Thursday, 6 September 2018

Where I am now


I thought I should post a quick update, just to say what's going on with me.

One good thing is that I'm working, or at least working in an office with other people (gasp), and getting things done. It's just temp work but it's nicer than trying to scratch a freelance living. I don't want to go too far into this but... it's actually quite nice to have more people around, and they're actually not too... well they're nice. My mental health difficulties seem to be under control.. or at least if they're not that they're behaving and not kicking up a huge fuss.

And again, that's nice.

Other than that, my PhD Proposal is progressing but I'm back to reading and wrangling as I try to put stuff into order and hope that I can get somewhere. I'm sending Streets of Rage out to Agents to see if I can go via the traditional publishing route, and trying to finish the various short stories I have to finish (as well as cranking up the gears to write new stuff specifically for anthologies... I confess I'm not sure how much point there is in just writing random short stories anymore, but the ones I'm working on are in part my attempts to write 'proof of concept' pieces for my PhD).

Something seems to have changed in me, perhaps thanks to getting some well meaning 'boots up the bum' from various people I know both online and in real life. Eve and I are separating/divorcing and it's only this month that I've started to venture out, trying to make a new life for myself rather than cogitating the old one. Perhaps I started doing that a while ago, going out to find new people to play roleplaying games with (I seem to have stumbled into maybe running a game of Vampire: Dark Ages using the 20th Anniversary rules and am ecstatic that at least one player really enjoyed it - to the extent of emailing me to say so afterwards) and now I'm exploring my, well... other stuff that's interested me for a long, long, time and which I never really got much chance to do anything about. And I'm enjoying it and though it's daunting, I find that it's fulfilling so far, and I'm hopefully finding places I fit.

Which for a boy who's always worried that he doesn't do that (fit, I mean), is extremely nice.

So, yeah, hopefully things are going okay and they're helping me grow and change and become a better, more rounded person.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Suicide Awareness Month

September is Suicide Awareness Month in the UK, spreading out about World Suicide Prevention Day on the 10th September (….
In 2015 6,639 people committed suicide in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Most of them were men between the ages of 21 and 49. 75% of the people who successfully took their lives were male, while 25% were women. This isn't to say that more men than women attempted to take their lives, but the methods men use tend to be far more extreme and, sadly, are far more likely to succeed. It's important that we don't confuse the number of successes (and it feels horrific to describe them that way) with the number of attempts In fact, the numbers of women making attempts while the male rate has largely remained the same. That being said, it's still true that half of all male deaths in the UK under the age of 49 are the result of suicide. 50%. That's a truly sobering figure.
One person in fifteen will make a suicide attempt at some point in their lives.
If you feel suicidal please seek help, and please think twice about whether your life is as bad as your brain tells you.
If you know someone who might commit suicide please give them the time and patience they need. Please be kind to them and cut them some slack. Don't say to 'man up' or 'pull yourself together' because you don't know what's going on inside them.
Life gets hard for everyone, it costs nothing to show compassion to those of us who are struggling.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Hobbes: In Memorium

Colleagues, Alumni, and Students, Members of the Public

It is with great sadness that Grimalkin University reports the passing of Professor Hobbes, the Dean of the School of Mischief (formerly the Department of Dastardliness), published scholar and expert on many areas in his field as well as others. He passed away peacefully on Sunday afternoon after a long period of illness and a troubling loss of appetite. While staff at Grimalkin did their best to care for him, by Sunday it was clearly too late.
Hobbes joined the university in 2005 as a Doctoral Researcher specialising in his twin areas of study, charm and cajoling as a form of human control. His catademic career spanned over a decade and he was a much loved member of the faculty, adored by students, staff, and visiting academics alike. He was always curious, keen to add to and spread the sum of feline knowledge by visiting other schools and institutions, indeed he often needed no more invitation than an open door. Much note was made of his Christmas Study Break one year, when he became stuck inside a friendly neighbour’s shed, and he was keen to undertake field trips at the start of his tenure, following humans to observe their behaviour and take notes. This sometimes worried his support staff, who  feared the worst, but thankfully he always returned safe and sound, keen to spread stories of his adventures.

The same kindness was not extended to members of his team, at least once he took a dim view of their decision to spend time away from home, because they had neglected their duties. His attitude towards ‘staff’ was one of overly familiar love (research assistants report that no body part was safe from his curiousity) and this attitude spurred him to write his famous research paper ‘toes the new fingers’ as well as other pieces of research.

His defining characteristic was his charm, which colleagues always spoke of highly, along with his friendly, playful attitude that never took in the idea that he might not be loved and accepted. A devoted shoulder rider with a love for tall people, a refusal to allow him ride along on what he saw as his natural perch was met with confusion. In a similar fashion he viewed board games as a natural place to sit down and frequently made it plain that other forms of entertainment were not to be considered valid because they didn't involve him. Even typing up his research was a challenge because he, having moved onto his next project, would want to conduct fresh research. His friendliness was legendary, as was his even pawed nature, and he was a demanding, loving, person to all he met. A natural extrovert, he was more than keen to introduce himself to his research team when they met, insisting that they give fusses and allow him to swap between their shoulders for a long time.

Among other cats he was gregarious, and his curiousity tended to get him into trouble. Even his patented ‘sumo leap’ move for his favourite sport, wrestling, failed to win him friends in the cat community. Sadly, when he did find a wrestling buddy it was shortlived and soon, he had to return to insisting that staff provided that service. Unfortunately when Dr Dita von Minx, head of the Deportment School with a side line in Playing only when Unobserved, joined the university it didn’t lead to peace and harmony, but to a ten year guerrilla conflict centred on where she was trying to sleep. As the senior catademic, Professor Hobbes was quite sure of his right to do this, insisting that she liked it.

His work appeared in many journals, supplementing his enviable publishing record.

He will be much missed by all who knew him, and by many who did not.

