One of the interesting things about this process has been expanding beyond the “core.” I’ve worked on two Werewolf core books myself simply from the cWoD alone, and done at least one translation project (the original Werewolf: The Dark Ages). W20 is an entirely different beast, play on words unintended but unavoidable.
So I’m used to Werewolf working a certain way. There are things that you expect to see in a Werewolf core, and things you don’t. But for this ravening monster, we go long. And I don’t just mean expanding the Gifts and rites. I’m talking things that traditionally you wouldn’t expect to cover in a core, and in ways it almost makes it seem like a different game… depending on how you played it, I guess.
Cases in point? Why certainly, that’s the point of this exercise.
Nature and Demeanor: A prime example. In Werewolf, traditionally Nature and Demeanor have been wholly optional additions. The extra character axes of breed and auspice provided a three-part influence on character archetypes that other cWoD games generally lacked. In fact, one of the main reasons it’s easy for some of us to forget about them is that there just isn’t room for them on the standard character sheet — not without throwing out things like “pack” and “totem,” which really damage what makes the Garou stand out. Werewolf packs are more central to the game line’s identity than coteries and cabals are, I’d wager — a Kindred without a coterie is just getting by, while a werewolf without a pack is a target.
Yet, I think many people like to use them anyway, particularly if you got into the habit with other game lines. It’s an interesting roleplaying concept, certainly: pick two archetypes you identify with, and then have your outside face and your intimate face. Ultimately, it was the Kinfolk that ensured these things have a role in the core book: how do you put in some guidelines to Kinfolk character creation without them?
Camps: Admittedly, camps made it into Revised; or at least a short mention of the most significant. But this monster goes into all the Tribebooks, and creates a massive section involving them. Because of some fervent crusading on our writers’ parts, we even have the Kucha Ekundu, Hakken and Boli Zouhisze — and some Gifts of theirs as well.
Rite of the Cup: This was an interesting bit. Some of you may know this rite intimately; others may never have heard of it before. It’s a Laws of the Night creation, a rite that allows for the sharing of Gnosis. It certainly wasn’t on my radar to include early on; yet I wouldn’t be surprised if there are people reading this blog who never knew it wasn’t in any Werewolf book. A lot of folks came to Werewolf via the LARP scene; it’s the opposite of my experience, so it’s been interesting to account for.
The Lost Tribes: Do I have to elaborate on why this feels peculiar? For ages they simply weren’t relevant; there weren’t a lot of historical chronicles out there, and we liked to focus on the Thirteen. It took a dedicated sourcebook to finally explore them, and now here they are in the back of the book. From the long perspective of Werewolf: The Apocalypse it feels bizarre: but in the sense of a done-in-one, it feels perfectly appropriate.
There are other things in the core that haven’t been there previously, of course. It’s part of the process of updating. Heck, you might even find a new Pentex subsidiary or two. It’s an odd feeling. This is unlike any Werewolf: The Apocalypse core I’ve ever seen, and yet it’s like all of them and then some.
But if that weren’t the case, likely we wouldn’t be doing our jobs right.