Overall, Hunters are generally divided in three levels of groups: Cells are small teams (usually no more than twenty) who operate together in an area, and can frequently become a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. Compacts are bigger, more organized groups with regional influence, as well as decent organization and resources. Finally, Conspiracies are world-wide factions with often access to supernatural enhancements known as Endowments.
Tropes applying to all Hunters:
- Anti-Hero: They are fighting monsters, yes, but that doesn't necessarly make them good guys. Many are Knight Templars who kill monsters without any care for the fact some aren't evil, or Nominal Heroes who are doing what they do out of self-interest rather than to actually help humanity. At least some of them, like the Ashwood Abbey, the Promethean Conspiracy and the Hunt Club, are outright Villain Protagonists.
- Badass Normal: While there are Hunters with supernatural abilities as a result of certain Endowments, the vast majority of Hunters are completely normal human beings who fight creatures that are much stronger, much faster and much tougher than them, and can still hold their own against the lot of them, albeit with tons of casualties. The most experienced Hunters flat-out borderline Charles Atlas Superpowers, as they can be just as much of a threat as any experienced vampire or werewolf can be.
- Heroic Willpower: The Hunters' main feature. Since the large majority of them lack supernatural powers, and all of them lack any "Mana" pool like the ones other gamelines have, they make up for it by having the ability to "risk" Willpower, both enhancing its effect and allowing them to regain it more easily.
- He Who Fights Monsters: A frequent danger Hunters expose themselves too. When you spend your life fighting abominations, it's all too easy to become an insane killer yourself. A disturbing number of Hunters end up becoming Slashers.
- Humans Are Warriors: This is how they can stand a chance against supernaturals desite being mere mortals. Hunters might not have powers for the most part, but they do know how to fight.
- Hunter of Monsters: The book is called Hunter the Vigil for a reason. The one thing all Hunter organizations have in common is that they hunt supernatural creatures.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Unfortunately quite common among them. Most Hunters know very little about the supernaturals they fight, so they have no idea that some of them (like the Forsaken Werewolves) are actually the only thing protecting humanity from something even worse. Even worse, some of them, like Les Mystères or the Keepers of the Source, think they know the truth, but pretty much believe the opposite of what is actually going on.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Hunters are possibly the most diverse template in all the New World of Darkness; the only two things they all have in common is that they are humans and hunt supernaturals (and even the latter isn't an absolute-the Hunt Club targets regular humans). Aside from that, they cover pretty much everything, from religious zealots and elaborate secret societies to corrupt mega corps and government organizations, along with a cult of monster-hunting half-demons.
- Taught by Experience: Mechanic-wise, Hunters can acquire "Practical Experience" each time they hunt a supernatural, allowing them to acquire additional experience to spend on skills and merits (but not attributes).
- Van Helsing Hate Crime: Many of them kill supernaturals indiscriminately without bothering to check if said supernaturals actually are evil. Then again, considering the "good" monsters are outnumbered by the bad, and tend to not be so nice themselves, you can hardly blame them. Moreover, the large majority of Hunters seem to realize falling to this trope is a bad thing, and usually try to avoid it whenever possible.
- Weak, but Skilled: Compared to other templates in the setting, the large majority of Hunters lack supernatural powers, and even those who do have ones lack a Supernatural Trait and a Mana pool, meaning they have to rely on Heroic Willpower to fuel their abilities and cannot increase their Attributes and Skills above 5 like monsters can. They make up for it by exploiting every bit of experience they can get on the field and using elaborate tactics through teamwork. Moreover, Practical Experience grants them more Experience, and the same lack of Supernatural Trait gives them less things to spend it on, meaning they can focus everything on Skills, Merits and Attributes, which they will frequently have much higher than supernatural beings as a result.
CompactsSmall, often regional organizations, a compact will typically focus on a specific threat or area to protect. Though nowhere near as powerful as many conspiracies, compacts are free from the often overbearing yoke of a conspiracy's bureaucracy.
- I don't mind being snuffed out, so long as I keep alive the flame of the human spirit.
This Islamic compact, presented in Ancient Bloodlines, is one of the oldest recorded, dating back to 1176, when Saladin was Sultan. Saladin met with Rashid ad-Din Sinan, leader of the Syrian faction of the Hashshashin, a long-standing adversary of his. Both men had believed the other to be under the influence of vampires, but upon discovering the truth they decided to join forces and create a new group that would free Islam from the forces of the supernatural. The Ahl al-Jabal have kept to that mission ever since. Members of the compact largely follow the Nazari Ismaili sect of Islam, albeit with a key difference: the recognition that monsters exist and must be fought.
- Fantastic Racism: Having originated as a vampire-hunting sect, they have a particular focus on vampires, but they loathe two kinds of vampires above all, both for religious reasons. Vampires of the Lanceae et Sanctum are hated and despised for seeming to embody everything bad about the Christian faith. Vampires of the Daeva clan are hated for being sultry, bloodsucking corpse-bound Horny Devils, due to their focus on tempting, subverting and corrupting humans into their playthings for their own base, ungodly pleasures and desires.
- The Hashshashin: Descended from them, but turn their skills against both supernatural and mortal threats to humanity. They recognise, however, that not all supernaturals are threats, and will do their best to learn about any they come across before deciding what to do.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Their origin.
- Mistaken for Terrorist: They're very aware of how a group of insular Muslims who train in combat and carry weapons appears post-9/11, so they avoid coordinating with other hunter groups. They prefer to use minimal violence, and to avoid the deaths of bystanders or supernatural slaves. While they're willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause, they will never become suicide bombers, as it is abhorrent to them.
The Ashwood Abbey
- Try this, I think you'll find it quite stimulating.
An organization comprised exclusively of the rich, powerful or blue-blooded, the Abbey traces its lineage back to a man named Reverend Doctor Marcus McDonald Ogilvy, the leader of a "Hellfire Club", back in 1855. Reverend Ogilvy was responsible for leading a party that desecrated a holy site... unfortunately for them, the site was holy to werewolves. After they killed several of the decadents to express their feelings, Reverend Ogilvy led a second party — this one armed and ready to defend itself when the werewolves attacked again. Since then, the Ashwood Abbey has used its wealth and connections to locate supernatural beings and take whatever entertainment it can from them. Before, during and after killing them. The three most powerful cliques amongst the Abbey consist of the Competitors, the Pursuit and the Libertines. Competitors treat monster-hunting as a competition, and thusly are the most active of the Abbey cliques; almost seeking to capture, kill or screw something more bizarre and exotic than their fellows. Pursuers are after knowledge, the darkest and most awful secrets they can imagine. They are the record keepers of the Abbey, focused more on seeing and experiencing than actually doing; these are the Abbeyists who gather information and record the hunt for the benefits of themselves and other Abbeyists. Libertines simply want to break taboos, to do things that no one has done to things that no one has done things to. Many see themselves as creators of new moralities and new paradigms of living.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Blue-blooded and black-hearted generally sums up the attitude others have towards them.
- Byronic Hero: The attitude that they are this is one Libertines tend to adopt, though whether they actually succeed is another matter.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Libertines are stated to often revolt even their fellows in the Ashwood Abbey. On the Compact as a whole, the one line they seem unwilling to cross is hunting humans (though witches don't count in their eyes).
- That said, they can be very indifferent to collateral damage. Spirit Slayers mentions one Abbey cell that basically considered its hunt against a specific Murder Spirit to be a game; they'd let it get into its "routine" of possessing a working-class schmuck and murdering other working class people, then hunt down the host and kill it, and then wait for it to get strong enough to possess somebody else and resume murdering so they could hunt it down again. It's explicitly called out that the cell might still be amusing themselves at the expense of the city's working class if a horrified Malleus Maleficarium cell hadn't come along and put the spirit down for good.
- Played with in that they're on the receiving end of this trope: Beasts, literal incarnate nightmares who feed on fear, think the Ashwood Abbey is sickening and depraved, and they go out of their way to harass, bedevil and punish them whenever they can.
- For the Evulz: They do the various horrible things they do for one reason: they're bored.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Everyone absolutely despises the Abbey. It's almost a Running Gag that no matter how bad one particular Vigil Compact or Conspiracy is, they still look down on the Abbey as a bunch of sickos.
- In Slasher, VASCU's Stereotypes section for the Abbey has one hunter recall the time he was hunting down a serial killer who liked chopping up old men with a hatchet, only to find an Abbey cell had got there first and was, quote, "violating our perp like animals: they hadn't even put him out of his misery". The VASCU agent apparently threw up harder than he ever had before, whilst his partner, a member of the New York Police Department's Special Victims Unit, was so revolted that she immediately shot them all dead. Both agreed to cover it up as "self defense".
- The Hedonist: An especially dark and twisted variant. The basic motivation of the Abbey is hunting monsters because it's fun. And since monsters aren't people, they have no qualms about... experimenting... with using them for pleasure as well. Raping them, torturing them, eating their flesh, drinking their blood, making them into trophies and clothes: these are all things the Abbey has been said to do.
- A consequence of this is that the Abbey would be offended at discovering the Pilgrimage. Monsters are sport; they're not supposed to try and become people. If monsters can become people, then that makes the Abbey monsters, and the Abbey will not accept the idea they're the monsters.
- Noodle Incident: The corebook mentions the Abbey has tried to get around that pesky "werewolves revert to human form upon death" preventing them from making trophies out of werewolf skin by skinning a living werewolf. However, for some reason, it's only ever been done once. Nobody has ever dared try and do it again.
- Power Perversion Potential: The Abbey lives and breathes this trope. Of course, the powers whose potential they're perverting aren't their own, and the guests who hold the powers are rarely willing participants.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job: The iconic Abbeyist.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Ashwood Abbeyists are noted as being woefully inadequate in terms of monster lore. Most don't care that they only know a few scraps of information at best; research is boring! It's more fun to try and make things up as they go along.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Due to their positions in society, members can often get away with methods that would get other hunters arrested.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: All members of the Abbey are wealthy to begin with, which is the other reason they can get away with so much of the stuff they do.
- Token Evil Teammate: Of the core Compacts and Conspiracies, the Ashwood Abbey are treated as pretty much the nastiest. Since they are basically bored, rich party-animals who rape, torture, murder and even cannibalize supernatural beings for fun, it's not an unreasonable treatment. They are actually one of the least popular compacts amongst fans, since they're so heavily slanted towards Villain Protagonist and/or Designated Hero status whenever they get described.
- To highlight this, the sample Ashwood Abbey hunters in the corebook include a Brainless Beauty fashion model who wants to screw and kill monsters because it's fun, a District Attorney who privately admits they're lying about hunting and killing monsters to protect people; they just think it's fun, and a corrupt vicar who holds BDSM orgies with the more attractive female members of the vicarage.
- Spirit Slayers makes reference to Ashwood Abbeyists making sport of tracking down a spirit named Jean-Pierre that possessed working-class laborers and then murdered their families, killing its host, then letting it possess another host to start the cycle over again. Apparently, this "game" would still be ongoing into the present day if a cell of Malleus Maleficarium hadn't interjected and dispatched the spirit.
- The same splatbook also references Abbeyists taking werewolf skins as trophies, despite the fact that werewolves revert to human form upon death. According to internal rumor, some Abbeyists don't let this stop them and so they prepare the now-human corpses as throw-rugs — though nobody sober will admit to doing so.
- Meanwhile, Tooth and Nails has even Abby members themselves start off with saying how they're expected to scandalize the reader... followed by a dead sober description of Beasts
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The entire concept at the core of their ideology; they resonate that monsters are, by definition, not human- and therefore it's completely okay to kill, torture and rape them for fun.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Tooth and Nails reveals most of them are terrorized by Beasts, as they are well-aware the Begotten hate them, and even they realize being on the shit-list of literal incarnations of nightmares is bad. Some of them still risk themselves at hunting Beasts obviously, but most of the Compact look down to these members are suicidal.
The Barrett Commission
- This is my country, my people. If anyone will be using them, it'll be me.
A secret conspiracy within the ranks of the US government, made of politicians and government officials who have stumbled upon the fact that the supernatural exists and, worse, has been known to try and influence the government itself. The Barrett Commission dedicates itself to stymying such efforts, and as such tends to focus primarily on foiling vampires, since these are the most political interference-inclined of the supernatural races. The Barrett Commission began during the term of first President Adams, when Revolutionary Colonel Shaun Barrett, Alfred Bredelmeyer and Elizabeth Ducat investigated some curious bookkeeping discrepancies surrounding the office of the Governor of Delaware. They found the culprit to be a vampire, and executed the creature, but their plans to reveal what had happened to the President and establish preparations to prevent it from happening again were scuttled by the murders of Barrett and Bredelmeyer. Elizabeth Ducat alone survived, thanks to the prejudices of the age, and she went underground, secretly weaving a web through the ranks of the politically powerful that has spread on through the generations yet, forming a secret group dedicated to keeping monsters out of the government. There are three primary divisions amongst the Commission, each placing its area of expertise. The Suits focus on big business, the Quorum focuses straight on politics, and the Five Stars are a small, growing segment who belong to the military sector.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: If the description of a .357 and stake under the mahogany desk is anything to go by.
- The Chains of Commanding: They certainly believe these exist.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Part of their membership. But given what they're up against, the charge loses some of its luster.
- Government Agency of Fiction: They are a hidden political coalition in charge of keeping vampire influence away from the American government.
- Four-Star Badass: Any member of the Five Stars division, in theory.
- Man Behind the Man: The Commission has found that by staying away from the spotlight, they're able to more effectively fight vampires trying to do the same.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: A common attitude in the group. After all, they are politicians and similar figures.
The Bear Lodge
- Wait, I need his ears to prove my kill!
A collection of North American big game hunters, the Bear Lodge formed in 1901 in Montana after learning that such things as werewolves existed out in the wilderness. Since then the Lodge has opened in other areas of the United States and Canada, finding werewolves and other creatures to test themselves against. This has cost them their founding lodge, and to this day many members still dream of taking it back from the wolves that stole it. The Lodge has found that each hunter has a certain Motivation, and that three have taken prominence. The Sportsmen only want to prove themselves, man against man-creature in a show of dominance. Trappers are more sensible in their approach, using any and all means available to gain an edge of their prey, as well as showing the most resolve in trying to retake their Montana lodge. The Vigilantes believe that they have a moral duty along with their hunt, doing their best to only target werewolves and even other creatures that have killed, leaving the rest alone.
- Combat Pragmatist: The Trappers, and presumably many other members of the Lodge.
- Great White Hunter: Though presumably the Lodge is not all white, the trope is in full force spiritually.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Played with. While werewolves are possibly the most single dangerous one-on-one enemy to face in the World of Darkness, Lodge hunters don't believe in being stupid about how they view the prey.
- Reality has been pushed beyond accepted norms. We're here to fix that.
A secret government group organized by the mysterious Mr. Smith to hunt down "reality deviants" who are going to cause the destruction of reality. Secretly, they're pawns for a member of the Seers of the Throne, an evil mage who is sending them out to assassinate non-Seer mages and prevent Awakenings. They first appeared in America in 1976, when Thomas Major, a hunter who worked in the office of a prominent New England Congressman, and a group of like-minded DC power players moved to interrupt a shadow war brewing between various occult societies on the eve of America's 200th birthday. Division Six divides itself into three Departments; Alpha (planning and logistics, the nominal cell-leaders who receive hit-lists from the Panopticon), Charlie (surveillance and intelligence gathering), and Whiskey (assassination).
