A parliament of monsters hides behind the curtain. They emerge, sometimes, past the red velvet. They move in shadows among the human herd, and they reach out and pluck the unsuspecting into their grip. Humans can be livestock to the hungry, lovers to the lustful, toys to the wicked. All the horror stories talk of it: vampires filling their mouths with our blood, lycanthropes harrying mortal prey through dark forests, demons convincing a man to hand over his soul in a gift-wrapped bundle. But they aren’t just stories, are they? The horrors are real, hiding within a labyrinth of mystery.
Hunter: The Vigil is a game about those humans who have come by some means to recognize the truth, that monsters exist. These individuals cannot sit idly by. They must study their foes. They must destroy them or steal their power. They must use them as pawns against one another. It’s not an easy thing, the endless hunt, the ceaseless Vigil. It is a thing of brutality and obsession, a slope slippery with the blood of those who came and fell before, a slope that descends into nightmare. And yet they can do no differently, because the Vigil drives them. They sacrifice. They push forward. They hunt.
Welcome to a Game of Light in Shadows Hunters are light and fire. Sure, this can mean a torch pressed against the undead flesh of a fiendish adversary or a roaring conflagration consuming all the screeching parasites trapped in the nest. It can also mean a candle held aloft for lost friends and family, or an oil lamp held over a fraying piece of parchment or gilded medallion plucked from the heart chambers of some desiccated mummy. Hunters carry the Vigil representing action and knowledge, and ideally the one-two punch that both provide together. But the pairing of those elements is neither safe nor sane, and hunters risk everything when on the hunt.
But hunters carry the Vigil because they can do nothing else: they have seen what exists. They have experienced the horror or the mystery and it compels them on this path. Some see the only solution as a violent one, to burn it all down. Others approach the Vigil differently, capturing the monsters on video and hoping to expose them, or plundering the world of ancient mystical weapons with which to defend innocent humanity.
At the barest level, hunters exist in ignorant, rag-tag cells – friends, family, or those driven together by maddening circumstances. They protect their stretch of forest, their city block, their network of women’s shelters. They don’t know the depth of what’s out there, they only have the meager light of their own candles to light the way. Candles give way to torches, to cells who band together in localized compacts. They pool resources. They provide moral support. They present a more unified front against the denizens of darkness.
And torches give way to raging bonfires as those compacts grow outward globally and backward through time. Ancient groups and modern conspiracies supply their hunters with potent weapons, some of which are so strange that those who use them can only wonder how long they can truly maintain their own humanity.
But even coming together to form an inferno or firestorm, hunters can’t help but notice how deep and long those shadows are, and how numerous. Worse, fire is temporary: candles burn down to the wicks, a torch snuffs in a cold wind, a bonfire has soon consumed all it can and grows dark. Hunters know that they, too, are temporary, where the shadows seem endless and eternal. They can only hope that others will carry the Vigil in their stead.