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World of Darkness

Hunter Virtue & Creed

a part of “World of Darkness”, a fictional universe by Crooked Thoughts.

The world isn't what you think. Beneath skyscrapers' leering gargoyles, factories belching smoke, and streets packed with the human throng, lurk things we aren't meant to see. Your darkest fears aren't make-believe... they're real.

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This conversation is an Out Of Character (OOC) part of the roleplay, “World of Darkness”.
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Hunter Virtue & Creed

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Crooked Thoughts on Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:52 pm

The purpose of this page is to show the different virtues and creeds all hunters abide by. Please read over the information below, it will be very beneficial if you're contemplating joining or creating your character. Do not post here under any circumstances. If you have any questions, private message me or post them in OOC.

  1. Virtues & Creeds
  2. Virtues
  3. Creeds
  1. RP Tab
  2. Announcement
  3. IC
  4. OOC
  5. Races & Classes
  6. Virtue & Creed
  7. Archetypes
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  10. Dictionary
  11. Power Guide
  12. Summaries
  13. Bestiary
  14. NPC's
Last edited by Crooked Thoughts on Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:10 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Hunter Virtue & Creed

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Crooked Thoughts on Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:06 pm

Virtues and Creeds
Your character's role in the hunt doesn't stop at their Virtues. Virtues are like department titles at the workplace. Your hunter also has a personal job title. In World of Darkness a character's job is their creed: Their purpose or the role they perform in the hunt. Each of the creeds adheres to a Virtue, which is called its primary Virtue. Zeal's creeds are Avenger, Defender, Judge. Mercy's creeds are Innocent, Martyr, and Redeemer. Vision has only one creed of which hunters are aware: Visionary. Thus, Zeal is the primary Virtue of Avengers, Defenders, and Judges. Mercy is the primary Virtue of Innocents, Martyrs, and Redeemers. Vision is the primary Virtue of Visionaries.

Your character largely carries out the hunt according to the tenets of their primary Virtue, but with the direction and guidance of their creed. A character with a primary Virtue of Zeal believes in the destruction of the supernatural. However, if they are a Judge, they accomplish that goal through strategy, cool calculation, and temperance. A Defender adherent of Zeal seeks to destroy the supernatural through counterstrikes, feints, and simple wearing down of the enemy, all the while protecting the enemy's true target. An Avenger, on the other hand, believes in destruction through direct and bold action. The Avenger isn't stupid, simply decisive and straightforward.

During character creation, you can choose what kind of creed to which your character belongs before establishing their Virtues, yet the two are interconnected. Creed is a direct result of your character's primary Virtue, and the primary Virtue must be compatible with their creed. All characters possess Virtues and Creeds -- but only receive Edges if they're imbued.

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Re: Hunter Virtue & Creed

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Crooked Thoughts on Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:13 pm

During your character's life, they had values, principles, and beliefs, whether about right and wrong, good and evil, or Heaven and hell. Their values were probably shades of gray between the black-and-white contrasts of any subject: "There might be a God, but a place where souls go after death? I don't know." Your character's ideas and principles were probably fairly typical, shared by others, and even if not locally or to their knowledge.

All that changed when your character was in the wrong place at the wrong time -- almost coincidentally when evil manifested. Suddenly, they became a hunter. All of their previous perceptions and ideals were instantly invalidated. Everything they'd taken for granted was shown to be false, the world proved never to have been the place it seemed. The slate was wiped clean, and they were forced to start all over again.

Yet even in this nightmarish new reality, your character's ideals and beliefs have a fundamental impact on who they are, whether they realize it or not. Your character's reaction to the walking horrors around them determine the direction of their new existence.

Although hunters aren't aware of any classification of their kind, three approximate identity types emerge among them, based on their previous philosophies. Members of these groups share roughly similar approaches to and ideas about monsters and the hunt, from the moment they're reborn to the moment they become statistics of the ongoing war. The three groups, known for game purposes as Virtues, are Zeal, Vision, and Mercy. They're all different takes on how monsters should be dealt with: Tooth for a tooth, eye for an eye; with a mind to an ultimate end to the war and with questions such as "what are you" and "what are we?"; or with judicious compassion for creatures that may suffer as much in this reality as the downtrodden suffer in any world.

A nascent hunter's very personality therefore decides their identity and purpose against the supernatural, whether to destroy it, understand it, or to save what can be recouped. The Virtues decide who hunters are and become. One of these dedications is your character's primary Virtue.

