Hunter: The Reckoning
Hunter: The Reckoning cover
|Designer(s)||Mark Rein·Hagen, Andrew Bates, Phil Brucato, Ken Cliffe, Greg Fountain, Ed Hall, Jess Heinig, Michael Lee, Richard Thomas, Mike Tinney, Stewart Wieck|
|Publication date||November 1, 1999|
Hunter: The Reckoning is a role-playing game based in White Wolf Game Studio's World of Darkness. Compared to the other game in the franchise, Hunter does not explore the secret society of supernatural creatures founded over centuries, preferring to throw the player in a world of danger and mysteries. Players will take on the roles of hunters (or Imbued)—humans who are given powers by unknown entities to fight the supernatural. Those people will normally proceed to hunt down and take care of monsters, be it by killing them, cutting deals or leading them toward redemption. The Messengers will stay in the background and let their Imbued figure out what to do with their newly acquired powers.
The game states that hunters are really new to the World of Darkness, causing them to be unorganized and uninformed. In a classic game, they will form a team of mismatched protagonists arguing on how to attack or deal with monsters. They will try to keep a semblance of normal life, giving the player the opportunity to explore the troubles of living a double life. They will also have to try to figure out what being a monster really means and what being human is, as they meet humans worse than monsters and genuinely kind monsters.
The game is best played by gamers new to the World of Darkness as metagaming can interfere greatly in the experience. For example, the Imbued might think all supernatural creatures are on the same team, which is false in World of Darkness canon. Of course, a player can simulate ignorance or the storyteller (the game master) can alter as many details to create a new personal World of Darkness for the players.
Note that there have been groups of "hunters" prior to the Imbued that appeared in previous games and game supplements as antagonists. These groups however are very different from the Imbued. These "mortal hunters" were either normal people trying to fight against the monsters, ancient orders (such as the Shi or the Society of Leopold/Inquisition) that have protected humanity for centuries, or government agencies (Project Twilight and Strike Force Zero) that were equivalent to the X-Files with high-tech monster hunting gear.
White Wolf used 1999's yearly event, the Year of the Reckoning, to launch their next RPG line; Hunter: The Reckoning (1999), the sixth modern World of Darkness game, allowed players to take on the role of humans in the World of Darkness.:224 World of Darkness: Time of Judgment (2004) ended the Changeling, Demon, Hunter, Kindred of the East, and Mummy lines.:228 By the time the New World of Darkness' sixth RPG, Hunter: The Vigil (2008), came out, the "Storytelling Adventure System" (SAS) program was active; while Hunter's short-run line only received four print books in 2008, it was supplemented by numerous PDFs, including about a half-dozen adventures.:229
A Hunter's life is fraught with danger. The "bliss of ignorance" has been taken from them and the existence of supernatural manipulation of humanity cannot be ignored. However, the Hunter cannot simply reveal this knowledge to mundane authorities since they will be branded as unstable and insane. Supernatural forces control many human media, law enforcement, and government agencies; any attempt to reveal the existence of these forces would result in the supernatural manipulators using those connections to paint the Imbued as crazy and dangerous, and to dispose of Imbued who snoop in their affairs and try to impede their control.
Hunters wage a desperate, clandestine war against the inhuman, ageless forces that manipulate mankind. They see their task as taking back the night from bloodsuckers, ravaging beasts, vengeful spirits and manipulative sorcerers. The Imbued must face mankind's worst fears made real in the most deadly game of the Hunt in order to fulfill the task they have set before them to "Inherit the Earth".
The Hunter: The Reckoning storyline, along with those of Demon: the Fallen, Changeling: The Dreaming, Kindred of the East and Mummy: The Resurrection, was ended in the World of Darkness: Time of Judgment supplement as White Wolf stopped its whole World of Darkness line. As a minor product line, it received comparatively little attention in the whole Time of Judgment setting, which left many of the series' fans unsatisfied.
The Imbued are relatively new to the World of Darkness and, unlike Kindred or Garou, have little in the way of a coherent society of Hunters. The closest thing to a social organization for Hunters is "Hunter-Net," described later. Although Hunters are generally unaware of the labels, a Hunter is defined by their Creed. Additionally, Creeds are grouped by a primary Virtue that engenders the Creeds. A Hunter's creed is chosen at the imbuing directly related to their actions. Hunters creeds and powers are given for a reason. You will not find any pacifist Avengers.
Virtues & Creeds
The ways of hunters differ radically according to the personality and the type of imbued. They develop a strong tendency of how to deal with monsters and how to protect humanity. This leads to three main virtues a hunter may follow in an active, an assessing and a passive way.
Those hunters that tend to show compassion towards creatures of the dark, and attempt to persuade the dark supernatural forces to turn to light, follow one of the Mercy Creeds. The Mercy Creeds are:
- Martyrs: Those who sacrifice their all for their cause.
