View Full Version : Hunter: Idaho

2010-07-11, 05:19 PM
Hello, everyone. New forum member here, sharing some of my work with you. I am a player of Hunter: The Vigil and I have enjoyed it for some time.

However, as the years progressed and expansions came out, I noticed there was a very strong focus on large cities. Places like Philly and other metropolitan areas.

This is good and fine, of course. Cities present a good atmosphere for the kind of game Hunter represents. However, if the World of Darkness has cities like LA just as we do, then the WoD must also have rural states - just as we do.

I live in one, and I was wondering how the game would differ in a setting based in a rural state, rather than a metropolitan city. How would the atmosphere differ? How could you present it and keep a similar feel and make it seem like it is the same setting?

As a result, I've begun work on what will more or less be a "book" about campaigns in rural Idaho, done similarly in format to Block by Bloody Block, presenting various territories, at least two conspiracies, and some maps and tips for playing in my home state of Idaho. Of course, much of what will be presented in this book will be useful for any rural game - either as a primary setting or for oneshot campaigns.

This is still in a fairly early state, but I do have some material I would like to present here as a sort of preview.

The first bit is a blurb that will be part of the introduction to the book, and the second is a conspiracy called The Silver Hammer, based in the fictional town of Blue Mountain Idaho.

Constructive criticism is not only welcomed; it's relished. Please keep in mind though that real world fact-checking on this article is in an early state. If you see some fact in the material below presented that is incorrect, please tell me.

Now without further ado, here is my preview of Hunter: Idaho.

Hunter: Idaho

In the urban jungle, people have to deal with being alone in a crowd of people. There's people everywhere, but blind to the darkness living around them. Among so many, it's easy to ignore problems, push them down, or back, and forget they exist. It's someone else's problem – not mine. It's not my business.

When hunters start out in a city, they're alone among a mass of humanity. A light of knowledge and courage in a world of darkened, ignorant people.

In comparison, people in a rural community don't have secrets. When you're in a small town, if someone sneezes, you know it. When someone cheats on their wife – it's the talk of the town next week if anyone knows it. And when monsters creep out of the wilderness surrounding them, everyone knows it.

People in rural communities are often considered hicks. Ignorant fools living out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing and living with nothing but a dirty, hardscrabble life.

What they really are isn't that different from the city though. When a small town meets a monster, or some terrible thing out in the wilderness, they shuffle closer together. They don't go out on expeditions. They huddle in with one another and try to forget. When they try hard enough, sometimes those things slink in and take over – and the town falls to the darkness.

The people know it. They just pretend they don't. When their daughters and young people supposedly “run away” to the big cities, they know they were talking with the thin, frail old man who works at the mortuary and doesn't come out in the day just before they leave their “runaway letter”. They know that community of “ethnic folk” that recently settled down nearby are more than just eccentric people from another country. They know the native folk dances are more than just empty chants and sounds.

And they huddle together, with their friends and family, scared of the endless dark in the savage wilds all around them.

But sometimes they can't forget. Sometimes they can't pretend and hide anymore. Sometimes that cop that talks to all the kids before they go missing was seen talking with their cousin or brother or friend, and they can't ignore it anymore.

They get their shotgun and their flashlight, and the friends and family brave enough to go with them. Then they ride out into the wild, ready to make it civilized and a little safer again.

Sometimes a whole community realizes what's going on – and they either fall victim to the darkness, or they all wake up a whole lot meaner.

In the city, you have to worry about no one helping you even among a mass of humanity. In the country, there is no mass of humanity. There's you, your friends, and your family. And against you is the whole savage wilderness, fallen towns and the cowardice of your knowing neighbors.

There are no big libraries to research monsters in, or convenient paper trails. There's just a whole lot of people who know everything in their town and a whole lot of lies. And there are so many lies.

When you go out to the caves in the mountain range “not too far” from your town, you're several hours away from the nearest community. Several hours from any hospital, out of cell phone range, carrying civilization in your backpack.

