GTM #269 - Hunter: The Reckoning
by Renegade Game Studios


 Hunter: The Reckoning cover art

The Hunt Is On!

Creating a Character in Hunter The Reckoning,coming soon to the 5th Edition Storyteller System

First introduced in 1999, Hunter: The Reckoning has now been brought up to date with Vampire: The Masquerade, both using the 5th edition of the Storyteller System. Unlike in Vampire: The Masquerade, where players take on the roles of immortal vampires, with access to supernatural powers and abilities, in Hunter: The Reckoning, you’re just a regular human. A regular human that glimpsed some of the horrors that roam our world, unseen by the majority of humanity, and is driven to fight them, but a regular human nonetheless.

Hunter: The Reckoning Introduction page

Vampires, shapeshifters, spirits, and more are all real. You’ve had an experience: one that’s changed the way you look at the world. Maybe you’re an EMT that arrived at the scene of a particularly horrific murder, and you realized that no weapon you’ve ever seen could make that kind of wound. Maybe you witnessed the disappearance of a childhood friend, and none of the official explanations match the shadowy figure you saw with your own eyes. Hunters can originate from any walk of life or circumstance, but their shared taste of the darkness draws them together. The titular “Reckoning” represents the struggle against the supernatural world you’ve discovered, although its specific connotations vary from hunter to hunter.

While there are certainly larger and powerful institutions fighting some of the same threats, like the FBI’s Special Affairs Division or the religiously affiliated Gladius Dei, Hunters stand apart from those organizations. Hunters often consider these institutions to have ulterior motives beyond simply dealing with the otherworldly threats or are used as cannon fodder by them. Thus, it’s common for Hunters to prefer the freedom of action granted to a small independent cell of Hunters to the bureaucracy and complication of the larger groups. 

Unknown Monster illustration

To create your Hunter, you start with a character concept. This is the elevator pitch for your character, such as “Homicide Detective turned monster-hunter” or “conspiracy theorist who discovered that vampires are running the city.” You’ll follow this concept up with their Ambition and Desire. Ambition is a longer-term but measurable goal, like “protect the homeless population of San Francisco.” Desire is a shorter-term motivator, usually selected on a per-session basis. Next comes the Touchstones. Hunters can tend to become consumed by the hunt, but most still maintain some contact with their prior life or at least a desire for that. Hunters’ Touchstones are always other humans, frequently acting as a constant reminder of what the Hunter is fighting for, such as their aging father, living on his own now, or the ex-wife that couldn’t deal with the Hunter’s new obsession but who they still keep watch over, protecting them from the horrors they face every day. 

Hunters have a Creed, a simple statement of their ultimate perspective, chosen from Entrepreneurial, Faithful, Inquisitive, Martial, and Underground. A Hunter of the Faithful creed, for example, may feel drawn to their work by a higher power, seeing themselves as an agent of light in a world of darkness. A Martial Hunter favors a more direct and violent approach. Some may even be former members of the military or special forces, using their training in a whole new way.

Hunter: The Reckoning Creed and Drive rules page

On the other hand, the Hunter’s Drive is their primary motivation. This could be Curiosity, Vengeance, Oath, Greed, Pride, Envy, or Atonement. The newspaper reporter going down a rabbit hole chasing a mysterious serial-killer may be driven by Curiosity, wondering what the monsters do, and why. A mob gunman that’s realized vampires are horning in on the city’s organized crime may be driven by their Greed, wanting to advance their own status as they take down the monsters. All of these parts of your character make for fantastic roleplaying and opportunities for a Storyteller to really weave a character into the narrative.

A Drive also allows the use of Desperation in some situations. In a particularly critical situation a Hunter could roll Desperation Dice (the number of which is tracked by the Hunter’s cell), which contribute successes and criticals like any other. However, if a 1 is rolled on any Desperation Dice, the Hunter is faced with a choice. They can keep the win, triggering Overreach, or fail, causing Despair. Overreach allows you to continue forward but increases the Danger by 1. This means that the higher the cell’s Desperation is, the more powerful their Drives can be. At the same time, the risks of Danger and Despair rise commensurately. Danger represents the awareness the cell’s enemies have of their activities. As Danger rises they may take additional steps to interfere with the cell, and many tests’ difficulties will increase. Despair, on the other hand, means the Hunter is unable to call upon their Drive to use Desperation dice until you’ve redeemed yourself. Just how you’ll need to do so depends on the Drive you’ve chosen!

Hunter illustration

Once you’ve selected your concept, Ambition, Desire, Creed, and Drive, it’s time to pick your attributes, representing your character’s raw potential. There are three categories of these: Physical, Social, and Mental, each with 3 attributes within. At creation these attributes will range between 1 and 4. 1 Dexterity means your character is a bit clumsy, while a score of 4 makes them able to move in ways usually reserved for professional acrobats!

While attributes are your raw potential, skills are the character’s learned knowledge and abilities. When assigning values to these, you first pick if your character is a Jack of all trades, Balanced, or a Specialist. While Specialists have one skill that they’re very, very good at, they’ll end up lacking significantly in several other areas. In addition, at character creation you get to pick one skill specialty, which represents an even stronger aptitude for that skill. Any roll to which that speciality applies gets an extra die!

Finally, we arrive at Advantages. These are Merits, Flaws, and Background, which provide both useful mechanical advantages as well as more opportunities to roleplay and bring your character to life. You’ll spend points to take these, providing either useful things, like knowing a local weapons dealer or being a great cook, or in the case of Flaws, disadvantages such as being weak-willed or having a reputation that draws too much attention. 

Hunter illustration

There you have it: your Hunter is almost ready to go out into the night and take the fight to the darkness! All you have left is finishing touches. What do they look like? Where do they live? Do they have a day job? Take some time to flesh out this character, and you’ll find ample payoff once you begin roleplaying as them. 

The monsters may be real, but you’re ready to do something about it. Hunter: The Reckoning is on shelves now at your friendly local game store, so grab your dice and get to work!