In the Arms of the Pack
Part of the Romance Trilogy Hacks & Mods publication.
A live rpg for 5 to 8 players.
Inspired by the Gauntlet Podcast’s traditional interview question:
“Imagine an alternate history where your Romance Trilogy games turned out more or less the same, but with the minor change that they are entirely about smooth-chested teenage werewolves. What would each game’s name be?”
The pack is your heart. You live, die, sleep and sweat together.
Your community drives you away. You’ve been part of something so deep it cannot let you go. Even if you leave it, you cannot escape it.
Your heart is taken by this strange world you stumble into. All those around you have a fire in them you cannot explain. All you know is that you want it, what they have. You hunger for their love, their touch, their blessing.
How high the cost for love and belonging?
In this story you are part of a group of beings, powerful and beautiful, who are tied together. You share a purpose as well as the deepest emotional and physical intimacies. Welcome others into this world in which they must sink or swim. Will you rebel, embrace or be accepted? Will the whole help the parts transcend?
Stories with Similar Themes:
Elfquest, by Wendy and Richard Pini
Diary of a Vampire, by Anne Rice
Count Dracula, novel by Bram Stoker (1897)
Lair of the White Worm, film by Ken Russell
Lucifer, television show based on characters by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith and Mike Dringenberg
1) Ground rules
To help navigate difficult topics or graphic images of sex or violence in this game, use a Fade to Black Rating for sex and violence , and begin and end scenes immediately preceding or following moments when battle or intimacy breaks out.
Discuss whether there are any Off Limit topics. Observe these limits throughout play.
Discuss what level of touch is acceptable to everyone.
2) Character Creation
Start by choosing the nature of your supernatural band.
Werewolf — Lean, glossy, brimming with vigor and keenly in tune with the wind, moon and life on the earth. The pack lives and breathes together. Hunts, mates and dies together.
Vampire — Unearthly, dire, leached of blood, unseen by sun. Awesome, terrify and beautiful like the shadow of the moon or the edge of a knife. The brood stalk their mortal prey, rest by day and while the years away together.
Fae — Enchanted, beguiling, transcendent of yet coupled with the natural world: be it fire, wind, the hearth, winter, under hill or oasis. The circle of spirits obey their own logic and are tied together in unending, unbreakable patterns of glamour, power, majesty and longing for what the mortal world brings: newness and freshness.
Angelic beings — Transcendent, celestial, descended to earth from realms of energy, love and devotion. Working to guide and guard mortal beings. Powerful bonds of duty and loyalty tie the column together in the fight to raise mortals from the moral depths to which they fall.
Demonic beings — Unbound, unblinking, unthinkable revels and pursuits that push the boundaries of blood, pain and consciousness. The coterie revels in the pursuits of pleasure together, building upon each other’s power.
Sorcerers — Seeking, gathering, amassing power knowledge and, sometimes, wisdom. Ancient orders walking between the earthly and other realms to harness the energies of the universe. Handing down their knowledge in lineages, bound by oaths and bargains to hold true and together.
Instead of the Core Issue, chose a Nature for each being. This determines their place in the supernatural coterie, directs the arc of their story and gives input on their motivations.
Elder — ancient, revered by all
Leader — decisive, obeyed by (almost) all
Adept — powerful, admired by all
Innocent — curious, perhaps not yet a member of the group, coddled by all
Exile — outcast, shunned by (almost) all
Servant — subordinate, bossed around by all
Rebel — willful, argued with by all
Predator — destructive, feared by all
Beloved — affectionate, treasured by all
There are two types of relationships: Universal and Unique
Each Nature has a universal relationship listed with it — unless someone has a unique relationship (see below) they default to the universal one associated with a character’s nature.
A one-on-one, reciprocal relationship that two characters share. Only one set of characters may share this type of relationship per game.
Sit in a circle (or around a table) and each person chooses a relationship from the following to share with the character of the person to the right and to the left.
List of Relationships:
Comrades at arms (or in the hunt)
Omit Commitment, Intimacy and Passion in this game.
Name one thing for each character that ties them to the Mortal world.
Examples: a favored plaything, a place of sanctuary, childhood among mortals, a lover, a charge, hunting grounds, a false identity, compassion from a mortal, hatred of a mortal.
The community is experiencing Conflicts, one internal, one external.
A growing disagreement among members of the group threatens to destabilize everyone. Pick two characters to embody this Internal Conflict.
In a vampire brood, the Adept seeks to take a too-young mortal Innocent into the group. The Elder fights against this.
In an angelic column, the Rebel rises up against the Leader, questioning their judgement.
A Fae Exile returns home and challenges the Predator for a duel to regain their lost place in the group.
A goal or threat to the group prods them into action.
The demonic coterie seeks new revel grounds after being outsted from a favored home.
Sorcerers debate the best way to tap the power of an ancient meteor with pulsing, wild magic.
Werewolves hide from vicious hunters seeking to rid their pack from the land.
Characters interact in scenes with the full group, and small group scenes. Play out the character interactions, but frame the action to take place immediately before or after violence or sex.
Play out the following scenes with all the characters present. Begin with the Intro scene, then choose what order to play the others as you go along.
Plan to spend 10–15 minutes in each scene. Choose how many to play depending on how much time you have to spend playing.
Decide where each scene takes place. Create a set to match.
List of Group Scenes:
Intro/Clubhouse — The members of the coterie gather and enjoy one another.
Danger — A threat from outside the group brings them together.
Party/Orgy — Celebration turns to the enjoyment of deeper bonds
Adventure — An outing in to the Mortal world
Intimate — A moment of respite: quiet, sexy, beautiful, serene.
Battle — Taking on forces mustered against the band
Playing out the aftermath of sex or violence: Each player pick some good or bad thing that befell their character. Introduce this into the scene, and others involved build upon it.
Note: For discussion of angelic sex, please see Paradise Lost, Book VIII, lines 620–629.
Small Group Scenes
In between Group Scenes, pairs or trios of players may opt to have a scene together. Players involved choose where it takes place.
5) End of the Game
Take some time to debrief, use rules as appropriate from De-Roling Under my Skin. Share some food and drink if you can, and talk about how it was for each player.
Suggested questions for discussion:
Will the band stay together?
What moment made you feel their bonds the most?
How did your character feel about the struggles going on?
With thanks to Jason Cordova, Daniel Lewis, Rich Rogers for inspiring the three Wolf Romance games.
© 2016 Black & Green Games, Emily Care Boss
Part of the Romance Trilogy
Made possible by supporters of my Patreon campaign: http://patreon.com/emilycare