Well, I thought I had put the World of Darkness behind me.
My WoD gaming group broke up years ago and I haven’t run a WoD game in four years. Haven’t run a regular game in more like seven or eight. Heck, I was considering selling off my ridiculously huge collection of Storyteller games, even.
But then I got a look at Werewolf the Savage Age!
The Khara caught my eye. Were-Sabertooths!
And then there was the prospect of Neanderthal characters.
The idea of playing Lost Breeds, without any finagling with canonical mythos was a big draw. And the chance to run the War of Rage looked very tempting.
Reading through the book, there are a lot of great hooks and inspirations for games I’d like to run. For me that’s the most important thing about a game book, does it make me excited to run something using the material in the book. Werewolf the Savage Age does that in spades!
Apis Minotaurs breeding human lines to fit their plans for the future. Neanderthal Grondr were-boars running and rooting through the forest in search of tainted Wyrm creatures. The jackal spawned Anupu-Ba-El overseeing the birth of burial rites and quelling unquiet ghosts, long before their decision to make common cause with the Garou against the other Fera. There are a lot of stories that I’m excited to tell with this book!
The art is fierce and jagged and primitive looking, perfect for the age it illustrates.
The mechanics look sound. There are lots of Gifts that look like they would be fun to play. Though, honestly, I can’t judge how well balanced that material is without running the game.
The closest thing to a weakness with the whole package that I can see is that I don’t find the introductory fiction bits particularly interesting. Not bad, mind you, but nothing that draws me in and keeps me from flipping past the intros to get to the good stuff. That’s a minor quibble, and to be honest I’ve never really been a fan of the WoD intro fiction anyway. It only rarely seemed worth the effort to me.
There are some offbeat decisions that gave me pause. The backstory for the Apis covers an unimaginably vast length of time (for PCs, anyway). But it also gives us the hooved predatory ancestors of bovines, the Mesonyx, whose traits still pop up in rare atavistic individuals many speciations later. That’s just so…weird…that I can’t wait to use it, or play one myself. It also inspires me to wonder about an even earlier setting with even more primitive hominids and Fera based on extinct species that didn’t survive to be exterminated in the Garou’s War of Rage.
Things I want to run with this book:
An Apis Folding migrating with their long legged, early Sapiens kinfolk and a herd of wildebeest-like animal kin, trying to escape from some hideous Wyrm menace, only to find their way blocked by a river full of hungry and hostile Mokole. Shallow and muddy in the material world, the river is wild and elemental in the Umbra. Just the thing to cut off pursuit by the Wyrm-things—if the Apis can find a way to get around the Mokole.
A Grondr Sounder trying to purge their forest from a horrible fungoid Wyrm menace—tattooed Neanderthals thrashing and fighting through the forests battling burrowing myconids. Didn’t somebody have a Clanbook Matango out there? That could be useful…
Khara battling Mammoth fomori in the harsh Ice Age wastelands of North America.
There are just so many cool things you can do with Werewolf the Savage Age! And I haven’t even looked at the second volume with its War of Rage stuff!
In short, yeah. I recommend this one. I’m excited about it myself.
I am already looking for the perfect dice set to use in my new game, once I can talk a few gamers into trying it…