One last thing

July 15, 2008 at 10:55 pm
filed under Roleplaying
Tagged ,

On the topic of Hunter: the Vigil, I will almost certainly buy it. I’m caught up with the previews, and I like what I’ve read so far. This is mainly because so far, they appear to be utterly mundane.

Tangent again: the old Hunter game

I had mixed feelings on the old Hunter: the Reckoning. My ideal image of hunters was something out of the Book of Nasty’s Dirty Tricks. Hunters are utterly ruthless, extremely resourceful, and in terms of sanity, barely hanging on. These were the only reasons they were at all effective or alive. I’m trying to think of another milieu to draw on to explain this, and I’m failing.

At any rate, Hunter: the Reckoning threw in an element of the supernatural, and I didn’t particularly care for it. I didn’t think a good hunter game needed the supernatural to be interesting, and in some ways, it detracted from what hunters were by, in one way, making them just like the other supernaturals out there.

That was then and this is now

The new World of Darkness mortals book is (was?) basically the Hunter game I always wanted. You’re a regular person, there’s all kinds of weird shit out there, and you don’t have any magic powers.

I wasn’t terribly excited when I heard they were doing a new Hunter game. I assumed it was going to be a different kind of supernatural power. I could think of a few directions in which they could take it but they weren’t very hunter-y, in my mind, except in the strictest sense of the word.

Was I curious, though? Hell yes. Freelancers who worked on it, folks whose work I’d read in various other new World of Darkness books, said “trust us.” All right, fine. I set aside my misgivings, and somewhere along the line, D&D 4th Edition came along and snapped up my enthusiasm and attention.


What stands out for me about the new Hunter is that hunters don’t have magical powers. What do they have instead? Tactics. They really are just what they sound like: group tactics that have special mechanical effects. Players don’t appear to choose a few powers from various sets. The group picks a Tactic, and that’s something that augments their mundane abilities, but supernatural it ain’t.

Mechanically, a Tactic involves everyone in the hunter cell rolling, which adds to the primary actor’s dice pool. Then the primary actor rolls and his or her success determines whether or not the Tactic works.

The example Tactic is effectively a pep talk called Moral Support, where the cell steels itself for the coming fight. The mechanical effect is that it increases their resistance versus mental influence and compulsions. The story effect is that they’re fucking hardasses that can potentially shrug off Dominate or Mind effects.

Another example is Controlled Immolation. I’m not sure how to read the mechanics, and I’m not that interested in the ins and outs at this point. (The new World of Darkness has some fun mechanics but that’s not what I’m here for.) The story effect it is that you and your cell roll up and burn some fucker.

Granted, it’s not as much of a departure as one might think, if only because it’s still something Hunters get that’s special. Of course, otherwise it would just be a supplement, not a core with five or six book run.

It is a departure in the sense that it’s a group thing and it’s not supernatural. Somebody who catches your cell using Moral Support isn’t going to freak out any more than they normally would hearing people preparing to fuck some shit up. Controlled Immolation is scary, violent, and illegal, to be sure, but nobody’s going to accuse you of being a witch or whatever because you lit some dude on fire.

I think this is a neat idea, and that’s all I have for now.

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