I’m generally the WoD head around the office. The CEO keeps installing random mirrors; maybe because he wants to keep an eye on if I’ve been embraced yet? I’m not sure. What I do know is that I’m happy he’s done that because it makes it easier for me to get into the Umbra… I mean… if I was a Werewolf or something… or a Corax… which I’m not.
Right, where was I? Oh, I realized that during my illustrious career here at High Level Games, I have yet to write about Werewolf! So, here we go. Werewolf is a complex game. It’s a game of violence, rage, and horror of the fast and bloody kind. At the same time, it is a game of animistic spirituality, of heroism, and an attempt to hold back the tide of ecological disaster. Vampire has the reputation as the political game in the World of Darkness, but Werewolf has its political side with the intricacies of the Garou Nation. What follows are 4 ideas you can steal and use for a chronicle. If you love them, let me know. If you hate them, let me know. I love feedback.
1) THE LOCAL FIRST:
WtA can be an epic game of world spanning heroism, but that isn’t the only way to play it. In this Chronicle idea the pack has awakened a Caern. It’s small, weak, and alive. The only Garou currently that protect it are the pack. They have to cultivate it, strengthen it, and care for the land and local Umbrascape. This story focused on the small things the pack will have to do. Maybe make an entire session around choosing what flowers have the strongest spiritual reflection. Have the local NPC’s become really fleshed out; create bonds between the pack and the people that live near the caern. They’ll have to learn to keep their Rage in check, because they don’t want to catch the attention of greater powers. Perhaps the caern is in a small local park, or maybe it is urban and a city water fountain is also a place of spiritual power? Slowly have local politicians rezone the space, perhaps threaten to evict the pack from their squat near the site? This chronicle idea requires a subtle approach to Werewolf, rather than 10 tons of furry mayhem.
2) THE QUEST OF ATONEMENT:
This chronicle idea is almost the polar opposite of the first suggestion. In this chronicle you are sending a nomadic pack to search for a way to atone for a misdeed. Perhaps it is something massive they seek to make amends for, like the War of Rage. Perhaps it is something small, like a frenzy that takes the life of an innocent. At any rate, the pack has to undertake a quest into the Umbra to seek atonement. The pack has to decide where to go first, send them to various Elders asking for guidance on where to start. Seed them with connections to NPCs with knowledge beyond the Garou Nation. Have them seek out an old Gurahl or an ancient Mokole with memories of an event they need to be aware of. Perhaps a Ratkin has been to a rare umbral realm that holds the secret to returning the Apis to the world? The goal of this chronicle is to drop breadcrumbs that lead the pack to their goal. Perhaps they will fail, but they should constantly be moving, seeking, finding ways to succeed.
3) BRING THE WAR TO THEM:
Werewolf often feels like a game of reaction, rather than proactive attacks against the Wyrm. In this chronicle the players and their pack are given the task of acting as a squad in a pro-active assault against the Wyrm and its minions. This isn’t an attack against Malfeas story, though it could certainly head that way if you want to. Instead, focus on seeking out and acquiring targets. Perhaps a local O’Tolleys (a Fast Food Burger Joint in the WoD) is selling Wyrm tainted meat. The pack has to take out the Banes lurking in the umbra around the restaurant and at the same time decide if they are going to take any action against the physical side of the chain. Have them lead an attack against the O’Tolley’s distribution center and maybe even the Corporate Office. I’d leave the chronicle there, but maybe drop some hints that O’Tolley’s is simply a subsidiary of Pentex… and have the pack attack the Wyrm at one of its core manifestations on Gaia.
Imagine 4-5 highly strung soldiers who are experts at striking the enemy where it counts. Now imagine those same soldiers have to act as front-line diplomats. If you can imagine that, you might have an idea of how this chronicle could go. For whatever reason, the pack has been chosen to act as ambassadors. Perhaps they need to reach out to the local vampires, because allying is more beneficial than fighting. Or, as an alternative idea, the pack is tasked with making an alliance with the resurgent Nuwisha. Whichever direction you decide to take, the pack will need patience, calm, and luck to succeed at their mission. Rage makes these sorts of peace missions difficult, but if the pack fails in their mission a MUCH GREATER EVIL will destroy everyone.
These are pretty bare bones ideas, but hopefully they give you something you can work with. Werewolf is an amazing game, and there are a ton of different ways to play the game. What sort of chronicles have you run? Oh, and When Will You Rage?
With 17 years of playing rpgs, Josh started with Mind's Eye Theater LARPs and loves the World of Darkness. He recently launched,www.keepontheheathlands.com to support his gaming projects. Josh is the administrator of the Inclusive Gaming Network on Facebook. He’s a player in Underground Theatre’s and One World By Nights Vampire LARPs and is running both a Mage game and a Dark Ages: Vampire game. He’s a serious advocate for inclusive gaming spaces, a father, and a recent graduate from the International Peace and Conflict Resolution graduate program at American University in Washington, D.C.
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