Characters in Hunter: the Vigil face all manner of horrific supernatural baddies, but one group of foes presents a far greater threat than all the rest – vampires. The new Night Stalkers supplement allows storytellers to pit hunters against the sprawling, ancient society of evil blood suckers.
Night Stalkers differs from other White Wolf books that we’ve reviewed recently in that it has a very specific mechanical focus: incorporate detailed vampires and vampire groups into a Hunter campaign. As such, it has more “rules crunch” than some other sourcebooks. That’s certainly not to say that the dramatic details are not fleshed out. You’ll find short stories and in-depth studies of vampire cults alongside the new rules.
In many ways, this book is sort of a crossover that bridges the worlds of Hunter with the world of Vampire: the Requiem. The introduction suggests a few ways to use Night Stalkers in combination with the main Vampire book. The first thing I thought of was how cool it would be to run two separate groups of players, one portraying a group of vampires, the other a group of hunters. Their actions and schemes would intertwine, collide and eventually result in a direct confrontation. It would be an ambitious piece of RPG fun, but could be amazing if the storyteller could pull it off. This book didn’t offer any suggestions on how to run something like this, but clever storytellers no doubt would prefer to devise their own methods.
Hunters who run into Night Stalkers won’t just find themselves facing a random series of nasty vampires. They’ll be confronted with a full range of vampire conspiracies, ancient cults, groups and subgroups, insanity inducing evil and other terrors. The vampires are given a host of supernatural powers that makes you start to feel sorry for the hunters. Not that the hunters are defenseless – they’ve got networks and weapons of their own. Still, many of their stories seem to end in tragedy.
Major bonus point are awarded for the creepy tale of the Malaysian Penanggal, a vampire with a detachable head that floats around trailing lungs, heart and prehensile intestines. Which brings me to my final point – this is not a book for young gamers. It contains some foul language, obviously dark themes, and the excellent artwork depicts gore and partial nudity (female vampires are apparently fairly indifferent to the concept of “shirts”).