The Pack [Werewolf: The Forsaken]

Open Development, Werewolf: The Forsaken

Curses! That fool Brookshaw left the microphone live. Now, I must spill all my secrets. I’ll get him next time, Gadget, next time!

ahem In the immortal words of Professor Nebulous, I’m drifting. Since Dave’s whetted your appetites for Signs of Sorcery, it’s only fair if I spill the beans on The Pack.

I have it rather easier than him, of course — you’ve all had the opportunity to play and/or read through Werewolf: The Forsaken Second Edition. Stay alert. You know what’s coming. Eyes open. That won’t save you.

First question: What is The Pack? It follows in the grand tradition of Werewolf: The Forsaken books with really obvious titles. Apart from a couple of edge cases, what was in a Werewolf book has always been pretty clear from the title. Info on the tribes? Tribes of the Moon. Auspices? Signs of the Moon. Threats and enemies? Wolfsbane.

The Pack is, then, about the pack. Chris Allen, Peter Schaefer, and Leath Sheales are joined by Sam Young to produce a book about werewolf packs. It shares the overarching theme of the Forsaken 2e line: The Wolf Must Hunt. Packs became more detailed (and arguably more important) in the new edition, and a book offers even more options to deal with that.

Theme: Playing the Pack

The Pack focuses on the pack as a whole, the admixture of human, werewolf, Wolf-Blooded, and everything else. While it’s perfectly valid to have the players taking the role of werewolves and the Storyteller using the rest of the pack as supporting characters, here we bring all of the pack members into focus. We presenting the adjunct members as characters on a level with werewolves in the overall story — not on the Siskur-Dah necessarily, but in the fabric of the werewolves’ lives. It’s okay — hell, I’d encourage — two players playing their werewolf characters while another plays a Wolf-Blooded and a fourth plays both the totem and a couple of human characters who have useful expertise in the scene.

moneta-sleet-sammy-davis-jr-rat-pack-1960

Now I want to play the Rat Pack as Uratha.

Mood: Us Against the World

It’s a common Werewolf mood, and this book is no different. If you’re part of the pack, you’re one of us and we will look after you and defend you and maybe kick the shit out of you when you fuck up, but you are ours. If you’re not part of the pack you’re one of them, and the least member of the pack is worth ten of you.

Contents

One thing I do have to say: this is not “Everything I wanted to include in Werewolf 2e but couldn’t.” As with previous Werewolf books, The Pack has a strong premise and things that don’t match with that premise have to wait for future books, so we can do packs the justice they deserve. It’s a bugger to have to say that; I’d like to have the extra 100K I wanted for the core book so we could update everything and not have these concerns. Que sera, sera.

With that in mind, here’s a grab-bag of stuff you’ll find on cracking open the covers.

Chapter One: Us and Them

What the pack is, how it works as a whole, and how it interacts with the outside world. Here, we elide the internal divisions. They’re for the future. For now, you’re one of us, so you get to know about:

  • How packs present to the outside world — not just biker gangs but office workers, software houses, fire crews, to cults.
  • How packs recruit, both inducting new werewolves and those members who do not have a psycopathology requiring pack living.
  • How packs organize, whether they go for the “tiered” method of Werewolf/Wolf-Blooded/Human, direct democracy, or other things.
  • An alternate system for creating pack members during play.
  • Options for troupe play, familiar to players of Ars Magica, the Civil War event for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, and a little thing caled W20: Shattered Dreams
  • Some Merits that apply to the pack as a whole.

Chapter Two: Moving Parts

Here, we drill down to individual kinds of pack members. We talk about how they interact with the pack as individuals, rather than assuming anything about a pack’s structure. Chapter One is the flesh, Chapter Two is the bone. When you crack open the marrow, you might find:

  • How pack members might act when the pack as a whole is at rest, on task, on the hunt, and at the breaking point.
  • Specific factors for each kind of pack member — what instincts come into play for werewolves who aren’t in charge, and what it’s like to be in a pack of only werewolves.
  • A much bigger discussion on the pack’s totem and its place in the pack, the sometimes-neglected fourth kind of “usual” pack member.
  • Packmates who aren’t part of the “typical pack”, including spirits, mundane wolves, and the supernatural protagonists of the other Chronicles of Darkness games.
  • Systems for pack tactics, and expanded totem mechanics.

