Valkenburg Foundation

WW 3101

Review by Deird'Re Brooks in the FAQ

Interesting idea. An asylum for those who have experienced the first change without the aid of other Garou. As a result (so the story goes) most Garou go insane trying to deny their Garou nature. So, the V. Foundation steps in to help them accept their nature, or release them as functionally normal wolves or humans. Also the introduction of White Wolf's recurring villain, Samuel Haight.


Spoiler Review by Rick Jones (28 May 93)

Capsule Spoilerless Review

It's a series of 5 (actually more like 4 1/2) adventures linked by the Valkenburg Foundation, an organization that finds Lunatics(*) and tries to help them deal with their Garou-ness. The adventures range from good to excellent (at least from a plot perspective, I haven't really looked at the stats), and once the Story of the VF is finished, it's a good setting for future adventures.

[* Lunatics - "Lost Cub" garou who undergo the First Change without Garou help. It usually destroys their mind.]

Spoilers

Naturally, something strange is afoot at the VF. Unbeknownst to them, Banes are possessing some of the Kinfolk and Garou staff, forcing them to do EEEEEVVVIIILLL experiments on the Garou at night. The Banes have appropriate invisiblity abilities so that the Garou won't see them unless they get too curious. [Flaw #1: there's no hint whatsoever about what to do if the players uncover what's rotten in Denmark before adventure #5.] Anyway, the staff of the VF is an interesting mix of Kinfolk and Garou, and there's interesting role-playing opportunities in the brief downtimes between adventures.

[I forgot the VF at home, so I don't have the names of the adventures here.]

  1. The players are told by spirits that a hero from their Sept who vanished a while ago has been seen at the VF. They go there, and discover that he saw something Man Was Not Meant To See in the deep umbra, and is totally wigged out. Gretchen Valkenburg offers the players a job as the "Questing Pack," who track down the Lunatics and bring them home. Essentially, the story is just a tour of the place, meeting Gravedigger [the missing hero], and getting an offer. Presumably, they'll take the job.
  2. A short time ago, one of the patients of the VF escaped, and the players must go to NYC to get him back. The players don'tknow that the reason he was so hot to escape was that the "testing" that goes on in the secret basement at midnight nearly destroyed his mind. The Lunatic, a corporate raider who now runs a street gang called the "Freedies," is losing it. The players need to find him before he destroys the Veil. Complicating the matter is the surviving members of a Garou pack he and his gang attacked, and a Kinfolk detective nicknamed "Kolchak."
    This is a fast and furious adventure, that probably will end up going heavy on the combat, but there is a place for thinking Garou.
  3. [is my personal favorite] The Pack is asked to check on some Lupus former patients released in the area. The first time they meet is a success, and there's a chance for fun interaction between the skittish (and mildly derranged, but not harmfully) pack. However, the next night, we find three of the wolves killed, and signs of the hunters nearby. The players find some Bubbas out, drunk off their asses and shooting at wolves. However, we later learn that the Bubbas are just tools of a derranged Kinfolk who's jealous of his Garou relatives, and has found a ritual that can turn ordinary people into Garou. (It requires 5 Garou pelts, and lots of other rare magic stuff.)
    It's the most straightforward adventure, and has lots of places where thinking is better than fighting. (And places where fighting is what's needed.)
  4. [I'm hazy on this one, I read it last.] The players have to rescue a missing Garou from a government research facility. And, once they've found the body, they have to go deep into the Umbra to find the soul. The local Red Talon pack [the Red Talons think Lunatics should be killed, along with the rest of humanity. Not nice folk] complicates matters. This adventure reads like an episode of Mission:Impossible, and will probably be a good one. I'd personally look forward to chatting with the Atomic Spirit who really wants to be allowed to detonate.
  5. All the hints, threaded through the other adventures that show something is amiss, all fall into place. An unfriendly face at the VF turns out to be friendly, and the horrors at the VF become real. A Black Spiral Dancer pack turns out to be an ally [the BSD's don't want the secrets of Garou physiology turned over to ANYONE, even other servants of the Wyrm] for once. The two packs must combine forces to save themselves from the Nexus Crawler summoned by the Bane inside Gravedigger. And there's even, amazingly enough, a romantic interest between a BSD and a PC. Fortunately, if you survive, things do go well, and the PC's are faced with the job of restoring the VF to it's former glory.

Overall, the VF works as the setting of a Story, and a whole Chronicle could be run just using this book. If I were editor, I'd have swapped #3 & #2, since the clues in #3 are weaker than #2, and it builds up to more suspicision if the clues build as it progresses. Also, perhaps I'd change the Banes so that they don't possess the staff all the time, but instead showed up once a week (or even with certain phases of the moon) to do their evil work. Otherwise, I think many packs will pick up on the clues too early and blow the cover off the VF by #3. Since, at first, it's hinted that the PC's don't totally trust the VF, they'd be very quick to pick up on any ravings that they torture the patients. [though unless they find the secret basement, there's no proof]

Overall

Plot: B+ The whole concept of the VF works, and the adventures work well on their own, and as a part of the whole.

Plot Handling: B-/C+ I really think a lot of packs will clue in too quickly as to what's going on. Also, I don't think the Pack will trust the BSD's in #5, and the alliance is essential to the resolution of the plot.

Art: B+ A step down from Book of the Wyrm, a step up from Rage Across NY. Mechanics: YMMV, I haven't gone over it with a fine tooth comb.

Overall: B. If you are stumped for a Werewolf Chronicle, this has some excellent ideas. However, it didn't inspire me to create my own adventures, the way that Book o'the Wyrm did. However, if you remove the link to the VF, all of the adventures could easily fit into an existing WW chronicle.