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Old 05-23-2019, 02:49 PM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default Self-designation Terms for Different Monster Hunter Teams in the World

I'm looking for what terms 'Monster Hunters' who belong to various secret groups or organzations in my setting call themselves.

I've already established the fact that the British commandos of the Shadow Court call themselves Rangers (which is short for the tongue-in-cheek Queen's Paranormal Rangers, and yes, is not unrelated to Tolkien).

I'm looking for a variety of other names, which other Monster Hunters in the setting, public or private, might call themselves.

For example:

1) What do the PCs and their fellow hunters who work for the eccentric billionaire J.R. Kessler in Caribbean by Night call themselves? 'Monster Hunters' or something more unique?

2) What do the secretive priests, exorcists, former Swiss Guards, Knights of Malta and other experts who perform occult covert ops for the Vatican call themselves?

3) Which group of hunters call themselves 'The Regulators', because there is no point in living if no one does?

Brazilian Monster Hunters use a variety of terms, with those from police tactical units often favouring 'Caveiras' (particularly those from Rio's BOPE and CORE). Brazilian military hunters often use 'Caçadores', with religious hunters often calling themselves 'Caçadores de diabos'.

I set my MH-esque* campaigns all in the same setting, a version of Earth that is apparently identical to ours before the supernatural starts to subtly emerge** in the 1980s. To everyone except those with supernatural gifts of their own, the world continued to look identical to Earth in the 1980s and 1990s, though history diverged very subtly in that violent crime rates and disappearances did not drop after 1990 as in our world.

Actual magic mostly did not happen before the year 2000, with the exception of easily explainable coincidences or placebo effects. Some people had Medium or Oracle and saw or knew things they shouldn't, but they could not prove it under controlled circumstances and thus only convinced close and trusted friends or those already disposed to believe. Nevertheless, some people started to investigate the supernatural, mostly in secret.

The fact that several high-ranking people in the Vatican had magical talents, as well as Queen Elizabeth II having prophetic dreams, meant that secret factions or conspiracies to research the occult coalesced around the Holy See and the British Crown, respectively, at some point in the late 80s or early 90s. These grew slowly in knowledge and influence until they had become something at least semi-formal, if very secret, on either side of the year 2000. The goal, for both conspiracies, was to collect evidence and prepare the legal authorities for the eventual discovery of the supernatural.

In the 2000s, a few gifted occultists started to be able to produce subtle effects through their rituals, using the Path/Book system from Thaumatology. Given the constraints of the mostly-not-magical world they still lived in, they usually needed extensive preparations, the right time, the right place and a desired effect that could be interpreted as a coincidence. And no modern technology around or skeptical people.

Whatever mystical tides govern the rates of paranormal phenomena and the fluctating Mana Levels seem to be steadily rising. At some point after 2010, the Path/Book system eventually evolved into Ritual Path Magic, at least for the very small group of occultists who are aware of what is going on and actively working to learn more about thaumatology. At the same time, various dabblers and esoteric believers are starting to form a kind of occult underground in various places around the world.

While instability, violence, crime rates and disappearances kept climbing worldvide in the 2000s and 2010s, most of Earth is still Very Low Mana (-8 to -10) and many modern buildings in big cities full of secular people are No Mana during the day and might only reach Very Low Mana (-10) at midnight of significant astrological dates.

Only Vile Vortices, ley line confluences, Places of Power and other magical hot spots are higher mana than this and the mana levels are in constant flux. Parts of Earth, e.g. the Poles, some isolated areas of ocean and spots in Brazil, the Caribbean, Pakistan, Tibet, the Middle East, Africa and other places are sometimes as high as Low Mana (-3 to -7) and may be around -8 or -9 even in urban areas in daytime.

Because of the Vile Vortices that cover parts of their homelands, Brazil, Pakistan, many Caribbean nations and several African ones have a much higher rate of belief in the supernatural than the rest of the world. Some, like Brazil and the UK, even have an informal conspiracy of those aware of the supernatural that acts like a Deep State within the government, with the purpose of defending humanity from hostile spirits, evil magic and monsters.

