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The book is very well-written. The art is excellent. And the game? Well. I'm going to reluctantly admit: It may just be an improvement on its predecessor, Werewolf: the Apocalypse.
I completely blew off the new World of Darkness at first. I finally bought this book 6 months ago (long after its release)), skimmed it once, then threw it aside. I had my game of choice already, and this wouldn't replace it.
Was I wrong? I think so. Here's why:
- Streamlined tribe system makes characters of every Forsaken tribe (the main ones for players) playable together, which wasn't the case under the original.
- Game systems are superior. Renown, caerns vs. loci, Gifts (and their systems), etc. -- they're just designed better, a clear example of learning from the mistakes of W:tA.
- Auspices are better delineated, particularly the gibbous and new moons.
- The creation legend is better.
- The antagonists are less cartoon caricatures. The "bad guy" werewolves are huge improvements upon the W:tA version.
- The personal horror that is a werewolf has been better infused into this game.
- The system of Lodges gives limitless opportunity to expand upon the tribes in much the same way that W:tA's myriad of tribes did from the outset.
What's it missing?
The sense of purpose for the Werewolf. Probably other things too, that I'll find in the course of playing this.
But that said, I'm excited to try it, whereas before I wouldn't even give it a chance. It's a superior effort from White Wolf. The major drawback is WW didn't promote it right, and most experienced players, like me, were predisposed against it from the get-go.
As a veteren Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse player and storyteller, I was very distraught when I heard that White Wolf was bringing the much feared End of Days to the World Of Darkness. When I heard they were replacing the World of Darkness with a new, streamlined version I was more distressed. This seemed justified as I read Vampire: The Requiem and failed to be inspired by its lack of conflict and the feeling of eternal ennui it seemed to provoke. I held out hope that Werewolf: The Foresaken would be different.
While I appreciate White Wolf's attempt to create a more unified and coherent set of rules for the World Of Darkness, I find that they have left the setting for the games released so far unfinished. I find no fault with the new backstory, which has the five tribes of Werewolves exiled from the Spirit World for the "justified" murder of their progenitor Father Wolf. It just lacks something viceral that the original had. Something that inspired me to sit down with my friends and play these monsters who so desperately wanted to save the world and their Goddess from the destructive, sentient, metaphysical forces that had gone mad, and could never really see eye to eye on how to do that.
Gone is this conflict that was as central to the original incarnation of this game as was the premise that your character had to live in two worlds, but could never really be a part of either. Not fully human, not quite a spirit. But something inbetween and sometimes just as feral as the wolves whom the Garou shared part of their blood with.
Granted, Werewolf: The Forsaken does capture the essence of its predecessor. You are still a spirit made flesh, able to change forms between your human birth form and a wolf.Read more ›
Some years ago, I had the pleasure of playing Werewolf the Apocalypse alongside the other World of Darkness games and found it interesting and fun but difficult to implement and with little consistency in the rules.
Enter the new World of Darkness with its unified rules for the characters. Werewolf the Forsaken is the first game I've run for this new system, but already I've noticed two things from the players. One, they thoroughly enjoy the consistency of the rules, prefering it to the previous World of Darkness. Two, they actually like playing werewolves now! What a difference a little consistency to rules makes.
Werewolf the Forsaken has stripped much of Werewolf the Apocalypse away. You still have the five auspices based on the phases of the moon and you have tribes (only five Forsaken tribes and three Pure tribes, but that's more than enough, really). All werewolves, now called Uratha, are born human with at least one human parent and at some point in their lives undergo the First Change. There's the five forms of the werewolf, just like in the first Werewolf game, but now you truly understand why the third form, the classic half-wolf/half-man form is called the battle form and why too much Rage is dangerous.
Most characters will be Forsaken, werewolves descended from those first werewolves forced to enact the laws of the wild to commit a terrible action and forever change the world after. The Pure are their enemies, those who hunt the hunters. There's no connection to Gaia or Wyrm to fight. You're savage and primal, trying to balance instinct over reason, and you're both predator and prey. The game just feels different than the old Werewolf. Spirits can be friend or foe, and they make some of the deadliest of foes in this Werewolf.Read more ›
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