A Note (From White Wolf) about Creating Cells
Groups of hunters (called cells) must rely upon one another in life-or-death situations on a regular basis. This requires a certain amount of compatibility, which would evolve naturally within the cell, but which may need a bit of planning on the part of the players in a Hunter game. Because many Hunter games will focus on the actions of a single cell represented by the players, it may behoove players to consider not only their own ideas but also those of the group when creating hunter characters. Creating characters that can interact well together will go a long way toward promoting a cohesive game. Characters do not necessarily have to share in-depth backgrounds, goals or outlooks (although these ties can add dimension to a game), but communicating enough during character generation to ensure the characters won’t try to kill each other on sight should help a game remain functional and fun.
Communicating openly with the Storyteller and other players about not only the types of character you are interested in playing, but also the style of group and overall theme and atmosphere of the game you enjoy will help ensure the game is as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.
A Contradicting Note (From Melissa) about Creating Hunters
While the traditional game balance issues relating to classes (think Fighter, Mage, Thief, Cleric) applies to many games, it is not essential to mine. Yes, life will be easier if your party has an occult knowledge specialist, a techno-gadget wizard and a weapons guru. These are not necessary though. It can be just as fun to hunt down aliens and ghosts with an unbalanced party. I am more concerned with the story and your characters’ motivations for investigating the paranormal. It’s better to play a character you enjoy rather than one that you feel the party “needs”.
Since characters are partially defined by their “day jobs” in the Hunter system, I’ve included the short descriptions of the Professions below. Hopefully this will help you hit upon a concept that you would like to roleplay.
Academics live a life that, on the surface, is perfect for the Vigil. Nobody expects a student to show up to every class, professors have an incredible amount of free time, and researchers have access to fantastic resources. Campus mainstays can shrug off weird behavior as a film project or high-spirited frat boys.
Concepts: Community college adjunct professor, detached researcher, frat boy, Ivy League student, lab technician, lecturer on Forteana, musty old professor, overworked research assistant, teaching assistant
Asset Skills: Academics and Science
Artists create. That’s what defines them more than anything: the act of picking a perfect feeling or emotion and pinning it to a page or locking it into a sculpture so that other people can experience the same thing they do. Some Artists work in one form exclusively, writing music or sculpting or painting. Others can work in many forms. They’re as talented writers as they are movie directors and comic artists. Whatever her fields of choice, an Artist often goes to a range of extremes for new inspiration.
Concepts: artistic savant, blues musician, crime scene photographer, method actor, horror writer, occult-addicted rock star, police sketch artist, tortured painter, web TV director
Asset Skills: Crafts and Expression
Athletes devote themselves to perfecting action. Ostensibly, an Athlete is out to prove that she is the best in her field. She can’t be the best at everything, but she damn well can be the best distance runner, the best soccer player, the best martial artist. As a competitor, she needs to win. That drive and that desire push her forwards. A few really are the best, displaying a potent combination of training and genetics that puts them near the peak of human ability. Others aren’t champions, but remain solid contenders in whatever sport or physical art they choose. Certainly the Athlete’s goal is to turn professional, but some compete as amateurs and still earn whatever belt or trophy goes with their field.
Concepts: fencing student, high-school football star, little league coach, marathon veteran, Olympic sprinter, target marksman
Asset Skills: Athletics and Medicine
Cops join the force for any number of reasons. Most actually want to help their community, though a few believe the community owes them something for the privilege. Some pick up the gun and badge because their fathers did it, their grandfathers did it, and so forth; it’s a whole legacy.
Concepts: Crooked arm of the law, deep-cover agent, grizzled beat-cop, K-9 officer, mall rent-a-cop, military policeman, old-guard sergeant, SWAT officer, traffic cop
Asset Skills: Streetwise and Firearms
Criminals have only one thing that ties them together, that they make their living by breaking the law. Con artists, drug dealers, cat burglars, muggers and leg-breakers are all Criminals. Some treat their role as “just another job,” while others throw themselves into their work with obsessive gusto, eventually coming to the notice of well connected people. A few regret the choices they’ve made so far, but can’t go straight until they pay off their “debts.” Some just do it for the thrill of stealing shit and breaking bones.
Concepts: Career low-life, cat burglar, drug dealer, forger, gun runner, high-rolling con artist, hired gun, hustler, reluctant leg-breaker, safecracker, worn-out fence
Asset Skills: Larceny and Streetwise
Detectives, whether working on the police force, as part of a private
office or on the staff of a global corporation, their job is to get to the truth. Some rely on forensic analysis; others eschew (or can’t afford) scientific backup and instead use their knowledge of people. However he does it, truth is king. And in the World of Darkness, that’s not a healthy ambition.
