Tribebook: Children of Gaia by Kurieg
IntroductionOriginal SA post
TribeBook: Children of Gaia
Before we go into this, I just found out that the author of this book is one Jim Comer, who has 3 other notable credits to his name:
1. Mummy the Resurrection
2. The Mokole Breed Book
3. Freak Legion
Freak Legion posted:
Savage Genitalia (2): John Bobbit's nightmare. The Fomor (regardless of gender) has genitals with some menacing feature. Male variations include excessive length (14"+), thorns, barbs, sandpaper texture, or extreme hardness. Female versions are infamous for teeth, ripping suction, and internal meat grinders. By combining this power with others, such as Toxic Secretions, Worms, or Inner Volcano, some truly hideous torments can be devised. Incorporating Extra Limbs into this power can duplicate some of the weirder perversions of hardcore Japanese anime, like gun wielding phalli or vaginal tentacles.
Yes, the oft imitated White-Wolf intro fiction chapter. For bonus points it's a 2nd person intro fiction chapter, and because they wanted the extra credit it's a framing device that will be carried through the entire book.
And one more thing.
Seattle, November 30, 1999
Our werewolf pack is introduced with them walking down the streets of Seattle. There's Ringer/Kevin, our POV character described as "Asian guy with hair falling in his face, wearing jeans and a T-shirt saying If Gays and lesbians are given equal rights then EVERYONE will want them. " Amanda who is "A big woman in a peasant dress and a hand-knit sweater." Joné who's wearing a fleece jacket cargo pants, combat boots, and an "oval coffee-and-cream face framed by dreadlocks". Joné also has tons of really neat tech toys, like a hands free phone/computer/pda system put together into a headset visor, in 1999, no I don't know how that works. Rich the "Tall red-headed pack mate" who is a Metis(Deformed Garou who are born from two Garou parents) and as Ringer helpfully informs us, Rich has seizures as his deformity. And Hack, a handsome gray wolf.
Oh did I forget to mention that?
Yeah they've got a wolf just walking down the streets of Seattle during one of the most heavily policed protests in history and no one seems to care, a few people seem to notice but most people just think he's a big friendly dog. Hack is drilling his pack mates, asking them what 'peace' is. So not only are they walking down the street with a wolf, they are talking with him, he's barking back in response, and they're answering his barks, and no one notices or cares. They best answer they come up with is "not War" and end up describing the various kinds of war and that the struggle is to keep wars just. They also mention that they're in Seattle to protest Endron and Pentex, who are basically pastiches of every evil big corporation ever.
There are people in turtle costumes, puppets on stick poles, dancers and performers. Honestly this is sounding more like a street fair than a protest. They namedrop the Direct Action Network (the real group that organized the 1999 WTO Protests). They finally reach their destination and join in with all the other Garou in enacting a rite designed to "Keep Gaia's ways alive." which Ringer describes as them hoping really hard for the WTO to see the human side of their horrible search for profit.
Also there are people using spider climb gifts to hang gigantic banners on the side of the building, because that's not obvious at all.
All of a sudden the ritual circle breaks and there's a tide of people running away from explosions. The police have arrived to break up their totally peaceful protest, the nerve of them. So Ringer gets hit with a gas grenade, and rolls around on the ground for a while before Joné shows up and washes his eyes out with a water bottle. They start performing triage on some of the other tear gas victims and
"The black woman finished washing the eyes of a girl and came to Ringer. The boy he was shaking rolled limply, a handsome face with lip rings and plug earrings. "Jesus. Heart's barely beating." She rolled an eyelid up. "He's 'bout gone. Ringer, I've never seen someone nerve gassed"
So it's decided that the best way to save these people, as there are too many to carry normally, is to go into their giant man-wolf shape that makes people go temporarily insane if they see it and carry the bodies through the streets of Seattle.
But it's okay because Hack is going to run ahead in wolf form and make sure that they don't run into humans.
Also it's okay because 'the rage lets them move faster than human eyes can track' this isn't true in the slightest so they just 'appear' at the hospital in human form carrying 8 people between the four of them, PROBLEM SOLVED.
