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  • How do you structure your werewolf story?

    Hello! is there a template that you have while deciding which elements of the story you'll be introducing to the players at a certain time. Do you always have a plot twist?
    if you have any game sample you did and it worked will also be very interesting to share.

    My werewolf structures follow:
    Exemple of game template:

    Before any of this I usually write all the important characters that will show up in the campaign.

    Each act represents one session of about three hours. the middle or conclusion Act usually I have to split in two sessions.

    Intro: I write the general mood and main problems i want to be introduced
    Intro > I set up the mood/tone preparing the players for the problem reveal
    Middle > Mistery, they find something that can be a clue
    Conclusion > They found from what is the problem but I do not reveal how to acess it or where is it

    Middle:
    Intro > Some npc that matters to players is captured
    Middle > They go in a rescue mission and minions of the main antagonist is presented
    Conclusion > I intruduce the main villain somehow making the players lose (exemple: They save the wolf-blooded but he was tortured and lost a leg, They fell into the trap)

    Conclusion:
    Intro > I set up a new mood and tone based on players actions. (If necessary I present ways how the problem can be solved and let them fill the game with their interpretation and conclusions)
    Middle > The Wolf blooded has new information on the main villain and present his motivations or any other detail that can create weight to the story.
    Middle Part 2> I let the players prepare themselves and do their suff.
    Conclusion > Based on players actions the players know exactly where/when to act against the villain. Problem is, they are not expecting that the main villain is an pure werewolf with his own pack now waiting for the players.
    Last edited by magisanctum; 06-11-2016, 04:21 PM.


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  • #2
    Man, this seems to be more about how we manage as St than a particular game but because WW (And indeed most WoD books) is very localized and doesn't promote lots of travel I do this...

    1)Get the players to make characters, ask a few questions to get a general idea of what they want and back story.

    2)If they mentioned parents/family nearby make a couple other packs with different goals/motivations then the player, incorporate what they want first.

    3) Make sure to have a presence of favorite prey, Decide between Beshilu/Azlu, what kind of spirits fit to antagonize the pack?, What humans will cause trouble?Ay other supernaturals? Are there Pure or are the other packs going over the line? And pick 2-3 places in/near the territory that might produce Claimed in time and how likely that is to happen. Make them organized, so each one can be a plot on it's own.

    4)Since my players hate playing more than one character, I am always the wolfblood's, so I make sure each one has some goal/weakness that runs contrary to the pack. (Not so much betrayal, but maybe Hassan is getting older and just wants to retire, or Vera is an alcoholic) I make sure their usefulness and support much outweigh their weaknesses, but it's there and sometimes makes the players more involved. I have seen players go out of their way to play matchmaker or get a friend cleaned up, so it adds a bit of social play.

    5) I more define the territory and the territory immediately outside it. I encompass the spirit world and their courts, making sure there are a lot of variety of ties between them based on history, and give them both open and secret motivations.

    6) Sometimes, but not always, I give a secret or powerful threat on the horizon or how the earlier prey issues from above tie in together, this is the plot twist if there needs to be one, but I might wait on this and see how the players react to the various elements before making it or not make one at all.

    7) Play and add new elements based on the events.

    I guess you can call it open world, but it only works so well because the players don't travel, so closed world sandbox play?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by 3Comrades View Post
      Man, this seems to be more about how we manage as St than a particular game but because WW (And indeed most WoD books) is very localized and doesn't promote lots of travel I do this...
      The territory is a real thing of course but everything I described is adapted into the player's territory since they dont know everything on it.

      Originally posted by 3Comrades View Post
      1)Get the players to make characters, ask a few questions to get a general idea of what they want and back story.

      2)If they mentioned parents/family nearby make a couple other packs with different goals/motivations then the player, incorporate what they want first.

      3) Make sure to have a presence of favorite prey, Decide between Beshilu/Azlu, what kind of spirits fit to antagonize the pack?, What humans will cause trouble?Ay other supernaturals? Are there Pure or are the other packs going over the line? And pick 2-3 places in/near the territory that might produce Claimed in time and how likely that is to happen. Make them organized, so each one can be a plot on it's own.

      4)Since my players hate playing more than one character, I am always the wolfblood's, so I make sure each one has some goal/weakness that runs contrary to the pack. (Not so much betrayal, but maybe Hassan is getting older and just wants to retire, or Vera is an alcoholic) I make sure their usefulness and support much outweigh their weaknesses, but it's there and sometimes makes the players more involved. I have seen players go out of their way to play matchmaker or get a friend cleaned up, so it adds a bit of social play.