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Members of this compact undergo special training that makes them more likely to trigger a paradox, and this training sometimes makes an agent "no longer capable of separating deviance from proper reality". Anyone familiar with Mage The Awakening realizes this means that the agent becomes a mage. Agents who experience this are rarely seen again by other agents.
- Everyone Has Standards: The actual killers in Department Whiskey creep out and are distrusted by the members of the other Departments.
- Gone Horribly Right: It's possible that Division Six could turn on the Panopticon if ever they actually realized they were being used as puppets by the real evil wizards.
- Government Agency of Fiction: Subverted; they believe themselves to be a secret branch of the US government, but in truth, they are being used by the Panopticon.
- The Man Behind the Man: The all-seeing Mr. Smith is this to Division Six. In reality, the power behind Mr. Smith is the Panopticon, ie the very mages that give the rest a horrible name.
- The Men in Black: Division Six's agents appear to have a perpetual case of jerkasses and know-it-alls who seem to think they're above US law.
- Seemingly Profound Fool: One of the suggested hunters is a pessimist...because he thinks entropy is going to break up all of the Earth. That's true, but he thinks it's going to happen in fifty years, all because he took a physics class at some point (not succeeded or passed, the specific word is "took"). Even if the wool wasn't deliberately pulled over his eyes about how magic actually works, this doesn't reflect well on his abilities as a scientist.
- Trap Master: Members of Department Charlie tend to be good at setting up explosives and similar traps.
Habibti Ma is an Egyptian compact born after Eme Amun Hassan lost most of her family to a suicide cult. As she searched for a way to ease her grief, she learned of the Egyptian goddess Ma'at, embodiment of justice, and realised what she wanted to do. With assistance from psychologists, legal experts, and private security professionals, she created Habibti Ma, a group dedicated to disbanding cults and returning members to their families - legally when possible, but more than willing to engage in kidnapping and psychological warfare if need be. In the process of so doing, they have learned that praying to human gods appears to have a strong impact on cultists of the undying for reasons they do not as yet understand. There are three main Duties in Habibti Ma. The Good Sons engage with cults directly, breaking them up, kidnapping their victims, and working with psychologists to deprogram cult members. The Watchers of Isfet look for cult activity at the street level, and are learning more about the supernatural shadows of the world in the process. Mothers Against Cult Activity (MACA) are a group who raise both money and awareness on the dangers of cult activity. While they have no official ties to Habibti Ma, in practice they are the political and financial arm of the compact.
- Anti-Hero: They are trying to save people who got indoctrinated into cults, something perfectly honorable. However, they are willing to resort to questionable methods, such as kidnapping and psychological warfare.
- Cruel to Be Kind: How they see their kidnapping and deprogramming.
- Religion Is Magic: Downplayed, but they have figured out a way to use prayers to the human god as a way to fight the brainwashing used by undead-led cults.
The Illuminated Brotherhood
- I've seen things you couldn't believe.
The first founding of the Illuminated Brotherhood occurred in the early 1980s, where an attempt to recreate the Marsh Chapel Experiment unintentionally involved a large number of mediums who had infiltrated the experiment to gain access to the government-supplied mind-opening/altering drugs the participants were being tested with. The result of so many spiritually connected minds being under psychedelic chemicals at the same time opened a rift to the spirit world, resulting in a six-hour long nightmare that killed most of the participants and became the final nail in the coffin for governmental psychedelic experimentation. The handful of survivors joined together as a kind of support group, which in turn evolved into the modern day Illuminated Brotherhood; a group of supernatural hunters who attempt to use hallucinogens and psychedelic chemicals to acquire greater understanding and awareness of the universe through altered minds. Three Movements are particularly noteworthy amongst the Brotherhood. The Children of Leary are the oldest existent movement, tracing back to the original founding of the Brotherhood; they have little interest in conventional hunting of monsters, and instead concentrate their efforts on trying to expand their awareness of reality through the use of entheogenic experiences. The Spirit Seekers, on the other hand, track down rumored occult locations and investigate them, sometimes with pseudoscientific methods, sometimes with hallucinogens, sometimes both, to see if they can "make contact" with whatever lies beyond. Finally, the most conventional Movement is the Watching Eye, which focuses on tracking, studying, and if need be combating spirits and ghosts who take over human bodies.
- Milkman Conspiracy: Would-be spiritualists who use hallucinogenic drugs to try and contact the spirit world.
- Non-Action Guy: The Illuminated Brotherhood as a whole; only the Watching Eye's members really are interested in fighting monsters, with others simply looking to find them and, by doing so, expand their consciousness.
- Reality Ensues: The Illuminated Brotherhood is noted as having a very high mortality rate. "Psychedelics don't teach people how to fight."
- Too Dumb to Live: Actually seen as such In-Universe; even the writeup of the compact in Spirit Slayers states outright that they possess misguided energy, and are, frankly, too dumb not to get involved with the supernatural world.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Members of the Watching Eye are particularly prone to pigeonholing all supernaturals as being spirit or ghost related, even considering other kinds of monsters, such as werewolves, vampires, witches, etc, to be a result of spirits possessing people and deliberately changing to emulate those archetypes in "semiotic ghosting" — the world changling slightly to benefit from people's perspective.
The Keepers of the Source
- You took something from Mother Earth. Now you're going to have to give it back.
Founded in the Summer of Love by a minor psychic, a hippy woman who preferred the name Starflower, the Keepers of the Source were originally a New Age occultist group known as the Dowsing Society, dedicated to mapping the flow of ley lines. Their first interactions with the true occult underground came during the Samhain festival in Balboa Park, 1970; one of their members, a true mage named Cassandra, used the ritual as an opportunity to tap a Hallow, during which Starflower and at least one of her disciples, the prodigy Duncan Redgrove, felt such agony that they blacked out. Though Starflower begged Cassandra to return the "stolen blood of the Earth Mother", Cassandra refused her, insisting that what she had done was natural. Redgrove was furious, but Starflower insisted on a pacifist tactics. For five years, they were the joke of the occult underground as they attempted to passively convince mages and werewolves to "leave Mother Earth alone" and "return what they had stolen". Most simply ignored them, but some of them lashed out at the foolish hippies; three died in mysterious accidents that Redgrove swore were the work of overzealous and overprotective mages. Finally, in the summer of 1975, Starflower led a peaceful demonstration intended to hold back a group of people from tapping a hallow. That group, however, were a pack of four werewolves. A dozen Dowsers died, one was maimed for life, and Starflower spent three months in hospital. By the time she got out, Redgrove had taken over and the Dowsing Society had been replaced by the far more radical, militantly minded Keepers of the Source — Starflower herself was made to leave in 1985, when they officially changed their name. Currently, three primary Philosophies exist amongst the Keepers. The Children of Gaia are a small but growing resurgence of Starflower's old pacifist teachings, while the old and prominent Hand of the Mother are the Redgrove-founded militants who lead the Keepers to war. Meanwhile, Redgrove's daughter, Karen, currently leads the Dynasts, who vacillate between the two extremes, but have yet to settle on a solid direction.
- Blessed with Suck: The founder of the group, Starflower, and most members of this group have a variation of the Unseen Senses merit that allows them to sense the presence of Essence, which they call "Source". They can also sense when someone is tapping into sources of Essence, or is carrying Essence within themselves. The problem is, this sense manifests as intense pain; even being near an untapped Essence wellspring gives them a dull ache, whilst being near someone who is carrying Essence in their being causes searing agony that some female members of the group have likened to childbirth.
- Bullying a Dragon: From the beginning, the Keepers have had a high turnover rate, and the retaliations have been quite spectacular. Redgrove himself was fatally blasted with lightning in 1996.
- Downer Ending: In-Universe, the tale of Starflower herself; she got kicked out of her own group by the far more militant Redgrove, watched her original Dowsing Society change into the violent Keepers of the Source, and has given up all her hippy ways. She's calling herself Meredith Lehane again and has gotten a job as an advertising executive at a prestigious firm in Philadelphia. Yeah, she's still alive and living a decent job, but she's seen her original mission corrupted, been crippled, and she still hears "the screaming of the Earth Mother" at times — she just pretends she can't.
- Fantastic Racism: They hate witches and werewolves because they think they're parasites who feed on the Earth Mother's blood for selfish gain.
- Gaia's Vengeance: They're militant hippies; they tend to invoke this archetype.
- Milkman Conspiracy: Who would honestly expect monster-hunting hippies with a particular grudge against mages and werewolves?
- Psychic Powers: The Unseen Senses merit, which is a kind of ESP, is common amongst the group.
- Small Name, Big Ego: The attitude most mages and werewolves had towards the Dowsing Society. And not unjustified; after all, as half-spirits and people Awakened to the true higher spheres of creation, they do know more about the way Essence works than a bunch of clueless hippies.
- Too Dumb to Live: They've been known, In-Universe, to try typical hippy protestor actions against werewolf packs and mage cabals. Yeah... this doesn't end well. They gave this up after Redgrove took over, though.
- Trap Master: They're not good at fighting, so they tend to focus on booby-traps to kill monsters instead. It's noted that prior to 9/11, they tended to rely on car bombs, but the specter of anti-terrorist responses from the Department of Homeland Security means they've mostly given up on this and instead favor "accidents"; ruptured gas mains, electrical fires, etc.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: They've decided that anyone who draws upon Essence is literally draining the life from the earth below them, because they feel pain when Essence is drawn nearby or if they approach someone with an Essence pool. In reality, this is actually a normal part of the universe; they're just unfortunate enough to have their Unseen Sense ability manifest itself in a rather sucky way.
The Long Night
- Blessed is he who stays awake. Let us all keep watch.
Also known as the Tribulation Militia, the Long Night are a loosely knit compact based on a multitude of fundamentalist Christian sects, including Branch Davidian-style militarized gun-cults, Family Values campaigners, paranoid survivalists, affluent Southern USA fundamentalists, and middle-class conservative evangelicists. Though there is little overarching structure, all are united in their awareness of monsters, their belief that the End Times are coming, and that the two are related somehow. Their general belief is that the monsters must be fought in order for Armageddon to occur; only then will God come forth in a blaze of glory to sweep away all evil and bestow a new, pure world upon His redeemed children. There are three main "motifs" that hunters of the Long Night tend to fall into. The Hopeless secretly or openly believe they are damned anyway — often for misdeeds or traits that non-fundamentalists would see nothing wrong with. They believe only by fighting the Good Fight against the forces of darkness can they hope to cleanse their soul and maybe be saved on Judgment Day. The Faithful believe that they are doing God's work with everything they do; the monsters are prolonging the time of darkness before the Rapture can sweep the world clean, and so they must work to accelerate it and bring on the end of days. The Merciful preach a doctrine of mercy and redemption, seeking to bring back into the light those who have been led astray — even monsters.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Let's face it, most people outside of their ranks would find the idea of "the End of the World is coming, and that's a good thing, so I must make sure it happens sooner!" to be pretty incomprehensible.
- The End of the World as We Know It: The Long Night all believe that Armageddon is coming. As a general rule of thumb, they think this is good, because they believe that afterwards, a new world will be made that is free of sin. Thusly, they fight to both accelerate the time until Judgment Day occurs and to prove themselves worthy of being reborn into the new world.
- The Fundamentalist: Their members almost invariably are. Though emphasis is placed on their positive attributes, such as the Merciful faction or their general willingness to fight for humanity's sake, it is made clear that many of the uglier sides of this trope are in place. Many of the Hopeless, for example, only loathe themselves because of their strict religious upbringing and beliefs.
- Compacts & Conspiracies makes this side of them even scarier, by revealing that there are members of the Faithful doctrine who actively insinuate themselves into high positions of government, business, and even entertainment... so they can use that influence to push Armageddon ever closer.
- Good Shepherd: An ideal that many try to live up to, especially the Merciful, but whether they succeed... is another matter.
- Heteronormative Crusader: A possible archetype for a Long Night member, but thankfully not one likely to have much emphasis placed on it.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: It's something that often happens, since many of the values held by Christian fundamentalists — especially conservative ones — are decidedly not politically correct.
- Pro-Human Transhuman: The Merciful's Dark Secret is that one of their sub-factions, the Lion's Den, wishes to become this — they want to become monsters because they believe themselves so righteous they could keep doing their missions while being supernaturals.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Let's face it; their fundamental doctrine is that the end of the world is coming... and they have to accelerate it, because they believe it will be a good thing.
The Loyalists of Thule
- I don't have any choice. I have a debt to pay.
Descendants of the Thule Society, an organization of occultists and would-be mystics that was involved in the rise to power of the Nazis, something which their heirs are determined to atone for. They dedicate themselves to collecting mystical lore and knowledge, often offering this to other hunters to aid them in their battles — the primary complaints about their efforts are that they tend to be too slow to act, they rarely get their hands dirty, and they are often stingy with the lore they have. They are divided into three philosophies. The Scholars make up the majority, focusing on gathering information about the supernatural and disseminating it to those who have the skills to put it to practical use. The less common Penitents instead believe that the Loyalists should be more proactive and so they actively fight as well as research. Rarest of all, the Advance believes that the best way for the Loyalists to atone is to take charge of and lead humanity to actively stamp out the supernatural — most other Loyalists fear this as getting too close to being a return of the Volkisch viewpoint that damned the Thule Society in the first place.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: A general archetype for the Penitent faction.
- The Atoner: The entire organisation, and most of its membership. Actually deconstructed; because the second world war was so long ago, most newer recruits don't have that emotional investiture in the organization's need for redemption. As a consequence, standard practice for recruiting involves acquiring blackmail material, in order to force the recruits to be loyal and believe they have something to atone for. Compacts & Conspiracies reveals that they particularly specialise in targeting people who cause or unleash supernatural misery by accident; bargaining with witches, releasing evil spirits or malevolent ghosts, awakening ancient vampires, etcetera.
- Badass Bookworm: Comes in handy when you need to know the proper ancient Tibetan chant to banish a demon. Still, generally a minority and almost invariably a member of the Penitents.
- Berserk Button: Anything and anyone relating to Nazism or Neo-Nazism, to put it mildly. Neo-Nazis who join end up dead. Monsters that use Nazi trappings, or which were connected to the Nazi regime, or simply may have been, are the focus of their ire.
- Suggesting that maybe the Loyalists don't need to be so hooked up on their past ties to the Nazi movement is also a bad idea.
- Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: The Three Old Men of Munich; the last survivors of the founders of the Loyalists. Each despises the other two as a living reminder of his sins, but they depend on each other to run the faction. It's noted that many think they're only still alive because each refuses to give the others the satisfaction of seeing him die first.
- Never Live It Down: Invoked In-Universe as the founding principle of the compact. The Loyalists were formed from those Thule Society members who felt they would never be able to redeem themselves for their Nazi connections. As mentioned above, they react violently to younger members who suggest that maybe the Loyalists can move on from their fixation with the Nazis.
- Non-Action Guy: Many Loyalists are this, as they tend to be scholars and researchers. This is one of the reasons why they tend to instead "help" other, more active hunter cells fight instead. It also gets them negative responses from said hunters, especially since they think the Loyalists tend to drag their feet about gathering and/or sharing information.
