The end of Wraith was tied up with an event called the Year of the Reckoning, which had apocalyptic events take place in the metaplot of several of the games. This led up to something not before: a new core game! Apart from the historical games, Kindred of the East had been released at this point, but it was a spinoff of Vampire and not quite on a level with the others. Hunter would stand up to take Wraith’s place in the Core Five.
It occupies an unusual position relative to the rest of the WoD at the time. The characters are normal people who are given powers by mysterious forces to battle the various monsters that threaten humanity. (They’re a new phenomenon, not an expansion of groups that had appeared in previous works such as Hunters Hunted.) As such, the other games are essentially monster books for HtR. However, in order to cut down on metagaming and challenge the players, they’re redefined through the filter of the limited information the hunters possess rather than using those games’ mechanics directly. This made HtR a good introductory game, since it had the least lore to learn and out-of-character knowledge could be misleading.
Contrariwise, hunters were referred to in the other games but weren’t introduced as a major new element for the characters to deal with. This may have been due to their continued protests that the games weren’t designed to cross over, or the assumption that they would anyway and the ST could just use the Hunter rules. Apart from one VtR adventure, I can’t think of many supplements where the Imbued play much of a role beyond being listed among the dangers of the modern world.
The overall effect of this was to leave HtR and its players somewhat isolated from the rest of the WoD community. This was heightened by Hunter having its own in-character website, some of which is still there if you dig.
I don’t know if there’s a direct connection between these facts, but HtR isn’t super-hard to collect. There are a few more expensive sourcebooks, though, as we’ll see.
Core rulebook: There’s only one, the original hardcover. It’s not too hard to find; it’s running a bit high on Amazon right now, but should be available between $10-20.
Core sourcebooks: There are a Players Guide, a Storytellers Handbook and a Storytellers Companion that came with the ST screen. Anyone wanting to run the game will want the ST books, since the core rulebook doesn’t have much actual information on running the enemies, and it’s easier to use the stripped-down Hunter versions than learn all the rules from the originals. The Storytellers Handbook is currently running around $20 on Amazon, though it’s probably not too hard to find it for less with patience. A copy of the Companion in the shrinkwrap isn’t all that hard to find as these things go.
Splatbooks: These are called “Hunter Books” rather than “Creed Books”, which is probably clearer. There are nine of these. Two of them, Hermit and Wayward, aren’t covered in the original book but appear in one of the supplements. (Waywards are also widely regarded as a bad idea.) Most of these run under $10. Wayward is currently running $30 on Amazon, but I also found a copy that sold on eBay for $5, so it’s probably just best to be patient.
Other sourcebooks: There were a series of books detailing the various types of enemies. The last two, Spellbound (mages) and The Infernal (demons), hit the end-of-cWoD rarity point and run about $30, while the others are under $10.
The other miscellaneous sourcebooks run from $15 down to $5 or less. This includes the in-character book, Apocrypha. Urban Legends is one that runs at the high end.
Merchandising: White Wolf produced very little swag for HtR. The dice are fiery orange with black numbers, in an orange bag with a hunter sign symbol in white, and are super-rare. I haven’t been able to find evidence of a pin online, and don’t have my catalog on hand to double-check.
There were six novels in the Predator & Prey novel series and one short story anthology.
The biggest HtR tie-in, and the reason a lot of people have heard of the game who have never played a tabletop RPG, are the three console games, variously released for Xbox, PS2 and GameCube. These are pretty common on eBay. For the insane completist, there are also strategy guides to the console games.
Next time I’ll cover the remaining game lines, Mummy and Demon, before moving on to the generic WoD, Mind’s Eye Theatre and assorted promotional materials. Until then, the Woggle-Bug says “I have never intentionally cut a power line in my life!”