So, I'm eight pages into writing the game, and wanted to share some of the coolest bits about it. The back cover blurb is right here.
Basically, the game is about being a werewolf adopted into the President's secret service after your family (of regular humans) abandoned you.
The game is a mixture of personal scenes (of social and emotional duress, and fighting for your own identity) and mission scenes (where you carry out the President's clandestine assignments and terrorize villages in the name of national protection).
The coolest part is that it's a mixture of Dogs in the Vineyard, Beast Hunters, Dungeons and Dragons, the SOCOM video games, and a bloody horror movie.
The Dogs bit: Everyone has Traits with die components attached. "I hate my father d8" for example.
But… you can't access all your Traits all the time. Your Traits are broken into Trait Classes.
They are: Boy Traits, Spite Traits, Nature Trait, Night Trait, Telling Trait, and the Werewolf Traits.
The Boy Traits can only be used when you're in human form, and they give you 1d6. They are all nonviolent in nature.
The Spite Traits can be used whenever, 1d8. They are all spiteful and vengeful (toward a single target) in nature.
The Nature Trait and Night Trait are each worth 1d10, and have very limited scope (when you can use them).
The Telling Trait is a d12, and is the one that describes the first symptoms you feel when the wolf change is coming on.
If you use a Telling Trait, it must be immediately followed by a Werewolf Trait (unless you Strike, more later). So, a Telling Trait might be like "My teeth hurt" or "I get really horny" or something. You can use it in a social situation. Like, say you're reconciling with your father and are out of Trait options. You can invoke the Telling Trait "I start itching all over" to gain an extra d12, hoping you can win with that. But… if you don't win the conflict right there, the next Trait you have to use is a Werewolf Trait. Which would suck, because now you have to turn into a werewolf in front of your father, and blood will surely be shed. Damn it!
Werewolf Traits are worth 2d6, and involve someone getting hurt (maybe dying). Stuff like "I rend limb from limb 2d6", or "I eat babies 2d6".
So, there are situations where you have to carefully weigh what you're willing to introduce in order to win. Are you willing to change into a werewolf to defeat your father's disapointment in you? Are you willing to expose the truth about your condition?
Okay, next, the Beast Hunters bit. The way conflicts work is that you basically have a single "wound". Everyone does. There's a stat called Susceptibility.
To beat someone in a conflict, you need to roll dice that together top their susceptibility.
To do this, you spend several rounds invoking Traits. Each Trait invoked adds more dice to your active pool.
You can, instead of invoking a Trait on your round, declare a Strike. You roll all your dice, and try to best the Susceptibility (usually 10-22).
So, this die pool isn't differentiated for the various "targets" in a situation. But the Strikes are.
Example of why this is cool: You are assigned to invade a village, disable its defenses, and assassinate the chief of police.
You can earn your resources by skulking through the woods, attacking defenseless bystanders, and then use the points gathered in that to launch an attack on the Police headquarters.
Other interesting thing: You never start the scene in werewolf form. This means that you can choose to either kick off with the Telling and then go into Werewolf Traits from there, or build up slowly, starting with the Boy Traits first.
Okay, now the D&D thing. You get feats. Except they're called Gifts. There are a bunch of categories.
Ones you can get at chargen:
Family Gifts. These are relationship and emotional defense based Gifts, mostly.
Training Gifts. These are mission-specific, werewolf specific Gifts, mostly.
Ones you can get through play:
Nature Gifts. Being able to control the elements, summon crows, commune with wolves, etc.
Control Gifts. Learning to master the inner beast, grow stronger, be more deadly in combat.
Desire Gifts. These are the fantasies and delusions your character has. They make you susceptible to certain things, but gain you dice for pursuing certain things.
Basically, depending on how early you were abandoned as a child, you get more or less Family Gifts and more or less Training Gifts.
The later you were abandoned, the more Family Gifts you get. The earlier, the more Training Gifts you get.
These all tweak the dice, allow different Trait usages, give Trait bonuses, and give Narrative abilities.
Now, the Socom bit. Every mission has a village or location map, with objectives set onto it. There are a few example maps in the book I'm doing.
Each map is a tactical, objective-based diagram of your mission. Your opponents have certain rules for being Connected (in communication) and Supporting, and this is visually represented by moving markers around on the map.
It's GMless, which means the other players will be shifting these enemies about the map, trying to organize a defense against you.
And finally, it's like a horror movie because there's lots of blood and stealthy clandestine action and murders. But… most importantly…
It's tactically most effective to hold scenes outdoors at night, channel your spite into conflicts, and turn into a wolf as often as possible.
It's also like a horror movie because when you just want to get your way (by, say, involving your Telling Trait) you sometimes doom yourself to transformations and actions you didn't intend (like turning into a Werewolf when your Strike fails to succeed).
And that is a glimpse