View Full Version : nWoD Hunter Help [My players keep away]

2011-03-11, 12:36 PM
I'm planning on running a Hunter: The Vigil game for a couple of people in near future. However, I have little experience GMing and no experience whatsoever GMing World of Darkness - I've only played in a relatively short Hunter chronicle. Thus, I'm asking for advice.
The game will be a Tier 1 story. The characters will belong to the same hunter cell in a moderately sized Polish town. The threat they'll be up against will be an arrogant mage who estabilished a sect with help of his magic. As I don't own any Mage: The Awakening books, I'll stat him using the Dread Powers section of the Hunter rulebook. It'll be the PCs' job to stop him the way they see fit.
The characters aren't fully ready yet, but I know the cell will contain a martial artist with criminal background, a very good-looking female singer and an occultist of some sort. The fourth character may or may not appear and I don't know who he or she will be.
My biggest problem right now is statting out the main antagonist - I'm not sure what his powers should be. But any other general tips would be greately appreciated.

2011-03-20, 07:48 AM
Well, Mages can really, really make life difficult for Hunters (especially Tier 1 hunters) because they can cheat - reality does not necessarily apply to them.

So, a good Hunter antagonist needs a few things:
1) a hook, a reason why the cell is going to trip over them (example: one of the hunters has an older sister with a young kid, the mage wants to kidnap/brainwash the kid into become Awakened)
2) something subtly wrong with them that the hunters can notice right away (example: pupils are different colors, or change color)
3) powers the Hunters can't explain (he's a mage, this one should be easy)
4) a reason why he can't just squish the Hunter cell as soon as he notices them
5) a plan, with multiple stages, which the Hunters can discover and thwart
6) minions, lackeys, and other low-powered allies the Hunters can fight. At least some of these should be supernatural in nature, so that the Hunters can be drawn deeper into the supernatural world and, from a meta standpoint, earn Practical XP
7) something about them that reminds the hunters that they are still human, or think they are - this creates moral ambiguity and choice. Make sure it is a real choice, where decent people can disagree as to the right thing to do, not Darth Vader's "rule beside me or die" choice
8) an Achilles Heel the hunters can exploit (this can be tough for mages, since they don't have the silver/sunlight/taboo weakness that the other big supernatural factions have. On the other hand, simply "not immune to bullets" could work, though it might be a little boring)

Actual powers should be interesting, but not overpowering. For example: charm person to make people like him/not suspect him is fine, though there should be some "tells" the cell can learn. Throwing fireballs is fine, but a little tacky - telekinesis to throw bits of shrapnel or broken glass is better. Remember that Hunters are not Awakened, so the mage has to be subtle or risks getting a Paradox backlash - something the Hunters, once they learn this, can exploit.

2011-03-20, 08:11 AM
Thanks; I was losing hope this thread will provide answers. As for your points...
The hook I'm planning is that a friend of one of the hunters' will join the cult which will give them a hint that this is something more sinister than just another sect. However, I think I'll need more hints that only the people on the Vigil can notice. After all, players are notorious for not swallowing plot hooks.
As for the mage himself, I plan on him being essentially a petty, indulgent man who was given powers - he's too proud and lazy to utilize them to their full extent, thus giving the hunters an edge. His powers will be mostly "social" in nature, like what you suggested - hypnosis and charms, no throwing stuff around or shooting fire. When the hunters corner him, he'll much rather throw his cultists at them - which the hunters can't just shoot. I might throw some low-profile summoned or created monsters into the mix to spice things up.
As far as dilemmas are concerned, I have two of them planned at this point - one is what to do with the cultists, who will be devoted to the mage both as a result of the conventional brainwashing techniques sect leaders use and magic. And once they finally catch up with the bad guy, there'll be a rather classic dilemma as to what to do with him - shooting him will have obvious moral and legal repercussions and while turning him over to the authorities is an option, how long is he going to stay in jail? Assuming he won't use his powers to simply bail himself out without even standing trial.
Stat-wise, I'm thinking that the mage will focus on his Social attributes and skills rather than his Mental ones. Before Awakening, he was a barfly. I'm thinking three Dread Powers with one or two dots each and some special, custom-made ability will suffice.

Lord Vampyre
2011-03-22, 12:49 PM
I would advise against making the antagonist a fully Awakened mage. Although the Awakened may still use rituals to bypass paradox to an extent, you'd be better off making them a really power hedge-wizard.

Hedge-wizards are constrained by paradox. They also require more of an excuse for their powers.

You also need to make this antagonist truly evil. It is the World of Darkness. Have him perform human sacrifices for his powers. Someone's disappearance always raises questions.

2011-03-22, 01:15 PM
Ultimately, it doesn't matter all that much whether he's Awakened or not. I don't own the Mage rulebook, so I'll be statting him out using the Dread Powers from the Hunter book.
As for the other point - I already came up with homeless people disappearing being a plot hook. The cult would kidnap him for their master for various horrible purposes. I wasn't sure if I wanted to make the antagonist a complete monster, but I decided that the hunters may lack motivation otherwise.

