The Night Hunters Intro This setting is influenced, in part, by Lukjanenko’s The Night Watch books. Light and Darkness are the real forces that fight for power in our world, even if people doesn’t know and, mostly, believe in gods that don’t even exist. Both these forces have a small number of adepts that are aware of their struggle. These are humans with special powers… sometimes they are more than human. Darkness and Light adepts sometimes live in an uneasy truce, sometimes fight openly. What these forces really are? Darkness is not evil or injustice, it’s accepting everything in the human soul (Light calls this self-interest and a lack of morals). Light is adhering to a strict protocol of “goodness,” a believe that a person must try to be better than what he/she is and help others (Darkness calls this hypocrisy). Darkness and Light are forces (mana, spiritual energy, life force) that do exist everywhere, but they are not sentient and not divinities. A neutral mana (life force) also do exist. The main source of mana are people and living things in general. Chaos is another factor in play. It's a destructive power that seduces feeble minds (that is, the normal people) and sometimes adepts too, and makes them act with ferocious, destructive aggression. Common criminals and killers and most world leaders are (unknowingly) agents of chaos (note: a Darkness adept can do bad things but usually is not a common criminal). Sometimes powerful self aware persons and entities disseminate chaos in the world. Light fights to keep Chaos in check. Darkness lives with it, but sometimes has to do the same. What are the magical abilities in this world? Offensive and defensive spells do exist, like in a classical RPG, but just some characters can use them, other kind of adepts have special powers (for example the ability of a vampire to create another) but are very limited in their use of magic, or don't have it at all. Characters that can use magic can say the desired effect but the moderator has the last word. Keep in mind that mana (the fuel of magic) is always short. Are Darkness and Light organized like nations? Not really. Adepts speak a lot of tongues, generally (and the older ones in the western world prefer ancient Latin and Greek!), some are local, some live in several places and travel a lot. They give loyalty to a group or a leader. But each group is relatively free to act so it could be conflict in some places and peace elsewhere. Powerful adepts are like world leaders (for their side) and sometimes interact with "real" world leaders. Man is a warlike animal corrupted by chaos. Peace in the world is often maintained only by Light efforts, and sometimes Darkness gives help, too. Characters in this game Ok, this is long but you don't need to read everything. Game experience will not call all of this into play. What kind of character a player could play? The main character types are below. You don't really need to read everything! The ones that could interest a player are marked with § but the setting is called "The Night Hunters" because player characters will be from Darkness, so you can skip all the Light Character' types for now. Darkness Characters The most frequent Darkness characters are disciples, wizards/sorceresses and witches. Enchanters and vampires are rarer. Soul Searchers even more rare. Some powerful great wizards/sorceresses are considered to be of demi-god status. Vampires and soul searchers are seen by Light adepts as unbearably evil. § Wizards (Sorceresses): can become the strongest characters of Darkness. People able to influence reality by magic powers; often they are intellectual, bookish people. They have a good perception of the spiritual world, can easily detect people aligned with Darkness or Light (unless they are very strong and don’t want to be detected). Wizards can absorb and use mana from the world around them and from willing donors to make their powers stronger. A wizard/sorceress changes his/her looks at will and can live many centuries. A junior wizard (sorceress) is a not able to use any other mana than his/her own, and has limited powers: junior here means inexperienced but not necessarily young (they can be quite old!). A junior could fail to become a full-fledged wizard/sorceress and die of old age like any person. A great wizard (sorceress) is quite powerful and can live thousands of years. These are quite rare. § Vampire: minor Darkness characters without soul and mana at all. Sometimes unruly and unreliable. They need blood to survive but don’t need to kill. They can live on animal blood (not so tasty). Vampires have long lives (centuries), strong charisma, good looks and unnatural physical strength, they hate light but are not killed by it. A vampire can kill a person and turn it into a vampire one or two times in his/her life, a powerful wizard can also do this (they do it quite rarely). Can’t use any other magic or power. Enchanter/Enchantress: strong Darkness characters, mostly males. They have an affinity for fixing magic in material things and can create them storing mana in normal objects. A good enchanter can create very important magic