places is a legend in many parts of the known world. These creatures appear as a possible extinct hominid species. They appear between 5feet to 6 feet tall, using rudimentary weapons, and some scavenged from kills.    As a species they live in many out of the way places, generally in forests & mountainous regions, usually in colder climates with plenty of vegetation. Each lives in small bands or family groups usually with a number of different age ranges. Most are capable of great strength, and they have mastered the use of tools & fire., though rarely wear armour or much clothing. They seem adapted to the lifestyle of a roving band going where food is plentiful. Also, they have a tendency of living in remote locations where it is hard for others to transverse, and the darker the better to hide in.   Rarely seen by anyone if ever, they would not be above killing or eating other sentient life. Stories abound of people entering dark forests or a mountainous gulley, and being surprised by a family group who suddenly attacks & kills them. Their remains, if any, are them spread out over a wide range in the area, or thrown on a trash pile with anything of interest or edible took.   Known for blending in well with shadows the Haunters can be surprisingly stealthy, ambushing others. They also live in basic skin tents, caves, and / or camps made of tree branches & shrubs. When they mourn their dead they usually practise a form of cannibalistic veneration, eating a part of the deceased to keep their spirits mingled together.   Many of the bands are usually made up of blood relatives, and they rarely mingle or share ideas between each other. Occasionally they do take a mate from a separate group, and will trade if there is something they need. This does not mean that they will trade, at least if there are other options, with other hominids. A rare few cases they do, and take in the odd straggler from other sapient species. It is more common for this to happen if they encounter young children with no other caregiver present.   The cannibalism many of them show is seen as taboo by many societies, and since they do not reliably mix with other species, as well as their notoriously aggressive survival instincts, many other species leave them when found. It has also led to many folkloric tales saying they are demons & devils in humanlike shapes sent to terrorise people. That they are eaters of the dead, and actively hunt others when other prey is nearby. A regular motif in the folklore is that they are mutated humans from the Shadowfell sent to hide in the most desolate dark forests & mountains to stop others from invading these pristine regions.

Basic Information


They appear to have reddish eyes, dark skin & bodies covered in black hair. Most appear with aggressive expressions when encountered and halfway between human and other great apes. Each generally has a barrel-chested brute with legs slightly shorter than their arms that appear slightly longer than normal. Each are well built and can easily tear all but a Dwarf or Half-Orc apart. Usual size is between 5 to 6 feet tall with females slightly shorter. Other than that they appear very human-like in their anatomical layout, and appear to be able ti interbreed with humans.

Dietary Needs and Habits

They seem to rely almost exclusively on meat from scavenged & hunted prey, with whatever plant material they can gather on the move.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Led by the strongest fittest male of the group, usually with is female mate.

Facial characteristics

Large reddish eyes, pug nose, aggressive looking snarl regularly on face

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Found throughout Europe and Asia in small pockets.

Average Intelligence

About as intelligent as any other hominid.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Being what appears to be a hominid, they have the same basic sensory organs as humans, with slightly better hearing.
"I seen a tribe of them once. In the Bohemian Massif, travelling along an old near overgrown path. Unless you looked carefully and didn't startle them, you can watch them & not be bothered. Plenty of food there, so no chance of them looking to scrape the flesh of your bones to eat. Old & young there were too. Walking as quiet as a mouse, the lot of 'em. And their colourings, if they didn't cover parts of themselves in some pigments you'd be lucky to spot them, even up close. None of them that tall, yet muscular, and dangerous looking, as if always looking a fight. A few of the younger ones dared to smile, and the yattering they call a language. Sounded so primitive and deep down, primal, as if we once spoke that or heard it in our primitive past. A few I noticed collected berries from edible plants, passing them out to the others.   It looked as though one were injured. Likely a bear by the looks of things, yet they helped their injured family member. Rough patches covered it's wounds, and a broken arm was crudely covered. The females and one adult male tended to him regularly, trying to talk in a soothing voice to him. Never in my life I thought such a bestial mockery of man could be so tender to another.   I stayed my hand & posture, knowing that they are easy to anger, and as quickly as I'd seen them appear, they had disappeared again into the gloom of the forest canopy. With their colouration & the sounds they make, they could have been anywhere around us and attacked us from any angle."   Titus Alfheimr. Woods man scout of the Wein Lumbar Traders.
"Scary I tell ya, an attack by the Haunters in the Dark Places. There's usually sins of their encampments & such when your in the deep forests. That's all & good, except when these are empty. Next thing your in the deep dark primeval part of the forest itself, and they seem to spring outta nowhere. Killed have the guards, and half the woodsmen before we even knew it. All while using primitive weapons., mind you. Still lethal.   The rest of us ran. Got back to camp & raised help. We wanted those 'things' dead, and our friends remains back.   What happened next was a bit of a shock. Going into the deep forest again, we found the area the Haunters were using again. And our dead friends. Almost all had been stripped, and were at different stages of being butchered. Some parts were even being cooked at that point. All we could hear at that point was the natural noises of the forest at that stage too. Next thing a spear was thrust into the back of one the men with us. All we heard was his screaming, and nothing else. These bastards made no noise whatsoever, and seeing them? Couldn't, just couldn't. Whatever it is about them, they seem almost invisible in there, both visually and aurally, Couldn't hear them move, couldn't hear them breathe, couldn't even smell them either. Took out another, and then another, and then another. Got to the point we just went bugger this. And we fled again.   Never went back to that job. Too much bad memories & nightmares about that incident. Got a job with the lumber mills instead. Safer as you can tell the dangerous parts straight off. And nothing there is gonna butcher, cook, or eat ya either. And less of the chanting too that followed us out. Still gives me chills that, the sound those Haunters made, like chanting a name: Shub-Niggurath."   Alestair de Pardue, ex woodsman now living in Wein.
Scientific Name
Homo Neanderthalis Huntis
Homo Neanderthals
50 to 60 years
Average Height
5 to 6 feet tall.
Average Weight
100 to 150 lbs
Average Physique
Densely muscled.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Dark skinned, and black hair covering large parts of the body
Geographic Distribution


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