Well, we certainly played a lot of it. There’s probably 45 or so hours stacked up in our backlog so far, so you would have thought we’d have picked up some Wisdom renown.
In short, we probably didn’t, and we’re the same dysfunctional freaks we started as. But here’s a few things for those who might be interested in WtF Second Edition who put their trust in internet weirdos.
Slice of Life
This may be our default means of playing, but the updated pack creation, Wolf Blood and Lunacy mechanisms play into this really beautifully. Your werewolf pack is, by default, part of a much larger community… which makes it real hard to take the Murderhobo route, as was seen in Payment in Kind. With Lunacy being less of the Masquerade protection it used to be, you can’t rely on people forgetting your carnage, and even PCs seem less willing to kill an enemy if its one that can fish up embarrassing childhood stories about them.
Tactical Nuclear Gauru
Yeah, the huge regenerative capacity of the war form has been a sticking point for some posters online, but in my mind it combines the best of the wuxia second wind trope and a weird game of mutually assured destruction. Lets just say that the advantage isn’t as huge as it seems once you fight people who actually have an idea how Uratha tick, which incidentally includes the ubiquitous swarms of spirits, the Azlu and Beshilu, and those oh-so-buff Predator Kings. Oh, and… any group willing to pin down a giant and devour them Lilliput style. Ouch.
Also, a well built Rahu is murder incarnate. Grandpappy Fever was no pushover, but sometimes your bonuses do lead to seventeen successes…
This led to some fun moments of nudist comedy, but once the pack got to a balanced level it seemed to become less important. Perhaps a default “hit a breaking point and gain Conditions” would have been better, with Flesh-Locked and Spirit-Locked being the dramatic failures in either direction. I think the Harmony gauge is a relic from previous edition, but like all elements of the CoD toolbox, you can discard whatever you like. Which leads us to…
Conditions, Conditions, Conditions
These are great. Print the deck, and for any extreme occurrence, you have something tangible for the player to nurse. Love ’em, best thing God Machine did.
… is something I don’t think I said once in all 29 episodes. Basically, we put a slightly modified Down and Dirty Combat system up front and center, as… well, Werewolf, to our minds, shouldn’t feel like an Errol Flynn thrust-parry-riposte-dodge-lock-break-taunt-repeat routine. You’re rolling at the same time as your opponent because you are crashing into each other at speed with each trying to tear something vital out of the other. We let defense count, as it pays to have a guard up, but otherwise we never used the turn-based combat system.
This Story is True
I quite like this little recurring phrase in the book, as it really drives home the fact that most of the Werewolf tribes’ founding mythology is… hearsay at best. In the end we kinda doubled down on this, with most tribes claiming their totem as the eldest, giving contrary information, and extolling the grand cosmic importance of the refreshments table. This played into our new players insecurities, and it took a long time for the pack to shake the idea that Destroyer Wolf wasn’t a Pure totem. I also took some liberties with tribal backgrounds, but more importantly with their current human manifestations: Jonah’s Ivory Claws present themselves more like the Bene Gesserit than neo-nazis, the modern Blood Talons are mostly ex-military burnouts, and… well, it wasn’t much of a stretch to make the Hunters in Darkness completely nuts.
After all, just because your god is still up and lumbering around the Deep Shadow doesn’t mean they’re sane.
We love Werewolf. That’s probably pretty obvious, but it is a rock solid toolbox for your middle-crunch gamer. If you wan’t to run a game that explores family, community, and the slow disintegration of a dying warrior clade, you can do a lot worse than this one.
Keep on rocking listeners.
Original pic by Dandy Sanders