- Precursors: The Loyalists believe that there are some out there who can answer many of the compact's questions. May or may not be related to a similar race of ancient beings from another World of Darkness line.
Maiden's Blood Sisterhood
- Did you think us shuddering alone and waiting for rescue?
Also known as Pi Alpha Kappa, the Maiden's Blood Sisterhood is a sorority born from the Ivy League Seven Sisters schools, which is dedicated to protecting campus students and staff, especially the female ones, from monstrous depredations. Founded in 1957 by Agatha Brewer, a Professor of Mythology & Religion at Wellesley University, the Sisterhood was born when she realized a disturbing trend of her students showing up weak and pale, or simply vanishing — sometimes for weeks at a time, other times permanently. While her fellow teachers were content to dismiss this as simple student irresponsibility, she dug deeper, and eventually uncovered a vampire running a blood-cult dedicated to the Crone of the triplicate goddess. With the aid of some select members of the staff and students, they drove the vampire away, and killed it when it returned. From this, the Sisterhood was born, dedicated to fighting all such monsters. There are three organizational groups within the Sisterhood. Members of the Pleiades are the organizers who oversee the business end of the Sisterhood, handling both the leadership of the hunter members and the administration of the non-hunting aspects of their organization. The Graces are the caregivers, sponsors and recruiters, focusing on running soup kitchens and shelters, providing medical aid to injured hunters, and secretly looking for new women — or the occasional worthy man — to bring into the fold. Finally, the Amazons are those members of the Sisterhood who are actually out and actively hunting monsters, the military branch of the organization.
- Berserk Button: The Sisterhood hate abuse — not just of women, as one might think, but of the young. This is why they are so dedicated to fighting vampires, who seem to be inherently drawn to the role of Faustian monsters; callously seductive manipulators who use, abuse and discard the weak and the young.
- Lady Land: Zigzagged; the Sisterhood, as the name suggests, doesn't recruit from the male student body wherever it forms its branches, but it will usually accept faculty members, off-campus volunteers and townies — any of whom could be male — as members. However, it's a female-power-orientated compact, and men who join need to be comfortable with that. Some cells can be so feminist that they actually end up being sexist against men, making male members fight harder to gain Compact Status than their female counterparts have to.
- Mythology Gag: It's quite clear to anyone familiar with the New World of Darkness that the vampire who inadvertently founded the Sisterhood was a member of the Circle of the Crone, a feminine-focused Religion of Evil.
- Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Averted; Though dedicated to fighting vampires, when it comes to other monsters, the Sisterhood is not unwilling to try diplomacy, though they approach the matter with caution.
- The Sisterhood actually has one of the better relationships with mages; there is an express mandate that unless a "witch" presents a clear and immediate threat to the population, the case must be reviewed by the Pleiades Council before any action is taken. Officially, this is because a cell of the Sisterhood killed a student reported to be a witch at Bryn Mawr College, and the ensuing investigation almost ended the organization. Unofficially, this has led to conspiracy theories that the Pleiades may themselves contain at least one mage.
A relatively young compact, dedicated to using multimedia networking to expose the true nature of the world's darkest shadows. It was created in the latter half of 1991 by a man named Jim Harrison, from Dallas, Texas. Harrison was an independent filmmaker who specialized in creating special effects for monster movies, until the day he anonymously received three reels of film that apparently dated back to the 1970s. The first showed an impossibly huge dog stalking the streets of Philadelphia. The second showed a man who was unnaturally blurry and out of focus, despite his surroundings being crystal clear, who dissolved into mist. The last showed a bizarre thing made of rubbery, translucent tentacles pull itself from the ground and up into the sky. Unable to figure out who had made these films, he broadcast them on a public access channel. He asked if anyone knew anything about them. He got no answers... but he got a small sack of letters from people who had their own stories to tell, some even had film proof. Since then, Network Zero has dedicated itself to seeking out and recording proof of all the world's supernatural entities, distributing them across the internet. The three primary factions of Network Zero are the Record Keepers; who simply collect and record information, the Army of Truth; who seek to disseminate the collected information in hopes of making humans "wake up" to the monsters in their midst, and the Secret Keepers; who strive to cover up these sightings of monsters lest the monsters catch on "before Network Zero is ready".
- Agent Mulder: They all are dedicated to the belief the truth is out there and it must be found. The Army of Truth are the minority who wants to try and convince everyone else to accept the truth.
- Basement-Dweller: A large part of their membership. Though subverted, since going after monsters with nothing but a camera is pretty badass.
- Broken Masquerade: They chase after any break in the Masquerade, and the Army of Truth is out to tear it all down until all that's left is The Unmasqued World. Compacts & Conspiracies provides an optional budding Endowment that allows them to get around the Masquerade more successfully — microphones that can pick up the voices of Twilight-dwelling spirits or ghosts, video-recorders that show werewolves-in-human-form with clear tells as to their nature, etcetera.
- The Men in Black: The Secret Keepers faction still gather data whenever the masquerade gets broken, but they then cover it up; their excuse is that humanity "isn't ready" and if they're too careless, then the monsters will strengthen the masquerade and get even more firmly entrenched. They want to wait until they have the ultimate case breaker, so as to instantly shatter the masquerade and force all monsters out of hiding at once.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Some Network Zero members have convinced themselves that the monsters have infiltrated so far into society that the only way to spread the truth is through what can only be described as guerrilla media techniques, from setting up automatic projectors to taking entire news studios hostage.
- Underestimating Badassery: Because they are relatively recent compared to other Compacts, and consist mostly in geeks trying to collect videos of the supernatural rather than actually fighting it, many don't think much of them. Yet, as Compact and Conspiracies reveals, not only have the Army of Truth collected surprisingly dangerous weapons, but the compact as a whole is very close of evolving into a Conspiracy.
- We ARE Struggling Together: When one faction is dedicated to trying to show the stuff they collect to people in hopes of making people believe there are monsters out there, and a second is dedicated to hiding their information "until the time is right", you get a lot of factional conflict.
- You picked the wrong street, bloodsuckin' motherfucker!
A vigilante group that grew out of the Hill District of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, during the winter of 1970, when four young men led an impromptu revolution against vampires that were preying upon the members of the district. Their success led to the spread of the group to encompass other regions, and now the Street Warriors have spread across America; less a Compact and more an ideology that keeps spontaneously blooming amongst the people of the street — gangsters, vagrants, prostitutes, ghetto dwellers, and anyone else who has nobody else willing to stand up for them against the creatures of the night. The Night Watch, being so disorganized, has very different tactics and attitudes throughout cities, but there are three titles that have come to be used more or less commonly. Street Angels are the actively patrolling members of the Night Watch, who most directly head out seeking to fight vampires and other horrors. Archangels are combat veterans, elite thugs who specialize in killing the tougher monsters. Members of the Chain Gang are "old heads" in the game, who tend to focus on serving from a more organizational capacity, due to the infirmities of age and/or old wounds.
- Good Is Not Nice: They're out to rid the streets of vampires and other monsters. Doesn't stop many of them from being thugs, crooks and gangsters.
- Neighborhood Friendly Gangsters: With a liberal interpretation of the word "friendly".
- Vigilante Man: They are people who decided to take justice into their own hands in order to make the street safer from vampires.
- For everything, a theory. This is not the occult. This is science.
Dating back to 1893, Null Mysteriis is a gathering of scientists and rationalists who have uncovered the darker secrets of the world around them and seek to explore and understand them. Their guiding philosophy is that there is no "paranormal", as such, just an array of phenomena and species that science hasn't yet properly analyzed and documented. Hobbyists, generally, members of Null Mysteriis are dedicated to unlocking the secrets of the supernatural world by rational study and observation. The Rationalists form the primary faction of Null Mysteriis; individuals who believe that it's all provable (and disprovable) with science, but they need to research and study in order to advance science enough to recognize what it is (and is not) looking at. The Open Minds faction, conversely, focuses on simply proving or disproving a phenomenon by any means necessary, even the more unscientific. Finally, the small yet growing faction of Cataclysmicists believe that there's something very alarming coming, citing the increasing rise in reported paranormal phenomena as evidence that some sort of massive cataclysm or apocalypse is on the way.
- Agent Scully: They believe in the paranormal, but use scepticism to separate genuine supernatural phenomena from myths. Consequently a lot of other hunters stereotype them as the more extremely in-denial version of Agent Scully.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Played with; being hunters who regularly confront monsters, they do realize things such as vampires and werewolves exist, but they refuse to acknowledge it as supernatural, instead believing it's merely science that has yet to be explained.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Averted. It's one of the greater causes of member conflict when one sort of scientist feels qualified to venture opinions on another type of science.
- Science Hero: Their primary hat. It's noted that most Null Mysteriis members usually hold a fairly well qualified and academically adept day job; zoologists, physicists, psychologists, psychiatrists, consultant doctors, chemists, sociologists and anthropologists. They also have a very scientific approach of the supernatural, trying to analyze it and figure out how it works.
- The Skeptic: All Null Mysteriis members are skeptics to some degree or other. It's precisely what they do and don't believe in that leads to quarrels and squabbling.
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: They aim to analyze the supernatural with science in order to understand how it works. They are not even close to success, but they keep trying.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Like any multi-branched academic group, there's a lot of bickering and debate amongst this Compact. Compact and Conspiracies reveals some of the Rationalists are really starting to consider either killing or forcing the other two subfactions to leave.
- It's nothing personal. You've just got something I want.
Dating back to the middle of the 19th century, founded by a man named Jacob Hite, the Promethean Brotherhood is a worldwide Compact dedicated to a single thing: mastering the mysteries of the mysterious Rite of Hecate, which allows them to temporarily acquire the power of magic-users by ceremoniously killing them. There are three particular philosophies, or Colleges, prominent amongst its members. The Orphic Temple believes that refining the Rite of Hecate requires understanding and believing the Orphic Mysteries. The Cautionaries preach that actually hunting witches should cease, or at least dwindle to the bare necessity of testing subjects, until the Rite is perfected. Finally, the Experimentalists continue to try and refine the Rite by testing the most bizarre and wild new theories they can think of.
- Cannibalism Superpower: Invoked. Among the methods the Experimentalists have used to try and refine the Rite of Hecate are skinning their victims and wearing the skin, eating their hearts, and drinking their blood.
- Deceptive Disciple: The founders of the Promethean Brotherhood were Sleepwalkers, until they turned on their Mages for power. They tend to focus on recruiting other Sleepwalkers as well.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Experimentalists faction, in their quest to develop and refine the Rite of Hecate, are known to engage in all manner of gross, hideous behaviors to see if this will "crack the code". As a result, many of them are insane, and the other members of the Brotherhood regard them all with disgust.
- Evil Is Petty: The main motive for hunting down and murdering others for the sake of gaining powers is the fact that theyre jealous of those who possess magical powers naturally.
- Expy: Jacob Hite seems to have more than a few similarities to Samuel Haight. Besides the obvious similarities in their names, both of them were Muggles that were assistants to supernatural beingsnote , both stole the powers of the supernaturals they were working with by murdering them, and both founded organizations based around murdering supernaturals for their powers. Thankfully Jacob killed himself after the turn of the 20th century, so he will probably not be appearing anywhere else in the New World of Darkness.
- Genre Savvy: The Cautionaries realize that, in this modern age, serial ritual murder draws a lot of attention, and that's certain to get the Brotherhood into trouble they don't need. They advocate ceasing such efforts until they can actually guarantee they'll pay off, since the Rite is too unpredictable to reward them at this point.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Their motivation for hunting monsters? Simple jealousy at the fact monsters — especially witches — can do magic and they can't. Even other Hunters who have powers are targets, as far as they're concerned.
- Human Sacrifice: The Rite of Hecate is a mystical ritual that is based on killing magically empowered individuals to temporarily transfer their power to the Rite's performers.
- Path of Inspiration: The Orphic Temple faction believes the Rite of Hecate is unreliable because they need to practice and believe the Orphic Mysteries, stylizing themselves as worshippers and priests of their own bizarre religion in hopes of stabilizing their powers.
- Token Evil Teammate: These guys are out to murder magic-users just so they can steal their powers and be special in turn. They admit it. They even go after Conspiracy-member Hunters in hopes of stealing their powers too!
- A wise woman once said, the definition of a hero is a person who gets other people killed. You can look her up later
Founded by a man named Derek Campbell, the Reckoning is a compact who targets beings from the Primordial, with one particularity — they don't focus on Beasts, but on Heroes. Aside from including many members who suffered or saw people die at the hand of a Hero, they believe Beasts are a natural part of the upcoming Apocalypse, and see Heroes as responsible for turning them into something much more dangerous.
- The Bait: Whenever they actually bother hunting Beasts, it's usually to capture them and use them as baits to attact Heroes.
- Cape Busters: They focus on killing Heroes. Then again, considering most of these Heroes hardly qualify as Capes, you could argue they are justified in what they do.
- Church Militant: Not quite as blatant as the Long Night and the Malleus Maleficarum, but members of the Reckoning do truly believe they are doing the work of God, and as such tend to be deeply religious. Their status can also provide contacts with the Church.
- Hypocrite: They hate Heroes for not caring about all the innocent victims and collateral damages they leave behind while pursuing Beasts, but they are themselves guilty of this every now and then. See Not So Different.
- Not So Different: It has been noted their philosophy actually makes the Reckoning occasionally guilty of the very things they criticize Heroes for; they sometimes kill other Hunters in their pursuit of Heroes, and since they believe the end justifies the means, they can cause the death of innocent bystanders. In fact, because of their proximity with Beasts, many of them actually end up becoming Heroes. And these turned members usually are killed by their cellmates on the spot... Much like Heroes immediately kill their Beast family members.
- Zombie Advocate: Downplayed; people in the Reckoning do advocate Beasts have their own role in the natural order and should not be slaughtered by Heroes just for being what they are, but that just means they won't go out of their way to kill them; if they feel a Beast truly is dangerous or has to die, they will kill it without a second thought. They are less focused on protecting Beasts, and more on protecting the many innocents Heroes put in danger when chasing them.
The Talbot Group
- It's not you. I know that. It's the thing hiding inside you.
Born out of tragedy known as the Harvest Moon Massacres, an event from the early 1980s in which eight high-school seniors in the Seattle-Tacoma area experienced "spontaneous psychotic episodes" and went on a rampage that left forty-eight dead over a three-day period before vanishing without a trace, the Talbot Group has a simple mission. To locate werewolves and spirit-possessed individuals, and find a way to cure them of their possession, changing them back into people. The Talbot Group was founded by Paul and Isabelle Talbot, two prominent Washington doctors whose son, Andrew, was the first of the eight to go berserk and then disappear. The two spent years searching for their son, and to find an answer to the mysteries of the rampage; they would have faded into obscurity, had it not been for a fateful even in mid-1989; Isabella went to meet two private detectives who had apparently found her lost son, only for her to be attacked and massively injured, as well as the two detectives being brutally slaughtered. She would claim that her attacker had been a werewolf... more specifically, her son. From there, they founded the Talbot Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to counseling, rehabilitating and educating troubled youths — and also a secret front for investigating and studying spirit-possessed individuals and werewolves, in hopes of finding a way to bring back their humanity. So far, three Methodologies are prominent amongst the members of the Talbot Group. The oldest are the Exorcists, who recognize spirit infestations as representing a kind of sickness that must be expunged. They seek to destroy areas that seem to spawn spirits, and track down those spirits who possess human hosts; they prefer to exorcise the spirits, recognizing that the humans are just victims, but sometimes the only cure is death. The Redactors, on the other hand, believe that spirits are a natural part of reality, and the blame for when spirits run amok must lie with humans themselves. They are far more violent in approach than the Exorcists, as they generally believe that there must be some sort of flaw in the person who was possessed which resulted in their possession, and so naturally curing them won't really work in the long run. Finally, the most recent and radical development are the Conciliators, who wish to see if perhaps some spirits and/or wolf-people can be used to help the Talbot Group in their quest of solving the relationship between mortals and spirits.
