When I started uni, I was lucky enough to be invited to join a long-running World of Darkness campaign. The group (Mel, Sith, Boyd, Gog and GM Ed) had been playing through bloodlines in both Vampire and Werewolf – Vampire from sire or grandsire to childe or grand-childe, and in werewolf using normal ancestry. They started back in Roman times and were running through to Apocalypse (at which point, a larger group also played the Hunter experience). At the time I joined, Werewolf (the more popular of the two games) had reached modern age and Vampire was in Dark Ages – but running through the second time as Sabbat.
The Werewolf party consisted of Mel’s homid Black Fury theurge, Boyd’s lupus Get of Fenris ragabash, Sith’s metis Silent Strider ahroun, Gog’s homid Fianna galliard and Ed’s GMPC* lupus Red Talon philodox. For those who don’t know, homid means ‘human-born’, lupus means ‘wolf-born’ and metis means ‘dirty freak of nature offspring of 2 Garou’ (most Garou breed with either humans or wolves, as metis are sterile and deformed). Theurges are spiritual/shamanic; ragabash ‘tricksters’; for galliards, think bardic; philodox are leaders and ahroun are the fighters – all Garou can fight, but the ahrouns excel at it.
No one was surprised when I elected to be a Child of Gaia (although Boyd did roll his eyes). Because I’d never played World of Darkness before, I was playing something of an audience surrogate so I could make mistakes without it being out of character - I took the 'no common sense' flaw for the same reason. We set it up that my mother was a bit of a ‘free love’ hippy and I’d never known my father, which was a good justification for having no idea about werewolves and kinfolk and the rest of it. I was raised on a commune that I had no real attachment too (abandoning it completely and kinda heartlessly after becoming a werewolf) – possibly because my name was “Starlight Moonbeam Acorn Rainbow”.
My game began, then, with my first change and the existent packs’ discovery and subsequent rescue of me. The moon was a crescent that night, so the Black Fury was pleased to have a young theurge to take under her wing. It seems to have been a very thin crescent, though – there’s a distinct flash of ragabash to my character, manifesting in a very playful and cheerful nature. Her excitement at discovering her Garou nature – and particularly her delight in entering the Umbra – left her playing chase through shadows and earned her the Garou name “Plays-in-Shadows” (I’m cross with myself that I cannot recall the names of the rest of the pack).
Plays’ (as she was most often known) biggest vice was cannabis, due to her hippy upbringing, but it’s possible the laid-backness that results from this was part of why she dealt so well with the massive changes on learning she was Garou. She loved spending time in the Umbra, particularly with pack totem Bear, and the novelty of being able to assume the shape of a wolf at will never wore off.
The pack tended to fight all in hispo (dire wolf) form; a well-practiced technique with each wolf taking turns to attack from alternate flanks when facing down a large opponent. Initially, Plays was reluctant to fight, particularly in training, but soon realised the necessity of it for her role in the coming Apocalypse.
The caern from which the pack operate is one that had been set up by the other players in an earlier stage of the game, so it was fun to hear the tales being told and, I think, nice for them to tell them to a new audience. Various tales of past heroes were also told, and again I enjoyed guessing which player was responsible – a nice side effect of entering a game such as this late.
Most of the time, we hung around the caern or in the Umbra, but sometimes we had to venture into the human realm. This wasn’t too bad for Plays or the Black Fury, but much more of a pain for the guys; particularly the metis and the ragabash (who really objected to puny human form and especially to wearing clothes and being flirted with by the Black Fury’s sister). We would all bundle into the awakened yellow mini named ‘Delilah’ that belonged to the Black Fury and would only start if you sang the Tom Jones song to it. We didn’t fit very well.
As mentioned above, the pack totem was Bear. This meant the pack had to work harder to earn honour, but Bear was an amazing totem. When the game ended, the Child of Gaia tribe totem (Unicorn) had been killed and Plays was one of very few, possibly the only, Child of Gaia to survive (being in another place entirely when it happened): her trust in Bear elevated him to status as the new totem for the tribe.
The game ended with only the Black Fury and Plays having survived from the pack – as theurges, they had been involved in an important ritual whilst the others fought the forces of the Weaver and Wyrm to enable the ritual to complete and died dramatically in the course of this. The final tableau was of a normal human woman and a wolf, side by side – it seemed fitting, somehow, that Plays was born human but would die a wolf. The Garou part of their nature had ended.
It was a very epic game and one of the players made a set of mix-CD's for the soundtracks to both Werewolf and Vampire but unfortunately I can't remember what was on them! I also painted up a bunch of dire wolves as keepsakes for the party but can't find Plays to share a photo.
*I know some people have real attitude when it comes to GMPC’s, but in this game it was useful because other players would sometimes run games and it helped to have a regular character/pack member for the normal GM to play in these circumstances. He mostly stayed quiet when Ed was GM’ing