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Shadows of the Wolf Setting and Rules


Nina

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Shadows of the Wolf will be taking place in the year 1975, for historical purposes, just after the Fall of Saigon. There are no cell phones, no internet, Music comes either over the radio, on vinyl records or 8-track Tapes. There are three channels on TV to choose from.

 

Play will begin in Northern California, but characters can be from anywhere as long as there is a reason for them to be at the location. Characters will be cursed and at least have gone through one or more Full Moons since being cursed. We will determine individually what your character knows about werewolves and the curse taking into account your backstory and a small prelude I will run for each of you after I receive you initial submission.

 

The myth of the Werewolf has been a part of mans fear of the night and of wild things since before history began. But, as we all know, all myths contain a kernel of truth.

 

The werewolves of Shadows of the Wolf are typical and not typical of modern werewolves we are so familiar with. While this game uses the Mechanical rules found in Werewolf the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition we do not use any portion of the setting. There are no Tribes, No Auspices, and no Breeds. There is only the curse.

 

The origin of the curse is unknown, but it is told by the oldest living werewolves as handed down orally from ancient days, that sometime in the distant past a man committed a heinous crime against the laws of man and of God. The tale says this nameless man from a nameless time was powerful, a ruler who was cruel and ruthless, a sadistic deviant. He enslaved others and abused them and tortured them before murdering them. Some versions say he feasted on the flesh of his victims.

 

One day a captured maiden, beautiful and innocent in appearance, was brought before hi, just the type the evil ruler craved. The girl was savagely abused and tortured and to the hilarity of the ruler and his court of pretend nobles, in the end she was thrown into a pit of ravenous wolve to be torn apart for their enjoyment.

 

But an ominous miracle occurred the wolves did not attack the broken girl. They circled her and bowed to her showing their throats. The girl rose her wounds and physical signs of torture fell from her and she was revealed as an Angel of God, a vengeful angel at that. She pronounced their evil deeds and laid Gods curse upon them, that they and their blood that followed should know the fear and the hunger of the wolf and that on the nights upon which the moon would be full they would become like unto the beasts of the pit in which she stood and be hunted forevermore.

At least that is the legend.

 

In this game the werewolf is not a shapeshifter like in the normal WoD games. A Werewolf in Shadows of the Wolf only has one werewolf form and it is like the classic movie werewolf, for which we will be using the Crinos form from WW20 to represent. The basic form a werewolf character has and is most often in, is her Human form, the one she was born with.  A person cursed with Lycanthrope has no control  over when she becomes a werewolf at least not initially.

 

But how does one become a werewolf you ask? There are two means by which a person becomes cursed with Lycanthrope, the first is one is born cursed. The character is the latest in line to inherit the curse from a blood relative. In the case of an inherited curse only one member of a direct bloodline can have an active curse at a time. The curse of course passes upon the werewolf’s death. But the passage may not be direct to the next in line, the curse will only pass to the closest relative in the bloodline who is between the age of 16-24. Thus it may skip over children to grandchildren, or to younger siblings or even to cousins if no one else meets the criteria.

The second way to become a werewolf is to survive an attack by a transformed werewolf under a full moon.

 

Regardless of how a character is cursed, what follows is the usual process, and this is where things get a bit nontraditional.

 

After the curse has been activated the character will begin having dreams of wolves. At first these dreams are just what they seem dreams about wolves…then after several weeks of having these dreams they take a decidedly odd turn. The dreams will seem to focus on one single, particular wolf and over the next several dreams all other wolves will fade away until only this one wolf occupies the characters dreams. Then after about a month, maybe a bit more than a month the character will have a very vivid dream about this wolf and then for the first time she will suddenly find herself as the wolf in her dream. At that point in the dream the character wakes up.

By now the character should be feeling very worried and puzzled. If not, the next dream clenches the deal.

