W20 Cookbook Update & White Howlers Outline

From speaking with Rich it’s clear that I really should give you fine people an update on one of my pet projects: the W20 Cookbook. This is one of those projects that came out of left field — I joked about writing one with some friends on Google+ during the Kickstarter campaign, and before I know it Rich asked if he could include it as a stretch goal. I’d be a fool to say no, really.

Let’s preface this by saying I love food, and I know I’m not the only one. Matt McFarland regularly cooks for his group in the style of Chopped. David Hill released a cookbook for his post-fantasy RPG, exploration of the culture of the world through its food. And on a more personal level, a whole lot of freelancers — Werewolf and not — sent me jealous email and tweets. It’s clear that though I really want to do the cookbook, I’m not the only one who wants to see it.

On the one hand, a cookbook is a great way to get a look at a culture through how it eats and what it eats. Werewolf: The Apocalypse is a fiercely multicultural game and I want a chance to reflect that in the recipes used in the book. The Children of Gaia and Bone Gnawers both cook big pots of food that can feed a lot of people. The Glass Walkers eat on the go or order in, and they’re epitomised by food that’s available the world over, adapted to the local palate. Even the Red Talons have to admit that meat tastes better when cooked (all hail the maillard reaction), but what would a tribe of lupus choose to accompany their meat?

At the same time, the people who play Werewolf aren’t the same people who first picked up the game, even though they have the same name and date of birth. Time changes us all. In those first few years of gaming, I could live on ramen and Ginsters pasties, Haribo and Dr Pepper. These days, I cook for my family and bribe my gaming group by cooking dinner. My tastes have changed — food’s not just fuel to stay up for three days straight, it’s something to enjoy. Few things beat eating a slice of bread with the same hands that kneaded the dough, or feeling the sizzle of a steak as it hits the pan. I could go back to Haribo and pasties, but I find that I don’t want to. I’ve changed as a person — and I’d be very surprised if I was the only one to feel that way.

For all that I want the W20 Cookbook to function as an in-world artefact, the sort of thing that a Garou or Kinfolk chef might compile as a way of examining the culture of each tribe through the food that they eat, I also want it to be practical and useful for the people who will use it, which means including vegetarian and pescatarian recipes that are appropriate for the Garou. I’m cooking each recipe multiple times, using both normal and US measurements. I may have a passion for food but I also have a tiny kitchen and a limited set of equipment. I won’t put anything in the cookbook that I couldn’t do at home. I’m also trying to make the ingredients the sort of thing that people could find in a well-stocked supermarket. I want people to cook the recipes in this book. I’m not the same person I was when I started playing Werewolf: The Apocalypse, I can’t survive on the same level of junk food that I could as a teenager. And if nothing else, my players are less likely to flake if I bribe them with dinner. I hope it inspires people to do the same.

The outline I’m currently looking at includes 20 recipes. One for each tribe of the Garou Nation, one for each Lost Tribe, one for each of Hakken, Boli Zhouisze, and Siberakh, and one for the Black Spiral Dancers.

As a pet project, I’m working on it in parallel to other books. Jess is hard at work writing Tribebook: White Howlers — oh, yeah, have an outline — and once I’ve got this last little bit of Changing Breeds done I’ll be working with our consulting developers on the next Book of the Wyrm pass.

  46 comments for “W20 Cookbook Update & White Howlers Outline

  1. Ana Mizuki
    March 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Ooh, the Howler TB outline looks really good. I like that you are going for the actual ancestral picts and not the Conan version the tribe was originally based on.

    • blue fox
      March 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      Well isn’t that pretty much what happened in WW?

      The noble Picts, allies of the fierce and brave Atlanteans became an almost deranged blood thirsty bands of wild men in eternal war with the noble savages of Cimmeria?

      But yeah, in a historical setting books I also prefer to have at least a semblance of reality.

  2. Sabin Moonshadow
    March 19, 2013 at 4:21 am

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk01eeKMD_I

    I am so geeked to hear about the fact that the cook book is being worked on. I know its a weird thing, but I can’t wait to see this. Is it possible that there might be also a small section on the gift Cooking, or perhaps a couple different ways of ‘performing’ it? Just to help out the people who’s best food they can make are usually burnt toast.

  3. Adamant Siaka
    March 19, 2013 at 5:23 am

    I hunger for Changing Breeds spoilers!

    • Stew
      March 19, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Next update! Which is happening when I can look at the book in chunks larger than a paragraph at a time.

      Actually, I have a bit of an idea. Leave it with me. Something this week.

      • Brandon
        March 19, 2013 at 11:13 am

        Awesome! I’ve been waiting for CB updates. I have cash saved up and I’m stalking Kickstarter to pledge my heart out to make you guys stretch goal some lost tribes, cookbooks, and individual breed books! I even have my credit card bill clear to rack up debt! Hehe

        *is there some way to get updates to the page sent to my inbox?

