Anatomy of a Playtest: Werewolf The Apocalypse by BNS

This weekend I was part of one of the playtests of the Werewolf: the Apocalypse gamma slice. here’s some of the fun stuff that happened.

If you haven’t check out the Gamma Slice of Werewolf: the Apocalypse  on DriveThruRPG yet, you are missing out. I had the opportunity to play it this weekend in Cincinnati and had an absolute blast. Here’s some of the highlights.

The background of this session

The Cincinnati caern is dying. A new caern seed is coming, and we must make sure it gets here safely to the old, frail Elder Bone Gnawer who owns the crazy, door-filled house we are all staying in. After we make introductions, the Elder Bone Gnawer goes up to one of the doors–one of many portals into various places in the Umbra, and the door opens. Suddenly a Black Spiral Dancer appears and rips out the Elder’s throat, killing him instantly.

Us players watch this spectacle and leap into a flurry of action. between the four Rank 5 Garou among us we tear the BSD to shreds without much of a thought, before addressing the bigger concern of what may have happened to the seed that was supposed to be on its way.

An upstart Fostern versus the Elders

Outside of the main conflict, a smaller, player-driven one had also formed. One local Rank 2 red Talon started shouting orders at the assembled wolves, including some of the elders among us (including my character). Us elders had to take the spunky young kid away and give him a nice talking-to about that, and I think we got the message through. This Fostern and his pack didn’t seem very interested in moving with pack motives, however, so we gently encouraged him to go do some snooping about to get information. Meanwhile, another group went following a trail that led them to some Wyrm cultists, and we tore them to shreds pretty hard.

A Warehouse With many levels

So the Fostern’s pack comes back with some info: a warehouse nearby might be where the seed has been taken. Our local Corax scouts ahead and gives us good intel, so we form an attack plan. Those of us unable or unwilling to be subtle (those who “Don’t have an inside voice” was the term we used) dropped into the Umbra to attack from the roof. Everyone else boarded into a truck to start the raid from the bottom floors and work up. We’d meet in the middle

I don’t know what the other group did, but I didn’t have an inside voice so I took the roof with several other folks. Down we went through the floors, fighting various spirits and other creatures. We met up with the other team near the middle of the building, only to find the seed crystal had been stolen by a gigiantic creature called a Thunderwyrm.

One team took the tail, the other took the–well, it was a Thunderwyrm, so does it really have a head? I don’t even know. But we tore into the thing with much aplomb, and after taking an absurd amount of damage the thing dies and we got away, rescued the caern, and ended with a nice long howl.

My reaction to the Gamma Slice

These rules have significantly improved since the public beta and, in my opinion, are superior to the complex system of 3rd Edition Laws of the Wild. In addition to fitting with the similar and simpler system used in Masquerade, Rage has been improved, Merits and powers standardized (hint: everything is OP in its own way) and even the bonuses for different werewolf forms have been updated to reflect a more balanced approach to forms other than war form and breed form. People had reasons to go into Hispo and Glabro forms, which is always a good thing.

The tribes are much more fleshed out, too, and Fera being included is always a nice addition. The Kitsune and Corax were super-helpful in our struggles, and they didn’t have to feel like outsiders because in these new rules Fera can be part of packs.

All in all: I had a blast, and I highly encourage people to pick up the Gamma slice from DriveThruRPG and give it a go. Whether you’re new to werewolf or a grizzled veteran, there’s a lot that appeals to players of all kinds. and your feedback heps the fine folks at By Night Studios improve their products to come.

Part Time Rogue
About Part Time Rogue 83 Articles
Sam Swicegood is a freelance writer, marketing consultant, and actor based in Cincinnati, OH. He has been LARPing for over a decade. He is the author of Sci-fi RPG Cold Start, due out in 2018.

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