      5) I more define the territory and the territory immediately outside it. I encompass the spirit world and their courts, making sure there are a lot of variety of ties between them based on history, and give them both open and secret motivations.

      6) Sometimes, but not always, I give a secret or powerful threat on the horizon or how the earlier prey issues from above tie in together, this is the plot twist if there needs to be one, but I might wait on this and see how the players react to the various elements before making it or not make one at all.

      7) Play and add new elements based on the events.

      I guess you can call it open world, but it only works so well because the players don't travel, so closed world sandbox play?
      It's funny how we werewolf gm's have to prepare a lot more of pre-game content to play because you need to make their territory become something increasingly familiar on both sides of the coin, hisil and material world. It would be interesting if the writers release a book with some gm criteria and narrative tools.

      I realized that I usually do exactly step by step what you said. I think the difference is that I implement the interests of the players during the acts of a main story arc.
      I'm not very safe to simply narrate without thinking of beginning middle and end and the core elements of our table story.
      In my mind your structure works very well for me to write a big picture about the world around the players and come up with ideas for a specific story that I can implement within the sandbox roleplay.



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      • #4
        I've found that it's best for me to set the world up, have a main scenario running but let the players do whatever the hell they want. Easier to deal with their changing attitudes then trying to get them to follow a specific storyline.

        As an example, our apocalypse game went from trying to stop a band of corrupted iron riders, to the coyote (yes we had one of them) run off stealing food and drinking booze, and the child of Gaia joining the black spirals. >.> I just threw the whole plot out at that point.


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        • #5
          I stopped trying to have any plot except a big bad "behind it all" on occasion because the players are a little all over the place. They always think I made a huge plot when I just tie all the enemies/allies enough together that regardless of how the players act, there is a chain of reactions. It also relieves a lot of stress from me. I have no more idea than the players what exactly will happen and don't need to corral them to a particular action, and in some ways I am playing too. As a player, I am definitely an actor, so I get to just roleplay a bunch of characters and I enjoy the surprises the players throw rather than stress out how to react.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 3Comrades View Post
            I stopped trying to have any plot except a big bad "behind it all" on occasion because the players are a little all over the place. They always think I made a huge plot when I just tie all the enemies/allies enough together that regardless of how the players act, there is a chain of reactions. It also relieves a lot of stress from me. I have no more idea than the players what exactly will happen and don't need to corral them to a particular action, and in some ways I am playing too. As a player, I am definitely an actor, so I get to just roleplay a bunch of characters and I enjoy the surprises the players throw rather than stress out how to react.
            I understand how it is, but in the case of my players would be impossible for me to do it.
            They are not moved so easily so I write all the connections/interests of the players to a main story that correlates everything. (somewhat like your way to do it)
            The difficulty that I see today is to interest and give proper weight in both realms. The spiritual and the material and how to develop the game pacing creating a powerful atmosphere.
            All my players are entirely from iron masters and omg this is being too hard for me.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by magisanctum View Post

              I understand how it is, but in the case of my players would be impossible for me to do it.
              They are not moved so easily so I write all the connections/interests of the players to a main story that correlates everything. (somewhat like your way to do it)
              The difficulty that I see today is to interest and give proper weight in both realms. The spiritual and the material and how to develop the game pacing creating a powerful atmosphere.
              All my players are entirely from iron masters and omg this is being too hard for me.
              Do they know they can reflexively send their senses across the gauntlet? And see the spiritual consequences of actions and their territory state of affairs, first hand?

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              • #8
                Having a claimed can push players to deal with the spirits since havnig that problem can make them realize the territory is polluted on the Spirit side.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ephsy View Post

                  Do they know they can reflexively send their senses across the gauntlet? And see the spiritual consequences of actions and their territory state of affairs, first hand?
                  Yes I understand they can do that and they understand too. But this is my first "serious" werewolf campaign and Im wraping my brain to think of ways on how introduct these elements correctly making sense for the group.
                  I want to create a sense of responsibility with the shadow and the material during the game. It's easy to tell stories that a realm affects the other when the territory is well known, but when starting with a territory where gangs/drug/poverty are already established on both sides makes it a little complicated some concepts in the spiritual world.