After that's taken care of they rush back to the protests where they run into some people in black masks and black outfits who are smashing storefront windows, burning down an art gallery, and shooting eggs out of slingshots into peoples faces, the eggs are later discovered to be full of etching fluid . They're also chanting "DOWN WITH PRIVATE PROPERTY! DOWN STOP DEFENDING YOUR EXPLOITERS!" But see, they're Formori! So they're obviously just trying to defame the real protestors and make them look bad.
I'm not going to describe the fight, so have a picture.
The fight ends when ringer smashes someone's solar plexus into fragments and Joné summons a fear spirit to literally scare the formori shitless.
"Hellrazer is a fear-spirit I met websurfing in the Umbra. I think he borrowed a lot of his personality from bad slasher flicks, but I don't mind it much. He really likes possessing DVDs and frightening people so bad they wet their living-room rugs... I keep him provided with bootleg movie files and he shows up when I need him."
Gaia, Ringer thought. How weird could you get? "Hey, Joné, could you introduce me to Jonny Quest?"
"Which version? We'll talk later."
They namedrop John Zerzan for some reason and state that those formori were obviously following his paradigm, and therefore he is a bad person too. Then they watch TV on Joné's amazing computer-phone-visor-thing and get mad that the corrupt networks are only showing the looters and not their prayer circles and dancing.
Then they cut forward to noon and the labor march, and as they watch the parade of "Beefy Steel Workers and Solid-looking women" Ringer thinks, "'All these guys, for this?' For Gaia ?, he wondered. The alternative was for me? "
At this point they're just beating you over the head with it, but Ringer's gay. Very gay.
Then the cops show up, because they must. They shout at the protesters to disperse and then immediately start shooting at them with wooden bullets .
As an aside, wooden bullets exist, but they're basically blanks, wood can't withstand the stresses of being fired out of a gun and pulverizes itself into splinters either in the barrel or shortly after leaving it(or so the internet tells me). I'm sure the author was trying to make it sound like the ebil cops were filling them full of splinters but it's unlikely that they'd injure someone at anything less than point blank range and at that point it would probably be more from the gas escaping the gun than the bullet itself.
Anyways, the cops start spraying people with pepper spray, beating people in the streets with batons, formori are popping up out of nowhere and eating people, generally a bad time. Ringer and Joné get into an alleyway to hide when, well, this happens.
As he leapt over a stack of supercans he heard Hack curse. "Ringer! I'm down, dog."
More evil Wyrm anarchists are beating Hack with billy clubs or something. Another fight ensues. Hack begs Ringer to leave him there because he's bitten the Wyrm Taint and now it lives inside him. Ringer refuses to do so because he's his friend. Buddy cop quota fulfilled they continue on to find their other pack mates.
They run into Rich, hooray, and continue on through the streets of Seattle as night falls. The rest of this has to be quoted.
I can't make this shit up posted:
Rich and Ringer staggered down the street. Something Wyrm-born had kept Hack's wounds from healing, and a wolf was heavy. Guess he'd be heavier as a two-leg, Ringer thought. A shape blocked his way. Human, though distorted. Hard to see while his eyes stung from leftover tear gas. The other's shape was Glabro, was... a Black Spiral. He crouched, to set hack on the stones and spring if he had to. Beside him, Rich was bristling, changing into Crinos. "Begone, Wyrm's dinner, or I'll feed you to your Father below!"
The bat-eared thing was in Crinos too now, and Ringer tensed, feeling himself Change.
"Now, now, Rich. Hardly a way to address your own father, you know."
Rich stood staring while the bat-eared thing lunged. Ringer moved quickly, instinctively, the staff flickering just so... the werewolf dodged, turned for another charge. "You aren't my father. You are lying."
So, Rich's father is a Black Spiral Dancer(Evil werewolves who serve the Wyrm, they also get bat-like features), and just so happens to be in Seattle, and just so happens to run into his son who also just so happens to be in Seattle. Dance Vader gives the normal 'join me and you shall be more powerful than you can possibly imagine!' sweetened by 'Your mother is with us too!', but Rich refuses. at this point Joné and Mandy show up out of nowhere and they beat him into unconsciousness and then take him captive. Because Joné said they should, for some reason. They do some quick street interrogation, find out that Dance Vader's real name is Mason, and Rich seems touched by this revelation for some reason. Then they march him off to the nearest safe house to figure out what they should do with a captive black spiral dancer.
