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  • npcs for a city write-up

    When writing up a city for use in a W:tF game, how are npcs usually organised? I know in V:tR there's a standard organisation for kindred (prince and his cronies, primogen, covenants, factions, independents, etc.) but there isn't anything like that for werewolves, is there? Do you normally just make up a few packs, give each a motivation, then populate them with members, kind of like creating player character groups? Or do you leave packs up to the player characters and just make a handful of individual npcs? Is there a book or something that goes over details in how to make a city for use in a W:tF chronicle? I've tried looking for Werewolf city book, both old and new, but couldn't really find anything, so I have no idea what they're supposed to look like.

  • #2
    I would recommend dropping the notion of "supposed to" and concentrate on what works for you an your game. That said, there are some default assumptions.

    Werewolves are by default territorial, autarchic at the level of the pack and hierarchical at the level of the individual. Meaning, while they may have rigid and heavily stratified hierarchies within the pack, packs are unlikely to recognize any authority outside themselves.

    But this is going to be heavily modulated by the conditions on the ground wherever they are. My own approach to this is to begin with a consideration of what the local resource base looks like, and extrapolate based on path-dependent processes.

    Imagine a city that is poor in resources and high in threats. There are few powerful loci, and many of the ones that do exist are in the hold of the Pure, powerful spirits, or other antagonists. There are a few possible scenarios that could evolve from this:
    1: The subsistence model. With so little worth fighting over, and so many external threats to ward off, conflict between uratha is at a minimum. They may develop a sharing economy so that packs who are struggling can make it through lean times, and hopefully repay the favor at a later date. While there's nothing like an overaching "government", there are lots of norms and traditions that encourage peaceful interaction and sharing of information and other resources.
    2: The gangland model. This can easily evolve out of the subsistence model- one pack gets gutsy and decides to make a play for the whole enchilada. There is brutal fighting over the few scraps of Essence, money, wolf-blooded, or what have you. There's still no overarching structure, but now there's no room for cooperation- each pack is desperately trying to expand its territory and exploit every resource possible. Relationships are hostile by default. This, in turn, could possibly stimulate some kind of alliance of "equals" who force a return to the subsistence model by banding together against bad actors. But now, there is likely to be some sort of leadership role, possibly a council of participating packs who agree to rules of judgment, and a more codified system of correct behavior.
    3: The fiefdom model. That aggressive pack from scenario 2 is successful in some kind of blitzkrieg strategy, and is able to claim enough power to dominate the local scene. You have an alpha pack that runs the show, but is dependent on keeping the other packs divided and conquered, probably by doling out equal measures of carrot and stick, so that the short-term benefits of competing for their favor outweigh the risks of challenging their power.

    There are even weirder possibilities- perhaps the city is not a long-term home to any pack, but a stop-over for nomads who raid local loci, snatch up a nuzusul if possible, and move on.


    Rather than trying to fit your setting to what canon defines as the norm, I would ask yourself how you want the game to feel and what kind of interactions you want to encourage. If you're looking for a game with deep rivalries among packs, but short of all-out war, the fiefdom model might be a good one. Think about what both NPCs and PCs want, what is available, and what courses of action are open to them. Then repeat, until you have something like a "stable" system.


    If you offer more information about how you've envisioned your city- what it has to offer, population size, threats and antagonists, etc.- you might get more ideas out of me/others.


