Rage Required: A View of the Reimagined Werewolf RPG
By Andrew Lupp, VP of Sales at Renegade Game Studios
The long-awaited 5th Edition of Werewolf: The Apocalypse is upon us. The relaunch or reimagining of the Werewolf RPG using the 5th edition Storyteller system arrives at a time that is poignant for humanity, where environmental dangers threaten our existence. As a new generation Garou, you will confront the forces of destruction, avarice, and greed ravaging the earthmother.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse 5th Edition includes everything needed to build your own Garou character and vie for renown as a part of one of eleven tribes. Dive deep into the lore of each tribe and explore their blessings granted to them by mighty Patron Spirit that grants its favor to its followers. Each werewolf also has an Auspice — a blessing of the great moon-spirit. In this way, the rules promote a deep sense of connection between the real-life players, their lycanthropic characters, and the world around them. With this unique system, each player has a chance to explore the division within themselves, where they are forever at risk of losing control as well as the duality that exists in living between two worlds. A reverent expression to how many people may feel about the world in which they live today.
But in the World of Darkness, there is so much more. The supernatural exists. Monsters are real and may exist at any level of society. In this gothic -punk world, player characters must continually confront the machinations of the ever-present Wyrm — a primal force of entropy and decay, considered to be the chief threat to Gaia.
But make no mistake, this game is about RAGE. Werewolf: The Apocalypse is a storytelling game about radical solutions, exploring an environmental apocalypse in which a range of injustices throughout the world provokes urgent responses and violence. Garou see themselves as the caretakers of the environment and will do anything to avert the coming environmental apocalypse. Maily fighting against Wyrm and corrupt society, but perhaps also fighting amongst themselves to assert their tribe’s agenda over another’s.
From the game master’s or Storyteller’s perspective, this presents many unique opportunities for rich and immersive play sessions. This is a game where the differences between us can be celebrated, the social interaction of player characters can take center stage. So much so that from the start players create a Relationship Map to draw lines between important interactions both benign and malevolent.
As with other World of Darkness RPG products – the Storyteller system promotes less dice rolling, and more player interaction. But when extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary effort, Skill Tests may be required. Players simply describe what their character is attempting to achieve and how. The Storyteller tells them which of their character’s Traits to use to assemble a dice pool. The Storyteller sets a Difficulty which requires a certain numberof successes based on that difficulty; and players roll to see the outcome of that test. But where things get interesting are the use of Rage and Rage Dice.
Perhaps the single most defining characteristic of werewolves, Rage forever roils in the hearts and souls of Garou. It becomes manifest in their bodies and allows them to perform terrifying acts of brutality. In gameplay terms, Rage is a tracker spanning from 0 to 5. This is tracked usually by keeping several Rage dice next to a player. Rage can be gained in multiple ways: howling at the moon, harm, and humiliation and so forth. How this manifests itself in gameplay is that for every point of Rage, a player replaces a regular die with a Rage die in pools. Rage dice have similar faces to regular 10-sided dice, except that “1” and “2” are considered Brutal die results. If character rolls two or more Brutal results this can cause a Brutal outcome. A Brutal outcome causes a test to fail (usually with something being wrecked, harmed, or destroyed), unless the aim of the test WAS to cause damage or injury, in which case a Brutal outcome yields four additional successes. Determining when to use Rage and when to kept in check is a key element to what differentiates the Werewolf RPG.
Included are rules for supernatural benefits known as Gifts: the ultimate expression of a pact between a werewolf and their spirit. Another defining element is the ability of the werewolf character to assume multiple forms. There are five forms in total from Homid (you know, human) to Lupus or pure Wolf form. Of course, there is the most terrifying Crinos: the war-form. It’s the form that immediately screams “werewolf!” to anyone observing it. It is the most powerful form in many ways, with raised stats and abilities, but it is also the riskiest. The character – in Crinos form - may go into a Frenzy if it doesn’t kill something. Being in a Frenzy has its own milieu of benefits and detriments but it’s sure to cause the chronicle to take a major turn for the characters.
This 300+ page hardcover book also includes an introductory story “No Matter How Small” to guide new Werewolf players and veteran World of Darkness enthusiasts through their first game. It includes Callouts for first-time Storytellers to emphasize how to manage the flow of each chronicle, adjust the narrative, and make things their own.
Being mature in nature and dealing with mature subjects, The Werewolf RPG core book also includes a Guide for Considerate Play, that allows extensive advice and resources for players and Storytellers to be as inclusive as possible, providing an atmosphere of comfort for the players. This entry in the World of Darkness series doesn’t shy from mature themes believing that the inclusion of problematic subjects in a Storytelling game is not the same as glorifying it. The Werewolf RPG calls upon you to face these challenges and overcome them while saving the world from apocalypse.
Will you answer their howl?
When will you Rage?