Grimalkin University

I feel I should explain why I wrote the above and to say something personal about Hobbes’ death. When we got him, he was a lively, playful cat, keen on ambushes and on catching hands and feet. As a joke I said that he was studying for a PhD in Dastardly Studies and he continued to live up to that for a long time. When I started working with actual academics I realised he’d been studying for that Doctorate for a long time and updated the joke, making him a Professor. About the same time I made up an academic career for our other cat (who was more burlesque artist than scholar but never mind), and it all sort of stuck.

Hobbes was an amazing cat, a proficient hunter, an adventurer, and a gregarious fellow (at least by cat standards). He adored fuss and cuddles, purring whenever he was picked up as well as whenever he played. He  liked long naps on laps in the winter and his weight was always a comfort. It was even better when he curled up on my chest. He had the most amazing spike up his nose and I adored rubbing his chest (which he always seemed to enjoy too). I was always a naughty human and liked to stroke his tummy which definitely was a ‘bad human’ move, but I persisted because I loved him and I don’t think he really minded.

He was my cat, my best friend, and I feel as if he was a part of my heart and soul (assuming I have one). I will always miss him.

Farewell my friend, I wish you hadn't died and I hope, if there's such a thing as a soul, you'll wait for me on the other side and we'll go rolling through the afterlife together having fun. Please look after Dita and please never forget your loving humans. xxx

Sunday, 29 July 2018

In Bits

I'm going to preface this by saying I hope I'm wrong, and that this is all very premature and proves to be a stupid man being stupid and worried.

With that out of the way, I'm scared that Hobbes is dying. He's been off his food for a week and a bit, willing to drink milk but not interested in his biscuits. He's even off cheese which is a really scary thing, which as meant we haven't been able to give him his pills (in part because Eve's not been helping or been forgetting he has to have them). He's skeleton covered in fur, today and barely able to walk.

I thought it was the heat and that he just didn't want to eat because he was so tired, but now the weather's broken and he's still not eating and doesn't seem that interested in drinking either. I asked about taking him to the vet and even tried to arrange it - only to find that I couldn't get a taxi for some reason (trying to book one, the people on the other phone didn't seem to understand me).So it ended up being abortive, and for the first time in my life I wish I could drive so I could have just taken him with no worries or questions asked. I feel like I've let my best, in some ways my only, friend down.

He seemed okay though, he could still jump up onto the sofa bed I'm sleeping on, still had his purr. Today those things are gone.

So, on my birthday I'm in fucking bits. I can't stop crying. He's not just a cat, he's family, my best friend, the only thing in my life that doesn't treat me like some sort of freak or tell me I'm wrong on a consistent basis. I was hoping to take him with me when I left Birmingham, to have a wee flat where we could just curl up together and now I don't think that's going to happen. I feel guilty and angry, and sad all at the same time.   For a long, long time, he's been the only good thing in my life, through shit with friends, a relationship that just didn't fucking work unless I was basically doing as I was told, through jobs that made me want to kill myself, through all me fears and doubts and feelings of alienation.

It just feels like if he dies, I'll have nothing left. That's so fucking selfish of me I know but

Please, please Hobbes, don't die. . Please.

Friday, 27 July 2018


Before I start this, I should say that it's very much me 'emoting' and may come across as middle age man shouts and screams about how shit stuff is.

I'm a freak.

I have been all my life, even when I was a kid.

I don't fit in, don't matter, and don't follow the herd (in part because well what's the point if you don't fit in and don't matter?). In some ways I really like that, like the way it makes me feel independent and strong in myself because I'm not dependent on others or sucking up the same media as everyone else. In others, well, it's less good. I'm tired of having my feelings dismissed as childish or being told that I'm wrong all the time because I see things differently to everyone else (especially when they don't seem to have thought or authenticity to their points of view). I'm tired of feeling like I can't be myself, or work the way that suits me in jobs and to be honest I'm getting to the point where I start to wonder if it's worth continuing with this living business if I have to conform to a way of life that feels fundamentally unsuitable.

Let me stress, I have no plans to commit suicide or hurt myself it's just a feeling that a life where you're forced to be disloyal to yourself and your instincts is no life at all.

I feel it started in childhood, and remember throwing tantrums and being unreasonable, never able to explain why or what was actually wrong. I remember feeling as if I was tolerated but misunderstood because I couldn't explain things. I never liked sport, even as a kid, and remember having my head pulled out of a rugby scrum by a teacher only to be told to 'put your head in properly, you girl', while at the same time my father decided that calling me names would 'toughen me up' (apparently). At the same time, I had 'friends' who even asked my sister 'does anyone actually like him?' on one occasion when they had been invited over for my birthday - which was celebrated early in the summer because it would have been too inconvenient to actually do anything around my real birthday at the end of July.

I grew quieter, more solitary, less trusting. Because why would I trust when I was obviously unacceptable? I had people I knew, sure. People to talk to, but nobody who was a friend.I didn't have those until I went to university and most of my teenage years were spent on my own, reading and losing myself in imaginary worlds. I studied Politics and that worked for me because it felt like a good set of theory and because it was interesting. Away from home I could make friends, cutting my past away like a rotten piece of ham, or something else undesirable. True, I wasn't much of a one for going out and getting drunk (I hate being drunk and I hate being around drunk people), but I made friends and that was wonderful because for the first time I felt like I had people who cared about me and who weren't going to put me down at the first instance, or make me uncomfortable. Even then I found that in later years, I wasn't entirely acceptable to people, but I had enough of a support network to keep me going.

Part of my disconnection is the feeling that I don't belong in the 'male' gender. I mean, I like history, politics and such and I suppose they're sort of male, but if you take the stuff that men seem to bond over most of the time, I'm not interested in any of them. I feel as if I live in a no man's land where I'm neither fish nor fowl and if I'm honest the older I get the less I want to have to do with humanity with it's stupidity, it's generalisations, it's self justifying rationalisations (and I'm not immune to those, I know that, but I'm tired of it all and wish there was more time for art, for dreams, for people to express themselves honestly but without making a fucking production out of it all).

