Werewolf the Apocalypse: From Pack to Family

I have a confession.  I’m one of those pedants that has a lot of trouble enjoying my entertainment of choice if I know more about the subject matter than the person who wrote it.  This is particularly problematic with science fiction that references out dated science but occasionally interrupts my enjoyment of fantasy, particularly in a modern setting.  Good fantasy, for me, needs internal consistency, and setting it in the modern world means incorporating reality into that system, which makes things very complex.


So, when asked to join a monthly Werewolf the Apocalypse game, I had reservations.  I’ve played Werewolf before, I really enjoyed it, but my understanding of pack dynamics and wolf behaviour have changed since then.  To complicate things, I’m not a fan of games that require a lot of posturing and much of the old pack behaviour relied on it.


Ginger werewolf, yey! I’m never going to colour this, use your imagination…

Rather than let this scare me off from joining a promising game, I decided to embrace my pedantry and incorporate it into the character.  Meet Quinn, also known as Howler, the introverted Galliard (storyteller) of the Honour Pack.  Before she turned, she was studying Zoology in UCD.  Her area of interest was wolf behaviour and her goal in life is to see the reintroduction of wild wolves into the Irish countryside.

So here’s the conflict.  Quinn knows about wolf behaviour because I deigned to spend a lot of points in her ancestry background trait.    Her ancestors have literally talked to her her entire life.  She was half raised by them.  Despite never having seen a wolf in her childhood years, she’s better at being a wolf than she is at being human.  But having met werewolves and spent a few years around them, she’s come to the conclusion that they know as much about wild wolves as the average idiot.



Of course, as pointed out by my GM, Werewolf: the Apocalypse wrote dominance theory into their world as fact. And here is where the internal consistency breaks down, because it’s technically set in the modern world (alternative reality, I know).  I’m not actually a scientist, but as I understand it, a natural, healthy wild wolf pack behaves more like a family.  The Alphas are the parents, and the pack are their children.  So the militaristic posturing not only rubs me the wrong way, but it drives my idealistic character, Quinn, up the wall.

Moon moon!

Moon moon!

Our current compromise is that werewolves have never behaved like truly wild wolves and that the wolf kin that live with werewolves are affected by that.  My ancestors, therefore, were radicals even hundreds of years ago, when they suggested that the Wyld and werewolf society as a whole would be served better by adopting actual wolf behaviour.

In this, I have worked with my GM to take a system that would have, at the very least, gotten on my nerves and created a challenge for myself.  I need to convince my peers to renounce the pack and become a family.

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4 Responses to Werewolf the Apocalypse: From Pack to Family

  1. It was the false-macho posturing and aggressive domination of the pack that led to me leaving a Werewolf: The Forsaken game. And it’s a shame, because I really liked Werewolf: The Apocalypse as a concept.

    I’m very reassured to know that real wolves don’t act the way players are encouraged to in the Werewolf RPGs.


    • Yeah, that’s not a dynamic I enjoy at all, so I’ll be doing my best to fight against it. I’d rather have solid in character reasons to do so from the start. My previous werewolf game didn’t suffer from it so much, but I’ve come across it in other games. It would be interesting to discuss the right and wrong ways to have conflict within a party some time.


  2. Twopaw Tarnished-Silver says:

    For my part, what drew me into Werewolf: the Apocalypse was definitely the art, especially the ‘Flip-Book Of Doom’ Mari Cabrah/Jonas Albrecht dust-up in the combat/running section of the first two editions (and I _think_ the 20th Anniversary Edition). I was used to game systems that were text-heavy; I thought the 1st Ed. book was a graphic novel when I first saw it, as I just wasn’t used to the kind of art-heavy work that accompanied the World of Darkness gamebooks until I dropped off collecting them (around 2000-2001, when the whole ‘We actually _did_ say we’d end the world!’ bullhock came along). It was great to see Onyx Path tacking on the future I’d have preferred with the 20th Anniversary W:tA, including a whole lot of artists who worked on the original editions.

    I hope the new owners of the oWoD/nWoD trademarks across the pond decide to make the most of them.



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