                  I've been answered many times related to the spiritual realm in other topics here, but it seems every time I ask myself more questions appears.

                  I pay better attention in one part of the core book that caught my eyes related to urban territory of a decayed neighborhood:

                  Changing one realm requires change in the other. The
                  process is neither swift nor easy. If it were, lesser creatures than
                  Uratha would hunt these territories. Werewolves cannot simply
                  kill troublesome spirits. The ephemeral health of an ecosystem
                  is vitally important. Thoughtless violence won’t change the resonance
                  of an area. Nor can packs simply slaughter all troublesome
                  human elements. In the past, such efforts brought on the wrath
                  of hunters, enraged mobs, and other supernatural predators.
                  Like a wolf pack on the hunt, the Uratha must choose their
                  prey carefully, separate it from the herd, and run it to ground.
                  The concept applies even if the “prey” is less a living thing and
                  more of a concept, or even an attitude.

                  For the pack holding the territory in the rundown neighborhood,
                  it's not possible to just kill the problem elements.
                  Malnourished people wallow in filth and misery of Their betters
                  step on Them to reach loftier heights. They prey upon one another
                  not out of malice but out of need to survive. Many turn
                  to drugs, prostitution, or theft. Their lives generate Essence
                  of a similar resonance, feeding spirits of despair, anger, pain,
                  and greed. These spirits Then use Their Influences across the
                  Gauntlet to selfishly Reinforce the status quo. Some werewolves
                  want to end this cycle of abuse out of the notion of justice, but
                  many just want to live in a better area. Killing or driving away
                  the spirits will not solve the problem. Before long, misery Creates
                  or draws new spirits to the area and the cycle begins again.
                  Killing all the humans and draws attention from Authorities
                  spreads more death and suffering. It does nothing to kill the
                  root of the problem. pg 67


                  as some of you may know by other topics. The pack of my players try to be somekind of of justice league gang that act like vigilantes. They primary objective is to clean the crime neighborhood.​ (somewhat like daredevil series) when I read that I thought, I'm F***. How can I do the players clearly understand that shit goes through the air when they act violently?
                  How im gonna show in-game the consequences of their actions if I did not at least give some examples of how to act? How to combat drugs in the spirit world? Dude sometimes thinking too much of it destroys my brain. Thats why I give a break to my campaign for so long and my players are just waiting for me to prepare.
                  I can write a whole story that takes place in the material world, but now Im not apt to write a story that links both at the same time.
                  Last edited by magisanctum; 06-12-2016, 03:51 PM.


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                  • #10
                    It's worth remembering that the entire point of the Iron Masters' choice of "most dangerous prey" is that humans have an incredibly subtle and diverse effect on the Hisil. It's not about doing human things; it's about recognizing the consequences of human things. Don't let your players get away with ignoring those effects: remember that the two worlds are intimately connected and make it very clear to your players that this is the case.

                    One thing you can try to do is to have disconnected events in the human world that, if you examine the relevant spirit courts, immediately explain how those events are connected. It's not a mystery or anything: it's just blatantly obvious the moment you look over and have even the barest clue what's going on. Hell, even say it outright when they're mulling stuff over. "And you remember that so-and-so spirits are probably active in the area." No roll: just stuff any Uratha would pick up on and think to look into.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by magisanctum View Post
                      The pack of my players try to be somekind of of justice league gang that act like vigilantes. They primary objective is to clean the crime neighborhood.​ (somewhat like daredevil series) [/I]when I read that I thought, I'm F***. How can I do the players clearly understand that shit goes through the air when they act violently?
                      How im gonna show in-game the consequences of their actions if I did not at least give some examples of how to act?
                      The pack unleash their violence on the crime gangs. Violence and pain spirits flock to where the Uratha enact their 'justice'. This taints the energy of the area and soon the pack has ordinary families responding to each other with violence. Otherwise ordinary mothers and fathers beat their spouses and children for the slightest provocation. People on the street attack and hurt each other without reason. The pack responds with more violence, and the cycle gets worse until everyone attacks everyone for no reason, or normal people move out and the only people left are the more extreme violence gangs who are attracted to the bloodshed.

                      This is a pack that has failed in their duty, and you should make their world worse until they realise simple violence isn't the answer.

