Werewolf 2.0 & Nine Ways It Could Be Streamlined



  • Intro

    I've been reading Werewolf: The Forsaken 2nd Edition lately, with an eye towards an upcoming tabletop campaign that I'll be storytelling. Even though I don't mush much anymore, I spent quite a few years playing and staffing at various places, so I can't help but think sometimes, how I'd handle house rules on a mush.

    It's super long. So skip or skim at your convenience. I'm interested to know where you agree or disagree.

    tl:dr version: The crux of my disagreement with Werewolf 2.0 is that it carries over too much baggage from the 90s owod cosmology and detracts from the theme of actually playing a werewolf. They have imported vampire concepts (who are thematically sympathetic to conspiracies, intrigues and factions) into a setting that should be more feral, and whose coherence is harmed by White Wolf's needs to do things in a White Wolfy fashion, whether it adds or subtracts to the experience.

    Nine Design Hacks

    1. The Shadow and Spirits detract from the core werewolf experience

    Issue: Spirit stuff is so prevalent that it detracts from the experience of playing a pack-oriented primal death machine. Very few of my regular players can be bothered to keep all of the lore aspects and terms in their head at all times (or even pronounce half of them), while also trying to stay in character as a supernatural werewolf! As both a player and a storyteller, I have rarely seen the Shadow done right, or spirit interaction (such as chiminiage) handled in a consistently interesting or exciting fashion. It also began to get obnoxious when their solution to every mystery was to ask local spirits.

    Thematically, while lunar spirits, helions and possessed murder trains worked well enough in the old werewolf cosmology, they're an awkward fit in nwod.

    Solution: I would excise this portion of the game and consider it no great loss. Inasmuch as references to the Shadow persists, it would be more mythological than anything else. All of the First Tongue terms which the writers are so enamored of, are instead treated as rare knowledge, known only to those steeped in mysterious and ancient traditions. Players are free to focus on wrapping their heads around just being a werewolf without having to do the equivalent of researching the hierarchy, beliefs, history and liturgy of the Armenian Orthodox Church..

    This also removes totem spirits from the equation, and affects how loci/gifts/renown/auspice are handled. I wouldn't mind a 'totem like' teamwork merit that allowed packs to specialize. Loci, auspices, gifts and renown are treated below.

    1. Loci are a needless complication.

    Issue: The concept of territory is everything to werewolves, and I find it uninteresting that it is basically boiled down to a spirit battery. It lessens everything else they might have claimed. Coded loci have never been done well on a mush (trust me, I would know) and they have never been clever or interesting. While the essence battery aspect can work on a tabletop where every dot of expenditure is micro-regulated, on a mush, it never seems to line up. On The Reach, loci accumulated hundreds of essence without ever being spent, which wasn't realistic. Furthermore, most staff never bother to make players defend their loci, so it gets taken for granted. There's also the various accusations of favoritism and the bullshit of handling when a loci gets stronger or weaker.

    Solution: I would have werewolf packs generate a 'communal' store of essence at a rate determined by the size of the pack multiplied by the size of the territory they were able to effectively claim. They could acquire additional essence from forcing other packs to be their tributaries.

    This simple hack loosens up the log jam of the loci issue exponentially. Every new shit-heel pack on the grid doesn't need their own loci anymore, which is never realistically managed anyways. It gives werewolves a built-in, automatic reason to congregate, and a vehicle for interesting conflict.

    Gaining new members in a pack, guarding and expanding a pack's territory, and gaining a dominant position over other packs - that's what drives werewolf 'politics'.

    1. Auspices are a needless complication

    Issue: Having people pigeonhole themselves into an auspice detracts far more than it adds to gameplay. I've often encountered situations where multiple people in a group wanted to be the same role, but felt weird or guilty about it, if someone else had claimed it. Often, I'll see the best players take the auspices they don't want, simply because they think they're doing the 'right thing' by the group.

    Honestly, I find that humans as social animals are so compelled already to seek their niche within a group, that the whole auspice mechanic is completely unneeded. It's another holdover from owod.