Concepts: corporate dirt-digger, CSI, forensic accountant, gentleman detective, hard-drinking PI, Internet investigator, NDA code cracker, old-fashioned police detective
Asset Skills: Empathy and Investigation
Doctors, everyone needs to see a one at some point. The human body breaks down, and doctors know how to put it back together. Many Doctors go through medical school and take positions in hospitals. Others find their calling working with dead bodies, performing autopsies to explain how people died.
Still others eschew formal medicine, either endorsing alternate therapies like acupuncture and herbalism, or cures with no scientific basis, like homeopathy.
Concepts: Abortion clinic worker, city coroner, diagnostician, EMT, forensic pathologist, herbal therapist, overworked resident, psychotherapist, triage nurse, veterinary surgeon
Asset Skills: Empathy and Medicine
Engineer are building a new world, a better world. A world without things that go bump in the night. Engineers think big. It’s a requirement of the job. Whether he’s designing a new hospital or coming up with a way to get people into space, at the back of his mind, the Engineer is thinking about the impact he will have. His hospital will change lives. His new drug will make life so much easier for people. It may just be a tiny change, but it’s there — a lasting legacy. Some Engineers want to help people, others want to go down in history alongside Henry Ford and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, but whatever their motive, their goals are the same.
Concepts: Aerospace jock, chemical engineer, demo man, driven architect, designer drug baron, government contractor, military consultant, old-fashioned civil engineer, prosthetic designer, radical biotechnologist
Asset Skills: Crafts and Science
Hackers know that monsters are old fashioned. Most monsters don’t realize that their paper trails are open to anyone with the right Google-fu. People who self-identify as Hackers live and breathe computers. Despite the negative connotations the media attach to the word, they hold to the original meaning, found at MIT. A Hacker doesn’t lock himself in his room for 36 hours while he plays online computer games, but he just might spend that long solving an interesting problem in an innovative way. Most Hackers think nothing of writing tools that help them write other tools, on and on until they’ve spent two weeks making the tools they need to tackle a two-day job. Repetition is boring. Coming up with a way to make someone else do the boring bit is interesting. Hackers focus on the interesting bits to the exclusion of everything else.
Concepts: Anarchist code-breaker, back-room techie, frontline support operative, NSA cryptographer, old-school phreaker, puzzle expert, shut-in cracker, system administrator, web programmer, wireless war-driver
Asset Skills: Computer and Science
Hit Men kill people for money. A hit man may justify his actions to himself by his range of targets — “no women, no children” is common — but he has turned the art of premeditated murder into a career. Most ply their trade from a distance, doing their job with a single bullet, while others prefer to get in close with weapons that leave less forensic evidence. Whatever their preferred method of murder, a Hit Man has almost surgical knowledge of how to end a human life. That training can come in very handy on the hunt — until she meets something without the vulnerabilities of normal people.
Concepts: CIA assassin, corporate killer, duelist, infiltration expert, mafia hit man, marine sniper, stone-cold psychopath, unarmed combat expert
Asset Skills: Firearms and Stealth
Journalists are always on the lookout for a story. Most spend years working for local papers, covering charity bake sales and fl ower shows before moving on to bigger news — if they ever get that opportunity. Journalists walk a thin line: on the one side, the truth, and on the other, a fiction that’s guaranteed to get attention. Whether she works in television, in print or online, a Journalist often builds a following of people who like her work — and when she gets popular enough, of people who hate what she writes.
Concepts: Columnist, conspiratorial blogger, corporate shill, freelance correspondent, lifestyle writer, local editor, muckraking journo, new media critic, political firebrand, sports anchor, TV news anchor
Asset Skills: Expression and Investigation
Laborers are blue-collar workers. Electricians, builders, joiners, plumbers and demolitions workers all fall under the purview of this profession. Some take up their job out of a love of building things; others couldn’t afford college and prefer using their hands. While some take their job to keep their family under a roof, others really take to their role, becoming contractors or foremen and, in time, possibly hiring engineers to help them open a building firm.
Concepts: Builder, building superintendent, carnival ride mechanic, demolition man, electrician, factory worker, joiner, old-school blacksmith, plumber, unlicensed contractor, wrench-swinging plumber
Asset Skills: Athletics and Crafts
Occultists come in many varieties. Some are occult investigators, private investigators with a specific interest in ghosts and Fortean phenomena. They saw a strange creature firsthand and decided they had to know more. Other Occultists read a lot of books, build Kirlian cameras, or start businesses holding séances to contact Grandma (or her dead cat). While some have encountered the true horrors that lie just below the surface of the world, many — most, even — have not.
