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Tribebook Wendigo
Werewolf: The Apocalypse Sourcebook

Bill Bridges
White Wolf, 72 pages

Art: Aileen E. Miles
Tribebook Wendigo
Bill Bridges
Bill Bridges developed White Wolf's Werewolf: the Apocalypse along with numerous projects for Vampire: the Masquerade, Mage: the Ascension, Wraith: the Oblivion and Changeling: the Dreaming. He also helped design White Wolf's Rage collectible card game and wrote The Silver Crown, a Rage novel. He is the co-scriptwriter of the interactive horror movie Dracula Unleashed. He is currently the developer and co-creator of Holistic Design's Fading Suns science fiction universe.

White Wolf Games

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Henry Harding

It's a tired old question. You are a Wendigo Ahroun. You come across an oil-pipeline surveyor nosing around your sweat lodge deep in the Alaskan interior. Do you ask to see his Pentex ID, or merely shift into crinos shape and rip out the soft warm flesh of his neck?

Well, the Wendigo Tribebook helps you with this and other Native American werewolf questions. It is the 13th tribebook from White Wolf for use with their Werewolf: the Apocalypse RPG.

Now, it should be stated right off this is a role-playing aid, not the actual RPG. You don't need this or any of the other tribebooks to play Werewolf: the Apocalypse. You need the rule book. That's it. That's all. That's everything.

But if you are playing a Wendigo character, this source book provides valuable information. Like all White Wolf RPGs (Vampire, Mage, Wraith, etc.) it is more of a storytelling game rather than a role-playing game. Storytelling games have the emphasis placed on plot and characters. The fun comes from weaving the plot, the characters interacting with the game master's environment. (In the case of all White Wolf RPGs the game master is appropriately called the storyteller.) It's an improvised play and the actors are the PCs. All good actors do research, especially if their roles are outside their normal experience. And this is where the information in the tribebooks can be invaluable. Source books add to the depth players can bring to their roles. It's like having a panel of experts pour over dry, dusty tomes in library stacks while you have a cappuccino and look over their notes. And what intriguing background information is packed into the Wendigo Tribebook!

The first chapter is wholly dedicated to the history of the Wendigo, how they came from Grandmother Earth, their responsibility to protect her from the Horned Serpent and its allies. It is what a film writer would call the back story, or events leading up to the character's present. Bill Bridges, the author, skillfully interweaves actual Native American myths, events, and famous warriors with the milieu of Werewolf, producing an atmospheric walk through Native American werewolf culture.

The second chapter gives a detailed overview of Wendigo ways and traditions, their rites and rituals, their hierarchy and laws. The third chapter gives a Wendigo's world view. It puts you into the skin of the Wendigo, so when you see a Black Fury sniffing around your cairn, you know if there is hostility between your tribes.

The rest of the tribebook is appendixes packed with cool gifts, rites, totems, and fetishes for the Wendigo warrior to do battle with the Wyrm. There are five ready-to-play Wendigo, and histories of several famous Wendigo warriors, Wendigo character sheets, and more.

The tribebook is delightful. The art is glorious, the lay-out a pleasure to look at, and the five-page comic book at the beginning sets the mood for things to come. White Wolf produces gorgeous RPGs. If only the Wendigo Tribebook were longer. There could have been a lot more included, starting with a detailed table of contents, bibliography, and suggested reading list for further research into Native American History and culture. Where did those great quotes from Crazy Horse and Tecumseh come from? And what about the reality of being an Indian in today's North American society? Great possibilities for storytelling there. More, more, more. I would have loved more.

I have one major beef with this tribebook. The description of one of the gifts called "Last Stand" is simply "As the Get of Fenris Gift: Hero's Stand." Does that mean I must buy the Get of Fenris tribebook simply to get the description that should have been included in this book in the first place? Would the extra paragraph not fit? It reminds me of the AD&D spell books that constantly referred the player to a similar spell by another character class. It was annoying, time consuming, and complicated game play. Here you have to refer to a different book altogether! Shame on White Wolf for not including it.

Having said that this tribebook made me want to play a Wendigo character, a tribe I would not normally pick. And the answer to the question? Do you talk nicely to the sneaky Pentex agent or rip his throat out?

Come on, you know.

Copyright © 1999 by Henry Harding

Henry Harding has been gaming since he was knee high to an elf. If only someone would pry the dice out of his hands he might get started on that sequel to War and Peace he's been thinking of writing.

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