- Redeemers: Those who wish to bring the monsters back into the light.
- Innocents: Those who refuse to prejudge the supernatural.
Those hunters that are unforgiving and dogmatic in their belief that humanity is meant to "Inherit the Earth", and that the dark supernatural forces are arrayed against this manifest destiny of mankind, tend to be one of the Zeal Creeds. The tendency of these hunters to be warriors/soldiers among a group of Hunters gives these Creeds the stereotype as brute "zombie-killers." These Hunters do the dirty work out of a passion few humans may understand.
- Avengers: Those who seek revenge for the harm done by creatures of the dark.
- Judges: Those who mete out punishment based on how monstrous the creatures have acted.
- Defenders: Those who safeguard and protect the innocent from the darkness.
Understanding and information gathering are the primary gifts of these Creeds. Originally charged to lead the Imbued in their war against the unnatural powers of the world, the Visionary Creeds consist of one viable Creed and two "Lost Creeds." In theory, these "Lost Creeds" consist of people who were granted too much insight for the mortal mind to handle and have ended up either deranged or overly violent due to this Calling. However, there is some implication throughout the different source books that these "Lost Creeds", specifically Waywards, ended up precisely how the Messengers wanted them.
- Visionaries: Those who seek to understand the greater meaning behind the imbuing and the existence of the supernatural.
- Waywards: Lost Creed. Imbued who have become overly violent towards the dark. Many Waywards suffer from some sort of mental derangement. They should have been the strategists and tacticians of the Imbued; however, Waywards cannot turn the benefits of second-sight off, and are subject to supernatural visions at any time. This tends to cause extreme mental trauma. Though some Waywards can handle this mental strain, the constant reminder of the supernatural can, and sometimes does, turn some Waywards into psychotic killers. Because of either psychosis or Calling-inflicted violent rage, Waywards often see only the need to destroy the enemy, and are known to cause large amounts of collateral damage in the completion of this task.
- Hermits: Lost Creed. Imbued who receive psychic static near other Hunters and supernaturals. They should have been the intelligence gatherers for the Imbued, receiving information directly from the Messengers. The unfortunate side effect of Hermit's powers result in debilitating social anxiety around any form of the supernatural.
Hunters communicate via a forum network called "Hunter-net" which is located at the fictional website www.hunter-net.org. Though the site is relatively secure at least one instance of a supernatural being infiltrating Hunter-net has been recorded. It was maintained by an Imbued called Witness1, and other Imbued who maintain and add data to it included Bookworm55, Doctor119, and the infamous God45. When taking a screen name on Hunter-net one takes a word to describe oneself and then a number signifying what order they joined in—by this Doctor119 is a Hunter who has decided to describe himself as a doctor and is the 119th person to sign in.
Throughout the path of what is now known as the "Old World of Darkness" (as opposed to the New World of Darkness, the current incarnation of which is called Hunter: The Vigil), the original Hunter-Net was dismantled and broken. Witness1, the proprietor of the site, deleted a number of accounts on the original H-Net, but claimed that someone or something else had hacked his account. A new Hunter-Net was built, but it hardly had the following of the original.
Many subsets of the site sprung up around Hunter-net, founded by specific hunter creeds. One of the most notable is the Firelight mailing list located on the first page of the Creedbook Avenger.
The Dark Ages time setting closest equivalent to Hunter: The Reckoning is Dark Ages: Inquisitor. The reason for this is probably the fact that the Imbued did not exist until the Final Nights time period in the World of Darkness. Despite the similar nature of the two games, Inquisitors tend play at a significantly greater powerful level than Hunters.
The following novels were released by White Wolf:
- Inherit the Earth (WW11903)
- Predator & Prey #1: Vampire (WW11700)
- Predator & Prey #2: Judge (WW11701)
- Predator & Prey #3: Werewolf (WW11702)
- Predator & Prey #4: Jury (WW11703)
- Predator & Prey #5: Mage (WW11704)
- Predator & Prey #6: Executioner (WW11705)
A film adaptation based on the above video games was announced for release in 2007. The movie was originally planned as a simple videogame-to-movie adaptation, but writer Drew Daywalt confirmed that the writers worked with White Wolf in order to create a new, darker story, more in the spirit of the RPG. Uwe Boll was, for a time, attached to direct the film, a fact that further displeased fans of the game, given the negative opinions and reviews of his previous game-to-movie films.
- "Darker Days Radio Episode #22". Darker Days Podcast. February 23, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-26. Old World of Darkness game overviews.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- Darker Days Radio Episode #9. "Chuck Wendig Interview". Darker Days Podcast. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
- Movies Online. "Uwe Boll's Hunter The Reckoning". Archived from the original on 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2012-02-26.