        • Stew
          March 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm

          If you’re talking about updates to this blog, you can use something like http://blogtrottr.com/ to set up an RSS-to-email thing, or subscribe using something like Feedly or TheOldReader (I would suggest Google Reader, but that’s going the way of the dodo). If you mean Kickstarter updates, you can toggle a setting on the Kickstarter site to make sure you get all the updates on your backed projects sent straight to your inbox.

          • Brandon
            March 20, 2013 at 5:12 am

            Unfortunately I couldn’t back W20 :/ so no goodies for me Dx Hopefully though I can catch CB20 and H(engeyokai)20 (hint!) Or maybe even hunter (innocents are cool!)

      • Adamant Siaka
        March 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm

        Yay!

  4. Yiodan
    March 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    I hate to be “That guy” and I don’t mean to be rude or anything. I’m only interested in helping. Therefore, I simply wanted to point out that there are a few more sources of information about that era and the fall of the White Howlers that was published.

    1) In “Chronicle of the Black Labyrinth” there is a Pict White Howler recounting the story of the tribe and its fall to a Roman Soldier.

    2) The Ananasi also had a MAJOR (but secret) role to play in the downfall of the White Howlers. (If I recall correctly their tricked the Corax into tricking the WH to storm the lair of the Wyrm so that the Ananasi could free their queen.)

    I don’t mean to be rude or anything. I just mention it in passing in case it could help.

    Now that I’m done being “That Guy”. The outline of the book seems extremely interesting. I can’t wait to read it :) Thanks for doing this wonderful book.

    • Mr I
      March 19, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      You’re mistaken about the Ananasi. That story has basically nothing to do with the White Howlers — it was one of the opening salvos in the Wars of Rage.

      • Yiodan
        March 21, 2013 at 1:17 am

        That’s quite possible. Haven’t read it in years. I remembered it implied sending a bunch of Garou into the Lair of the Wyrm itself, though. I’ll have to read it again.

        At least the bit about the Chronicle of the Black labyrinth is relevant.

  5. March 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    I want this, even if it’s just a slip of more info on the Siberakh!

    • Stew
      March 20, 2013 at 10:22 am

      Plenty of stories link steak tartare to the Tartar people of Russia and Eastern Europe (they are just stories, the dish was a French invention, but this is Werewolf and even food has a spirit and a myth) who are the main human Kinfolk of the Siberakh.

      Which handily answers the pressing question: “I have to include steak tartare it’s such a werewolf dish, but which tribe gets it? Silver Fangs? Shadow Lords? Red Talons?” None of the above. :)

  6. ShadowWolf1
    March 19, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    I look forward to the White Howlers book. I am also glad to see the outline and an illustration of a new take on the Picts, or shall I say Pictish Werewolves that doesn’t make them seen as mindless battling maniacs. After all, the Roman Empire considered civilizations outside of them to be barbarians and the Picts refused the materialistic lifestyle of the Romans. However I will say that I enjoyed all types of the tribebooks and Werewolf isn’t pop-environmentalism, that’s a misnomer. There is nothing wrong with more exposure to the environment, especially since it’s on the verge of collapse. Environmentalism and all the themes of Werewolf, even including human rights and more, change and evolve. It doesn’t mean they are tired, it just means they change. I can’t wait til the book comes out. There is quite alot of books and material on the Picts and I can’t wait. By the way, check out this article on the Ardross Stone.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/8YmUjGqHR82oe02VCzM9kw

  7. Obsidian Atheme
    March 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I am very excited about the cookbook. I know, that may sound odd, but what a fantastic way to flesh out what a certain people are like! Although, I’m not sure I really WANT to know what the Black Spiral Dancers are cooking… or how they’re cooking it.

    • ShadowWolf1
      March 19, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      @Obsidian: With the BSD’s it probably involves Soylent Green ;)

    • Stew
      March 20, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Oh, it’s very tempting. And also a bit surprising in your mouth. And very more-ish. You don’t think they’d make you eat that before you joined? The first hit is always free…

  8. March 20, 2013 at 4:15 am

    So, the book will be presented as an in-character item? With a forward and a bit of “story” in it, as the author talks about their times with other Tribes and learning the recipes? That’d be awesome. :) … especially having to learn BSD recipes from kin, or something. ;)

    Also, I don’t know if it’d be useful, or not, but talking about different eating-styles of different cultures might be an interesting chapter too. When to use certain utensils, how to serve the meals, and at what times.

    And is there any thoughts to a mixed-drink list for each Tribe too? ;) Maybe we have some mixologists who would like to contribute. :)

    • Stew
      March 20, 2013 at 10:28 am

      I’m actually really interested in the eating styles, utensils, and customs around food of various cultures. The only problem is that I couldn’t do them justice in the Cookbook. I’ll do my best to include notes where the tradition for a dish would vary from the British/American norm.

      As for a mixed-drink list, that’s a bit beyond my area of expertise — I’m good at some of the classics, but not so good at invention. I’d say it’s a great idea for a fan-project, and I know a couple of mixologists who would be interested. :)

      • March 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm

        Hmm. When is your deadline to turn the information in? Maybe there’s time for you to choose from some of those options, or you can assign drinks to folks you know want to participate in helping come up with, or assign drinks to the Tribes? :)

        • Stew
          March 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm

          Heh. That’s more of a forum project, I think.

