Hopefully, you players have read the other two primers. Presented here is some more general information that your characters know about the world s/he lives in. Nothing really replaces having read the book yourself. If you can, read at least up to page 57 of the W:tF book, it will give you all the background you need to know, without any of the mechanics.
The beginning: In the beginning, werewolves were the loyal children of Father Wolf, the greatest hunter spirit of them all, and Mother Luna. Along with their father, werewolves patrolled the Border Marches, keeping the spirit world in line, keeping the hunter’s paradise of Pangaea pure. But Father Wolf’s claws grew weak, his teeth grew brittle. Some Uratha saw the danger of being led by a weak spirit, knew what happens to a pack led by a failing alpha. Some rose up and slew their Father. At his death, the world shuddered, the Gauntlet came down separating the Shadow world from the physical world.
Beasts of the Moon (p23-24):
- Werewolves are born monsters in human skin, never knowing their true selves until they change under the moon for the first time. However, they always feel slightly other and often suffer the effects of a quick temper.
Leading up to and after their first Change * Lupine instincts color the waking moments. They crave meat, company, and companionship. * A werewolf’s senses show aspects of the world they have never seen before * Werewolves feel emotion at levels that humans can barely match. Yet nothing pulses at the heart of a werewolf like anger * A werewolf cannot surrender their predatory desires, but neither can they renounce those same desires
Auspices – The auspice of the moon during a werewolf’s first change marks them. In other game systems, this would be similar to the race chosen by the character.
Tribes of the Moon – The tribe a werewolf chooses often guides their role in the pack. This would be similar to a character’s class in other game systems.
The Pure: Not all of the first werewolves rose up and slew Father Wolf. The descendants of these early Uratha believe that Pangaea will not return until the last of the patricidal tribes are wiped from the earth. These werewolves hold more territory and have more numbers than the Forsaken People. Also:
- The Pure seem to have a stronger relationship with spirits
- The Pure do not have the favor of Mother Luna, they have no auspice and Mother Luna’s curse of silver weighs heavier on them
- The Pure tribes are: o Fire-Touched: Spiritual leaders of the Pure, they preach the Forsaken should be purged by fire from the earth. They follow Rabid Wolf. o Ivory Claws: They are cold fury obsessed with purity, making far-reaching plans to destroy the Forsaken. They follow Silver Wolf. o Predator Kings: Primitive monsters who follow Dire Wolf, seeking to return to a brutal Pangaea where humanity is merely livestock.
Bale Hounds: werewolves of no tribe that swear allegiance to unspeakable lords of darkness.
Threats from the Shadow Realm taken from pps36-40 of the W:tF book
Spirits: The World of Darkness is a world of dark animism—the belief that all things in the physical world have a living spirit reflection, even including abstracts such as ideas and emotions
- Spirits covet the experiences of the flesh, slipping through the Gauntlet whenever they get the chance
- Spirits prey upon each other to grow in strength and energy
- Every spirit has a ban—an absolute prohibition
- Spirits have complex feudal-like hierarchies
Ridden: Spirits who have crossed over to they physical world and attached themselves onto a living being (not necessarily a human). There are two types of Ridden:
- Urged: They nudge their host’s desires like a backseat driver
- Claimed: Outright possession and control of their host, often changing the host’s true form
Hosts: Some ancient enemies of Father Wolf escaped his claws and teeth by shredding themselves into spirit shards, hiding their essence in many hosts. These shards seek to join with one another, creating more powerful and deadly foes. There are two common hosts:
- Azlu, the Spider Hosts: Shards of the Spinner-Hag resting in spiders. They have an instinct to weave. Their weaving strengthens the Gauntlet seeking to seal the spirit world away from the flesh.
- Beshilu, the Rat Hosts: Shards of the Plague King, a being of illness and disease. Where the Azlu seek to strengthen the Gauntlet, these creatures seek to gnaw it apart.
Ways of the Forsaken taken from pps 40-57 of the W:tF book
Pack Bonds: No bond is stronger than that of the pack. Earned through blood and solidified with spirit by the pack totem, it is the core of the werewolf society. A packmate will side with a packmate before a tribemate or fellow auspice.
The pack bond does not imply everything’s all kisses and hugs. Packmates must deal with all their strong emotions, sometimes fighting over trivial matters. Yet, when the sitution grows dire, they turn to one another for strength and aid.
Totem: A pack’s totem is its connection to their other home, the Shadow. It travels in Twilight (in the physical world, but invisible) with the pack. It can join in battles, act as a guide, as an emissary to other spirits, even as a spy. The pack’s totem makes the pack stronger by offering them some of its power.
Alpha:The same instinctual drive that makes werewolves form packs also drives them to compete for leadership. There is only one alpha at a time. This position can be challenged, only not in times when it would weaken the pack. More modern minded packs shift the position during to phases of the moon, or depending what the situation demands, or other reasons.
Language:Werewolves, by virtue of their blood, understand lupine body language and scents, as well as the howls of “wolf-speak.” Werewolves can also learn the First Tongue, the language spoken by spirits.
The Oaths of the Moon – The Oath to the Moon is the guiding principle behind many of the werewolf’s actions and it is required to be accepted by a tribe. It is important to note that there are many interpretations of the Oath.