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Lupus are not hard to play- a counterargument on perspective

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post

    We are playing magical werewolves who go into spirit worlds and are joined by a slew of other animal changers. If wolves are smarter than IRL, I don't think it breaks the game.

    Pretty much my thinking. But I'm less going through your first change is "Flowers for algernon" for Lupus and more like "Suddenly I understand humans" like "Suddenly I can go into the Umbra" its like that.... your "Cunning" Lupus could have all the human lore he wants but he will never understand in ways a shifter will.. same with humans being described the Umbra.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Lian View Post


      Pretty much my thinking. But I'm less going through your first change is "Flowers for algernon" for Lupus and more like "Suddenly I understand humans" like "Suddenly I can go into the Umbra" its like that.... your "Cunning" Lupus could have all the human lore he wants but he will never understand in ways a shifter will.. same with humans being described the Umbra.
      There is also the fact that a lot of this language discussion... doesn't really go into play much. Unless STs force you to never use any human language, after a few session the pack should communicate together fine. Unlike the alpha or no alpha or heritage of the tribes discussion, the language issue of the lupus is mostly backstory restriction.


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      • #18
        Originally posted by heinrich View Post
        I, personally, find it more believable, that a metis gains that sort of knowledge over a couple of years - compared to a lupus wo needs somewhat between minutes and days.
        Don't forget that there is an undefined period as a cub undergoes tutelage and prepares for his rite of passage. I've always imagined that for most homid Garou, the First Change happens in their early teens and that they are ready for their rite of passage by their late teens. So a 13 year old entering puberty changes, and is ready to be a cliath when he's 17. So even accounting for a variety of experiences as cubs, Garou probably spend 2-5 years as a cub. So combined with their spirit half, that should be plenty of time for a lupus to learn enough about humans and human language to understand the basics and speak a language, even if there are still things that escape them about humanity.

        I know some players don't envision a long time as cubs, but for those who do, it's not really a problem to explain a lupus knowing the basics.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

          Don't forget that there is an undefined period as a cub undergoes tutelage and prepares for his rite of passage. I've always imagined that for most homid Garou, the First Change happens in their early teens and that they are ready for their rite of passage by their late teens. So a 13 year old entering puberty changes, and is ready to be a cliath when he's 17. So even accounting for a variety of experiences as cubs, Garou probably spend 2-5 years as a cub. So combined with their spirit half, that should be plenty of time for a lupus to learn enough about humans and human language to understand the basics and speak a language, even if there are still things that escape them about humanity.

          I know some players don't envision a long time as cubs, but for those who do, it's not really a problem to explain a lupus knowing the basics.
          Plus, as stated in another recent thread, in other games it is entirely justified that the player character is not fresh from their initiation when the game starts. Yet I often see people basically treat a lupus character as if they had only had 2 months or so of training, none of it in blending in with humanity or in language and were then rited fast.

          Essentially, they are making playing lupus much harder by these restrictions homid nor metis characters are given.


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          • #20
            And that's not even accounting for lost cub Lupus that might have even more time to have figured some things out on their own before they were found and undergo formal Garou training.

            I think the longest time any of my lupus characters spent from First Change to start of play was ~5 years because of a few years as a lost cub before being found and trained.

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            • #21
              Something to help with getting into the mindset of a lupus: https://www.wolfquest.org/

              Anniversary version is in Early Access but is still a pretty good game (VASTLY better than the previous tries) and goes into how a wolf survives in the wild.


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              • #22
                This argument looks like one of the typical meta-problems you get with role-playing groups, especially when they try to justify game rules with 'real-world' rules. It's a fundamentally wrong step to attempt to do so but also a very easy path to wander down. In a game with magic and spirits it's important not to use 'technocratic' thinking and enforce badly thought out scientific rules (especially when most people's grasp of science is at a tabloid level). The place for ideas like that is during game-design by the writer.

                To me it's important to remember that the rules promote fairness and balance between players and I think that playing a Lupus and having additional rules restrictions placed on me by the ST/group would be an untenable position.

                Thus as far as I'm concerned rules override lore and therefore, since there are no Lupus specific restrictions in the rules (W20) there should be no attempts at justifying bias against Lupus by claiming that they are somehow inferior or harder to play. There is no difference in the rules between a fresh Lupus, Homid, or Metis character other than the choice of skills, abilities, merits, flaws, etc and thus there should be no difference in how they are required to be played.

                On the other hand if you want your Lupus character to communicate in yips and growls that's fine too - just don't impose your view of how a Lupus must be played on others.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
                  To me it's important to remember that the rules promote fairness and balance between players and I think that playing a Lupus and having additional rules restrictions placed on me by the ST/group would be an untenable position.
                  Except there is one huge difference between lupus and the other breeds, and that is they get 5 Gnosis compared to 1 for Homid or 3 for Metis.

