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  • Argonot
    started a topic Werewolf after 10 years.

    Werewolf after 10 years.

    Hi there.

    Thanks to COVID Im starting a new online werewolf story for a group of friends. Im quite familiar with the setting, but it's been 10 years since the last time I run WTA. As I have improved as a Storyteller, I want my chronicle to have more depth in certain topics I used to ignore when I started more than a decade ago. I've thought about:

    1. More inter and intra-tribe political infighting
    2. An emphasis in FAMILY, so Kinfolk will be important.
    3. Exploring the human side of werewolves and the relations they make with people around them.

    I dont want my game to be hack n slash (sadly, many WTA games turn into that, as you probably know / have experienced).

    Is there any advice you guys can share in that direction?


  • Frontline989
    replied
    I also want my game to have more depth in this direction so all this is great. I think another thing is to give the different septs reasons to interact and layering different agendas on top so that give the PC's different perspectives and opportunities to choose sides. Not in a armed conflict sense but more in the ideological sense. Force them to ask where they stand morally and then make a choice that influences the campaign for good or ill.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Glad to help. My previous post was more on the the human and kinfolk interaction in the game. Now here are some suggestions on intra-Garou conflict.

    While many games seem to concentrate on one sept, the early published settings were all multi-sept, and potential conflicts between septs were often emphasized. Think of each sept as its own little city-state and then think of how the city-states of Ancient Greece would quarrel and fight with each other as well as banding together against foreign foes. I think that could be aninspiration to a better dynamic of conflict between Garou. Many sept cultures are based on the caern totem, so that is an easy way to create different kind of caerns. A caern devoted to Unicorn or another wisdom or peaceful based spirit will approach issues in a different way that a sept whose caern is devoted to a spirit of war like Boar. If the Bear totem is considered dishonorable, how would that be reflected in a sept whose caern totem is Bear in its relations with other nearby caerns? And remember that you can have many rank 1 caerns which are likely to be monotribal. So many of these intersept conflicts are ways you can introduce intertribal conflicts. It is OK to have these septs not be equal in power. Higher ranked caerns will have the numbers and resources to dominate the smaller caerns. But how does that sept handle that? Does it work hard to maintain an alliance of equals and keep everyone happy, or does it dominate its allies and create resentment? ANd don't be afraid to split the regional caerns into a two sided or three sided equilibrium.

    If you do have multiple caerns in the setting, you may want to have the PC pack spend its first games (while Cliath) as an anruth pack visiting each sept, doing favors for each caern leadership. That way they learn about the different septs, their culture, and make acquaintances of important NPCs later.

    Since each sept has its own protectorate, it is easy for each sept to care only about threats within its protectorate. So you need threats or issues that affect multiple septs at the same time. Things that will either force them to work together, to debate which of them should be the leader in dealing with the threats together, or debates on what should be done.

    Likewise, think of common resources or benefits they'll be competitors for. Maybe there is an important Glen located inbetween two sept protectorates. The Glen offers lots of spirits to regain Gnosis, use for talens and fetishes, or is convenient to use for spirit voyages to one or more of the Near Realms. In other words, it is valuable property. The two septs repeatedly fight over this because it is so valuable. Or perhaps such a Glen is located entirely in the territory of one sept. Another nearby sept though recently lost enough Glens in their territory for whatever reason (a new suburb was built on the land or whatever), and is now without those resources. So they either approach the next sept and ask for access, or they simply start using it. Or the mutual resource could be a nearby company owned by a kinfolk that provides a lot of cash to the Garou, or some other important, but limited, resource such as medicine, laboratories that can be used to analyze crim scenes or site pollution, influence that helps in repairing the Veil. Maybe it's control of a population of kinfolk. It could be anything as long as more than one group of Garou wants access to it, but the resource is constrained enough it must be rationed.

    The key to generating conflict within the game is to make certain things zero-sum. One side can only win if the other side(s) lose. If it is not zero-sum, then conflict doesn't matter and there should be less of it. PCs in particular, usually want to be "nice" and find mutual comprises. And that's fine. But without the competition being zero-sum, it is not particularly hard to do it. In fact, it's the easy way to solve the problem. So you need to keep certain things zero-sum. So that means figuring out what the impact to the sept is. Does sharing the Glen mean the PC's home sept now gets only half the talens they generally get? Does that mean talen creation now must be approved by the sept leadership, and the PCs lose opportunities to do so (which directly affects their power and ability to gain renown)? Does use of the Glen mean so many spirits are taken, that the spirits in general become hostile and start making demands, or start withholding favors, or have a negative consequence to the local ecosystem? Does the caern totem get angry as a result and start withholding its favors? That forces NPCs and PCs to make hard choices. And if the PCs them can find a mutual comprise that works, it is a real earned victory instead of an easy cheat.

    That also applies to leadership positions within the sept. Garou want those. They provide opportunities for Renown. They also provide power to help those individual Garou achieve their aims. So think of two or more Garou for certain positions you want contested, and determine how each would affect the setting. One is a traditional Garou, while the other is more of a reformer. One views PENTEX or vampires or Seventh Generation or Black Spiral Dancers or whatever as the most imporant enemy of the sept, while the other picks a different kind of Wyrm foe. That will affect a major element of the setting.

    So assign specific goals and interests to each sept, and make sure that at least one of them (if not more) conflicts in some way with another sept. These conflicts don't need to surface all the time. But they should be there - ready to pop up into open conflict depending on your needs as an ST or the actions of the PCs.