Each of the three Virtues means something different for each hunter; no two people can agree on how far the hunt should be taken, what plan should be implemented to fight the unknown, or which beings are worth sparing and which aren't. Hunters take up the cause for their own reasons and often die on their own terms. Yet the three Virtues -- the lenses that focus hunter perception -- can be generalized. You should decide your own character's reasons for waging war on the supernatural and what she hopes to achieve from it. The answers you arrive at reflect their primary Virtue.

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Re: Hunter Virtue & Creed

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Crooked Thoughts on Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:20 pm

Hunter Virtues
Mercy: This Virtue assumes that there's something worth saving in all beings. It values respect and courtesy above all. Nothing can be taken unless an effort to give is made in exchange. Solutions to problems lie in the middle ground, not in opposed camps.

The Merciful look upon the monsters plaguing the world and search for ones who make up for the wrongs of the rest. If the creatures derive from people gone wrong, perhaps those people can be saved. This perspective doesn't make the Merciful naïve, however; the remorseless must be put down to save the defenseless, to protect any purity that might still exist. Indeed, when charged to protect the free and unspoiled, the Merciful become more dogged and dangerous than even the most extreme Zealot.

Vision: This Virtue is founded on questions and the search for answers. Life is complex and baffling. How can anyone claim to understand anything if they don't ask all the questions and look for all the answers? Rash actions or decisions can cause more harm than good. Thoughtfulness and freedom are key to unity and cohesion.

Vision applies to the hunt in refusing to acknowledge accepted truths and in scrutinizing assumptions. Monstrosities might seem to control the world, but it's worthwhile to destroy every one of them on the streets when the ones in power just create more? What's the plan? What's the goal of the hunt? Running in circles covers no ground. How can people be free of supernatural tyranny once and for all?

Zeal: This Virtue is the fundamental belief in a cause for its own sake, whether it be a religion, a right, a movement, or simply a refusal to accept the status quo. Right and wrong draw definite lines, with narrow or no shades of gray. There's an ideal answer to whatever problems arise, and it should be sought after, fought for if necessary.

Zeal applies to the hunt in simple intolerance of the supernatural. The world is clearly at the mercy of obscene creatures that corrupt everything they touch. Their hand should be severed and their lives should be snuffed out. Half-measures mean half-freedom or half-justice. What can be worth having that isn't worth dying for?

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Re: Hunter Virtue & Creed

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Crooked Thoughts on Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:45 pm

Before your character was imbued, they were a normal person. They had a life, dreams, and pursuits. They also had ideas, values, and beliefs. Perhaps they were devoutly religious and extended charity and goodwill to others. Perhaps they eschewed religion, but had faith in their own ability to accomplish goals and expected others to do the same. Maybe they accepted aspects from a variety of faiths and looked for bigger answers from there, with an understanding of numerous religions and cultures. Maybe they worked hard for the sake of work or relied on the efforts of others to get them through, or chose random targets in life and strove toward them.

It's important to know who your character was before. Once they became a hunter, their former values and beliefs persist. In fact, they often determine their course and purpose in coming to grips with the true world, the existence of monsters and the hunt itself. A charitable person might now believe in offering forgiveness or aid to monsters whom they feel are deserving. A driven person might see self-sacrifice as their greatest weapon against the unknown, or they might find no tolerance for the evil they perceive and seek to destroy it utterly. An open-minded person might believe that there's good and evil in monsters and humans, and wonders if there's a greater purpose to than putting down the supernatural.

It's therefore essential to know who your character was as a normal person -- what they believed in and hoped for. Those values determine their approach to the hunt in terms of your characters creed. Creeds are the roles hunters play in the ongoing war with the unknown, the philosophies that hunters observe regarding the horrific world to which they are exposed, and the attitudes the chosen have toward the monsters they face. Also, creeds represent the direction that hunters give to pursuing and fulfilling the percepts of their Virtues.

What do all these explanations and guidelines mean in a story, though? Your character's creed, chosen during creation, is no social classification or organizational group to which they belong. Your character isn't part of a creed as they might be in a profession or club. Their creed is an in-game interpretation of how they go about and perceives their mission.

Your character's primary virtue -- Zeal, Mercy, or Vision -- indicates what they uphold as the goal of the war -- perhaps to destroy the supernatural and reclaim the world or to try to preserve whatever's good in creatures before the world comes to an end. Their creed is the means by which they hope to fulfill that goal, the direction they take. Although hunters can have the same primary Virtue, say Zeal, those of different creeds seek to accomplish the same goals in different ways. An Avenger intends to tear down the supernatural one creature at a time, by tooth and nail if necessary. A Defender seeks to preserve something worth saving in the world. They want the unknown destroyed, but not at the expense of whatever they value. A Judge seeks to make sure that the right course of action is taken, that the creatures who truly need to be destroyed are done in, while balance and perspective are maintained among hunters themselves.