Chapter Three: The Wider World

Following the flesh and bone metaphor, the previous two chapters discuss the pack as an animal. This chapter looks at packs of packs, the psychology of the pack extended beyond the immediate. This shows up in two primary forms: Protectorates, which are kinda like packs-of-packs, and Lodges, weird spirit-pledged mystery cults. Dig deeper and you might find:

brat-pack

Or the werewolf Brat Pack

  • Details on Protectorates, including how they organize, why they form, how they structure themselves, and why they fail.
  • An overview of Lodges, mystery-cults pledged to totems other than the firstborn.
  • Tribal pillars — Lodges that exemplify each tribe
  • Five full Lodge write-ups, including the Lodge of Garm, the Thousand Steel Teeth, the Lodge of the Screaming Moon, the Temple of Apollo, and the Eaters of the Dead.

Chapter Four: Hunting Grounds

As they were so useful in Werewolf 2e, we’ve included a further three Hunting Grounds that highlight the themes and ideas present in this book. They include:

  • Dubai, the City of Chains
  • Malta, the Crossroads of Worlds
  • Bangkok, the Golden Throne.

 


That’s your lot for now, cheese weasels. Next time, if you’re good, I might spoil a Lodge for you. Would you like that?

Imma change this around from when I was doing the previous Werewolf development posts. Long-term readers may remember that every one of my open development posts for Forsaken 2e included one track from my development playlist, which Travis Stout was good enough to compile on Spotify.

This time, I’m asking you for songs (this has nothing to do with the third volume of Phonogram being out in trade, honest). The difference between the Werewolf lines I develop is easy to encapsulate in music:

  • Apocalypse is Metallica’s Of Wolf And Man and RATM’s Killing in the Name.
  • Forsaken is Florence and the Machine’s Howl and Duran Duran’s Hungry Like the Wolf.

With that division in mind, what’s your suggestion for the song that should be on my Forsaken playlist but isn’t?

  37 comments for “The Pack [Werewolf: The Forsaken]

  1. Second Chances
    March 22, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! Dubai!

    Okay, clearly I’m excited, but after having lived in UAE for three years, anyone would be. I’ve been hoping to see Abu Dhabi and Dubai written up for years and had been resolved to just get myself hired to do it myself. It is super exciting to see more locations show up in the Pack, but even more exciting to see that specific one!

  2. Sean
    March 22, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Bravo. The way that packs are now structured is my favorite part of Forsaken 2e. Emphasizing that wolf-blooded and even humans are all full members of a pack was such a great change, it really made me sit up and take notice. I’m so glad that the first supplement for Forsaken 2e focusses on packs.

    Also, the fact that three new hunting grounds will be included makes me hopeful that Secrets of the Covenants will include a couple new domains- and that including new settings becomes a trend in supplements.

    • Stew
      March 23, 2016 at 6:36 am

      I don’t know how other CofD games will handle additional settings. I loved how the Hunting Grounds worked in the core to highlight different bits of the setting, so they’re a feature of the line until/unless I get told to stop. 🙂

      • Sean
        March 23, 2016 at 12:10 pm

        Yay! You’re the best, Stew!

  3. Kevin
    March 22, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Wolves by To Kill a King feels like a good Werewolf song, to me
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVJaWOV5uI8

  4. Atavist
    March 22, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    This is all so great to hear, especially since it seems so close. These lodges are going to be great, and it’ll be really good to know the many ways the pack can be. The information about Protectorates seem intriguing too.

    And those Hunting Grounds! Perfect!

    Here’s a couple songs help me get into the game, though my character’s more of a manhunter and leans towards the Bale.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MUGAxpI0Bc
    Ante Up by M.O.P
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzZzDbRp3z4
    Aisha by Iggy Pop & Death in Vegas

    MIA’s Bad Girls seems like it would fit
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uYs0gJD-LE

    I also wonder if this could work
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vimZj8HW0Kg

    • Atavist
      March 22, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      And yes, spoiling a lodge would be absolutely fantastic.

      • Atavist
        March 23, 2016 at 11:23 am

        Specifically the Thousand Steel Teeth, please!

  5. March 22, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Clearly the song that’s not on you playlist should be from Us and Them by Shinedown (actually not sure any of them fit, but Us and Them invoked).

  6. Cathal
    March 22, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Screaming Moon! My Cahalith has one session (ish) left in our current campaign to finally join that lodge!

  7. branford
    March 22, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    I would just note that the “Rat Pack” sounds like a Beshilu boy band.

