So now that we have a PC who has a background or a potential background having to do with werewolves, as well as PC whom has asked for some werewolf intervention, I figure its times i shine some light on a dark corner of this New World of Darkness about what exactly is going on with Werewolves, both large and small, and how that affects the players.
This will be part of an on going series of writings about what I as a GM/Story Teller_ (‘cause GM’s in this game are called Story Tellers, for those whom didnt know that)_ have changed about Game Lines outside_ (and in another posting like this, IN this game line (Hunter: the Vigil) as well!)_ the one we are currently playing in. Well Technically we are playing in Hunter: The Vigil, for now, with the grand goal/picture to be playing in New World of Darkness (which is to say we are mixing game lines to include everything, even if its not being mixed the way you thinking it is. If that makes sense).
Now you may notice that not all the information about X game-line is going to be posted all at once. That would be because I’m reworking My notes and posting them as I find time to do so. So please be patient. There will be more to come soon enough. Thank you for noticing.
p.s. – I’ll be rambling on a bit in places, just stick with it/Me, as this is the foundation of sorts for the ideas you’ll be dealing with. ;) Thank again.
, as it used to be: In the old world of darkness (oWoD or just simply, WOD) you had a game line called Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The storyline entailed that the last remaining tribes of the werewolves called Garou, were essentially, literally or figuratively (depended on which tribes world view you chose to follow) the guardians of Gaia, the literal and/or figurative Spirit of Earth itself (if not life itself) made manifest (in whatever means it felt it needed to be) to the Garou Nation as a whole. It was their Goddess, just as God is to the Pope or any religious entity was to any major world religion, save that in many cases, one could interact directly with her in many ways. Now, this storyline had the players fighting the good fight, and losing by inches against a trio of concepts made manifest, among them Corruption (the Wyrm), Technology (the Weaver), and Nature ran rampant and unchecked in a wicked way (the Wyld). The tribes were actually tribal in nature with few exceptions, and were basically charged with protecting their Spirit Goddess Gaia, righting the spiritual wrongs of the world and generally fighting the forces of Evil so common folk could walk the streets in peace. The problems there many.
As spiffy and awesome as the tribal and spiritual structure of the game was, it seemed like the deck was always stacked against you, from individuals making their own power plays, to generations of tribal prejudice leading to genocide of whole races of supernatural (and in some places mundane as well), to both good and bad guys becoming corrupt in any number of ways, to just about everybody losing their damn mind and acting like a general bag of dicks. But it was still a solid, fun and interesting system, if not flawed. As I said.
So WhiteWolf, knowing that they could only string along the end of world for so long, eventually ended the game world with their actual Apocalypse. Spirit Nuked it and in a sense, wiped it clean and started over leaving how it ended upto individual player groups to decide how they wanted to go out. In a way this was a good thing. Nay. A great thing, as towards the end, over a decade of rules updates were convoluted and unbalanced etc.
That world is now gone. Which brings us to …
Werewolf (nWoD), as it is now: nWoD Werewolf is called Werewolf: the Forsaken. Now I’m going to start you off right at the beginning here. the new werewolf is technically a completely different game. This isnt a game that takes place years, decades or hundreds of years later. at best, this is a completely different dimension, with its own laws, values and ideas. But frankly, this is a COMPLETELY different game. Its own ‘Beast’ if you will…
The ideas are similar, but they are distinct in their differences. Gone are the tribal views for the most part. There are still tribes, however they are more thematic groupings than actual tribes as before. the Auspices are different. Just like wrenches come in standard and metric. different, but the same.
So to give you a brief run down of whats going on, the Forsaken are broken upto two groups. Forsaken and the Pure.
the Forsaken are the PC’s, the ones descended from Father Wolf and Mother Luna whom thematically did the right thing. What that mean? I’ll get to that in moment. They are the minority faction of ‘good’ guys if you will.
The Pure… are batshit insane. They are the Majority unfortunately, and while they are still depended from Father Wolf, and Mother Luna,… they done fucked up son. And them and their decedents are basically super religious zealots of baddies because of the generational and individual guilt that is on their shoulders from doing the wrong thing back in the day.
What was the wrong thing? Well back in the Day, when the earth was whole, there was basically the circle of life. Think Lion King. But instead of Lions, Mufasa was Father Wolf and Pride Rock was Earth. Spirit and Flesh were basically one. sure you could die per se, but you were reborn shortly and it was a near perfect endless cycle. Father Wolf was basically the uber bad ass god marshal of earth that kept both sides of the fence, both fleshies and spirits in check from getting too powerful.