So, when you create your character, don't decide "I wanna play one of those people who sacrifices himself all the time." Rather, decide who your character is as a person -- before they became a hunter -- and then choose a creed that suits that identity. Or let the Storyteller assign your character a creed based on their first instinctive reaction to the unknown.

Because the hunt is so personal, hunters don't widely recognize creeds as classifications among their kind. The chosen simply seem to pursue different agendas: Some that coincide and others that clash violently. Only among hunters who communicate often, such as individuals on hunter-net, have lines begun to be drawn between hunter factions. These divisions are less conscious than they are unconscious; contributors to the site tend to break off into circles of the like-minded, where they share their triumphs and frustrations and search out ways to convince the others that they have the answers to the questions that plague all hunters. The vague divisions that exist between camps are evident in one title or identifier that’s used universally.

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Re: Hunter Virtue & Creed

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Crooked Thoughts on Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:49 pm

"What's wrong with you? That's not how zombies act in the movies at all! Here, let me show you."

Virtue: Mercy
Aliases: The Blessed, Bait, Fools, Innocent, Optimists

ImageDo other hunters treat you like you were dropped on your head as a kid? Things might be different where you are, but around here, "Innocent" might as well mean "idiot." It's not like we don't do our share. It could just be that everybody else takes this stuff so seriously that they forget monsters aren't always bad. Just like hunters aren't always good.

Sometimes the others don’t care if a crime is a creature's fault or not, even when they've seen that "creature" acting normal and talking to his neighbors and mowing the grass. If you don't speak up, nobody will. And when it's too late, everybody gets all quiet, and they get mad if you ask why it had to happen that way. They tell you, "Cause we kill things." You tell them that people aren’t things. They tell you these things only look like people. You tell them some folks like to say that about the people they want to hurt. They ask you to help them steal something, like a car or a big gun, so they can hunt with it. You ask them what they would do is somebody stole their stuff. They ask you to carry a gun. When they say they won't carry a gun if you will, you tell them "Okay!" and that way you can cut down on the chance of somebody else doing something everybody may regret.

"Doing right by everybody caught up in the hunt is just impossible." You've heard some hunter say those words, or ones close to them. A year ago, though, the same person would have said all the things us hunters can do and see are impossible! Seems to me a little faith is in order. We may never be as good as we want to be, but we can never be any better than we try to be. That may also be true of the folks some of you call the wicked or the accursed or just monsters. They might be in pain! Ask your buddies if they ever thought about that. If an animal is hurt, it may lash out at anybody. Some of these poor folks, these "monsters," seem like trapped beasts. Of course, some of you are saying to yourselves, "How are we supposed to know that?" Well, that's why you're blessed. That's why there are healers among us to put us back together when we get hurt helping out the less fortunate. And you can't help people by shooting them. The only reason you'll ever see a gun in my hands is to keep it out of somebody else's.

Plenty of hunters are ready to wipe out anything that looks less than normal. You have to make them think twice before they do awful things. You're with them to show that hunters don't have to act wicked to stop wicked acts. Start small. Get everybody to pray together after somebody gets killed, no matter who it was. If you can start them thinking like human beings, they’ll start seeing themselves that way. Maybe they'll see others that way one day, but they have to believe in their own goodness first.

"We're the damned who hunt the damned."

Virtue: Mercy
Aliases: Cassandras, Fuck-ups, Losers, Martyrs, Masochists

ImageThink of all the things you'd give up to push back doomsday. All set? Okay, if the list starts with your life and includes your soul, you might be a Martyr. Other hunters may sacrifice their lives to destroy the unforgiven. Martyrs have been known to sacrifice their futures -- to pawn every belonging, break every tie, and even blot out their own good names for the cause. My advice is, "Lighten up," if there's a prayer that it'd make any difference. As it stands, we're the most screwed up, drama-addicted, self-tormenting hunters you can find and a damn fine bunch despite all that.

Granted, some of us are stoic to a sickening extent, but that's just high drama in a muzzle. What we all ultimately want is to star in our own passion plays. Whether that's because we feel there's something that we have to atone for or because we see salvation in sacrificing ourselves for others varies for every Martyr. Is it that you cheat on your companion? On your taxes? Lie on your résume? Are you queer? Kinked? Do you masturbate to excess? Steal cable TV? Shoplift? Get over it, honey. This isn't about you. As for the rest of you saints, you can use your bodies to shield all the little old ladies and orphans you want, but if getting clawed up and beat on makes you hot, it's a sin.

