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Hunter 2ED: The Code

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  • Hunter 2ED: The Code

    Monica asked that all discussion on The Code be moved to a different thread, so I thought someone should create one. With that in mind here's what I'd like to see changed about the Code from the playtest draft.

    1) No in setting universal morality. Simply put put it breaks my suspension of disbelief. If you want to have a default code that Compacts/Conspiracies modify I could see that working but please make it clear that it's a game mechanic and not something that exists inside the setting.

    2) don't make "monsters don't deserve to exist" the default. There's definitely room for that, but looking at the corebook alone I don't think: the Long Night, Network Zero, Null Mysteries, the Loyalists of Thule, the Ascending Ones, or the Lucifuge will agree with that view. And the MM would make an exception for angels and god. That's over half the groups.

    More than that, in many respects Hunters are justified. Monsters do prey on humanity, standing up for the oppressed is laudable. So to say that standing up against monstrous oppression turns you into a Nazi-ish monster who dehumanises anyone with supernatural power is a message that alienates me.

    I'm not saying there's any moral obligation to avoid a problematic message. Fiction doesn't have to fit anyone's morality, least of all mine. (and there's definitely room for hunters like Chiron who are as bad or worse than their prey) All I'm saying is that this is the message the "call a spade a spade" sidebar is saying to me and since I doubt that's the intent perhaps it needs revising until the message matches the intent.

    3) The code should be flexible enough to ensure behaving like a typical member of your organisation will not trigger Breaking Points. A Member of Les Mysteries should be able to create a Code that says they can: learn Rites, make bargains with spirits that involve acting against a human's interests, refuse to aid or oppose hunters who've hunting spirits, ignore monsters they consider outside their purvew, (and hunt spirits who're misbehaving) without a Breaking Point.

    I'm not saying that they have to be psychologically healthy. Someone who willingly let's spirits possess them is, at least by modern western standards, questionable at best. What I am saying is that breaking points are the wrong mechanic to represent the drawbacks of any kind of questionable behaviour that's encouraged by your Compact or Conspiracy. A Breaking Point should represent a significant moment in your charachter's charachter development. For business as normal, something like Tells or Vampires Banes would work better.

    (Building on from point 2. It should be possible to play that Les Mysteries as a Tier 1 independent Hunter. You could do it reasonably without access to an Endowment by using the Medium Merit from the Chronicle of Darkness core book.)

    4) Building on from point 2. A bit more naunce in the social relationships between groups please. A VASCU hunter who barely has a Code and acts like a normal if psychic FBI agent should get a much friendlier reception from The Union that a surgically modified Cheriton Hunter even though both would have modified their code from the default. (Assuming there is still a default).

    And now I'm off to the airport I'll see if I'm able to reply from abroad or not.
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    Last edited by The Kings Raven; 10-30-2017, 02:54 AM.


    “There are no rules. Only Principles and natural laws.” - Promethius
    My Homebrew no longer fits in a signature, you can find an index of it here.
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  • #2
    What's wrong with the other thread?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
      We were specifically asked to move the topic to a different thread so the original thread can focus on the intended topic of actually playing the playtest.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by milo v3 View Post
        We were specifically asked to move the topic to a different thread so the original thread can focus on the intended topic of actually playing the playtest.
        ...except the thread I linked wasn't the Hunter Playtest thread it was the old thread where the 2e Code was first revealed?

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        • #5
          I agree with all The Kings Raven points. I just want to point my previous compromise idea - Leave The Code the way it's in playtest now, but let each Hunter modify his own Code by changing default Breaking Points - let's say, up to 5 of BP. Each change of BP will alienate him a bit to other Hunters not sharing his own BP by -1 penalty to interactions.

          In that way, those 'we must save monsters' groups will be generally a bit alienated by rest of the Hunters Orgs - that is correct both in HtV 1E lore AND in TV series like Supernatural - where Sam is constantly nagged by Dean because 'they are to save humans, not monsters' - and still Sam is not going to Slasherdom only because he wants to rescue monsters too.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Kings Raven View Post
            1) No in setting universal morality.
            Well, we're good on this point. Because that's not what integrity is.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Elfive View Post
              Well, we're good on this point. Because that's not what integrity is.
              Except that is what The Code currently looks like.


              Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
              Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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              • #8
                No, it looks like a coping mechanism. Integrity 7+ talks about drawing "a clear line between themselves and the monsters they despise" but we all know that line doesn't really exist.

                Monsters have families, jobs, and all that. They're people, just like anyone else. Falling integrity happens in part when hunters realise this. It blurs the line. A low integrity hunter can totally protect an innocent psychic from a mundane killer. And they should. But at higher integrity this violates the lie they've told themselves to stay sane. That there's us and them. The code isn't a "Universal Morality". If anything it's the opposite. A shield that lets hunters do what needs to be done, that their actual morality threatens to slowly weather away.

