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Author Topic: Hacking the Storyteller System  (Read 9554 times)

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Hacking the Storyteller System
« Reply #105 on: January 22, 2021, 12:38:03 PM »
I haven't forgotten about this.

So back in 2015 I tentatively explored the idea of using Feed's format for werewolves in a fair amount of detail:

Quote from: Brand55;846625
I definitely agree with this. I've never liked how WW seemed to be stuck on the idea that werewolves and spirits had to be joined at the hip. Werewolves as ecowarriors/spirit cops just never fully clicked with me.

Quote from: Orphan81;846626
It's one of the best explanations for giving Werewolves extra powers. Vampires throughout popular media and folklore have all kinds of different abilities from Mind Control, to Super Strength and Flight, to Animal Control..

Werewolves well....They turn into either giant killer wolves or normal wolves.

But a game where you just shift into a different form, probably isn't going to be fun. Even Dungeons and Dragons has their Fighter types get all kinds of options..

So you have to find a way to give some cool powers to your Werewolves, and well...the wolf, nature, spirit connection is kind of logical for that avenue..

Unless you go with the idea Werewolves are in fact related to Demons and instead give them options for Infernal style magic and abilities.

Quote from: Snowman0147;846634
In the Perception Effect I took a lot of influence from Bloodborne which took a lot of influence from Cthulhu Mythologies.

Some thing having to do with the blood in werewolves.  Think werewolf physical abilities, regeneration capabilities, transforming powers, and stranger things.  Just look at promenthean powers for a example.

Quote from: Brand55;846637
One of the werewolves in the last game I ran could summon floods. That's not something any non-WoD player would think sounds like a typical werewolf ability. Even just extending their theme to nature (which is fitting) and the wolf's role as predator, there are a whole host of powers that werewolves can draw on. Shapeshifting, enhanced physical traits, different senses, hunting and tracking powers, regeneration, animal control and communication, speed, leaping, stealth, pack coordination, fear. Honestly, it wouldn't have been hard at all to add on a sort of magic on top of that to enhance them more. You could go with Native American lore or Norse berserkers or something like that, but in my opinion giving werewolves some sort of lunar magic would be more thematic. Instead we got spirit fetishes.

The problem is vampires were already given most of the powers werewolves traditionally have, even the ones vampires usually don't have in other media. And of course mages trump everybody. So it leaves werewolves needing truly bizarre powers that don't really fit the archetype just so they have something to do. That's not an inherent problem with werewolves, it's a problem with the way the game was designed and balanced.

It also probably didn't help that werewolves were ultimately completely reliant on spirits for all of their powers. Not only were spirits needed for fetishes, but werewolves weren't even able to learn Gifts on their own. That part was especially irritating to me when I first read it.

Yeah, I really have to agree that werewolf are shafted compared to vampires in the popularity department. The only solution I can think of would be to create a game similar to Feed except focused around werewolves.

Feed gives two commandments that inform how its themes and rules work: "Vampires Feed" (not necessarily blood, but must feed on something) and "The Vampiric Nature Opposes Some Other Nature" (not necessarily humanity, but still non-vampiric values). Those are the only constants, as otherwise how vampires work is devised by the players or GM.

You'll need such commandments for a werewolf game, whatever their other facets are. Oddly enough, these would be very similar to those above. I would articulate it as: "Lycanthropes Change" (that is, they must transform and run and hunt and otherwise indulge their animal side) and "The Lycanthropic Nature Opposes Some Other Nature." That second one is important. Whether it is man versus beast, flesh versus spirit, civilization versus savagery, or whatever, werewolves are fundamentally torn between two different natures.

I'm going to give lycanthropes the freedom of having strains like vampires do. Developing a strain also translates fairly similarly: you define the rules by which lycanthropy functions in the story. You can even have multiple different strains in the same story a la Dresden Files.

I'll start with some examples of the the basic elements (these are compared in terms of Strong, Neutral and Weak depending on whether you want lycanthropy to be more or less of a curse):

Aging: This may seem like a strange question to ask, but do (these) werewolves age? Whether due to regeneration or something else, certain fiction portrays werewolves as capable of living for centuries or even forever barring violent death.
   Mortal (Neutral): Werewolves age and die like humans do, though signs of aging may manifest differently for them.
Immortal (Strong): Barring violent death, werewolves never die of old age or become decrepit in any way.

Appearance: How well can werewolves pass for human when they are not transformed?
   Undetectable (Strong): Provided they don't do anything obviously supernatural, werewolves can easily pass for human. While they aren't given away by physical appearance, it may be possible for medical examination to reveal irregularities.
Conspicuous (Neutral): While werewolves don't look inhuman, they do look a bit odd. Typical marks include hair in unusual places like the palms or tops of the feet, fingers of equal length, unusual eye color, disturbing to animals, etc. They tend to stick in the memory and those familiar with the strain can readily recognize members.
Monstrous (Weak): Monstrous werewolves are obviously deformed. They can't pass for human even with extensive makeup and bad lighting. Depending on particulars, they may be able to pass this off as birth defects, extreme body modification, or (in the worst cases) pretend to be exotic or deformed animals.
Degenerative (Weak): Werewolves start as Undetectable, but gradually and irreversibly transition through Conspicuous and into Monstrous over a period of time. This is linked to a modified Change Element where the werewolf does not switch between human and wolf forms. Instead, they gradually and irreversibly changed from human to wolf form.