Actually, what troubles me most about being a Martyr is how many of you seem to blossom under the stress of the job (don’t fool yourselves, we got hired). And lots of you (all right, me too) are more satisfied with your lives than ever before. Not happy, mind you, but satisfied. You push yourselves till you drop, volunteer for every duty, take point on the hunt, then spend the next week bitching about what a hard lot you have and how badly the world chafes your poor shoulders.

Why do other hunters put up with us? Because they know we'll take a bullet for them. We'll give blood, breath, and body to keep others alive, and the same goes for civilians. A few of you have even confessed to "murders" committed by other hunters and have gone to prison to preserve their families.

Probably it's my Catholic roots that make me notice this, but there sure are lots of clergy doing the Martyr thing, though not just nuns and priests. All persuasions turn up, and they run the gamut. Working with these people in circumstances that aren't very religious has made me understand for the first time that donning the cloth doesn't make you into some denominational robot. Which is another way of saying church folk can be just as messed up as the rest of us. Despite all our flaws, though, I'd give anything to be a Martyr as opposed to any other kind of hunter. Even my life.

"Keep still and you might live. assuming you weren't dead to start with."

Virtue: Mercy
Aliases: Confessors, Curadores, Deprogrammers, Healers, Menders, Redeemers

ImageIt all comes down to triage. Who's dead, who's hurt, who can be saved? The others may be here to take lives in order to preserve the lives of others. Your job is to save lives or figure out whether any life remains to be saved. You watch somebody get reduced to cinders by the light of the sun -- pale winter sunlight, at that -- and it makes you wonder: Are these things really "alive?" Can you heal a walking contagion? Is there a way to redeem a plague that thinks? Hey, they don't cover this stuff in medical ethics. The problem here is that the things we hunt -- some call them "the Afflicted" -- look like human beings and appear to crave (more or less), talk like human beings and appear to crave survival the way human beings do. None of which, in my book, certifies them as such, and yet you give them the benefit of the doubt. Your first impulse after seeing one is probably, How can I help? You treat them the way you would the deranged, the way you hope someone would treat you. God help you, should you become one of them.

Speaking of which, did you ever wonder why we -- hunters in general -- seem to be immune to vampire or werewolf bites? At least, we don't become like them if they bite us. No answers here, just a suggestion that you avoid such wounds -- they still hurt. Maybe "Afflicted" is a better label than anyone realizes. Maybe we're the antibodies for Homo sapiens as a whole. Sure, there could be a monster virus, why not? It's no harder to believe than, say, some Bela Lugosi-Lon Chaney rematch where the participants don't wear makeup and, well aren't actors.

Take my advice: Leave the theories to the prophets. Keep your buddies in one piece, patch up victims as you're able, and save lives. Or maybe save life. People talk all the time about "life-and-death struggles," but nothing in all my years to trying to help people made that phrase resound in my mind as literally as it does now. These days, it's as if the Four Horsemen gallup in at regular intervals. If you've trained yourself to not personify death, or if you believe death can sometimes be good, run-ins with the Afflicted can make you question everything.

Which is probably my way of backing into the subject you've been waiting for as much as I've been dreading it: Killing. Death isn't always the opposition, as any terminal patient in interminable pain can tell you. But there's a difference between helping someone ease into peace and helping you to put down the two-legged equivalent of a rabid dog. The dog didn't plan to get rabies. What if hunters aren't immune to this "monster virus" or whatever's out there? What if we just haven't seen anyone get "properly" exposed yet? What if somebody who saved your life turns up as one of these thins? Let me say for the record that if you suffer such ultimate bad luck and try to share it with me, I'm going to "contain the infection." once that's done, if anything's left of the real you, all my energy will go into salvaging you, no matter what any other hunter has to say. My hope is that you would do the same for me.

"Claiming a world is a simple-sounding, two-fold process: We must be patient and look carefully to discern our best path. And we must pursue that path heedless of obstacles, whether nefarious interference or the disbelief of our fellows. Neither impediment can keep up from our goals."

Virtue: Vision
Aliases: Hellseher, Pathfinders, Prophets, Visionary, Wayfarers

ImageConsider the possibilities: That we and our opponents (if that's the right word) may be part of an evolutionary competition like the one between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons; that both sides may be pawns in a conflict between alien intelligences; that we may embody the forces of light and darkness in a war for the fate of the world; that all these explanations of our struggle may be true -- or completely false.

