Teamwork and Tactics [Hunter: The Vigil]

Hunter: The Vigil

Via Monica Valentinelli, our Hunter developer:

Today’s preview re-introduces Tactics which were found in Hunter: The Vigil 2nd Edition on pages 216-228. This section is a reflection of how hunters can work together to accomplish goals, while emphasizing the “tool kit” mentality Hunter is known for.  

Teamwork and Tactics

A living nightmare of teeth and whirling shadows lunges for a lone hunter when they least expect it. Without backup, a solitary hunter is vulnerable and often finds themselves in mortal danger. When the shit hits the fan, hunters must find a way to uphold the Vigil. When they don’t, they’re in danger of falling into despair, taking dangerous risks, or becoming so corrupted they’re no better than the monsters themselves. Even hunters who hate each other grudgingly acknowledge they must set aside their differences when it matters. Otherwise, they’re easy prey for the darkness.

Hunters have two ways to work together. The first is Teamwork: one person performs a single action, like breaking down a door or researching the Beast of Bray Road, and the others help. The second is with Tactics. A Tactic is a specialized group action that is usually more complex than a single action. Tactics allow participants to roll dice in pursuit of a specific, desired outcome.

Teamwork

When two or more hunters wish to help unravel a clue, break into a safe, or pick a lock, one person takes the lead. That hunter is the primary actor, and hunters who wish to help are called secondary actors. Unlike Tactics, player-characters do not have to be hunters to participate.

To use Teamwork, the following steps must occur in order:

  • Primary actor assembles their dice pool.
  • Secondary actors assemble their dice pools to match the primary actor’s.
  • Secondary actors roll dice. The outcome helps (or hurts) the primary actor’s results.
  • Primary actor rolls their dice pool.
  • Primary actor’s roll results are calculated as normal. Secondary actors’ roll results are then added or subtracted.

The primary actor’s roll results are as normal for the action the group undertakes, except that hunters always win ties on contested actions when they use teamwork. While there are no prerequisites for Teamwork, remember Skills are not interchangeable. The Skills in the roll must match for all participants; the primary actor sets which Skills they want to use.

Secondary Actor Roll Results

Success: +1 die to the primary actor’s roll for each success earned, cumulative for each secondary actor’s success.

Exceptional Success: As success.

Failure: Primary actor receives no bonus dice.

Dramatic Failure: -4 dice to the primary actor’s roll, cumulative for each secondary actor’s dramatic failure. Primary actor must continue.

Unlike Tactics, Teamwork rolls may be completed with a minimum of two hunters. The recommended maximum is five, but may be adjusted at the Storyteller’s discretion. More doesn’t always mean ‘better”; the more hunters involved in the roll, the greater the chance for failure.

To accommodate more players than the roll requires, the Storyteller may increase the roll’s difficulty, levy a -1 or -2 penalty, or thematically scale the outcome to reflect the number of participants. Sure, the lock was picked, but the hunters were so successful it’s now broken. Yes, they uncovered where the Jersey Devil was hiding, but now every other hunter knows that, too.

Tactics

Tactics are self-contained group activities that, if successful, incur a specific complex result. They allow hunters to accomplish larger-scale goals using different dice pools by leaning on each other’s strengths. The primary actor in a Tactic is the lead, or player who will roll their dice last, and the secondary actor include participating players. Unlike Teamwork, the secondary actors do not have to match their dice pools to the primary actor’s.

Unlike Teamwork, each Tactic is unique. Some have prerequisites that shape what dice players roll and what the outcome might be. Others can only be used for specific situations or may fail, even when successful, depending on the monster. In general, however, the actions proceed as follows:

  • Primary actor risks a Willpower point for their roll’s outcome.
  • Primary actor assembles their dice pool.
  • Secondary actors assemble their dice pools. They do not need to match the Primary actor’s.
  • Secondary actors roll dice and may risk or use Willpower as normal. The outcome helps (or hurts) the primary actor’s results.
  • Primary actor rolls their dice pool.
  • Primary actor’s roll results are calculated as normal. Secondary actors’ roll results are then added or subtracted, and success (or failure) is determined.

Any hunter may choose to participate in any Tactic, but only hunters can. Many Tactics are designed for use in desperate or otherwise impossible situations to save the day. A cell tracked a venom-spitting humanoid back to its lair and wants to corner the monster. A group found a nest slimy, oozing eggs and plans to burn them. Tactics allow hunters to face the darkness because they’re putting their faith in a leader and upholding the Code together.