It feels as if the world is just concerned with making profit and the only thing that matters to most people is money and conformity. I don't care much for either, and would be happy if I could live as I wish without being a slave to Mammon.

There's a cartoon on the 'net about 'be yourself, no not like that', and that's how I've felt pretty much everyday of my life.

The problem is that I can't not be myself, I can't compartmentalise, can't shut things off because they're not appropriate at 'moment x' and it sucks, but it's how I'm made.

What I hate is the way I feel I get pushed into roles I can't cope with and don't want to do, because 'oh you have to' - usually by people who fit into the world perfectly well and who never have to think about how things happen outside their bubble (and who usually don't have an artistic bone in their bodies, I  say as an aside). I don't see why I have to be like them, because of their lack of vision, the same as I don't see why I have to keep up with the fucking Jones' because someone who's making money out of it insists that it's must see or amazing... I mean, fuck off, I'll judge for myself.

Using Myers Briggs, which may be nothing more than mumbo jumbo but feels right to me, I'm an INFP and it seems this sort of feeling is pretty common for my 'type' and we often have to resort to writing to try and explain things. As we lead with Introverted Feeling it's hard for us to make ourselves understood at the best of time because everything is so subjective. Also, we're idealistic (something I have in spades) and so the 'real world' annoys me because it seldom lives up to my expectations. By which I don't mean nature or any of the other bits that actually make up the world but the 'reality' humans have constructed. This often seems like a shared hallucination to me, reinforced by authority figures and generally designed to keep other human beings under control.

As I get older I find I'm more willing to embrace my introversion and desire for solitude, especially as so many of the things I see people getting all excited by just seem like repeats, the same old things repackaged and resold. That bothers me a lot of the time, both the way that I react and the thing I'm reacting to. But then, if I like something popular it seems to be by accident and most of the stuff I like is outside the mainstream (and to be honest, I do like that - even though it's probably a perverse feeling of self righteousness or some such rubbish).

but, more and more I want to walk away, to just leave this world behind and live alone. Fuck everything.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Monday Mosh Pit (Encore)

Yeah, I forgot... So it's Monday Mosh Pit time again.

No link or anything, just a bunch of metal and rock songs I like, on  a theme. Last time it was... werewolves, right? So, let's go with magic this time.

Starting light...

Ladyhawke: Magic

Queen: A Kind of Magic

Siouxsie and the Banshees: Spellbound

Metallica: Enter Sandman

Just four today, sorry. :P

Monday, 2 July 2018

Monday Mosh Pit

Okay, yes I missed doing song stuff again... In truth the computer didn't get switched on all weekend and that's why. Plus, I'm feeling a little down about the world at the moment, having read some stuff about climate change and politics which makes things difficult. One of my values is that the world is important and that one of the responsibilities of a citizen is to be aware of what's going on (which has problems in the form of over exposure to 'truth' - though of course truth is subjective - and also brings up the issue of echo chambers and how we escape them), but the way the news is presented and the way things seem to be in our late Capitalist society leaves me wondering if there's any point in trying to stay kept up to date or if it's a case of 'too little too late, now you get to watch as 80% of the human race gets wiped out by climate change'.

Plus, I've been reading/writing stuff for Werewolf: the Apocalypse and that's probably not helping as it essentially presents a very pessimistic vision of the world (which I love but at the same time may not be the best thing for me). 

So today's music comes to you from that special place.

New Model Army: I Love the World

Fields of the Nephilim: Chord of Souls

Lacuna Coil: Angel's Punishment

My Chemical Romance: Sing

The Sex Pistols: God Save the Queen

Manic Street Preachers: Repeat UK

Explicit, just to warn you.

Monday, 25 June 2018


Hello, just to let you know I have reviews and listicles available to read on Vocal. So please read my pieces and if you like them, pop a quid in the tip jar?

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Stuff I Like

This is just a list of things I like. I don't really know what else to say, really.

Tim Powers books – especially The Stress of Her Regard and Hide Me Amongst the Graves
Neil Gaiman – American Gods, Anansi Boys, Stardust
Warren Ellis – Crooked Little Vein, Gun Machine
Emma Newman – The Split Worlds Trilogy
Michael Moorcock - Nomad of the Timestreams, Hawkmoon
Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale, Year of the Flood
Susanna Clarke – Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Charles Stross – The Laundry Files Series, Merchant Princes books, Halting State
Susan Hill – The Woman in Black
Joe Hill – Horns, Nos4rtu
Caitlin R Kiernan – Alabaster, Low Red Moon, The Red Tree, Threshold, Two Worlds and in Between
Poppy Z Brite – Lost Souls, Drawing Blood
John Wyndham – Chrysalids, Day of the Triffids, Midwich Cuckoos, The Kraken Wakes
Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass
Bram Stoker – Dracula
Mary Shelley – Frankenstein
Adrian Tchaikovsky – The Shadows of the Apt, Guns of the Dawn, Children of Time, Tiger and the Wolf, Bear and the Serpent
China Mieville – Kraken, Perdido Street Station
Tad Williams – War of the Flowers, The Bobby Dollar trilogy
Mary Gentle – Rats and Gargoyles
Ray Bradbury – Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked this Way Comes
Natasha Scharf – The Art of Gothic, Worldwide Gothic
Ursula le Guin – A Wizard of Earthsea
Robin Hobb – the Assassin’s Trilogy
Katherine Kerr – Deverry.
Ian Marchant - The Longest Crawl, Something of the Night