                      A more thoughtful, successful pack can still approach the gangs with violence, but it has to be more targeted. Take out a few key individuals, then head into the Hisil to deal with the violence spirits before they gain a strong foothold. And I mean *deal* with. The pack can only hunt so many spirits through Siskur-dah, and violent resonance attracts more and more. Instead, negotiate with the violence spirits to only stay in certain areas - say, the areas where the crime gangs have their hideouts. Make those more miserable for the gangs. Quarantine these areas to slowly choke the bad resonance from them.

                      Go find justice and law spirits and make deals with them. Bring them into the territory, offer to help them feast on the violence spirits as they bring justice and order to the area. Back in the physical world, tap into your networks to bring in more police, or neighbourhood watch, or private security, and get them to help patrol the streets and clean up crime. Make sure the law and order spirits tap into the police patrol areas. Get the pack into the Hisil and follow the police patrols. Keep an eye out for any corruption spirits, or areas of weakness around the officers. Take those spirits out quickly. Identify the corrupt officers and move them out, scare them into going straight, or have them arrested and taken down for good.

                      With a modicum of stability, reach out to the community. Help them set up positive areas, like parks, community groups, even make the neighbourhood watch a bigger, more organised - and fun - experience that the whole community gets into. As community bonds improve, head into the Hisil and help out the week-but-growing spirits of community, friendship, cooperation, and love. Cut a deal with the law and order spirits to protect the community spirits, and go hard after any violence spirits that victimise the community.

                      Remember the quarantine areas? Turn the tables on the violence spirits. Rally the community spirits to move into the crime areas. With Uratha pack support, of course. Take out violent spirits and protect the spirits of positivity. Head back into the physical and target promising gang members to show that there are other ways. Tap into their family networks and friends and bring them to the community groups. Encourage acceptance and tolerance. Send the police into the crime areas and spread law and order through arrests and jail time. Uratha can sniff out where the incriminating evidence is located and call it into the police through anonymous tips. Hopefully by this point the pack has brought some of the human police into the pack, or sent Wolf-Blooded to join and support the police.

                      Send the wavering gang members back into the gangs with Wolf-Blooded support. Hell, set up some tough Wolf-Blooded to move up into the gang if needed, to take control and do what the pack needs.

                      And so on and so on.

                      This isn't a quick, easy solve process. Experienced Uratha understand that securing a territory means moving back and forth across the Gauntlet to work both sides. They also understand that change is a process. Changing something always leads to consequences. Sometimes these aren't intended - the pack needs to work out how to deal with those.

                      Remember, that 2E Forsaken have extended packs for a reason. They use their Wolf-Blooded and human packmates to support the pack's goals. The pack membership isn't usually fixed. They bring new people in when needed, to help the changes they need to make. If your players aren't willing to use all the resources at their disposal, they're setting themselves up to fail.


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                      • #12
                        Dude your brain works in a inhumanely way. Thanks a lot! This could open my mind like never before now I finally can write down the campaign.
                        Now I have to gm for one player (3 urathas in the pack, 1 wolf-blooded 2 important humans and a bunch of blinded followers).-. Im impressed how the players have to do a lot of back and forth.
                        A game like this looks like lasts about 5 6 sessions if well structured by the narrator, what do you think?


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                        • #13
                          And to offer a slightly-different take to my good GM, above (hi Bunyip! )...in MY CoD, at least, things very rarely work out that way.

                          I'd say that while that kind of wise shepherding of territory would be the worthy goal of many Bone Shadow- and Iron Master-heavy packs (arguably Storm Lords, too), many other packs would just as likely let the balance of their territory's Hisil go as it may. Or more likely: let it take care of itself, apart from a few features that they mold to their purposes (harness some fear spirits to loiter around their den), monthly sacrifices to the local river spirit for "services rendered", etc.), long-term effects be damned.

                          My reasoning here is both IC and OOC:
                          • IC, I like my CoD gritty. Like Harmony, perfectly balancing your territory's needs long enough to make long-term positive change is hard and rare. People can only do so much, and for every pack with good intentions and wise ideas, there's a) a pack that just can't keep their shit together, b) a pack that just doesn't prioritise the Hisil, and c) a pack that actively promotes negative spiritual activity because it helps them out.
                          • OOC, I don't want to straight-jacket my players into needing to play a certain way or "lose". If they're all playing Ithaeurs, Bone Shadows, Iron Masters and Elodoths, for instance, than a "long game" of negotiation and careful spiritual manipulation might be right up their alley. If they're all Rahu and Blood Talons, though, I don't want to punish* them for that - I want them to get their cathartic, righteous fury on (and maybe regret it later, but not necessarily).
                          All that being said, though, as many wise (heh) people have said before me - the drama is where the fun is, anyway. I'd have no problem at all playing in a game where our gung-ho attitude was putting our territory into turmoil and screwing us over turn after turn...as long as everybody was OK with that being the expected outcome.

