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Werewolf: The Forsaken

Note: To play Werewolf: The Forsaken you will need the New World of Darkness rule book!

I shall begin by saying this was my first foray into the mysterious New World of Darkness! The game of choice would be Werewolf: The Forsaken or WtF as it is somethimes abbreviated. Having never played any horror RPG I wondered, what horrors would await me on the other side?

The Book

Where to begin? The Werewolf: The Forsaken book is beautiful, much better looking than 90% of the other books out there. For starters it’s a hard back which really makes you feel like you’re getting your monies worth straight off the bat. It has a wonderful copper/silver cover with a wolf skull set against the full moon. In short it already looks spectacular, however here at Ding-IRL we know that you can’t judge a book by its cover and so we must proceed with the opening.

Werewolf: The Forsaken

The prelude tells of a group of werewolves that we will later figure to be a pack. The Alpha cuts his tongue with a knife and has the other Uratha (werewolves) taste his blood before announcing “Now you know what I know!” What does this mean? What kind of magic is in this game? I must read on.

The tale now skips to a man named Mark. Mark is being followed (or is that stalked) by a sexy female from the pack of Uratha we met earlier. The first time they meet he doesn’t think much of it but the next day she is back and with a large male friend! Both of them are clearly staring at Mark and when he steps off the train they follow. Mark being fairly wise attempts to run and it is at this point we discover that the pursuers know Mark but he doesn’t know them, we also discover Mark has been injured but how? The chase culminates with the female in the form of a wolf and the large male in the form of a kind of wolf man (think Jack Nicholson in the film Wolf). At this point I expected Mark to be turned into a werewolf, I was however wrong it seems Mark is ALREADY a werewolf and he transforms for the first time into something that even scares his pursuers. He transforms into what we will later learn is his war form otherwise known as the Garu! The Garu is like the werewolf from the film Silver Bullet, frenzied and mindless and with little to no humanity. So how many different types of werewolf are there and which one will I choose? 

Character Creation

 

The first thing I am asked to do is think up my characters concept. I ponder this for a while and decide I want to be as terrifying as possible (this is my first horror game after all). I want to be something or someone to be truly feared from the darkness. Maybe a homeless man that hides in the darkness forever watching the mortal world go by but whose vengeance is violent and unsurpassed!

 

The next part of character creation is to select my attributes. This is done by placing dots in your attributes with favoured attributes receiving more dots than less favoured attributes. Each attribute starts with one free don’t and represents a below average statistic, two dots is considered to be the attribute of a standard human. This feels like you have more control over character creation than random rolls but made me feel I might make someone fairly generic, how wrong I was!

 

I want my character to be just like the werewolves I grew up with watching those old films in the 80’s and I will build him appropriately.

 

The attributes are split into 3 trees (Mental, Physical and Social) and then 3 sub-categories (Power, Finesse and Resistance). You can spend 5/4/3 points in the 3 main categories.

 

I will be spending 5 points in the physical tree as I want my werewolf to be physically capable. Now do I want strength, dexterity and stamina to be even or do I want to boost one stat above all others? Hmmm time to think of my concept again, ok being a homeless guy I don’t think I will look right if I am built like the hulk therefore I will opt to put just one extra dot in strength which makes me as strong as a normal human being. Dexterity is where I think it’s at, after all a feral hunter must be fast and agile right? I am gonna put 3 extra dots in dexterity and the remaining dot in stamina. OK he begins to shape up a little we have a character or average strength and stamina but with the dexterity of a gymnast, surely this is a good thing for a creature who is gonna be climbing in your windows and snatching you up whilst you sleep hey evil doer!!

 

Next I will concentrate on the mind. Forget intelligence this guy doesn’t do math he is a hunter and a killer not an accountant. Wits is where it’s at a true hunter should have sharp wits and a strong mind, two dots each.

 

Finally my social attributes, well apart from the pack I am going to be rolling with I see my werewolf hobo as a bit of a loner, therefore I will ignore presence and manipulation in favour of composure. I am reasoning that in a horror game it is wise to have a composed character! All 3 dots into composure it is then :D

 

Have I chosen my attributes wisely? I don’t know but I already like the look of this guy and at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about, building a character you want to play.