Bryan Talbot – The Grandville Series
Warren Ellis – Planetary, Injection, Trees, Transmetropolitan, Freak Angels, The Wildstorm
Kieran Gillen – The Wicked and the Divine
Neil Gaiman – Sandman
Grant Morrison – Invisibles
Joe Hill – Lock and Key
Serena Valentino – Gloom Cookie
Ted Naifeh – Courtney Crumrin, Polly and the Pirates, How Loathesome.
Rat Queens
the JLA/Avengers crossover DC and Marvel did ages ago.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (film)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (BBC TV)
Smiley’s People (BBC TV)
Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell Innocence
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig
Ghost in the Shell Arise
20th Century Boys
Scott Pilgrim versus the World
The Losers
Princess Mononoke
Dark Angel
Chevalier D’eon
Spice and Wolf
Eden of the East
Full Metal Alchemist
Cowboy Bebop
Last Exile and Last Exile the Silver Wing
Spirited Away
The Cat Returns
Summer Wars
Legends of Tomorrow
Brotherhood of the Wolf
Crimson Peak
The Flashpoint Paradox film

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Sisters of Mercy
All About Eve
Rosetta Stone
Siouxsie and the Banshees
New Model Army
Foo Fighters
Katie Perry
Taylor Swift
2 Cellos
The Gossip
Type O Negative
Children on Stun
Paradise Lost
Crux Shadows
Alanis Morissette
Green Day
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Billy Bragg
Grace Petrie
Amanda Palmer
Dresden Dolls
Florence and the Machine
The Mission (UK)
Johnny Cash
Tom Waits (some of anyway)
Manic Street Preachers
Lou Reed
David Bowie
Radio Comedy
Old Harry’s Game
Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully
The News Quiz
Just A Minute
I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue
Revolting People
Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation
Hudson and Pepperdine Show
John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme
Cabin Pressure
Andy Hamilton Sort of Remembers


Vampire the Masquerade
Vampire the Dark Ages
Mage the Ascension
Werewolf the Apocalypse
Night’s Black Agents
Trail of Cthulhu
Aeon (well, I like the setting, never had the chance to play it, sadly).
SLA Industries
All For One: Regime Diabolique
Savage Worlds: Necessary Evil
Vampire the Requiem (to read, anyway)
Mage the Awakening (again, to read)
Demon the Descent (ditto)

Settlers of Catan
7 Wonders

Video Games
Fire Emblem
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
Fallout 3
Fallout New Vegas
Lego Batman
Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Rune Factory: Frontier
Lego Marvel Superheroes
Lego Marvel Avengers
Bioshock, Bioshock 2, Bioshock Infinite
Dragon Age: Inquisition

Monday, 18 June 2018

101 Werewolf the Apocalypse Story Seeds

Image result for werewolf the apocalypse

Here are 101 story seeds for Werewolf the Apocalypse, including a few that I think could be the basis for a bunch of campaigns/chronicles. Feel free to go ahead and use them.

As ever White Wolf has the copyright on Werewolf the Apocalypse and the names of the Tribes. Named characters and scenarios are copyright of Steve Cotterill 2018.