Change: How do werewolves transform? What does it look like and how long does it take? How are their clothes affected?
   Bursting Transformation (Neutral): The change is quick but gruesome, involving the new form exploding out of the old in a shower of blood, gore, shreds of skin and fatty tissue.
Mystic Transformation (Strong): The werewolf quickly shimmers and fades into their new form, and any clothing they were wearing melds with them until they return to their human form.
Stretching Transformation (Weak): The change is long and incredibly painful, involving the werewolf's body stretching and warping into the new form.

Control: How much control does the character's human side have over the wolf side while transformed?
   Amnesiac (Weak): The werewolf has no control over themselves while transformed and has no memory of what happened while transformed. Likewise, while transformed they have little or no memory of their human side and act like the wolf they emulate.
Rage (Neutral): While transformed, the werewolf's mind remains their own, but their faculties are impaired by powerful animal urges.
Full Control (Strong): The werewolf retains their faculties and full control of themselves in any form.
Conscience (Neutral): The werewolf is otherwise an amnesiac after transformation, but their wolf side retains their conscience. While transformed, they will not do anything they would not do as a human.

Transmission: How do werewolves transmit their condition to others? How much control over the spread do they have?
   Airborne Transmission (Weak): These werewolves have a flat chance to infect anyone in their vicinity. Alternatively, the infection is spread through sharing food, drinking water from a werewolf's paw print, or similar. In any case, there is a random chance of infection and the werewolf has no control over this.
Infectious Bite (Neutral): Werewolves may infect others through their teeth or claws, sometimes even in human form. The strain only ever has partial control over this: the strain may be able to avoid accidental infection but can't infect at will or, conversely, infect at will but can't avoid the chance of accidental infection.
Sorcery (Strong): Werewolves are created only through deliberate rituals or curses.
Procreation (Strong): Werewolves reproduce only through sexual reproduction. Lycanthropy in their descendants may be present from birth or remain latent.

Trigger: What causes the werewolf to transform?
   Temporal Trigger (Neutral): The werewolf only transforms at certain times, like from dusk to dawn, on the nights before, during and after a full moon, etc.
Emotional Trigger (Weak): The transformation is triggered by strong emotions, such as anger, fear, or sexual arousal.
At Will (Strong): The transformation is under the full control of the werewolf and requires conscious and deliberated intent to induce.

That's all I can think of at the moment and it's getting late. Hope you find this useful. I welcome any advice or contribution.

It definitely needs refinement, especially since at that point I hadn't conceived of the lupine vs human trait balance, but I think it's a decent enough start.

Snowman0147

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Re: Hacking the Storyteller System
« Reply #106 on: January 22, 2021, 10:26:31 PM »
Fun idea is if the werewolf leans to monster side transformation becomes smoother, but you show signs in human form.  Likewise the more human the more you blend, but the more painful transformation is.  The less balanced you are the more you lack control of yourself.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Hacking the Storyteller System
« Reply #107 on: January 25, 2021, 06:01:15 PM »
Fun idea is if the werewolf leans to monster side transformation becomes smoother, but you show signs in human form.  Likewise the more human the more you blend, but the more painful transformation is.  The less balanced you are the more you lack control of yourself.
While I haven’t settled on details (and these would probably vary by setting), this is more or less how I imagined the balancing mechanics would work.

At one extreme you have characters like Elena Michaels or Lawrence Talbot who spend most of their time as human and only change once a month, while on the other end of the spectrum you have Ginger Fitzgerald’s or Will Randall’s final form. Characters like Daniel Osbourne or Josh Levison would be examples of werewolves waffling between (e.g. both start out only transforming involuntary under the moon, then their wolf later learns how to transform outside the full moon to disastrous results).

I forgot to mention it before, but the same logic could also to be used to represent a wolf who gains a human form. This is a rare concept in werewolf fiction but it show up from time to time. Animals assuming human form is far more common in East Asian folklore and fantasy, and I suppose the same rules could be used to emulate that.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Hacking the Storyteller System
« Reply #108 on: February 01, 2021, 02:51:04 PM »
I had this vague idea to adapt Feed's mechanics to handle "prometheans" (WW's jargon for any artificial human thing). It would essentially be a reverse of Feed's loss of humanity and spiral into vampirism: prometheans would start out with little to no human traits and gain human traits over time, replacing promethean traits on a 1:1 basis. They would literally become more human and less promethean over time (i.e. replace their superpowers and related traits with human connections and psychology), until they finally become a real boy.


BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Hacking the Storyteller System
« Reply #109 on: February 25, 2021, 03:38:37 PM »
After following a lead recently, I heard something really interesting and pertinent to this topic.

Chip Dobbs, the owner of the copyright to The Everlasting RPG, was a police officer who apparently died in the line of duty a few years ago. My condolences to his family.

So that's pretty much the final nail in the coffin for The Everlasting RPG.

Would anyone be interested in seeing a spiritual successor? The game drew on a lot of public domain resources, so it would hypothetically be possible to create a very similar game without running afoul of copyright law.