    Solution: No auspices. The terms still exist, but they have no game mechanic meaning. No one is 'born' a rahu or an irraka. You will be defined by how your character acts and grows as they gain experience. You could still introduce yourself as the group's rahu or irraka, but that would be more akin to claiming to be the pack's best fighter or its best sneaker. Which someone else in the pack might very well disagree with.

    Mechanically, anyone can buy from any auspice gift list, provided they meet the renown requirements. They can't choose auspice renown as a free gift for acquiring renown, but can spend XP for it. I'll discuss XP more below.

    There are no auspice skills. You can decide that for yourself by the specialties you choose. I would probably add each of the auspice abilities (such as the Irraka's 'closer than you think') to the auspice gift list and make them once a scene, since per-chapter restrictions are hard to enforce on a mush.

    The unique auspice-inflicted conditions would be applicable to anyone, depending on the method of hunting chosen. I'd probably associate each condition with a specific roll, like the Irraka's 'unaware' being a Finesse Attribute + Stealth, etc.

    1. Gifts are too tribe/auspice dependent

    Issue: Many times, I've seen a player have a great concept sketched out in their head, but they weren't able to make it work because they felt like they were gimping themselves by taking an out-of-tribe gift, that cost more XP to acquire. Or they were trespassing in the niche of another. Instead of creating more diverse characters, or by making a simpler system, the gift restrictions actually hurt casual players.

    Solution: I would give everyone access to every gift list. However, excepting the Wolf and Pack gift lists (quite a few of which I would add to/remove/change anyways), the other gift lists like Weather, Dominance, Strength, Shaping, etc, would be purchased at Out-of-Tribe costs. This is because while I want everyone to build the character that feels right for them, I don't want accumulating reams of supernatural gifts to supersede other aspects of character development. Werewolves are already immensely powerful.

    1. Current Renown expectations are unenforceable.

    Issue: Renown is silly. I've staffed (even head-staffed) both owod and nwod. Owod renown accumulation was retarded. Nwod renown accumulation is even more retarded. It works all right on a tabletop, but it fails on a mush. It's either unfair or it's gamed, and no one can ever agree on who deserves what. Show me someone with the audacity to walk around with 5 Honor, and I'll show you a half dozen other people claiming that guy's a twink prick.

    Solution: Renown is by nwod 2.0 standards fairly expensive. Raising Renown costs the same as raising an attribute, like Strength or Composure. Furthermore, there are five Renown categories. I would completely divorce Renown from the spirit aspects (theoretically spirit 'rank' wouldn't mean much). I would reduce the cost of Renown to 3 XP, but I would remove the free gift that comes with it. For a werewolf to raise Purity, Cunning, Wisdom, Honor or Glory would be less a testament to their greatness and more a lifestyle choice of the virtues they want to embody, the effort of which is contained in the XP spend. Just like spending XP to raise your strength, composure or whatever.

    Will there be assholes who don't especially RP a very 'honorable' creature despite say, investing in Honor? Sure. But I would treat it as no more exceptional a problem than the people who don't RP the various attributes on their sheet very well. The important thing, the whole judgment component of Renown gets thrown out of the window, when it essentially becomes a personal lifestyle choice.

    You want really powerful Purity gifts? Fine. Invest in Purity. Although Renown would cost less (at 3 xp instead of 4 xp) it would actually rein back werewolf power. Paying 4 XP is a bargain, when it comes with not only a free gift but increases the potency of all your other gifts.

    1. Tribes are a thematic atavism from the 1990s (Lore Hack)

    Issue: I find tribes to be entirely uninspiring. They're another relic of owod's slightly corny approach to things. I also find them unrealistic, and even White Wolf does too, given the way they twist themselves up to show how the tribes are universal, or how they've changed with the times (Glass Walkers in owod being a good example).

    Tribes only exist because of the White Wolf paradigm of doing certain things a certain way no matter how silly. Otherwise, I don't know why in Nwod, we're still stuck in pseudo 90s-era Native American cosmology, with Brother Wolf or such and tribal ancestors. However, what's most damning about tribes is that humanity itself subscribes to thousands of major creeds, religions, cultures and societies. How is it even remotely possible that werewolves are restricted to five, eight or thirteen tribes? How do these world-wide tribes sustain any meaningful coordination? How have they maintained such cohesion over the centuries?