- A Lighter Shade of Gray: One of the least violent and combat-prone of compacts, due to their belief that their targets are humans, but humans under an affliction that they can be cured of. The "wolf-children" they keep with them are willing patients (they were found before they went through their First Change and as such had no contact with werewolf society), and are treated as this rather than as prisoners.
- Expy: Of Developmental Neogenics Amalgated from Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
- I Did What I Had to Do: The general attitude that Exorcists and Redactors alike use to justify when they slay spirit-possessed and werewolves; the former believe that, sometimes, the only cure is death, whilst the latter have a general "blame the victim" approach to the spirit-possessed.
- Insistent Terminology: The Talbot Group is adamant about using the term "wolf-people" rather than "werewolves", which they associate with Hollywood sensationalism.
- Meaningful Name: "Talbot" is taken from the last name of the poor unfortunate protagonist/victim of Hammer Horror's The Wolf Man (1941).
- Metaphorically True: They believe werewolves are a case of spirit possession, which is in a certain way accurate. They think this means werewolves can be possessed. This isn't true... at the very least, it's not something you want to do. "Exorcised" werewolves do exist. They're called Zi'ir, or "Broken Souls". Exorcism chases out the human shreds of their soul and leaves behind a particularly violent and deranged spirit behind.
- Reinventing the Wheel: The Conciliators faction has its root in the theory that the "wolf-children" could be used to protect mankind from the spirits. This is actually the purpose of werewolves in the first place; it's just most of them refuse to accept this role.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: The Talbot Group wants to cure werewolves, but they live in a setting where werewolfism — at least true werewolfism — can't be cured. It's a genetic trait and, once it manifests, a werewolf is a werewolf, and could no more be cured of it than, say, an African man could be "cured" of being an African. Though as noted above, the Counciliators actually are pretty close to figuring out the truth.
- There's power in a union.
A compact based around secret messageboards and forums that are used to share advice and information, the Union is a loose, sprawling network of blue-collar and otherwise "common" folk who simply want to keep monsters out of their neighborhood. This reactive philosophy means that many other hunters tend to either look down on the Union, or manipulate them in order to use them in a fight. The vast majority of the Union forms a faction called Home First, which is dedicated to looking after their own territory first and foremost. They share reports and information on the boards, but they usually don't go looking for trouble. In comparison, the General Strike faction does go out looking for monsters, in an attempt to preemptively stop them from preying on folks. They tend to get themselves killed a lot. The minority faction referred to as the Politicals believe in campaigning against monsters and human oppressors with equal vehemence, which makes them very dangerous people.
- Close-Knit Community: Their entire point; the Union basically is made up of various blue-collar and common folks who watch each other's back against supernatural threats.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: It's mentioned that a number of other Compacts and Conspiracies look down on the Union for their "protect your home first and foremost, don't go picking fights just because" attitude. The Long Night stereotypes list in the corebook even mentions a Long Night hunter deliberately luring monsters into Union territory so as to force them to help him kill the monsters.
- Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Averted. The Union generally doesn't have time or the resources they can waste killing every supernatural creature they encounter. As a result, they tend to follow a live and let live policy; only monsters that actively endanger people on their turf warrant a response.
- Villains Act, Heroes React: Because they're busy holding down jobs to support themselves and their families, and thusly they want to avoid unnecessary injuries, the Union is one of the least actively aggressive Compacts. They come out in response to monster predations, rather than going looking for trouble. The relatively few aversions are members of the General Strike faction.
- Weird Trade Union: Though nowhere near as organized as an actual union, they meet the majority of requirements for a real union, like communal support for each other and fighting for workers' rights. With stakes.
- Working-Class Hero: Though they run a whole range of occupations, the general feel of the Union is typically a very blue-collar worker with a hard job. The Politicals faction is nearly playing this trope straight. It's not just monsters, it's corporate suits and government patsies that deserve the Union's anger as well. (Some bloodsuckers just are more literal than the others.)
Utopia Now is a compact with far-reaching goals - namely, the overthrow of existing governmental systems and their replacement with self-sufficient communities enabled by technology, drawing heavily on libertarian thinking. Unfortunately, the technology's not there yet, so they seek out institutional demons, exorcise them, and take the infrastructure that's left. Their founder, William Horn, is a Witness (read: a stigmatic) who saw the demons lurking in institutions, and decided that to be free of them required building a world without the institutions they depended on. Horn became a successful entrepreneur, and has now set out to build the new world he seeks. There are three known Departments in the compact. The Cure eliminate supernatural parasites so they won't make their way into the compact's new world. Operators track down and destroy Utopia Now's main targets, institutional demons, and see what they can take from the demons' physical components. Incubators step in after other groups destroy institutional demons, to see what use they can make of the remains.
- Demon Slaying: In a manner of speaking, their calling. They utilize institutional demons, effectively tearing them apart.
- They Would Cut You Up: If you're an institutional demon, anyway.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Horn truly believes in the new world he pursues. However, the compact is... somewhat in denial that they're using living beings to build their new future.
- She said that life is not what you alone make it. That it's the touch of everyone and every experience you have. We don't prevent scars; we stop people from being cut.
Also known as the Yuri Kochiyama Group, Yuri's Group was born in the early 1990s, as a support group to help survivors who claimed to have been assaulted by a monster known as the Serpent King. Realizing too many things added up for it to be a mere rumor, they eventually tracked down the creature, discovering it was a man living in the sewer with the ability to turn into a monster. After failing to reveal him to the authorities, they eventually tracked the man down, confronted him in his true form, and slew him. Since then, they have been hunting similar creatures around the world, supporting their victims and hunting down the monsters to make sure they would not hurt more people.
There are three known Support Groups within this compact: Rehabilitators prioritize rehabilitation of supernatural monsters so that they no longer prey upon humans, Dark Angels dedicate themselves to escorting survivors of monster attacks and hunting down repeat offenders, and Doctors focus on providing psychological treatment to the victims of monster attacks while still being dangerously capable hunters.
- A Lighter Shade of Grey: Along with the Talbot Group, Yuri's Group is easily one of the most heroic Hunter groups in the supplement. They give rehabilitation to Supernaturals who don't want to hurt people and psychological treatment for victims of Supernatural attacks, helping others in the Supernatural community first and hunting monsters later. And even then, they limit their hunting to Beasts (whom intentionally scare/hurt people to feed themselves), and Supernaturals who intentionally prey on weaker people just because they can.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Doctors are members in charge of helping victims psychologically, and as such rarely take part in the hunts. When they do take part, however, the memories of all the broken people they saw make them absolutely ruthless.
- Really, the entire faction qualifies as this. Yuri's Group is founded on the principal of helping people recover from psychological trauma in the Supernatural community, and are incredibly tolerant of (most) Supernaturals. They are also one of the biggest Bully Hunters in the setting, so if you're a Supernatural who gets their jollies on torturing people, Yuri's Group will hunt you down.
- Bully Hunter: A supernatural variant; they perceive monsters, and Beasts in particular, as victimizers of the worst kind, and make it their duty of stopping them so they won't abuse their powers on humans anymore.
- Good Is Not Soft: They're easily one of the most heroic Hunter factions in the game, helping others recover from psychological damage and helping rehabilitating Supernaturals who don't want to hurt people. Make no mistake, though: they're still hunters, and they'll make sure that anyone who tries to prey on people's fears and suffering will suffer right back.
- Hunter of Monsters: Though all Hunter compacts qualify by default and Yuri's Group is no except, Dark Angels are the one Support Group within it that primarily specialize in the actual hunting of monsters that repeatedly prey upon humans for no good reason.
- Monsters Anonymous: Rehabilitators are members who wish to rehabilitate monsters so they won't be abusing humans anymore, hoping to encourage change among them. Yuri's Group as a whole possesses a signature Tactic, "Going to Groups", allowing them to provide moral support to supernaturals and help rehabilitate them.
- Reluctant Warrior: They have a reputation of being this. While not entirely correct, there is some truth to this assumption; Yuri's Group is a support group first, and their priority always go to helping the victims.
- Tropaholics Anonymous: They are essentially a support group for people who survived confrontations with monsters and sometimes hunt said monsters. Beasts are their main target because of how they feed by hurting people, but they have been known to also take care of other cases, such as blood-addicted vampire ghouls, shell-shocked werewolf victims and people who went through Demonic Possession from ghosts or spirits.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: One favorite tactic of Dark Angels is to pretend to be potential victims themselves to lure unsuspecting monsters into an ambush.
ConspiraciesConsidered the highest tier of Hunter, conspiracies are the shadowy forces that protect nations and continents from supernatural predations. Powerful and able to level the playing field, they are often sabotaged by their own various internal cultures screwing their agents over.
Aegis Kai Doru
- Oh this? Ten a penny. I keep it for... sentimental reasons.
A Conspiracy that traces its history back to Atlantis, the Aegis Kai Doru claim they were once custodians of a vast labyrinth in which great magical treasures were stored, in a day when all of their members could use magic. But a war erupted between their ancestors and a rival faction of witches, and they were cast from their custodianship; and before they could reclaim it, a race of shapechangers caused an apocalypse that swept the old world away. Now, they seek to reclaim all of the magical items of the world, and to punish those who destroyed paradise, citing that they cannot be forgiven, their tools belong to the Aegis Kai Doru. The Aegis Kai Doru is divided into three factions. The Sword, the largest, is the militant and proactive branch of the Conspiracy; they uphold the Vow to the letter, and dedicate themselves to seeking out and slaying mages and werewolves. The Temple dedicates itself to guarding the various relics that the Conspiracy has found, and to unearthing new ones. The Scroll is dedicated to keeping records of what relic does what, and to testing new ones, so their secrets can be revealed.
- Adventure Archaeologist: When your endowments are often found inside ancient temples or lost tombs, it goes with the territory.
- Ancient Artifact: Their entire hat is that they look for these, collect them, and occasionally use them in their war against Mages and Shapeshifters.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Dating back to rumored Atlantis, according to them. Of course, none of what they tell about their origin matches with what you'll find in Mage or Werewolf lore— and since even these two base themselves on legends, it's pretty hard to tell which version is the accurate one.
- Fantastic Racism: Aegis Kai Doru has a specific hatred for mages and werewolves, due to their history claiming links to Atlantis, when they worked alongside mages and fought against werewolves only to be betrayed by the former. The various splatbooks imply that Aegis Kai Doru's truest motivation is jealousy; they remember wielding magic themselves, but now they can't; they hunt their fellow Atlanteans both out of pique and because stealing their magical tools allows them to cling to some scrap of ancestral power.
- Magical Accessory: Their Endowment, Relics, focus on using the various mysterious magic artifacts they collected all over the world. This covers pretty much any form, from mere trinkets meant to amuse kids to Fantastic Nuke.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Compact and Conspiracies provides three alternative possible backstories for them, suggesting the Storyteller to pick one. Said backstories include the one they tell, but also the possibility they might actually be regular humans who stole the position and identity from the real guardians, or pawns formed by one of the Mages' and Werewolves' many enemies.
- Fantastic Nuke: Some of their magical artefacts. The Aegis Kai Doru may well be the most dangerous conspiracy of them all.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Mortal Remains reveal they are utterly terrified by Mummies; indeed, the Arisen absolutely hate having their Relics stolen by mortals, can and will travel on the other side of the world to get them back, and just won't die. Any Aegis Kai Doru hunter who screwed up and actually got identified by a mummy is instructed to cut tie with the organization and forbidden to ever come back until he got rid of it.
- Our war is eternal. Our sacrifices, ceaseless. Drink this, and be ready.
In the ancient days of Egypt, long before the birth of the Abrahamic faiths, a secret society known as the Cult of the Phoenix worked alongside the Cult of Set to protect mortals from monstrous predations; the former during the day, the latter at night. When the Cult of Set became corrupted, in desperation, the Cult of the Phoenix turned to alchemy and magical elixirs to have the strength and fortitude to do the work of what had been two cults. From these studies was born the practice of creating Elixirs, toxic concoctions that could be transmuted into powerful magical potions by one who had sufficient fortitude and self-discipline. While the European branch of the Ascending Ones stayed loyal to its pagan roots, the Middle Eastern branch found the hierarchical, paternalistic structure of the religions of Christianity and Islam to fit well with their own strict hierarchy, and thusly the old faith was lost in the lands of its birth. Eventually, when opium began to be a profitable source of cash, some of the Ascending Ones turned their alchemical skills to the production of drugs, financing the Conspiracy as a whole by peddling pharmaceutical poisons to the willing. The three factions of the Ascending Ones reflect this history. The Knife of Paradise are made of devout Muslims and Christians, with a strong Jewish minority, who are dedicated to the hunt against monsters. The Order of the Southern Temple, descendants of the European branch of the Ascending Ones, retain their mystic traditions and are dedicated to understanding and mastering Elixirs, as well as creating new kinds. Finally, the Jagged Crescent focus predominantly on managing drug cartels and gang crime, that the Conspiracy may have the funding it needs to keep up its work.
- Alchemy Is Magic: Their Endowment, Elixir, is based on using alchemical recipes and traditions to produce actual magical potions, ointments and tonics.
- Ambadassador: They believe it's important to prevent monster wars from spilling over to the mortal population, so they act as a neutral party.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Trace their origins to Ancient Egypt.
- The Cartel: The Jagged Crescent faction funds the rest of the Ascending Ones as a whole by providing illegal pharmaceuticals to drug cartels, or even running gang crime operations themselves.
- The Fundamentalist: Members of the Knife of Paradise faction, as a general rule.
- Hermetic Magic: The Ascending Ones believe that Hermes Trismegistus himself is one of their greatest patrons, equating their abilities with his skills. The Order of the Southern Temple faction is rooted in the Western traditions of this kind of magic, making them tend towards paganism in comparison to the Abrahamic inclinations of the Knife of Paradise faction.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Because the Ascending Ones promote and spread drug dealers and gang crime, they tend to foster the growth of mortal criminals. To say nothing of creating an environment that draws Anvari bloodline vampires, and fosters the promotion of drug and crime-related spirits.
- Not So Different: To the Night Watch (both groups are criminals, or at least work with criminals in pursuit of the greater good) and to the Long Night and/or Malleus Maleficarium (both are heavily motivated by their religious doctrines, which in-turn color their viewpoint of the supernatural world and their place in it).
