The results are in! This week, by a vote of 53 to 37, it’s Auspices.
But first, a digression.
Some people have remarked how these development blogs feel different to the Blood & Smoke devblogs. I agree. Part of that is a matter of space — while we could preview each Discipline for Blood & Smoke and see how people reacted to individual changes, the sheer volume of Gifts and Facets makes that untenable for Werewolf. Partly, it’s also because quite a lot of the changes we’re making to Werewolf are on a more structural level. I’m listening to feedback but as I’m presenting structural parts rather than individual elements, it’s more to tune how we do things.
Take tribes, for example. High-level overviews of what we’re changing with tribe enabled me to see people’s responses and what we need to play up — that we’re adding a chosen prey rather than changing the tribe entirely, and that the Storm Lords and Hunters in Darkness selection of prey needs a bit more explanation than the other tribes. Rather than spending five weeks going over each tribe and how they work, I wanted to show the higher-level change and see how people reacted to that.
Also, in part, it’s because so much of what I’ve mapped out is at the structural level. While I’m involved with what the team I’ve assembled is doing, they’re filling in the details — what Gifts and Facets do what, or the precise details of each level of Primal Urge and Harmony. So as I’ve only just got their drafts in, I’ve got less of the nuts and bolts that I can share and ask for feedback on. That does mean that when I blog about something like Gifts, Chris can come along and answer questions just as well as I can.
On to the moon-signs!
A character’s Auspice determines the sacred role that the moon chose for her: Stalker, Spirit Master, Walker Between, Visionary, or Warrior. Because it’s such a big part of the character, we’re giving Auspice a more prominent part in the book. When you’re making a werewolf — whether you’re applying a supernatural template to a human character, or you’re new to Forsaken and have cracked open the Idigam Chronicle for the first time — you have two major choices that define your werewolf. Tribe and Auspice. So they’re in at the front of the book.
Auspice defines a werewolf’s role among the people as a reflection of how she hunts. The Auspice descriptions in the Idigam Chronicle cover each Auspice both in Uratha society and in the hunt. We’re clarifying, not replacing.
- Irraka hunt their prey without being seen, striking from the shadows. In a pack, the Irraka makes sure that the kill happens, even if she doesn’t strike the final blow — hamstringing her prey, or leaving them open to another werewolf’s claws. On her own, she remains hidden and builds every advantage she can find, then goes for the kill in a single moment of blinding violence.
- Ithaeur know that they are never alone. His knowledge and connections in the spirit world have obvious utility in the hisil. When hunting in the material world, those spirits give him a thousand ephemeral eyes eyes to track his prey, a thousand hands that reach out to Urge or Claim for just a moment before the werewolf’s teeth sink in.
- Elodoth have one foot in light and one in shadow. As such, they foster connections in both worlds. She makes deals with anything, from spirits of rock and toxic waste to the cops who watch the corner. She sits in the middle of a network of connections and favors, pulling on — or breaking — strings that make her prey’s life hell before he even knows the werewolf is after him.
- Cahalith have a blessing from Luna. The moon comes to their dreams and gives visions of the hunt. As such, a Cahalith knows the story of the hunt before it starts, and it’s then his role to make the hunt memorable. As such, he leaves subtlety to other packmates. The Cahalith howls so his prey can hear, bursts through walls, and leaves his prey in no doubt of what is coming for her.
- Rahu are the blade of the guillotine. Other werewolves prime the hunt, weaken and harry their prey, but it’s the Rahu who kills the prey. Sometimes, it’s an execution. Sometimes, it’s a drawn-out fight. Many Rahu prefer the fight. The full moon casts many things into light and shadow. The fight — the kill — is her role in the hunt. That’s all a Rahu needs to know.
We’ve beefed up many of the Auspice abilities, turning them into once-per-chapter abilities that evoke the werewolf’s moon-given role. The Elodoth’s ability, for example can either cause or end kuruth — but since she can only use it once per chapter she’d better be very sure that she can deal with the consequences.
Finally, an Auspice gives a werewolf a Hunter’s Aspect. This is something that gives a werewolf away to other werewolves, and that clashes with the predatory aura of a vampire. When a werewolf takes the lead on a siskur-dah, her Hunter’s Aspect comes to the fore and her prey knows exactly what kind of monster is coming for it.
I could go on to try to enumerate all the small things, but I think it’s better if I just show it off. So here’s the first draft of the Cahalith write-up to give you more of a sense of things.
I don’t know if it’s physically possible for me to end this post without using Creedence Clearwater Revival. Even if it is, I don’t want to try. Bad things might happen. Instead, have this week’s question: Shapeshifting or Kuruth?
And sorry for not responding more to last week’s entry. I’ve been poring over redlines. I always try to get caught up while counting the votes. I am reading everything, including the double-posts. ↩