Hunter The Reckoning Core Rulebook Review: A Modern Refresh

In the early 2000s, this series of video games came out of nowhere, the Hunter The Reckoning series, or so I thought. Unfortunately, while the first game outing in Hunter The Reckoning was a good experience, the follow-up games were more along the average to middling game experiences. In Hunter, The Reckoning, Players take the roles of hunters who fight hordes of monsters like wraiths and Vampires.

Little did I know until much later, like three weeks ago, that these games were based on an older tabletop roleplaying game system known as World Of Darkness. Since my early teens, I’ve been a frequent TTRPG player, mostly sticking to the bare ass DnD core rulesets, only venturing off into Pathfinder and this one Army Of Darkness-based TTRPG that I played around with once but still have the book for.

So when the opportunity came about to review a modern, updated version of the Hunter The Reckoning core ruleset, I jumped at the opportunity. Finding a One-Shot (Campaign that is beaten in one session, more or less) that fits into the World Of Darkness/ Hunter The Reckoning system and gathering a group of three players. We set out to get a game together, and while this was recorded, it was sadly lost to corrupted audio.

The overall goal of that session was to see how easy it is to pick up without prior knowledge of the system and how invested we could get into it. So we started the night building characters, which took around an hour per person, and hopped right into A Night At Hill Manor, the one World Of Darkness One-Shot most recommended.

What came next was some interesting, enjoyable, and frustrating three-hour campaign. I don’t think A Night At Hill Manor was the best decision for this modern update because it is more based around older rules and sets up almost a prologue to what could be a more fleshed-out campaign. But if I reviewed this after playing through a whole campaign, it would be months, if not years, in the making.

The character creation section of the core rule book is decently straightforward, although a few things were a little difficult to find, like the importance of virtues and how your ability scores are set up. Granted, this is from some players who, as a whole, only played basic DnD.

A hardcopy version of the core rulebook could have helped out with the following issues we had. When looking up skills, how combat works each turn and how to play according to some character choices are not very close. It would take us a few minutes to decide which skill to use and remember how combat worked each turn. Some sticky notes or bookmarks would have helped here. Still, it could use some reordering of how it’s set up in the book, like that your health and willpower are at the end of the character creation but at the top of the character sheet. Leading my players to not being able to find it and myself having to search for it a bit instead of being front and center.

The best part of Hunter The Reckoning is how open it is and how willing it is to let players use their brains and skills to get around encounters and situations. Again I wish I found a better fitting One shot that wasn’t as combat-focused because this core rulebook fits better with the Monster Of The Week setting, with investigation and research being where it shines. Combat is not an afterthought, but it takes a back seat. 

With that being said, it lends itself to role-playing players. People who can get into character and work off each other. If you can find players in it for the exploration and talking, this is for them. It is my favorite part of TTRPGs, so this went well. Even if the one-shot wasn’t the best fitting, all the players agreed it lends itself to building relationships over long campaigns.

Overall, Hunter The Reckoning Core Rulebook is a great TTRPG. With some shortcomings, it’s a system that if you play or want to play, you will get more out of it if you are looking to improve with friends around a table or online and focus less on combat. Having never touched a World Of Darkness rulebook before, it has made me start to write a full-fledged campaign, and I can’t wait to get into it for real when the book releases on June 22nd for 55$.

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