 

Now I choose my skills and once again I must spend the appropriate dots on the skills I wish to have. Skills are broke down into three trees, Mental, Physical and Social. The list is extensive and covers just about everything you can imagine. Needless to say I won’t bore you with the small details, once again I go back to my concept. If I want to be climbing in windows and snatching people up I better pick Athletics and Stealth! I want to be able to hold my own in combat but being more agile than I am strong I will be going for weaponry. Being a hobo how will I look after myself if I have no money and how will I get through the window I am so desperate to climb in? Larceny seems to be my answer to that question! OK so I got me a climbing, sneaking, lock picking hobo! Happy days.

 

Now to look at my mental skills and I think a bit of Investigation so that I can figure out what has happened in any potential crime scenes and some Occult so that I have an understanding of the strange things that may be going on around me.

 

Then Social skills, again back to my concept. I want to be able to intimidate anyone I don’t want to deal with and being a hobo you can get hassle off drunks, the police and worse. Empathy would be a wise choice as I want to know something about my preys state of mind and Streetwise wouldn’t hurt for a fella who, well, lives on the street!

 

Now I pick three specialities, these dots represent something about my skills that I have a particular flair for. After a quick think about my character concept I decide that moving in darkness would go well with my Stealth, lock picking for Larceny and climbing for my Acrobatics.

 

So that’s it, at least for the human side of my character. It seems that up to now I have created a standard human that would be playable in any New World of Darkness setting, this is the point where things change! Now I add the werewolf template and this is where things get really cool. You see I can actually assume FIVE different forms as a werewolf and not just one as I thought earlier. 

 

 

First is the Hishu or human form, next Dalu the half man half wolf, then Garu the giant wolf man, then Urshul the dire wolf and finally Urhan the wolf! The best part is that each form has different stat bonuses and abilities!

 

Now I have to pick what phase the moon was in when I first transformed, you see I wasn't turned into a werewolf, I was ALWAYS a werewolf and it was just a matter of time before I awoke! Each phase of the moon grants differing abilities to the Lycan. From the full moon comes the warrior type. From the gibbous moon comes the priest type. The new moon comes the assassin type. Half moon gives us the leaders and the crescent moon gives us the pack shamans. Of the five choices I opt for the straight up warrior type, fierce and always ready for battle!

 

Five Stages of the Werewolf!

  

Next I pick one of five tribes. At a glance I know I belong to one of the Hunters In Darkness. This tribe sees the humans as cattle to be kept in check and I must prevent them from upsetting anymore spirits. I must also ensure the spirits do not influence the human world too much either as some of them are really quite nasty.

 

There are a few more choices to make but essentially the character is done! For my merits I have chose Kung-fu, as a hobo werewolf gotta know how to kick ass right?

 

Francois Okumbawei is ready, ready to put the beat down of evil spirits and humans alike. He hears the call of the big city NEW YORK, this will be his patch, this will be his packs patch!

 

 

The System

 

OK so I am used to D20 and Palladium books system, how the hell was I going to be able to play a game with just D10? Well much to my surprise ITS AMAZING! Here’s how it works the whole concept is based around a Skill + Attribute. OK so I want to climb into a building through the window, Francois would first make a Dexterity + Athletics roll. If I succeed I am up at the window now I have to pick the lock with a Larceny + Dexterity roll, however someone comes into the room I have to hide fast and this will need a Wits + Stealth roll. Within a few minutes of playing I get the jist, the beauty of it all is that no matter what you want to attempt you can always have a go at it by rolling the appropriate attribute with the appropriate skill!

 

Combat

 

Wow this is FAST! Also each different kind of attack actually feels completely different to the next! Using my whirlwind Kung-Fu attack I strike at my opponent mercilessly and frenziedly multiple times shredding him as I fight, my pack mate however hefts his huge axe just once and splits his foes in two! Another pack mate peppers the enemy with multiple gun shots from his twin pistols, PAT PAT PAT another Beshilu (an evil rat spirit) gets dropped.

 

Conclusion

 

There is far too much awesome stuff in Werewolf: The Forsaken to comment on here! I was stunned the first time I crossed over to the spirit world and seen firsthand what mans disrespect for nature has caused on the other side. I was equally blown away by how effective a single dice system can be.

If forced to find a fault I would say that building a character is not a simple process and until familiar with the system it will take you a whole evening just to build you character. That however doesn’t bother me as I like to have lots of choice. If you like to have a character up and running in minutes then this aspect might frustrate you.

In all this is a fantastic system, setting and game that if deserving of every single penny you spend on it. Trust me you WONT be disappointed!!

 

Highly Recommended!

 

5 Star Rating: Highly Recommended

 

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Mummy: The Curse Antagonists Armory Second Sight

 

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