The Townspeople of Innistrad
I'm rather fond of the denizens of Innistrad, even if they are at the bottom of the foodchain. The intended prey of the zombies, werewolves, demons, and specially the vampires. Being individually weaker than these predators, humans find safety in numbers.
Unruly the mob may be but there has to be some kind of order governing the towns. The card Village Bell Ringer depicts one kind of early warning system.
Another way humans cope with the dangerous environs of Innistrad is by augmenting themselves with equipment.
The most common implements are those that could be found on hand.
Some villagers also have proper weapons.
The Traveler's Amulet is a defensive ward.
And here we come to a type of magical equipment that townspeople can use.
The Mask of Avacyn - I'm sure there only is just one - is an example a rare piece of equipment unlikely to be owned but certainly avialable for ownership by townspeople. This talisman-like object acts as a ward to magic spells and has the added benefit of making a wearer both tougher and stronger. This is a good example of a premium piece of equipment.
Let's take a closer look at the townspeople themselves.
Here is somebody being referred to as a doomed traveler.
How is he going to die? Is he going to be attacked? Or fall into a ravine or get stuck in a bog? Is he going to die or will future see him wandering as a werewolf or vampire? We don't know. I like the foreboding surrounding him signalled by his unnatural shadow.
Doomed Traveler showcases the danger of wandering around on your own in Innistrad. Again, it makes sense to always do things as a group, specially travel, as the Caravan Vigil card shows.
Notice the sigil of Avacyn in the upper left of the Caravan Vigil card. It is echoed by the similarly shaped laurel leaf arrrangement in Elder of Laurels.
The protective power of Avacyn is real and was in fact made for the townspeople of Innistrad. In spite of that, Innistrad travel remains an 'exciting' prospect, as the Feeling of Dread card shows.
For some people it is all just too much.
Amulets, sigils, lucky leaves? All well and good but the people of Innistrad also have a martial aspect within their ranks. Learning how to fight is essential for survival and as Mentor of the Meek shows, they do have teachers for such skills.
The end result are people like Hamlet Captain and Mausoleum Guard.
A humanity united against dark forces from outside. It's a very neat image that doesn't quite hold up. The townspeople have some rather questionable people inside too. Rage Thrower strikes me as a particularly loose cannon that could just as easily harm as help.
Things get much worst with this card.
Oboy, cannibals walk among the people of Innistrad.
Kessig Cagebreakers is a very nuanced card that I find particularly interesting in terms of waht it says about the townspeople.
At first I did not know what this card was about. A bunch of people about to break out a wolf - why would they do that? It turns out they are doing that becauae they think that the town is being attacked by werewolves because of the caged wolves. It's fear that motivates these people, it is fear that drives inexplicable behavior.
Of course, the werewolves are not attacking the town because of the caged wolves. The werewolves are attacking because they are not in control of themselves - cursed by their particular brand of madness.