Somehow, however, the supernatural is still secret in 2019. Governments do not accept supernatural explanations and in most secular Western countries, only extreme fringe political candidates would ever suggest them publicly. After all, every single proper scientific experiment carried out by independent scientists under controlled conditions fails to replicate wild claims of magic and monsters made by various religious fanatics, oddball occultists and unfortunately traumatized eyewitnesses to mysterious events.

In fact, there seems to be a sort of Facade that prevents most ordinary people from accepting any evidence of the supernatural, no matter how blatant (see Christopher R. Rice's 'Mask of Humanity' in Pyramid #3/97).

However, many people who spend a lot of time on the mean streets at night or near any kind of supernatural hot spot, simply experience too much inexplicable stuff to be content with rational answers. Almost every police department, MEs office and hospital will have people who privately fear that humanity is being preyed on by something occult and unseen. Social workers, priests, aid workers and the people they help live and die among the increasingly occult underbelly of society.

As a result of this and the difficulty of convincing anyone who doesn't come into nightly contact with the unnatural of the Truth, there are not many agencies formally organized to counter the supernatural, outside a few unusual countries where a coordinated secret response exists. Most of those trying to do something are unaware of anyone else trying the same, except maybe a few trusted friends and colleagues. And even where there is a large-ish network of occult-savvy individuals in a given agency or location, few do more than share information and maybe try to counsel survivors.

Across a whole world, however, the exceptions add up. I'm looking for self-bestowed titles those who take arms against the darkness might use. I'd welcome suggestions for any type of Monster Hunters, from a few friends in a small town to secret government agencies of the very few countries where someone in power knows the Truth.

What are the Monster Hunters calling themselves?

*One might just as fairly call the genre Urban Fantasy and many campaigns have been some or all of Supernatural Horror, Occult Mysteries, Paranormal Covert Ops or Unnatural Tactical Shooting. Ken Hite's writing usually has a big impact and Suppressed Transmission is usually my aspired-toward-ideal.
**Re-emerge, perhaps? There is some evidence that magical rituals developed in various occult and religious traditions in the distant past may have worked then as they work now and that supernatural phenomena occurred often in the recorded past. Occultists disagree on which historical reports of the supernatural are true and when magic might have stopped working, but it is generally accepted that absolutely nothing supernatural happened in the 20th century before the 1980s, with some occultists declaring that magic gradually stopped working during the Industrial Revolution.
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Self-designation Terms for Different Monster Hunter Teams in the World

Woken
Gnostics
Cleaners
Janitors
Pest Control
Chosen
Touched
Lightbearers
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: Self-designation Terms for Different Monster Hunter Teams in the World

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What do the secretive priests, exorcists, former Swiss Guards, Knights of Malta and other experts who perform occult covert ops for the Vatican call themselves?
I'm sorry I don't have any serious suggestions for you but the first thing that popped into my head when you asked this was "Pontifficators".
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Self-designation Terms for Different Monster Hunter Teams in the World

I'm going to be asking for suggestions and ideas for some of these. In all cases, comments from anyone are welcome, even if it's just a tangentially related observation.

I'd also love more ideas, ideally with some context and suggestions for what kind of group might call themselves that; and what their background, resources, relations with others, goals, motivations, etc. might be.

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Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
Woken
I'm not sure about English-speaking people seriously applying that term to themselves in this context (for one thing, it's uncomfortably close to 'Woke', which I have never heard used unironically by an actual person in real life). However, in Ken Hite's excellent The Nazi Occult, it is the term used to refer to those with magical talent, as 'gewekt', which literally means 'woken' in German.

I know that the Swiss Guard is aware of the occult and has been for some 25 years. The Guardsmen are trained to defend the Pope and the Vatican from more than just physical threats. Former Swiss Guards are also the backbone of the Vatican counter-supernatural response.

I haven't thought about any other German speakers in the context of being aware of the supernatural. There will be some Places of Power and ley lines in Germany, but most of the population probably lives in No Mana areas, certainly during the day, in the modern, organized, secular cities of Germany. So I don't see there being much awareness of the paranormal as being likely among the powers that be in German government and bureaucracy. A priori, I'd probably name Germany among the least threatened by supernatural phenomena by capita in the world.

