Category Archives: Hunter the Vigil

Letting My Geek Flag Fly


It’s been a busy week getting ready for I-Con 31!! I’m very excited to be GMing at this year’s event.  In fact, I’m all over the schedule, running events for “Mage: The Awakening“, Generic “World of Darkness” (Humans vs Supernatural), and “Hunter: The Vigil“. So yeah, I’ve been busy. Even the adventures I’ve run previously need to be combed through so that handouts that have been previously handed out are replaced, and of course it’s always nice to refresh my memory as to how the adventure is supposed to run.

And then of course there’s the adventure debuting at I-Con 31: “Your Safety is our #1 Concern”. (See Link Above) I’ve never run “Hunter the Vigil” before so it was a bit of a challenge making sure I had everything together properly, and scaling the challenge to the characters. Of course, this being a convention and not a campaign I only have to worry so much about whether or not there is a TPK. After all, even a party wipeout can be lots of fun as long as the fight is worthy of drunken tales in the hotel bar later that evening. I believe that in that regard I have a winner! (Of course, I may be biased.)

Honestly, the bigger challenge in planning convention events for me is one of pacing. In my campaign it doesn’t matter if they don’t get as far as I figured they would in one session. In fact, sometimes that’s a blessing as it gives me a bit of a leg up on the next session. Conversely, I’m all too used to my players going off plan and I can improvise around their weirdness. I’ve grown used to their weirdness. At I-Con I’ll have all new weirdness to adapt to, which should be interesting!

Of course my bigger concern is that at a convention game there is no next session. You have to make the one session count! It has to have enough going on to fill the time slot without feeling like filler, and you have to reach the final challenge before the session ends. I tend to like planning a bit more than I think we can cover, with modular areas that can be dropped if we’re running short on time without negatively impacting the story’s flow.

One of my favorite things about planning a one-off convention game though is the researching. I’m kinda weird like that. I love wandering aimlessly through internet searches for keywords like “abandoned building”, or “subway urban legends”.  I’ve found some incredibly inspiring things that way, that help me give the scenario that splash of reality that I like to bring to the World of Darkness. It may not be exactly like the world we know (especially if I’ve messed up my physics a bit since I haven’t had to calculate breaking distance in… well in quite a while let’s leave it at that!) but it should be close. A splash of realism makes the event hit that much closer to home, which is always creepier.

See you on the gaming track!

Mages Make Me Cry

Of Mice and GMs


As GMs we were faced with a problem. On the one hand we had a lot of great material to work with that was nothing short of brilliant. I do not in any way exaggerate when I tell you that hearing about the events of the second session from the other GM’s perspective made me laugh so hard that tears streamed down my face, I couldn’t breathe, and I couldn’t stop! How do you not abuse that? What kind of GM would it make me if I let that go? I have a responsibility to make the PCs miserable at any given opportunity, and this one was given on a silver platter with a side order of steel toed boots and an invitation to kick hard and often.

The problem is that all those hilarious things went down in the second session of the campaign. Sure, now I’m not against a TPK, but at the time I had only just invested in a bunch of books to GM this bad boy and I wasn’t sure I was quite ready for a TPK in the third session.

How the times have changed!

As a result we decided to teach these people a lesson about being discreet, while leaving at least some of them alive to play another session. And so we decided that the news guy who had been at the club that night, the one who got sent home from work the next day ranting about monsters, did his ranting in front of a Hunter who also worked at the station. This particular Hunter is not of the “all monsters must die!” variety. This guy is a member of Network Zero: The Secret Frequency. (See: Hunter the Vigil) The fine folks at Network Zero are all in favor of vicious uncontrollable monsters meeting violent ends, but they understand that not all “monsters” are monsters. Mostly what Network Zero wants is to prove that they aren’t insane. They want to prove that the monsters are real.

And so, when they heard about the events at the club they saw a golden opportunity to not only meet some monsters in a social setting but maybe get some Werewolves on film!

And so they made some fake invitations. And they made a fake club (heck, these guys work in TV Production they know how to build a set), and they got the cameras and the sound equipment in place and they waited.

One of the Hunters posed as a bouncer outside of the “club”. The previous night the Werewolves transformed when they were refused entry into the club. This is why their bouncer was, under no circumstances, to allow them to enter the club.

AND THEN THAT PURPLE HAIRED NUISANCE SHOWED UP!

She stroked his arm, she flipped her hair, she cast Perfect Moment and he let her in. If he hadn’t allowed himself to be so distracted by her maybe Matteus wouldn’t have gotten the drop on him so easily. If he hadn’t been trying to show off what a big tough man he was to her maybe he wouldn’t have decided to let Matteus get the first shot in free.

If he hadn’t been trying so hard to show off maybe he wouldn’t have gotten his ass beat before using that silver sword cane he was leaning on to trigger a wolf-out like he was supposed to!

Ultimately the Hunters ran out as fast as they could leaving some of their camera equipment behind. The Mages and Werewolves, instead of ripping each other’s faces off and roasting each other on spits like we had hoped, used it to discredit them by filming an attack by “fake” Werewolves. How did they do this? One of the Werewolves went into Gauru form and Rex, the Matter Mage, made a fake zipper to stick to his back like it was just a costume that looked real good from the front, and real ludicrous from the back.