What every imbued person of Vision brings to the mission is perspective. You have your theories, as do nearly all of us, about what is happening around us, but Visionaries strive to make understanding essential to our activities. Judges get called on to render decisions that have short-term effects. You take the long view and weigh factors that never occur to other imbued -- who probably consider you a lunatic as a result. No matter. If you're true to our calling, insults are ineffective in swaying your attitudes. Which isn't to say we don't value the respect of our peers in this apocalyptic enterprise. In fact, the extent to which we influence other imbued is the measure of our own success.

But what success are we to pursue in the larger sense? Is the goal of our mission the determination of whether war can be waged compassionately? Is it defining the limits of tolerance when confronting what may or may not be pure evil? Or is it simply some atavistic contest for survival of the fittest? Maybe there's a whole other battlefield that we're missing.

The perceptions and abilities we share come to us seemingly for the purpose of being used. Presumably, they're meat to be used on entities whose existence we remain ignorant of until the coincidental bestowing of those abilities. But what if the entities themselves -- our "targets" -- are bestowing these powers? Does our aggression prove to them that with cast power comes vast immaturity? Does every action we take in the "hunt" condemn us and our species in the view of incomprehensible beings? Or is it that beings incomprehensible to us are incapable of sharing our values, and so they regard us as test subjects, vermin, or worse?

As a Visionary, these are the questions that you must entertain, and whatever wisdom you can glean about the hunt -- a potentially dangerous name for our mission, by the way -- must be shared with other "hunters." without guidance, you fellows can be as dangerous as anything they might seek to protect against. So, to pose another question: Are we the brains of this undertaking, its conscience? Yes and yes. And when some of us are proven wrong? Expect it to happen, for we can't all be right. In that instance, hope that any decisions you influenced came out as well as they could, given what you knew. Anyway, don't be too hard on yourself. We're trying to answer questions we don't even know how to ask.

Not that you need ideas on how to go your own way, but pity the other imbued who literally go after who-knows-what. Think of them as stalking newly discovered species, and thing of yourself as a nature guide (or supernature guide, depending on your inclinations). My own to-do list includes identification, tracking, classification, mapping of lairs, and isolation of proclivities or weaknesses, when possible. your emphases are sure to vary, depending on your interpretation of what we're all here to do, but the importance of knowing thine "enemy" is paramount.

The more difficult task is often translating such knowledge into practice. Many of you describe yourselves as some combination of diplomat, general, dreamer, and baby sitter. It's already challenging to have any meaningful exchange with other Visionaries, given our independent ways. Trying to marshal the divergent attitudes and approaches of the imbued overall can seem impossible. Here's hoping we have vision enough to meet that challenge.

"“Yeah, being a Hermit means you have a 24/7 radio broadcast being streamed to your head. Sorry I forgot to mention that.”"

Virtue: Vision
Aliases: Outsider, Outcast,

ImageHermits are members of the "lost" creeds, tormented yet invigorated by the hunt like no other hunter can imagine. They are adherents of vision, like visionaries, that is their primary virtue. These creed members are also among the rarest of all hunters. No one knows how many hunters exist in the world, and absolutely no one knows how many hermits there are (most imbued and hunters don't even realize these people exist), but the outsiders are dangerously few.

All hermits are in constant contact with the Heralds on some level, even subconsciously. They are therefore far more likely than most imbued to receive some sort of message or contact from the creators. While hermits can't understand most information that causes the static, they are still able to perceive the same sorts of messages that are passed directly to the chosen during the imbuing and subsequent contact. Static is fundamental to a hermit's experience with the hunt. Its a constant background murmur in an outcast's mind, a persistent whispering or droning that is not usually intelligible -- the product of ceaseless noise from the messengers that doesn't make it through to the hermit's conscious mind. The sound is agonizing, disorienting, confusing, terrifying, and very frustrating -- and that's at its best.

Whenever hermits are near other imbued or monsters, torrents of half-formed encouragement, visions, warnings, odors, impulses and other advice are added to the usual barrage and the static flares up to full strength. It becomes psychically and mentally, not to mention socially, debilitating. Its enough to impact a hermit's ability to hunt and can drive them mad.

The static is created by the human mind as a release valve for the pressure generated by communication with the messengers. When no other imbued or monsters are within range, the messengers are relatively quiet and the static is not too uncomfortable. The static itself does not convey any information. It is not the actual communication form the messengers -- that is blocked off before the conscious mind becomes aware of it. Rather, the static is the mental stress caused by keeping the power of the messengers from destroying your character's mind,.

The static can take many forms. At its most bearable, its a whining in the ear, nagging aches and pains, background muttering or a pervasive crawling, itching sensation in the skin across the hermit's body. Its possible to ignore when your hunter is distracted by something that requires no concentration -- watching TV, for example -- but it can be extremely irritating or distressing if your character tries to concentrate or relax.