That, of course, doesn't mean zero supernatural phenomena and I'm sure there are powerful Places of Power in deep dark woods and spooky mountains, as well as haunted castles and faerie paths, in Germany. Just, you know, for such a powerful country, they have a lot fewer homicide cops who believe in monsters, consulting occultists and private monster hunting clubs than much smaller nations located near a Vile Vortex.

Unless, of course, there are some places in Germany so steeped in occult legendry that they are bound to feature robust paranormal scenes. In which case 'Gewekt' (Woken) might be the local term for someone aware of the occult.

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Gnostics
I plan to have a group or groups of occultists and researchers of esoteric lore who espouse Gnostic principles. Of course, like most people who find out about the supernatural, few of them will voluntarily seek out monsters. Sane people, even if they are intellectually curious and open-minded about the occult, understandably want as little to do with evil spirits, anthropophagic beasts and inimical ultraterrestials as possible.

On the other hand, if there exists a society of Gnostic scholars who dabble in the occult, founded in the 1990s or 2000s, they might employ supernatural-savvy security contractors for personal protection. Or there might be a sub-group of more martial occultists who believe that the escalating events associated with paranormal phenomena represents a dire threat to humanity or the world as a whole, who dedicate themselves to fighting evil (or at least some subset of it, as they define it).

I wonder what they might call themselves?

And from which real-world origins such orders might spring?

International? And if so, through what real organizations would the early members have gotten to know each other?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
Cleaners
That's a nice, clean secular term that might be used by various groups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
Janitors
Ditto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
Pest Control
Very descriptive, blue-collar, brings to mind a group of friends in a small town.

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Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
Chosen
Of what? Or whom?

The campaign setting is agnostic in terms of Prime Movers or any omniscient, omnipotent divine powers, but there are certainly various spirits who claim celestial or divine origins (as well as a variety of beings considered demonic, evil or infernal by many people). And a lot of people believe that supernatural gifts result from faith, religious ritual, pacts with spirits, honouring ancestors, loas, orishas or other powers, or the like.

So, which real life religious movements might have a secret group of monster hunters who call themselves Chosen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
Touched
This strongly implies belief in some entity or force that touches them. Any suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
Lightbearers
That's also a mystical-sounding title. Who do you see referring to themselves as Lightbringers, in the real world, if they had found out about the supernatural and were secretly defending humanity?
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:43 PM   #5
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Default Vatican Monster Hunters

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Originally Posted by Brandy View Post
I'm sorry I don't have any serious suggestions for you but the first thing that popped into my head when you asked this was "Pontifficators".
Well, few, if any, of the men who defend the Catholic Church and humanity from supernatural evil will speak English much, if at all.

Formally, the official language of the Vatican is Latin. Senior Church figures may speak quite good Latin, as, of course might scholarly priests and members of religious orders. However, Italians are practically speaking very numerous among clergy and laity in the Vatican, with demographics among servants of the Church worldwide having a lot of correlation with the most populous Catholic countries.

Most of the men who carry arms against the supernatural in service of the Catholic Church will probably be German-speaking former Swiss Guards. Others will be French, Italian or Romansch speakers from Swiss, as well as the occasional Catholic who served in a military or elite police tactical unit before somehow coming to work for the church. Oh, and there will be some former Gendarmerie from the Vatican, probably all Italian-speakers.

I don't imagine that the Vatican has more than a few dozen covert operatives in its service, as direct action against threats is very controversial among the faction within the Church aware of the supernatural. Only the direst threats, determined by Oracles and divination magic, call for a response from the Vatican, as opposed to quiet and informal support of some local groups capable of dealing with a local problem.

So, maybe about 40% German as a first language, 40% Italian and the rest French, Spanish or other. They would certainly call themselves something in their own languages or in Latin.

It's been established in play that when there is great need for haste, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (SMOM), i.e. the Knights of Malta, will use its diplomatic status to facilitate the movement of former Swiss Guards, priest-occultists and team leaders who were knights of the Order of Malta to a target area. It seems plausible that the SMOM is used to some degree to cover the activities of occult-aware Vatican operatives.