    Forsaken 2.0 did its best to work around this issue by associating tribes more with the prey they hunt as some universal constant...But I am unconvinced by the effort, which was half-completed at best.There's still a ton of baggage associated with the tribes, and they don't meaningfully enhance RP. Lodges are slightly more realistic, but they have never existed easily with tribes...the tribe and lodge dynamic has always felt like an arbitrary mirroring of vampire bloodlines.

    I would contend that Forsaken tribes are so uninteresting, that if Ghost Wolf characters were allowed to pick their own Gifts and weren't penalized a renown point, there would be far more Ghost Wolf characters than any other tribe.

    Solution: There are thousands of werewolf tribes, as richly diverse and geographically spread out as humanity. In fact, I would think of them as more akin to Lodges. I don't need to describe every tribe in the world. I would set the game in a sensible geographic area and identify them as made sense according to location and ethnic/economic strata.

    The irony of Forsaken is that it thematically goes out of its way to claim that werewolves are MORE human than the owod incarnation, where you had metis and lupus characters (and we're well rid of them). But mechanically, and lore-wise, it shoves the human element of these stories under the rug of its fairly boring, convoluted, Native American inspired cosmology. Think of all the werewolf movies you have seen...what themes did they explore, and would info-dumps about Storm Lord Cahaliths have improved that movie? Or would it come across as corny and stupid?

    There's no reason why werewolves shouldn't be identified with the ethnic/geographic/cultural strata of humanity they emerged from. There's a lot more that can be said on the subject, but not in this post. (There are plenty of creative ways to handle werewolf politics, depending on the kind of game you want. Protectorates, Storm Lords and Tribes don't make much sense in a 'American Werewolf in London' or 'Dog Soldiers' type story.)

    1. Primal Urge should be more of a 'way of life' and less a power stat.

    Issue: I don't like the baggage that comes with players bitching about someone raising their Blood Potency or Primal Urge, how they justify being a Blood Potency 5 neonate, or Primal Urge 5 teenager. People seem to get distracted or fixated with it, like it's something they MUST raise.

    Solution: I've already enacted this rule in my tabletop games. Primal Urge is simply a lifestyle choice. The XP spent represents the effort you've put towards expressing yourself in such a capacity. It was the same with Blood Potency...where for our vampire game, Blood Potency was treated not as a mark of age or strength, but as an indicator of your diet. A 'neonate' could be Blood Potency 6 if they only fed on other vampires, and an elder could be Blood Potency 1-2 if they only allowed themselves to feed on animals, owing to some moral conviction.

    To make this clearer, a higher Primal Urge essentially shows how committed you are to the supernatural/feral aspects of your existence, with all its attendant bonuses and complications for your human side.

    This rule had more of an impact on vampires, but it works philosophically for werewolves as well. Also, when players view it in such a fashion, it becomes more of a 'choice' than something they're compelled to do. It also leads into my next point:

    1. Harmony (and Integrity/Humanity) is a needless complication (Morality Hack)

    Issue: Anyone that has played or staffed on a mush, should know that Harmony/Integrity/Humanity etc, is always a huge pain in the ass. It's either ignored, or it's abused, and it always pisses people off. It's also not very cinematic. It's basically a bad system, that works best when mostly ignored. If you're extremely conscientious about it, it tends to stifle and leave RP stilted and lawyerly. If you have ever seen a +job or a tabletop debate that devolved into some Kantian circle jerk about the ethical dubiousness of an action taken, then you know how soul killing this horrible system is.

    Specifically in Werewolf 2.0, Harmony is so badly handled as to make nightly sessions an exercise in accounting. There are so many things that can raise or lower you, that dozens of Harmony rolls a session are called for. I've always seen this atrocious game mechanic left by the wayside in tabletop. I've never understood why it persists on mushes, where logical enforcement is even more lacking. And again, if you've never had an infuriating +job related to a Morality argument, then you are truly fortunate.

