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Went to the Galleries earlier. I've been giving 4e a good read-through of late and for some reason my eye kept fixing not on the portraits but on landscapes and scenes of everyday life from the pre-industrial age. Towns made up of twenty houses. isolated pockets where people could grow up to be something other than a farmer. Cities where the poor are packed close and the rich have new spacious buildings. I think for the first time, I've looked at a painting as more than just a picture, through to what it depicts.

Or maybe I'm going a bit spacey because it's two in the morning and I've only just finished another character.

The Game: Werewolf: the Forsaken
The Publisher: White Wolf
Degree of Familiarity: Oh yeah. In addition to writing a number of sourcebooks I've run several one-shots and short chronicles.
Books Required: The World of Darkness Rulebook and Werewolf: The Forsaken for the most part, with one Merit from The Rage.

It's strange, but I think over the years I've talked plenty about how much I like Werewolf. So much so that I'm having a hard time composing this opening section. The defining horror of Forsaken isn't the obvious conflict between man and monster, its knowing that you've chosen to be damned by the sins of your fathers. The Firstborn did what they thought they had to when they killed Father Wolf, and every werewolf who tries to carry on the progenitor's duty takes flak from all sides. The Pure hate them. Spirits hate them. Why? Because of an accident of birth and random chance combined with not joining a band of brainwashing psychotics. It's the smart-happy dilemma, and all the Forsaken chose to be smart. Which means they're metaphorically the one straight cop in a precinct that's worse than most people can imagine.

Step 1: Concept
I want to do something that I don't normally do: I want to play to archetype. Normally, I like my werewolves to go a bit against form, being thinkers or sneaky bastards or general fuckups. This time, I want a big hard bastard who can beat the crap out of things. That's not to say he's not bright, just that he's not Nobel Prize material. The Cop is a strong metaphor for Forsaken werewolves, so let's run with that.

Imagine the kind of cop we're talking about here. He's the kind of guy who stole a perp's piece and wrapped the grip in band-aids so he wouldn't leave fingerprints for when some piece of shit is going to get off. For all that it's very dangerous, he's not a killer. He just gets a bit blurry between justice and vengeance sometimes. Compared to the others in his precinct, he's not a bully. He doesn't beat perps to a bloody pulp to get a confession—he respects the law, but he's got a deeper vein of street-justice burning deep within. Where does that come from?

As a kid, he got n with a local gang. No harm, no foul, just a bunch of kids who looked out for each other. They jumped some punk dealing crack on the street-corner. The dealer got off on a technicality, and our protagonist spent six months in juvie. He struggled to keep his head up, especially considering some of the people around him, but he got out. As soon as he hit the streets, his parents enrolled him in military school. He was a lump of clay, and the school sculpted him into something better, something stronger. He didn't enlist when he graduated, instead he went straight to the police academy, and has been wearing a uniform for the past six years.

Call him Officer Derek Morgan for now.

Step 2: Attributes
Officer Morgan's a big, powerful guy, so Physical's primary. Social's secondary, because he's not a robot, though he does sometimes have to remember that not everyone's a suspect for something.

Two points into Strength and Stamina. I considered dropping three into Strength, but he's been trained to endure everything.

Socially, I put two points into Composure. Again, he knows better than to flip his shit and can keep himself in check better than most people. That leaves one point apiece for the others.

Mentally, I keep things simple and drop one point into each.

Step 3: Skills
Physical skills are primary, but Mental skills are secondary. Being a cop means learning shit first and foremost.

For Physical, I put three points into Brawl. He knows how to handle himself in a bare-knuckle fight. Likewise, two points go into Weaponry. He's been on the range, but still believes that guns are a last resort, so I drop one point into Firearms. Two points go into Athletics, as he still goes through his old PT routine every morning, and he's on the precinct basketball team. I finish by dropping two points into Drive and one into Larceny. He can handle a patrol car, and he's picked up some tricks from the other side in his time.

Mental skills are a bit easier. Two points each into Academics and Investigation, to cover his knowledge of the law and of police-work in general. One point in Medicine, because he's gone through first-aid training. The remaining points go into Crafts, because I figure he enjoys fixing up cars in his spare time, and he's no slouch at fixing up a set of shelves or a wall—it's a chance for him to be productive without dealing with other people.