 

The next time the character sleeps she will dream normally then suddenly awaken but be unable to move. There in her bedroom is the wolf she has been dreaming of, standing still at the end of her bed staring at the character with eyes that look just like hers. As soon as the character recognizes her eyes her point of view shifts to where she is the wolf looking at herself in bed.

 

The character has entered the wolf trance. This condition is the first example and gift of the curse.  When in the Wolf Trance the character falls into a deep, deep sleep and her conscience manifests itself as the wolf from her dream. It is not a transformation, but the wolf is physically there. The character retains her intelligence and is even able to do simple things no wolf should be able to do such as open doors with her paws,  manipulate a pen or pencil to write, even use a computer if necessary.

 

The character can stay in the Wolf trance until she wakes up or is awoken. More details will be available in the rules section.   When in the Wolf Trance use the Lupus Stats for your wolf manifestation.

 

So far things don’t seem so bad but soon the true nature of the curse makes itself known. After about a month passes from the time the character first enters the Wolf Trance, just about the time she is getting used to the Trance and the other gifts she has developed, the wolf dreams will return but this time its different… the dreams are violent, bloody, full of torn and eaten animals. The dreams will last about a week, each night getting worse and worse. And then the full moon is upon you and the curse for the first time visits its nightmare onto the character.

 

You have seen it a thousand times on the big screen and on television, seen the artwork in comics and magazines, read about it in books and games, the twisting and snapping of bones the reshaping of skeletons and the claws ripping out of fingers, teeth growing into fangs the person becoming the beast.

 

It is painful and, it is traumatic. The transformation from person to a hybrid of man and wolf a beast that is the epitome of the classic man-wolf. You are now the werewolf.

 

The pain of transformation fuels the rage and the hollow emptiness in your gut drives your hunger. But you are not a mindless monster, you retain a vestige of self, buried deep inside, you are aware of what you are now but only those with the strongest wills can master the beast.

 

The werewolf is a savage killing machine it really is indiscriminate. It has no favored prey and will go after a human as soon as it will an animal. And hunt it will, killing and gorging itself on its kills until sated and only then will it stop and sleep the rest of the night to awaken having transformed back to her human form. There are no natural predators to hunt the werewolf but werewolves are territorial and will hunt other werewolves that trespass that are not of their pack assuming a given werewolf has a pack.

 

This horrific transformation will occur three times a month… on the night of the full moon and on the days immediately preceding and following. Nothing short of death or special magic can prevent these transformations. Every full moon for the rest of the character’s life she will transform. That’s bad enough but there is also the chance that the werewolf character can be provoked into changing either through intense anger or fear or trauma. None of these things can be controlled and a werewolf character at most can attempt to exert her will over the beast during the transformation.

 

As stated the Transformed Werewolf use the game mechanics of the Crinos form from WW20, however the werewolf’s appearance  is unique to the character as long as the wolf man is bipedal it can appear as similar to any movie, comic book or art work of a werewolf you wish.

The use of Gifts is limited when in Werewolf form.

 

Those with the Curse are Human and spend 90% of their lives after becoming cursed as humans. The cursed can be of any race, gender, sexual orientation, political ideology… you get the picture. Literally anyone can be cursed with lycanthrope.

 

Cursed humans are usually loners. They know they are cursed and they know what they will do to anyone they encounter while under a full moon. Many but not all will abandon their normal lives and, if they value human life, find some remote place in the wilderness where hums are few. But there are some who don’t value life and these wander so their savage murders don’t lead to their own demise.

 

Then there are some who cling to their normal lives, who lock themselves away from the full moon, who live a life of lies. Some seek out mystics who claim to be able to quell the beast or talismans. Oh yes magic is real, subtle, and drenched in darkness but real.

 

So how does a cursed human survive when it looks as though the whole world is against them?

