Gauntlet Book Club: Wolfsong/Bite Marks

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.
Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.
Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.
Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.
It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

This is a game about being a werewolf, in a Pack. The Pack is a deeply intimate and close family; like a family, sometimes it is full of love and happiness and sometimes it is brutal and dysfunctional. But love it or hate it, you can’t ignore it – it will shape you. Fearless Alpha, dedicated foot soldier, pacifist scholar or rebellious cub – your relationship with the Pack is the cornerstone of who and what you are.
In Bite Marks you’ll uncover the story of the Pack, exploring the relationships between Packmates, drawing out their loves, rivalries and betrayals. What are the cracks that could shatter the Pack and drown you in hate, and how much stress can those pressure points take before they explode?
This is a game about struggling with the beast inside, deciding when you will fight, protect, murder, or mutilate – whether you do these things because you love the feral life or as a sacrifice to save the family you are bound to. What does it feel like to be a part of that family?

As an experiment I am running a combined book club and series of game sessions based on the book we have read. The first session is to discuss the book we have read together, what our thoughts are on it, and what we can draw from it to bring into a roleplaying game. For this first run, I have chosen Wolfsong by TJ Klune as the book, and this will be followed by a series of Bite Marks by Becky Annison. This book club session will accommodate more members than a standard roleplaying session, and anyone who wants to read the book and join us for this is welcome, but it will be expected anyone joining for this is familiar with the book. This book is the first in a four-book series, and while only the first book will be specifically discussed, it is possible that some minor spoilers for later books might come up in general discussion. General sign-ups will be available in 72 hours time (November 5th). This book club session will be scheduled for three hours as will the rest of the series, though it is unlikely we will use the full amount of time for this. We will be using Zoom for our discussion. This session will be recorded, and may be released on Youtube with the consent of all participants.

The roleplaying series following this will by necessity be limited to a regular group size. For this particular run, a group of players have expressed advanced interest and will have first refusal on spaces. But players will be brought in from the waitlist as and when spaces in the game arise. Please note that participation in the initial book club session - or at least having read the book in advance - will be a requirement for playing in the game. It will be played starting with a dedicated Session Zero in the week following the book club.

Content Warnings for Wolfsong: Wolfsong is a story about werewolves, with a strong queer supernatural romance element. It includes violence, death, and some references to hunting as a wolf. It features a couple of scenes of explicit sexual content. It also features a plot involving attraction between a minor and an adult, though this is not acted upon while the character is a minor. It also features some discussion of and reference to (though no direct description of) kidnapping and physical abuse of a child. There are minor themes of body horror and mental domination.

Content Warnings for Bite Marks: We will be drawing on the tone and themes of Wolfsong for this game, if not necessarily the specific plotlines. This will include violence - in both human and wolf forms. There will also be the potential for sexual content - and the game includes Sex Moves in the style of Apocalypse World/Monsterhearts - though we will avoid explicit sexual content. The game mechanises aspects of social domination, and this also follows ideas of social hierarchy (alpha/beta dynamics)presented in the book. Loss of control to a feral state is also possible. We will have a discussion on tone and content before the game begins, as well as establishing Lines & Veils to provide a comfortable play experience. This game will take place under the Gauntlet Community Code of Conduct and the safety tools Script Change and X-Card will be in use. I will aim to get in touch with participants through either the Gauntlet Slack or email a week in advance of the game to confirm attendance and provide play materials.

Book Club Session Sunday, January 3, 2021 2:00 PMSunday, January 3, 2021 5:00 PM
Session Zero Sunday, January 10, 2021 2:00 PMSunday, January 10, 2021 5:00 PM
Session 1 Sunday, January 17, 2021 2:00 PMSunday, January 17, 2021 5:00 PM
Session 2 Sunday, January 24, 2021 2:00 PMSunday, January 24, 2021 5:00 PM
Session 3 Sunday, January 31, 2021 2:00 PMSunday, January 31, 2021 5:00 PM
Session 4 Sunday, February 7, 2021 2:00 PMSunday, February 7, 2021 5:00 PM
Session 5 Sunday, February 14, 2021 2:00 PMSunday, February 14, 2021 5:00 PM
Session 6 Sunday, February 21, 2021 2:00 PMSunday, February 21, 2021 5:00 PM
Session 7 Sunday, February 28, 2021 2:00 PMSunday, February 28, 2021 5:00 PM