2011-03-28, 08:52 AM
Actually, to provide a counterpoint, I would suggest NOT making him utterly evil - someone who casually murders children or conducts human sacrifice for no good reason denies the Hunters their moral ambiguity. Being a player in Hunter is about making hard choices - killing another human being is always hard, even for those with the military/police background where they have been psychologically prepared for it. Someone who is bwa-ha-ha supervillain evil makes the choice too easy.

Besides, for Mages in particular, nobody believes themselves to be bad guys, and Mages don't have the supernatural anchor around their neck dragging them down the morality chain - someone who goes from petty and selfish to mass-murdering robs them of the "human" element too quickly.

The Glyphstone
2011-03-28, 10:18 AM
Keep the people disappearing then, but instead of ritual sacrifice, it's magically coerced ritual suicide. He brainwashes people into killing themselves for whatever purpose he's made this cult to do, and is also deluding himself into thinking that he's helping them do a good thing.

2011-03-28, 12:13 PM
Hmmm. Yes, it's a good point about moral ambiguity. I didn't feel entirely comfortable with making the mage a complete monster for precisely that reason. Suicide doesn't quite work, though... the cult is meant first and foremost to pander to the mage's ego and desires. Perhaps the homeless people won't be killed at all, but instead kept as brainwashed slaves because the mage decided cultists don't quite cut it? Still evil, but less overwhelmingly so.

Fox Box Socks
2011-04-02, 11:35 AM
What books do you own?

Witchfinders provides rules for making witches, as well as anti-witch tactics and Endowments, but if you own Geist, I'd suggest taking a gander at the abmortal rules, because that sounds more like what you're going for. I'll give you the short version.

Abmortals are highly ritualized serial killers, and as long as they fulfill their ritual once a month (ish), they're immortal. In addition to whatever Dread Powers you feel like giving them, Abmortals have regeneration (1 bashing/turn, 1 lethal/hour, 1 aggravated/day), immune to aging (they can be very, very old), and are literally unkillable (every point of lethal damage beyond their maximum gives a -1 penalty to all die rolls up to -5, but it will eventually go away due to their regeneration). An abmortal's ritual is also linked to his weakness, however; if damage is done to the abmortal via his weakness, that wound refuses to heal via supernatural means, and if he's killed by his weakness, then he's down for good.

The story might go something like this: your abmortal mage must carve strange, arcane symbols into the flesh of a virgin under the age of 17 via an ancient Aztec sacrificial knife every full moon. The knife is also his weakness, however; any damage done by it to him can't be healed. Once your hunters figure out what his deal is and plow through his minions, they have to get his knife and use it against him. Other hunters can use traditional means to incapacitate him, but only the knife can truly finish him off.

EDIT: Other ideas. While the abmortal cult leader is clearly some sort of hedge wizard, his followers secretly know more about the nature of magic than he does. He moves from town to town, inserting himself into the local mage community and claims to have a fascinating new theory about the nature of magic and power. With honeyed words and a little mind control, he sets himself up a circle of loyal magical minions. While they think they are sacrificing virgins to unlock the secrets of their own true potential, all they're really doing is lengthening their leader's lifespan. Normally, the cultists eventually catch wise to what's really going on and turn on their leader, who flees to another city and starts the process all over again. However, this time the leader has an unusually string hold on his followers. In their hubris, the followers, convinced they are flooded with the power of the blood, turn to more reckless uses of magic, like Goetic binding and demon summoning (which could be what draws your Hunters' attention in the first place).

2011-04-02, 02:47 PM
I'm afraid I only own the Hunter book and Slashers. Abmortals don't fit the idea I have for the game, anyway. If only because I'm a bit afraid to overpower the hunters. The cell is rather loosely tied together. Honestly, I have the basic idea down, I'm just worred about the details.
I have already started the game, in fact. The players found out about the missing homeless people and one of the characters' friends has been behaving oddly. They didn't seem to bite the plot hooks, so I had a junkie who gave them some info found dead - in the part of the town the oddly behaving friend lives. The last session stopped when they were heading there, and I hope it'll allow them to tie both parts of the plot together. The way I see it, the oddly behaving friend will prove to be the "weak link" in the cult that will allow the cell to infiltrate it.

The Watchman
2011-04-04, 01:29 PM
I'm afraid I only own the Hunter book and Slashers.

Good man. Slasher is the best of all the monster-theme sourcebooks in the nWoD line. Even though you're not using it right now, it will provide you with many brilliant antagonists for later games.

2011-04-10, 01:36 PM
You mentioned that this character was a barfly...what about a guy who has been using his powers in a pretty mundane way: convincing people to love hm so that overnight he takes over a town, or a section of it.

Like, one day the hunters are hanging out at a bar, and the next day it is closed. The next week it re-opens as a club full of this guy's charmed or dominated "fans."

In this sense, he isn't a murderer, he is a pathetic man who wanted attention and wasted a truly unique gift on empty happiness.

Just a thought.