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                • #9
                  ...except the thread I linked wasn't the Hunter Playtest thread it was the old thread where the 2e Code was first revealed?
                  .... Crap, there already was a thread for that? Sorry, Tasti. I had no idea. My guess is neither did Raven. I guess we'll have to decide if we keep going there or use that old thread.

                  2) don't make "monsters don't deserve to exist" the default. There's definitely room for that, but looking at the corebook alone I don't think: the Long Night, Network Zero, Null Mysteries, the Loyalists of Thule, the Ascending Ones, or the Lucifuge will agree with that view. And the MM would make an exception for angels and god. That's over half the groups.
                  Raven, I agree with most of your points, but out of curiosity: why do you include the Long Night here? Aren't they a "MONSTERS ARE ALL DEMONS AND MUST DIE!" Kind of compact? Or did I get their section completely wrong?

                  No, it looks like a coping mechanism. Integrity 7+ talks about drawing "a clear line between themselves and the monsters they despise" but we all know that line doesn't really exist.

                  Monsters have families, jobs, and all that. They're people, just like anyone else. Falling integrity happens in part when hunters realise this. It blurs the line. A low integrity hunter can totally protect an innocent psychic from a mundane killer. And they should. But at higher integrity this violates the lie they've told themselves to stay sane. That there's us and them. The code isn't a "Universal Morality". If anything it's the opposite. A shield that lets hunters do what needs to be done, that their actual morality threatens to slowly weather away.
                  Fine, don't call it "universal morality" if you wish. But it's still problematic because there is still this basic idea all Hunters think the same and follow that same "lie they've told themselves" as you said, even though as mentioned several times before, it makes no sense they would all reason like this, given their diversity when it comes to motivations and methods. The Lucifuge know from day one that monsters are people too, because they see themselves as part of these monsters; that's a major part of their conspiracy: they are more forgiving toward monsters because their own existence proves them being a monsters doesn't prevent you from being a person with the choice to do good or evil. So unless you intend to have them start out at low Integrity, they would require an entirely different system.

                  Moreover, feel free to correct me on this point if I am wrong, but isn't having a low Integrity considered a disadvantage in this game? I will admit I am not sure on that particular point, but it sure as hell is crippling to have a low Humanity in Vampires, a low Clarity in Changeling 2E or an unbalanced Harmony in Werewolf. So I assume having low Integrity comes with huge drawbacks as well. Meaning this Code would encourage you to act like a fanatic who doesn't see monsters as people, since doing otherwise would cause you drawbacks.
                  Last edited by Darinas; 10-30-2017, 09:03 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Darinas View Post

                    Raven, I agree with most of your points, but out of curiosity: why do you include the Long Night here? Aren't they a "MONSTERS ARE ALL DEMONS AND MUST DIE!" Kind of compact? Or did I get their section completely wrong?
                    At the very least, they are semi-nice to Changelings and Mages so long as they renounce all their supernatural powers and become their definition of a "good Christian"


                    A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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                    • #11
                      I like the idea of the scaling Social penalties based on the degree to which one hunter's Code differs from another, but I think the penalty should go both ways. I also think the penalties should only come up if the hunters have actually come into conflict over said points. "We need to help as many people as we can" seems like a point two hunters could agree upon, up until the moment that Hunter A realizes that Hunter B considers changelings to be people instead of reserving the term for humans alone.

                      As the Code stands now, I see several problems that would be encountered in my games. Namely, one of the major recurring themes in my games is that for all the power possessed by supernatural creatures, the greatest monsters are often human. As written, it seems like a vampire or Beast that preys upon child abusers (so that fulfilling their needs would make the world a better place) would still need to be the enemy of a hunter trying to protect their neighborhood. To keep from risking their Integrity, they'd need to save the abuser. "Yeah, I saved you. You may have raped and murdered my daughter's best friend, but that's a police matter. Nobody, not even you, deserves to die at the fangs of some filthy vampire." That seems to be the "stable" hunter response. "Yeah, you can have that one, but the second you lay a fang on an innocent I'll see to it that you're kissing sunshine," on the other hand, is the response of a hunter that's flirting with becoming a slasher.

                      Another scenario: Hunter B's best friend escapes from Arcadia, and pours out the whole ordeal over a couple drinks. Hunter B gives a shoulder to cry on, and promises that he's not alone anymore. He even helps his changeling buddy to deal with that pesky Huntsman that just won't leave him alone. Then one day, he comes across another hunter that's beaten his changeling buddy to within an inch of his life. If his buddy manages to turn things around and takes out the guy, Hunter B will suffer a breaking point because a supernatural creature that he refused to harm ended up hurting someone. Perhaps I misunderstood, but it didn't sound like self defense was a valid justification.

                      That is really where my main issue comes in. It's "Us vs Them", where almost universally "Us" means "Humans" and "Them" means "Anything with supernatural powers that don't come from a hunter Endowment." The most vile and despicable human with dreams of becoming the next Hitler still has more inherent worth than the werewolf that spends her every spare moment volunteering at the soup kitchen or the Sin-Eater that ensures everyone's last words reach their families. A veteran hunter with a "Kill them all, let God sort them out," mentality can have hundreds of kills under his belt, but as long as he's cautious enough to avoid accidental human collateral damage, he's still less likely to snap and start slashing up everyone than a hunter with a "Every life is sacred, even the monsters, so I better judge each on its own merits" mentality.

