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Posted: Dec 31 2014, 01:10 AM
Hunters were explicitly ordinary people who faced a moment of crisis; in this moment, they briefly viewed the world as it really was - that monsters like Vampires, Werewolves and wizards existed and preyed on humanity. At that point, given the choice to flee or stand and fight, a Hunter chose to act, and was Imbued. The "action" could be anything: attack, defend, negotiate, evacuate innocents, or even simply resolve to act when they're better equipped to do so--anything but passivity or retreat.
Each Hunter came from one of nine creeds, each of which was an example of the three Imbued virtues: Mercy, Zeal, or Vision. Each creed had a distinct outlook on the world, ranging from exterminating monsters, to protecting communities, to redeeming monsters. The nature of that initial action taken at the moment of their imbuing determined their creed-a Hunter who made a martial choice, attack or defense, might come from a Zeal creed, whereas a Hunter who chose to evacuate or attempt to "talk him down" might come from a Mercy creed.
Unlike the other Classic World of Darkness games, Hunter specifically emphasized the plebian and ordinary elements of the characters. Players were encouraged to play ordinary joes who were suddenly thrust into a world gone horribly mad and with few resources. Many hunters are at least a little bit insane, and the more advanced they were in their virtues, the more distracted they became.
Hunters had several supernatural gifts from the Messengers, their mysterious sponsors: supernatural abilities in the form of Edges, the ability to understand the mysterious shared language of Hunter Code and the ability to recognize and withstand mind control and illusions from monsters.
Innocents exemplify the Mercy virtue, their edges emphasize protection and defense, as well as control of light.
Martyrs Use their own pain as a weapon; Martyrs can focus pain and suffering into responses, both to heal and to harm monsters, and are willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause.
Redeemers Focus on the conscience and cursed nature of monsters, both by preventing them from attacking or otherwise indulging their habits and making them face their current state.
Hermits Are one of the lost Vision creeds. Hermits receive messages from the Messengers continuously, as well as information from other hunters. Originally intended as communication hubs for the Imbued, Hermits are almost totally unable to stay around other hunters because of the noise.
Visionaries Intended as the leaders or priests of the Imbued, Visionary edges allow them to see into the future and the past.
Waywards Are the death machines of the hunters, making Avengers look relatively sedate. Possessed of an even more full view of the world than Visionaries, Waywards focus on eliminating any and all monsters they encounter regardless of what is in their way.
Zeal Avengers Are the poster-boys for the Zeal virtue, and are the most offensively powerful of the creeds. Avengers are focused on a cause, that can easily lead to elimination and extermination of monsters. Defenders Are focused on building and defending societies, and their edges emphasize protection, defense and reaction.
Judges Are the third Zeal creed, and are focused on the evaluation and judgement of monsters. Their edges focus on analysis and preventing monsters from using their powers.
Hunter Code is a written language of symbols made by the Messengers so that the Imbued can communicate with each other; there is no known verbal component. Only Hunters can understand the code or, in many cases, even notice it at all. It is often merely overlooked by any supernatural creature. Each symbol usually has a one-word meaning attached, and some symbols are harder to understand depending on an Imbued's Creed. (For example, an Avenger would have a hard time understanding the meaning behind the symbol for "Friendly monster", because they're not inclined to see a monster as anything other than a target). The only Hunters capable of creating complex symbols are the Visionaries, as it is their Creed Ability.
Another set of symbols is available to Waywards of sufficient Vision, symbols only members of that creed can understand. These symbols are incomprehensible to any other Imbued, let alone supernatural creatures; like the standard code, each symbol has one-word meanings attached. These symbols serve as the Wayward Creed Ability - by marking them on their skin, a Wayward can enhance their personal capabilities.