101 Werewolf the Apocalypse Story Seeds

  1. First Change: The pack are normal humans and wolves undergoing the first change. Hunted by their enemies, who seem to have a special reason to want to kill them, they must survive long enough for the Garou to find them.
  2. The Hunt: The pack must find their totem by hunting in the Umbra.
  3. The Dig: An archaeological investigation has uncovered a number of Garou artefacts.
  4. Tainted: A serial killer is killing in the Garou’s protectorate.
    1. The Killer isn’t in control. Instead, the knife he used is a Wyrm fetish and it’s overpowered him and is now running the show.
    2. The Killer is actually a Fomori and the killings are part of something bigger.
    3. All the people who’ve been targeted are Kinfolk, being killed to winnow the chances of more Garou being born.
  5. Missing: The PCs are asked to look into the disappearance of Bone Gnawer kinfolk, as a sinister black van prowls the streets, taking the stray dogs away.
  6. Deja Vu All Over Again: The PCs experience an adventure their past lives undertook.
  7. Power Play: A group of Garou in the Sept hatch a plot to launch a coup against the werewolves in charge. Will they succeed?
  8. Love on the Dole: The area has a large number of unemployed people and that’s creating problems in the local area. It’s not just the physical world that’s effected, as misery, lethargy, and depression slide across the Gauntlet, the Umbra is sickening too. Can the pack do anything to help?
  9. War Drums: A major Wyrm threat has been identified and the Sept has united to undertake a major operation to defeat it.
  10. The Flood: The Sewers flood and the PCs must find out why.
    1. The culprits are a group of Ratkin saboteurs who want to parade what humanity flushes away in front of everyone’s noses and make them realise how much they waste.
    2. There’s a horrific bane in the sewers, and it’s sabotaged the sewer system creating the flood.
  11. Tyger Tyger: An area of the city has a new defender, a Khan. Are they friend or foe to the local Garou and even if they’re approached in friendship, will they accept an alliance with a group who are traditionally enemies?
  12. Wicked Game: Many Tricks, (Glass Walker Ragabash, Homid, Rank 4) gets the PCs to investigate a matter, hiding the fact that they’re acting as bait for a monster in order to spring a trap.
  13. The Fallen: A Silver Fang who has been missing for many years approaches the Sept requesting to join it. In reality, he is an agent provocateur for the Wyrm’s forces, seeking to prepare the Sept for assault and conquest.
    1. He has a Fetish to hide his Taint
  14. The Grudge: Two Garou are locked in a bitter rivalry, one that’s lasted for a long time, many years have passed since their mutual dislike was born and it’s only grown worse with time. Its in danger of spilling over into something that could endanger the Sept as they brawl and bicker whenever they meet. When they put a mission in jeopardy can the PCs make sure the job gets done and stop them tearing each other apart?
  15. The Hidden: Something is ‘urging’ the people of a local neighbourhood, inciting them to acts of violence and abuse. What is it, how can it be stopped and what to the local Kindred have to with it?
  16. Echoes: An ancient Bane/Monster is stirring. The knowledge of it is lost and to defeat it the PCs must undertake a long trek through the Umbra to speak with their ancestors.
  17. Dragon’s Fire: A Garou craftswoman, Niamh Cunninghand (Fianna, Philodox, Homid, Rank 5) , needs a fire pot to be filled with dragon’s fire to create a powerful Fetish. The pack must brave the dragon’s lair to capture it’s flame.
  18. Walk on the Wild Side: A Transwoman is found dead in an alley (murdered), and most of the Gaian tribes are treating it like a hot potato (only the Children of Gaia and the Bone Gnawers are willing to even think about the situation). The death is definitely Wyrm related with links to a NeoNazi group called White Dawn.
  19. Dragon’s Teeth: White Dawn is recruiting members and making issues throughout the local area. Unfortunately they’re also attracting the attention of some of the young Garou, especially the ones from the Get of Fenris. They’ve started to attend meetings and the Elders have expressed concern.
  20. Dragon’s Tongue: An academic has produced a book of highly contentious theory that supports patriarchal norms. While he claims not to be spreading hate, his message has caught on with the alt right and his message is certainly being used for that sort of thing. In addition, despite his claims to be thorough and scientific it’s been noted that he flies into incoherent rages if he’s challenged (especially by women).
  21. Dragon’s Voice: A rightwing party is running in the local election and, although they’re highly divisive and unpleasant, they’re charming and are convincing people to vote for them.
  22. Dragon’s Trail: A hacker (maybe a Glass Walker or the Pack if they’ve gone digging), discovers that the academic, political party, and thugs were all funded from the same source, which also seems to be financing activity of the same sort up and down the country. This source is, Daniel Richardson, a rich businessman with many links to many aspects of the new face of rightwing politics. To get more information, the PCs will have to go looking for data offline, raiding offices that are heavily protected by unconventional countermeasures (to say the least).
  23. In the Dragon’s Den: Tracking where the Richardson is holed up leads the pack to the little village of Lower Havering, tucked away in the middle of the countryside and so remote that nobody’s really bothered coming here for years. The place looks like it’s straight out of the 1950s and the mobile phone signal fails about five miles outside. The place is very conservative, the PCs are likely to be looked at as strangers and won’t be trusted (especially if they show signs of being from abroad, feminists, members of subcultures etc). There’s also an armed camp not far away, the members of which serve as Richardson’s bodyguards, minions and all around tough guys. The PCs must infiltrate the town and find a way to finish Richardson’s operations.
    1. In the middle of the camp there’s a sealed block. Inside there’s a Garou (a Get of Fenris Ahroun) chained to a silver St Andrew’s Cross and sealed inside a circle of silver runes. This is channelling the Garou’s rage and pumping it into the minions. Richardson wants them angry and easily manipulated. This channels Rage, making it harder for Garou to resist Frenzy.
    2. The Ahroun’s mind has gone, he’s completely mad.
    3. Richardson has a bargain with the Black Spiral Dancers, who form some of his muscle.
  24. The Cult: The Children of Gaia are concerned because a cult has set up shop and is using very similar messages and ideas to the Garou Nations (and especially the Children of Gaia’s). As a result the Tribe is seeing it’s efforts to moderate human behaviour through faith, mysticism, and religion fail at the moment. There’s also a worrying undercurrent to the cult’s activities, which prompts the Sept’s Elders to push the pack in that direction.
    1. The leader, Persephone, is a former porn star (called Summer Love in that life), and allegedly had a spiritual awakening on set. She’s surrounded by devotees and takes their word on trust. Unfortunately, many of her advisers aren’t trustworthy.
    2. There are already abuses going on, of which Summer is oblivious.
    3. Her devotees are starting to ply her with drugs to stage a coup – at which point they will devote the cult more fully to the Wyrm.
