Monday, December 14, 2009

Bombay Holiday Party 2009 Walt & Solange

Here's a picture of me in Second Life from a holiday party the other day in world. I'm the one with the beard.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Urban Fantasy in HeroQuest 2: A Werewolf Keyword

While this keyword was influenced mostly by the Mercedes Thompson books by Patricia Briggs, it can just as easily be used in any sort of urban fantasy game with supernatural creatures like werewolves and vampires.

The werewolf is a primal creature, a creature of lusts and rages, more at home in the wilds and the forests than in the cities that most of them live in these days. While their transformations are rules by the power of the full moon, many wolves can control their changes and move from human to wolf forms with varying degrees of ease. The degree to which wolves are able to control themselves and their bestial nature can depend on when they were first "changed" into a werewolf and the savageness of the attack that forever changed their lives.

Werewolves have very long lives, unless their savage side overcomes them in one form or another, and can live for hundreds of years. Some older wolves can have a variety of anacronistic tells that vary from speech patterns to affectations of dress. Older wolves that have a harder time with fitting into a modern world often stick to staying within established werewolf communities rather than deal with a world that they do not understand.

Physically a werewolf is very powerful, even when in their human form and can be physically imposing and highly charismatic to normal human, who may not know that they are facing a wolf but rather something very much stronger than they are themselves. This physical power can be very sexually compelling to some individuals, whether supernatural in nature or not. In their human form, wolves are stronger and tougher than a normal human and this is only amplified when they are in their wolf form.

The senses of a werewolf are also more intense, vivid and finely honed than humans as well, even when they are not in their wolf form. This makes it difficult to lie to a wolf, as it does hiding strong emotional states like fear or arousal. The nose of a werewolf can tell them many things that others would miss.

The society of werewolves, called packs at their basic unit, are heirarchial in their nature and are based upon the dominance of the personality of the wolf. The idea of this is that it is the position within the pack of the stronger, more dominant wolves to protect those who are weaker and more submissive. Dominance in werewolf packs has to do with strength and force of personality, rather than any sort of sexual relationship, and wolves that are more submissive can often have unique niches within a pack that cannot be filled by a more dominant wolf. Submissive never equals useless in a wolf pack, as each wolf has their place within the pack. Also, as wolves mate for life, there is a difference between the strong and mystical bond between mates and those who merely have spouses. Each pack has its own territory, which can be an area as small as a remote town or as large as a region of a State or country. The pack is lead by the most dominant wolf in it, called the Alpha. As the strongest wolf in the pack, the Alpha is charged with the protection of the entire pack and has a supernatural bond with each member of the pack that allows the Alpha to know the well-being of members as well as allowing the Alpha to draw upon the strength of the pack through magical means.

Wolves are social creatures by their nature, pack animals as it were. For some though, mostly due to the savageness of their being changed into a wolf, integration into a wolf pack is not easy or even possible. These lone wolves, sometimes also called ronins, are able to wander freely around the world (as long as they extend the proper curtesies to local packs and their Alphas) but at the expense of never having that bond or feeling of belonging that comes with being a part of a pack. Lone wolves tend to be more dominant, as most packs would feel too protective of submissives to allow them to wander unprotected.

The description of this keyword should give you a good deal of possible abilities for your HeroQuest werewolf characters. In addition it gives you an idea of what the world for this kind of werewolf is like.

Further detail of the keyword could add, for example, that in the game world that wolves have "outed" themselves and knowledge of their existence is known to the general public. There could be "PR wolves" who are purposely put out into the public eye to put forward a positive PR spin on wolves, so that the world at large would fear them less. Also, the existence of alpha wolves could denote the existence of an "Alpha of Alphas" wolf, one who is so dominant that they are put above all packs and are able to give orders to those who are the alpha of an individual pack.

Some sample abilites:
  • Strong Dominant
  • Drawn By The Moon
  • Of A Different Age
  • Secretive Wolf
There are a lot of possibilities that come out of our sample keyword. In future posts I will discuss some more keywords for urban fantasy, and possibly some other genre, settings. As we go I will also post some sample character write-ups as well.