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Make hunt showdowns challenging!

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  • Make hunt showdowns challenging!

    As I embark on my werewolf campaign starting this week I would love to get your help understanding how you make hunts a challenge. The great difficulty of a hunt in my opinion is the final kill. Investigation and social situations can be made challenging, but the problem is that most creatures can't stand up a pack of wolves by themselves in combat. A pack of werewolves is death machines. There are a few threats like pure etc that can give them a run for their money in a fight but it seems boring just making every prey super tough.

    So that being said, what can I do to make that final showdown more exciting even if my prey doesn't physically stand a chance against the pack?

    Ideas that I have
    1) moral conundrums
    2) the prey takes hostages
    3) somewhere very public limiting the wolves possibilities.
    4) maybe environmental problems that need to be resolved aka a building is on fire and innocents are trapped or something.

    What other ways can I look at that final showdown that makes it more complex or interesting for the players to overcome? Give me examples from your games of really good hunt showdowns!

  • #2
    Not feeling too hot so hitting two notes I've found important from playing. The BTAS writer's bible really turned me on to the first one.

    Setting is important, and often overlooked. As a storyteller, depicting a relatively modern world and one altered by memories and perception, you are capable of having a 'final fight' be in any place you want. There's no reason not to have epic arenas scattered around your setting, even in the werewolf's territory. Not everything has to be in an empty warehouse, or field. Fight in a giant clocktower can have deathtraps abound as people are thrown into massive, churning gears alongside metal railways that can't hold the weight of a gauru-sized werewolf. Even a simple fight in a forest can, with the right Influences, become a minefield of terrors, where people who get too close to the trees find themselves bound or whisked up into boughs or dragged down by filthy roots into the earth. Or, as you noted, just having it in an otherwise public place, where they can't afford to go all out or wouldn't really want to (this is especially easy if the pack's totem is a locational one, you don't want to wreck up a sacred place). Having a particularly cool area for showdowns, sometimes with customized Tilts, can turn a standard fight into a really memorable one.

    Numbers are good, too. As you noted, a pack of werewolves can destroy most individual opponents. But most of the antagonists available are likely to have access to smaller minions. The Sparkblood Seneschal, for instance, a spirit in the core book is described as having lesser spirits around its throne, and as a broker may have spirits of equal power in attendance. Pure or other werewolves may have packs (with totems and spirit allies), hosts can have lesser hosts (and one of the fun things about them is, upon killing one enemy, you've just surrounded yourself with many more lesser enemies), claimed can have lesser claimed, and so forth. This is something that can be tricky to balance, because if the minions are too small they can be defeated by a shift to Gauru and forcing them into Quick and Dirty combat. Even then, though, that's taking a turn away from the players and one can have among a powerful target a small army of easily killed minions then a smaller force of tougher baddies. While I like using Werewolf alone, the Chronicles book has a section on horrors and how to make brief nightmares, antagonists that don't have full character sheets but exist to be 'monsters.' And of course the Sacred Hunt doesn't always have to be about hunting down an individual, it's just as likely to target a group of antagonists, so having groups isn't exactly a ST handwave.

    A fun thing with having lesser enemies is that, if one survives, you might have them become a recurring enemy as they become stronger and align themselves with other larger antagonists, or become one themselves.


    • #3
      Hunting the specific prey implies being infected by it. Be it a Beshilu's supernatural disease, an Azlu's poison, an idigam with capacity to toy with your packmate's souls, or a spirit of Rage with the capacity to drive you to Kuruth with nothing but a look, make it so pursuing the Hunt to it's bitter end has repercussions beyond neutralizing the prey. What happens if the Bane of a spirit of Murder is the fresh bone of an innocent?

      Spirits are notoriously immortal. If the pack goes around destroying every spiritual being they hunt they despoil the sacredness of the hunt. Earning the animosity of every spirit around will put a pack into a very precarious position. Violence in dealing with the spirit courts is ill advised unless you can bring vengeance to bear in a scale akin to what Father Wolf could (something Blood Talons and Storm Lords are quite notorious for). Just like the case with the ban above, dealing with spirits could very well take you to make unsavory things. If you're trucking with a streetwise spirit and it wants a pound of flesh from the kid who has been defacing it's sacred street-art per inquire answered things can get pretty dark.


      • #4
        An Important part in building set pieces for the end game of the hunt is understanding what resources the pack has that you want to highlight and put strain on in that finale-all other resources should be tied up or temporarily expended in the build up to the climax. Narrowing it down to what is to be tested then and there helps to provide focus in the design and creates some fun in figuring out how to cut down to those lines.

        Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
        The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
        Feminine pronouns, please.


        • #5
          These are all good so as I see it

          - set fights in interesting locales
          - up the numbers of henchmen
          - deal with collateral damage from the prey
          - hunts that dont end in fights but negotiations
          - put strain on pack resources

          This seems like a good list!