                  As a result, there is a huge incentive to pick the lupus breed. And if the lupus PC is not played any different than a homid, the other players feel cheated. As a result, many STs want to see a substantial difference in roleplay between homid and lupus.

                  Metis start with more Gnosis than Homids as well, but "pay" for it by picking up a deformity of some kind, and then dealing with NPC antagonism and stigma. Lupus don't "pay" for that extra Gnosis except that some Abilities may not be bought at the beginning. Thus some STs create additional barriers simply to make sure that the extra Gnosis is "earned" in some way.

                  (Auspice and Rage is somewhat similar, but Rage is balanced by the Curse and increased Frenzy, as well as different starting sets of Gifts and social expectations of auspice roles.)

                  I said earlier that I think 90% of these lupus RP restrictions are simply to make sure power gamers don't take advantage of them. It seems to me, a lot of these restrictions are for online games with large player bases, and this is a way to easily gateway the munchkins. I think this shows up a lot less in tabletop games when the gaming group is smaller, and this issue can be handled in other means.

                  However, simply from a roleplay perspective, people do expect a lupus to be portrayed differently from a homid. They want to see that difference expressed somehow. That "how" is open to interpretation. But if people can't distinguish that this character is not a homid, I think it's natural that other players will question this. But I think every gaming group will have its own varying mileage in this regard. As long as its fun for everyone in that group, then it doesn't matter if different groups handle it differently.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

                    Except there is one huge difference between lupus and the other breeds, and that is they get 5 Gnosis compared to 1 for Homid or 3 for Metis.

                    As a result, there is a huge incentive to pick the lupus breed. And if the lupus PC is not played any different than a homid, the other players feel cheated. As a result, many STs want to see a substantial difference in roleplay between homid and lupus.

                    Metis start with more Gnosis than Homids as well, but "pay" for it by picking up a deformity of some kind, and then dealing with NPC antagonism and stigma. Lupus don't "pay" for that extra Gnosis except that some Abilities may not be bought at the beginning. Thus some STs create additional barriers simply to make sure that the extra Gnosis is "earned" in some way.

                    (Auspice and Rage is somewhat similar, but Rage is balanced by the Curse and increased Frenzy, as well as different starting sets of Gifts and social expectations of auspice roles.)

                    I said earlier that I think 90% of these lupus RP restrictions are simply to make sure power gamers don't take advantage of them. It seems to me, a lot of these restrictions are for online games with large player bases, and this is a way to easily gateway the munchkins. I think this shows up a lot less in tabletop games when the gaming group is smaller, and this issue can be handled in other means.

                    However, simply from a roleplay perspective, people do expect a lupus to be portrayed differently from a homid. They want to see that difference expressed somehow. That "how" is open to interpretation. But if people can't distinguish that this character is not a homid, I think it's natural that other players will question this. But I think every gaming group will have its own varying mileage in this regard. As long as its fun for everyone in that group, then it doesn't matter if different groups handle it differently.
                    I'm honestly so against the damn 5 Gnosis, not only because some people still think ANY lupus player wants to powerplay, but also because the in-universe explanation feels rather hogwash for me. Lupus can be more spiritual, sure, but 5 vs 1 is too much for me. Hence I think 2/3/4 distribution between breeds would be fairer.

                    There is also the fact that it leads to the above language discussion, which I feel is too harsh for everyone and only stalls lupus playing needlesly. There should be a difference between how you play a homid vs lupus, yes. But basically forcing the lupus player to do much more than the metis player is a bit too much. Especially when that limit conflicts with auspice roles and tribe (RoP alone would be impossible if the lupus can't think more human.)


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                    • #25
                      To me, I do not think it is a matter of whether playing lupus is hard or not but I do think it requires more thought to play it in a manner that I feel is correct, which should not have a bearing on how you portray your character. Many people see it as harder if they do not want to put in the effort to think what it would be like to be a wolf rather than a human and therefore portray the character accordingly. From my experience in my groups most player choose Lupus because of the bonus to Gnosis and it is more of a choice to power-game, not in a bad way per se so maybe we should say maximize, the system rather than to portray a wolf. In my opinion, which once again should have no bearing on your characterization, there are more considerations to playing a wolf than to just play what you are, a human, and call it a wolf. Anyone can write up a sheet and start playing the game, so I don't think it is hard but I often tell people that I feel will not put the effort in their portrayal of a Lupus, that it is harder. This attitude often perpetuates the myth and in my effort to tell them how to play I forget that I am doing it wrong myself. Enjoying the game is the only correct way to play, no matter what you have on your sheet.

                      Recently though I have come to the idea that there is no wrong way to play the game so long as you are having fun and I need to get over my hangups of years of telling people they're doing it wrong and trying to mould them into my version of any WoD game. I can not control what other people do or say but only the way I react to it and in trying to change others I was playing wrong because I was losing my love for the game. I do recommend they at least read Way of the Wolf as it has a lot of material that will help anyone understand what the wolf might think. But if you want to play a Lupus that is always in Homid form or acts like a Human I now say go for it. As long as we both have a love for the game we are playing who am I to judge.

