Brainstorming: Hybrid/Homebrew Werewolf Game



  • So back in October I started a thread about a game that blended the themes of a Classic WoD game and the latest Chronicles of Darkness release, my first examples being Changeling and Werewolf.

    While I still like the idea behind a super-weird grimdark Changeling fusion game it's the Werewolf idea that keeps coming back to me, basically because Forsaken has such a special place in my heart and I didn't really expand on it in the original thread.

    I really want to move forward and maybe at some point in the near future (!!!) turn this into an actual game, so I want to open the floor to ideas for really the basic skeletal structure here of administration and play.

    So to review, the premise of the game would be that it's modern day (..........................................OR THE EIGHTIES OH GOD JUST KILL ME NOW), the setting is essentially CoD, but the five Forsaken and three Pure tribes are Lodges instead (possibly the only lodges in the game, so they have a very intense focus) and the original Tribes from Apocalypse take their place, modernized and updated as needed.

    Basically all the Tribes have members in the eight Lodges, so the Pure-Forsaken conflict is still there, and this adds another complex layer of inter-Tribal conflict between those who are based in the cities and those based in the wilds, on top of the intense competition between packs, shartha, spirits, cults, and other just general weirdness of the world of darkness.

    The Triat will also be brought back, but waaaaaaaaay dialed back from Apocalypse; I picture them more as these massive, almost invisible but pervasive cosmic forces that shape the metaplot (yeah, arcs! Metaplot! YEAH) very subtly, via nutty cults/secret societies (like this freaking awesomeness from the Onyx Path forums) and the shartha, and combat both werewolves and the Idigam.

    I think this all broadens the game by a large degree -- you can still have the laser focus of the Hunt, but without the myopia I felt was kind of a major misstep for Werewolf 2.0.

    This is obviously all going to be a little ambitious and take a lot of homebrewing and tweaking, especially in regards to Gifts and the like, and that's not even going into the kinda-goofy structure I had in mind for how running packs will work and so on. So far, is this an interesting idea? Something you guys can imagine you might get behind, or at least Werewolf players in general?

    What would you change about it, where would you set it (I really like the Rockies but I am totally open), etc. etc. READY GO


  • Admin

    For starters this sounds exciting, I always felt Werewolf deserved a single-sphere game instead of always being that plus-one splat people add at the end of their favorite children.

    I think one aspect you could use that hasn't been seen much is a truly territorial aspect for it; while Werewolf is never going to (and shouldn't be) L&L there is potential for harsh and intricate politics which is a different thing we never see; in most MU* it's always sidetracked as packs are very few and focused on doing their own sandbox-y things or taking part in strictly cooperative beat'em up PrPs, so they never really need to look at each other as anything other than sporadic allies.

    So adding the Pure to the mix as well, and a real functional metaplot might just mean you're up to something cool there.

    As for 'where' ... frankly I don't think it matters very much, so whatever you think is cool.



  • @Arkandel
    Yuusssssss, ideally the Protectorate would play a big part in this game, maybe larger than you'd see in a Werewolf sphere elsewhere, because they've got to moderate the both the city/wilds conflict and the Pure/Forsaken conflict, which I see in this game being basically just four extreme religious factions in this larger "political" body that could collapse at any moment because of the constant tension from all four sides.



  • Not to be super gauche and double-post in my own thread, but here [was a Google doc link] I'm using to organize my thoughts on the tribes and lodges. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT, YO



  • Three thoughts:

    I think that simplifying the Gaians as 'squeaky clean' is a bit, well, simplistic. They are still engines of eco-terrorist destruction. And have more reasons to be pissed off than they did 25 years ago. We're on the brink of a global extinction event, just killed the Great Barrier Reef, etc. The thing people forget about zen masters is that there are plenty of historic examples of zen warriors.

    Good call on the Git. Given today's political climate? Nope.

    As for the Silent Striders, I loved them back in the day, and I think they would actually fit into the GoF slot now that it's open pretty nicely. Not as barbarian berserkers, but as cold-eyed, professional mercenaries, well-versed in secret little wars, running with the intelligence community and the Glasswalkers, still tied to Africa and Middle East because those are places mercenary armies work and are often based. I'd think of them as the scary-ass ninja army big brothers of what used to be Blackwater.


  • Pitcrew

    ohgodohgodohgodohgod.

    Okay. Lets do this. First off, I would mostly go for an updated Apocalypse game with nWoD systems. Because of that, I would either set the game in a besieged caern in a large city (Sept of the Green) or a rural sept close to a big, oWoD city with smog and towering spires.

