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Saturday 19 November 2022


Werewolves of Britain is a supplement for Liminal, the urban fantasy roleplaying with light, narrative mechanics, presented in rich full colour which hints at and captures the strange place astride the familiar of the mortal and the unfamiliar of the Hidden World. This ‘Hidden World’ is one in which magic and magicians, vampires, werewolves, the fae, and many myths are real. As its title suggests, Werewolves of Britain explores one of the major factions in the United Kingdom, originally  brought to the British Isles by the Vikings where they became part of society, even accepted by it. They were seen as noble and savage, but were cast out as merely savage, driven from society in the wilds where they continued to hunt in their packs and were in turn hunted. Yet in the modern age, rage-fuelled and howling for revenge, their fortunes are on the up. The fearsome Jaeger twins are aggressively expanding, not only subsuming other packs, but expanding from the wilds and into the cities… No longer is the urban werewolf a myth!

Werewolves of Britain presents this history and more. It explores what gang life is like, but really focuses upon the nature of gang initiation, for example, reciting the stories of its lineage is part of the initiation rite for the Red Hang Gang, and replicating the hedonism and excesses of the eighties is part of the Lacemakers’ rite. There are darker rituals too, including cannibalism… These rites make for great roleplaying and bonding scenes, if not played through during character creations, then as flashbacks. Ways of leaving are discussed too, equally as challenging in their own as the initiation. Once joined, a werewolf has access to gang magic, its strength based on the bonds between the members, their numbers, and the strength and control of the gang’s Alpha. These include being able knit bones through the change from man to wolf, being better hunters, seeming to work together supernaturally, and more. There are no mechanics for these, but are instead intended as narrative devices that the werewolf’s player and Game Master can work through together. In fact, Werewolves of Britain is very light in terms of new mechanics, really only adding the three new werewolf traits—Avenge, Predator, and Partial Change—to what is already a light roleplaying game.

A ‘Who’s Who’ adds stats and biographies for the most notable werewolves in Britain. These include Ada and Jamie Jaeger, of course, but also detailed are creatures out of legend—Black Shuck, the ‘Ghost Dog’ which could be the physical manifestation of all the werewolves who have died or an omen of death, the truth behind the Hound of the Baskervilles—decently done and involving Doyle whilst keeping Holmes fictional, and the Wolfshead, the band of ‘Merry Men’ which ran the length of Sherwood Forest and disappeared centuries ago, and only of late have been whispered of across the county once again. The gangs are given similar treatment, starting with the Jaeger family, describing how Jaeger twins built both their legend and their family, always aiming to restore werewolves of Britain to their former status, with the twins at the head—of course. These days many other gangs, such as the Red Hand Gang, petty criminals and corrupt police officers, pay tribute to the Jaeger family, whilst others, like the Dogs of War, consisting exclusively of ex-armed forces veterans under the command of the highly disciplined Major Chanda Patel, would not even consider it. Rounding out the description of the gangs is the city of Sheffield, often overlooked and underestimated, but adjacent to the Peak District, easily defensible, and with a network of closed tunnels running under its hills, is the perfect power base for the feudal ambitions of the Jaeger twins. Then Werewolves of Britain itself comes to a close with two short chapters. One provides an idea of what the werewolves think of the other factions in the Hidden World, whilst the other lists some plot hooks.

Werewolves of Britain is short, and that is its major problem. It does feel as if it should contain more, but it is difficult to describe quite what. The details and descriptions of the gangs and NPCs are certainly good, whilst still leaving room for the Game Master or player to develop gangs of their own, both socially within werewolf society and geographically, depending how far any such gang wants to be from Jaeger influence—if at all. Perhaps it does not help that the final chapters, one dealing with what werewolves think of the other factions in the Hidden World, the other listing plot hooks, amount to no more than a single page of text each. If perhaps the supplement had contained a full scenario or two, one perhaps for a pack of werewolf Player Characters and another one with a range of different Player Characters dealing with a werewolf pack, then the supplement might not be so underwritten in its last few pages.

Physically, Werewolves of Britain is superbly presented. Some of the artwork is genuinely fantastic, the ghostly presence of Black Shuck adding an eerie, unsettling feeling to what would otherwise be an ordinary residential street, the depiction of Major Chanda Patel capturing her steeliness, and the gangs artwork both depicting a variety of some of the werewolves abroad in Britain, including one who has probably been to a certain virtual pub up north… The writing is decent, if perhaps tight in places and in need of a slight edit elsewhere.

There is material in the pages of Werewolves of Britain for both player and Game Master, though more for the latter than the former. It provides much needed details about the Jaeger family, presenting the gang as family and as foe, as well as werewolf culture in general. Werewolves of Britain expands just enough upon its subject matter from that given in Liminal to make it a worthy addition to the line. 

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