 

They develop supernatural powers or gifts. These gifts resemble the superpowers and magic you find in comics and fantasy novels. No one knows why a werewolf develops these abilities and not all werewolves develop all of them. They are not taught the just become something a werewolf can do. Gifts can be used in Human form and to a limited extent in the Transformed state. Strangely gifts can be used freely when in The Wolf Trance.

 

 

Character Creation

1.       Concept: this is two parts, first, your concept should be for who you were before your curse became activated. And second whether your curse is inherited or from surviving an attack.

2.       Attributes: unlike normal WoD we do not prioritize your attributes. You start with one dot in each attribute and then add 15 additional dots divided as you wish between the nine attributes with no attribute going over 5 dots.

3.       Abilities: again we do not prioritize, instead place 27 dots into abilities you wish with non being higher than 3 at this stage

4.       Backgrounds: you get 5 dots for backgounds the following backgrounds are allowed (some of these are actually from different game books you will have to get with me if you need the details) 
Allies - Close companions who could be called on for most anything.

Contacts - Those willing to help for a favor in return.

Fame - How well-known the character is in society; its counterpart Notoriety generally carries negative connotation.

Mentor - An experienced guide through the supernatural or everyday world.

Resources - How much a character has to live on.

Archive

Arsenal

Backers

Equipment

Favors

Health Insurance

Home Base

Library (a.k.a. Occult Library or Personal Library) - A collection of books or other sources that contain accurate occult and magical knowledge.

Patron - A powerful party who is (perhaps secretly) aiding the character for their own reasons.

 

5.       Gifts: you may acquire 5 points of Gifts. At creation a level one gift costs one point, level two two points and so on.

 

Level One Gifts

City Running P. 152

Desperate Strength P. 174

Eye of the Hunter P. 185

Hare’s Leap P. 158

Heightened Senses p. 158

Man’s Skin P. 173

Master of Fire P. 152

Mothers Touch P. 164

Open Seal P.161

Pact Tactics P.171

Perfect Recall P.169

Persuasion P.153

Predator’s Arsenal P. 159

Razor Claws P.171

Resist Pain P.166

Smell of Man P153

 

Level Two Gifts

 Eye of the Eagle P. 159

Grand Mothers Touch P.177

Howl of the Banshee P.179

Mark of the Wolf P.154

Scent of Sight P. 159

Sense Silver P. 156

Stare Down P. 154

Troll Skin P. 181

True Fear P. 171

 

       

Level Three Gifts

Cat Feet P. 159

Combat Healing P. 171

Disquiet P. 154

Eyes of the Cat P. 157

Eye of the Cobra P.169

Mental Speech P. 157

Heart Claw P. 173

Pathfinder P.162

Might of Thor P.181

Sense the Unnatural P. 159

Visceral Agony P.174

Wind Claws P. 172

 

       

       

       

Level Four Gifts

Balor’s Gaze P. 179

Beast Life P.160

Body Shift P.154

Body Wrack P.174

Bury the Wolf P. 154

Clenched Jaw P. 172

Gnaw P.160

Heart of the Mountain P. 181

Howl of Death P. 187

Rattler’s Bite P. 157

Roll Over P.167

Scent of Beyond P. 167

Strike the Air P.178

Uncaught Since the Primal Morn P. 178

Wasp Talons P. 174

 

       

Level Five Gifts

Assimilation P. 155

Beyond Human P. 155

Endurance of Heimdall P. 182

Fenris Bite P. 183

Strength of Will P. 172

 

       

6.       Everyone Starts with 3 Rage, 3 Gnosis, and 4 Willpower. Shadows does not use Ranks or Renown. You have 15 Freebie Points to spend

Freebie Point Trait Cost

Attributes 5 per dot

Abilities 2 per dot

Backgrounds 1 per dot

Gifts 7 per Gift Level

Rage 1 per dot

Gnosis 2 per dot

Willpower 1 per dot

 

You may earn 5 additional Freebie points before play by submitting a detailed character Backstory.

 

Don’t forget to add specialties where appropriate.

 

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