Hunter Merits

Favored Weapon (••)
Any given monster may not even notice a hunter’s attempt to stab, slice or club it, but having a weapon to grip when stalking the enemy in a dark place does provide a measure of comfort. You character has a particular handheld melee weapon or firearm that’s served him well in the past, and as long as it’s on his person or within reach and easily accessible, he gains a +2 to
Breaking Point rolls. The bonus only applies to one specific weapon, and it must be one he’s used in combat while upholding the Vigil. If the weapon is lost or destroyed, or you want to switch the effect to a different weapon, you must purchase the Merit again to gain its benefits (and it necessitates carrying the subsequent Favored Weapon for at least one story before the Merit kicks in). A character can only have one Favored Weapon at a time.

Safehouse (• to •••••)
The hunter has a place of his own where monsters cannot find him. A safehouse might be the headquarters for a cell, or it might be a personal hideaway for an individual. Hunters often rig a safehouse with traps, hidden weapons, security systems and escape routes, because as impregnable as it might be, monsters are persistent and clever. They’ll probably find the way in, and the best a hunter can do is make it hard on them.
A safehouse might be a storage shed that the hunter rents out and uses as a weapons locker, an apartment that is rigged to set the building on fire if he flicks a switch, or a mansion belonging to his organization that is woefully lacking in security. In game terms, dots spent on the Safehouse Merit need to be distributed among four categories: Size, Cache, Secrecy
and Traps. Thus, the storage shed might have no dots of Size or Traps, but several of Secrecy. The apartment doesn’t hold much in the way of Cache (as the owner is afraid to leave
anything there), but has a high Traps rating. The mansion has five dots in Size and probably a few in Traps and/or Cache, but none in Secrecy.

Safehouse Size
Perhaps the simplest defining characteristic, governing the amount of raw space the safehouse encompasses.

zero dotsBarely any space; only a pair of characters can fit inside comfortably.
A studio apartment; one to two rooms.
••A large apartment or small family home; three to four rooms.
•••A warehouse, church or large home; five to eight rooms, or large enclosure.
••••A mansion or very large home; equivalent to nine to 15 rooms
•••••A sprawling estate, interconnected tunnel network; countless rooms or chambers.

Safehouse Cache
A lot of space is good for a very large cell, or for a cell that chooses to live in its safehouse, but it can also make the inhabitants paranoid. After all, if there are 10 rooms in the place, who knows what’s in the other nine at any given time? Hunters find that having some weapons at their fi ngertips lessens this paranoia somewhat (or it might make it worse, because what if the monsters find the stash?).
Each dot allocated to Safehouse Cache translates to one cache. A cache can hold five Size points worth of equipment, so while one might be a weapons locker with two shotguns and a pistol (and a few boxes of ammo for each, which is negligible as far as Size goes), another might hold surveillance equipment (a set of wire taps, binoculars, night-sight goggles and maybe a pistol for good measure). Chapter Six of the World of Darkness Rulebook has some examples of equipment and weapons that might be useful, and players should work with the Storyteller to figure out what might fit in a cache. It is possible, too, to combine two or more dots of Cache into one space, for a total Size of 10 or more.
Equipment doesn’t have to be stored in a cache, of course — a large safehouse can have entire rooms devoted to storage. Equipment that is stored in a cache, however, is effectively hidden from anything but a devoted (or supernatural) search. Mundane interlopers receive a -5 modifi er to any attempt to find a cache (on a dramatic failure, the searcher finds and triggers a trap, instead, if the safehouse has any). If the players wish, this modifier can instead apply to attempts to access the Cache. The gun safe might be in plain view, but it’s not at all easy to crack open without the proper combination.

Safehouse Secrecy
One of the biggest advantages a hunter can enjoy is, ironically, one that his prey tries to cultivate as well: anonymity. If the monsters don’t know where to find the hunters, they have a harder time killing them. Dots in Safehouse Secrecy indicate how far removed from the hunters the safehouse is, from a legal (and paper trail) standpoint. These dots impose a negative penalty on any attempt to find the hunter through the property, or vice versa. The descriptions of the different dot ratings below are just examples; it’s up to the player to decide what the Secrecy represents.

zero dots The hunter rented or bought the place using his real name, credit card or bank account.
The hunter went through an intermediary, but cosigned a loan at some point.
•• Some effort toward concealment; an assumed name or paying in cash.
••• Considerable difficulty in tracing the property — the hunter might just be squatting.
•••• The hunter never goes back to the place if he doesn’t have to, never gets there by the same route, and his real name never appears on any of the documentation.
••••• The property has a real owner who lives there full time, is aware of his rights and, if necessary, can show cops around the place while casually denying that he’s ever seen the hunter before.