Along the way he courted Luna and made the first hybrids (which interestingly enough dont specify that they were werewolves only that werefolk came of this union) of flesh and spirit, aka shape changers. Before this you were either flesh or spirit. or when you were flesh and died, you became a spirit and then got reborn flesh, but you could actually blend the lines and or bend the rules, or even out right break then for a time… so long as Father Wolf didnt catch on and kick your ass.
So neither side really liked that the werefolk can change back and forth at will. but the werefolk ran with Wolf and you just dont fuck with his family, and they basically helped with the family business. … Think Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Along the way Father Wolf starts getting old and isnt keeping the peace as he should be. or most realistically, used to be. So he sets things up so that his kids can kill him. Rules of the wild and all that. meanwhile spirits are running wild ghost buster style, and the pack of werefolk (mainly werewolves at this point) are not really upto their dads level of ass whooping, but something needs to be done.
The ones whom fulfill Father Wolf’s dying wish and kill him are the Forsaken.
The ones that whom basically balk and become crazy assed fanatics are ‘the Pure’.
Generations later, the Pure have run wild and are trying their damnedest to wipe out the Forsaken, while trying to take over the world. The Forsaken are trying to play catch up in a severely uphill, uber underdog battle to restore balance to the worlds, both spirit and mundane (but mainly spirit), all the while fighting off the Pure, and fighting back against the spirits that are still running wild to this day.
Q: So what does this have to do with Race’s Seattle nWoD game?
Frankly? Nothing. That’s the Short/Partial Answer anyways. lol.
The Long Answer is this: Both the above systems and stories are very interesting and compelling. However I dont really use either one of them for My game. To Me, they are BOTH flawed in places that dont really work well with My game.
I’ll explain. In WoD (the old system) tribes were in a near never ending battle that was stacked against them. Thats great for drama, but even for a fantasy settle of sorts, its not really realistic. There are numerous places where WhiteWolf as a company and player based tourney’s tried to fix things but in the end there was just so much bulk, it never self righted. Which was part of the reason they decided to nuke everything and start from scratch.
In the nWoD version they tried to keep some of the same ideas, even tried to give it a baseline from which to lend it some authenticity and such that was missing in the first version, but to Me, again fails.
Q: But where?
A: Social Interaction.
In W:tA your main type of social organizational grouping is tribal (national). Which is based after Native American Tribes. With additional groupings of Auspice (job/outlook) and Pack (family-ish). at least at first. Later on you get an additional groupings with expanded auspice and then the additions of the Celestial Courts from Kindred of the East (KotE).
In W:tF the focus starts at the Pack, Auspice then Tribe (after the division between Forsaken and Pure of course), with a common root that is based in Ancient Summerian dialects for language.
But frankly to Me, these are mainly flawed systems because of these things mentioned above. They basically tried to shoe horn a social interaction system around … well social interaction, of groupings that have supposed to have been around since the beginnings of recorded time.
And this system is supposed to include both humanity and animal instinct, and social interaction traits. but they dont. And after all that time, someone would have, should have come up with something better.
I believe I have. And I’m not the only one. And as such, I’ve followed the advice thats in the nWoD rules settings… and thrown their ideas the fuck out and substituted My own! … with a lil help. I’m working on my 3rd Doctorate now. One of those Doctorates has an emphasis on Human Interaction Theory. In fact, when in College, I wrote My thesis on Human Interaction Theory, using wolf-pack social dynamics as patterned basis for manipulating social engineering in group settings.
Thats long speak for I used wolf pack social dynamics to not only predict what humans were going to to, but to direct them to what and where I wanted them to go as a social experiment. it was REALLY interesting.
And Im not the only one whom has not only noticed this, but has tried to put it to good use.
WhiteWolf noticed this and as a result expanded their pantheon of spirit interactions. They also used the same ideas to change things a bit when they moved from W:tA to W:tF, upto and including adding in language as their common bond, and ancient ties (in this case Sumerian), refocusing the game to begin at the pack level and work upwards, etc…
There is an author named Patricia Briggs whom writes two relevant series called the Mercy Thompson Series, and the Alpha and Omega Series. Shes a great writer whom gives great social cues for including both human and animal interactions. I point her out because:
- She’s a great writer whom points out a LOT of good things about humanity and animals, as well as great ways to include those things as RP elements.
- She’s honestly taken a lot of the examples an work load out of having to do all this Myself and put it both into words and on paper. lol. At least up until now anyways. Up until this post this has just been an oral tradition (conversation) that I’ve had with players in between game times.
Q: So what does this mean exactly?