That's the intro story.
Next up: History
HistoryOriginal SA post
Chapter 1: History
I apologize in advance if this seems disjointed but that's because it is. In character stuff is blended with out of character stuff without any indication, lines are attributed to the wrong people, and the narrator changes points of view just because. I'll also be trying to provide a bit of system specific backstory and terminology explanation where necessary.
Anyways after the Seattle chapter, things can only get better right?
Upstate New York, Summer 1999
Yes, they're flashing back to Woodstock '99 , if you have any foreknowlege of that you know that this is going to be something special.
The prologue starts with Ringer and Hack driving to Woodstock to meet up with their new pack for the first time. Hack gets in for free because yet again people confuse him for a dog.
Amanda catches them first and helpfully informed Joné and Rich "Hey, it's Kevin!" Joné responds with "Sure he's not a ringer? The pod people are awful clever." and in an incredible contrivance(like everything in this book), Kevin's deed name is "Bell Ringing In An Empty Sky". For reference, Hack is "Snow on Hackberries", and Rich is "His Rich Antler", which either means that A:his actual name is Rich, and the person who gave him his deed name was really purile/uncreative. or B: Rich is his nickname, we don't know his real name, and
We now find out that Joné had her first change online on a webcam, because she was online when someone tried to crash her computer with a virus. This pissed her off enough that she spontaneously turned into a werewolf. But it didn't actually crash her computer, because her webcam kept broadcasting and a bunch of people saw her change and freaked out. That's kind of a big deal as far as the werewolf society is concerned, as humans aren't supposed to know that werewolves exist. Also, first changes normally kick in when your fight or flight response is triggered, not when you accidentally download a virus. Maybe that means she values her computer more than her own life? Thankfully a web spirit just happened to be watching and magically fixed everything. Then Joné dropped out of college and started a website design company and runs a big old werewolf message board for Garou and their families, and this is also apparently how our pack met. How the hell does that work? SHA AND SLT LFPACK, WILLING TO TRAVEL?
Ringer's first change was a bit more standard, his dad and his two brothers were in a car and crashed into a school bus and 2 other cars. He changed and escaped.
And saved his father and his brothers.
and everyone in the bus .
That's not supposed to happen, ever, like I said, first changes are Fight or Flight things, either you try to kill everything that has ever pissed you off, twice, or you run the fuck away. There's one or two canon characters that changed in response to family members being threatened and they saved them, but the only reason he saved an entire school bus full of children is so that the Children of Gaia can rest even more snugly on their designated good guy throne. But he didn't save the people in the other cars so that he can have tragic backstory .
Trust me this is only going to get worse.
The pack then has an argument over what they're going to have for lunch, for no real reason other than they can remind us yet again that Hack is a wolf and wolves are different , but then Hack gets mad at them and tells them that he's half-human and he'll eat whatever. So the argument is pointless, particularly because the meal isn't even described, they skip straight from that argument to them leaving to go to the Moot, which is being held in the Umbra(spirit world) which they do by 'stepping sideways', which is just a Neologism for 'entering the umbra', but you need a reflective surface to do that. I can't remember specifically why werewolves need a mirror to enter the umbra beyond SYMBOLISM/DM trapping everyone in a room without mirrors, but that's the rule. Luckily there's a convenient 'peace maze' with saran wrap walls that they can use. Apparently no one notices that hundreds of people go into the maze and never leave. Anyways, the moot!
I am Justice Like Great Waters, Philodox of the Ten Hands Sept. Honor to Mother Gaia dn her Chosen, the Garou." Justice was a black woman with gray hair under a turban and a long robe. She held a speaking staff in her left hand. "Tonight we remember the past and more: to know the Was is to prepare for the future. Any who wishes may tell a tale tonight, but the tale may last only as long as one log takes to burn-"
"And no cement logs, all you Ragabash!" shouted Joné, as Garou laughed.
"The tales may be of present, past, or time to come. Paws-That-Refreshes , a Ragabash of my sept, bids me to say that there will be a boon for the one telling the oldest tale. What this boon is, he will not say."