                      I know those are some extreme examples, but I think that they get my point across. When I've used Hunter, it's often a conflict about when one should act against a monster and when they shouldn't. They need to figure out who the real enemies are, and act accordingly. As written, it seems like "Make sure you have the right weapon, make sure you have no witnesses, make sure it's really dead, make sure you leave no evidence," is always a safe approach to the Vigil, at least as far as Integrity is concerned. If you want to maintain a high Integrity on the Vigil, be a speciesist bastard and sentence everything touched by the supernatural to death regardless of actions or context. Except for those Lucifuge and Cheiron agents. They're freaks, too, but they're our freaks so they get a pass.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                        No, it looks like a coping mechanism. Integrity 7+ talks about drawing "a clear line between themselves and the monsters they despise" but we all know that line doesn't really exist.

                        Monsters have families, jobs, and all that. They're people, just like anyone else. Falling integrity happens in part when hunters realise this. It blurs the line. A low integrity hunter can totally protect an innocent psychic from a mundane killer. And they should. But at higher integrity this violates the lie they've told themselves to stay sane. That there's us and them. The code isn't a "Universal Morality". If anything it's the opposite. A shield that lets hunters do what needs to be done, that their actual morality threatens to slowly weather away.

                        Morality: Conformity to the rules of right(/moral/virtuous) conduct. The Code is a Rules of Conduct for Hunter - how should a Hunter behave when confronted with monsters or the supernatural. It currently applies to all Hunters, which makes it Universal.

                        Now, judging by modern sensibilities, it is a bad moral system (namely, it is deemed morally inferior), but it is a moral system that universally applies to Hunters.

                        A coping mechanism would be Integrity and customizing Breaking Points to remove triggers.
                        Last edited by Vent0; 10-30-2017, 09:23 AM.


                        Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                        Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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                        • #13
                          Except it's not. If you see a monster as harmless and let it go nothing happens, as long as you're right.

                          A low integrity hunter isn't necessarily immoral. Obsessed maybe, Jaded, perhaps. Probably a little insane. But Insanity is not a moral failing, nor is it caused by them. That's the very notion Integrity was created to dispel.

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                          • #14
                            Except it's not. If you see a monster as harmless and let it go nothing happens, as long as you're right.
                            What about the self-defense example with the changeling and hunter example above? Or the vampire/beast hunting serial killer one? In both cases the monster hurt humans. Does THAT trigger Breaking points despite the fact the humans were clearly the one in the wrong?

                            A low integrity hunter isn't necessarily immoral. Obsessed maybe, Jaded, perhaps. Probably a little insane. But Insanity is not a moral failing, nor is it caused by them. That's the very notion Integrity was created to dispel.
                            Soooooo a hunter who sees monsters as mattering less than humans and sees nothing wrong with not treating them like persons as he takes them down will easily be able to maintain a high Integrity (a trait meant to represent mental health, mind you), while one who carefully checks if the supernaturals he meets actually are evil, treat them like persons rather than judging them on their monstruosity and defend them against humans who clearly are the real monsters will either be "obsessed", "jaded", or "a little insane" (and is somehow closer to become a slasher than case number 1). Am I the only one who feels this is a bit backward?
                            Last edited by Darinas; 10-30-2017, 11:20 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Darinas View Post

                              What about the self-defense example with the changeling and hunter example above? Or the vampire/beast hunting serial killer one? In both cases the monster hurt humans. Does THAT trigger Breaking points despite the fact the humans were clearly the one in the wrong?
                              Well, yeah. Your confidence in the code would be shaken. You get breaking points for things other than breaking the rules of the code, you know. Getting tortured is one too.

                              Originally posted by Darinas View Post
                              Soooooo a hunter who sees monsters as mattering less than humans and sees nothing wrong with not treating them like persons as he takes them down will easily be able to maintain a high Integrity (a trait meant to represent mental health, mind you), while one who carefully checks if the supernaturals he meets actually are evil, treat them like persons rather than judging them on their monstruosity and defend them against humans who clearly are the real monsters will either be "obsessed", "jaded", or "a little insane" (and is somehow closer to become a slasher than case number 1). Am I the only one who feels this is a bit backward?
                              A hunter stares into the abyss. For them, high integrity is about compartmentalising. Separating the hunt form their everyday life. If you go empathising with the monsters then of course that's gonna make the two sides blur together.

                              I mean look at how you phrased it. High integrity is just "Bam, done, what's for lunch?" whereas the other guy meticulously goes around background checking, probably staking them out or poking their nose in weird cults. Who's putting in more effort there? Whose sanity is more likely to crack?

                              It looks backward form a distance, but get up close, think about what it involves and suddenly it makes sense. Just like with non-hunters, high integrity is born of looking at the shadows and not thinking too hard about it.

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