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  • Breeds in Forsaken

    I did a thread like this a while back, long before 2e came out; I'd like to try again with 2e in mind. The idea is to port something akin to WtA's Breeds into the metaphysics of WtF.

    First, we probably need a different name than “Breeds”. Unlike WtA and WtF1e, WtF2e doesn't have a hard-and-fast rule that one of your ancestors had to be a Werewolf; all that's required is that you are a Wolf-Blood. And while that usually requires that at least one of your parents was a Wolf-Blood, it's entirely possible for a perfectly ordinary human being to become a Wolf-Blood by being exposed to Lunacy. So the notion of breeding is significantly downplayed, and the uglier aspects of it can be bypassed entirely. So, what to call them if not Breeds?

    Also, let's get this out of the way right now, so it doesn't bog down the rest of the topic: introducing something like Lupus to WtF2e does not require anything remotely like bestiality, unlike WtA; all that's required is to introduce the equivalent notion of Wolf-Blood for wolves. And if you want to firmly slam the door on anything like bestiality, you can reintroduce WtF1e's notion of Ghost Children in cases where such perverse cross-breeding is attempted, and/or add other punishments such as a loss of Renown (e.g., Purity) for attempting such a thing. So please, please, please do not bog this thread down with arguments about how sick you have to be to like the notion of wolf-born Uratha, or intimations about furries being sexual deviants, or any of the other arguments that derailed the original version of this topic.

    With that (hopefully) out of the way: during the spoilers for WtF2e, Stew posted mechanics for Urhanu (Forsaken's equivalent to Lupus) in this Blog post, which covers the mechanics of the Urhanu in 2e. The only issue I see with this involves Harmony: I don't have my copy hand, so I forget which way “acting like a wolf” Breaks; but if it Breaks toward Spirit, then the Urhanu should probably start with Harmony 4 (the same distance from the middle as 6, but on the spirit/instincts side) or 3 (mirroring man-born Uraha starting at 7). If it breaks toward Flesh, the rules look fine as is. The main thing that would be useful here would be advice on how to get into a wolf's mentality.

    As for Metis equivalents: I could see a place for them in WtF similar to the place held by Banishers in Mage. That is, you get a Metis-equivalent if you botch the First Change. Again, it has nothing to do with breeding; but it does represent a messed-up werewolf. In particular, the Metis-equivalent would not be “something between human-born and wolf-born”; there would be human-born Metis and there would be wolf-born Metis, since “Metis” has nothing to do with which form you grew up in before tge First Change. Instead, the “Metis Breed” would represent an Uratha who rejected the change, and still considers himself a human or wolf, as the case may be. As such, it might make sense for it to keep Integrity instead of switching over to Harmony. Not that it's likely to keep its Integrity for long…

    (Clarification: by “human-born” and “wolf-born”, I mean that you were born as, and grew up as, a human or wolf, respectively — that is, those two “Breeds” represent what your life was like before the First Change. By contrast, the “Metis Breed(s)” would represent a “fail-state” of the First Change itself.)

    This splitting of “Metis” into two “Breeds” also resolves the dilemma brought about by the temporary nature of the Gauru form: there are no “Breeds” associated with that form. Instead, “human-born Metis” would default to the wolfman form, while “wolf-born Metis” would default to the “dire wolf” form.

    So: four “Breeds”, corresponding to four of the five forms a werewolf can take. Two of them represent normal werewolves, two represent twisted werewolves; two of them represent werewolves who grew up as humans, two of them represent werewolves that grew up as wolves.

    Thoughts?



  • #2
    Pretty sure you don't have to be wolf-blooded to go through the First Change, as a note.

    I think one of the difficulties here will be making characters who are quite literally wolves into people. It seems like the First Change loses some of it's Chronicles of Darkness specific pathos if the most traumatic thing your First Change did was change the social conventions for sniffing butts.

    Does the Translation Guide include any lore worth discussing for the Urhanu?

    Also, shouldn't one just avoid the "metis" term entirely, since that seemed to be the source of so many arguments over the concept itself?

    I'm having a hard time understanding the need for the metis ones when having the human born and the wolf born seem to be the only ones that make sense.

    As an aside, I'm pretty sure the state of being Uratha is largely apathetic to your feelings about it, so I can't see why them trying to be just a human or a wolf would make them keep Integrity. In fact, that seems to be the exact sort of thing that high Harmony describes, because either way the wolf and the human (in this case? sort of? I still think it breaks down a bit here) are still of the Flesh.

    EDIT: To be clear, I'm not knocking on the premise of the Urhanu, I'd just like to hear more about them. I am however knocking on the need for the metis breeds, calling them metis breeds, and the notion that the First Change gives one whit about how you feel about being a werewolf. (Otherwise, if it was just about rejecting your heritage, how would American Werewolf in London Ghost Wolves happen like described in the book? Again, isn't what they're doing indicative of just plain old high Harmony?

    Or put another way, does it need the mechanical change when it already fits within the auspice of the base mechanics?
    Last edited by Leetsepeak; 03-01-2016, 04:14 PM.


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    • #3
      I have thoughts. I will return to this.


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      • #4
        Like I wrote in the original thread, human and wolf born make sense. Metis do not, because Uratha just aren't as tightly knit culture to really show the essence of the breed. And Forsaken in general is about duality of man and wolf, metis have no place in the game.


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        • #5
          Quick note: I've been putting in quotes terms that I'm borrowing from WtA for lack of anything better. I've already asked for alternative suggestions to replace “Breed”; extending that, I have no intention of actually using the term “Metis” — I just don't have anything else that conveys the notion I'm going for — not that “Metis” conveys it all that well, either.