After that we finally get into the History section, and since there’s a prize for ‘oldest tale’, we’ll be going backwards from present day to Pangea.
The ‘present day’ story is a second hand retelling of the ‘Allmoot’, which is apparently like a regular moot but bigger, and a speech given there by True Silverheels, who is one of the biggest lore NPCs the Children of Gaia have. What message is so vital to get across that they have to give it one of the most important mouthpiece in the tribe? “We must abandon the camps and factions, abandon all divisions in this most divided of tribes.”
To put this in perspective, Camps are to Werewolves what Bloodlines are to Vampires. Subdivisions of the tribes, but unlike in Vampire, they provide minimal mechanical benefit, access to a few extra gifts at most. Some don’t even give you that. Most tribes have three to four camps, CoG’s had nine. So I guess I can understand where they’re coming from with ‘most divided of tribes’ thing, but Children of Gaia are also the only tribe that had explicit rules allowing you to be in multiple camps at once. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be the author going ‘I hate camps get rid of them’ or a decision handed down from higher up, but there’s still 6 pages later in the book devoted to describing camps and how to join them.
And just in case you were wondering if the abolishment of camps was a good idea or not, Ringer immediately chimes in, “ Whooee, Ringer Thought. That guy had the stones! ”
See guys, if the POV NPC likes him that means he's okay!
Okay then, what’s next?
“ ‘It sucks being a Child of Gaia!’ Rich complained. ‘Other tribes don’t trust us, and we can’t even agree on what we actually want to do!’ “ Considering the book you’re in Rich, this carries all the weight of a 13 year old complaining that their mother got them the wrong color iPod for their birthday. Amanda goes on to explain that the reason people don’t trust the Children of Gaia is that they got complacent after the 1960’s, when they last saw real progress, and then got lazy and didn't do anything for thirty years. She also describes a bunch of different things they did, fighting the Klan to secure voting rights. Someone named Summer Robinson was apparently a huge proponent of the Voting Right’s movement. And, oh yeah, this.
”Humans got laws passed that honored the Earth, mandated rights for more people -”
“Still left me out, Ringer said, sitting by the man he couldn’t marry.
You know, the wolf .
I’ll address this later when they bring it up again, don’t worry, but they’re not done yet.
“The Left got as much done as it could, maybe, then threw it all away on the drugs and stupid hippie crap. Rock and roll was cool and it still is, but it didn’t help anyone get jobs or places to live, protection from discrimination. The parties, sure, they were great. My Uncle Nathan used to do the Mineshaft, back in the seventies, and he says Garou would just come into the leather room or the dungeon and just shapeshift at will; the leathermen were so drugged they didn’t even care. Drugs... look, i hate the laws too. But i hate people fucking up their lives and their brains even more. A friend of my dad’s OD’d when I was seven, a Garou friend. Damn, it took a lot of smack to burn out a werewolf , but it was a total, stupid, evil waste of someone’s life. I just think that first, we stopped doing stuff that was helping and started to do shit that made everyone mad and didn’t help anyone.
”You think the 1960’s radicals are to blame for the 1970’s, for segregation in fact, for the rise of the religious right, for the reversal of Roe v. Wade , union-busting, all that?” Ringer was curious.
Last I checked, Roe V Wade hadn’t been repealed. Also last time I checked, it hadn’t been repealed in the World of Darkness, seems to me like that would probably be a way bigger issue than a throwaway line in a list.
"Yeah... Kinda. Maybe. I mean, look at the '90s, when the basic idea of political correctness - which at it's heart, was nothing more complicated than 'try to consider the feelings of those different than you' - got pushed too far, and then a backlash hit. 'PC' became a dirty word; suddenly the 'cool' thing to do was to show that you weren't ruled by Political correctness by busting out all the crap talk. Thanks to too-zealous liberals, the anti-political correctness movement became cool - hell it was all the rage to refer to women as whores - pardon, 'hos' - and bitches! I mean can't you see something's wrong with that?"
And then, for cheap pathos she breaks down crying and the entire pack hugs her and comforts her and tells her it’s going to be alright.
And we find out that the current tale teller at the moot fire is a Ragabash telling everyone about how awesome Acid trips were
I think that’s a good place to stop for now.