At its worst, the static can be a deafening howl of incoherent phantom voices, churning sickness, crippling head-aches, pain throughout the body, shocking visual disorientation, dizziness or vertigo. In combination with this overwhelming discomfort is a terrifying sense of the mind being attacked or breached and the feeling that your hermit might become possessed or witless at any moment. A hermit might suffer different symptoms at different times, but different symptoms are not usually indicative of a trend among nearby monster or hunters, or of a particular message from the heralds.

Hunters who receive information in a bout of static do not actually filter it out of the roar, although most believe they do. Rather, the message has been blurted loudly enough by the heralds in their own dialogue or to another hunter that your hermit hears it. At its clearest, information from the static may manifest as dreams or vague compulsions. Typically, coherent contact like that had at the imbuing -- only more frequent. These communications are most frequent during intense bouts of static, when hunters and monsters are nearby , because that's when the messengers are most aware of your hermit.

If a hermit can endure it, frequent exposure to other imbued and monsters can sometimes encourage a resistance to the static. For some hermits, such resistance allows them to function normally (and strangely enough, the presence of visionary imbued seems to make resistance easier), but the static itself never stops or becomes less painful.

Although these creed members are obviously broken, it seems the messengers believe that even a poor information channel is better than none. This is why all hermits are also Imbued Hunters. As a consistence of their condition, there is no way to turn off the information flow, that causes the static -- only evasive ways to diminish it. The results are socially evasive hunters, who are constantly confronted with the truth and seeking escape from their torment, but who still suffer with the veritable divine command to share or do something about what they see, hear, and learn. Its a miserable existence, and one some hermits can't bear. Yet the fate of the world may rest on whether they are able to find the strength to transcend their limitations and flaws, somehow functioning as a shadow of what they might have been.

"I will give you over to bloodshed and it will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you."

Virtue: Vision
Aliases: Maniac, Psycho, Warlord, Wacko

ImageWaywards are members of a "lost" creed, intended for a leadership, counsel and militant role but somehow... broken in the process. Waywards are metaphorically "lost," creations that have simply gone awry. They aren't merciful, helping creatures turn aside their bestial nature. They aren't zealots, acting out of aggression, instinct and the moment. They have vision -- twisted and bent by some ugly stuff indeed -- and thus are people whose minds stretch out and encompasses sweeping plans. Though they may appear to the untrained eye as nothing more than deranged, but they're much more.

Waywards are extremely rare. There's no army of them in a desert waiting to storm corrupt cities. Hunters are unlucky to meet even one of these people during their "careers". The psychos exist in minute numbers on the fringes of hunter society and are often mistaken for hunters who have gone too far for the cause and lost themselves in the process.

Although ultra-violent, waywards are still students of vision. Their existence is dedicated to the big picture of the hunt -- where it can go, how the world can be saved, and what can be accomplished -- but always in terms to ruins, conflagration and calamity. Destruction is their first and last tool. But how does your character see it all? Playing a wayward means having an overarching goal or aspiration. To play one fully, you might decide what your character's "big plan" is. How do they channel or justify their aggression? Is your character a conspiracy theorist, pinning up flowcharts of pyramidal corruption while aiming to bring suffering to the oppressors at the top of the system? Maybe your wayward thinks bloodsuckers are the world's real puppet-masters, so killing them (their retainers, their former families, their pets...) is the way to salvation. Your character might hold beliefs so extreme as to see all people a monster touches as diseased and likely to become monsters themselves. Of course, how long it is until they realize that they also touch monsters is another question...

A wayward's bent for bloodshed has definite direction. They believe it has meaning. Each unspeakable act performed falls into place a piece in a puzzle. They can have faith in their brutality and that faith creates a horrifying network of justification. Anything is acceptable as long as it's a means to your character's violent end, so determine their goals. Figure out not only what they do, but why they do it. After all, if a wayward fulfills a grandiose plan, other are more likely to follow him/her (assuming they can actually stomach his aspirations).

A wayward is forced to contend with a horde of conflicting emotions and impulses that wage war on their soul. Once a "normal" person (a relative term if there ever was one), your character now struggles with burning anger, and negotiates with (or tries to shed) the ghosts of their former life to somehow coincide with their new, horrid programming. No matter who your character was, this new mindset invades their old identity. Both sides are compelled to fight the monsters outside themselves -- and all the ones inside, too. The battle never ends.