    [An example from my current game, set in the Black Hills region of South Dakota/Wyoming.
    I've established that the area is packed with extremely powerful loci, making it very attractive to uratha. However, the human population is quite low, so native-born uratha are relatively rare. In order to prevent continual waves of invasion, the local packs have developed a few social/governmental systems to protect their claims. First, they'll almost always support each other against foreign invaders. Secondly, they "adopt" visiting packs as "little brothers", sharing rights and responsibilities within their territories on a short- to medium-term basis. This ensures that outsiders who want a taste of the good life have more to gain through peaceful cooperation than through violent confrontation.
    As an outgrowth of this system of cooperation, the historic packs in the region have established "roles" within the region. One pack is responsible for the maintenance of the oral history and mystical knowledge. Another is responsible for dealing with human interference at a regional level. Another serves as wardens, bearing the major responsibility for repelling invasions and bringing criminals to justice. Etc.
    One of the secondary effects of this system is that the area supports many more uratha than the low human population would normally afford. This means there are higher-than-average stakes to the tenet of "The Herd Shall Not Know", and consequently, more impetus for top-down enforcement of this rule than less-organized regions would have. Young packs who get sloppy can expect a visit from the wardens, and to have access to the knowledge and power of older packs cut off.]
    Last edited by robothedino; 10-30-2018, 06:53 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
      I've tried looking for Werewolf city book, both old and new, but couldn't really find anything, so I have no idea what they're supposed to look like.
      Hunting Ground: the Rockies. And Chicago. Both have fleshed out packs Though they're old enough that for the most part they offer 'one tribe only' packs, something that was a factor in the beginning of first edition and became less so later on. It even has stereotype charts with their sigils.



      Traditionally you would make a few relevant packs. Folks in neighboring territories they're likely to bump into, rivals or enemies they're likely to have, and maybe a pack or two that see themselves as the elders or leaders of the packs in the area. You don't need to write-up a full pack ranging from werewolf merits down to human members, but having an idea of their motivation and maybe statting out one character (the one most likely to meet) and having a few names and abbreviated character sheets (like Chronicles of Darkness suggests for antagonists). You might even have names for a few packs that aren't going to be physically present but whose stories may have an impact on the game, someone saying, 'I hear Blood Oath of the Cold Moon pack's been riling up the ghost wolves with some weird prophecy about this winter.' Usual NPC chatter.

      The above books, Chicago and Rockies, have full stats for almost every pack member, and their totem, and usually goes into their relationships with each other and, if relevant, with other packs. It's something to work off of but if converting to second edition more than a little work would have to be done.

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      • #4
        The city I'm using is Toronto. I have rough ideas for two groups of werewolves: Those in the city core will focus on numerous city, social, and environmental initiatives that are going on in the city. They will constantly butt heads with the more conservative, traditional, and backwards-thinking people that are currently in charge (many of them Kindred). There will also be another pack that's been around since before Toronto even existed. They are keepers of a prophecy that states a powerful evil that once plagued the native americans in the area will one day return to lay waste to the city. I also have some ideas for a member of the Lodge of the Shield who helps out werewolves working for the police, a small group of Blood Talons who hunt Pure / deal with werewolf troublemakers / pick fights when they get bored / etc. i'm more familiar with writing cities for use in Vampire chronicles, so doing something up for Werewolf is totally new to me.

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        • #5
          In 2E, I would start with deciding if there is Protectorate in the area. If yes - How Protectorate looks like, what is idea for it, from what packs it's made, what are relations of it? Is there on Alpha Pack leading the region? Or maybe it's difficult alliance of packs making Protectorate? Was Protectorate old enough

          Then I goes for single packs that are not parts of Protectorate - most of them would be on their own, doing their own things. I would only fill up Tribes spread, so most PCs could create characters from them.

          Example of this is my modern Uppsala setting - I went with idea there is low number of Uratha in area, not more than 20 of them. Then I decided it's to low to make proper Protectorate and then that we will have one dominating pack 'maintaining order' on the rest of local Forsaken - This are Hundgruppen, police wolves from Lodge of Shield. As Lodge is mostly Iron Masters and Blood Talons - I put those werewolves here. Then I made place for two other, smaller packs - one is Valkyrie's group Allfather's Host - and second is PCs pack, simple. Valkyrie Mot is mostly Bone Shadows and Strom Lords, so those wolves go here.

          And so we have prepared general Forsaken population in Uppsala. Setting done.