Concepts: Cult leader, crystal gazer, deprogrammer, mystical pyramid-scheme seller, New Age author, occult investigator, professional conspiracy theorist, professional skeptic, psychopharmacologist, tarot card reader, UFO theorist
Asset Skills: Investigation and Occult
Professionals are the white-collar masses. Some are on the up and up, clawing their way to the top, while others have a reputation for being the best in their department, promoted just far enough that they can hide in their cubicles watching YouTube videos. Professionals run the range. The lawyer who works 100 hours a week to crack a case, the banker who spots an ancient embezzling scheme in the old books, and the manager who spends four nights a week screwing his secretary all fit into this profession.
Concepts: Analyst, banker, embattled defense attorney, forensic accountant, hot-shot lawyer, manager, numbers-obsessed stockbroker, secretary who hears all, unsung mailroom hero
Asset Skills: Academics and Persuasion
Religious Leaders have always played a role in the hunt. In older times, a handful of priests looked after a whole town or village, and people brought (or dragged) supernatural phenomena to the church door. While modern nights have introduced new churches and broadened the number of faiths in most areas, leaders of a religion — be they Catholic or Protestant, Jew or Muslim — still walk close to the dark truths of the world. Many never know how close they come. They hear confession from a vampire, or teach numerology to a cult leader. These are the lucky ones.
Concepts: Blood-and-thunder Baptist, conflicted rabbi, callous confessor, jihadist imam, popular televangelist, traveling Catholic exorcist, Vodou houngan, Wiccan high priest
Asset Skills: Academics and Occult
Scientists are looking for the truth behind the world, or so most people think. That’s not necessarily the case. While many get into the profession looking for the truth, they soon find out that science doesn’t uncover the truths behind the world, it models the facts that a Scientist observes. This is a crucial difference that most people don’t understand.
Concepts: Atheist author, deranged chemist, disgraced parapsychologist, evolutionary biologist, forensic scientist, geologist, high-school science teacher, paleontologist, polymath, psychologist, religious physicist
Asset Skills: Investigation and Science
Socialites are the movers and shakers of the social sphere. Most of them have a significant amount of cash that they’re not afraid to spend on gala dinners and charity events. Some live in the eye of the media, often famous only because they’re in line for a large fortune — or just because they make good tabloid fodder. Others live and breathe high society, with “low society” (read: the rest of the world) never knowing they exist. Socialites may be sportsmen. They may run massive business empires. They may be celebrities.
Concepts: abused heiress, business empire owner, charity queen, devout fashionista, Hollywood mogul, infamous cad, media darling, shadowy CEO, soccer star, tech billionaire
Asset Skills: Politics and Socialize
Soldiers are no strangers to horror. The armed forces rewire the parts of a recruit’s mind that tell her not to kill or stop her from losing her head during a gunfight. After training, she’s shipped out to strange places where people she has never met try to kill her. Bosnia. Iraq. Somalia.
Concepts: AWOL pilot, drill sergeant, grizzled veteran, ground-pounder, icy marksman, PTSD-rattled Soldier, persuasive recruiter, private mercenary contractor, Special Forces psychopath
Asset Skills: Firearms and Survival
Technicians get their hands dirty fixing things. Whether they’re car mechanics who can rebuild the engine for a ’76 Ford pickup while blindfolded or the kid everyone goes to for computer repairs, they’ve got skills other people don’t have and they like putting them to use. They don’t think they’re building a better world; they just like fixing old things and building new ones.
Concepts: chop shop auto mechanic, computer repairman, garage inventor, gunsmith, jack-of-all-trades, “Mister Fix-It,” special effects wizard, unconventional weapons designer, video engineer
Asset Skills: Crafts and Investigation
Vagrants are often writtenoff as worthless. They’re the ultimate underclass — homeless, often jobless, and seemingly worthy only of society’s derision or pity. Every city has them, huddled in shelters and doorways for warmth or begging for cash to buy food. All too often, the only people to notice when one Vagrant goes missing are the other bums. Monsters can easily feast on Vagrants like they’re an open buffet with free salad bar. Some of them survive their encounters with the shadows. Some of them decide to fight back.
Concepts: Dot-com burnout, homeless ghost-talker, illegal immigrant, junkie with visions, schizophrenic, shaman of the rust, subsistence thief
Asset Skills: Streetwise and Survival