July 24, 2013
A Look At The Crunch Of Werewolf:The Apocalypse
Werewolf: The Apocalypse is another game from White Wolf Publishing, a part of their original World of Darkness (WoD). Just as in Vampire: the Masquerade, this is a game in which the players take on the roles of the monsters, giving reason behind the seemingly mindless savagery of the werewolf of literature, film, and television. Unlike Vampire, however, Werewolf is a much more violent game, focusing on the savagery of what it means to be a real monster. Like the other World of Darkness games, Werewolf uses ten-sided dice. Attribute and skill ratings are combined to form a dice pool which is then rolled. Those dice that turn up equal to or higher than the difficulty that the Storyteller determines are considered successes, where all others are failures. Those are the basics of all WoD games, but as always, there is much more to it than that.
In Werewolf, players have a number of variable resource pools that they can use to enhance their actions. As in Vampire, characters have a pool of Willpower that they can use to gain additional successes on the various tests. They also possess a pool of Gnosis energy, which acts as the character’s link to the spiritual side of being a werewolf (as werewolves are beings of half spirit and half flesh). This allows them to use many of their supernatural gifts, powers granted to them by the various spirits. Finally, the greatest weapon, and greatest weakness, of the werewolves is their Rage. Rage empowers them, but also drives them to acts of extreme aggression and uncontrollable violence. If you have too little Rage, you lose many of your bestial powers and abilities. Have too much and you are likely to tear the throats out of your closest friends and family.
Unlike mortals, or even vampires, werewolves have many innate abilities that are exclusive to them and them alone. The most notable is their ability to change form. All werewolves have five different forms, all with varying abilities, bonuses, and difficulties. There is their pure human form, in which they can blend into human society. There is also a pure wolf from, in which they are indistinguishable from a normal wolf. They can also take a near-human form, in which they gain many bestial features. Their near-wolf form is little more than a wolf almost the size of a small car. Finally, there is the ultimate war-form, the hybrid of man and wolf. In this form, it is very easy to lose yourself to the Rage, but the physical power and durability it gives you has no equal. In addition, werewolves possess incredible regenerative abilities that have no need for them to expend their various resources, though they can if they wish to speed it up. Their only real vulnerabilities are the teeth and claws of other supernatural creatures, fire, and the ever dreaded silver.
World of Darkness is a very story-driven game, and by association so is Werewolf: The Apocalypse. So much of its crunch is embedded within its fluff, so there are many elements that will be discussed more in-depth when I look at the fluff of the game, such as breeds, tribes, auspices, packs, spirits, the apocalypse itself, and more. This game is a classic, preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Although the newer version of the game, Werewolf: The Forsaken, has many of the same elements of this game, I would highly recommend giving this one a try. It is a personal favorite of mine.
Image Credit: White Wolf Publishing