          As well, I'm not convinced that the concept of wolfman/dire wolf “Breeds” is workable — but neither am I convinced that they're fundamentally a bad idea, either. What I'm thinking is that the “Breeds” correspond more or less to self-identification: not the extreme version that you get when wildly out of Harmony, but a more moderate sense of “I tend to think of myself as human” or “I tend to think of myself as a wolf”. In that regard, the wolfman and dire wolf “Breeds” would be “I tend to think of myself as a monstrous human” and “I tend to think of myself as a monstrous wolf”, respectively — and a particularly ugly First Change would be a likely reason for a new Uratha to think of itself as monstrous.


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          • #6
            What if "Breeds" were something entirely different from "Born-Man or Born-Wolf"? What if some werewolves were stronger, some had more stamina, and others had deformities and flaws (like a Metis)? All those changes could be justified by some specific Hisil conditions that plague different places on earth. Uratha whose first change happens in the Amazon forest acquire dark-red patches of fur, bigger ears and specialized claws to climb trees. Werewolves of the Sahara Desert could have an easier time withstanding heat and handling lack of water, with increased stamina and fur to blend with the sands.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BinAly View Post
              What if "Breeds" were something entirely different from "Born-Man or Born-Wolf"? What if some werewolves were stronger, some had more stamina, and others had deformities and flaws (like a Metis)? All those changes could be justified by some specific Hisil conditions that plague different places on earth. Uratha whose first change happens in the Amazon forest acquire dark-red patches of fur, bigger ears and specialized claws to climb trees. Werewolves of the Sahara Desert could have an easier time withstanding heat and handling lack of water, with increased stamina and fur to blend with the sands.
              Would they all be born human, though? I think the issue with breeds is basically that, can you play an uratha not born human?

              As for your suggestion, in the first corebook, there is an African Wilddog Iron Master. And one Lodges book focuses on what forms african uratha take. Hyena was one, hilariously enough.


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              • #8
                As Ana points out, “Breeds” aren't intended to represent mere attribute biases and/or conditions. I've got quotes around “Breed” because it's not intended to be “what type of wolf is my wolf-form?” which can reasonably be handled by shifting an attribute or skill dot around; it's specifically supposed to be along the lines of “born and raised as a human” or “born and raised as a wolf”.


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                • #9
                  What's the point of playing a character born and raised as a wolf?

                  I could see it in Apocalypse, where actual wolves were a large part of the game.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nofather View Post
                    What's the point of playing a character born and raised as a wolf?

                    I could see it in Apocalypse, where actual wolves were a large part of the game.
                    For example.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nofather View Post
                      What's the point of playing a character born and raised as a wolf?

                      I could see it in Apocalypse, where actual wolves were a large part of the game.
                      (Sadly, most Apoc games involve wolves rarely XD )

                      The idea how it would go, mostly. How would it make the uratha different, when they lean closer to the wild than human,etc.

                      Also, Ephsy, that guide is pretty old. Even WtA's take on lupus has changed.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
                        The idea how it would go, mostly. How would it make the uratha different, when they lean closer to the wild than human,etc.
                        That's what I'm trying to figure out, though. Werewolves are torn between the flesh and the spirit. The wolf has little to do with it beyond symbolism.

                        What is a werewolf born and raised as a wolf going to do in a game, beyond being awful at socializing with humans and not get the representations of spirits?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nofather View Post

                          That's what I'm trying to figure out, though. Werewolves are torn between the flesh and the spirit. The wolf has little to do with it beyond symbolism.

                          What is a werewolf born and raised as a wolf going to do in a game, beyond being awful at socializing with humans and not get the representations of spirits?
                          Yeah, I admit you are correct in that part. At least in 2nd ed, the wolf is much less part of the game outside how uratha act.

                          Could the alternative be spirit-born, then?


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
                            Could the alternative be spirit-born, then?
                            There is something like that in Skinchangers. I think it's name is Scavenger Wolf, or Dog, or Coyote. It was a spirit that envied werewolves and wanted to shift like they did, so it learned how. I guess you could have a spirit of the hunt that sort of awakens as a living flesh creature. Most probably wouldn't survive, if their first change was in the Hisil and they passed out there where other spirits would just eat them up, but you would have a different viewpoint that would make more sense for the game, one being from the spirit world.

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                            • #15
                              I feel like I've been down this particular sidetrack before…

                              Originally posted by nofather View Post
                              What's the point of playing a character born and raised as a wolf?
                              A fun roleplaying experience.

                              Originally posted by nofather View Post
                              I could see it in Apocalypse, where actual wolves were a large part of the game.
                              Yes, but there are a large number of unrelated reasons why I'd rather play WtF than WtA. So I'd rather do the comparatively minor hacks needed to tweak WtF to better support wolves than the near-complete overhauls that I'd need to apply to WtA to get it the way I want it — especially since the end result of those overhauls would more closely resemble WtF than WtA anyway.

                              In a game that features wolf-born, the role of wolves in the game would be expanded. At the very least, you'd have the aforementioned wolfish counterparts to wolf-blood humans. In WtF as written, there's a box talking about how the Pure sometimes include wolves as part of their Packs; in a game with wolf-born werewolves, that wouldn't be restricted to the Pure. Indeed, wolves would likely be a staple of most Packs, with a “Pack without wolves” being the exception rather than the rule.

                              And finally, these wouldn't be real-world wolves; even the ones that aren't counterparts to wolf-blood humans wouod be more akin to Mowgli's brothers from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, just with a darker, more savage flavor.


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