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Sell me on Werewolf: The Apocalypse

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  • Sell me on Werewolf: The Apocalypse

    I'd like to start with saying that while I don't dislike this gameline, it's probably the one I know the least. I remember reading some old manuals and I could try with W20 one day. Still, talk to me about this game. How would you run it? I heard that Apocalypse is something to be played like the old norsemyths. How would you fit the Umbra and the most out there plot hooks in a chronicle? In short, how would you make an epic game? What makes this so good?

  • #2
    So many questions......

    Well, WtA ist a very complex Setting, that has changed from 1st Edition over 2nd to revised and finally W20.

    It can be used to play through a whole variety of genres: detective stories, search and destroy plots, negotiations, protect a place or guard a person missions, indiana jones-esque stories, love stories. With the umbra there are also a lot of fantasy elements, that can be incorporated into the game or toned down, depending on play-style.
    Also, there are elements in the Setting, that allow for racism, sexism, exploitation and similar elements to be game elements, not only on the antagonist front, but also as a theme that players and STs can explore for their characters and their allies, it they choose to do so.

    In Werewolf you play the heroes, and while the characters are the good ones, they aren't the nice one's. And the ST can enforce this by bringing up a lot of moral Dilemmas, most of all whether or not collateral damage is acceptable in any given situation. And, depending on the style of play, focus on grief or regret regarding actions the players took and possibly the feelings that arise from feeling bad about something one has done while the society applauses said action.

    I prefer it as a LARP game over Vampire, because the werewolves of a sept work together and there is little intrigue and backstabbing within the game. Packs try to outshine one another in the fight against the common enemy, but wouldn't harm another pack of the same sept in their efforts on purpose.
    This carries over in the tabletop game, where players usually play a pack, meaning that they work together to gain renown and therefor the ability to rise in Rank.

    Basically, you and every other role-playing gamer can find a part of the Setting that suits you.

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    • #3
      The Apocalypse is akin to Norse Raganarök - a foretold end of the world scenario. But while the PCs life in a society that believes this event to occur, depending on edition of the Setting, within the lifetime of the PCs or within a few years, it doesn't have to be the center of the chronicle. If you see the Apocalypse as an event, it surely is the end of the chronicle anyways, for even if the word doesn't end, the game afterwards wouldn't be the WtA Setting anymore. If you see it as the name of an era, that is upon us, then you still need other plots to run. So, just like the Masquerade is something within the VtM Setting, it isn't the main plot hook, and neither is the Apocalypse for WtA - although the werewolves undertake missions to ward of the Apokalypse as best as they can. Those Missions can be a central plot element.

      The Umbra is essentially a part of the world. Imagine if you had the ability to step into a mirror world, where you could move around, gather information and gain power, and then re-emerge some place else, as you desire. Garou use that fairly often, however, the personal play-style differs greatly here. And all the other regions within the Umbra, that aren't the exact mirror of the world, I hardly use.

      That is, I personally like down-to-the-ground games. Even there I can create plots with high stakes. I don't go for the epic "end of the World" scenarios, or "Saving the space-time" like in OPPs "Shattered Dreams". It's not that this isn't also Werewolf, but personally, creating a plot where the PCs might loose their families to unjust arrest and imprisonment is a much darker and personal scenario then curing the world. That said, one probably starts as Cliath (Rank 1) and has to reach Rank 4+ to really go into world-changing events - imo.

      EDIT: That said, with a bit of 'suspension of disbelief' in regards to the scenarios I had a lot of fun playing epic stories, but I wouldn't go there as a ST.

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      • #4
        The most interesting part in Werewolf, for me, is the realization of the characters that the world is not what they thought it was. Maybe you're kinfolk, okay, but are you really prepared to be this kind of a monster? Are you prepared for the strict social rules that dominate werewolf society? Do you accept your destiny? Or is this all too much? Why is everyone expecting so much?
        Werewolf society has many problems to sell their ideals to younger generations of garou. The worlds of humans and garou were never further apart.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TheVarulfen View Post
          ...but are you really prepared to be this kind of a monster?
          I find this is a valid point, but highly depending on game style.
          If a ST doesn't regularly ask for Rage rolls, the chances of frenzy are limited and this aspect being monstrous is toned down.
          If a ST doesn't enforce the Curse or simply doesn't have much interaction with humans within his stories anyway, the aspect of being monstrous is also toned down.

          And given that werewolves are very emotional beings, compassion and other not-monstrous aspects are a bigger part of the game. Therefore the game can also be about the PCs realization, that they are very humane monsters (or at least can be).

          Originally posted by TheVarulfen View Post
          Are you prepared for the strict social rules that dominate werewolf society?
          Do you find the social rules are very strict?
          I do not. While PCs have concrete renown and rank values to compare NPC usually only have rank. And even then, there is constant testing the restrictions of the own place in the hierarchy, at least with those closest do one self.

          As for the Laws, or duties of sept offices and all that. There is a broad leeway for interpretation and each sept does have their own way of doing things (within reason).
          Vampire, has a far more rigid social system than werewolf.

          And while there are possibly huge differences to what some humans have experienced before the First Change, many young cubs might be able to relate. Pecking order in gangs, sport teams, school aren't that different, as is peer pressure, the urge to belong, companionship.

          And given that werewolves often couldn't find that with humans in their life before the First Change, due to the Curse, their integration into garou society often fills a void in their lives.

          Originally posted by TheVarulfen View Post
          Do you accept your destiny? Or is this all too much? Why is everyone expecting so much?
          A great aspect of the game.

          Originally posted by TheVarulfen View Post
          Werewolf society has many problems to sell their ideals to younger generations of garou. The worlds of humans and garou were never further apart.
          That is the way it is often described. But it totally depends on where your life was headed before the first change.

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