When you step in that cave, either the creature in it is going to be dead in a few hours, or you are.

In the savage wilds, there is no help. There is no escape. There is no one standing next to you who might possibly drag your bleeding body to the hospital out of a rare sense of civic duty. When you lose out there – you lose for good.

The lands are named things like Hell's Canyon and Devil's Ladder for a reason.

People have to be tougher, in the rural parts of the world. And working so often alone, they have to be smarter. If there isn't a doctor in your town – you learn enough to patch yourself together. If there isn't a tailor – you learn to sew, tough cowboy or not. If there isn't a gunsmith, you make your own bullets. You learn to take care of yourself, and you learn the value of friends and family like nowhere else. Because when the chips are down, in the county no one will stand by you like they do, even in the face of hell itself.

When hours can separate small town with populations in the hundreds, and with everything in-between untamed wilderness that is not the place of man, hunters are all that stands between civilization and oblivion.

The Silver Hammer

Second – Tier Compact

Members: Over 1000, most centered in Blue Mountain Idaho.

In 1987, wolves went extinct in Idaho. This event was blamed on many things. Wolves hunting livestock; people hunting them for money, people expressing superstitious terror of the creatures, believing them to be evil. All of this is true. But it is only a partial truth.

Wolves went extinct in Idaho because of a group of hunters called the Silver Hammer.

On June 20th, 1884, in the small town of Blue Mountain Idaho, people were industriously working the local silver mine. Idaho has had a long and proud history as a mining state – although not as successful as after the early gold rushes, with those hungering for the shining yellow metal traveling on to California, Idaho has long produced massive quantities of Silver.

By this time, most native tribes were pacified. Peace was made, or bloodily enforced. Those who lived there were loggers, miners, and cowboys. Hard men and women who had seen some of the toughest times their era had to offer, used to solitude and hard work in a time where encroaching on wild lands had forced softer people to retreat and hide in the cities, pretending the dark lands didn't exist.

The people of Blue Mountain weren't those people. They were miners. Hard men who worked under the earth, well accustomed to the danger of the wilds and the hazards of mining in a time before people cared about taking casualties for every dozen dollars worth of Silver they dug out of the earth.

However, they were not prepared for the onslaught that came upon them on that night. For the world, June 20th was just another day that would quickly be forgotten. For them, it was a day that would change their way of life for well over the next 100 years.

As the people slept, shadows stole into town, and the people were suddenly awakened by dreadful howls. Doors crashed in, and horrific creatures of teeth and fur and walking nightmare ripped the people apart.

At that time, no one knew what they faced – only that men, women, and children were being torn apart in front of them. They had come as pioneers who would beat the wild into submission, and found that the wilds had struck back determined to wipe them out of existence.

If not for the fact that they were so isolated from the world thanks to distance and several years of floods and landslides that they often had to work silver to replace tools and shot normally made of lead or iron, the town of Blue Mountain would have disappeared without a trace that night, and the world would have been none the wiser. It wouldn't have been the first.

As it was, 70% of everyone living there died. Those who lived were lucky enough to have loaded their rifles with silver shot – ironically the poorer people in town, those who couldn't afford the import of proper bullets.

Whether or not they killed any of their attackers wasn't clear. When the confusion was over, half their buildings were on fire and most of the survivors were severely wounded. But one thing was clear – the survivors wanted revenge.

Their leader was James Howell, a tall, skeletal thin, plain and simple man who had farmed on the outskirts of town, being too prone to coming down with breathing sickness to work the mines. He'd had silver shot. It had saved him. It had not saved his wife and two children.

Those who were left in the town realized the outside world wouldn't help them. They were alone in hostile territory, on the ground of monsters.

They were undaunted.

The town preacher had been killed early on, and the remaining people had never been much for religion in any case. Many people in Idaho came to forget the oppressive religion back east, and they were practical men more than faithful ones. They buried their dead in shallow graves and left their wounded, gathered their silver shot and went riding out with the dawn.