[[Sidebar]]

Teamwork Vs. Tactics

Teamwork draws on similarities between hunters, while Tactics allow any hunter to participate. While Tactics do not necessarily involve a monster, in many cases they will–unlike Teamwork. Tactics also exist as a tool to do something one hunter could not typically accomplish by themselves, whereas Teamwork increases the chance for a single action’s success.

Storytellers should note that increasing threat levels may incur a greater desire for team-based actions, and Tactics are a great way of facilitating a possible win.

[[End Sidebar]]

The frequency Tactics are used and the minimum/maximum number of players is at the Storyteller’s discretion to reflect the needs of their chronicle and group. It is strongly recommended cells may employ one Tactic once per day or session without penalty. The maximum number of participants for any Tactic is five hunters; the recommended minimum is three, but may be adjusted on a case-by-case basis. This figure reflects both the complex nature of the Tactic’s desired outcome, and the planning/participation involved to complete the action.

Tactics Overview

Risking Willpower: To perform a Tactic, the primary actor must risk a Willpower point (p. XX) on its outcome, and they do so before anyone makes any rolls. Once the Tactic has begun, the group must follow it through to its end, even if it goes horribly awry in the middle. Enacting the Tactic takes up both benefits of risking Willpower for the primary actor. All usual roll results for risking Willpower apply. Secondary actors may risk Willpower normally on their rolls if they wish.

Requirements: Some Tactics have basic requirements the participants must meet to perform without penalty, such as a minimum number of dots in a particular Skill or Merit, or a type of Specialty. A participant without these requirements suffers a -1for each dot or Specialty that falls short, in addition to suffering from any untrained penalties, on their roll.

In some cases, the requirements include a required action or presence of a circumstance, such as “Target must be injured” or “During an investigation for Clues.”

Action: Each Tactic specifies the type of action it uses; some Tactics may give options.

Dice Pools: Each Tactic lists its own dice pools for the primary and secondary actors, with a note in parentheses to indicate which roll goes with which action. Numbers in the parentheses after a listed pool for secondary actors denote the minimum and maximum number of participants for that pool. For instance, Dexterity + Firearms (1/2) means that one participant must use Firearms for the Tactic to work, but more than two using Firearms won’t contribute any dice to the primary actor’s roll.

Occasionally, an optional dice pool is included for secondary actors whose successes don’t contribute dice to the primary actor’s pool; instead, they grant the Tactic some other benefit, noted under the roll results. These optional pools include (ND) in parentheses after the listed roll, meaning “no dice.”

Primary Actor Roll Results: The roll results given for each Tactic generally affect the primary actor only. Secondary actors abide by the usual roll results for teamwork, given above, unless otherwise noted.

Initiative: If a Tactic takes place during an action scene, all participants must delay their actions to the lowest Initiative among them so they can all act at the same time.

Right Place, Right Time: Tactics aren’t supernatural powers and don’t automatically function if the situation wouldn’t normally allow it. For instance, Controlled Immolation doesn’t work if the target is immune to fire, or if the environment becomes soaked in gasoline, and the primary actor requires a method to set the fire in the first place. Hunters work to set up situations that make their best options viable.

If the characters enact a Tactic and discover through doing so that it was never possible to begin with — e.g. they didn’t know the monster was immune to fire or the place was soaked with gasoline until after they used Controlled Immolation — the Tactic automatically fails.

Rote Actions: No Tactic roll can become a rote action, even if an effect would normally make it so, such as the Professional Training Merit (p. XX). Tactics are inherently dangerous, and thus are never routine.

Controlled Immolation

Fire is a staple weapon in a hunter’s arsenal. It is a primal force that lights, warms, purifies, and destroys with primal abandon — the bane of many creatures that otherwise defy harm. Unfortunately, fire burns hunters, victims, and their gear, too. Controlling a blaze to target a monster without causing an accident requires bold and decisive action.

The primary actor sets the monster on fire and keeps it burning. Some secondary actors ensure it doesn’t escape, while others keep the flames from spreading to other flammable objects (and people) in the area.

Action: Instant and contested

Dice Pools: Primary: Stamina + Firearms or Athletics vs. Stamina + Athletics + Potency/Rank. Secondary: Wits + Weaponry or Brawl (contain the monster, 1/4); Wits + Survival or Science (contain the blaze, 1/5)

Roll Results

Success: Target is set on fire at the bonfire level, with torch-level intensity (see p. XX), and suffers the Blinded Tilt (p. XX). The flames don’t spread beyond the target, and the target cannot put them out, no matter what it does. The hunters may continue to make the contested teamwork roll each turn to keep the Tactic going; as soon as the primary actor fails a roll or anyone decides to stop, the Tactic ends and the fire goes out immediately.