Next up, History of the World Part 2
More HistoryOriginal SA post
Chapter 1 Part 2
A preface to this chapter, a friend of mine pointed out that Joné's Visor might be a Handspring Visor , and not a Geordi LaForge style piece of eyeware. This only makes her character marginally less stupid.
Also: this one is pretty big because I just want this chapter to be over and done with, and all the horrible shit is at the end. Enjoy.
The World Wars
I really don't have much to complain about here, the speaker is an Ahroun and an ex-member of the Imminent Strike, which is basically the camp of the Children of Gaia that believed that if you wanted peace, you had to fight the battles presented to you, ignoring a fight isn't peace, and that's a refreshing Point of view for the tribe to have.
He talks about the war crimes and horrors presented by both sides, and the spiritual ramifications thereof. He also talks about what caused World War II, the reparations and demilitarization inflicted on Germany post WWI and pushed for by France, and how they influenced the culture in Germany that gave rise to Hitler. He also says that turn the other cheek is rarely the thing you want to do in war time, which causes most of the listeners to start muttering angrily.
If we all have to give our lives to prevent something like the World Wars from happening again, it'll be a small price. We have to be better than the humans were. We have to treat our defeated foes with enough mercy to keep them from rising again - but we cannot lose to them. Too much is at stake.
The American West
Again, I can't really find fault with this one. It tells of some of the metaplot from the Werewolf: Wild West supplement known as the Storm Eater. Basically a ridiculously powerful spirit that required all thirteen living tribes to gather together, and one powerful Theurge from each tribe sacrificed their lives to re-bind. Considering that the last time it was active it required an entire tribe to sacrifice their lives to put it back to sleep. The given message is that when a great need arises, no matter the tribal arguments, they will gather together and succeed.
Also good, no comments from the Joné and Ringer show.
But it's not to last.
"I recognize Burke Checks-and-Balances, of the Ten Hands sept," Justice said as a man in a polo shirt and denim shorts got up and put a log on the fire. He looked to be about fifty.
"Who's that, Newt Gingrich?" Joné asked.
Apparently in 1754, the Children of Gaia had an Allmoot, and at this Allmoot...
We vowed to support the new ideas of the era: physiocracy, democracy, a free market. These ideals would, we hoped, create a freer and more open society.
You raised my hopes and dashed them quite expertly, book. Good for you.
The English Civil War
I'm not British, so I'm not quite sure how ridiculous this is, but they're co-opting yet another historical group for their own gain again. Apparently The Diggers were all Children of Gaia and Kinfolk. Apparently the only reason that history didn't document their contributions was because the Veil(the thing that makes people go kinda crazy when Garou go into werewolf form) made them forget. Then there's a little rant by Ringer about how gardening is awesome and that he should plant some chilli peppers in the caern.
The Age of Faith
"Might-For-Right, you may speak," announced Justice as she handed the staff to a small woman in a Renfaire T-shirt and jeans.
"I am Might-for-Right of the Sept of Tolerance and I speak for the Gaian heroes of the Age of Chivalry , what some of our tribe (she darted a glance at Burke) would call the Dark Ages. This was a time of confusion and violence; in other words, heaven for Garou!
In such a world, Gaian ideals of peace and love were pretty much out of the picture. That's where Tree-of-Battles came in.
I'm going to spare you more flowery prose and just give you a summary.
Apparently he was a CoG that the Silver Fangs(Basically a Garou Tribe who's 'hat' is Russia, Leadership, and Good Breeding. They're also the nominal leaders of the Garou Nation) trusted, very much. Since he had such trust, he decided to put it to good use.
By converting a bunch of them to Christianity , you know, since he was inspired by Francis of Assisi or something.
He personally converted Bertrand du Guesclin and Enguerrand the fourth to his ideals of Christian Knighthood.
I'm double-checking every name they drop just to see if they've got a Wikipedia page... So far I'm batting over 66%. I don't know why but I feel insulted.
The Roman Empire
I had to re-read this section a few times to get the gist of it, now my head hurts.