They tracked the creatures for three weeks, pausing only to rest when their horses were ready to die of exhaustion. But finally, they found them.

There, in a deep valley lined by steep cliffs and thick pine forest, were the creatures dwelling with with a local Indian tribe and among the packs of wolves in the area.

They didn't know they were facing werewolves. Lesser men might have fled. Their simple firearms and small numbers should have spelled death for them. This wasn't their terrain, and many of their number were walking wounded, barely fit to ride as far as they did. But they were men who'd lost their families, and they were running on hate and revenge.

Over the course of the next several days they harassed the local Indians. Some were innocent, but they didn't really care. They pushed boulders on them from above; shot at them from distant position. They rode down the wolf packs or burned the forest. At night, the creatures hunted them back, carrying more than one of them off screaming before they died.

But they didn't break, and they didn't falter. Soon, the losses began to tell. The piles of dead wolves stunk up the forest, and the corpses of Indian children littered the canyon.

The werewolves that remained were few, and desperate. They staked everything on one last surge. A rush out into the midst of their attackers, angry for the death of their own people.

They came after them at night. The men of Blue Mountain were ready. They set the forest afire, heedless of their own casualties in the aftermath of the inferno. They let loose with silver shot. They dropped boulders down the hill the creatures stormed up to get to them.

Even that didn't stop them. The creatures kept coming, and closed to fight up close.

If they'd managed it, they'd have all died that night. Every man in Blue Mountain would have been left rotting the next morning.

But they had planned for it. The creatures still had to charge through a chokepoint to get to them. As long as they were held off, they could still be shot from the high ground the men held.

James Howell volunteered to hold them off, with just his shotgun and the decorative silver headed hammer they'd hung up in the mine.

He did. And perhaps it was a miracle, because he did manage to keep them from killing the men of Blue Mountain – beating them back just long enough to ensure all the beasts had been pumped full of silver, or burned up in the fire.

Unfortunately he was still only human. He held them back – but at the cost of a wound on one of his legs that nearly killed him and left him with a permanent limp, as well as one eye and half his face.

Their town didn't have a doctor anymore. He joined the rest of the wounded with only the occasional shot of whiskey as medication, and the infection he came down with nearly killed him. But he lived through it by the skin of his teeth. He later claimed it was his hate that kept him alive. He swore he wouldn't die until every last wolf in the Idaho territory was dead.

The few men of the town that were left followed him. He rode the countryside in search of more, and found them.

This time, he wanted answers. He eventually managed to capture a young one, new to it's pack. They broke it's bones and lamed it by resetting it's limbs in place with silver pins and wire, then dragged it into the silver mines where they built a makeshift prison.

It was the first. It wasn't the last.

They drilled the boy they'd captured for information, and when he ran out, they dragged him into the town square. Everyone in town had a silver hammer now. They beat him to death. It wasn't quick.

Slowly, the town began to repopulate and people started to flood back in. When they found someone in one of the other booming pioneer towns that had that special “something” in them that they recognized as being a hunter, they invited them to live in their town. And those they saw with potential, they brought up to their mines where they kept a few special monsters.

Over the next half century, their town reworked itself. It became a fortress. And the people in it spread all across the state, settling down in hundreds of little towns.

The wolves had nowhere to hide. Wherever they ran, men followed. Wherever they raged, men raged back. The men held up a torch to the wild night and burned it down.

In 1987, wolves went extinct in Idaho. James Howell didn't live to see it. But his sons and daughters did, and they carry on his legacy.

But now after a century of success, the wolves are coming back, and the people are softer now. And it isn't just them. A hundred small towns hold a thousand dark secrets.

The people that call themselves members of the silver hammer are hunters in the wild. The people the creatures of the night prey on are their friends and family, and they're ready for revenge.

The Enemy:

The wild is the enemy, and the men and women that fight in the Silver Hammer bed down with it every night. They sleep in the wilderness, fight in the wilderness, and die in the wilderness with no one to save them, to make sure they save their friends and family back home.

