I have to assume you pronounce that "vampire hunterCHA-CHING." Kinda unwieldy.
The Game: Vampire Hunter$
The Publisher: Nightshift Games, at least this edition. Googling the game's title brings up my game index on the first page, so that kinda indicates to me that not much is going on with this game lately.
Degree of Familiarity: None.
Books Required: Just the one.
So, the back of the book says that Nightshift Game is "a tiny little division of Crunchy Frog Games," but that doesn't tell me much more. Reading through the book, it's pretty damn basic. Like, modern day, except monsters are real, and you're working for a company that hunts them. That's an interesting premise if you dig into it a little (are they incorporated? What do they officially do, since the world at large doesn't acknowledge that monsters exist?), but the game doesn't seem to (though I admit I'm skimming). It feels very 90s as I'm reading it, though the system seems pretty simple, which is good. Let's dig into chargen.
OK, characters are made of Talents, Knacks, and Faults. Cool, very few numbers. I get 10 dice in Talents, but no more than 3 in any one, so I have to have at least four. Neato. Guess maybe I should think about concept, eh?
Well, the usual "vampires killed my family" thing would work, but eh. What about someone more like Winston Zeddmore from Ghostbusters? Someone who's not necessarily personally invested in the job, but needs the paycheck.
Wait, hang on. This is weird. John Carpenter's movie Vampires was based on a novel by John Steakley called Vampire$, wherein the characters work for a company called Vampire$, Inc. The game lists copyrights in 1995 and 1999, the novel came out in 1990. I can't believe that's a coincidence, but I don't know what conclusion to draw.
Anyway, I still like my "working guy" idea for a character. I think that he fell into the job after his family-owned exterminator business went out of business. He went from cleaning out rat colonies to shoot werewolves. It's a living.
So, Talents, then. I'll take Authority 2, Bureaucracy 2, Computer Programming 1, Investigation 2, and Science (Chemistry) 3. There are far too many of these.
OK, Knacks, then. Umm...Knacks are just Talents that give you a static +1 die. What boring-ass game design. I get 5 of these. I'll take Stealth, Memory, Non-Descript, Mechanic, and Electronics.
There are only 4 lines for Knacks on the sheet. Geez.
And, finally, Faults. I get one by default (lol), and if my GM agrees I could take more and get more Talent dice, but eh. Let's look through them and see if anything looks appropriate. I think I'll take Out of Shape; my guy isn't much of an athlete and has no military training. He's a bit on the heavy side and spent a lot of time in his truck or at his desk. Probably he should do some carido at some point; he'll get around to it.
Well, that's the last of the numbers (I should figure out Hits, but there's nowhere on the sheet to put it). So, just some more background stuff, then.
Nicholas "Nick" Balladino is the most recent owner of 'Dino Brothers Extermination Services (they got in trouble in the 60s for putting Dino from The Flintstones on their van, but that was Nick's uncle who did that). Nick inherited the business from his father, and then the economy tanked and he went under. His extended family still hasn't forgiven him, and he figures that if builds up a few grand, he can get it going again - he's already talked to the bank about a loan. This new outfit paid well, but he'd never heard of them, so he figured his experience as an exterminator would be useful.
He was right, but holy shit.
Nick had never encountered the supernatural before, and now he's trying to work silver nitrate into everything. He's good with chemicals but he's used to killing bugs, not bloodsuckers. On some level, though, he's gotta admit this is exciting shit. Like, you can only get so jazzed clearing out wasps' nests, but ghouls' nests? That's something else again.
Nick is in his 40s, black hair, full beard with some grey, kinda pudgy 'round the middle. Favors button-down shirts (you want to be able to get a shirt off quickly if a bunch of spiders crawl into it), work boots, jeans.
And that's me done! This game...there really ain't much to it, is there? Even when it was new, I think my response might have been "yeah, and?"