items (even golems and sentient machines) but it’s a time consuming thing. They can’t avoid looking their age and do not live longer than normal people, but an Enchanter can also (if rarely) become a wizard/sorceress and have their advantages. Sometimes they are quite lonely people. § Witch: this is a minor Darkness character and a female character only: beautiful and youthful looking, they have limited special powers but good perception of the spiritual world. Mind communion with wizards/sorceresses and other witches, mind reading over normal people and generally manipulating them. They can give their mana to stronger Darkness characters (soul searchers, wizards) and are precious for this. They can’t draw mana from people. A witch will live 150-250 years, when her life force is over she’ll die suddenly. Wizards/Sorceresses can prolong a witch’s life indefinitely but they rarely do it, because it’s a time and mana consuming magic. § Soul Searcher: a minor Darkness character, uncommon, with very strong perception of the spiritual world. Uses sexual ritual torture to draw a great amount of mana from willing and unwilling donors. Donors are not necessarily killed by this but they often feel drained by the experience. A soul searcher can read the mind of his/her victims and manipulate their wills to a certain extent. Often a soul searcher associates with a wizard or sorceress and act as an important mana provider but he/she can’t donate his own, only the mana he gets from donors. A soul searcher is particularly apt to explore the spiritual world and watch by the eyes of random people or even animals in distant places, or to know approximately what a person is doing (even an enemy, but a powerful one will block this power). They can’t do this using their own mana (and it’s very expensive). Soul Searchers look younger than they are; their life span is about 150 years. Disciple: the less powerful (but the most common) Darkness characters, disciples donate willingly mana to wizards/sorceresses and soul searchers. They have a limited perception of the spiritual world so they can be easy prey of their enemies, but are the most brave of the Darkness because their soul is usually able to reincarnate regaining original consciousness in the next life. Life span of disciples is normal, often they are youthful and good looking but also sometimes quite ordinary, if they don’t care about their looks. (usually not §) Light Characters Light adepts outnumber Darkness ones and are better organized, but generally less powerful. They are unwilling to draw mana from unwilling or unaware people. Defenders and adepts are common, paladins less frequent, sages are rare and ministers very rare. Darkness adepts always resent paladin’s aggression and sometimes respect sages’ restraint. Minister: rare and powerful Light character, equal to a great wizard/sorceress of Darkness, has strong special powers. Ministers have a good perception of the spiritual world, they can absorb and use mana around them and from willing donors to make their powers stronger. A minister lives thousands of years and often manipulates governors from behind the scenes. Ministers evolve from the best defenders (so they could sometimes start their career as simple adepts). § Defender: common Light characters of medium strength, they have limited magic powers and can’t use mana from donors (they can be donors themselves, though). Defenders do what they can to ease suffering and iniquity in the world but can also fight against Darkness with zeal. Their perception of the spiritual world is not very strong. Defenders can alter their looks, even be shapeshifters, and live about 200-300 years. They can evolve into paladins or ministers. § Paladin: uncommon, powerful Light characters, their role is to fight Darkness (or to keep watch over it). They are very perceptive of the spiritual world, have strong charisma and physical strength, are always males. Their special power is an ability to influence common people in doing their bidding, and a good resistance against Darkness magic: to increment these powers they use their mana, and mana accepted from donors. Always good looking, they enjoy long lives (500 years or more). Adept: very common, minor Light character. An adept has a limited perception of the spiritual world. His/her role is mainly to be an agent of Light and to donate mana to a minister or a sage. Their looks and lifespan are normal. Rarely an adept will evolve into a defender or a sage.(Not § because rarely this can be interesting to a player) Sage: rare and powerful Light character, quite reclusive. Sages live long lives (even one thousand years) in meditation and learning, have a good perception of spiritual world, can accept mana from donors and channel very powerful energies into magic. But they burn out their powers for a long time, and often die, doing so: as a consequence of this, their intervention is quite exceptional. They spend most of the time avoiding hostilities with Darkness, and are often the ones Darkness adepts talk to when negotiating over something. Sages looks like old people. They evolve from defenders or adepts.