Fear is the enemy too. In small towns, there are no secrets from the community – just from the outside world. When a town goes dark because the people have shut off their minds and try to pretend the monsters living among them don't exist, that's when the Silver Hammer moves in.

They have family in hundreds of towns – nearly every community. They're a very distant, spread out family – but they've all been to the mines, and they keep themselves informed. When someone calls their cousin back in Blue Mountain for a friendly chat with family, they slip in secrets with the gossip. When that gossip involves a town going dark, or when that informant suddenly stops calling, hunting teams are dispatched.

The people the monsters hurt are their friends and family. They offer no second chances, they give no mercy or respite. When they come, they come for revenge.

If you aren't human, you don't have a place in their state, or their towns, or their people. They WILL find you, and they will hunt you down, and the last thing the savage beasts that hunt their people often see is a silver sledgehammer coming down at their face, and the sound of a cheering bloodthirsty mob in their ears.


There are two camps among the Silver Hammer. In other groups they might be called the liberals and conservatives, but in Idaho everyone is conservative. What they really are is the new generation, and the old generation.

The old generation are the children and grandchildren of the original members. They've lived tough, hard lives, and they've fought back the wilds every day. They're hardened veterans, and they're also very stuck in their ways.

They believe first and foremost in family and networking. They believe in having lots of kids and sending them off to live all over the state, and responding to a problems by sending small groups of people to clear out a town that's been infested.

The new generation are not as tough – but they're also a lot more tech savvy. They know about cell phones and computers, and their parents don't. They're a lot less likely to work on a farm and more likely to work for a computer firm in Boise or work in a call center in Coeur 'd Alene rather than logging. They're still tough, and they're still ready, but they're a whole different kind of Hunter. They believe they should start spreading into the cities. Their old methods won't work there – the concrete jungle is a very different beast from the wilds they're used to – but they're ready to adapt. They're also a lot less racist than their parents – the expanding Mexican community in the state is being embraced by the new generation of the Silver Hammer in an effort to curb the creatures that try to prey on their poor communities. They're also better adapted to handle the new influx of Californian immigrants and all the trouble they bring.

They are better equipped and run than their forebears – but their community lines are cracking. They're growing complacent, and starting to divide by region. It remains to be seen if their adaptations to the changing world around them that brings them so much closer to the big cities will destroy the organization their grandparents sacrificed so much to build.


Maybe you were born in a small town in Idaho, or maybe you moved in from another state. You lived in that small community for years, not suspecting anything wrong. But then weird things started happening, and people refused to talk about it. Friends you've known all your life won't speak to you about the missing teenagers that supposedly ran away. But you and everyone else know that something is coming into town at night from the wilds. Then your best friend disappears, and you can't pretend any longer. You borrow a gun from a friend, and the two of you go out into the hills to look for them. You find them along with something that should have been in a bad horror flick. You shoot it and it doesn't die, and you think it's all over. But then a group of people come and run it over with their pickup trucks and hit it with flamethrowers until it can't move anymore, then toss it in the back of one of their vehicles and throws you and your friend in the back of another. A few days later, you've seen the mines and the things they've got in there, and you're a changed person. There are people in that town you care about, and they have friends and family in other towns, and so you care about them too. You know what's out there now, and they've just given you a crash course in how to hurt them and a silver hammer. They bring the creature you fought before out to the town square and

you join in bashing it's head in along with everyone else. When it's done, you know you won't stop there, and you're ready to smash anything else in your way, whether it's a beast of the wilds or hell itself.


Taskforce Valkyrie:

I know about the Men In Black. I don't trust 'em. They've got fancy tech, but I'd like to see it work three days out into the mountains where their satellites don't cover and there's nowhere to recharge their batteries. I know they know about us, too. Think we're some kind of religious extremist group like those Davidian nutjobs a few years back. If they try to make any of us disappear, they're going to learn just how hard it is to operate in the stix with everyone in town against you.