    Solution: I don't use Harmony, Integrity or Humanity in my games. Inasmuch as the game mechanics call for it, I either houserule those, or in the case of Harmony, I assume it's a base level of 6. If it would be higher or lower for any significant reason (perhaps related to NPCs), I will adjust it accordingly. In a werewolf 2.0 game, all wolves would be considered in the 4-6 range.

    In our tabletop game, I associated Humanity with Blood Potency. Blood Potency 1 vampires had the game effects of Humanity 10, and so forth, going down the list. Blood Potency 2 = 9, 3 = 8, etc.

    1. The terror and thrill of shapeshifting is diluted by too many forms

    Issue: Dalu and urshul forms detract from the visceral impact of shapeshifting and the contrast in a werewolf's existence between 'normal' and 'ultra violence', by giving vaguely understood intermediates that are mostly used for either twinking or confusing new players. I've run tabletop werewolf games for many people, and while human, wolf-man and wolf comes naturally to them...They always have trouble with dalu and urshul. Especially older players who tended to exclusively build those forms into combat monsters, and new players who would often stay in hishu or urhan to their detriment.

    Furthermore, by making Dalu or Urshul so superior, it detracts from the experience of being in Hishu or Urhan. I've seen many, many games that basically revolved around those two forms with the occasional jaunt in gauru. This was more prevalent in Forsaken 1.0. Forsaken 2.0 balanced the forms a bit better, but MMO-style 'class' balance does not make for an engaging roleplaying experience.

    Solution: In my games, there are only Human, Wolf-Man and Wolf forms. I buffed Hishu and Urhan to compensate. Hishu regenerates as Dalu, and has Defense vs Firearms and a permanent +1 Stamina. Urhan gets improved as well. The Badass Motherfucker and Weaken the Prey abilities are unused, but may show up in some houserule format.

    There are Wolf Gifts that can simulate Dalu or Urshul, such as by inflicting Lunacy with one's eyes, or by growing claws.

    Thematically, werewolf is all about the potential to unleash terrifying violence on a hair trigger. When players had access to dalu and urshul, they could muscle their way through situations. When they had to choose between staying human or turning into a rampaging death machine, I saw them approach situations with* much* more finesse and creativity, and made violence, when it did happen, that much more cinematic and meaningful.



  • So you want to write a new Werewolf game that's not WtF2e, but uses WtF2e mechanics and some terminology and NWoD2e's mechanics/system.

    Gotcha. It could be an interesting premise, but at that point, you're not bringing a lot of what people like about WtF into the equation.


  • Coder

    @crusader said:

    Spirit stuff is so prevalent that it detracts from the experience of playing a pack-oriented primal death machine.

    And here I stopped reading. I am so, so very glad that Werewolf is no longer about being a "pack-oriented primal death machine", which is a throwback itself to 90s Werewolf.



  • Very constructive.


  • Pitcrew

    Not related to the original post but very amusing to me and this is as good a place to put it as any. I find it horribly amusing that we are getting a Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 right after Werewolf: Spirit Cop version 2 came out.

    Somewhat on topic with the original post, as Bobotron mentioned your "fixes' would take everything I do find fun about werewolf.
    If that is what you and your group find fun that is cool, but I can't help but think if you are going to jettison the WoD ness of the game you could likely find a better system to do a non-WoD werewolf game in.



  • @Bobotron said:

    So you want to write a new Werewolf game that's not WtF2e, but uses WtF2e mechanics and some terminology and NWoD2e's mechanics/system.

    Gotcha. It could be an interesting premise, but at that point, you're not bringing a lot of what people like about WtF into the equation.

    It depends on what people like most about werewolf. Do they like the werewolf aspect, or if they like the Shadow/Spirit aspect, which has no definable place in most werewolf fiction, and is an invention of White Wolf.

    Vampire was able to ditch a lot of its 90-esque lore and streamline the vampire experience, but Forsaken mostly took the cartoonish 90s lore and just made it more confusing.