  25. Sentries: The PCs are involved in a mission to take out a vampire who’s been involved with Pentex’s local board. Just as they strike, another threat reveals itself in the form of the Naga, who stand ready to judge the werewolves for their actions.
    1. Ideally this either casts the PCs as scouts, watchers or skirmishers, harrying the vampire into a trap.
    2. As a wrinkle at one point the Garou and Kindred were allied in the city (many centuries ago) and the stories have been lost, the compact forgotten but never formally dissolved. As a consequence, the vampire can invoke that to avoid being slain, or render the Garou as oathbreakers.
  26. The Wisdom of Crowds: Riots breakout after a child have fallen ill as a result of playing on chemically polluted ground (the signs to warn them away were either stolen or never put up in the first place, depending on how dark your World of Darkness is). The children became carriers for Banes who were hidden in the ground and have now possessed lots of people, driving them to flip out and break stuff.
  27. The Grove: An ancient grove is under threat from developers and the Garou must defend the woodland.
  28. Veils: In order to progress to the next Rank in Garou society, the Pack must complete a test and are surprised when they are shown a small patch of city and told to improve it, making the place better to live in, defeating Wyrm spirits and taking steps to make sure they won’t return. They’ll be judged on how much Honour, Glory and Wisdom they used to improve things.
  29. Blood Will Out: A Lost Cub beings her First Change and is assaulted by Black Spirals. Will the PCs saver her from their cruel intentions.
    1. The Lost Cub may be a White Howler
    2. The Fianna may have managed to save a sliver of the tribe and keep them safe, though ‘dead to the world’ so that even Lion doesn’t know they exist.
  30. The Lost Treasure: It’s revealed that the Scottish King, and Werewolf, Macbeth had a White Howler treasure among his belongings. Lost since his death, the treasure has become a thing of legend among the Garou. The PCs are sent to find it.
  31. Griffin’s Lair: The PCs must approach Lion to find out the secrets of the White Howlers (the Black Spiral Dancers have managed to doom their White Howler ancestors. They must brave the wildest parts of the Umbra to find Lion and beg his aid, all while dodging Griffin’s wolves and other servants.
  32. The Hikers: A group of hikers, or campers, have been found dead, apparently mauled to death by wild animals. Is the local Red Talon pack responsible, or is something else at work?
  33. Take Back the Night: A group of women have become vigilantes, defending women out at night. While they’re doing a lot of good work, there’s a worrying surge in violence in the way they treat the men they accuse of pestering women. Have they been compromised, and can the pack convince the Black Furies that something is wrong?
  34. Narrow Houses: Part of the PCs’ area is an old house where a lot of murders took place. It’s sickness is influencing the area, making things worse. The pack must brave the ghosts and possibly worse to discover the root of the problem.
  35. Dope Show: A new drug has hit the street and people are dying. Can the PCs put a stop to the deadly trade?
  36. Snare: The pack catches word of illegal drug tests taking place on illegal immigrants/smuggled and trafficked people by a pharmaceutical company. In reality, there’s very little testing going on but the company is setting a trap for the Garou in order to try and find a way to synthesize their healing factors. In short, they want to capture and experiment on them.
    1. A Pentex First Team is in place to apprehend werewolves
    2. While it’s a Pentex subsidiary that’s doing the capturing, they do so at the behest of someone else, a member of the Progentiors Convention perhaps?
  37. The Silver Fang: A Fetish of legend, the Silver Fang (a silver klaive shaped like a wolf’s fang and imbued with the Silver Fangs’ power, has appeared after a long time hidden in a private collection. It’s being auctioned and Niamh Cunninghand wants the PCs to recover it so she can study it before using it to curry favour with the Fangs. Unfortunately, everyone else has the same idea and things are hotting up as septs and tribes jostle for position and attempts are made to steal the Fang. Can the PCs acquire it and get it back to Niamh?
    1. The Fang is a haughty Fetish and will resist attempt to steal it, even if that means it will be wielded by a Garou again.
    2. There are, of course, various black hats who are interested in acquiring and destroying the Fang, or in using it for their own ends.
    3. The PCs will have to ascertain if the Fang is real first, then they can try to buy it.
  38. The Burden: A Garou has succumbed to Harano and Many Tricks wants the PCs to help them. Can they defeat an enemy that they cannot see or touch?
  39. The Projects: The PCs’ discover that a new ‘top of the line’ social housing development purporting to be eco friendly, safe, well lit (etc) is reporting higher levels of depression, unhappiness, and repression. There’s already been one suicide there. What’s gone wrong?
  40. Nameless: A Ronin has started hanging around the Sept, trying to make herself useful and be accepted, usually with little success. She asks the characters to help her prove her worth and earn her name.
  41. The Long Watch: Guarding the Bawn clashes with something the PCs need to do – which duty will they neglect?
  42. The Long Howl: The pack is summoned by a stranger’s howl for aid. When they arrive they find a lone Garou under attack by Banes. This newcomer, Quick Spring (Lupus, Ragabash, Silent Strider) claims to have information vital to defeating a local Pentex plan.
  43. The Pentex Papers: A group of hackers leak a load of financial papers onto the ‘net (in the style of the Paradise and Panama Papers) reveals a lot of Pentex’s financial dealings, including a great deal of diversification and the creation of new brands and subsidiaries, which suggests the Garou Nation is largely in the dark about what the corporation is doing.
    1. This might be a good campaign/chronicle kicker.
  44. Doom Comes: A Nexus Crawler attacks the Sept, trying to violate the caern. It’s all hands to borders and don’t forget your klaive.
  45. Bear Necessity: A Garou has fallen sick and only a Gurahl can cure him. Can the PCs find a werebear and persuade them to help? Or does the legacy of the War of Rage mean the warrior must die?
  46. Times Past: A stranger, Cold Stone (an Uktena Theurge), moonbridges to the PCs’ Sept and requests their aid. Apparently the PCs’ ancestors did something legendary in the Wild West and whatever they put down is returning to get revenge, continue its assault on life, reality and the price of milk (or something). The problem is that only the PCs can fight it as its tied to their bloodlines.
  47. California Burning (on such a Winter’s Day): The Pack get drawn into fighting the Californian bush fires and learn that something is directing the blazes, encouraging them to consume more and more of the world.
  48. The Price: A new fad is spreading through the city, but what’s the hidden cost? When the PCs discover it, can they do anything to stop it?
  49. Born Bad: A whistleblower from a fertility clinic posts a video of an inhuman looking baby being born and creates a panic among the Garou as they recognise the child as a Fomori. They must go undercover to find out what’s going on.
