I just had a great session of Werewolf: The Forsaken with my friend/roommate Randy. He’s a great gamemaster and I love Werewolf ala. World of Darkness, so it was a recipe for success. I’m playing Tokoda Qochata, 18 years old, Pureblooded Multnomah Indian from a reservation in the Mount Hood, Oregon area. Randy’s been taking classes in theater and has been applying what he’d learned to his GMing skills, which left me amazed by the level of detail Randy put into the setting…One thing that’s nice about the World of Darkness (WoD): it’s based in real life so you have all the campaign setting information you could ever want. Even then, he went above and beyond. Randy described EVERYTHING just well enough but left plenty to the imagination as well so as not to slow down the game. For instance, he described the Umbral Realm my character experienced his First Change in in great detail, yet left the details of the Lodge my character lives in alone because it wasn’t integral to the story. I would have felt inclined to describe it, and slow the game a bit.
My character concept is titled "Burdened by Destiny." He’s being trained in the ways of his people, yet still feels the pull of the modern world, much to the chagrin of his father and the tribe, who see great things in his future. But Takoda is more interested in the Indie Rock scene of Portland and checking out a Trail Blazers game. The character I’m building will be a werewolf mystic and seer, but he’s just starting out. I wanted a powerful but believable character rather than "I’m just a starting character but hey, ghosts are no big deal, so says my knowledge roll!" So when my character forced his way past a police cordon and saw dismembered bodies being put into a body bag, I had him nearly vomit and turn away rather than start rolling Perception+Investigation rolls to look for "animal" tracks. And when the truck I was in got flipped, broke both legs and dislocated a shoulder and I had to RP barely surviving being a passenger in a car accident and being surrounded by wolves I had him freak the hell out, screaming for help and eventually throwing a busted radio at the wolves in a panic. I enjoyed it, but I think RPing more than just heroics doesn’t appeal to everyone.
I bring this up because I’m also going to be DMing a horror campaign bi-weekly for two of my good friends and I’ve tried to impress on them that I want them starting out fresh. But they tend to latch onto the heroic aspect far too much and I don’t think they’d be comfortable being vulnerable. I intend to throw a zombie at them. Now, in D&D terms, a zombie is laughable. But if you’re not an adventurer, a zombie should freak you the hell out! Your first instinct should be to run the hell away, not cast a spell at it. Unfortunately, they’re sort of grinders, and although I have ideas on coaxing some RP out of them that will appeal to their hack n slash instincts (Gestant chars, 1st level, half gestalt is a divine class and demanding a philosophy and code of ethics from each of them, taint, morale checks early on) I don’t want to have to force RP with dice rolls. I want them to take those decisions on for themselves and react in a realistic fashion…Any ideas from all the Gamemasters out there?
Quote of the night (as usual for gaming posts): "I mean, maybe the radio just got some extra juice from the battery…It’s not always about spirits and stuff, Dad…"