Where I Read - Making My Way Through My RPG Books

Started by Unholy, September 06, 2023, 12:24:09 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Um, hi! Welcome to my blog. This is where I'm going to read through new RPG books I buy. I've been meaning to make my way through some of the new things I got, but I never seem to make the time. I think blogging will encourage me to read through my books bit by bit. I'm also going to muddle through my thoughts on what I read / see as I go along. Feel free to comment/participate. Please know though that this is meant to be a positive space that makes me feel like reading--with that in mind? I pretty much hate edition warring and toxic negativity--being around people like that nearly wrecked my love of this hobby. So if you find that your opinion is basically "I hate this edition" or "this game sucks" then...this blog might not be for you.

Now if you wanna break down some crunchy numbers and have cool discussions on the merits and flaws of a game, this is the place for you!

The first one I'm going to read through is...

<<drumroll, please!>>

Werewolf the Apocalypse, the 5th edition!


So my first impressions...I bought the pdf, as I don't buy hard copies of games unless I'm already very familiar with the game line. By default for new editions of games I'm familiar with I get pdfs and if I like what I read, I get a physical copy later.

Name of Game: Werewolf the Apocalypse
Edition: 5th
Number of Pages: 334

My first impression comes from the cover art. It's a black forested background, trees obscuring the full moon. A red werewolf silhouette cuts across the center, and inside this silhouette is a toxic looking crimson, black, and gray manufacturing facility with a swampy area in front that, with the crimson coloration, gives the impression of blood. It's good art and engaging, very evocative of punk gothic-horror.

The next page is a flavor-blurb, essentially giving the gist of the game. This is about a dying Earth and about the entities who stride between humanity and wolf, filled with Rage and motivated to turn the tide. So far, so good. Then there's re-used cover art--eh. Credits page, then table of contents.

Different art! Red and green themed art of werewolves staring up into a mishmash of shattered tech floating above them. I like it, but it's a little bright looking. Next art is where it's at! Red and black wolves-a-a wolfpack maybe--howling and fighting among themselves. There's a lot of black and red and gray tones here, and this evokes a much more grim and violent look I associate with the idea of werewolves. There is an opener flavor text here as well, setting up the idea of why werewolves do what they are and what motivates them.

Back to some art--a red and black snarling werewolf draping over the top of the page as a dramatic gothic looking woman below with wide silver eyes runs alongside black-gray wolves. Okay, the creators were clearly really wanting to get some heavy looks and flavor right off the bat. Then the Introduction starts on page 9. This talks about the purpose of the game and the ideas it will explore: injustice, violence, global oppression, crises like global warming, spirituality, and whether or not the ends justify the means when you're literally talking about saving the world. The game has a side blurb that seems important to share here:

QuoteIf you’re familiar with previous editions of Werewolf,
let us be up front and state that this fifth edition is a
re-imagining, not a continuation. You can even call it
a reboot if you prefer. The truths and “lore” of previ-
ous editions aren’t necessarily true in this edition. Take
this book and the world it proposes at face value.

Hm. Okay, that's good to know. I've played prior editions, so I'll throw that knowledge out and look at this book as-is. The pros of that: I don't like edition warring anyways and found some of the old stuff kinda problematic sometimes. The cons: This means this book needs to be good completely on it's own, and the nostalgia that often allows a reader to be more well-disposed despite flaws is something I can't really allow while I read.

Then the book launches into what a werewolf is--that they are shape changers not truly at home anywhere (and have human shape, wolf shape, and some stuff in between), that the world is dying, etc. It also explains some of the expectations of the game structure--there's a Storyteller and the players, and the ST makes the world and NPCs and the players make their PCs who engage with and shape that world. The book also gives a mature content warning--in other words, if it can possibly trigger you? It might be in this book. If I read something that touches on sensitive material I'll put it in a spoiler, and given that anyone can see Blogs if I think a topic is too much I'll omit it altogether.

Then we get a Lexicon section--jargon specific to Werewolf the Apocalypse's world. There's three terms that really stand out that I want to comment on.

QuoteHarano: A state of werewolf misery or despair in which they believe that nothing matters, so why try?

Hauglosk: A state of werewolf fervor or fanaticism in which they believe that they must take urgent action immediately

Impergium: In times of legend, a vicious culling by which werewolves slaughtered humans, seemingly resulting in the generational terror that now provokes the Delirium

I think these are really interesting. Two of these I do recognize as terms from prior editions, but I'll look at them exactly as presented here. I think Harano is an interesting because in 2023, I think there's a certain existential nihilism pervading the culture and Harano feels like a very applicable concept. It's depression on a fundamental level--so werewolves struggle with depression? Given they're also known for Rage, it seems like werewolves are beings that feel emotions strongly--there's no room for 'light' feelings. Every emotion clearly will be a BIG DAMN EMOTION. Which brings me to the next term--Hauglosk. This term looks worrisome--something that can provoke a werewolf into doing things. It's described as fanaticism...so werewolves can become obsessive and prone to impulsive sudden decisions. Well, that's kind of spooky when you combine it with the idea of Harano...

Then the Impergium. Yikes. Okay, so werewolves have committed a major atrocity that is SO ingrained in them that it created a generational terror in humans? That's beyond an atrocity that's...wow. Just wow.

Werewolves are coming off very...anti-hero-ish to me right now. They aren't necessarily very good people a lot of the time. They know they need to save the world but they are, at best, deeply flawed people and at worst, can pivot straight into villainy if their perspective gets skewed. We'll see how the book portrays them as we get more into it, and hopefully we get something that adds some balance to them.

So far....so good. I don't play horror games to play totally morally good characters, and werewolves come off very emotionally complex.

Well, that's 15 pages in so far, and I'll read more later. When I do, I'll update my blog! :-)