Hunter: The Vigil Initial Thoughts

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Aug 262008

I got lucky and picked up the last copy of Hunter: The Vigil at my FLGS and I’m not disappointed.
The folks at White Wolf did a great job on this one. I know initially everyone was saying that there wasn’t a need for Hunter because the core book and its supplements focused around mortals but this book adds a few tricks to help even the playing field. First, Hunters are all about skills and merits. The two best mechanics are the Professions which give an extra free Skill Specialization plus a few additional benefits on the side. Then there’s Tactics. A simple Merit that grants the entire team various bonuses. Another great mechanic is the Practical Experience. This is pretty simple. It’s pretty much like normal XP but you can also burn to get that precious Willpower. And speaking of Willpower, Hunters also get the neat little trick of “Risking it All”. You burn the WP point, if things go well you get it back plus another but if you fail, you fail horribly.
It may sound like the above mentioned things are great but it gets better. They went ahead and did generic stats and abilities for monsters making it a stand alone product. So if you’re Vampire hunting, the GM doesn’t need to shell for the Vampire book. But (in my opinion) the very best thing they added was Tiers of Play. The designers at White Wolf realized that not everybody will play Hunter the same way, so there three Tiers. Tier One is just a lone cells fighting against the darkness. No special munchkin like tricks or special gadgets. Then there’s Tier Two. Compacts are loose organizations. The easiest example is the TV series Supernatural and the network of demon hunters (speaking of Demons, they added them as antagonists for Hunter). White Wolf even added a compact called The Union which is a network of blue color monster hunters just like Supernatural. Finally, Tier Three are the Conspiracies. These are the guys with nifty supernatural powers, massive amounts of wealth and nifty high tech gear. GM’s are free to make their campaign whatever Tier they want because the Tiers aren’t really hard wired into the game like the Orders in Mage or Clans in Vampire etc.
Overall, it’s good as a stand alone game for standard World of Darkness but it also has a tool kit approach to let groups make a campaigns at the power level they want. Definitely a good buy and a great addition to your WoD campaigns.