Waywards will also fight other hunters. It's an unfortunate fact, but their "righteous" aggression and embrace of violence do not make them good bedfellows with... well, just about anybody. Some waywards are so far gone that they think nothing of dispensing with anyone who intrudes upon their mission or who espouses different opinions or techniques about the hunt. Messing with one of these mad dogs can put a hunter on the autopsy table.

"People say the world's going to Hell. They're wrong. Hell's come to the world and we're the thin red line."

Virtue: Zeal
Aliases: The Cavalry, Dead-Eyes, Defenders, Fences, Protectors; Défenseurs; Verteidiger

ImageYou probably remember a time, not so long ago, when night meant rest. When not all your dreams were nightmares. A time before you joined the hunt, before you stood to defend all that you have and everything that you are. A time before you knew the violence you're capable of to save the life of another. If you can recall such peace, consider yourself lucky and learn from my misfortune.

In my country, for my whole life, night has always been when fools with guns or clubs wander under cover of darkness to murder their neighbors. They used to claim that politics motivated their killings. My mother, a fool of another sort, believed those claims and thought herself one of the "right people." She died at the hands of her own tribe. What she never realized is that war doesn't care, which is why we must care. For you and I to protect the ones we love, we must recognize that we're at war. Perhaps demon-people walk the night now because normal people gave their hearts to hatred, then they changed to match their hearts. Whatever the reason, you know such creatures are among us. It could be that nations everywhere are like mine now, except their nights are full of wandering killers that need no weapons. Instead, you and I and our kind must take up the gun, the spear, the chain -- whatever works -- to keep the demon-people at bay.

Whatever you were before the world changed, you are now a soldier. Perhaps you always were, or perhaps a firefighter, or a member of the constabulary. On the schoolyard, you were the one who dragged bullies off the children too small to fight for themselves. If you kept your eyes open as you aged, you realized that the world was much like the schoolyard, except the aggressors multiplied even as people like you seemed to vanish. Maybe watching others lose themselves and become part of that mob is what lets you see through the demon-people's disguises.

Caution and caring are all that separate hunters from mobs. Sometimes you must embody those qualities when your associates grow too enthusiastic. They say we must carry the war to the ones that started it. Remind your fellows that those who take up the burden of war find it difficult to set aside. Thing of carrying your war home to the people you fight for. Think of what your dying does for them: It leaves their protection in the hands of persons with agendas different from your own. In this conflict, there can be no truer form of defeat. When battle is the only way, remember that even the bravest of your fellows need someone to guard the flanks. And remember that hunters sometimes need protections from their own foolhardiness. Any attack carried out with ease is probably a trap. And anyone who finds shame in a successful retreat probably wasn't part of it. Answer all who accuse you of cowardice, for losing the trust of your associates makes you less effective at protecting them and others.

There are no eager warriors among us. That kind dedicate themselves to revenge, it seems. Our kind are reluctant to fight, yet resolute. Let others chase the adversary back to its lair. Watch over them as you're able, but preserve hearth and home most fiercely. Lose your loved ones and you're almost sure to lose yourself to anger soon after. Do that and you risk becoming a threat yourself.

"I accuse you. Not simply of being corrupt, but of being a corrupter, of making every person around you -- even your accusers -- more like you. How do you plead?"

Virtue: Zeal
Aliases: Jueces, Judge, Justices, the Law, Lawgivers.

ImageWhat you do isn't about justice, because what you fight isn't crime. It's abomination, corruption of humanity, body and soul, by things that look like people to the people around them. But the freaks can't hide from you and me, which is why we have to be judge, jury, and yes, even executioner at once. It's hard sometimes, because killing a beast of prey is still killing. It's even harder when that beast hides its nature behind a perfect mask. Then, there are times when you get asked to do the impossible, when you know one of the things is hiding inside somebody, not some trick of flesh, not something dead that just doesn't know it yet. And the others, they look to you, they wait for you to decide, to choose whether some unlucky soul lives or dies, and all you can think is, No, not me, not again -- that and, "How the Hell did I wind up here, doing this?"

The answer is that you're doing what you do because you question it and you question your part in it. If you're dedicated, you make a thousand decisions, large and small, in the course of every hunt: Will silver work this time? Do we involve those civilians or not? Can this one be "exorcised," or do we just kill the poor bastard it's controlling before it kills someone else? The problem with being too dedicated is it can make you dead. At which point, all your careful weighing of the facts is over. It's a question of balance, and of knowing how much balance is too much, if that makes any sense to you. Probably it does. You probably spent a lot of your time Before making these same sorts of decisions as a doctor, social worker, military person, or even as a judge. No matter what you did day by day, there were always questions at the back of your mind: Does what I do matter? Does it make things better? Can the world possibly be improved by removing some of the people who are in it? Then, one day, you found yourself asking those same questions in situations you'd never have imagined otherwise. That was After.