    1. I would get rid of the Forsaken Tribes and Pure Tribes altogether. They are interesting in their own 'struggle of the daily life as a werewolf' world that is Forsaken, but they have very little place in a Werewolf the Apocalypse game. The Gaian Tribes have all the flavor and infighting you could possibly ask, and you could make their lodges almost like religious cults within. Like, the Mjonir's Thunder could be this sect of the Fenrir who forsake their names and abandon pack and family to join the Lodge. They don't talk with non-Mjonir Fenrir, and act on the fringe like religious fanatics with their own rituals and missions.

    2. Make use of Morality (Harmony) but adapt it to the Garou. If the Forsaken are children of the Pangean-Concept of Hunt, then the Garou should have a Harmony morality that focuses on them being warriors. Why would I do this? Because if corruption is a theme of the game, and we are making use of WoD, it feels interesting to me that something measures the toll this corruption takes on you. I love the idea that the fight against this 'Wyrm' is as personal and internalized as it can be fought with tooth and claw. It adds another layer to an otherwise 'hack and slash'-bent system that is Werewolf the Apocalypse.

    3. Read and use the LARP Werewolf book that just came out. Not only it has a dynamic social system for the Septs, it also modernizes the Tribes, camps, politics, everything. The Tribes and the protectorate dynamics are the best in it, but man, there is a lot of win in that book.

    4. Use the Shadow. The Umbra, with all its Realms, etc, is super amazing, but the spirits of the Umbra are terrible. They are very passive and feel like Sonic critters, waiting for the Garou to save them. The Shadow feels more primal, and in the end, if Gaia is the spirit of the planet/universe, she isn't necessarily good. She is balance, and that means some things eat, some things get eaten. Maybe if you expanded that to a greater theme, you could shift away from the Garou being HEROES and being more like forces of nature like I feel they should be.

    5. Make an unique grid. Use the book of the Wyrm/Pentex to make the grid WoD. Don't put farmacies, put a Siren Cosmetics store! No random gyms, make a MagaGym. No toy stores, make them Avalon Toys, and no McDonalds, build O'Tolley's!

    Anyways, that is all for now. I know you hade a more Forsaken-oriented merge, but hey. This is brainstorming too! >__>


  • Admin

    A piece of advice: The advantage of running a published system is people already know it. One way of running a home-grown system from scratch is you can make it work for a MU*, specifically, as opposed to a table-top RPG.

    If you're going to run a hybrid you inherit the disadvantages of both. You'll need a lot of concise documentation so your players aren't in the dark about what they think they know versus what's actually the case in the MU* both for mechanics and theme, for instance. That's a mini-project on its own - if it's a huge long TL;DR wall of text people will skim - and you have to make it worth your potential players' time.

    In other words, figure out early where your niche is, who your intended players are and why they'd want to invest in it, and cater to them hard. Once you get enough to gain momentum (and oldbies develop who can then indoctrinate newbies) the game should run much smoother, but the first steps will be the hardest. There's a lot of upfront work involved.


  • Pitcrew

    There is an ugly side of avoiding this hybridism and custom stuff, though, and that is your game being just like evry other game before it. Imo, the players you want in your game are the ones that dont mind reading a few pages on how to play it.

    Take the legendary RfK. People often talk about how good it was, not the custom rules for sorcery, bloodlines and political systems. Imo, dont fear the custom!


  • Politics

    @SunnyJ said in Brainstorming: Hybrid/Homebrew Werewolf Game:

    1. I would get rid of the Forsaken Tribes and Pure Tribes altogether.

    I think this is problematic, as it may apply to the Forsaken. The Forsaken Tribes are built into the system of character creation, and they are specifically balanced as far as Gifts and Renown go. How are you going to re-balance the system if you remove them?

    Also, the Siskur-Dah is an essential part of W:tF 2E. How are you going to adapt that to W:tA?


  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede said in Brainstorming: Hybrid/Homebrew Werewolf Game:

    @SunnyJ said in Brainstorming: Hybrid/Homebrew Werewolf Game:

    1. I would get rid of the Forsaken Tribes and Pure Tribes altogether.

    I think this is problematic, as it may apply to the Forsaken. The Forsaken Tribes are built into the system of character creation, and they are specifically balanced as far as Gifts and Renown go. How are you going to re-balance the system if you remove them?

    Also, the Siskur-Dah is an essential part of W:tF 2E. How are you going to adapt that to W:tA?

    Well, I would just adapt the Apocalypse Tribes into that model! Also, I would just get rid of the Siskur-Dah. Again, coming from a Apocalypse with Forsaken mechanics standpoint, not a perfect merger that keeps the essence of both!



  • Psh, part of the appeal of Apocalypse is the absolute ape-shit, unbalanced nature of it all!

    Also, Weresnakes.

    Why deny the game it's due?


  • Politics

    @SunnyJ said in Brainstorming: Hybrid/Homebrew Werewolf Game:

    Well, I would just adapt the Apocalypse Tribes into that model!

    There are thirteen Tribes, right? What Gifts do they get access to? What is their primary renown? How are you going to balance those options, as 5 doesn't go into 13?