    When I get new players in a tabletop game, they're psyched up about playing werewolves. The Native American cosmology aspects/spirits/totems/chiminiage, always bogged them down and never left them particularly excited.

    It's about telling werewolf stories.



  • @crusader
    I think my point is more 'you're pulling out the things people who already would be interested in playing Forsaken, would like about it'. If they want to play Werewolf: the Full Moon Killer Machine then it's really something else, as you have to strip down more or less everything that is WtF, and will draw in people who like WtF out of hand, to do so.

    Doesn't mean people won't like the changes, just means that it might be easier to do in a system that allows more customization, rather than re-jiggering something that will take more work.



  • @Thenomain said:

    And here I stopped reading. I am so, so very glad that Werewolf is no longer about being a "pack-oriented primal death machine", which is a throwback itself to 90s Werewolf.

    Then you have a remarkably shallow understanding of what constituted 90s Werewolf, and what point I was trying to make.

    Which is that the poorly fleshed out cosmology of the spirit world, and its pseudo Native American philosophy detracted from actually playing a werewolf. Vampire has no equivalent distraction...its themes are closely aligned with what people expect from a thematic modern vampire story.

    Werewolf tends to throw in a curve ball and leaps into a uniquely White Wolf fantasy aspect. It detracts from the primal horror, and makes the game less appealing to those who would have been sold at 'werewolves'.

    The cosmology worked in 90s werewolf, because the whole game was sort've meant to be corny. But it did not adapt well to nwod's attempts to focus more seriously on the human condition.

    I would have hoped that the admin of this board, would have had something even 'mildly more constructive' than the typical this is where I stopped reading trope of a response.



  • To me, it does seem like you want a more American Werewolf in London game than a WoD Werewolf game. Everything you've taken out or changed is specific to the WoD Werewolf. Everything that's left can be found in any other Werewolf trope anywhere. I do like the part about the Gifts, I've had concepts fall apart because I couldn't take Gifts from specific trees... but in the overall that seems relatively minor compared to the sweeping changes you're suggesting.

    Mind, I'm not saying that you're doing anything wrong. Play to suit the game your players want. But with all those changes, you're no longer playing WoD Werewolf, be it Classic, New, or 2.0. You're playing a general Werewolf themed game that could be plucked from nearly any horror movie.


  • Coder

    I think you're somewhat missing the point of what @Bobotron @Miss-Demeanor and @Thenomain are saying. You're right in that people completely unfamiliar with WoD likely have a different perception of playing a werewolf, but what the others are stressing is that anyone with even a passing familiarity with werewolves, as imagined by White Wolf, expects many of those pieces you're ripping out.

    I don't think anyone is saying that a game of werewolf like you describe has anything wrong with it and may even be great, but it's just no longer WoD Werewolf. If we can agree on that much, I'd say that your changes are too drastic for what I'd want to play, but I'm one of those that wants to play Werewolf as envisioned in WtF 2.0.



  • @Glitch I get what Bobotron is saying (I don't think Theno was saying much of anything). I agree, and it's a very valid point. If you have a group of people who are very invested in the Shadow side/First Tongue aspect of things, with performing chiminiage and learning gifts from spirits...Then more power to you. MUSH-wise, I've almost never seen it handled in an interesting or exciting manner. More of a chore than anything else. If something is hand-waved 95% of the time, how important is it?

    All that stuff works great, when everyone is equally knowledgeable and on board with it. I rarely if ever, find in werewolf spheres, more than 1 in 4 who are conversational in the Shadow stuff. Vampire doesn't have that issue.

    But I think people are reading too much into the Shadow's removal. Is that all Werewolf: The Forsaken is to you? The Spirit/Shadow aspects? I've always seen it as more of a ''sub component' within the main game, whose inclusion or not doesn't fundamentally change the core themes. There was even some pdf released online by one of the White Wolf writers about houserules for removing it.

    I'd be curious to know what in the other eight points is a significant departure from the core themes.