Okay, apparently one area of heavy CoG concentration was Judea. Yes, THAT Judea. After Judas Maccabeus's revolt, apparently lots of Kinfolk were systemically murdered over the next few hundred years. After King Herod rose to power things just got worse. So the Children of Gaia did what they could to get themselves under Roman Rule. Sure it was corrupt but it was "still a civilization with laws and a measure of stability." which they got in 4CE.
Of course, in 21 CE, Pontius Pilate was installed as Govenor.
The Children of Gaia hold themselves responsible for the death of Christ
What follows is something so stupid I have to quote the whole thing. It has to be seen to be believed.
"What was that about?" Hack asked.
"Jesus. Know about him, right?" Joné stroked her wolf-friend's back. Hack's tail thumped pleasure.
"Sure I know who Jesus is. I watch TV don't I?" The wolf pulled himself into a human form to carry on the conversation. "And i know Pontius Pilate - how Jesus died and all. but who was Jesus? I mean, really?"
"Which I knew. I mean, that's what the whole history of the Christian Church is all about. Whether he was man, God, proceeded from the Father, son of the Father, spirit, flesh, fiction, fact... maybe he's whatever you make of him."
"He was Gaian - not literally, in all likelihood, but part of our spirit whether he knew it or not. You know he was - where can you find our ideas better than the Sermon on the Mount. 'Congratulations ot the peacemakers,' 'The meek shall inherit the earth,' all that. Nonviolence, turn the other cheek, share you belongings." Mandy was lecturing again.
"Pity Christians don't do as he said."
"Pity more of them don't do as he did is more like it," muttered Rich angrily."
"The Church of Gaia basically takes his ideas and applies them in a Gaian way - you guys have seen us at the Caern." Ringer had attended services a couple of times, not really getting the point.
Joné said, "Yeah, you guys work for social justice too. I know the guy that manages the website." Who on the web, Ringer wondered, didn't this woman know? Maybe the chicks on the porno sites; she didn't seem the type.
"My sister, you know, she's off with her husband doing development work in India. You met them before they left, Rich, the skinny guy with the big dark eyes. Remember?" (ED: what? is Joné implying that her sister runs the website? Her husband? It's just a paragraph in the middle that doesn't link to anything)
Joné went on, "So what does Jesus, Jesus Christ, mean to you, Mandy? I mean, do you get all crazy-weepy and stuff over religion? I'm not making fun of you, I just want to know."
Mandy seemed to be choosing her words carefully. "He was a great man, the greatest. He told us the most important things ever: love each other, care for each other, do right. I know he was, he is, the most important teacher of righteousness who ever lived. Whether he was God, or a god, I don't know. No one knows. We can only believe. And the most incredible thing about him is that we Garou, as hard as we try, we can't live up to his example, not with Gnosis, Gifts and fetishes. But there's something even more amazing. That maybe, just maybe, he wasn't magic, wasn't a spirit or god, just a man. And that even then, what he said, what he did, stays with us always. He stays with us always. So there, No-moon, is your answer. That good enough for you?"
"Yeah," Joné almost whispered. "Thanks a lot. I needed that."
"Is this serious enough?" Hack asked. "Mandy, what's the next story about?"
1: The wolf not only knows about Jesus, he's studied enough of the passion to know who Pontius Pilate is.
2: Jesus may or may not be a werewolf.
3: There's a first Werewolf Church of Christ.
4: Joné knows EVERYONE. She's also a giant asshole. "Do you get crazy weepy? I'm not making fun of you."
5: Jesus is viewed as some perfect figure that all CoGs should aspire to.
The author takes this as an opportunity not only to take a dig at Christians but also non Christians. Okay, now I just don't feel insulted. I know I'm being insulted.
This is another Mandy speech section. Apparently the CoG's were rather entrenched in ancient Greece. "Women had it rough in Athens, but they had more rights in Sparta than anywhere else in the world." They also owned a bunch of slaves, but you know Women's Rights are whats really important. Many of the Greek Philosophers and Artists learned at the feet of the Children of Gaia, but they eventually got kicked out by the Black Furies who were pissed off that the CoGs were horning in on their homeland.
There's also this great dig
Yeah, Ringer, I see you laughing - it was great back then if you liked men, too. Unfortunately, it was also great if you liked underage boys - don't scowl, Ringer, it's true.