They then posted the videos online and headed to the bar for a few brews together.

I ask you, what did I do to deserve this?

Mages Make Me Cry

NaNoWriMo FTW!!


As you can see at the bottom of the page I have posted a NaNoWriMo win! That means that I have written 50,000 words in one month on one coherent topic. I certainly can’t manage much coherence today having just finished that! After a month of solid writing and deadline meeting I have to admit that my brain is more than a little fried.

I am certainly not destined to be on the NY Times Best Seller list, as my writing here can attest. A large part of my NaNoWriMo participation involves giving myself an excuse to get in closer touch with the NPCs in my campaign. It gives me some pressure to develop plot-lines on a deadline beyond the next game session. I can ‘t guarantee what the player characters in my campaign will do, but I can get inside the heads of my NPCs, and if I’m lucky come up with some things that will make interesting one shot modules.

This year I believe I have somehow managed both.

It is likely that a full NaNowriMo novel will not appear on my blog, though I suppose it’s possible. Much more likely? Well, it’s more  more likely that I will post excerpts, and that I will write some modules based upon them. One excerpt has already been posted at my author’s page at NaNoWriMo.com.

I introduced Hunters into this year’s NaNoWriMo, and that is no accident. I plan on running a Hunter module at I-Con 2012, and I haven’t figured out all the details yet. NaNoWriMo forces you to get into the heads of the characters, and do it NOW! You can’t keep putting it off. You have a deadline, and you’ll make it or you won’t. That’s what makes NaNoWriMo great! (Well, part of what makes it great.)

Please consider supporting NaNoWrimo by clicking on my link below.  If you can’t donate (and believe me I understand that!) then consider participating next year! It’s a great excuse to indulge the muse.

For now, I will indulge in some well deserved sleep! I haven’t had much of that in the last few days. I’ve had a deadline to meet!

For next week I am planning the first piece in a chronological look at the campaign’s events. With a little luck, by the time I am caught up to now (the December 2011 session) it will be OK for me to reveal all of what has happened over the past 2+ years. It has been a wild ride! I have been chomping at the bit to do so, but I have hesitated on providing my players with spoilers. They are all great players, and completely capable of separating character knowledge from player knowledge, but surprises are part of the GM’s fun!!

Up next: A Critical Look at my Very First Session as a GM!

Mages Make Me Cry

I Sleep Now

Hunter: The GM’s Friend


I’m finally taking some time to read through my “Hunter: The Vigil” book. I have to say, I wish I’d read this one sooner!

Yes, this is partially because I might have decided to run Hunters instead of Mages and as a result saved myself a large quantity of sanity points. Mostly though, it’s because Hunter works so well for any World of Darkness Chronicle. It’s possible for Hunters to have unique abilities based upon what Hunter conspiracies they belong to (if they belong to one at all), which allows them to be powerful enough to go up against a group of supernatural PC’s as effective antagonists. They can also wind up with the advantage of numbers if your PC’s have been running amok in your setting and causing all types of weirdness like, say, casting “Platypus Whirlwind” in the heart of mid-town Manhattan. Not that a Mage PC would ever think to do something like that, of course! I speak purely hypothetically.

No matter what skills they bring to the table however, Hunters make great antagonists because when you come right down to it, they’re just ordinary people. Once upon a time they were normal folks just looking the other way and trying not to lose their minds – to quote “A Shoggoth On The Roof“. They are the people your PC’s might have been had their own encounters with the supernatural gone only slightly differently. Wielded properly this can lead to all sorts of mayhem for your troupe.

Take for example a recent session of mine in which a Cabal of Mages and a Pack of Werewolves, who have become friends despite my best efforts to the contrary, wound up almost TPKing the entire campaign! All my co-GM and I needed to do was allow them to capture one poor, defenseless, unconscious Hunter. Some PC’s shout “Kill him! He’s a Hunter! He’d kill us if he was conscious!” Other PC’s say “But wait! He’s just a squishy mortal person, you know, like we used to be. He doesn’t know any better. One day he might become one of us!” It isn’t long before a knife gets thrown, an Acanthus Mage starts bleeding (even before she can suggest using Post Cognition to find out why he became a Hunter in the first place), sides are drawn… we haven’t gone near any of the GM’s carefully laid plans (which in this instance is fine because the GM’s got to kick back and eat chips for a change) and people are calling for initiative rolls on each other.

This, loyal readers, is what I like to call “GM Win!”

It doesn’t happen often enough.

And then there is the glorious entire section of the book that tells you how Hunters trick out their homes with booby traps. I found this section most inspirational! (Yes, that is a tear of joy sliding down my cheek as I type this.) Of course, I like to go the extra mile and dump a few dozen acid-spewing zombies on my PC’s to go along with the traps, but if you’re looking for some decent rules regarding pit traps and the like “Hunter: The Vigil” is an excellent resource! In fact, I have to admit that it’s an excellent resource for pretty much everything in the World of Darkness. It’s well organized, well edited, and clearly well thought out. As a GM or a player I highly recommend it.

Mages Make Me Cry

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