After is like being in another world, except the real world hasn't gone anyplace -- none have the hard choices that you've got to make. You just know there are aspects of the world that go unseen by most of the populace. You know the right thing might be to tell them, "Look, see what we share the planet with?" But you know better because they can't see what's plain to you. There'll come a time soon when we'll know what we face and where it hides. Once that's true, going public may be more than the safe course; it might be the only one. It's difficulty to tell, but some people seem to serve the forces we fight but not realize that they're pawns in a war. Not possessed ones or anything like that, just dupes. And who knows whose ear the opposition might be bending right now? Until we have a clue, discreet valor is the only way.

In the meantime, keep your mouths shut and your eyes open. It seems unfair, like that sighted making decisions for the blind without consulting them. Rely on this: You're frequently going to hate the things you have to do. You hate the lying -- to family, to friends, to associates -- but the truth is deadly. Telling it to someone who can't see the tantamount to signing their death sentence, not to mention your own. You hate having to judge another hunter, to decide whether someone on your side is more of a menace than the enemy. That's when you hate killing the most, when it seems that what you do, what all hunters do, is doomed to fail. But stronger than your hatred of the dark, hard place you now know the world to be is your fear of what it might become if nobody makes the hard choices. Your choices.

"Give back the devil his own."

Virtue: Zeal
Aliases: Adjusters, Avengers, Knights, Soldiers, Vengadores the Wrath of God.

ImageAdmit it. You're the type who believes in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. All of our kind do. You may be more forgiving than some or more brutal than others, but for you, justice is retribution. Chances are, even if you live someplace that doesn't practice capital punishment, you advocate it anyway. "Things wearing human faces" used to mean something different. They were rapists, serial killers, psychos who never knew what conscience was. Now you know "monster" isn't just a figure of speech, and you know how cunning the opposition is, how dangerous. What hasn't changed is how to deal with the problem. Old monsters and new ones rate the same treatment: Death. In your old life, you'd have jumped at the opportunity to throw the switch or deliver a lethal injection. Nowadays, your opportunities, your choices, are swinging a blade or pulling a trigger -- that, or just standing by. And that's no choice at all.

What's weird is that bloodthirstiness actually seems to preclude some people from hearing the Call with you. A buddy of mine always used to say torture was a good thing. He was there my first time, when it all went down. He didn't see or hear a damn thing, though. In fact, he was part of the crowd that rushed out of the bank. He still spouts off about criminals being killed, but he has no idea what he's talking about -- and I can't tell him what's really going on. I don't think he could take the real thing, and if he knew, he might be this far from being part of the problem. You know, a rogue, somebody who goes too far and doesn't care if regular people get hurt in the process.

It's weird because, of all hunters, were the ones likeliest to shed blood (or whatever some of those things have inside them). The others lack proportion, the idea that the punishment has to fit the crime. Of course, once you start talking about how you "punish" something that sees you the way you see cattle, maintaining a "balanced sensibility" is tricky.

As a kid, you might've imagined yourself as a knight or maybe a gunslinger. Maybe that self-image guided you in adulthood and you became a cop or a prison guard or a bounty hunter. Or maybe it helped end your career when you blew the whistle on your employer. Or it could've remained a fantasy because you never had what it took to make others do the right thing. Then again, you could be like me -- that is, nobody's paragon of virtue, but still sure that there are things you just don't do. Theft, that's one thing, but killing somebody over stuff? That's wrong and that'll get you killed.

You may lie to yourself and say you don't believe in justice, but the fact is you believe in your justice. For some of us, that happens to coincide with what the courts hand out. For them, the system works and what we do is necessary evil: "If the government had people like you and me, we wouldn't be doing this." Some see the system is ailing and themselves as the cure. And for some, "justice" is a tool of the enemy, a human idea being used by monsters to cover up the most horrible shit imaginable. You think corporate prisons are good business? Try thinking of them as game preserves.

Not that you should change your mind about anything. Folks in our "line of work" rarely do. Do people kid you about being hard-headed? Inflexible? Get used to it, because our kind has extreme views. You might meet a colleague who seems to share your perspective on the hunt, but then his ideas start to get pretty out there on other religions, races, or sexual preferences. Suddenly, you see that your "colleague" is a freakin' nut. Take your beliefs to the limit and others will look the same way at you. Try to remain objective.

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Crooked Thoughts
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