    Also, I would just get rid of the Siskur-Dah.

    The Moon Gifts are dependent upon the Siskur-Dah. How are you going to untether them?


  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede Not all Renowns need to be represented equally! I would do something like...

    Black Furies: Wisdom
    Bone Gnawers: Cunning
    Children of Gaia: Purity
    Fianna: Glory
    Get of Fenris: Glory
    Glass Walkers: Cunning
    Red Talons: Purity
    Shadow Lords: Cunning
    Silent Striders: Wisdom
    Silver Fangs: Honor
    Stargazers: Purity
    Uktena: Cunning
    Wendingo: Glory

    Or you could even give all Tribes two options for initial Renown, to give the player some leeway?

    As for the Moon Gifts dependent on Siskur-Dah, that is a good question. If I was looking to make a werewolf the Apocalypse adaptation, I would probably just adapt the Gifts in the LARP system. They are pretty neat!


  • Admin

    To agree with @Ganymede, sometimes it's much easier to learn a new system from scratch than to have to keep the changes in mind from a system you already do know, but which is being used in a much different way than the published material.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel I can agree with that, too. But what do you do if you base what you are making on published material? Would it make it easier to rewrite it all in a wiki, for example?


  • Politics

    @SunnyJ said in Brainstorming: Hybrid/Homebrew Werewolf Game:

    Not all Renowns need to be represented equally! I would do something like...

    Black Furies: Wisdom
    Bone Gnawers: Cunning
    Children of Gaia: Purity
    Fianna: Glory
    Get of Fenris: Glory
    Glass Walkers: Cunning
    Red Talons: Purity
    Shadow Lords: Cunning
    Silent Striders: Wisdom
    Silver Fangs: Honor
    Stargazers: Purity
    Uktena: Cunning
    Wendingo: Glory

    Maybe not, but balance and equity is kind of what the new system aims for. What I would do is merge a few of the Tribes together based on origin and outlook, and eliminate the Stargazers altogether (because they are fucking stupid orientalist bullshit).

    Black Furies: These chicks are closer to the Hunters in Darkness than any. Purity.
    Bone Gnawers: Surviving in one's environment is the key to understanding it. Wisdom.
    Children of Gaia: Following a different, knowledgeable, sensitive path to victory. Honor.
    Fianna / Fenrir: Two sides of the strange, romanticized warrior-poet. Glory.
    Glass Walkers: Who'd deny the Iron Masters aren't derived from them? Cunning.
    Red Talons: Another side to the Hunters in Darkness. Purity.
    Shadow Lords: Who'd deny the Lodge of Crows isn't derived from them? Cunning.
    Silent Striders / Uktena: Well-traveled and well-learned. Wisdom.
    Silver Fangs: The traditionalists at heart, bound to their rules and methods. Honor.
    Wendigo: The other side to the Blood Talon equation. Glory.

    As for the Siskur-Dah, you could probably broaden its approach a bit, and have it apply to any hunt or mission undertaken by a pack for any kind of prey/target.


  • Admin

    @SunnyJ said in Brainstorming: Hybrid/Homebrew Werewolf Game:

    @Arkandel I can agree with that, too. But what do you do if you base what you are making on published material? Would it make it easier to rewrite it all in a wiki, for example?

    I think ideally you try to compartmentalize. "We're taking everything from book A, B, C with the following exceptions:" and then you list them all in one page, as concisely and fully as you can.

    It won't ever be full - every major modification probably prompts two more more minor rulings down the line - but you can at least try. If there are a lot of them then you have a problem though since your "one page" will start getting really complicated.

    The closest you can use a system the better it will be. It can get pretty damn complex if you need to House Rule every other power and roll because you no longer have Auspices or whatever. In fact there may come a point where you may want to just pick the theme* you want ("we'll do 20th oWoD Vampire"), the basic system as published ("we'll be using nWoD dice rolling and XP") then just introduce your own version of its powers with a simple table for who-can-get-what and at what price.



  • If we drop Red Talons because furries and combine the black furies into the CoG as a all womyn lodge, we're down to 10!


  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede I can be down with these, although I still think the Uktena are very close to Cunning, given their unorthodox ways of acquiring knowledge, and the Black Furies are pretty tied to Wisdom, given how into mysticism and occult they are. However, wouldn't hate at all if stuff was like you listed. I particularly like the Bone Gnawers bit. The reasons why they are all fucked up in the city match very well with some sort of twisted Wisdom!


  • Politics

    @Jennkryst said in Brainstorming: Hybrid/Homebrew Werewolf Game:

    If we drop Red Talons because furries and combine the black furies into the CoG as a all womyn lodge, we're down to 10!

    Yes, but the Talons/Furies are the basis for the Hunters in Darkness. And the Fury and CoGgie ideologies are radically different.


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