The CW's Riverdale is full of various pop culture references and Easter eggs, and while many are slipped in as clever puns that allude to the real thing -- American Excess cards, anyone? -- there are a few that are less obvious, but worth noting all the same.
Among those are a couple of very subtle references to White Wolf's World of Darkness role-playing game universe. Specifically, Riverdale has a couple of curious references to one of the gaming universe's specific settings.
For those who aren't familiar with the World of Darkness game universe, here is a brief primer: The World of Darkness is a horror-themed role-playing universe with various settings that feature different supernatural creatures including vampires, mages, ghosts, and faeries, just to name a few. While the creatures all exist within the overall World of Darkness universe, they each have their own specific game settings with rules and conventions for use in a storytelling system.
On Riverdale, it's elements of one of the werewolf game settings, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, that has popped up a few times in the series. Interestingly, the references all have connection to Riverdale's resident gang, the Southside Serpents. On Riverdale, Serpents hang out at a bar on the city's southside known as the Whyte Wyrm. For players of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, though, the Wyrm isn't a bar. In the game, the Wyrm is the name of a powerful spirit, specifically one of the three greatest entities within the Garou (werewolf) mythology. However, the Wyrm spirit went insane and is now a spirit of destruction, darkness, corruption, and chaos. In the game, falling to the Wyrm means that you've truly fallen to the dark side -- not too far off from how citizens of Riverdale see the Serpents and the Southside as a whole.
Another reference Riverdale shares with White Wolf is that of the Uktena tribe. On Riverdale, Jughead learns about how the Serpents were founded on the traditions of the Native American tribe who lived on the land that became Riverdale -- the Uktena -- and how the tribe was slaughtered by General Pickens. In the Werewolf: The Apocalypse game setting, one of the Garou tribes is also named for the Native American tribe of the Uktena. In the game, the Uktena tribe is one of the original Garou tribes to settle North America and the tribe has a reputation for taking in refugees of groups who have had their land taken from them or conquered, letting these refugees band together with them to help hold on to their old ways and traditions. It's also worth noting that the Uktena revere the Wyrm as "Grandfather Serpent," understanding that the Wyrm itself is not evil, but that balance must be restored.
Sounds a lot like the Serpents on Riverdale, particularly Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) who is determined to fight Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) and his plans to wipe out the Southside as Riverdale knows it to make way for his for-profit prison complex. But just like the Uktena of White Wolf have an uphill battle against evil in their world, Jughead and the Serpents have their work cut out for them on Riverdale as well. Hermione Lodge is running for mayor of the town and, if she wins, things will get a lot easier for the Lodges plans to go forward -- and a lot harder for the Serpents to survive.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.