Standing Vigil: Looking Back At Hunter

Hunter: The Vigil

Hey, holy shitbird, look at that. Hunter: The Vigil is up for some ENnies this year, which tickles my nuts, for reals.

Birthing Hunter into this world — the womb stretched to accommodate gun sights, angry metal bees, the fires of Hell, and dentistry tools — was never painful. Sure, it was a hell-basket’s worth of work, but that work constituted a major labor of love for me. And part of the reason it was never painful was the team involved with the product line (see below).

I’d always wanted to attack a re-do of the hunter game idea, to take what was put forth in Reckoning (a game I love, all you haters) and give it a new spin. When given the chance to do so with a big fat proposal put forth by Justin Achilli and Rich Thomas, I was hecka-hungry to get my teeth around it.

Plus, it had a weird synchronicty that my father was a hunter (er, of deer and groundhog and other mammal, not so much the “vampire” and “zombie” — though, with him, you never know), and the fact that I got to do a book that was ostensibly about hunting the biggest, baddest prey of all was exciting.

I remember telling him about it (I’d gotten the developer’s gig that summer).

“You’re doing a book about hunting?” he asked.

“Well, not exactly,” I said. “It’s a book about hunting monsters.”

“Still a book about hunting,” he said, as if that was that. He seemed excited, and wanted to see it.

Of course, Dad went and died in December, so he never got to see the book, but hopefully he’s out there in his Happy Hunting Ground, blowing the guts out of groundhogs and maybe flipping through a copy of Hunter: The Vigil between gunshots.

That was the hardest part about getting the book over the finish line, which is really why I need to sit and thank everybody involved with that corebook, because without the backbone of writers and other participants, I might’ve Gone Moonbat.

Thanks to Russell Bailey, awesome dude and Gen-Con roomslice; my novel-writin’ buddy Aaron Dembski-Bowden; Rockin’ Rick Chillot; Alex Greene; the Rose-Bride, Jess Hartley; my Ideal Reader Marty Henley; the Man-with-the-Memory-Sticks, Wood Ingham; Malevolent Mike Lee; Black Hat Matt McFarland; Travis “Goddamn Bees” Stout; and Stew, er, Steve Wilson, American Football Astronaut Hero. Also thanks to Rich Thomas, Justin Achilli, Ethan Skemp, and Mike Chaney.

And for all you kids who helped rock the rest of the Hunter line — Malcolm Sheppard, John Newman, Stephen Di Pesa, David Hill, Filamena Young, Eddy Webb, Jason Bolte, and anybody else I’m accidentally missing because I have a brain like a goddamn sieve — thanks, thanks, a million times, thanks.

Thanks to the playtesters.

Thanks to the fans.

Big ups to God and the Baby Jesus, and since I like to hedge my bets, a fat sack of thanks to the Devil, with whom I could not have persevered.

The ENnie Noms I’d like to call out that are Hunter-related:

  • Hunter: The Vigil (Best Rules, Best Supplement, Product of the Motherfuckin’ Year)
  • Hunter: Horror Recognition Guide (Best Writing, Best Aid or Accessory)
  • Hunter: Deadly Prey (Best Regalia)
  • Collection of Horrors: Razorkids (Best Electronic Book)
  • Hunter Quickstart: The Hunt (Best Free Product)


  • Well done, sir. It’s a killer selection of books that you put together, and they’re all rightfully nominated. You did great work.

    At first, I was jealous that you got to create a World of Darkness or Storytelling game — which I’d wanted to do for ten years, and never got to do myself — but the truth is that I’m just jealous you did such great work on it. You all made something special and should all be proud. Here’s to you and yours.

  • Everything is seconded.

    Hunter’s a great piece of work.

    I can say that it far exceeded my expectations. As I think I told you, I wasn’t a big fan of Reckoning, and I couldn’t really see why Vigil would be worth more than just a supplement to WoD. My other big concern was that it wouldn’t give me new ideas for how to use the same old monsters.

    Those were all dispelled. It’s a wonderful game line all around, and I’m proud to have been able to contribute to it.

    • It’s more tempting to. I’m actively thinking about it. Still not sure on logistics, though. Don’t really feel great about paying for a flight, which means a long-ass drive, which means a long-ass drive to a place where I don’t have… well, a roof over my head, yet.

      So, the idea is growing. But not into a huge thing yet.

    • Thank you, sir. I’m sure you crazy writerheads had your fair share of frustration with me, but hopefully it all came out right in the end.

      With nominations on the table, I guess maybe it did.

  • You should consider splitting a room with Jess Hartley.

    Shame you missed the Southwest deal last week. Mena and I just got plane tickets for 60$ each.

    And yes, you were a pleasure to work for. You taught me a lot with very few words. Although it wasn’t Hunter. Go figure.

    • From what I hear, no rooms are available. It’s no big thing — I’d love to go, but won’t cry if I miss it.

      I’m glad you thought I was a pleasure to work for, though I’d certainly believe that I was not a pleasure. 🙂

      I do aim to teach people a little bit when developing — not as if my words are mighty or coming from on-high, but more that my words are coming from similar space, from a place where I’ve done things that were corrected by wiser people, so I’m just passing their wisdom down.

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