  • @Miss-Demeanor said:

    To me, it does seem like you want a more American Werewolf in London game than a WoD Werewolf game. Everything you've taken out or changed is specific to the WoD Werewolf. Everything that's left can be found in any other Werewolf trope anywhere. I do like the part about the Gifts, I've had concepts fall apart because I couldn't take Gifts from specific trees... but in the overall that seems relatively minor compared to the sweeping changes you're suggesting.

    Mind, I'm not saying that you're doing anything wrong. Play to suit the game your players want. But with all those changes, you're no longer playing WoD Werewolf, be it Classic, New, or 2.0. You're playing a general Werewolf themed game that could be plucked from nearly any horror movie.

    I guess it depends on one's interpretation. There were a series of PDFs released by the Werewolf: Forsaken writers a year or two ago, called 'Chronicles', which dealt with various lore and mechanic hacks. Some of them were much more radical than I have suggested, and some anticipated the changes made in Werewolf 2.0 (such as werewolf sex no longer being a 'bad thing' which was also a holdover from owod metis stuff). They thought they were still playing nwod werewolf. Nwod as a setting doesn't even mention the Shadow until the Forsaken supplement. And ghosts/spirits/demons have never interacted very logically.

    In my nine points, I've got one radical point - the removal of the Shadow - which very few people display an adequate grasp of, and the rest is basically streamlining what is currently poorly managed or handwaved in current games.

    But answer me this...In what ways is nwod Vampire markedly different from any other vampire horror movie? It basically toes the line of our popular culture interpretation of such creatures.



  • @ThatGuyThere said:

    Somewhat on topic with the original post, as Bobotron mentioned your "fixes' would take everything I do find fun about werewolf.
    If that is what you and your group find fun that is cool, but I can't help but think if you are going to jettison the WoD ness of the game you could likely find a better system to do a non-WoD werewolf game in.

    Setting aside the Shadow aspect (which I probably shouldn't have lead off with, in retrospect) What else would I remove, that you find to be very fun? I get the objections to the Shadow removal, but I don't get what's so onerous about the others.

    Keeping track of Harmony? Loci management? Which might work on a tabletop but is hell to do any justice on a MUSH. Everyone spending entire sessions in Dalu or Urshul? Merit-based Renown? Tribes? White Wolf itself constantly backpedals about the importance or universality of the tribes.

    Is that really everything you find fun?

    Lots of what I take issue with can be handled just fine on a tabletop, if the ST and players are on the same page. But I've never seen Renown or Morality, for example, handled to even a majority of player's satisfaction on a game.


  • Pitcrew

    Well what do you leave after the changes?
    Basically you get big and hairy and territorial and kill things? Maybe I am over simplifying but with out the spirit world and the loci you remove the intellectual core the things my character and have deeply held feeling s about,. with out the murdering of Father wolf why do the pure and forsaken have a beef? It sounds like it becomes gang warfare fuzzy division. Again nothing wrong with that if you and your players have fun but that does not appeal to me.
    To me the harmony and other morality systems is what make a lot of WoD for me. having to make hard choices on what does my character do knowing that when he acts to do what it has to it will come with a price take that away and well it just gets too d-n-d for me. Part of what draws me to WoD is the slow lose of self that dropping morality brings, and that that lose is close to inevitable.
    To me your game could be fun yes but it sound very combat centered. And well for a combat centered game I would want something more robust then WoD as a rules set.
    To me the draw of WoD any flavor has been the setting, While the rules keep improving I still find myself playing WoD in spite of the system rather then because of it.



  • @ThatGuyThere said:

    Well what do you leave after the changes?
    Basically you get big and hairy and territorial and kill things? Maybe I am over simplifying but with out the spirit world and the loci you remove the intellectual core the things my character and have deeply held feeling s about,. with out the murdering of Father wolf why do the pure and forsaken have a beef? It sounds like it becomes gang warfare fuzzy division. Again nothing wrong with that if you and your players have fun but that does not appeal to me.
    To me the harmony and other morality systems is what make a lot of WoD for me. having to make hard choices on what does my character do knowing that when he acts to do what it has to it will come with a price take that away and well it just gets too d-n-d for me. Part of what draws me to WoD is the slow lose of self that dropping morality brings, and that that lose is close to inevitable.
    To me your game could be fun yes but it sound very combat centered. And well for a combat centered game I would want something more robust then WoD as a rules set.
    To me the draw of WoD any flavor has been the setting, While the rules keep improving I still find myself playing WoD in spite of the system rather then because of it.