I'm toying with the elite Monster Hunters of the Vatican belonging to a secret chivalric military order, founded in the late 1990s or early 2000s, named for an appropriate saint.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Well, few, if any, of the men who defend the Catholic Church and humanity from supernatural evil will speak English much, if at all.

Formally, the official language of the Vatican is Latin. Senior Church figures may speak quite good Latin, as, of course might scholarly priests and members of religious orders. However, Italians are practically speaking very numerous among clergy and laity in the Vatican, with demographics among servants of the Church worldwide having a lot of correlation with the most populous Catholic countries.

Most of the men who carry arms against the supernatural in service of the Catholic Church will probably be German-speaking former Swiss Guards. Others will be French, Italian or Romansch speakers from Swiss, as well as the occasional Catholic who served in a military or elite police tactical unit before somehow coming to work for the church. Oh, and there will be some former Gendarmerie from the Vatican, probably all Italian-speakers.

I don't imagine that the Vatican has more than a few dozen covert operatives in its service, as direct action against threats is very controversial among the faction within the Church aware of the supernatural. Only the direst threats, determined by Oracles and divination magic, call for a response from the Vatican, as opposed to quiet and informal support of some local groups capable of dealing with a local problem.

So, maybe about 40% German as a first language, 40% Italian and the rest French, Spanish or other. They would certainly call themselves something in their own languages or in Latin.

It's been established in play that when there is great need for haste, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (SMOM), i.e. the Knights of Malta, will use its diplomatic status to facilitate the movement of former Swiss Guards, priest-occultists and team leaders who were knights of the Order of Malta to a target area. It seems plausible that the SMOM is used to some degree to cover the activities of occult-aware Vatican operatives.

I'm toying with the elite Monster Hunters of the Vatican belonging to a secret chivalric military order, founded in the late 1990s or early 2000s, named for an appropriate saint.
That is such a perfect response. :)
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: Self-designation Terms for Different Monster Hunter Teams in the World

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Woken
Gnostics
Cleaners
Janitors
Pest Control
Chosen
Touched
Lightbearers
Verminators
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Self-designation Terms for Different Monster Hunter Teams in the World

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Verminators
What kind of group do you imagine calls themselves that?
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Self-designation Terms for Different Monster Hunter Teams in the World

In my short-lived Hellmouth: Cleveland game, they were "Private Investigators", "PIs", and related terms.
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:27 AM   #10
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In my short-lived Hellmouth: Cleveland game, they were "Private Investigators", "PIs", and related terms.
Is that what they self-identified as?

I mean, don't they distinguish themselves in some way from Private Investigators who don't know about the supernatural and who don't engage in combat with monsters on a regular basis?

I realise that in a world where Monster Hunters operate in secret, they'll have cover jobs and front companies, with some of them continuing to work in their previous profession (street cop, detective, tactical team member, air assault infantryman, etc.), albeit with an entirely different focus. Some groups of Monster Hunters are military or police units where the commanding officer is also aware of the existence of monsters and magic, though the entire chain of command rarely knows the entire truth.

Cops, soldiers or private investigators who are aware of the supernatural and have taken upon themselves the burden of defending humanity might still think of themselves as members of their professions, but they also self-identify as members of another, more exclusive group.

For one, they are among those who know the Truth, of how secular science cannot explain the world anymore and how humanity is threathened by otherworldly forces. Second, among those who know, they are an even smaller, more exclusive group, who elect to risk their lives and break the laws of their society to defend a humanity that is unaware of their sacrifices.

Some Monster Hunters might be well informed about the occult underground and be aware of many other groups of people clued-in to the paranormal who do the same thing, defending their local communities or a larger area or interests not geographically defined. Others might believe they are the only ones who know or at least the only ones who are doing anything about it.

In any case, I imagine every group has some self-designation, some identity they think of themselves as. It would never be used with outsiders, as their existence is secret, but the member of the ingroup might use it among themselves, as members of vigilante groups or criminal organizations have done in real life.

It's unlikely that every group of people in the world who fight the supernatural would define themselves as 'Monster Hunters', no matter their background, motivations or even native language.

So, I'm looking for some self-designations and ideas on what groups might be using them.
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