  9. Arag
    March 20, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I’ve spoken to Rich Thomas today about the White Howler book and he told me to leave the message here:

    I am in possession of current academic sources about this time period, including access to academic journals like the Cambridge Britannia journal. I would be glad to help in any way I can, free of charge, if you are interested.

    • ShadowWolf1
      March 21, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      Arag: Could you post the references for that time period, and the Pict research? That would be great!

      • Arag
        March 22, 2013 at 12:41 am

        Gladly, though not here. This blog is a singularly unhelpful environment when it comes to longer responses.
        I assume that you aren’t perchance Jess Hartley, so the best way to communicate would be through the WW forum. I use the same handle there as I use here, send me a PM and I’ll tell you all about it.

        • March 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm

          Hey, Arag! Dropped you a note there! Thanks for the offer. I am very interested in obtaining all the information I can get my hands on about that historic period and region, to make the White Howler Tribebook the best it can be. I love weaving facts and fiction together, so this is a really exciting challenge for me!

        • ShadowWolf1
          March 23, 2013 at 9:39 pm

          No I am not Jess, just an aficionado for the Picts so I was hoping to learn more about them. Yeah I can join the forums.

    • Stew
      March 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      I’ve pointed Jess to your comment.

  10. Brandon
    March 23, 2013 at 1:47 am

    You said there was going to be an update for changing breeds 20? Is there any word or rumors of a Hengeyokai update? Like others I use them ALOT (cmon ninja Corax? Samurai Werewolves? Kitsune? Almost human Rokea!? AWESOME) Soon as I see an update for this you guys get my wallet :D

    • Stew
      March 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      I thought I could throw out a teaser from one of the Breeds, but I’ve been up to my eyeballs getting the book ready to go to Chaney. Next couple of days.

      The book as it stands really focuses on the Changing Breeds — the Breeds writeups alone total over 100,000 words (the initial budget for the whole book was 90,000). The Hengeyokai do have a section to themselves, but if we kickstart I want to include more information on them as an early stretch goal, in the same way we included the Arcanum, Project Twilight, and the like in Hunters Hunted 2

      • Brandon
        March 26, 2013 at 4:27 am

        Please kickstart, I missed W20 and I’m getting mocked for it by my freinds since I can’t get it now x_x I really really want the CB and Henge! And maybe even Hunter20 if that hasn’t been released yet

        • GeoffreyAR
          May 15, 2013 at 3:35 am

          @Brandon: Hi! You may already know this by now, but you should still be able to get the W20 book or PDF once the final version is published thru DriveThruRPG -http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php
          That’s how I got V20 – I didn’t even know about KS until after I found the PDF for V20 there. Good luck!

      • Brandon
        March 26, 2013 at 4:44 am

        Ps. I’d love some lost breeds goodies, In my long games, I always revive the Camazotz, Bunyip and Croatoan. Or at least try to :) And others have given me plots to try and revive the others with the help of Mnesis, Umbral travel, And of course the awesome stuff already written in the WTA books

  11. Tetsuo
    March 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Question:

    Does the tribebook mean that some pure white howlers are still in existance in the modern age?

    If so this is great. Will be buying the book anyways.

    • Stew
      March 25, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      It’s mostly focusing on the historic period when the White Howlers were still around — and as a guide to Storytelling a historic Werewolf game. Future books will hold to the line in the W20 corebook: the White Howlers unfortunately died out when the entire tribe sacrificed themselves. The WH tribebook will present a couple of options for using White Howlers in the modern age, in much the same way that we’re doing for the Lost Breeds in Changing Breeds.

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  13. Pappskalle
    April 10, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Hy there!

    I really liked the idea of weaknesses of the gaian tribes, but only could find about BSD-s that they are all insane, however I couldn’t find in Past Lives any mentioning about what weakness could the White Howlers been possessing… will there be a weakness option for the White Howlers in their tribebook?

    I’ve got the idea that the WH-s died out, or been made BSD-s, but you guys also wrote in a couple of books (maybe 2nd E) that there could be a couple of Fiannas or Get of Fenris’ that hold WH blood in them, so as I see it there could be a secret camp – like the Eaters of the Dead in the Silent Striders – in one of these 2 tribes, that have WH blood in them, and uphold the tradition of the WH-s or what is left of them in the modern age. I just thought over what you wrote about in a couple of books, I don’t want to offense anybody. : )

  14. Wolfways
    April 10, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Can’t wait to read the Howler book.
    I’m hoping it includes info on their journey to the new land (Scotland), the matriarchal society, and maybe a hint as to what might have really happened to the Roman 9th Legion ;)

  15. May 12, 2013 at 7:16 am

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  16. aviator
    May 28, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    I really like the idea of a cookbook for WtA. Is it going to be a kickstarter-backer only thing, or will people be able to buy it?

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