    Fair enough. I liked this post, and what you're trying to convey here, so I'm going to give it a comprehensive reply.

    In my personal experience, only about one in four players are ever successful in attaining an adequate grasp of the Shadow, and most of those are owod veterans who basically transplant their owod understanding of spirits to the Forsaken version of spirits.

    But I completely understand how someone could enjoy and be attached to it. I just don't think it's ever given adequate justice on a MUSH. The 'intellectual core' of anything rarely is on a MUSH.

    I don't actually disagree with anything you've written here (except one thing). Everything you've mentioned, the Shadow, Harmony, Loci, etc, can all work very well when ST and players are on the same page.

    That said. I want us to step away from the theoretical and look at the purely pragmatic. Have you ever played on a MUSH game where you were happy with how Loci, Harmony and totem spirits were handled by the game's staff? Or, be honest with me...and I've staffed several places so I know the answer here...Do things like Loci, Harmony and totem spirits get more or less completely ignored or handwaved by staff?

    How vital or important can they be? Nine out of ten times, any +job related to the loss of Harmony/Morality/Humanity is rife with disagreement. Forsaken 2.0 has something like 10x the number of Harmony checks. I don't know how it got past playtesting. How important is something when the majority of the players try to rules-lawyer their way around it?

    But I only really take issue with one thing you've written, which is that it makes the game more 'combat centered'. I don't understand that at all. Spirits and the Shadow are a vehicle to create more fights, violence and conflict in the game. Oh, it's a murder spirit, let's beat it up! Oh, there's a claimed! Kill it!

    Realistically speaking, the removal of the Shadow, and especially of Dalu and Urshul forms, and shift the focus more on the human condition, makes for far more nuanced and elss combatty games. We've done it on tabletop, and I think it'd work just as well on a mush (since 75% of mushers are ignorant about 75% of the 'intellectual parts' anyways)..

    It's a shift in focus from the spirit conditions to the human condition. And again, it's about ditching baggage from owod. Forsaken 1.0 had inter-werewolf sex as a sin. Why? No particular reason. It was just a holdover of owod metis. Spirits are the same. I prefer to keep it to just ghosts as described in the nwod core book.

    ADDENDUM: I realize I didn't address the Pure, earlier. Whenever they've been used well as NPCs, people have bitched remorselessly (Haunted Memories - just ask AQ). When they've been introduced as PCs, people have bitched remorselessly (The Reach). They aren't core to the game, and are just a White Wolfism. Rival packs, tribes, protectorates or lodges can have the same function. I always saw them as more of a parody of owod garou.



  • @crusader said:

    Very few of my regular players can be bothered to keep all of the lore aspects and terms in their head at all times (or even pronounce half of them), while also trying to stay in character as a supernatural werewolf!

    Most really immersive experiences I had where I felt like the terminology worked had to do with what specific part of the Werewolf world my character interacted with; keeping it sparse never really seemed like a problem for me. I didn't feel the need to memorize and use the entire lexicon. The new terms sound and feel more guttural and real, which helps.

    As both a player and a storyteller, I have rarely seen the Shadow done right, or spirit interaction (such as chiminiage) handled in a consistently interesting or exciting fashion.

    I'm just going to leave this here.

    That is seriously one of the coolest and most detailed Shadow-intensive chronicles I've ever read, and I'd recommend it to anyone playing or STing Werewolf.



  • @Wizz

    There's always going to be exceptions. As I've said before. About 1 out of every 4 werewolf players in any given werewolf sphere seem to 'get it'. But when players do get it, it rarely seems to create an immersive or exciting experience for the rest. I'm glad there are exceptions. I've seen precious few of them. (And I know that this kind of post is the exact kind of post that draws these kind of counter-examples. But I think if people are honest with themselves and judge the whole breadth of their nwod experience across various games or spheres, they'll acknowledge what is usually done poorly or most often misunderstood by new players.)