Null Mysteris:

We had a guy from some science outfit back east come out here to study animals out in the wild, or so he said. We all knew what he was really looking for, and we brought him down to the mines so he could meet it. He got a lot of good stuff outta the thing we didn't think to ask, and some of the tests he tried showed us new ways to hurt 'em. Of course we won't let him publish it, and he's angry we don't care much about anything except new ways to kill it, but he's alright in our book as long as he can keep his trap shut. If he can't, he might have a hard time leaving the state in one piece.

Ashwood Abby:

We had a bunch of these rich nutjobs come up from California for a “hunting expedition” a little while back. We saw them tracking down a werewolf, and we helped 'em out a little getting to it so we could see what they were made of. We're mean bastards and we'll beat those evil suckers to death, but what those perverts did with it made me sick. That group isn't welcome in our state anymore, and new “hunting expeditions” tend find all the hotel vacancies filled and restaurants closed when they arrive.


It's tough as hell to get status in the Silver Hammer if you aren't born into it, but it can be earned through a lot of hardwork and social networking. The more people you know, the better off you are. All members have been to Blue Mountain and seen the mine; all members have met their new leader, Allen Howell, and been given the little speech about how they're going to beat the savage wilds into submission. Most, however, are their “exodus” members. People who live in small towns across the state, alone, only reporting trouble if it shows up and occasionally meeting other members from the surrounding towns to be a part of a first response team to any trouble. The most privileged are the people who live in Blue Mountain itself. They're the proven hunters who have shown their worth in the field more than once, generally to some impressive degree, and are allowed to keep their family in their fortified areas so they're safe. They're called on for the really big jobs – the ones first response teams just can't handle. When a whole town goes bad, it's the people of Blue Mountain itself that come out to greet it with Idaho Hospitality and a revolver full of silver bullets.

1: You've been to the town and been shown the mines. You know the family and have a few contacts in the nearby towns. You report regularly to someone in Blue Mountain, and might be a part of a first contact team if something goes wrong in a nearby town. You automatically gain one point in firearms as a result of their training (up to a max of three), as well as a rudimentary level of training in how to deal with werewolves in combat. You can order a box of twenty silver bullets from Blue Mountain once, and get the silver headed sledgehammer everyone gets as a symbol of their membership. You automatically get a shotgun or a rifle for free after joining.

3: You're trusted enough to move to Blue Mountain if you want and join their heavy response teams. You can get any basic, legal firearm you like (shotgun, rifle, .50cal rifle) and as many silver bullets as you can fire. You also get access to their advanced armory, such as their flamethrowers and homemade bombs. You are now expected to take calls from members of the hammer in the surrounding area, and gain two points in contacts (up to five) and one point in allies (up to five).

5: You're a major mover and shaker in the organization, and you get access to the mines for research and interrogation of prisoners. Long contact with the creatures of the night and hard training by the Silver Hammer permanently increases your willpower by one point. You also gain two points in a separate type of contacts, who are monsters being held prisoner in the mine who can be interrogated for information on creatures of their type. In any town or city in Idaho (and about 1/3rd of the towns in the surrounding states) you can immediately gain access to a pickup truck, weapon, or cache of silver weapons from local members with a successful contact roll. Note that when you borrow these things you're still expected to return them in good condition if possible; you're borrowing it from family, and it should be treated the same as any time you borrow something from a family member. This privilege should not be abused.

That's it for now! I intend to make quite a bit more in the future.

As a note and a bit of a request, if anyone here is a Mormon, Idaho has a significant Mormon population. I'd like to include a Mormon Church based conspiracy in this book, and I'd love to have you give me information about the Mormon Church and it's history if possible - it would save me a lot of homework (although I'll probably do it anyway). Additionally, I am looking into doing some mage related stuff based on our basque population, so if you are basque I would also appreciate your input.

Let me know what you think.