          My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
          LGBT+ in CoD games

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
            The city I'm using is Toronto. I have rough ideas for two groups of werewolves: Those in the city core will focus on numerous city, social, and environmental initiatives that are going on in the city. They will constantly butt heads with the more conservative, traditional, and backwards-thinking people that are currently in charge (many of them Kindred). There will also be another pack that's been around since before Toronto even existed. They are keepers of a prophecy that states a powerful evil that once plagued the native americans in the area will one day return to lay waste to the city. I also have some ideas for a member of the Lodge of the Shield who helps out werewolves working for the police, a small group of Blood Talons who hunt Pure / deal with werewolf troublemakers / pick fights when they get bored / etc. i'm more familiar with writing cities for use in Vampire chronicles, so doing something up for Werewolf is totally new to me.

            Toronto is a cool case that has a lot of unique features that can help you with building your political setting.
            - It's a metropolis, so lots and lots of humans, which means decent numbers of locally-"born" werewolves. Seems obvious, but it's important- as the werewolf population rises to the level of "not everyone knows everyone else personally", it has a big impact on what kinds of political situations are viable.

            - It's a national power site. People/werewolves who don't actually live there have vested interests in what happens there. You could make it less important in the uratha world than it is in the human world, but all else being equal, the local scene probably has some experience dealing with outside interests.

            - It's one of the top immigration destinations in the world. Lots of ethnic enclaves, vulnerable populations, and a good amount of room in which to hide various kinds of weirdness.

            - It's one of the safest cities in the industrialized world. This means not a lot of mundane violence for not-so-mundane violence to blend in with. Outright war is going to be highly discouraged by any faction that has more to lose from law enforcement scrutiny than their rivals. Since the local law enforcement seems to have been somewhat infiltrated by a particular faction, this creates a bit of a power imbalance: they can commit violence (and use their influence to sweep it under the rug) while anyone who hits back is going to have the mounties all over their ass in a minute. Think about what these guys' ambitions are, and what stops them from just running the whole show; whether it's some check on their power, a deficiency of some kind, an ethical code, etc.

            - You've identified mundane politics as an important theme, with a "progress vs. nostalgia" vibe. Have a clear idea of what is at stake for all the important actors. There are probably important human players in the scene, either individuals or institutions, which may or may not be hip to exactly what's going bump in the night. I think it's always good to remind players that reg'lar old humans are more than victims and pests. In any case, you might put some work into identifying exactly how these different groups are hooked into the power structures that let them pursue their agendas. One pack might be from old money in the region, while another might have tapped into a big community outreach NGO, another might have a reputation as a pillar of the community whose opinion can sway votes. Each case provides different means for PCs to interact with them.

            - It sounds like werewolves and vampires are fully aware of each other and engaged in active rivalry. Think a bit about the balance of power between them, or if there are any alliances between the two. Vampires and werewolves are likely to have their own internal rivalries that either one could play off of. Give more attention to developing the packs or NPCs that are important to this balance of power, because these are who the PCs can interact with if they want to be involved in that game.


            I would give some thought to what you think the players might gravitate toward- politics, mysticism and prophecy, whatever- and develop the elements that will allow them entry into that domain. The rest you can leave more open and vague, to be plugged in as needed to support whatever it is that is working storywise.

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            • #7
              Here's what I have so far, hopefully I'm on the right track:

              - pack that existed before Toronto existed / preparing for the return of an ancient evil

              - peacekeeper pack that enforces the Toronto Supernaturals Peace Agreements and manages the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) protectorate

              - pack dedicated to protecting the docks from beshilu and water spirits

              - pack intent on improving the rougher areas of toronto (urban development / helping the homeless)

              - pack dedicated to protecting the large natural patches of land in the city

              - pack patrols the sewers and subways for shartha, pure, and kindred

              - pack who looks after the many historic sites in toronto / preservers of history both human and uratha (lodge of the chronicle, lodge of the einherjar) at odds with the urban development pack

              And a couple Pure packs
              fire-touched dominated pack who have adopted assassination and conversion tactics due to the peace agreements. Try to play factions off each other to break the peace agreement and allow for more open warfare

              ivory claw and predator kings dominated pack who stalk the sewers and subways for humans and forsaken

              I'm still trying to think of some others to add, but I figure this should cover most bases.

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