A: This mean… This means that I dont use either W:tA or W:tF, but what I’ve come to call ‘The Briggs Model’. or the Modified Briggs Model, as over time, I’ve changed even that and made it its own special brand of My own. maybe It needs a new name? I’ll let you decide that later lol.
The Briggs Model: (Modified) The World is the world we live in now. But the supernatural world, is broken up into petty nations and kingdoms of sorts, shared, and broken up among the various types of supernaturals, some in the shadows, some… less so.
While at this point no one group is currently “out” in mainstream society, the idea that has been out and out said in the New World of Darkness is that humanity knows that there are things out there in varying degrees, but chooses to hide its collective head under the covers as it did when it was child hoping it couldnt be seen. And with good reason
Werewolves are by far the most numerous types of werecreatures (in fact ‘the Government’ only currently follows reports on werewolves and not other types as they currently have as of yet not turned up any relevant date. ie no proof any other type of therianthrope [read were-creature] exists as yet) in the nWoD, but others are known to exist, if only among the supernatural groups themselves or as lore.
as it sits at the moment (and has since before there was a United States of America actually), North America (Canada, the United States, down through Mexico but not ‘South’ America) is under the control of one Alpha. While individual packs maintain their own territories, as well as their own Alpha’s, those packs in turn run a hierarchy with progressively dominant pack groupings all the way up to the Alpha of Alphas himself, whose name is often just whispered and often not directly referred to, at least not in public or across telephone lines.
Other countries have their own arrangements, with Greece having their own strong and long heritage, Britain having a King, as well as Russia, Japan and number of other countries holding their own groupings, territories and rankings. None of which, when it IS spoke of, at all, are known to be anywhere near as dominant as the Alpha of North America known in certain circles as ‘the Marrok’.
While some territories attempt to use their peoples as standing armies, and a few have (very quietly) claimed the Marrok does the same thing, only with better skill as to no one noticing, those with any type of brain in their head and forethought have actually noticed that the Marrok, while strict and stern most times, seems to be maintaining North America as a safe haven, often offering asylum and reprieves well within reason to outsiders if they so choose to dwell within his borders and maintain the rather generous laws he tends to keep, while cracking down on those whom break his laws like a rocket powered iron fist on those whom outright challenge of defy his leadership. he is an Alpha of Alpha’s after all.
Fore the record, the therianthrope communities at large maintain their own languages as well as a type of were-common to speak among themselves when they gather.
The Werewolves of My campaign are usually born human, though very very rarely, an animal changer (born animal) is born. And rarer still someone born a shifter as opposed to being made one later on.
I’ve kept that they have interactions with the spirit world (not ghosts but the actual spirit world), and that they share an balancing act between offering prayers and thanks to the spirits of greater rank while occasionally bullying the lesser spirits (they share a kind of Lucifuge type of relationship, only with spirits instead of demons) and they share pack magic and pack bonds as their form of personal magic, while being tough, strong and regenerating at very fast rates.
These are the werewolves that most people hear legends and stories about.
Werewolves know that there are another type of werewolf out there (no, not referring to skin changers which are functionally the same and just as despised) that are referred to in hushed tones and whispers, or occasionally as bedtime stories, called First Worlder’s.
While first worlder’s are technically therianthrope’s from what are now known as different dimensions, planes, worlds or timelines. However, First Worlder’s (caps) are known among the storied and well learned to usually be a type of Royalty from a land of greater magic that was long separated from out own world. There, royal houses vie for power, attention and more, often using our world (the Second World) as a border skirmish or even a place of Exile. In the First World, werewolves hold a similar position to both W:tA & W:tF as type of border marshal, guardian and warrior born.
Those whom know of the First World, know, that when a First World Werewolf shows up, there is almost always trouble of the kind that can put whole territories at risk.
So there you go. A break down of not only whats gone on before, but a break down the why’s and how’s. As well as some background ideas and explanations. If you have any questions or things you’d like to discuss, please drop Me a line. I’ll be posting more as I can.
Additional Note: So with the GMC book, we get alternate Timelines, and with Mirrors, we get alternate world settings and such. for the moment I am entertaining that W:tF & W:tA are both alternate worlds (or are WE the alternate one?) that can be traveled to, or maybe from. However I typically wont be using them directly as is until I have a hard copy of their respective books in hand. that being said, I am still using the game mechanics for W:tF as well as Spirit Slayers for building Werewolves, its the social stuff (fluff) that has mainly changed, overall. With special circumstance bonus’s for First Worlders (which for the record could be any type, for instance a First World Vampire is a real possibility, would be stronger (in some way) than a regular vampire etc) . And there you have it.
I think the next one I’ll write about will be the Vampires maybe?