HUNTERS AND THE VIGIL.
WELCOME TO THE NEW AGE.
You’re an old man who had a nasty run-in with Something That Went Bump in the Night, and once believed that the only way to make sure that you never had another problem like that again was to pick up a gun and shoot supes in the face before they killed you or hurt your family – and then some government shitheads called you up and told you that they’re your friends, you all have to get along. They took your weapons, sent you to some fucking program that felt too much like Alcoholics Anonymous. You hang up on them every time they check on you, but they still know exactly what you’re doing, every second of every day.
You’re a house wife in a quiet little town, accustomed to turning a blind eye towards the strange things that happened to people after dark because the local police either didn’t have a clue or were letting those things happen in the first place – and then some nice people in coats came in from God Knows Where, arrested some crooked cops, and made it all go away. You make a new batch of cookies every Sunday, to give to the coated fellows who still hang around at the street corners downtown; some of them are young, so very young, and remind you of your younger brother. Your little ones want to be just like them someday.
You’re the kid who learns Judo rather than Track and Field after Math every day (Teacher Felipe says that you have to know how to defend yourself), then takes a quiz all about vampires, fairies and werewolves in Occult Studies. Every Wednesday, you tumble around with your classmates, and get mad whenever your best friend does his Superman thing and beats everyone to the top of the hill by flying there. Every Friday, a guy with more guns than you have teeth comes to school, takes over PE classes, and talks to everyone about what he does for a living. Sometimes, he takes “special kids” with him to another school, for special people like them. You hope that he won’t take your best friend away.
You’re the manager of one of the biggest call centers in the country. You’re happy because life’s been great ever since you opened your doors to the local vampire community. They’re damned good at their jobs, and you don’t have to deal with the HR nightmare of overtime, of medical bills and lawsuits anymore. And you feel safe, because you know that if one of them ever steps out of line, you know exactly who to call.
You’re the girl who leapt through time, who met a handsome stranger who took you to a fantastic place full of talking trees and flying fish, the girl who was loved and fucked and tossed aside when you started getting boring. You came home and found that your house wasn’t your house anymore, that your parents have been dead for decades and all of your friends were old and gray while you haven’t aged at all. They found you crying on a swing. They told you what happened, and helped you set things right.
You’re the drunkard at the local bar who sees monsters in every face, and still remembers what it was like years ago, when you didn’t have to be afraid of the dark, or wonder what’s beneath all the human skin and human smiles of every person you meet. The Truth fucked you up, you see. You wish that once upon a time, you had the better sense not to listen.
Whoever you are, if you were born between 1999 and 2060, you know about Hunters. You know about the conspiracies and compacts they are a part of, and the Vigil they keep between Day and Night, Light and Shadow. You know that some of them are human, and some of them aren’t, and some of them are somewhere in between. You know about why they’re here, and what they do while nobody’s looking. Hate them, love them, worship them, or revile them: it doesn’t matter. The World of Light and the World of Darkness have blended together, and that means that Hunters are around to stay.
WHAT IS THE VIGIL?
The Vigil is the name that Hunters, throughout the ages, have given their mission. Keepers of the Vigil once believed that they were keeping Vigil against the Darkness, and that it was their solemn duty to destroy every monster that they came across. These days, however, the Vigil has taken a whole new meaning. It’s about preserving the balance between the World of Light and the World of Darkness, of policing the invisible borders between supernaturals and mortals.
— FAST FACTS —
Here is a breakdown of the contributions of each compact and conspiracy’s demographic within today’s Vigil, ordered by size.
The Methuselah – 35%
Midnight Riders – 30%
Netsach – 10%
Zangyaku – 8%
Order of the Mani dello Spirito Santo – 6%
Taskforce Valkyrie – 3%
The Rhiannon Group – 3%
Aegis Kai Doru – 2%
Brotherhood of Violence – 1%
The Thrones – 1%
Miscellaneous – 1%
“Miscellaneous” encompasses vigilantes, independent cells, and other organizations within the Vigil who are still too small to be considered compacts.
While there are still some crazies that insist on going solo and taking the law into their own hands, most Hunters are perfectly respectable folk who have organized themselves into their own groups, much like policemen and soldiers have. There are, in fact, two terms for these organizations: compacts and conspiracies. Compacts are small to moderate-sized organizations that have one particular area of specialization, or only handle a few regions. Conspiracies are large organizations with global jurisdiction, and are capable of handling all of the Vigil-related cases that land on their doorsteps. All bodies of Hunters are bound by the Code of the Vigil, a set of laws and regulations that Pax Deorum created in 2014.