Exceptional Success: The monster remains on fire even after the hunters end the Tactic and must douse the flames in usual fashion.

Failure: The monster is not set on fire, and all flammable objects in the immediate vicinity combust instead, giving the area the Inferno Tilt (p. XX).

Corral

Forcing giant, albino alligators to steer clear from snatching New Yorkers or head straight for a trap is no mean feat. Whether they’re targeting an unusual cryptid or not, hunters must figure out what the monster fears to temporarily control their movement.

The primary actor threatens the monster, causing it to move in a specific direction at its full Speed. Some secondary actors ensure the monster has nowhere to hide while others herd it toward a dead-end or trap.

Action: Instant and contested

Dice Pools: Primary: Strength or Manipulation + Intimidation vs. Composure + Empathy + Potency/Rank. Secondary: Wits + Composure (keeping target in sight, 1/5); Manipulation + Subterfuge or Survival (herding target, 1/3)

Roll Results

Success: Target goes where the hunters wish. If it takes more than a turn to get there, the hunters must continue to make the contested teamwork roll each turn to keep the Tactic going until either the target arrives, the primary actor fails a roll, or anyone decides to stop. If the target arrives, the players may declare that something reasonably likely happens when it gets there, such as the monster opens a particular door or loses line of sight to someone in another room.

Exceptional Success: The hunters surround the monster upon arrival, and may choose one character to take an immediate instant action regardless of Initiative.

Failure: The hunters lose track of the monster or it catches wind of the ruse. Either way, it may take a turn immediately, regardless of Initiative, even if it has already taken one before Initiative resets.

 

  9 comments for “Teamwork and Tactics [Hunter: The Vigil]

  1. John C. M.
    September 25, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    I really like the distinction between the two Ts. Makes sure tactics are not overused by groups

  2. LordOfIron
    September 25, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Love it, Love it, Love it. Are these two tactics full write-ups or have they been shortened a bit? I only ask as they have no requirements attached.

    Also do Tactics cost experiences still?

    • September 26, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Per the enclosed text, Tactics now require the primary actor to spend a point of Willpower. So, they don’t cost beats/experience to use.

      The write-ups are in their entirety, but I am making tweaks to ensure all the components are there. Instead of a long list of Skill requirements, the dice pools are what you use for the Tactics. And, in some cases I need to spell out that the minimum number of hunters involved will depend on the Tactic and/or recommend other tweaks like Tilts.

      Corral, for example, will run very differently if you’re in the sewers versus an open field.

      Prerequisites need a little work. Generally speaking, my personal development philosophy is not to spend lots of word count on a single rule, so the average text-length will be reduced to ensure we’re not wordy and we can fit more in. That said, I’m looking at consistency to ensure nothing is “lost” during development.

      • LordOfIron
        September 26, 2018 at 1:40 pm

        Thanks, I think those are all great changes! I think I was just reading it with 1e assumptions in my head.
        Streamlining and minimising wordcount when not needed are great to get the most out of a book as possible. Plus opening up more mechanics to everyone, especially in a game as diverse as Hunter, is a good move. Can’t wait to read more.

  3. Adonus
    September 26, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Will there be an option for team work/tactics that combine endowment features? For instance, in 1st Ed the Benediction that created consecrated ground or blessed items: will hunters be able to team work that or have Endowment based tactics ?

    • September 26, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      Great question! That’s something I need to think about because, per previous previews, Endowments in 2E are a complete redesign.

  4. Matt
    September 26, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Monica- Unless I’m reading it wrong, there appears to be a discrepancy in the description of how Teamwork works. This is what it says:

    “Primary actor’s roll results are calculated as normal. Secondary actors’ roll results are then added or subtracted.”

    The way I read this, it seems as though the successes on the secondary actors roll are added as extra successes to the primary actor’s roll. But then the rules say this:

    “Secondary Actor Roll Results

    Success: +1 die to the primary actor’s roll for each success earned, cumulative for each secondary actor’s success.”

    This seems to communicate that each success on the secondary actor’s roll adds +1 DICE to the primary actors roll, and NOT to the successes after the fact. Which is it?

    • September 26, 2018 at 8:05 pm

      The secondary actors add bonus dice, not successes. I’m mulling over when those additional dice should be rolled to ensure the pace isn’t affected.

      • Matt
        September 27, 2018 at 8:52 am

        Thanks for clearing that up. Seems logical to add them to the primary actor’s dice pool and roll them all at once, no?

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