Hunter: The Reckoning was the flagship game of White Wolf's Year of the Reckoning. In Hunter, the player characters are imbued, chosen by mysterious powers to protect humanity against the monsters of the night.
The Main Idea
Hunters were explicitly ordinary people who faced a moment of crisis; in this moment, they briefly viewed the world as it really was - that monsters like Vampires, Werewolves and wizards existed and preyed on humanity. At that point, given the choice to flee or stand and fight, a Hunter chose to act, and was Imbued. The "action" could be anything: attack, defend, negotiate, evacuate innocents, or even simply resolve to act when they're better equipped to do so—anything but passivity or retreat.
Each Hunter came from one of nine creeds, each of which was an example of the three Imbued virtues: Mercy, Zeal, or Vision. Each creed had a distinct outlook on the world, ranging from exterminating monsters, to protecting communities, to redeeming monsters. The nature of that initial action taken at the moment of their imbuing determined their creed- a Hunter who made a martial choice, attack or defense, might come from a Zeal creed, whereas a Hunter who chose to evacuate or attempt to "talk him down" might come from a Mercy creed.
Unlike the other World of Darkness games, Hunter specifically emphasized the plebeian and ordinary elements of the characters. Players were encouraged to play ordinary joes who were suddenly thrust into a world gone horribly mad and with few resources. Many hunters are at least a little bit insane, and the more advanced they were in their virtues, the more distracted they became.
Hunters had several supernatural gifts from the Messengers, their mysterious sponsors: supernatural abilities in the form of Edges, the ability to understand the mysterious shared language of Hunter Code and the ability to recognize and withstand mind control and illusions from monsters.
- Main article: creed
The nine Hunter Creeds represented different outlooks and walks on life, as well as different military roles. Several supplements indicate that the Messengers intended the Imbued to serve as an army, but intentionally limited the Imbued in order to prevent the problems encountered with their predecessors (presumably the Solar Exalted).
- Innocents exemplify the Mercy virtue, their edges emphasize protection and defense, as well as control of light.
- Martyrs use their own pain as a weapon; Martyrs can focus pain and suffering into responses, both to heal and to harm monsters, and are willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause.
- Redeemers focus on the conscience and cursed nature of monsters, both by preventing them from attacking or otherwise indulging their habits and making them face their current state.
- Hermits are one of the lost Vision creeds. Hermits receive messages from the Messengers continuously, as well as information from other hunters. Originally intended as communication hubs for the Imbued, Hermits are almost totally unable to stay around other hunters because of the noise.
- Visionaries: Intended as the leaders or priests of the Imbued, Visionary edges allow them to see into the future and the past.
- Waywards are the death machines of the hunters, making Avengers look relatively sedate. Possessed of an even more full view of the world than Visionaries, Waywards focus on eliminating any and all monsters they encounter regardless of what is in their way.
- Avengers are the poster-boys for the Zeal virtue, and are the most offensively powerful of the creeds. Avengers are focused on a cause, that can easily lead to elimination and extermination of monsters.
- Defenders are focused on building and defending societies, and their edges emphasize protection, defense and reaction.
- Judges are the third Zeal creed, and are focused on the evaluation and judgement of monsters. Their edges focus on analysis and preventing monsters from using their powers.
In addition to these nine creeds, there is an unofficial ally group: the Bystander. Bystanders are people who went through the same process of calling that the Imbued did, but refused the call: these are the people who were given the choice, and refused to act—either stood by silently or fled to save their own skin. Bystanders don't have the abilities of Imbued, but are sympathetic to them and will usually seek to help.
Hunters are defined by the presence of 3 virtue tracks and a Conviction track. Hunter's virtue tracks are unique for being 10 point values; Hunters use Virtues to boost many die rolls, yielding considerably higher bonuses. Conviction is the energy of a Hunter's edges, and is used for a variety of purpose during game play.
Hunter supernatural abilities are called Edges, there is one set of edges for each creed, with edges being rated 1-5. A character purchases edges by spending virtue points, but must purchase edges with a creed linearly. A hunter can purchase edges outside of his creed. For example, a hunter with 6 zeal can buy the level 1, 2 and 3 edges of one creed, or buy the level 1 and 2 edges of two different creeds.
A Hunter with 10 Zeal may buy the 1, 2, 3, and 4 levels of one creed, but needs to perform a special task or request Storyteller intervention to earn a level 5 edge.