World of Darkness Club
Hello fellow denizens, how does your holiday of darkness fair?
In the response to the “Storyteller's Toolkit” Journal a month back, I've already got the forums that we can use for the discussion set up and ready to go!
Go and register at thegeekway.proboards.com/index…
Head to the Storyteller's Toolkit Sub-Forum which we will begin to branch out from there to help each other share our stories, ideas, plots, and story hooks.
Also, debating opening up Blog Submissions to general members so that we can keep in better contact about developments from White Wolf and the WoD.
On a separate note:
I recently started playing World of Warcraft (cry if you want, I enjoy it ) and my Guildmates in Rooks (Twisting Nether, yes I play Alliance) are also avid World of Darkness fans and players. Recently, I got into a back and forth with a few of them over Werewolf the Apocalypse vs Werewolf the Forsaken and Old WoD vs New WoD in general.
Now, let me be clear when I say I don't openly diss any of the WoD (old and new) unless a game I greatly enjoy is threatened with fire. Of some of the comments made reverted to 'burning the core of nWoD' and knee-jerk hate on Forsaken, Awakened, and even Requiem (amazingly they said that Promethean and Changeling were well done -shrug-). To which I then responded with a very (very) rough summation of Apocalypse in defense of Forsaken (yes, that's not fair, but I play the game so I reserve the right to make fun of it on occasion ). Something along the lines of “moral polarity Captain Planet with fangs.” Now, if that summation annoys/infuriates you, it should, but it's also true to a degree.
Just like saying Forsaken is “self-loathing spirit police.”
Now, I have general issues with Apocalypse in comparison to Forsaken, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the game at all, or shun it completely for the nWoD werewolves. But these are general concerns that I feel take away from what the game is supposed to present.
I'll highlight a few for you all.
WARNING: This is an editorial and opinionated journal entry regarding my personal experiences playing, running, reading the source material for both Apocalypse and Forsaken.
1: Moral Absolutes) Werewolf the Apocalypse (WtA) makes a big effort to create a sense of moral duality, that there is good and evil. So much to the point that they paint the Wyrm as so evil as to include the line “Combat the Wyrm wherever it lives and wherever it breeds” as part of the Garou Litany. Much of the source books is littered with “Wyrm is evil, kill it” that it paints the picture that as heroes the Player Characters (PCs) are required to kill it out of an implanted sense of duty. There has been the option of “the Wyrm is not really that evil just insane” but it pales in comparison to how often “The Wyrm is evil” is emphasized.
Not only is such moral absolution cliché, it's impractical in the real world.
This make the game shallow on some aspects, what it really does is make the game more black-n-white instead of different shades (50) of grey. True, they sometimes mention “Oh, and the Weaver's not completely good either. Might wanna look into that.” But not nearly enough as “Wyrm is evil, kill it.” This drastically drops the chances that the PC's will take the 'deal with the devil' with a BSD pack or a Bane or other Wyrm creature, because they're classically conditioned to treat any and everything they say as outright lie and to kill on sight.
This also extends to the Wyrm-Tainted Frenzy that some werewolves can undergo in which their inner Wyrm comes out when Raging. Making the Wyrm also fulfill a 'inner demon' when Wyrm-Tainted.
2: Wolf Nature) In WtA you are a wolf spirit within a mortal coil, and thus when your true nature awakens you are Garou, a werewolf. Apocalypse offers you both a human (Homid) and wolf (Lupus) breeds as a chance to explore your wolf nature. While it attempts to go into the wolf nature through a pack hierarchy and terms to emphasize it, it doesn't go far enough.
What Werewolf the Forsaken does, is emphasize the nature of the wolf through hunting, so much that that is part of WtF's Oath of the Moon “The Wolf must Hunt” and is one of the key themes. The wolf is a predator and must hunt in order to survive. WtA doesn't let the PC's really feel like a wolf. That aspect, that core of what they are is pretty much ignored. Sure, a Lupus should be expected to portray the wolf nature, but as explained in WtA Revised Core, the Lupus Garou are merely more intelligent wolves. This doesn't give the wolf aspect much respect when it seems to be pushed to the side as a theme.