Oh, and a Child of Gaia was personally responsible for Healing Darius after the Battle of Cunaxa , we don't escape revisionist history in this section either.
Okay I'm just going to skim through this because it's dumb but it's concentrated dumb.
1: The tale teller is a Ragabash with a T-shirt that says "Jesus Saves: But Gretsky Rebounds and he scores!"
2: Apparently Babylon was fucking full of demons back in the day.
3: A single Ragabash named Mocks Demons went to Babylon and started telling tales about how the Children of Gaia were hiding in the city and were only waiting for the right time to strike, which made the Demons doubt themselves.
4: There were no Children of Gaia, but the merest THOUGHT that they might be there heartened the people enough to rise up against the demons.
5: The Children of Gaia are so awesome they can save the day without actually doing jack shit.
"To Mocks Demons, and the power of rumor!"
Oh goody, Soldier-of-Paradise is here. Near as I can tell. Soldier is one of the Author's friend's characters.
The Authors Dedication posted:
To <NAME> and <NAME>, soldiers of paradise.
Last, thanks to my students and friends aboard the USS MITSCHER.
Ringer admired the wiry litle man in gym shorts and a USS Michener T-shirt who strode into the council ring. Tough-looking, with tattoos wreathing his arms and a handsome narrow face. "Who's he?"
Joné said, "That's Soldier-of-Paradise, the No-Moon. Didn't know he was back from the Persian Gulf so soon. Only Garou I know with the nerve to join the Gaia-damned Navy." The man poured something onto the fire and watched it flare up while people laughed.
Joné also won't shut up about how awesome he is and talks about his time in boot camp for a while. Wait. How the hell does Joné know all of this?
"Thought you were into nonviolent social change...or are you into him?"
"He does do a wicked James Bond impression... no. And you're SOL too; he's married and has a kid."
"Oh. What did he pour on the fire?"
Soldier-of-Paradise spoke in a flat southern drawl:
"The Minoans, Crete, Long time ago. They were a kewl civilization.
His story is basically, "There were Were-Aurochs at one point in time, they're all dead now. The Minotaur was the last Were-Auroch, he was also a tortured individual who was put out of his misery by 'some human who doesn't matter'.
Joné cut in. "Oh, and Ringer? He likes Maker's Mark, over ice. Just so you know." The mischief-making smile flashed.
What the fuck.
There were two cities, Umma and Lagash. They fought, a lot. But the Children of Gaia showed up and installed one of their kinfolk as the leader of Lagash Urukagina , because, you know. no culture can actually develop or thrive without the CoG at the helm, it’s just not allowed. Oh, but then ‘Big Man’ Zaggesi, the king of Umma ‘broke the sacred peace’ and overthrew Lagash. And with a name like ‘Big Man’ I can only hope that he overthrew him by putting him on the turnbuckle and body slamming him onto the mat. But with his dying breath Urukagina cursed Zaggesi, and 25 years later Sargon of the Semites showed up and put Zaggesi on a literal leash. Because he broke the sacred peace, or something.
Sure why not.
The next speaker has an accent “A mix of Irish and Australian” that apparently makes Ringer think of ‘far lands, far times’... So the British Empire? Whatever.
I am without words, this next section needs a quote.
I’ll begin by addressing a little myth that’s disturbingly pervasive among our tribe: the whole notion that the Defiler Wyrm invented Rape. that’s a crock. I don’t care if you heard it from a wizend elder who’s convinced that rape was a special tool meant to increase humanity’s numbers, or a dewy-eyed cub who’s sure that humans could never come up with something so vile on their own - it’s a lie. Or wishful thinking, more like it. Rape exists outside the human species; it has for a long time. But when someone deliberately causes that kind of suffering and violation to another creature - well, it doesn’t take a genius to reason that the defiler wyrm gets stronger off that violation. That much is true. But the thought that the Wyrm had to invent rape - no. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The banes do not make people do this.
This is LUDICROUSLY STUPID . The idea is that Humans were somehow overpopulated, and the werewolves needed to kill them down to cull their numbers, which is a thing I guess i can understand. But Overpopulation happens when your capacity to breed exceeds your predators and other environmental dangers. We accomplished this by the creation of weapons, tools, and communal living. There’s still a hard limit on how many children a body can produce. YOU CAN’T JUST RAPE UP MORE. It’s also not brought up again since the problem is apparently that killing all the humans is what was feeding the wyrm, in addition to the Rapocalypse. making it COMPLETELY TANGENTIAL.