JOINING THE VIGIL
Training and credentials aside, becoming a Hunter is about as simple as applying for a mundane job. One of the first moves that Pax Deorum – the world government – made during the First Reforms was establish Hunter Academies all around the globe. After finishing middle school, high school or college, interested civilians could opt to apply for an Academy rather than continue their regular schooling, or go for regular job. Anyone is eligible, for so long as they passed the tests and the psychiatric evaluation.
The larger conspiracies also have their own “in-house” Academies. Conspiracy-specific Academies tend to be the equivalent of Ivy League universities in today’s Vigil, with astronomically high requirements, their own entrance exams and assessment tests that are usually worlds apart from the tests given to applicants who are interested in a “generic” Academy, and even higher dropout rates. Furthermore, some of the “in-house” Academies cater to “special cases” of the conspiracies – that is, folks who, for whatever reason, never applied for a Hunting Academy, or gained their supernatural abilities at an incredibly young or incredibly old age. Of course, those are just two examples of so-called “special cases”.
— FAST FACTS —
- There is at least one Hunter Academy in every major city in the world, and these are, in all likelihood, only the “best” generic schools for future Keepers of the Vigil. There are thousands of Academies across the globe.
- Each power base of each conspiracy has their own school for their people, and for transferees.
- Generic Hunter Academies usually have a passing rate of 70%.
- The passing rate for Aegis Kai Doru and the Order of the Mani dello Spirito Santo is 80%; the Brotherhood of Violence’s passing rate is 60%, the Rhiannon Group’s passing rate is 50%; the Methuselah’s and Taskforce Valkyrie’s passing rate is 40%; the Midnight Riders’ passing rate is 30%; Netsach’s passing rate is 20%. Zangyaku has the lowest passing rate: 10%.
This is not to say that regular civilians are completely helpless. Pax Deorum law states that including classes oriented towards self-defense and the study of the occult in primary, secondary and tertiary curriculums is mandatory. The world has always been a dangerous place to live in, and things have just gotten worse since 2013.
A HUNTER’S LIFE.
Hunting, much like police work, has the tendency to involve long stretches of paperwork-scarred boredom pockmarked by heart-stopping moments of dread. The day-to-day routine of Hunters, interestingly enough, vary according to compact and conspiracy, and vary even more depending on the division or department that a Hunter ends up joining once they’re in. Methuselah operatives, for example, may end up spending the rest of their lives behind a desk or doing public relations work, and might not ever see an actual fight. Zangyaku oni-tsukai, on the other hand, tend to start training the moment they can walk, and are ill-used to handling diplomatic situations. And as a third, polarizing example, Aegis Kai Doru operatives spend more time holed up in the back rooms of museums and digging in sites than crawling through mysterious labyrinths or defending themselves from supernatural marks.
— HUNTER SLANG —
Each compact and conspiracy has developed their own code words and/or adopted the slang of their local police force or military bodies, but more than a few are universal across the board, or entirely unique to Keepers of the Vigil. These are just a few examples.
A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT: Refers to a long mission, “long” usually meaning a mission that has been slated to go on for several days or more.
BACK IN BLACK: A moniker adopted from the Brothers and Sisters in Violence. Refers to a Hunter that has returned to active duty.
BLADE/CELL/SQUAD: The squad that a Hunter belongs to. “Blade” was once a term unique to the Methuselah, but the conspiracies Zangyaku and Netsach have adopted it for themselves as well.
DEADWALKER: Refers to somebody without any supernatural abilities.
ENGAGEMENT: Refers to a mission.
GOING DARK: Refers to the act of going off the radar, and thus becoming unreachable, for an indefinite period of time.
GONE WATCHER: A moniker adopted from the Hunters of the Methuselah. Refers to a retired Hunter.
HAPPY HUNTING: The general way by which Hunters wish each other well.
MAKE IT RAIN: A moniker adopted from the oni-tsukai of Zangyaku. The general way by which Hunters wish each other luck on a particularly difficult mission.
MARK: Refers to a Hunter’s target at the moment.
MUNDY: Refers to a civilian.
POWERBASE: Refers to a large or significant base of a conspiracy. Powerbases are often the “headquarters” of a conspiracy within a particular country or region.
PUT TO PASTURE: A moniker adopted from the Hunters of Netsach. Refers to a Hunter whose licenses are currently suspended, or is being audited.
RENEGADE: Refers to a supernatural that has committed a criminal act, and has become a Mark.
SHIFTER: A catch-all phrase for a mark that can change his shape, either because he possesses an ability that allows him to do that, or he happens to be a Werewolf or Changing Breed.
SUPE: Refers to somebody with supernatural abilities.
THE HUNT: An alternate way of referring to the Vigil.
For more information on the culture and milieu of each of the compacts and conspiracies, refer to this page.
WELCOME TO THE NEW AGE.