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                      • #26
                        There are some rules differences between the Breeds. So there is some mechanical enforcement of them being different (even if slight for Lupus beyond the starting Gnosis).

                        Also, since it seems relevant, I could dredge up my old thread about a house rule for more fair starting Rage/Gnosis/Willpower if people want.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                          Also, since it seems relevant, I could dredge up my old thread about a house rule for more fair starting Rage/Gnosis/Willpower if people want.
                          You could, if Gnosis 5 is still the biggest crux of the argument.


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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
                            I'm honestly so against the damn 5 Gnosis, not only because some people still think ANY lupus player wants to powerplay, but also because the in-universe explanation feels rather hogwash for me. Lupus can be more spiritual, sure, but 5 vs 1 is too much for me. Hence I think 2/3/4 distribution between breeds would be fairer.
                            I wonder if some kind of simple mechanical change could help. Like make the distribution 1/2/3, and then say the lupus PC needs to take some kind of appropriate 2 point flaw associated with their animal nature. It might be something like Pack Mentality or Territorial, or a supernatural flaw that simulates pop culture visions of the werewolf like Banned Transformation (in vicinity of wolfsbane), Forced Transformation, Mark of the Predator, or Sign of the Wolf. The lupus essentially gets two free Freebies for having 2 extra Gnosis, but pays for it with a flaw. It is an easy house rule to remember, isn't punishing for the lupus PC, and allows the possibility of the PC later paying it off through appropriate roleplay as the lupus learns more about himself and Garou/human society.

                            That would eliminate power gamers from gravitating to the lupus breed, leaving that option only to people who want to truly play a lupus.

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                            • #29
                              I’ve been thinking of this for a while now aswell. Personally I too have reserved playing Lupus for more experienced players willing to play them more wolf-like, though personally I have less of a problem with powergaming at my table currently, but then I always remember Fransesco. The Pentex Executive BSD Lupus. He not only manages the cuthroat politics of Pentex but actually leads Project Iliad as well. Yes he likely does all this through the lens of his predatory insticts but still he goes against most expectations laid down on Lupus and putting all these artificial RP limits on playing them actually would make it exceedingly hard for players to achieve something similar to Fransisco.

                              So I kinda end up trying to balance the middle ground, I let people play Lupus (or other animal born changers) but remind them to try and bring the animal nature out in their RP but wont actually penalize them more than the limits of chargen do.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

                                I wonder if some kind of simple mechanical change could help. Like make the distribution 1/2/3, and then say the lupus PC needs to take some kind of appropriate 2 point flaw associated with their animal nature. It might be something like Pack Mentality or Territorial, or a supernatural flaw that simulates pop culture visions of the werewolf like Banned Transformation (in vicinity of wolfsbane), Forced Transformation, Mark of the Predator, or Sign of the Wolf. The lupus essentially gets two free Freebies for having 2 extra Gnosis, but pays for it with a flaw. It is an easy house rule to remember, isn't punishing for the lupus PC, and allows the possibility of the PC later paying it off through appropriate roleplay as the lupus learns more about himself and Garou/human society.

                                That would eliminate power gamers from gravitating to the lupus breed, leaving that option only to people who want to truly play a lupus.
                                The problem with that is, once more, the assumption the lupus character is fresh from their Rite of Passage and has not learned anything yet. The reason the metis deformity thing works, is that it is permanent and doesn't ground the character to a specific developmental point. Besides, lupus ALREADY get the ability restrictions at the start.

                                I guess I am lucky, but I've never seen any powergaming lupus characters (one homid that was feral though), but I've seen plenty of people saying that you need to play a wild wolf forever if you want to play a lupus.


                                EDIT:
                                Originally posted by Possessed View Post
                                I’ve been thinking of this for a while now aswell. Personally I too have reserved playing Lupus for more experienced players willing to play them more wolf-like, though personally I have less of a problem with powergaming at my table currently, but then I always remember Fransesco. The Pentex Executive BSD Lupus. He not only manages the cuthroat politics of Pentex but actually leads Project Iliad as well. Yes he likely does all this through the lens of his predatory insticts but still he goes against most expectations laid down on Lupus and putting all these artificial RP limits on playing them actually would make it exceedingly hard for players to achieve something similar to Fransisco.

                                So I kinda end up trying to balance the middle ground, I let people play Lupus (or other animal born changers) but remind them to try and bring the animal nature out in their RP but wont actually penalize them more than the limits of chargen do.
                                Haha, Francesco WAS actually why I started noticing these restrictions being unfair. Even if he is a BSD, Francesco started as a wild wolf and yet he has risen to being a very succesful business wolf.
                                Last edited by Ana Mizuki; 07-28-2019, 03:29 AM.


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