- We ARE Struggling Together: The Ascending Ones are almost like three compacts working together. The Knife of Paradise are religious militants — a mixture of Muslims and Christians, with a minority of Jews — who see hunting as a holy cause. The Order of the Southern Temple draw their inspiration and belief from Western mystical traditions, making them pagan alchemist-magicians dedicated to understanding and mastering the art of creating and producing Elixirs. The Jagged Crescent are unabashed drug runners and gangsters. Needless to say, this leads to a lot of intra-Conspiracy squabbles.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Beyond the dangers of having The Fundamentalist as a primary part of their organization, there's the fact that they support and promote the drug trade and other elements of gang crime to finance their hunt.
The Cainite Heresy
- I ask again: Who is Cain?
An ancient conspiracy whose origins are unknown, the Cainite Heresy is born of people who have been abused by vampires, but escaped alive, and now burn with the need to make them pay. Obsessive to the extreme, the Cainites exist only to seek out and destroy their unliving foes. Three ideologies in particular are common amongst the Cainites. Extremists are determined to see vampires exterminated now, and counsel mass destruction, hoping to make the vampires public to humanity. Revolutionists believe that the authorities and large media outlets are hopelessly compromised; only by reaching the general populace at large can they rouse humanity from its stupor and crush their bloodsucking enemies. Finally, Fatalists simply believe that the only ones who stop vampires are the Cainites themselves, and thusly anything they do in pursuit of this goal is justified.
- Ancient Conspiracy: 1600 years old, dating to the dying days of Rome, though they're not concerned with their past.
- Blood Magic: Their Endowment, the Rites of Denial, involve using vials of a strange blood combined with rites to empower themselves against vampires.
- Catchphrase: "Who is Cain?" They aren't looking for answers to that Question (unless it's "I surrender, please make it quick"). Bonus points for being what is actually said to invoke many of the Rites.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Matching their unhealthy obsession, their Endowment is useful against vampires, and vampires only; against other supernatural, they might as well be just a Compact. This is so bad even compared to other groups, the writers had to include an optional rule to make their Endowment work against other creatures if needed.
- Cult: Night Stalkers makes it very, very clear that they are one in all the ways that matter.
- Knight Templar: A world without vampires - at any cost.
- Mythology Gag:
- They're named after a vampiric heresy from the Old World of Darkness.
- Similarly, one of the options as to who is behind the Heresy is Cain himself, described as the ancient progenitor of the vampire race who regrets his mistake and wants to see them wiped out in atonement, another reference to Vampire: The Masquerade.
- Sigil Spam: The Mark of Cain, which is left everywhere they complete a successful operation and is the focus of some of the Rites of Denial.
- Unwitting Pawn: Zigzagged. The leaders of the Heresy regularly get information on individual vampires from an unknown source; the lower-ranking members of the cult don't know this. Night Stalkers offers several possible explainations for this, and one of them is that the Heresy is getting this information from the VII vampire covenant.
- Vampires Hate Garlic: Invoked; While most vampires typically avert this trope in the Chronicles of Darkness, the Cainite Conspiracy can use their rites to make garlic genuinely nocive to them.
- Vampire Hunter: Their primary focus is on vampires. In fact, they can hardly focus on anything else— as far as they are concerned, vampires are the cause for everything wrong in the world, and other supernatural creatures merely are consequences of their actions.
- Vampire Invitation: Another trope they can invoke using their Endowment.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Cainites are extremists even by hunter standards, devoted to the utter destruction of vampires. They usually won't think twice about hurting civilians to get through them.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: They believe vampires are responsible for every single thing wrong in the world, and dismiss other supernatural creatures as unimportant by comparison. While vampires most definitely helped making the setting a Crapsack World, there are enough horrors in the other gamelines that it's safe to say it would be a pretty bad place even without them, and plenty who are way more dangerous (most vampires only care about feeding and survival, and have an inclination toward Pragmatic Villainy; pretty tame compared to, say, insane mage-gods enslaving mankind without them even knowing, supremacist werewolves or capricious fairies who kidnap and torture humans for fun).
- Ours is not to reason why. Ours is a fantastic pension and health package, however.
A mysterious and enigmatic medical-focused megacorporation, the Cheiron Group is one of the world's foremost producers of medicines and medical technology. Unbeknownst to humanity as a whole, Cheiron Group secretly captures and fatally studies various supernatural entities in order to find ways to provide medical breakthroughs. Their elite agents are even equipped with Thaumatechnology; grafted monster organs and body-parts that imbue the wielders with monstrous powers of their own. The hunters of Cheiron Group, known officially as the Field Projects Division, are divided into groups: Retrieval; who actually do the hunting, Recruitment; who seek out the endless supply of new hunters to become members of Retrieval, and Field Research; spies sent to investigate and poach from the other Conspiracies.
- Bad Boss: Their field agents are treated like resources and properties rather than people, and they do not hesitate to implant potentially dangerous, untested monster organs inside them just to see what the result will be, not to mention sending them poorly informed and equiped against powerful supernatural critters. To their credit, employees who prove actually valuable assets usually get a better treatment.
- Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Each field agent is given a handbook meant to help them identify, find and capture supernatural beings. Problem is, this handbook is practically worthless; the parts about the procedure barely are of any use, and the parts about the monsters themselves provide either obvious informations you could have easily found elsewhere ("Vampires drink blood and are vulnerable to sunlight") or ones you cannot apply ("Werewolves suffer an extreme allergy to silver, but TCG doesn't issue silver bullets"). To add insult to injury, you can't even throw it away, because it's property of the Organization, and just losing it can get you in trouble.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Their Bad Boss and Mad Scientist tendency is milked for all the Black Comedy you can get from it.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: They give Umbrella a damn good run for the money.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Their entire organization is based on this, and this is the main reason they merely use thaumatechnologic implants to improve their field agents rather than just sell it to the military; there is much more profit from creating a cure for cancer from werewolf flesh or medical pills from vampire blood than there is from selling super-soldiers.
- Mad Scientist: How else would you call people who perform surgery on their employees to implant monsters' body parts in them without actually knowing for sure what they are doing?
- Mega-Corp: They are a huge medical megacorporation powerful enough to have entire groups of detractors out of business with a few lawsuits, and with enough resources to allow themselves some nasty experiments on supernaturals.
- Milking the Monster: They make a business out of this, kidnapping supernatural beings so they can dissect them and make medicine out of them.
- Mysterious Past: Cheiron appears to be far, far older than its current Mega-Corp incarnation.
- Only in It for the Money: They are not hunting monsters to protect humans from them or because they believe them to be abominations who deserve to be destroyed; they are doing it because there is a lot of profit to make by dissecting them and using their organs for medical research.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: Not themselves, but a bunch of religious fundamentalists once accused them of satanism on the basis of their logo being inspired from paganism. The book mentions that, while the Cheiron Group aren't devil worshippers, there definitely is something fishy and unhealthy about them.
- Science Hero: A darker version of Null Mysteriis, Cheiron's scientists are utterly unconcerned with any morality. While Null Mysteriis will always try to look for safe ways of experimentation, Cheiron will quite literally strap monster parts to their people without even trying to first understand what it is.
- They Would Cut You Up: Especially if you're something they've never seen before.
The Faithful of Shulpae
- Today, we honor those who have fallen in the hunt for Divinity, and in their name, we feast! Try the arm, theres still meat on it.
The Faithful of Shulpae are an ancient, and extremely secretive, conspiracy dedicated to Feasting on gods (which in practise usually translates as devouring long-lived/immortal supernaturals, with special preference for Mummies). There are a number of ways to be In Service to the Faithful. Keepers maintain the temples, ensure the "gods" don't wake up, maintain the Feasting calendar, and decide who participates in which Feasts. Guides look for the "gods" out in the world, as well as potential candidates for the Faithful. Celebrants are the ones who take the risks of bringing the "gods" to the temple - those who take the greatest risks are first to take the Feast.
- Ancient Conspiracy: They claim to be, anyway, saying they've been around as long as gods have walked amongst men. In practice, there is very little to confirm this statement, since they transmit their rites and practices verbally, and leave as little records as possible.
- Blue and Orange Morality: They honestly see nothing wrong with their cannibalistic practices, and see feasting on the flesh of their "gods" as no different from Christians saying they eat the body of the Christ.
- Cannibalism Superpower: Courtesy of their Endowment, Anthropophagy, which allows them to gain a monster's powers by eating their flesh.
- Cult: They pretty much are a cult who happens to worship long-lived supernaturals by eating their flesh.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted; they are disgusted by the Cheiron Group's practices, but not because of how amoral it is— they just consider their scientific approach of the supernatural blasphemous.
- Logical Weakness: The human stomach wasn't meant to process the amount of raw flesh Anthropophagy requires, so if they eat more than their Stamina says they can handle, they start taking damage.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Being cannibals would be disgusting enough already before you add the fact the creatures they feed on include thousand-years-old walking rotten corpses, blood-sucking undead parasites, animated golems built from various bodyparts and man-wolves prone for gruesome metamorphosis. Not only do they get arousal from doing this, they actually see it as a beautiful act of devotion.
- Not So Different: To Cheiron Group; Both organizations make themselves more powerful with the remains of supernatural beings. The Faithful's stereotype entry on Cheiron lampshades this, and also reveals that making the comparison between the two conspiracies is a good way to get kicked out of the Faithful.
- Unknown Rival: Probably the main reason they still exist is because any Mummy who encounters them is likely to forget about it when her Memory drops again— if the Arisen knew about the Faithful, them or their cultists probably would have hunted them down to extinction.
Once upon a time, Tokugawa Ieyasu declared merchants the lowest form of human, the exact bottom in Neo-Confucian thought. The merchants proceeded to not care what he said one bit, quickly proving indispensable to the chaotic economy of the Sengoku Period. As their influence grew, however, they increasingly encountered the hidden monsters in Japanese aristocracy, and found to their frustration that all the economic influence and mastery in the world couldn't overcome the power of the dark arts and paranormal. Truly, they could not compete... until one day, a man named Inoue suddenly found a method of buying the Dread Powers off yokai. Since this usually happened via a method that did not result in any actual loss of resources on his part, he termed this art Setto, or Larceny, and the peers he helped the Hototogisu (literally, the cuckoos). And so they have continued into the modern day-and they have continued to thrive, as Inoue is now the master of a vampire Covenant in Tokyo... and apart from being The Ageless, he's still entirely human and free of supernatural influence.
- Con Man: How Setto works-the Hototosigu tricks her target into agreeing to a deal, which gives the hunter an opportunity to steal a power.
- Guile Hero
- Punch-Clock Hero: As the writeup puts it, the Hototogisu don't "hunt monsters" so much as "remove hurdles"-if the monster in question isn't a threat to their livelihoods and business, the official policy of Inoue is to ignore them (though it's mentioned a few joined the cuckoos primarily so they could get powers to hunt monsters in the first place).
Knights of Saint Adrian
- That thing ain't human, which makes it payday.
Casey Howard was a skip tracer, someone who found people who'd jumped bail. Then she broke her arm in a stupid accident, it never healed right, and consequently her employers kept her behind a desk. Then she met a suspicious stranger who offered to heal her arm in return for a memory, and turned him down. Then she met another guy who wanted to know about the stranger, who told her the dude was a demon, and asked if Casey could track him down. Casey told him yeah, but somebody else would have to strangle him... and the angel promptly healed her arm, no strings attached. Casey owns her own business these days: officially, they're Howard Investigative Services, a company who help out bail bond agents. Unofficially, they're the Knights of Saint Adrian, patron of guards and soldiers, hunting down demons in the name of the Lord. Three Jobs are common among the Knights: Dispatchers handle logistics, Hounds do the fieldwork, and Deliverers keep demons subdued and make sure they're handed over to clients how and where they request.
- Bounty Hunter: In the service of angels, at that. Their job essentially consist in tracking down Demons to bring them back to Angels.
- Demon Slaying: What they think they're doing for good, but it's a bit more complicated than that.
- Man of Kryptonite: To Demons; Their Ink include, among other things, the ability to block a Demon's Cover, which considering how important these are for the Unchained, can quickly become a nightmare for them.
- Power Tattoo: Ink, their Endowment. When active, the tattoos don't glow, but instead catch the light such that they look almost luminescent.
- Tattooed Crook: Played with; on the one hand, they do wear tattoos due to their Endowment, and they are morally dubious, in the sense that they are essentially supernatural bounty hunters. On the other hand, many of them think they are virtuous people fighting Demons and serving Angels.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: In many settings, the Knights' belief that angels are good and demons are evil would be correct. Not here, though - the angels are agents of the status quo, while the demons are looking to escape from a God that's amoral at the very best.
Knights of Saint George
- We have a sacred duty. Hope nobody gets in our way.
An old branch of the Anglican Church, the Sacred Order of the Knights of Saint George can be found in all sorts of places. On the front of things, they are a humble order of Christians, dedicated to charities and good works. But, in secret, they have a darker nature; the core of the Sacred Order, the true Knights, are monster-hunters, motivated to hunt witches and all spawn of magic because they know of the existence of dread and powerful entities. These "Faceless Angels" slumber, now, but magic makes them stir, and were they to wake, then the world would be destroyed. Through mystical rites known as the Goetic Gospels, the Knights draw upon the powers of the Faceless Angels and use them to oppose all beings of magic. The Knights are divided into three doctrinal branches, known as the Congregations. The largest of the three, the Congregation of Malthus, are the Order's dedicated witch-fingers and killers. Meanwhile, the Congregation of Foras focuses on magic as opposed to witches, making them the most interested in pursuing non-witch monsters and stories of hauntings, cryptozoological beasts, magical artifacts, etcetera. Finally, the Congregation of Vasago are the support group of the Sacred Order as a whole, serving to manage the Order's front as a Christian charity and to preserve the Order's archives of lore on magic and witchery.
- Anti-Magic: The Goetic Gospels are the Spell variant of this trope, being divided into three specific "flavors"; the Gospel of Agares specializes in destroying magical effects, the Gospel of Amon specializes in vexing witches directly, and the Gospel of Beleth specializes in poisoning the magical energy that witches draw upon for their powers.
- Corrupt Church: They have an unquestionably religious motif to their Conspiracy, and sincerely revere, if only from fear, the Faceless Angels.
- Mage Killer: What a Knight is, thanks to his Goetic Gospels.
- The Man Behind the Man: The "Faceless Angels", which are quite strongly hinted to be Abyssal entities that just happen to look like angels.
- Path of Inspiration: Pretend to be a Christian charity group, part of the Church of England, but secretly give dread-motivated homage to "Faceless Angels", hoping to keep them from waking up and destroying the world.
- The Tunguska Event: An important part of their Conspiracy's lore, they claim this is what happened when someone merely drew the attention of the Faceless Angels.
- Unwitting Pawn: If one accepts that the Faceless Angels are Abyssal spirits, than the Knights of St. George are this. Also, most of the actual Christians in the organization as a whole are this; the Hunters themselves don't believe there are any gods, except the Faceless Angels, who must be kept asleep. At any cost.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: They're sincerely out to prevent the world from being destroyed, but they're actually working at the behest of creatures that ultimately want to destroy the world themselves — the Knights are unwittingly fighting the people preventing the Faceless Angels from ruining everything.
- The Witch Hunter: They primarily focus on mages.