                          * any more than the standard life of fear, pain and trouble that is most Uratha's lot in life, that is


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                          • #14
                            And in answer to the original OP:

                            Personally, I spend waaaaaaay too much thinking about campaigns. Probably because getting to actually play a session is pretty rare, I plan, revise, come up with all-new ideas and throw out all my old ones, and generally obsess over it during the long spaces between game nights.

                            Like you, I often start with a list of major NPCs - but I include locations in that list (the territory is a character, after all). I'll jot down important people and places - particularly Loci, Verges, sources of strong resonance, etc. - in the pack's territory (and nearby packs' territories), and note down a few important stats. No full write-ups; that's not generally my style.

                            The list I've got is generally chock-full of plot hooks, but it's not obvious how to proceed. That's why the next step is so handy: I get out a piece of paper and scribble up a kind of mind-map of my general intentions for the story. Each major plot hook will be a circle connecting to PCs, NPCs, and other hooks and issues. They'll also have a bunch of other circles coming off them, too, so that it winds up looking something like a spider web with lines radiating out from a few central points. Each of these lines is a rough outline of a problem - hooks, clues and developments, set-piece scenes and locations, potential resolutions, etc. Sometimes it branches, when I realise that it could go in wildly different ways depending on PC choices (which is what you want, right?)

                            From there, we play! And honestly, my notes never really gets much more concrete than that. As we go, we progress around these "paths" of mine (or don't, if certain ideas never get picked up), and I firm up / discard my ideas as we go. I find it useful, though, to a) initially generate ideas and put them into a linear plot, and b) to give me things to pick up and run with if we stall out. For example, last time we played we were in the Hisil and I wanted to throw something interested at them. I took a look at the "map" and remembered some cool ideas I had for a flock of crow spirits - bam, in they go.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by NateD View Post
                              And in answer to the original OP:

                              Personally, I spend waaaaaaay too much thinking about campaigns. Probably because getting to actually play a session is pretty rare, I plan, revise, come up with all-new ideas and throw out all my old ones, and generally obsess over it during the long spaces between game nights.

                              Like you, I often start with a list of major NPCs - but I include locations in that list (the territory is a character, after all). I'll jot down important people and places - particularly Loci, Verges, sources of strong resonance, etc. - in the pack's territory (and nearby packs' territories), and note down a few important stats. No full write-ups; that's not generally my style.

                              The list I've got is generally chock-full of plot hooks, but it's not obvious how to proceed. That's why the next step is so handy: I get out a piece of paper and scribble up a kind of mind-map of my general intentions for the story. Each major plot hook will be a circle connecting to PCs, NPCs, and other hooks and issues. They'll also have a bunch of other circles coming off them, too, so that it winds up looking something like a spider web with lines radiating out from a few central points. Each of these lines is a rough outline of a problem - hooks, clues and developments, set-piece scenes and locations, potential resolutions, etc. Sometimes it branches, when I realise that it could go in wildly different ways depending on PC choices (which is what you want, right?)

                              From there, we play! And honestly, my notes never really gets much more concrete than that. As we go, we progress around these "paths" of mine (or don't, if certain ideas never get picked up), and I firm up / discard my ideas as we go. I find it useful, though, to a) initially generate ideas and put them into a linear plot, and b) to give me things to pick up and run with if we stall out. For example, last time we played we were in the Hisil and I wanted to throw something interested at them. I took a look at the "map" and remembered some cool ideas I had for a flock of crow spirits - bam, in they go.

                              I'm scared how we are similar. I prefer to write everything down just like you (locations(material/hisil), characters, main spirits etc. It is not a matter of insecurity, I think is taste. It seems that the game flows much better when I have everything "mapped"
                              I have played many games with diferent narrators that simply narrate without much notes, but I always found hard even to remember these games because everything seem to be generic or random. Sometimes a world well structured adds more color and life to the game universe.


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