Episode 264 of the Letters Page - Writers' Room: Savage Haka #100

This might be the time I’d say the Savage title is the most apt

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Aw yeah, hologram cover!!!

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Honestly, finding the critique and reaction to other games really interesting.

Ooh, so Alpha infected Haka, huh? Awesome! That’s kind of all I wanted to know, the rest of this is gravy :smiley:

Man, Adam has never been more right than right now. Cliff’s notes on the start and end of Werewolf Haka, tell us a cool story in the middle instead! :smiley:

It’s neat to have an issue that’s mostly just action, too. Nothing wrong with speeding through that, a summary is almost assuredly going to be relatively brief. No complaints here!

Yay, my letter got in! :smiley: It’s the rare one I actually remember writing!

Alpha likes the bishies <_<

lol, oh wow, and an old letter! XD

And a third? c_c It’s like I really like werewolves or something.

Oof, can I get a big womp-womp for all the Gumbo fans out there. :V But he named himself Gumbo? Oh my god. At least they know a good character when they see it.

Oh shoot, live show this Friday? D: Oh heck me.

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There’s something to be said for the laughing maniac type villain.

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War-wolves? Already been there and done that in our campaign, which also vigorously disagrees with their take on Luna’s effects on lycanthropes.

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Oh no, it’s math!

A fun fact which I know from my days in urban fantasy: if only one in one hundred thousand people are werewolves, there are about 80,000 werewolves in the world. If Adam’s number of under ten thousand is right, that’s around one in a million.


This is why I feel like trying to use “1 in X” numbers for supernatural stuff in urban fantasy can be… tricky, depending on how you want it to be.

For example… Take Shadowrun. Magic and non-human sentients are supposed to be common, so they use those type of ratios to describe. But the really weird stuff? Rare metatypes, dragons, and free spirits? Those are given in numbers like “under 500 world-wide,” or “fewer than 20 known.”

I think while powers in general could probably use the “1 in X” ratio for the Sentinels setting, at least in terms of who has something or is something. Someone that can change their hair color at will might be considered empowered, but it doesn’t really go further than that. Werewolves, I feel like absolute numbers are better, because they don’t really operate in isolation, rather they cluster. Alpha might be the only werewolf in Rook City, but there might be a few small towns that are majority werewolf.

Also, the disease reference reminds me of McGuire’s Incryptid series, where lycanthropy is described as a variant of rabies that causes physical transformations… and the strain of those transformations takes a toll on the infected.


Both of which seem absurdly high, considering how well-known their weaknesses are, the fact that there are whole families of people devoted to hunting them down and killing them, probably at least as many supers (many of who are more than a match for your average lycanthrope) around the globe, and unlike our world, various governments are fully aware of supernatural BS being real and operate agencies to keep them suppressed and out of the public eye. Add to that the fact that over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas (it’s projected to be over 2/3rds by 2050) where gory werewolf murders are going to stand out a lot more and I just can’t see them reaching those kinds of numbers.

Sentinel Comics can do what they like with numbers, but I think dropping another order of magnitude (under 1K) seems about right for my games - and that’s even with the synthetic war-wolf variety in my world. That dovetails with a base assumption that infection rates are very low, with most victims either being killed by their “parent” during the attack or simply not contracting the cursed disease after an attack. If every bitten person wolfed out these things would just be furry part-time “fast zombies” and that doesn’t fit the usual tropes at all well.

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This right here is the thing, really.

If we were talking just weird fantasy creatures whose primary motivation is just to exist and do a relatively benign (or at least not more than occasionally harmful) thing, then 800,000 or even more wouldn’t really be an issue as they’d be spread out in uninhabited areas or in wainscot societies.

But werewolves seem to like to specifically cluster together and hunt humans, so there reaches a tipping point of numbers where either they just start overrunning people or the people are all “OK this is an existential threat that needs dealing with”.

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I like that it is in the book “Savage Haka” that Ata is told that he is acting like a feral beast and that he has to get his ship together. Also, just the image of Ambuscade 'breaking up" with Haka until he resolves his issue.