A collective name for a wide variety of spiritualists who have made peaceful contact with the spirits and who allied themselves with the spirits against the evil, tyrannical, oppressive forces of werewolves. With no greater organization, they spring up wildly and at random, in dozens of different shapes. That said, there are three rough Factions that can be said to exist amongst their ranks, all based on their personal views of the spirit world. The Children of the Loa are Spirit Emissaries who believe that the spirits are servants or aspects of some greater force — this makes them very vulnerable to spirit manipulations, and most of them walk the Path of Beasts. Meanwhile, the Spirit-Chained are those who believe that spirits are simply a fundamental force of the world; there are no forces above or beyond, there is simply the world of flesh and the world of spirits. The most insular of the branches of Les Mysteres, these Spirit Emissaries still tend to be the best of their kind at understanding the motivations of their otherworldly allies. Finally, the Transcendent is a catch-all phrase for those cells of Les Mysteres that simply don't fit by way of belief into either of the other two factions — New Agers, psychics tapping the collective subconscious, alien abductees, etcetera.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: Zigzagged, at least to a degree. The Spirit Emissaries do try to avoid just following the spirits blindly, and to avoid letting them have too much control when they are "summoned in", and they do have a strict rule against allowing spirits to claim human bodies. However, they also turn a blind eye to the spirits generally influencing people and walking in the world of flesh, they fail to realize that claiming results in a spirit completely controlling a person's body instead of just "sharing it" like when they Ride an Emissary, and most importantly of all, they've come to believe that the Pure are "the good guys" simply because their take on the proper role of spirit and flesh is the same as what the Emissaries believe.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Invoked deliberately amongst the Spirit Emissaries, who believe in a peculiar metaphor known as the Crossroads, which helps define which area a Mystere focuses his efforts on. The Crossroads is based on four "Paths".
- The Path of Fellowship is dedicated to using the spirit world to help and improve the lives of people around you.
- The Path of Spirit is dedicated to understanding and aiding the spirits, meaning its practitioners place special emphasis on allowing themselves to be Ridden.
- The Path of Beasts is dedicated to fighting and opposing the actions of werewolves to corral and dominate the spirits.
- The Path of the Soul is dedicated to personal introspection and understanding, allowing a practitioner to weigh their soul and help find balance.
- The Man Behind the Man: Spirits are the true power behind Les Mysteres, and if anything can be said to unite the Spirit Emissaries, it's the fact that all are ultimately dancing to the tune of otherworldly masters.
- Powers via Possession: Their Endowment is based upon this.
- Too Dumb to Live: The Spirt Emissaries actually think that the Pure are the "good and noble underdogs" of greater werewolf society. The Pure not only outumber the Forsaken roughly 2 to 1, but also consist of the Fire-Touched note , the Ivory Claws note and the Predator Kings note . Belief Makes You Stupid is putting it mildly in this case.
- Unwitting Pawn: The Spirit Emissaries genuinely believe they are serving the cause of good, and have no idea that they are really allying themselves with some of the more dangerous denizens of the World of Darkness.
- We ARE Struggling Together: There's a lot of conflict between different branches of the Conspiracy, since it takes so many forms, from Neopagans to actual ancient shamans, from UFO cultists to fundamentalist Christian sects.
- Willing Channeler: Each and every one of these hunters is one, which is why they're part of Les Mysteres in the first place.
- Wrong Genre Savvy:
- They let spirits possess them. Voluntarily. Even other hunters realize what a bad idea this is, and anyone who has read Werewolf: The Forsaken knows just why.
- They believe spirits are inherently good and noble beings that are oppressed by werewolves. Again, anyone who has read the Werewolf line knows that spirits possess a particularly dangerous form of Blue and Orange Morality, and the primary task of werewolves is keeping them in check so they don't turn humanity into cattle.
- They've figured out that there are actually two factions of werewolves; one who can be called good, and the other quite unambiguously evil. Problem is, they think the Purenote are the former and the Forsakennote are the latter.
- Hell is other people.
Also known as the Children of the Seventh Generation, the Lucifuge is an exclusive organization. Membership is restricted to those 666 mortals walking the earth at any given time who have within them the blood of demons and devils, and are willing to use the powers bestowed by that corrupt blood against the forces of Hell. There are three philosophical factions of note within the Children. The most common, the Denial, believe in the simple philosophy that the Devil is the source of all evil, and they must renounce that evil forever, something they do by seeking out and slaying or redeeming all other monsters. Members of the Reconciliation, however, believe that by doing God's work and destroying evil, they are giving Lucifer the chance to seek redemption, and if this should happen, then Hell will cease to exist, taking with it all sin and pain forever. Finally, the Truth is a conspiracy within a Conspiracy; they believe that the Lucifuge is secretly lying to the Children, or at least has not told them the whole truth. They fight monsters, but they keep a wary eye on the Lucifuge and her agents themselves, waiting for the darkest possibilities.
- Bad Powers, Good People: For a certain definition of "good". Lucifuge wield diabolic and demonic magics, their Castigation Endowment, but seek to atone for their inner corruption by using their powers to battle evil creatures.
- Black Magic: The nature of their Endowment, Castigation, which consists in various demonic powers.
- Evil Counterpart: L'Enfant Diaboliques, those children of the infernal who choose to embrace their heritage of corruption.
- Familiar: One of their most common abilities is to have a minor demon as a personal familiar, which they can use to do their bidding.
- Fantastic Racism: The Lucifuge disapprove strongly of mages, the one exception to their generally open-minded stance towards creatures of the night. They claim this is because mages dare to steal power from Heaven and Hell, and that power should be returned, lest it arouse the wrath of the real owners. Witch Hunters, however, strongly implies the real motivation is jealousy over how mages have such great power, but don't seem to have any obligation to any power, God or Devil.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Of the demonic variety. It doesn't have to be the immediate parent; if there's a demon somewhere in the bloodline, there's a chance the infernal heritage will surface.
- Hellfire: they literally have a Castigation ability named like this, which allows to do exactly what you'd expect.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Despite being overall one of the most reasonable factions of hunters, they are distrusted for the most part due to their demonic origins.
- In the Blood: Their powers, and an attendant compulsion to do evil, or so they believe.
- I Want Them Alive: the Lucifuge frequently rely on tactics meant to capture supernaturals alive rather than outright killing them, as they prefer making sure the thing they have in front of them truly is evil and not a potential ally before resorting to murder.
- Join or Die: Anyone would-be recruit they find is offered this choice. Somewhat justified, in that a person with demon blood has very strong chance of becoming L'Enfant Diaboliques, making the option of letting them go rather unwise.
- Long-Lived: The main Hunter books establish Lucifuge members can live a very long time, with Compacts & Conspiracies offering mechanics; the higher a Lucifuge member's status in the organization, the slower they age, until at the top they can expect to live about 2000 years. The Lucifuge herself, being the leader, may well live even longer.
- Number of the Beast: There are 666 members of the Lucifuge at any one time.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. The Lucifuge is both the organization and the leader.
- Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Above all, the Lucifuge avoid these as often as they can. Knowing where they come from, they take as many steps as possible to avoid killing creatures that aren't actually dangerous to regular humans. Mages are their one exception to this; See above.
- Heresies must be met without mercy.
Publically known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Malleus Maleficarum are actually the modern-day descendants of the old Inquisition, still upholding a sacred duty: the elimination of all supernatural horrors. They have a particular focus on capturing and destroying vampires... aided, no doubt, by the fact their founder still lives and secretly runs the organization; a rogue ghoul, he uses them to secure the vampire blood he needs to sustain his immortality. The Malleus Maleficarum is divided into three orders. The Order of St. Longinus are specialists in hunting vampires, and have a particular opposition to the blasphemous vampire sect who call themselves the Lancea Sanctum, who also purportedly revere the Saint Longinus as the first of their unholy kind. The Order of St. Ambrose are scholars and detectives that painstakingly research solutions to dangerous problems, and often clash with witches and sorcerers over the knowledge they have secreted away. Finally, the Brotherhood of St. Athanasius are an unabashedly militant wing who favor swift, violent solutions to problems.
- Church Militant: By virtue of being an order of the Catholic Church dedicated to fighting supernatural creatures.
- Came Back Wrong: The Boon of Lazarus benediction allows its user to resurrect someone who has been dead recently enough... at the cost of frequently coming back insane to some degree. Rumors has it people resurrected become Slasher, with at least one case (Father Ghost) confirmed.
- Corrupt Church: Their mission has been going for so long as a top-down hierarchy, it's started to rot. Particularly given how their leader is a rogue ghoul trying to get vampire blood to live a little longer, though his belief in freeing the world from his former masters is apparently genuine.
- Functional Magic: Benedictions are a form of Theurgy, invoking the names of God and Jesus, and seeking the intercession of the saints. However, in the case of a couple of Benedictions, there's a certain ambiguity about just who is being called upon...
- Healing Hands: The Hand of St. Luke Benediction grants the ability to heal wounds.
- Holy Hand Grenade: Some of their Benedictions can be used for offensive purpose. Most notable is the Wrathful Sword of St. Micheal the Archangel, which temporarily grants any melee weapon the ability to inflict aggravated damages to supernatural creatures.
- Milkman Conspiracy: Their front is canon lawyers debating obscure theological points, but beneath the mask the Malleus is still the Inquisition.
- Only Sane Man: Compact and Conspiracies reveals the Order of St. Ambrose secretly are this to the conspiracy; not only are they the only faction to not conspire against one of the other two, they also are significantly less fanatic than their consorts, feel that torture is an ineffective method, realize some monsters are less evil than others and would much rather try mercy and alliances whenever possible. Of course, they carefully avoid to say that out loud...
- Torture Technician: As the Inquisition, you have to make sure they're telling the truth. No matter how loud they scream.
- We ARE Struggling Together: There's a lot of internal conflict between the Brotherhood of St. Athanasius and the Order of St. Ambrose, since the former favor swift violence and the latter methodical research. Not only that, but Compacts and Conspiracies reveals the Brotherhood of St. Athanasius and the Order of St. Longinus are both making plans against each other, with the former intending to take over the entire conspiracy.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: ...They're the Inquisition. What do you expect?
The Merrick Institute
- We hunt where nobody can, or will,
We hunt nightmares. We hunt the truest monsters
Originally a shadowy US government organization, Merrick Research (called like this for simplicity's sake; they actually changed their name on regular basis to cover their tracks) was working on a method to tap into the subconcious power of the human mind, quite similar to VASCU's Wintergreen Process. Their practice, however, was much more dangerous and damaging, though much more dramatic in its effects: successful inductees gained the ability to enter a parallel world borne of human nightmares. Discovering true monsters were living in this realm, Merrick Research started working on a way to harness these Beasts into unstoppable weapons for the US Militaries. To this end, they started "inducting" children who met specific criteria (either by offering lucrative scholarship packages to their parents or, in case of refusal, getting rid of the parents altogether), then making said children go through terrifying chemical, psychological and physical trials to make them develop dream supernatural skills. That was until 2013, where a group of prodigious Merrick teens managed to get organized using codes to communicate despite their cells, and overthrew their captors. After laying waste on the ones responsible for their captivity, sparing only two scientists in exchange of the promise to help them deal with their trauma and harness their dream skills, they freed all the other teens. However, being aware of the Beasts and the horrible things they did to human, they decided to make the best out of their situation, and swore to use both their skills and the Institute's recovered technology to fight these threat to humanity.
- Berserk Button: They tend to particularly dislike shadowy government organizations, which is understandable given their backstory. Because of this, they have no love for Task Force VALKYRIE, seeing them as the government's tools.
- Creepy Child: Downplayed, as they are mostly portrayed as sympathetic and the book doesn't play up this angle that much, but still, the fact they grew up as lab rats in an institute, are mostly crippled, have supernatural powers they use to fight dream monsters and effectively took down and killed their adult captors does give them a bit of this vibe.
- Comes Great Responsibility: The reason they decided to use their abilities to hunt Beasts; they feel that since they have the means to fight them, it was the right thing to use them to make sure no more innocent would suffer like they did.
- The Dog Bites Back: Merrick Research ruined the lives of these kids by taking them away from their homes and experimenting on them in ways that left them variably dead, traumatized, crippled or any combination of the above. They eventually turned against them, overthrew them and killed most of the captors they could get their hands on.
- Dream Land: They focus on fighting Beasts on their own turf— that is, in the Primordial Dream itself. Their Endowment, Dreamscape, focuses on increasing their ability to fight in dreams.
- Expy: The fact they are mostly kids, their strategy of fighting Beasts in their own dream realm, as well as their Endowment allowing them manipulate dreams to their advantage, is very reminiscent of the Dream Warriors.
- Kid Hero: Due to both the circumstances of their origin and the fact they are a relatively recent Conspiracy, most of their members are still teenagers, with some young adults among the most experienced.
- Teen Genius: They include a lot of these in their ranks — Merrick Research was recruiting special kids after all, and they had to learn how to use all the technology at their disposal.
- Take That!: In-universe, this is the reason they kept the "Merrick Institute" name despite overthrowing Merrick Research— it's a defiant way for them to mock their former captors.
Task Force: VALKYRIE
A secret branch of the USA government established in 1865, when a man named Gordon West got together a unit of government men to try and rescue Abraham Lincoln from the clutches of a creature from outside any human reference. Upon failing, they instead staged the assassination of a look-alike, hiring John Wilkes Booth to do the deed, and then taking care of him before he could reveal the truth. Since then, they have operated outside the usual structures of the US government to protect the US from supernatural agencies and hide the existence of the supernatural from an unwitting populace. Field agents belong to one of three sub-departments; Project TWILIGHT (doings of social parahuman extra-normal entities), Operation FORT (extraterrestrial and extra-dimensional phenomena and encounters), and Operation ADAMSKI (retrieval of evidence and dissemination of disinformation).
- Badass Normal: No magic, no mutations - just a lot of high-tech firepower and balls of steel.
- Failsafe Failure: A common problem with TFV's gear. For example, the Gungnir Targeting System features a safety lock that prevents the gun from firing at non-supernatural targets. In theory, this would prevent civilian casualties. In practice, this makes the gun virtually useless against human cultists or supernaturals whose identifiers are obscured (e.g. a vampire has lower body temperature, but even that can rise in a sufficiently hot environment).
- Gadgeteer Genius: Out of all the game's conspiracies, TFV is the only one that tries to rely on actual technology over mysticism and supernatural powers.
- Government Agency of Fiction: They are a secret branch of the CIA in charge of dealing with the supernatural.
- Lightning Gun: The Mjolnir Cannon, which ionizes the air before discharging an electric burst. Comes in both personal and vehicle scale!
- Loyal Phlebotinum: TFV Agents all have chips implanted in them which produce a specific signal; their Advanced Armory equipment and weapons are programmed to function only when they receive said signal, thus ensuring nobody else than themselves will be able to use them- and explaining why said weapons cannot be shared with other hunters or stolen by monsters.
- Meaningful Name: All of the Project titles are this, but the most is Project ADAMSKI, which is the last name of an infamous hoaxer who falsely convinced many people he was in regular contact with beings from Venus.
- The Men in Black: "Officially" sanctioned by the government, TFV seems to draw on the more human MIB stories focused on intimidation and knives in the night.
- Muggles Do It Better: One of their Endowments is an armoured van. Not nearly a tank, but still the single most powerful combat Endowment in the game.
- Mythology Gag: In the Old World of Darkness, Project Twilight was a general term for those government agencies who'd discovered the existence of the supernatural, covered in a supplement of the same name.
- Shout-Out: The names of VALKYRIE's weapons, tying in with Meaningful Name: many of their tools take their names from Norse Mythology.