Safehouse Traps
Sooner or later, a safehouse is going to be compromised. Hunters know it, even if they don’t want to admit it. That’s why many of them build traps into their safehouses, in hopes they can kill a supernatural intruder — or at least deter him long enough to get away. A trap can take a myriad of forms. Opening a door to a promising-looking room reveals a shotgun aimed at chest level, which promptly fires. Walking up the stairs on the left side is safe, but on the right side, they’re rigged to collapse. Looking behind a painting causes an ax to swing down from the ceiling, just about at head level. A trap can also be designed to destroy part (or all) of the safehouse — at the flick of a switch, the place goes up in flames, collapses or explodes (see sidebar for what this means in terms of the Merit).
A trap can either inflict damage equal to the dots allocated to it to a single target, or can inflict less damage to a large area. Once a trap is tripped (provided it doesn’t destroy the place), any hunter who contributed dots to the safehouse can reset it with minimal work. This
is what differentiates traps represented by this Merit from others that the characters might build themselves during the course of the chronicle; no rolls or special effort are required to reset a Safehouse Trap. Again, though, if the trap is designed to destroy large sections of the safehouse, that damage can’t be repaired without significant effort and expense, if at all. Any trap that deals damage to the Safehouse Size can be rigged to go off after a short delay, giving the hunters time to flee.

x The hunters haven’t bothered setting traps. Perhaps they’re afraid of setting them off themselves.
A trap that infl icts one point of lethal damage to a target (concealed knife, caltrops) or three points of bashing damage to a small area (electrifi ed fl oor, mild poison gas).
•• A trap that inflicts two points of lethal damage to a target (spring-loaded knife, concealed pistol trap) or inflicts six bashing damage to a small area (falling sandbags, fire-hose trap), or a trap that incorporates fire and thus has a chance of igniting targets and the house (see p. 180 of the World of Darkness Rulebook).
••• A trap that infl icts three points of lethal damage to a target (falling ax, poisoned needle on a doorknob) or eight bashing damage to an area (collapsing staircase), or a trap that damages a portion of the safehouse, reducing its Size by one (explosives; anyone caught in the blast takes two lethal damage).
•••• A trap that infl icts four lethal damage to a target (shotgun trap, pit with spikes) or 10 bashing damage/two lethal damage to an area (concussion grenade trap, deadfall trap), or a trap that reduces the Safehouse Size by one to three dots (anyone caught in the area suffers three points of lethal damage).
••••• A trap that infl icts fi ve points of lethal damage to a target (spring-loaded sharpened stake, blowtorch trap) or 12 bashing damage/three lethal damage to an area (bouncing Betty, acid spray), or a trap that completely destroys the safehouse, no matter how large (anyone caught inside suffers four points of lethal damage).

A note on vulnerabilities: some creatures, such as vampires, suffer aggravated damage from fi re. Others have more specialized weaknesses, and hunters might well guess at them or learn them over the course of the chronicle. The Safehouse Traps system doesn’t make capitalizing on these weaknesses a special case — working silver bullets into a gun trap doesn’t put the dot rating up. This is because the creatures get a chance to notice the traps anyway (see below), and because a hunter can’t be sure that a) werewolves really are vulnerable to silver, or if that’s just a story and b) werewolves are going to attack the safehouse, rather than, say, vampires, who don’t care a bit about silver.
Any intruder receives a Wits + Composure roll to notice a trap before it activates:

Roll Results

Dramatic Failure: The intruder activates the trap and suffers all relevant damage. In addition, roll (the rating of the trap in question + 2) and apply any successes as additional damage (type as appropriate to the trap).

Failure: The intruder activates the trap and suffers all relevant damage.

Success: The character notices the trap and can try to disarm it (Wits + Crafts minus the dots allocated to that trap, failure sets off the trap, dramatic failure doubles the damage) or just leave it be.

Exceptional Success: The intruder notices the trap and can attempt to disarm it (Wits + Crafts, no penalty for the trap rating).

Each aspect of the Safehouse Merit has a limit of 5. In other words, Safehouse Size, Safehouse Cache, Safehouse Secrecy and Safehouse Traps may not rise above 5 (to a maximum of 20 points spent on this Merit). The combined pool of points is used to determine the cost in experience points for raising the Safehouse Merit during play.

The Safehouse Merit may be shared among characters in a cell. The cell may have built the place from the ground up, or a single hunter might have found or purchased it and improved as he met the other characters.

Torture Suite (• to •••)
Interrogation, torture, brainwashing, deprogramming: all gruesome and disturbing acts that require, among other things, a safe place from prying eyes. Dots in this Merit represent just such a space, preferably one the hunter has control of, like a storage unit for which she is the primary key-holder or a secluded cabin she owns. This can be a space she doesn’t own (police interrogation room, boiler room at the elementary school where she works as janitor, a secret room in the basement of her apartment building), but still must be one she controls semi-regularly for the Merit’s effects to apply.
Dots in this Merit are unrelated to Size, but are instead related to the space’s intimidation factor: a spare room in a small apartment isn’t that foreboding, but a dark room with a bare bulb next to a hissing heater and a wall full of sharp implements might just do the trick. For each dot purchased in this Merit, the hunter gains +1 to appropriate Intimidation-based Interrogation rolls (including torture, brainwashing or deprogramming events). Note that a Torture Suite can be a part of a hunter’s safehouse, though it doesn’t need to be.

Hunter Merits

Sins of the Father MorganWilliams