Social skills are simple. Two points in Intimidation—he's a big scary dude—and two points in Streetwise, because there's not much people don't tell a big scary dude.

Step 4: Specialties
Specialties are easy enough. Mechanic goes into Crafts easily enough. Drive gets Hot Pursuit because he's never happier than when he's on the hunt. And finally, Criminal Law goes on Academics. He's done a lot of background reading.

Step 5: Apply Supernatural Template
Now's the meat of the situation. First, we choose Auspice. This guy just screams "Rahu", and who am I to deny him? That gives us a free Specialty in Brawl, which I note as Dirty Fighting. Not just punching, but going for the groin, stabbing people in the back, all of that crap. We also get one dot of Purity Renown.

Next, pick Tribe. Blood Talon might seem obvious, but this guy's endured everything that live has thrown at him and is working to make that an advantage. At his core, he's a Storm Lord. That gives me a point of Honor Renown.I put my free point into Glory Renown.

Now, I have three Gifts. For my Auspice Gift, I check the Full Moon list. Clarity is fun—it's a big button saying "I go first!", and Derek's going to need that given his otherwise average Initiative. For a Tribal Gift, I could go for Loose Tongue, but that strikes me as more of a detective's Gift. Instead, I grab Warning Growl. Finally, I get a pick from any list. A couple catch my eye, but eventually I settle on Crushing Blow.

I've got one dot of Primal Urge, and I don't want to increase it. My Morality trait is changed to Harmony. Cool.

Step 6: Determine Advantages
Werewolves have the added joy of changing Attributes when they change forms, which affects Advantages. Fortunately, after churning out the sample werewolves for Shadows of the UK, I could do this step in my sleep. Willpower is 5. Size is 5/6/7/6/4, Health is 8/10/12/11/8, Initiative is 5/5/6/7/7, Defense is 2 in all forms, and Speed is 10/11/14/17/15. Harmony and Essence are both 7.

His Virtue is easy: Justice. Vice is a little harder. Wrath is the obvious one for werewolves, but Pride burns in Derek's soul.

Step 7: Merits
I put two points into Totem, because every pack needs a Totem or it's not a pack. With the other five points, I pick up Contacts (Underworld) and Status (Police) 2, then turn to The Rage for Predator's Gaze.

Whadda ya know, that's us done.

Name: Derek Morgan
Auspice: Rahu
Tribe: Storm Lords
Virtue: Justice
Vice: Pride
Concept: Hardass Cop
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 2, Resolve 2
Physical Attributes: Strength 3/4/6/5/3, Dexterity 2/2/3/4/4, Stamina 3/4/5/5/4
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 2/1/2/0/2, Composure 2
Mental Skills: Academics (Law) 2, Crafts (Mechanic) 2, Investigation 2, Medicine 1
Physical Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl (Dirty Fighting) 3, Drive (Hot Pursuit) 2, Firearms 1, Larceny 1, Weaponry 2
Social Skills: Intimidation 2, Streetwise 2
Merits: Contacts (Underworld), Predator's Gaze, Status (Police) 2, Totem 2
Willpower: 5
Harmony: 7
Primal Urge: 1
Essence Max/Per Turn: 10/1
Health: 8/10/12/11/8
Initiative: 5/5/6/7/7
Defense: 2 in all forms
Speed: 10/11/14/17/15
Renown: Glory 1, Honor 1, Purity 1
Gifts: Clarity, Crushing Blow, Warning Growl

Comments

( 4 informants — We want information! )
innocent_man
Jul. 16th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
though he does sometimes have to remember that not everyone's a suspect for something.

My brother, who is a cop, remarks, "When you spend all your time searching for needles, you start to resent the hay."

Awesome character. He and my werewolf from the other night should go get a pint.
digitalraven
Jul. 16th, 2008 09:50 am (UTC)
I spent two years catching people trying to defraud a high-street bank. Your brother's never more right than when he's saying that; though I could spin a story of lies, theft, deceit around the most normal of accounts.

If we convince a few other people to take up the challenge we could probably get a decent pack going.
cairmen
Jul. 16th, 2008 09:44 am (UTC)
I'm enjoying this series - looking forward to the next one!
digitalraven
Jul. 16th, 2008 09:51 am (UTC)
Thanks. Any requests?
( 4 informants — We want information! )

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