The Code is Hunter-speak for the laws that bind all Keepers of the Vigil, regardless of whether they are on the battlefield or off of it. Punishment for breaking any of these laws varies according to how heavy the crime is. It can range from a reprimand to the complete stripping of a Hunter’s rank to the total erasure of the offending party’s memory. Sometimes, it may even lead to the issuance of a Hunting Permit across the board, with the offending party as the new “mark”.
The four “Golden Rules” of the Code have been listed below, for player reference. Interestingly enough, the Code is based off of the laws that the Methuselah itself set out for their own kind, when it was still a new conspiracy.
Uphold the Vigil through the Short Day and the Long Night.
The Darkness is constant, and a Hunter’s enemies are inexhaustible simply because the Balance is as much an act as it is a state of the universe. Hunters must never forget their place in the world, and the duty they have decided to take for themselves.
Everything a Hunter does must be directed towards preserving the Balance. As such, a Hunter is expected to be a functioning, law-abiding member of society in the World of Light. Furthermore, they must be conscientious in their dealings with the World of Darkness and everything in between that existence and the one they are most familiar with. They won’t be able to aid their brothers and sisters in the Hunt if they’ve been compromised in any way, after all.
Stay Loyal to your Brothers and Sisters in the Hunt.
A Hunter’s cell – that is, the operatives that a Hunter will end up working closely with from the beginning of their career until their deaths – is their new family. The power bases of their respective compacts or conspiracies, regardless of what country or realm they end up finding themselves in, is their new home. Loyalty to the organization and the people who work for it is just about as important as loyalty to the Vigil.
Never Abuse the Gifts You've Been Given.
This applies both to any special abilities that a Hunter may have (take, for example, if he is a Mage, or not actually human), and to the privileges that a Hunter is granted according to his or her rank. Being a Hunter in itself already “blesses” individuals with knowledge beyond one’s wildest imagination, and taking part in the Vigil naturally means that one is taken care of by their organization, provided with everything they may need in order to Hunt better. These things, Hunters are taught, are privileges, not rights. As such, privileges can be taken away.
Never Turn On One of Your Own.
Hunters are expressly forbidden from engaging each other in combat. By encountering the World of Darkness and deciding to participate in the Vigil, one has already made more enemies than one can imagine. In-fighting only endangers one’s self and one’s organization, especially if one’s reasons for coming into conflict with a fellow Hunter are selfish.
THE HUNTER NETWORK.
Compacts and conspiracies all have their own networks by which they disseminate information, do logistics work and provide support to their agents. Generally, a Hunter only has access to his own organization’s network.
Here’s a short list of the “bigger” Vigil networks that are active at this moment.
- CITADELNET: The Thrones
- GEISTNET: Netsach
- HOPLITE: Aegis Kai Doru
- LIBERTY: Taskforce Valkyrie
- LOGOSNET: The Methuselah and the Midnight Riders.
- MAYA: Zangyaku
- SERAPH: The Order of the Mani dello Spirito Santo and the Brotherhood of Violence
- VICENET: The Rhiannon Group
Interestingly enough, all compacts and conspiracies with close ties to the Methuselah automatically have access to public announcements and other similar posts from LogosNET.
HUNTING LICENSES & CROSS-CONSPIRACY JURISDICTIONS.
Once a Hunter has been recognized by a government body and registered under a compact or conspiracy, he gains a Hunting License. A Hunting License allows him to bear arms, and gives them the right to exercise the use of lethal force in order to subdue or dispose of criminal elements. However, compacts and conspiracies all have their own areas of jurisdiction, and the precise stipulations of each license differ by organization. Furthermore, many of the compacts and conspiracies have intimate ties with one another, and often participate in joint operations. As such, Pax Deorum allows individual Hunters to gain Hunting Licenses in compacts and conspiracies outside of their home organization.
Compacts and conspiracies each have their own sets of requirements for operatives who are interested in gaining other Hunting Licenses. As a general rule of thumb, however, a Hunter with allegiances to several compacts and conspiracies are bound by the laws of all of the organizations that they are now a part of. Violating the tenants of their organizations often results in Pax Deorum revoking all of the Hunter’s licenses. The punishment may seem a little harsh until one remembers just how much freedom a Hunter with several licenses possesses. It’s a formula that is ripe for abuse when it’s placed in the wrong hands.
Keepers of the Vigil aren’t the only people in the Fifth World who are interested in preserving the Balance. There are a number of significant organizations who cater to a supernatural interest group of their choice. These groups don’t just possess political influence; they possess special knowledge that only gets passed down to their members. And they’re more than willing to let Hunters into their number, provided that she meets their requirements.
This page has a list of groups that offer entitlements to any Keeper of the Vigil who fulfills their prerequisites. Some conspiracies have their own exclusive entitlements; those have been tackled within their respective dossiers.