  50. Alliance: The Pack’s approached by a Changeling motley after a young Sidhe falls into a coma after eating an O’Tolley’s children’s meal (he’s been poisoned by the taint in the meat). The Motley want the PCs to help heal their charge, and then to help them get revenge for the injury and insult done to him.
  51. Play’s the Thing: The Motley returns to ask for aid as a group of Dreamers they’ve been helping (and getting Glamour from) starts to become addicted to a computer game based on a Black Dog Game Studios product.
  52. Shallow Grave: An important member of Pentex has died (boo hoo) and there’s a question of who or what did the deed. Also, how has he returned from the grave, and can the werewolves put him back in it?
  53. Puberty and Other Changes: An African refugee (a former child soldier), who already struggles with mental health issues, undergoes their first change. Can the PCs help him, or will this push him over the edge into the waiting arms of the Black Spiral Dancers?
  54. The Path Less Taken: A local ‘massage parlour’ is dealing in trafficked women, and attracting twin problems. First, the Banes are happily feeding and possessing both sex workers and their clients. Second, one of the women is a Lost Cub, about to undergo her first change…
  55. Love Will Tear Us Apart: The PCs discover that two Garou, Red Lightning and Jane Soft Step, are having an affair, after their experiences have made them very close. What will the PCs do?
  56. Grandfather’s Warning: Olga Crow’s Eye, a powerful Shadow Lord Theurge (a Metis), has had a vision of doom (perhaps a great chasm opening under the Garou Nation fragmenting it and separating what it doesn’t swallow). She calls a Moot and presents the vision, hoping to find an answer and avert the catastrophe, but that seems only to balkanise the Werewolves.
    1. Might the vision itself be the thing to bring doom to the Garou?
  57. Dream Demons: Something is attacking people in their sleep, leaving them in comas. Can the Pack do anything about it?
  58. The Hollow Men: A group of mercenaries are hired to isolate a Garou, or Fera, and bring them in for experimentation. Now, the Pack must spring them from the lab.
  59. The Empty Soldiers: The PCs are called to a war zone and have to navigate across it. For once, the Garou’s mission isn’t simply to fight the Wyrm with violence, Gaia’s Mercy, a Child of Gaia Philodox Metis, is determined to help the people of the area and to make sure that food, medicine, and other basic necessities make it through to refugee camps. He also wants to make sure that there’s no danger of more people being recruited and brainwashed into being soldiers (in my opinion, all forms of of ‘making combatants’ involves some sort of brainwashing so I’m hedging my bets here to let you choose who the bad guys are and what sort of soldiers the people being abducted and bullied into being fighters are).
  60. Guns, Gods, and Money: A group of arms dealers are making money from a conflict, washing their hands of the deaths and devastation their weapons are causing. It’s time to show them why humanity was so afraid of the dark…
  61. Aid: An aid convoy has been corralled by a local warlord for his own personal use. Without it, the camps will struggle as there won’t be food, water, or medicine for the people. There’s already a danger of diseases, and people are starving.
  62. Ghost Town: Once, there was a town that was prosperous with industry. Coal was dug up from the earth, cars rolled out of the factories, the fishing fleet brought home the sea’s bounty. But that was long ago. Now, the town is dying, unemployment is high, and depression, anger, and hopelessness are all there are to trade. While other places may make do with exciting brass bands and male strippers, here there’s nothing and the Wyrm has moved in. Can the Pack turn the tide?
  63. A Higher Wall: As refugees flee across the world, trying to find safety, they are met with higher walls, more control. The Weaver’s forces tag them, track them, their gaze unwavering (as they spread their plans to do the same to all humans, creating a web so strong even the Garou will be ensnared within it). Beyond this, are the traffickers and smugglers, who don’t care about their living cargo, only the money they’ll make from moving them. It’s easy for the Wyrm’s forces to move in and take over, feeding on resentment and hatred. When a shipping container is found, full of the corpses of dead refugees, will the Pack step and fight?
  64. War on the Streets: A gang war has broken out in the poor parts of the city as the Red Fan and the Scourge try to knock seven shades of crap out of each other.
  65. The Hungry Ones: A strange phenomena has infested the local shopping malls. An unending hunger for stuff has seen people max out credit cards, empty savings accounts, and even resort to robbery in order to get things (even if those things are stupid and pointless). What’s causing this and can the PCs stop it?
  66. Lone Wolf: A Garou has been killed, ambushed in broad daylight and shot through the head with a silver bullet. Who could have done this, and why? When the answers begin to come to light, they paint a picture of the sort of poverty and loss that can break people, as the consequences of a raid on a Wyrm facility over a decade ago begin to be revealed.
  67. Legacy: A young Garou is getting ready to choose a Tribe and there’s a problem. The heir of a long line of one Tribe, she favours another. Her relatives are shocked, and insulted, by her decision and some of them have almost come to blows with members of the other Tribe over the issue. The peace of the Sept has been well and truly disrupted. Can it be repaired?
  68. A Duty of Care: Some of the local Kinfolk have been abused by their Garou relatives. When they accuse a strong, and openly honourable, member of their family of rape. While the Sept reels at the news, and many of the Werewolves reject the claims utterly, the PCs must step in to investigate the matter.
  69. Web Warriors: A group of people formed an impromptu flash mob and kicked someone to death. The reality is that they were influenced by the Weaver’s minions, used for an instant and then discarded with no memory of what they did. The Pack are going to have to track down the real culprits and bring them to justice, if they can. And why did they choose ‘Everything is Awesome’ as the song to use as a possession vector?
  70. Lawbreaker: A Garou is accused of breaking the Litany, striking a rival dead after they had surrendered. Cue CSI Garou Nation as the Pack is brought in to investigate another crime.
  71. The Lure: A newspaper article has caused a splash with its claim that a group of ecoterrorists are radicalising young people and using them to strike out at businesses, people, and projects that ‘threaten the planet’. The details are almost eerily accurate and the Pack have to investigate the journalist… which is exactly what he wants. A Skin Changer, he wants their pelts to help his magical rituals to transform into a monster.
  72. The Policeman: Someone has infiltrated the various groups the Sept runs to foster its interests in the mortal world. Can he be rooted out before he learns too much?
  73. Black and White and Red All Over: A journalist is looking into the characters’ past actions, tying them together in a vast investigation that spans the many years of their activities. Can the PCs put them off the trail, or will the Veil be pierced?
  74. Extinction Agenda: The PCs travel to Scotland to help a group trying to save the Scottish Wild Cat from extinction and discover something else behind the species’ problems. A magical curse that dooms them, and the Fera who depend upon them, to be wiped from the face of Gaia. Who could have laid such a doom on them, and why?