    Leave a comment:


  • Argonot
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    Require your Players to develop any Backgrounds they pick that directly involve NPCs - Allies, Contacts, and especially Kinfolk.

    Emphasize the importance of the Curse and how it limits the interaction of many Garou with the Flock. Remind them an important way to get around that restriction is to use the Kinfolk background. They make good ersatz PCs they use when they can't use their main (Garou) PC.

    Create a variety of kinfolk NPCs to use in the game just as you would Garou NPCs. Create them using several layers of importance. Have CEOs and Politicians that affect things at the high level, as well as Janitors, Receptionists, and DMV clerks at the low end, and everyone inbetween.

    Use Kinfolk NPCs as a way to generate plots. They are involved in pro-Gaian activities and bring the Garou investigative leads they can't act on, but the Garou can. Or maybe a KInfolk NPC hate their relationship with the Garou as a whole and seek to leave and disappear. Involve your PCs in that quandry. How do they react? Or a lost Kinfolk family has been found, and the Garou want to bring them back into a kenning relationship that preserves the Veil. How do the PCs go about it?

    Remember the Renown example gains and losses associated Kinfolk relationships. Reward the roleplay you want to see with that.

    Give thought as to how the Kinfolk communities in your chronicle setting are established. How do they preserve the Veil by keeping the secrets they know while being among the Flock? When do they teach their children about it? How deep is the Garou cult/brainwashing done to them? How is their relationship with their local Garou abusive, supportive, loving, and resented? Have different examples of such communities - some that are isolated and rather cultlike; others that are more integrated with other human communities, but still closed; and those that are completely integrated and losing their distinctive culture.

    The Garou Litany applies to kinfolk as well as Garou, although obviously those aspects that concern Kinfolk are much less touched upon. But the Garou do sit in judgment of their kinfolk. What does that mean in practice? Come up with some interesting dilemmas for your sept or tribe. What happens if a Kinfolk with Pure Breed falls in love with someone who is not Kinfolk or a different tribe's Kinfolk. What support mechanisms exist for Kinfolk mothers whose Garou mates are absentee because of the needs of the pack and the struggle against the Wyrm?

    Have some distant level NPCs that are normal humans, but will be vital in the Garou struggle against the Wyrm or are important to the welfare of the Garou lands or their kinfolk communities. How can the Garou PCs win them over, influence them, or overcome their hostility or indifference?
    This is gold, Black Fox. Thank you.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Require your Players to develop any Backgrounds they pick that directly involve NPCs - Allies, Contacts, and especially Kinfolk.

    Emphasize the importance of the Curse and how it limits the interaction of many Garou with the Flock. Remind them an important way to get around that restriction is to use the Kinfolk background. They make good ersatz PCs they use when they can't use their main (Garou) PC.

    Create a variety of kinfolk NPCs to use in the game just as you would Garou NPCs. Create them using several layers of importance. Have CEOs and Politicians that affect things at the high level, as well as Janitors, Receptionists, and DMV clerks at the low end, and everyone inbetween.

    Use Kinfolk NPCs as a way to generate plots. They are involved in pro-Gaian activities and bring the Garou investigative leads they can't act on, but the Garou can. Or maybe a KInfolk NPC hate their relationship with the Garou as a whole and seek to leave and disappear. Involve your PCs in that quandry. How do they react? Or a lost Kinfolk family has been found, and the Garou want to bring them back into a kenning relationship that preserves the Veil. How do the PCs go about it?

    Remember the Renown example gains and losses associated Kinfolk relationships. Reward the roleplay you want to see with that.

    Give thought as to how the Kinfolk communities in your chronicle setting are established. How do they preserve the Veil by keeping the secrets they know while being among the Flock? When do they teach their children about it? How deep is the Garou cult/brainwashing done to them? How is their relationship with their local Garou abusive, supportive, loving, and resented? Have different examples of such communities - some that are isolated and rather cultlike; others that are more integrated with other human communities, but still closed; and those that are completely integrated and losing their distinctive culture.

    The Garou Litany applies to kinfolk as well as Garou, although obviously those aspects that concern Kinfolk are much less touched upon. But the Garou do sit in judgment of their kinfolk. What does that mean in practice? Come up with some interesting dilemmas for your sept or tribe. What happens if a Kinfolk with Pure Breed falls in love with someone who is not Kinfolk or a different tribe's Kinfolk. What support mechanisms exist for Kinfolk mothers whose Garou mates are absentee because of the needs of the pack and the struggle against the Wyrm?

    Have some distant level NPCs that are normal humans, but will be vital in the Garou struggle against the Wyrm or are important to the welfare of the Garou lands or their kinfolk communities. How can the Garou PCs win them over, influence them, or overcome their hostility or indifference?

    Leave a comment:


  • CaptOtter
    replied
    I don't know that there's any werewolf-specific advice that I have for creating political infighting, but I would say that it's important that you have multiple competing interests, and that no one necessarily be wrong, unjustified, underhanded, etc. There really isn't anything all that morally complicated about something like A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones--the Starks are good, the Lannisters are Evil, and everyone else is somewhere between whatever and Bad. But a zero-sum political football (i.e., where no compromise is realistically possible), and every interested party has a legitimate need, and a defensible claim... let the players have fun with the moral/ethics version of the Kobayashi Maru.

    I would also say that while it's laudable to want to avoid a purely hack and slash game, you shouldn't lose sight of the fact that it's a game of "savage horror" (if I'm not mistaken), and some amount of both "hacking" and "slashing".

    Leave a comment:

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