    Maybe I have a different perspective since so many of the people I run tabletop sessions for are not MUSH or WoD veterans. Maybe if you haven't head-staffed a sphere a couple times, you haven't been constantly exposed to those who have the most difficulty.

    My tabletop players are usually trying to fully engage in the 'werewolf experience' with its sensory input, rage and new feral approach to life's various hurdles, and have little interest in the pseudo Native American cosmology aspect of it. Some of Forsaken's own original writers agree.

    Most players I've encountered in werewolf spheres, are like my tabletop players in most respects. A handful (like those that post on WORA or boards like this) are much more confident and knowledgeable.

    Again. Regardless of Theno's seemingly deliberate, facetious misunderstanding, it's not about making the game more sparse or combat heavy. It's about shifting the focus from the spirit world to the human condition, which is actually keeping more in line with nwod's tropes than the heavily owod-inspired version of the Forsaken myth. And again, the original Forsaken even kept the metis taboo (even with no real reason for it), until 2.0 let it die.



  • It's also worth considering, as M-D alluded to before, that making a game hew more closely to an 'American Werewolf in London' style theme, is as much 'Nwod Werewolf' as anything involving the Shadow.

    Look at all the movies and books, like the Howling, Dog Soldiers, etc, that White Wolf mentions as primary influences in virtually every WoD werewolf sourcebook. I've seen them mention 'American Werewolf in London' a dozen times across various supplements.

    There's nothing inherently anti-WoD about excising the Shadow/Umbra cosmology of it to focus on those aspects. The average player reacts better to its exclusion. Most staff or prp runners can't effectively or interestingly handle the Shadow RP anyways. Of course, my hats off to those exceptions that can.

    In the grand scheme of things, its actually a relatively minor facet...when you consider core themes at work in a typical werewolf story, or even a typical World of Darkness story.



  • @crusader Typical vampire horror has zero politics, generally has no competing factions of vampires, rarely has Clans at all... I can go on. Its more about the angst over or reveling in BEING a vampire, generally speaking. There's been some obvious exceptions. I still think Underworld drew from WoD.

    If you proposed to take away all the things of WoD Vampire that you propose to take away from WoD Werewolf? I would have zero interest in that game. Dracula's story was never overly interesting to me. Nor was Twilight's angsty teens. I enjoy those aspects that make the game unique, instead of just Vampire/Werewolf game #3729.



  • @Miss-Demeanor said:

    @crusader Typical vampire horror has zero politics, generally has no competing factions of vampires, rarely has Clans at all... I can go on. Its more about the angst over or reveling in BEING a vampire, generally speaking. There's been some obvious exceptions. I still think Underworld drew from WoD.

    If you proposed to take away all the things of WoD Vampire that you propose to take away from WoD Werewolf? I would have zero interest in that game. Dracula's story was never overly interesting to me. Nor was Twilight's angsty teens. I enjoy those aspects that make the game unique, instead of just Vampire/Werewolf game #3729.

    I disagree. Underworld is an example, but even Blade, Twilight and especially Interview with a Vampire revolved around vampiric politics and factions. Most other recent examples, such as that one, Days or such, about vampires hunting humans. The typical forgettable Ethan Hawke vehicle. Even Lost Boys and uh, that movie with James Caan and one of the Baldwin brothers. Dusk til Dawn was basically the Sabbat. Along with that Alaska vampire movie.

    Whatever one's reservations about the various franchises listed, none of them are appreciably more corny than owod vampire (which was primarily inspired by the above films, excepting Twilight).

    I'm having a hard time thinking of a major modern vampiric influence in the popular culture that eschewed political concepts/factions. Either as vampires competing amongst themselves, or as a thinly veiled metaphor for human political conflict. Church vs the vampires is the most common exception.

    There are some that deal with the individual horror of the vampiric condition, though I'm having trouble thinking of one that had an influence comparable to the above.

    So I think I must be missing something, if you think the opposite is true.