  8. atamajakki
    March 22, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Oh my. This could be the release that finally wins me over on Werewolf.

    • Stew
      March 23, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Here’s hoping!

  9. Torakhan
    March 22, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    While the Pack is the focus of either line, it always seemed to be something that was taken for granted of in Apocalypse (at least for our games.)

    Many of our games seemed to just handle a pack like any other game’s group, only loosely held together through a “totem” that some characters would choose to take.

    But how and why Packs are made, when they stay together and when/why they break up, how new members are brought in and how that differs from the original formation was something that always seemed to be glanced over.

    This is especially important when talking to folks and playing from different regions, gaming communities, and different STs. While it’s one thing for different characters to come from different backgrounds where Packs are handled differently, it’s another for players to have different ideas of what is canon too.

    I’m really glad that Forsaken is getting a book like this. I just wish that Apocalypse had gotten something similar. 🙂

    Alas, I don’t know Forsaken, so I can’t add to the music list. 🙁

    • Stew
      March 23, 2016 at 7:15 am

      One chapter of Changing Ways does focus on the pack as it applies to W:TA, but as a 20th Anniversary type book I’d it’s covering a range of related topics.

  10. NateD
    March 22, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Exxxxxxxcellent! I’m LOVING all these updates, lately!

    And to offer my own selection into the ring: We’re in This Together by NIN (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9BfvPjsXXw)

  11. NateD
    March 22, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Also: MOAR CHVRCHES!

    Gun (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktoaj1IpTbw)

    • Stew
      March 23, 2016 at 7:15 am

      You know that Jamie McKelvie of Phonogram does a bunch of posters for CHVRCHES? Just throwing that out there…

      • NateD
        March 24, 2016 at 10:15 pm

        Iiiiiiiiiinteresting! I hadn’t even heard of it until now, but it sounds excellent! And I love all art in any way associated with CHVRCHES. Their style is amazing.

  12. Michael Stein
    March 23, 2016 at 2:12 am

    Hoping the troupe play will also be useful for Mummy cults.

    • Bunyip
      March 23, 2016 at 5:39 am

      With a (very) small amount of adaptation, yes.

  13. Baboonking
    March 23, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Riding the Storm out by REO Speedwagon, somehow got stuck in my head as the theme song for my Werewolf game. (Set in the Rockies, of course.)

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T3IxDrTtqYY

  14. Full Time GM
    March 23, 2016 at 11:47 am

    I might need to delay my Werewolf campaign to wait for this; sounds like what I need for a more detailed game.

  15. Monghani
    March 23, 2016 at 11:49 am

    If you’re taking suggestions I’d love to see a spoiler for The Thousand Steel Teeth Lodge. 🙂

  16. ZealousChristian24
    March 23, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    “Next time, if you’re good, I might spoil a Lodge for you. Would you like that?”

    EATERS OF THE DEAD! I mean, yes, that would be lovely!

  17. Kevin McKinney
    March 23, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Any chance we can see a right up for the Lodge ofbbc the Shield? I feel that these guy can be used everywhere, also it has the interesting fact that wolfblooded can become more important then werewolves.

  18. Kairos McKinney
    March 23, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Come on, you got to give us an example lodge form the core book. If any of them give us the Lodge of the Shield. How can they travel around on police patrol without stepping on the toes of local packs?

  19. wyrdhamster
    March 23, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I vote for the Lodge of Garm – my Blood Talons need some love! 😉

  20. MorkaisChosen
    March 23, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Retaliate by VNV Nation is the most Forsaken song in the world. Can’t get the playlist to open so I can’t tell if you already had it…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeMAxFWnaAc

  21. atamajakki
    March 23, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Is there any chance we can see more about the Eaters of the Dead?

  22. Nicolas Milioni
    March 23, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    The notorious b.I.g Somebody’s Gotta Die
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pLj1fHfWjUc

  23. Sean
    March 24, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    I know it may be a little on the nose, but Mourning Ritual’s cover of “Bad Moon Rising.”

  24. Ephraim
    March 25, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    This looks great! Can hardly wait. If I must pick one lodge I will go for Eaters of the dead.

    Music!
    Hank Williams the 3rd – 3 shades of black
    The Hives – Blood red moon
    The last internationale – wanted man

  25. Nicolas M.
    March 27, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    I Just love supplements like those

  26. shada
    March 30, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    And either game can have I Made a Promise to The Moon as a theme

Comments are closed.