- Unwitting Pawn: The large majority of their budget is provided by a group of vampires note , who routinely take advantage on this to direct them toward their many enemies while forbidding them to attack their allies. Some people in Projects Twilight have started to figure out the truth and hope to get rid of them one day, but doing so would most likely put an end to their finances, and by extension the Conspiracy.
- The only thing worse than our job is what happens if we don't do it.
Short for Vanguard Serial Crimes Unit, an FBI unit that deals with spree killers, serial killers and slashers. What makes them a conspiracy is the fact that all of them are psychic, using their powers to track down and capture their targets. Their public-facing subdepartments are threefold. The Operations Department are the primary field agents; 7 out of every 10 VASCU agents belong to this department, which researches, investigates and profiles serial killers and slashers. The Field Liaison Department consists of those VASCU agents who liaise with other "monster hunters", be it deliberate infiltration efforts or as handlers for "suicide squads" of hunters imprisoned, and subsequently released, by VASCU for their talents. Finally, the Special Project Department is the VASCU equivalent of The X-Files; agents specialized in the most extreme of cases.
- Arch-Enemy: To Slashers in general, and The Hunt Club, the world's largest and longest running Slasher Cabal, in particular. Their job is to put all the Slashers they can behind bar, after all.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Since VASCU recruits for compatibility with the teleinformatics awakening process, its members are often quite different to what is expected of a professional FBI agent.
- Dark Secret: The "psychic screening" is bunk-the tests are actually for compatibility with the Wintergreen process, which is barely tested drug therapy with bizarre and usually personal side effects. Telling the agent that it's simply their "psychic powers" being awakened is actually a way to stop them from understandably freaking out and to confuse potential leaks.
- Extranormal Prison: They have an "ultramax" prison called the Lansing Facility, which is dedicated to containing Slashers too dangerous to be brought on trial. Unfortunately, while effective, it is limited because of the ressources the government is willing to grant them, and can only contain two hundred prisonners at best, which becomes problematic when every slasher contained is here for life and some of them have extended lifespans. They hope to build a second one, but to date they still have yet to convince the president.
- Government Agency of Fiction: They are a division of the FBI in charge of dealing with Slashers and supernatural killers in general.
- The Fettered: VASCU are a division of the FBI operating within the American legal system. The crimes they deal with may be supernatural, but they're still crimes. As such, VASCU is forced to uphold the same sorts of legal operating procedures as bind all members of the FBI — up to and including using lethal force only when required, capturing slashers for trials, and imprisoning other hunters for being vigilantes and/or committing crimes in pursuit of their own hunts.
- Deconstructed in that this causes many VASCU agents a lot of angst when individuals whom they know are guilty — they've been inside the scumbag's mind and seen him doing it — get let go due to the court. VASCU spends a lot of effort policing itself to avoid anyone who'd be tempted to slip their legal bonds and take the law into their own hands.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Something particularly feared amongst VASCU agents, who spend a lot of time swimming around inside the diseased brains of slashers and serial killers.
- Interservice Rivalry: VASCU and Task Force VALKYRIE frequently end up arguing over cases that cover both group's juridiction.
- Occult Detective: Their main focus; they are FBI agents who hunt down slashers using psychic powers. Teleinformatics focuses primarily on improving their skills as investigators and detectives rather than making them good fighter.
- Psychic Powers: Teleinformatics, their Endowment, which focuses on telepathy and the collection and analysis of information. Comes with Psychic Nosebleeds. Or, at least, they seem psychic.
- Weak, but Skilled: Teleinformatics has very little offensive use despite being essentially artificial Psychic Powers. The powers covered by it are primarily focused on collecting informations, analysis and investigation. That said, this usually is all they need, as finding and catching the Slasher usually is the hardest part of the job.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Hunters who don't keep a good grasp of their moral Integrity tend to turn into Slashers.
- Ax-Crazy: Pretty much their defining trait. All Slashers are insane killers who feel compelled to murder people around them, very frequently in a vicious and sadistic fashion.
- Badass Normal: Rippers have abilities that, while potentially supernatural in origin, are within the range of normal human possibility.
- Crippling Overspecialization: A lot of them get spectacular affinities for killing people at the cost of another basic talent that would have allowed them to function as normal human beings. Masks and Psychos, in particular, pretty much sacrificed all their abilities to interact with people, to the point Masks are flat-out unable to speak or read.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Rippers sometimes end up evolving into Scourges, who do have real supernatural powers.
- Evil Counterpart: To hunters. Like them, they are humans who hunt, but most of them target humans rather than supernaturals, and even those who do target supernaturals usually are needlessly cruel. Many Slashers started out as hunters who suffered a Sanity Slippage after all the horrors they had to face.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: One of the main reasons they are seen as so disturbing by hunters. Even Scourges are closer to regular humans than most supernatural creatures, yet the level of depravity and cruelty Slashers are capable of rivals some of the worst monsters. And unlike most monsters, they aren't unwilling victims of a contagious transformation, nor things that weren't humans to begin with, nor do they suffer from a Horror Hunger compelling them to harm people; they are just plain, ordinary humans who turned by developping too much of a taste for murder.
- I Am A Humanitarian: A very frequent practice among them. Freaks and Mutants, especially, are prone to eating their victims.
- Mundanger: Another primary reason they take hunters out of their comfort zone; the Vigil will make you routinely run into vampires, werewolves, and other monsters, but Slashers are, or at least appear to be, human serial killers whose evil nevertheless rivals those of the real monsters.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: Averted regarding the name "Slasher", as hunters really do use that term to define them, though it can occasionally be used to cover more than the gameplay definition (VASCU, for example, consider any murderous supernatural as a Slasher in addition to Rippers and Scourges). Played straight with the Undertaking names, which as noted above are only used in term of gameplay and aren't actually in-universe terms.
- Slasher Movie: They are entirely based on this genre as a Homage, with each Undertaking covering a specific variant of slasher killer.
- Tragic Monster: Not always, but plenty of Slashers became what they are as a result of some horrible event or personal tragedy. Avengers, Freaks and Mutants, in particular, can have rather sympathetic backstories.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: As revealed in Mortal Remains, Slashers find Sin-Eaters particularly terrifying, since the presence of one Bound can lead to the Slasher's victims rising from the grave to take their ghostly vengeance; to say nothing of what could happen if a particular Sin-Eater happens to be a former victim
- Villain Protagonist: This is what you can get at best if you decide to include a Slasher as a player character. A Slasher's Integrity cannot go above 4, which represents the point where a character becomes a remorseless killer.
The Hunt Club
- This isn't your fault, but I can't keep scoring low.
For all intents and purposes, the Hunt Club is a compact of slashers, a gentleman's club dedicated to hunting the greatest prey of all - humans. And, if at all possible, doing it with style. They began as a secret society in Edwardian England, when rich and powerful upper-class men gathered to combine their power so they could partake in a then-illegal pastime; hunting foxes. However, they found the thrill of fox hunting grew stale, especially when there was no real shock from the populace to be gained. By 1881, the club had dwindled to five members, when they made their newest hunt; two homeless drunks, plucked from the streets of London, who found themselves chased through the wilderness by five bored aristocrats with long knives. After they ran their prey to ground and butchered them, the Hunt Club found its new calling. By 1903, it had spread throughout the English-speaking world. But they got careless, and in 1904, they were almost decimated when the Society of Twelve Keys (British predecessors to VASCU), and through them the police, caught onto them and captured many of them. The survivors went underground, and refounded the club, which persists to the present day. The Club divides itself by three "Rulebooks", outlines set by the three most important centers of the Hunt Club before 1904. The London Rules are the traditionalists, following on those victims who society won't generally miss; street people, drunks and prostitutes. The Boston Rules are bizarrely philanthropic, focusing on quarry who have squandered their lives or hold others back — the sort of people who, as the saying goes, are alive only because it's illegal to kill them. Finally, the Melbourne Rules are the rarest but most respected members of the Club, since their code adheres to the ancient ideal of worthy prey. Specific variants are those who seek out only prey that should be able to validly defend themselves, or who would bring definite police scrutiny, though doing both is, of course, even better — these are killers of police officers, government agents, soldiers, and the rich & powerful. Though not exactly intended to be a player option, the Hunt Club organize themselves fundamentally the same as a compact of hunters, and it's implied that more than a few burned out or morally disjuncted hunters join their ranks.
- Archenemy: The Hunt Club despises VASCU, which associates with the group that annihilated the original club and regular hounds the current club's members.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: The founders of the Hunt Club were bored nobles who decided that killing humans was the ultimate thrill.
- Evil Counterpart: Or more acccurately, eviller counterpart, to the Ashwood Abbey. They both are aristocratic people who hunt for fun, but the Ashwood Abbey draws a line at killing humans. The Hunt Club focuses on them.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Essentially their core concept; they are an entire club of serial killers dedicated to hunting humans as a sport. Players of the Melbourne Rules take the "most dangerous game" part seriously, and target trained military personnel, rich people with private armies and the like.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: They got started as a club for gentlemen to hunt foxes in the 19th century, when doing so was illegal. When society tacitly accepted this, fox-hunting lost its thrill. So, they decided hunting humans would be more fun...
- Moral Myopia: What the book emphasizes to make it clear that the Boston Rules members are no less evil. Yes, they go after people who have "squandered their lives" or who "hold others back", but they do so from the perspectives of utterly insane and usually arrogantly aristocratic individuals. What they consider a "waste of a life" may not pass as such to a saner mind.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The idea that money should buy innocence is at the core of the Hunt Club's ideology.
- Serial Killer: What they are in essence. Their target aren't supernatural creatures, they are regular humans.
- Villain Protagonist: Probably the Compact with the least redeeming qualities. They frankly qualify more as Slashers than actual Hunters.
- Wicked Cultured: They prefer their members to be rich, well-educated gentlemen. And considering they make a sport of killing people, they definitely qualify as "wicked".
The Subtle Collectors' Association
A quieter Slasher cabal than most, the Subtle Collectors' Association extends invitations only to those Slashers who succeed by their wits and their skill, rather than looks or use of Dread Powers. Meeting once a year, the Association compares the trophies they've collected from their victims, then holds a vote on whose collection is most impressive. The winner is flown to the estate of the so-called "First Collector" who grants the winner a small magical boon that makes them all the harder for the police to track, such as vanishing footsteps, or an inability to be caught on camera.
- Brainless Beauty: The Association as a whole stereotypes attractive Slashers as hacks who get by on their looks rather than their brains.
- Creepy Souvenir: Their entire purpose is to compare the trophies they take from their victims.
- Evil Old Folks: The First Collector is an elderly man who lives in a mansion somewhere in the American Midwest and uses his wealth and apparent magical abilities to finance and enhance Slashers.
- Legion of Doom: The Association is comprised of Slashers who have already made their mark and have established careers and MOs. Officially they have recently offered membership to Larry "Captain Hook" Meeks, and the book notes that any of the other sample Slashers, especially the Rippers (though Captain Hook it should be noted, is a Psycho and therefore a Scourge) might make an excellent addition to the Association.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Could be anything from an ancient conspiracy to an FBI sting operation coopted by the Slashers it was meant to catch.
- The Nondescript: All the members of the Association are as ordinary looking as possible—both beautiful people and Freaks are excluded by virtue of their unusual appearances.
- Conspiracy Theorist: The few Hunters who become Avengers frequently are this, targeting people in position of power who they feel are keeping humanity blind about the supernatural.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Gameplay-wise, Avengers are the most versatile Undertaking; anyone can be offended into going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, so they are designed to match as many types of characters as possible. Ironically, they are the Undertaking including the least fallen Hunters, since most Hunters have already been motivated into trying to take revenge.
- Homage: They represent the archetype of the killer motivated by revenge, such as Ben Willis from I Know What You Did Last Summer. On a less slasher-related vibe, they also incorporate elements from vigilante characters, such as The Punisher or Paul Kersey.
- Knight Templar: Typically the progression they end up having. For example, a father who killed a group of teenagers for raping and killing his daughter will eventually move to killing rapists in general, then people suspected of being rapists, then any male teenager who decides to have sex before marriage...at some point, the only thing that limits their target pool is the stories told about them, and they have evolved into Legends.
- Noble Demon: Because they are motivated by vengeance rather than out of pure sadism, Avengers typically kill people whose crimes match what caused their ire in the first place, and stick to it; innocent people who never committed anything ressembling these crimes are usually left alone, unless they explicitly get in the way (in fact, one of the sample Avengers from the book, Father Ghost, will occasionally make efforts to protect bystanders). The problem is, they get more and more Knight Templar as they progress, gradually widening their definition of "crime".
- One-Man Army: Avengers are very skilled at taking on entire crowds without being taken down; when faced with multiple opponents at the same time, they can apply their full defense against them no matter how many they are.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: What their killing spree typically starts out as. They usually target people who've harmed them in some way as their first victims, then, when they are done with this, move on to all individuals who committed similar sins.
- Vigilante Man: Start out as this most of the time, but it's usually not long before they cross the line and start killing relatively innocent people.
- The Brute: Duh. They are the most combat-oriented, least intelligent of the Undertakings.
- Dumb Muscle: They usually are simple at best and stupid at worst, but very strong and very good at killing people. One should not underestimate them, however - they can display some cunning, and some of them are smart enough to craft traps, albeit not quite as sophisticated ones as Geniuses.
- Gone Horribly Right: Hunters usually become Brutes after witnessing the insane raw power of supernaturals like vampires and werewolves. This motivates them into developing their physical strength so they can be a match for such formidable opponents. They are so successful they manage to learn how to put aside pain, fatigue and suffering... and, by extension, their ability to relate to humans when it comes to these things.
- Hillbilly Horrors: Their Undertaking can be used as a relatively less deformed variant of this trope than Freaks, providing a killer who is uneducated and wild, but still looks more or less normal.
- Homage: The Hitcher, The People Under The Stairs, and Natural Born Killers among others.
- Implacable Man: They are really hard to kill, and do not feel pain, discomfort or fear while hunting. Bashing damage cannot knock them unconcious, and even when their Health track fills with lethal damage, they have a chance of staying conscious until they take one more damage.
- Lack of Empathy: The primary reason Brutes kill is because they suffer from a dissociation making them unable to empathize with others.
- No Social Skills: At best, Brutes are aloof and speak very little; at worst, they barely have the ability to communicate with others. Most have given up the ability to socialize, and perceive people around them as little more than things to be torn up.
- Berserk Button: Their weakness; each Charmer has a "trigger" unique to him, which if brought up can cause him to lash out, potentially betraying his insanity. All of them also have a risk of lashing out when someone resists their charm and calls them out.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Their whole concept. A Charmer will always be nice, polite, sympathetic and selfless... until he finally gets the opportunity to kill you.
- Black Widow: Female Charmers often operate this way.
- The Charmer: They specialize in charming people and gaining their trust. Too bad they use this skill so they can stab you in the back.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The reason why they kill - they find the notion of trust fascinating because they honestly believe Humans Are the Real Monsters, and as such don't understand why people would allow people they barely know access to them in vulnerable situations.
- Homage: They are based on the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing killer archetype, such as Harry Powell from The Night of the Hunter
- Manipulative Bastard: Most Slashers will just attack you with a knife or another weapon. A Charmer can convince you to hand him over the very knife you are wielding so he can use it on you.
