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What is the best edition/lore for playing a Werewolf campaign?

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  • What is the best edition/lore for playing a Werewolf campaign?

    So looking to maybe run a Werewolf game. I/we played the 1st ed WW WoD Werewolf: the Apocalypse when it first came out almost 30 years ago and we played for @ 10 years off and on

    Is it still the same lore and setting across all editions?

    I read up a bit on Forsaken, and it seems wildly different, kind of an X-Files/Supernatural TV show flavored take on the W:tA concept. Is there any great merit to this version?

  • #2
    While I don't know enough about Apocalypse to compare to Forsaken, I can say that Apocalypse and Forsaken are two different games based on similar premises. They're not just different editions. None of the setting information/lore carries over.
    If you end up with Forsaken, I would recommend second edition. It certainly has less material than first edition, but when you start out you'll probably not use more than the core book anyway. Once you have experience with the few second edition supplements, you could look into the first edition supplements for additional lore and setting information (although rules might not be completely compatible without some reworking.


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    • #3
      There's a lot of difference, big and small, between Apocalypse and Forsaken.

      I'm going to highlight a couple because they impact answering the OP's question most directly:

      Hostility

      The world is, generally, hostile to werewolves in Forsaken (Forsaken is not a misnomer here). Not just humans, but the spirit world as well. The werewolves of Forsaken are not the champions of Gaia fighting (however clumsily the Garou do) for the greater good. From the deepest wilderness to the most modern cities, the spirits of the Shadow would rather the Forsaken go screw off instead of sticking their half-breed noses into things. Not even the Firstborn Totems of the Forsaken Tribes simply allied themselves with the Uratha; the Firstborn made would not bond with them without being forced because their natures would not allow any other option. The Forsaken are caught between two worlds, and neither world has many friendlies in it.

      Though the CofD in general does tone down the hostility between supernaturals. The Forsaken don't hate vampires based on some preconception of them being servants of their divine enemy... because they don't have a divine enemy like the Wyrm to pin such things on. This doesn't mean supernaturals in the CofD are buddy-buddy, but on a case-by-case level they form whatever relationships make the most sense.

      Purpose

      The Garou are warriors. They were created to fight, and their culture is a warrior culture dedicated towards waging war on behalf of their spiritual patrons. As the Apocalypse nears, the Garou focus more and more of themselves on the great war on the horizon.

      The Uratha are hunters. Their spiritual halves were born of Wolf and Moon for no distinct purpose, but because unions beget offspring. But as spirits must act according to their natures, the Uratha inherited an undeniable drive: The Wolf Must Hunt. Their flesh side gives them as many ways to express this drive as there are individuals, but the hunt colors their perspective on any personal goals. Taking up the mantle of their progenitor Wolf is ultimately a choice, even if one most feel the drive to accept, though what that looks like is one of the driving conflicts in the setting (the Forsaken Tribes vs. the Pure Tribes).

      Social Core

      The most essential social unit of Garou society (not necessary PC attention) is the Sept. Life as a Garou revolves around Caerns, and the Septs that take responsibility for them. Packs are, of course, a vital part of any Sept, but they are subservient to the Sept unless they're the pack in charge. Combined with the Garou warrior mentality, Septs are a trove of social conflict and plot hooks as packs are forced to operate as part of a larger organization, but also very controlling on the players who's pack is starting at the bottom of Garou social power.

      The most essential social unit of the Uratha is the pack. Packs control their own territories, and frequently their own Loci between worlds. Packs are also much larger than the handful of Uratha at the core. Non-werewolf members of the pack are not just allies, but spiritually bonded members of the pack; even if they don't know everything that's really going on. Humans can be members of a pack without necessarily realizing it beyond a sense of empowerment and belonging they haven't experienced elsewhere.

      ---------

      So, no, Forsaken is not an X-Files or Supernatural take on Apocalypse. Forsaken is about werewolves that band together in the face of a world that doesn't accept them, forming families (either of blood or choice) to stake out a claim to defend, so they can go out into the world and hunt their prey.

      The great merit to this setup is quite simple: every group gets to make this their own. The hostility of the world to werewolves' need to hunt other beings within that world, having a primal drive rather than a divine purpose, drives a pack focused game where what the pack hunts and what hunts them is driven by the group's desires over setting and lore.

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