Posted on June 3, 2008 by Matt-M-McElroy
This week we are going to do something a little different…
I asked the authors of the Hunter: the Vigil core book to tell me a little something about working on the book. A few of them sent me some interesting stories…
Since the “Original” World of Darkness went kaputski, I’ve been saying to friends, “I’m totally going to develop the next iteration of Hunter,” and we’d laugh, and they’d mock me and throw things at my head because I was plainly deluded. But now I’m somehow left with the impression that if I say something enough times out loud, maybe it will happen, because Justin Achilli and Rich Thomas asked me to develop Hunter: The Vigil, which was like asking me if I’d like a suitcase full of money.
The funny thing is, hunting’s been a part of my life for a very long time. My father was an avid–and I do mean avid–hunter. Okay, sure, he didn’t hunt demons or serial killers, but he ran his own gun shop, hunted nearly every season, brought home trophy after trophy, and so forth. Never was there a time when we didn’t have about a hundred guns in the house and a freezer chock full of game. I went out hunting quite often in my youth (though never could bring myself to kill a deer, given that we actually raised deer as pets for a good portion of my young years).
So, working on Hunter: The Reckoning was really my first work for White Wolf many years back, and it was the first thing that I think piqued my father’s interest about my writing. Up until that point, it seemed impossible to him that anybody could actually make a living–or even two coins to rub together–doing this “writing” business. But then suddenly I was getting a paycheck for a book with the word “hunter” in the title, and suddenly it was all okay. I explained that it was about hunting monsters, not elk or pheasant, but that didn’t seem to matter. It said hunter. It was about hunting. Vampires or guinea fowl, werewolves or black bear, it was all good.
My father passed away while developing Hunter: The Vigil, but I told him about my work on it, and how it was a continuation of what had come previously to pass. He appreciated it, once more, happy to hear that books about hunting were still on the docket. In a roundabout sort of way, my father–avid hunter and avid storyteller (little ‘s’)–was a certain inspiration for this book, and remains so for all the Hunter books upcoming.
It’s funny, actually. Our house was haunted growing up (and I mean, really haunted — I personally have all the proof I need that ghosts are some real business), and once in a blue moon I’d broach the subject with Dad. He didn’t seem to buy it–he’d say that he never saw anything, no ghosts, nope, none at all. He’d blow it off. Years later, though, I found it he had seen and experienced many things (including a weird mirror-breaking incident that happened for many nights after my grandfather’s passing), and was well aware that the house was haunted. That’s the kind of attitude and behavior that suggests maybe my father could’ve done well in the World of Darkness, scaring up ghosts and putting the bullet to cruel witches and mad wizards. Bringing home a mule deer one night, a greater demon the next.
Visit Chuck’s website www.terribleminds.com for a look at his fiction, photos and more.
My family was eating dinner at a restaurant while I was working on Hunter earlier in the year. My husband, Pat, had just told me about the meetings he’d been in all day, and about the 4-wheel-drive trip they’d taken up to check out some radio towers in a remote part of the county. After he finished, he asked about my day.
“Oh, I had a great time. I spent the day researching serial killers, blood splatter patterns and human body decomposition rates…”
Then I realized we were in public. I looked around, but fortunately no one outside of our table appeared to have heard. Then I glanced at our daughter, who is 13. I worried that I might have grossed her out, I mean, we were eating dinner at the time. I shouldn’t have fretted; she was practically bouncing in her seat.
“I bet no one else at my school’s mom has /ever/ said that!”
Welcome to life as a full-time mom and White Wolf writer. 🙂
Visit Jess’ website www.jesshartley.com for more information about her writing.
I changed careers in the last couple of years, and started working at an elementary school. This was on the heels of my daughter being born, and a general growing awareness of the people around me. As I started to cultivate that awareness (and it was very much a deliberate thing – our culture encourages myopia and isolation), I started applying what I was learning to what I was writing. I always do that, which is why you got a bit about neuroscience in Intruders. What I realized was that most people in the World of Darkness must, of necessity, cultivate a skill opposite to the one I was trying to develop. Instead of looking around corners before crossing hallways and alleys, they would hurry along, hoping not to see anything. Instead of looking people in the eye when they spoke and listening for stress and intonation that communicated more than the words did, they would respond quickly, meaninglessly, trying to keep the conversation safe. But the World of Darkness is not safe. There are monsters, and they prey on people in many different ways, and they do it because they can. They’re allowed it.
And there are people in the World of Darkness who refuse to accept that, who refuse to give tacit permission to this state of affairs, and who are willing to give their lives to learn a little more, to pay attention, and perhaps to act in defense of their fellow people.
If that sounds sappy, so be it. I loved working on Hunter: The Vigil because the characters in the game are vigilant. It’s not about loading up the shotguns and charging off to battle, or at least, that isn’t the appeal to me. It’s about staying aware. It’s about paying attention.
Visit Matthew’s website www.blackhatmatt.com for essays on storytelling and game play.
I was a huge fan of the old Hunter: the Reckoning, back in the day.
Something about Hunter: the Reckoning held my attention. The “super secret online Hunter mailing list” that came with the game online became one of my favourite online haunts. Developing the character of “Libra”, I wrote some beautiful first and third person stories on that mailing list until it got closed down, surprisingly as late as 2005 long after the old World of Darkness got closed down.
My Reckoning tales stemmed as much from the premise that while many of the monsters the imbued faced had once been human, but were now drifting from that, they still retained enough humanity to remember what they’d been – and maybe to deserve some compassion, even if that act of compassion was swift destruction.
The imbued, too, had their share of moral dilemmas and crises of identity as they too found themselves drifting away from the things they cherished and fought to preserve.
And I took pains to include those cherished, loved things in the settings, too.
The most beautiful thing about Reckoning was that you could set the stories in your own back yard. More than any other game I’d ever played, Hunter brought it home, made it seem so very real.
With the passing of Hunter: the Reckoning, I didn’t so much miss the old World of Darkness, as miss my characters. I’d felt for them as they had their lives, and their hunts.
And then along came Hunter: the Vigil, and with the Vigil I discovered that same sense of the blurring of the lines between the humanity of some monsters and the inhumanity of some people. I found the same desperation; the same thankless insomnia; and the same rewarding feelings of these hunters each morning when, their night’s work done, they’d look at the rising sun and know they’d won another battle; survived to see another day.
And I found the chance to create characters you could feel for. Characters whose lives, and hunts, would grip you as much as my stable of imbued characters from the old setting had once gripped me.
So I did my bit, along with the other freelancers, to create a game that can be populated with hunters you can equate with. And stories that you can bring home.
I think everybody’s done a fantastic job. I hope you’ll feel the same.
Visit Alex’s LiveJournal fiat-knox.livejournal.com for more information on his freelance work and other projects.
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Buy Hunter: the Vigil at Amazon.com.
Find out if your local retailer is taking part in Free RPG Day so you can get your free Hunter: the Vigil Quickstart on June 21st!
Join the Hunter: the Vigil LiveJournal Community today!