- Mask of Sanity: Charmers are really good at giving the illusion of being completely sane and nice, but this illusion cracks the moment their Berserk Button is pushed.
- Sex Is Evil: They tend to believe so. A lot of of Charmers have a pathological hatred of everything sexual.
- Torture Technician: Charmers make among the most enthusiastic torturers among the Undertakings.
- The Vamp: Frequently how female Charmers operate, seducing people so they can then kill them.
- Villainous Breakdown: The Thin Veneer frailty ensures that when someone presses the Charmer's Berserk Button or calls him out on being creepy that he has to roll Composure in order to resist having a screaming public breakdown.
- Bandit Clan: Freaks often form clans of thieves and killers out in the wilderness.
- Cannibal Clan: Inbred families of rural cannibals are one of the most common types of Freak cabal. Though they've been known to crop up in inner city neighbourhoods, sewers, and other urban areas as much as they do the countryside.
- Death Seeker: Some Freaks are so murderous because they want to die. Sadly, they also want to go down hurting as many people as possible.
- The Dragon: It's noted that Freaks often wind up as henchmen to vampires, sorcerers, and other powerful supernatural beings.
- Facial Horror: A Freak need not be born with his deformity. They can, for example, have been hunters who got disfigured by a werewolf, or just regular people who suffered an accident. Most disturbingly, some even disfigure themselves of their own free will.
- The Family That Slays Together: Compared to other Rippers, Freaks have a stronger tendency to form attachments to others of their kind, and it's quite frequent to see them gather in small clans, either biological or created families.
- Hillbilly Horrors: They are the most closely associated with this archetype, particularly the concept of inbred families and Cannibal Clan. Leatherface, the Trope Codifier, is listed as a major inspiration for them, as are The Clan from the original Hills Have Eyes.
- Homage: They are mostly based on the "inbred deformed killer" archetype such as the Clan from the original The Hills Have Eyes movie and Leatherface, though they can also draw from "isolated by their own shame" characters, such as Red Dragon's Francis Dolarhyde.
- Homefield Advantage: Freaks tend to be very territorial, and quickly get used to the places they call home, allowing them to take advantage of it.
- I Am A Humanitarian: The most prone for practicing this among the Undertakings.
- Improvised Weapon: Freaks can be quite... creative with what they choose to use as weaponry.
- Inbred and Evil: The most likely of all the Undertakings to be the result of incest, and often of generations of it.
- Man Bites Man: Since they have a strong tendency of being beast-like, many of them won't think twice before using their teeth in combat.
- Mental Handicap, Moral Deficiency: Freaks grow atavistic over time and as their bodies deform, their intellects can contract as well. Many of them have the "Atavism" merit, which provides them with physical bonuses at the expense of their intelligence.
- Natural Weapon: Freaks often kill with their hands, feet, and teeth.
- Psycho for Hire/Psycho Supporter: May work for vampires or mages provided the service the master has in mind is bloody enough.
- Red Right Hand: All of them have at least one disfigured feature, when it's not the entire body and this signifies their evil.
- The Renfield: Freaks are more likely than other Slashers to fall in with vampires, sorcerers and the like as servants and muscle. Might also qualify as The Igor depending upon the nature of their deformity.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Unfortunately a very frequent origin story for them; many Freaks end up becoming monsters because everyone treated them as such.
- Trap Master: Not quite as much as Geniuses, but some particularly smart Freaks exploit their Homefield Advantage to set traps for their victims.
- Two-Faced: The Freak page image is hideously disfigured on one side of his face, but not the other.
- Unwitting Pawn: Some Freaks occasionally end up in the service of a mage or a vampire, who will use them as muscle by taking advantage of their blood thirst. This usually doesn't end well, as the Freak eventually realizes he is being used and turns against his master, resulting in one of the two dying.
- Batman Gambit: They have a spectacular ability to guess what someone is likely to do in a basic way based on his appearance, body language or bearing, allowing them to trick their opponents into killing themselves. To reflect this, their talent allows them to roll Intelligence+Empathy against someone; in case of success, they win all ties in contested rolls against the target and automatically get initiative first on them.
- Blessed with Suck: It has been theorized that they hate normal people out of jealousy, because their intelligence causes them to know things they wish they would ignore.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Out of all the Undertakings (except maybe the Charmers), they have the strongest tendency to play with their victims before killing them, either by using elaborate traps or by playing a cat and mouse game with them. The justification for this trope varies - they can be reluctant to kill with their own hands, be physically incapable, or just believe that granting their victims a possibility to escape obviates their moral responsibility in the death.
- Control Freak: Their weakness. For all their intelligence, Geniuses can be mistaken when they miss details they couldn't have seen coming, and this is extremely frustrating for them when it happens.
- Diabolical Mastermind: They are brillant, tend to have impressive technological skills, and are prone to Bond Villain Stupidity.
- Evil Genius: Obviously. A Genius might not necessarly be well-educated, but he always is highly intelligent and tends to have impressive technical skills.
- Homage: Based on the brillant mastermind killer archetype, such as Hannibal Lecter.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Ironically. Subconsciously, a Genius is trying to prove his superiority to everyone.
- Insufferable Genius: A really dark take on it. Geniuses tend to hate people with a normal intellect.
- The Resenter: Hunters who become Geniuses frequently are the ones who provide intelligence, tactical and technical support in the cell, but come to resent the more physically-oriented members of their group because they get picked on for not taking part in the fight.
- Trap Master: A frequent style of killing for them. Many Geniuses just kidnap their victims, throw them into an elaborate Death Trap and then sit back to watch them trying to get out.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Their entire concept is that the stories people tell and believe about them have ended up influencing and reshaping them, causing them to acquire supernatural abilities and weaknesses they originally didn't have just because their story says so.
- Glory Seeker: Why they're the evolved version of Avengers - they want people to know who they are, what they're being punished for.
- Healing Factor: One of the uses they can make of power drawn from their story is to temporarily heal wounds at an accelerated rate.
- Homage: They cover the "supernatural boogeyman" variety of slashers, such as Freddy Krueger or the Candyman.
- Living Legend: In the most literal sense; an Avenger becomes a Legend when he grows famous enough that people start making up stories about him, and the legend he created ends up becoming part of him.
- Speak of the Devil: Many of them have a specific way you can summon them, with saying their name a specific number of times being one of the most common variants. In truth, this is because their power is literally fueled by this; the requirement needed to attract their ire is a trigger allowing them to channel the abilities granted by their tale.
- Urban Legend: Slashers become Legends when one is created around them.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Every Legend has a specific weakness defined by his stories, which becomes real even if it originally wasn't. And unfortunately for them, these weaknesses usually are fairly easy to access and fairly harmless to regular people.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Because Legends have ended up trapped inside their own story, their fate is now defined by said story rather than by themselves. As such, it's really questionable how much free will they still have at this point.
- And I Must Scream: Theorized to be the reason they kill; apparently, they have become anti-social to such a degree the very presence of other people is now painful to them, causing them to enter a berserk rage until they are alone. VASCU once captured one who took it even further, as everything apparently was painful to him.
- The Faceless: Masks typically wear a mask of some kind (hence their name) to cover their features. Even those who don't tend to have completely inexpressive, dispassionate faces. It's usually very difficult to identify them.
- Homage: They represent the Nigh Invulnerable masked killer archetype, such as Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Some people have pointed out that if the And I Must Scream theory above is correct, then Masks could easily solve this by committing suicide. The answer to this usually is to point out that Masks are very hard to kill, including by themselves.
- The Juggernaut: Brutes might be hard to kill, but Masks are flat-out near-unstoppable; they don't need to eat or sleep, and any attack that somehow manages to hurt them can only inflict one damage, no matter how strong it is. Even supernatural attacks cannot bypass this resilience.
- The Speechless: They have completely lost the ability to not only speak, but also write or use any form of complex language. At the very best they can roar or use a simple sign (like a nod of the head or a wave of the knife) to indicate they intend to kill you.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Their near-total invulnerability has a single loophole: booby-traps. Indeed, this ability is clearly defined as protecting them only from attacks, so incidental damages caused by falling, electrocution or drowning (all things that can be accomplished with booby-traps) are treated as normal.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Masks sometimes ignore a specific type of target, with children being the most frequent example. This doesn't seem to be out of mercy, however - they just ignore them as if they weren't there.
- Axe-Crazy: All Slashers are violent, obviously, but Psychos take it farther than most, producing some of the most unhinged characters in the setting.
- Fantastic Racism: Hunters who became Psychos frequently are people who suffered some trauma at the hand of a supernatural creature - and develop a hatred of everything supernatural as a result.
- Homage: To Patrick Bateman, Bo Sinclair, Norman Bates and every other overly chatty madman to appear on film.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: They typically try to create a situation where their would-be victims are vulnerable so they can take the opportunity to kill them.
- Knight Templar: Psychos are zealots who target people they consider as sinners of some kind, and view themselves as being on a form of crusade.
- Mask of Sanity: The Psycho can appear normal, but only for a few moments at a time.
- Obviously Evil: Unlike Charmers, Psychos can only look sane for a short period of time, and clearly appear as crazy once you pay enough attention. Because of this, they waste less time gaining your trust and will try to kill you at the first opportunity while you are distracted.
- Revenge Before Reason: One of their main weaknesses - a person who manages to escape a Psycho or press their Berserk Button becomes their obsession, to the point of predictable behavior.
- Sanity Slippage: Not only are Psychos crazier than Charmers, but they can become crazier still, getting entirely hung up on anyone who they fail to charm and stalking them relentlessly.
- Stalker Without a Crush: Anyone who resists being charmed by Psycho triggers his "Obsessive" frailty, causing him to stalk them at length and try to figure out why he couldn't get them under control.
- Talkative Loon: One of the main reasons they are easier to spot than Charmers. Psychos usually can only appear sane for a minute before they start exhibiting strange behaviours such as violent outbursts, nervous mannerisms or a tendency to insist too much that they are perfectly nice people. Unfortunately, a minute usually is all they need.
- Villainous Breakdown: Even more so than Charmers. Not only does their Thin Veneer frailty leave them at risk of melting down publicly if challenged, but anyone who resists their charms is liable to become the target of repeat stalking and harassment from the Psycho as he breaks down and stays broken down.
- We Need a Distraction: Their undertaking ability allows them to distract an opponent, causing him to drop his guard long enough to be vulnerable.
- All of the Other Reindeer: They frequently have this from birth. Mutants who didn't start out as Freaks often are born with the deformities, so they usually were feared, despised or mistreated since their childhood.
- And Call Him "George"!: More sympathetic Mutants may start out this way, discovering their physical traits make them ideal killers and not much else, killing someone they were trying to hug or stop from running into traffic.
- Bandit Clan: Like Freaks, Mutants often hang out in rural areas, killing and robbing.
- Cannibal Clan: The most common form of Mutant cabal is a family of inbred cannibals.
- Dramatic Irony: Some Mutants might actually join hunter cells in an attempt to prove they aren't murderous monsters. Unfortunately, being a Hunter usually requires being a practiced killer, and this plus all the monstrosities they end up fighting frequently result in them becoming the very monsters they didn't want to be.
- Enfante Terrible: All Mutants are born deformed and many are born evil, being twisted in mind and body from birth.
- The Family That Slays Together: Represent the most extreme versions of mutated cannibal clans.
- Fetus Terrible: At least one sample mutant, Fatso, tore his mother up from the inside out when he tried to chew his way out of her.
- Full-Frontal Assault: Some Mutants make a habit of hunting naked.
- Genius Bruiser: Don't let their feral attitude and inhuman appearance fool you; some Mutants actually are very intelligent, or even well-spoken.
- Half-Human Hybrid: One of their proposed origins in the book. Some Mutants get their deformities from having a supernatural among their parents.
- Homage: They are based on the more fantastic killer mutant/monster archetype, such as the Mountain Men from Wrong Turn, the Clan from The Hills Have Eyes remake, or the Crawlers from Descent.
- Inbred and Evil: A Mutant's deformities are more likely to be the result of supernatural taint than genetic disorder...but the Undertaking's habit of gathering in incestuous clans nevertheless ensures that once the taint gets into the family, it gets passed on again and again.
- In the Blood: Madness and the urge to kill often run in the mutant's blood, alongside whatever causes him to be disfigured.
- Madwoman in the Attic: Frequently are kept from the outside world through this trope, since they can't hope to fit in human society.
- Mental Handicap, Moral Deficiency: Mutants are atavisms, and while some still possess normal intelligence, many do not, regressing into a more animalistic frame of mind. They often have the "Atavism" merit, which provides them with physical bonuses at the expense of their intelligence.
- Mutant: It's right in the name.
- Natural Weapon: The Mutant Talent is entitled "Natural Weaponry" and grants them either a natural attack, be it with fangs, claws, or horns, or an armour bonus from a leathery, scaled, or otherwise unnaturally tough hide.
- Power-Upgrading Deformation: Their deformities make them even uglier and more inhuman-looking than Freaks, but they do grant them natural abilities that make them much more dangerous.
- Red Right Hand: Their deformity marks them as evil.
- Sensory Overload: Their main weakness; each Mutant is highly sensitive to a specific stimulus, which will usually blind him or cause him to run away.
- Totally Not a Werewolf: Because they are deformed to the point they don't even look human, mutants are sometimes confused with demons, werewolves or other supernatural creatures.
- Bastard Understudy: Often have apprentices and proteges who eventually betray them.
- Blue and Orange Morality: A Maniac's mind is completely alien, and they follow a sense of morality and ethics that makes absolutely no sense for a normal human.
- Breaking Speech: They are capable of applying their knowledge of other people to tear them apart verbally, eventually corrupting them.
- The Chessmaster: A Maniac rarely kills his victims himself; he manipulates people like pawns so they will each do a part of his plan to kill a specific person, without any of them actually knowing the full picture.
- Clock King: They can arrange for every step of a plan to happen at a specific time with ludicrous precision.
- The Corrupter: The main reason trying to understand how a Maniac's mind works is dangerous. Their madness is infectious, and Maniacs frequently like to take advantage of this, gradually reshaping good people into thinking like them and becoming their disciples. Their Undertaking talent allows them to manipulate other people, and, given enough time, alter their morality.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: While they can predict the reactions and emotions of others to some extent, Maniacs have a hard time actually understanding them entirely, due to all the nuance and variation involved. Because of this, they aren't very good at social interactions when they try it, though not quite as bad as Brutes.
- Evil Cripple: Not necessarily, but handicapped Maniacs are repeatedly mentioned throughout the text, likely as a reference to Jigsaw.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Hunters who become Maniacs without starting out as Geniuses frequently become so after trying to learn forbidden, dangerous knowledge (such as discussing Arcane with a mage or studying occult knowledge to banish a demon), warping their mind in the process.
- Homage: Jigsaw and John Doe are both cited as inspiration for the archetype.
- The Man Behind the Man: Unlike Geniuses, Maniacs usually rely on minions and intermediaries to accomplish their plans.
- Obviously Evil: Their main weakness. Maniacs are even worse at hiding their insanity than Psychos are.
- Visionary Villain: Unlike Geniuses, Maniacs usually have some kind of goal or agenda driving them. This tends to make them even more dangerous as a result, since it prevents them from stagnation.