okay, now this is more like it-- this is something i can use. i didn't like last year's changeling: the lost for a bunch of reasons, & i really did like promethean: the created from the year before that-- in fact, promethean is really the reason i started paying attention to the "new world of darkness" books. i hadn't even really glanced through vampire when it was reinvented from ...the masquerade into requiem. now i'm a storyteller adventure system guy! hunter lies somewhere between these two, but with an important added perk-- in fact, a crucial feature. it is useful.
okay, gone are any overtones from the previous hunter. as well they should be. there isn't any more "then poof one day you get superpowers" & i'm glad about it. not to hate on the old game-- it was more nuanced than that? but didn't "pop" for me. in fact, there isn't really a hunter "template" even, though there sort of is. nope, hunters are people...mostly. because what the book does have is "endowments" which are supernatural merits. sure, hunters have some thing that they can do with willpower (an interesting rule but i'm not sure how i'd use it) & a profession or whatever, but really? they are guys. guys who might have some "powers" merits, though. which is good! i'm pleased about that-- in fact, that is sort of the direction my storyteller system fantasy game is naturally taking.
let me give a quick rundown on the clubs of the game-- ashwood abbey is an okay bunch of thrillseekers; they aren't magic or anything. the long night is a church youth group, basically-- but! at least they are all about this being the tribulation. good. they should be. they don't have powers either. loyalists of thule? basically post-nazi (as in, embarassed by the nazi thing) occult guys. also, not supernatural. network zero! a bunch of internet video nerds who also lack powers. null mysterius are scientists, debunkers, & at least the game doesn't punk the scientists for once, you know? they're not a laughingstock. again, not a group with powers. the union are the blue collar working joes! i'm not really sure how they stick together? still, these guys are great. no powers-- they call not having powers a "compact" & they are what make up the so-called "second-tier." first-tier are a couple of idiots with baseball bats, second-tier are a whole bunch of people with shotguns or whatever. right?
third-tier are what they call "conspiracies." alright, i'm down with the hunter conspiracies, bring it on, guys. they are also the folks with the supernatural merits. merits-- at book expo...wait, no, at comicon, i don't think white wolf was at bookexpo. anyhow, at comicon i asked the white wolf folks if hunter would be set up in the five dot, x5/x7 powers build & they were all coy about it. merits, that is why. anyhow, lets get to it. aegis kai doru are great. they are basically the ecstatic mystical tradition that collects all the magic items. they are great! they make dudes go into labyrinths & take drugs. initiation rites are the best. then they give them like, a cursed winchester, or a piece of the hope diamond, or whatever. the ascending ones are the north-african slash middle eastern alchemists. they are the drug dealing magic potion makers. i think the unexplored character type here is the early 1900s era super-man. miracle pills! haha the cheiron group are the monster-harvesting corporate types. at last! wolfram & hart guys! i was looking for you, pentex! they'll cut off a vampire's hand & graft it onto your stump, man! they could remove your eyes & replace them with faerie eyes, too. plus, great retirement options that you'll never get to enjoy. the lucifuge have a styling name (i've always had a fondness for mister rofocale) & are all "i'm the son of satan!" but with the catholic guilt to want to fight against it. i like these guys! all johnny blaze & whatever. they gets some general "demon-ness" powers if you want 'em. oh boy it's the malleus maleficarum! i guess you need these guys & also those other guys, the long night? yeah, they are different enough. catholic witchhunters. they have some kind of "saint magic." whatever. oh i also don't really like taskforce: VALKYRIE, who are the goverment black ops monster hunters. mostly the are the wrong kind of "men in black." they aren't so much "men in black" as men in black starring will smith & tommy lee jones. all hypertech guns & whatever. i miss you, new world order!
i mentioned useful? it is to me, like plenty. changeling wasn't so much-- not very nuts-&-bolts. there were some "magic items" i could spread around, but that is it. this guy though, hey! endowments are supernatural merits, as i mentioned, which means me? who is running something with the world of darkness math but not the world of darkness setting, well. i can do things with it. i can rename "etheric goggles" into "the eye of udjat the king" or whatever i'd actually name it, & i'm good to go. so that is a big plus in this book's column. get some use, baby! oh man, i'm getting slaphappy.
downsides. well. i don't like some of the optional rules? like the changing of "morality" to "code." i respect that they made it optional though. i'm fine with the inclusion of it, so it isn't...much of a downside, actually. i haven't had a chance to playtest the merit creation system, but i'm sure i will. nice to have transparent guidelines! oh, this isn't really turning into much of a downside discussion, is it? you know, they game is very good at being compartmentalized. you can cherry pick, create, ignore. makes it hard to get annoyed at anything-- if you don't like it, don't use it. there is maybe too much fiction in it. i really like the fiction inserts, but i think this goes on a little much. oh, & some of the layout isn't ideal, but then, it isn't as badly scattered as changeling. didn't changeling win an ennie for design or something? i don't know how; the rules are in no way centralized or even really organized. hunter does have "tactics," or as i like to think of them "extra math for video game players." i came her to get away from counting beans!
oh i remember what my complaint is now! sorry, i'm doing six different things at once. my big problem is that you can't make buffy summers out of these rules! i wanted there to be an optional class, maybe in the back, like the centimanni was in promethean. the supernatural hunter. the slayer! & there isn't anything for that. shame on you! i really like her as a concept, & i've occasionally been of mind to make her being a new archetype a pet project. the final girl strikes back! you know. i want slayer in the ranks with vampire, & werewolf, & frankenstein, & everybody. everybody, even fishman!