    1. The Ceilican will help, if offered the right incentives.
  75. Choke Hold: A Wyrm monster is taking great delight in the worsening air quality in the city and there’s no easy way to clear up the mess. The Pack had better do their best and see what they can do, but there may be no easy answers.
  76. Best Served Cold: A powerful Black Spiral Dancer war leader has decimated a number of Septs and Packs, showing no interest in converting her foes, only in killing them. A Pack of survivors arrive at the PCs Sept to help them prepare their defences and to seek their own vengeance for the number of deaths and atrocities the war leader has committed. Will the weight of their anger and grief overwhelm them, or can they hold it together to actually help defend the Sept?
  77. Descent: A small earthquake has opened up a sealed passage in a set of caves, releasing a swarm of Banes. Something sinister sounds in the deep earth and the Pack must investigate.
  78. The Atom’s Taint: Ukrainian Garou have organised a grand crusade to destroy the Wyrm Caern that sits in the heart of the Chernobyl reactor. The PCs join the fight, but can they stand the soul blasting horror that lurks within those halls?
  79. The Expedition: An academic and explorer is off on a well advertised expedition to discover a hidden place, one that is sacred to Gaia and only exists in legend. Lying deep in Africa, he hopes to prove the existence of the place. There are members of his party, however, who’s intentions aren’t nearly so lofty. Can the PCs brave the heat and hostility of Africa, and in particular its Fera occupants, in order to stop the expedition from reaching its goal?
    1. The expedition is sponsored by Endron Oil
  80. Turf War: A war breaks out between the PCs Sept and the one next door, with each accusing the other of meddling in their affairs and being incompetent in their war against the Wyrm.
  81. Any Port in a Storm: A Banestorm breaks into the mundane world and the PCs are forced to beg for sanctuary at the rival Sept.
  82. The Scalpel: A Glass Walker Pack invites the PCs to help with a strike against the Weaver, raiding her nests to loosen her control over the world. Something seems up though, can they be trusted, or have they gazed into the abyss a little too long?
  83. A Beast in Woman: A Kuklokhoros (a Black Fury informal moot has ended badly and many of the human women that the Tribe invited have been killed, or driven mad. What created this situation, and can any good come out of it?
  84. The Mission: A group of Fianna want to make peace with the Wendigo and ,along with a Children of Gaia Pack, they propose to travel to the Wendigo’s strongholds to try and broker a peace. The PCs are invited along to act as aides and witnesses.
  85. Lindisfarne: The isle of Lindisfarne was where the first Norse raids took place in the British Isles. Led by a Fenrir warrior they sacked the monastery there and slew the island’s entire population. Now, a strange feeling of remorse has struck the Tribe and the island features in their dreams. Can amends be made or will the weight of this ancient slaughter weigh on the Tribe’s shoulders?
  86. Omerta: The Glass Walkers’ connections to organised crime bite them in the proverbial when a large number of their kinfolk are arrested for aiding the Cosa Nostra. Now, the Tribe must act to make sure that no more secrets are spilled and to make sure their kin are let off. Cue a grand sweep of distraction and evidence tampering, and guess who gets to help?
  87. Red Slaughter: Someone has broken into the Glass Walkers’ private preserve and killed their Lupus kin. Who?
  88. Crusade: The Red Talons claim to have rediscovered the Prophecies of Shadow and argue that means they should take steps to wipe humanity from the face of the planet, citing the Prophecies as evidence. Their Grand Moot has been called to create and army to do it, will the PCs join their cause?
  89. Hospitality: The Pack are forced to shelter at a Shadow Lord Sept. Will they survive the experience?
  90. Sutekh: The signs are right and the Silent Striders have gathered to reclaim their homeland. Can they dislodge Sutekh from his throne and take back not only their ancient caerns but also their role of psychopomps of the Garou Nation?
  91. Lost Honour: A disgraced Silver Fang turns to the Pack for help in regaining their lost honour. This, apparently, means finding the biggest, baddest Wyrm creature and slaying it… or dying in the attempt.
  92. Fresh Blood: Concerned about the way her kin are faring, a Silver Fang sets out on an impossible quest, to find the Siberahk and reunite them with the Fangs to bring in fresh blood that the others in the Tribe will accept. Would the PCs like to come along for the ride?
  93. Heart Breaker: A number of people have turned up dead, with their hearts pulled out of their ribcages and crushed. Are the Wendigo responsible, or someone else committing the atrocity?
  94. The Ritual: The Sept’s Master of the Rite is preparing the Winter Solstice rites but is missing some ingredients. She enlists the PCs to help.
  95. Honesty: The Garou and their Kin have managed to get a particular politician elected, having decided that his promises on environmental concerns is worth supporting. Now that he’s in office, can they get him to keep them, or will the other pressing concerns of leadership sweep them away?
  96. Matchmakers: There’s a desperate need for more Garou children and every werewolf has a duty to breed. Can the PCs help set up a friend with someone?
  97. Infestation: An area has become infested with Bane spirits and the PCs have to clean house.
  98. Down on the Farm: A local farm has begun to stink of the Wyrm, why?
    1. Wyrm supplements have been given to the animals to make them produce more meat. It’s also producing birth defects in any baby animals that are born of cows, pigs, chickens, and sheep that have been given the supplements.
    2. The farm grows genetically modified crops and not only are they failing but they’re also corrupting the land.
    3. Over farming has damaged the soil’s ability to grow food. Nutrients are helping but also tainting the soil. In addition, they’re corrupting the people around the farm, and to add insult to injury will only work for one or two years, at which point the farmer will have to go back to buy more, lining the pockets of the company that makes the stuff.
  99. Last Stand: Things have taken a turn for the worse and the Sept is besieged by enemies. There’s a 99.9% likelihood it will fall. Take up your klaive, prepare your Gifts and Rituals and get ready to burn out rather than fade away.
  100. Ancestor’s Burden: The ancestor of a PC has a task for them.
  101. Lost Love: A Sidhe comes to the Sept, claiming that one of the PCs was her lover in a long lost life. Further, they need the Pack’s help to right an injustice only they remember. Will they give it?

Saturday, 16 June 2018

7 Song Saturday: Anger is an Energy

So it's that day again and I feel like burning down the world. Humanity seems stupid, venal and pointless at the moment and I'm frustrated and angry over events in the larger world and in my own life.

No guessing games this week, just an attempt to get my anger and frustration out of my system via music. Hope you enjoy.

My Chemical Romance: The Sharpest Lives

Manic Street Preachers: Roses in the Hospital

We don't want your fucking love.

Nine Inch Nails: Head Like a Hole

The Wonder Stuff: On the Ropes

New Model Army: I Love the World

Foo Fighters: The Pretender

Hole: Jennifer's Body

And here, have the Sex Pistols, God Save the Queen as a bonus