3: You are a Monster) Shapeshifting, claws, fangs, potent Gifts and Fetish weapons, werewolves in both settings have a lot going for them. However, WtA doesn't express this part of the PC's being. There are few instances when the character is outside of the Player's influence such as in a Frenzy (normal and Wyrm-Tainted). Most of the time the players are in full control of their actions in any and all forms that they can take. They are monsters, which have to keep their Rage in check. But, the ways to keep that Rage in check merely takes a single Willpower point to negate. Granted, this doesn't stop a Wyrm-Tainted Frenzy, which is the only place where the real horror is.
In WtF, the situation is much worse. While there is still the “Rage Roll” there is no bridge between Normal actions and Death Rage, it is a jump right off a cliff. However I'm not talking about the checks for Rage as lessening the distinction of a werewolf as a 'monster' I'm also talking about the control in different forms.
The nine-foot-tall snarling deathbeast of both WtA and WtF (Crinos and Gauru respectfully) are the werewolves' strongest forms, also called 'War Form' for obvious reasons. Increased strength and stamina make them perfect fighting machines. However, players in WtA often stayed in Crinos for extended periods of time and functioned normally as if in their Breed forms (save for Metis, as it is breed form). The Gauru form,in WtF, doesn't give the werewolf clarity of mind, but instead makes them whirling dervishes that have to focus on attacking and killing a target or else threaten anything and everything around them while in that form. It's a walking time-bomb more so than the Garou ever where.
From a Story Telling Perspective, Death Rage is worse than Frenzy. Since it can be fired off by literally anything (hunger, lust, insult, betrayal, ect) and is kept in check by how in balance the PC is between the spirit and the flesh (Harmony). Granted, Garou are no perfect baby-sitters, but as they get higher in rank, the risk to Frenzy begins to drop as the difficulty to fly off the handle rises Not so for the Uratha (WtF), who have only their Resolve and Composure to keep them in check (-2 when in Gauru), and a Willpower may or may not help them.
4: Seriousness) In all, for a game that is supposed to give this feeling of impending doom and the eventual end of the world, WtA doesn't deliver that in the source material very well. Granted, it stresses the declining Garou population, wolf population, and the growth of urban sprawl, but it isn't felt. It isn't presented as a major threat when you add in extra things like caerns, moots, gatherings of werewolves for important business and treating the group sept (group of PCs) as if everything is going hunky-dory. This isn't an issue with the Story Teller treating it as such when that's how it's treated in the source material he's using.
Gifts in WtA also add to take away the serious tone from what the game was probably intended. When you deal with a Ragabash (New Moon) using tricks and pranks, and a war between two Ragabash rivals a Warner Bros cartoon (over the top cartoony). The Gifts themselves are extremely potent for their levels, making it very difficult to 'suspend your disbelief' as much as you have for a game involving werewolves and a spirit world as a combat plane.
Let me be clear. If you've read through all that then it should be understood that I'm not hating on Apocalypse at all from a standpoint of ignorance. Apocalypse was and will always be the first RPG I ever played in, and from our Storyteller and his collection of books and my own research I've learned much of the Garou, their culture, their history, and how to be the best damn Hakken Ragabash you could ask for (until I was bifurcated)! I'm just tired of all the hate that Forsaken and the nWoD gets because it is undeserved.
And don't begin to tell me that my reasons listed above are “because the players didn't do it right,” or 'the ST didn't do it right,” because both of those examples are No True Scotsman Fallacies as well as Moving the Goalpost and won't fly here. Besides, the same could be said for your experience with Forsaken and nWoD (Or Requiem, Awakening, Promethean, Changeling, Hunter, Geist, ect).
First off, there are distinct differences in mechanics, setting, and even storytelling that make the two games separate entities and yet also sharing a kinship. I love Apocalypse for what it was. I love Forsaken for what it is.
So for those who don't like Forsaken, or the nWoD in general, I offer a Challenge:
Game with me.
Contact me over Skype and lets build you a character, a troupe, and let me be your Storyteller for a story arch of Werewolf the Forsaken in the new World of Darkness.
I also extend this invitation to anyone who wants to try a Werewolf the Forsaken Story Arch over Skype with me as your Storyteller. Whether your a novice or a veteran of the system. Give me a chance.
If you're interested, send me a Note and once I have six people I'll close the invites.
Okay, that's it from me. It's late, and I have some Halloween parties I still need to get ready for.
Watch your backs!