And I figured out the best way of explaining Ambuscade to a Marvel Comics fan- Batroc the Leaper as Kraven the Hunter.
Clownish French stereotype
Picks fights above his weight class
Is actually very dangerous because he almost wins fight against a higher weight class.
Big game hunter gimmick


Yeah, the notion that the lack of light reflected from the moon actively de-powers werewolves, but not being near the moon at all is fine, makes no sense. Also it doesn’t sound like C&A have any idea how huge our moon is; Mars’s two moons, for instance, have less than 1/8 the surface area of our moon as seen from the planet’s surface. All of Triton’s 14 moons put together are less than twice the angular area of our moon.


Yeah, we have a freak of a moon, and good thing too. Quite possibly key to the evolution of life on Earth. Not seeing a lot of similar situations out there either, even now that we’ve got the eyes to look.

Plus if it was any smaller it wouldn’t have made a proper camouflage shell for Dahak and we’d miss out on all that fun. :slight_smile:

My take away from that discussion was that “the dark of the moon” is itself a mystical thing that is distinct from “there isn’t moonlight”; when the moon is in the sky, but there’s no light reflecting on it, it mystically interacts with the curse. This doesn’t make scientific sense, but these aren’t scientific werewolves.

edit And in fact, I believe the point C&A were making early in that discussion is that it has to work that way in order to have both a situation in which a moonless night prevents werewolves, and the ability for werewolves to shapeshift underground or indoors where there is no moonlight.

If you’re in space and there is no moon at all, what’s happening is that all the parts of the werewolf curse that interact with moonlight are returning a mystical “divide by 0” error, so all that’s left is your general ability to shift.

(Can’t speak for the size of moons part; it’s possible that only the number matters for the curse, not how big they are, and a world with two moons of very different sizes would have each have the same impact on a werewolf.)


I’m reminded of back when the Eberron campaign setting was new, and Kieth Baker (the creator of the setting) was active on the WotC forums talking about the lore and setting, and a big bit was how the world’s 12 (ish) moons affected lycanthropes. TL;DR “there’s a reason they were so messed up that the LG paladins purged them all.”

Realized I missed riffing off this the first time. It’s even better, from context (slender well-dressed fellows from the landed gentry or thereabouts) they actually seem to possibly be shipping her with the Wolfhunt fellows specifically, lol.

As for the moon thing, I think there’s something to the idea that the light of the moon is the most relevant thing even if someone’s indoors, as quite frankly our moon exists whether we can currently see it or not so if it were merely the moon that mattered there’d be no “full moon” thing.

Alternatively I guess it could be a gravitational thing, considering the full moon is also when the tides are highest.

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I don’t think Christopher was right that the population of werewolves has to be large enough to be sustaining. It’s not like they reproduce by combining their genes in a way that requires genetic diversity – they can always just go bite a member of the non-werewolf population. One is enough to be sustaining as long as they survive long enough to infect somebody.

Neptune? Triton is a moon. But, yes, the Earth is an outlier in the Solar System in that it has a moon that is at all comparable to its own size. The only similar pair larger than binary asteroids is Pluto/Charon.

Full or new – because of the contribution of the Sun! A full Moon happens when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are all laid out on a line. (Almost…a perfect line would result in a lunar eclipse.) So you have the Moon and the Sun both stretching the oceans’ tidal bulge in the same direction. The alignment with the Sun is also why you can’t have a full Moon out in the daytime, or a new Moon out in the nighttime, and half Moons are out in both.

The fun astronomical term for three bodies lining up is a syzygy, which sounds like an awesome name for some kind of mystical character.

If you want to start considering the Sun, you could add it to the Werewolf explanation: wolf transformations occur when the syzygy is :sunny::earth_americas::last_quarter_moon:, and are inhibited when it’s :sunny::last_quarter_moon::earth_americas:. Insert comic book science about what is generating radiation when and what is obstructing or obscuring it! So, like, how about this: the Moon’s surface emits 2 things regardless of illumination by the Sun:

  • Thermal radiation (heat) after being heated up by the Sun
  • Gamma rays emitted from the lunar surface after it gets whacked by cosmic rays

Maybe one of those things is inhibiting the transformation, and something from the Sun is enabling the transformation – perhaps neutrinos, which pass through the solid Earth? I guess the questions to ask are what happens to werewolves who step on hot pavement or who get too close to nuclear reactors.

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Of course, a few minutes after writing this, I realized the neutrinos would pass through the Moon, too, so never mind them.

Yes. Yes it would. :slight_smile:

There was also Syzygy Darklock, the mage in Starlin’s Dreadstar comic.