Then there’s this story where a Werewolf was sitting around watching the humans rape each other in a giant pile or something, lamenting the fact that they were growing too numerous. When a rat walked up to him and goes “Hey, is it possible to kill with love in your heart?” To which the wolf responds with "What the fuck are you talking about?". Well apparently Gaia told the rat to kill the humans, not ALL of them, just enough so they don't overpopulate the globe. So the wolf says “Yes. Eat their grain so they are less likely to breed and spread disease so the weaker die off. If Gaia has asked you to do this then it is an act of love.” the moral of the story is that if GAIA ASKS YOU TO MURDER SOMEONE IT IS OUT OF LOVE DO NOT QUESTION IT.
But that’s not how the Impergium ended! That was Lore-Speaker Gron’s work. WHen he-she -”
“He-she? What was this person, a drag queen?” Ringer was briefly amused.”
“No, something greater. He-She was a metis, and a hermaphrodite.”
“A what?” asked Hack.
“Gron was both male and female, at once Arm, Voice and Heart of the Great Mother of All. He-She traveled to each sept of the children, to all places under the sky. Gron saw that the Garou were not Gaia’s only defenders! Humans, Kin and otherwise, lived, farmed, built, and worshiped in ways that aided the Mother. WHen humans fired the forest, it grew back thicker, greener. WHen they hunted, they killed the weak and sick, strengthening the herds. ANd they did more. In the caves of Gaul he-she saw carvings and paintings honoring Gaia; by the rivers of Thessaly humans made statues of the fish spirits, making them real as no chant could do. FOr the rest of His-Her life, Gron worked to lift the great ban, to allow some humans to increase their numbers. But on the night of the Allmoot where the speakers announced the change, Gron died. Murdered by mad Talons, some say, while the Talons themselves claim the Mother struck him dead. no one knows. Dying, he-she bade his-her packmates carry him-her to the council ring, wounds reopening, to hear the speeches. The council agreed to lift the Impergium and Gron saw runners depart to all septs of the Garou, knowing his-her goal achieved. And returned to the Mother.”
Ringer asks if it’s true and Mandy replies that it probably is, if only because the other tribes curse his name so often. Since he interrupted their Murderfest.
Can the chapter be over now?
The Wars of Rage
Mandy passes Ringer a flask of spiced mead to relax him, and I can understand why.
Anyways, the Wars of Rage are when the werewolves went to war with the other shapeshifters because they wouldn’t acknowledge that the werewolves were the best things ever, and of course, the CoG’s tried to save them. But they still blame themselves, because they were naive idiots.
See, basically what would happen was, the CoG’s would summon some of the other shapeshifters to a peace conference, and one of the other tribes would ambush them and kill them. Another time a Shadow Lord gave a mediator a ‘peace talen’ to help with the Grondr (were-boars), which turned out to be a fucking bomb, when the dude went to the Grondr to apologize they eviscerated him.
Joné, annoyed that they’re talking about people that she doesn’t know, takes the opportunity to use her visor to ‘stylus through several layers of email to a GPS page’, we get it, Joné is amazing, you can stop now. It also occurs to me that they might be talking about a Handspring Visor PDA and not a Geordi laForge ‘Visor’, but that only makes it slightly less stupid.
Ringer posits that since the ‘warrior tribes’ tricked them, it wasn’t the CoG’s fault. Mandy points out that yeah, they were tricked, but the CoG’s kept on trying and kept getting tricked and kept getting people killed. Also someone is passing around homemade cookies. It’s bizarre that they pick now to break out the mead and cookies? “Oh shit they’re talking about that time we fucked up GET THEM DRUNK AND GIVE THEM CHOCOLATE!”
Origins of the children of Gaia
So Joné recognizes the next person walking up to the fire as “Eric”, he’s carrying a guitar. and Ringer actually manages to get a chuckle out of me for once
”Is he like, a folksinger?” Ringer wondered which would be worse - Listening to this guy or pretending to like his music.
Yeah... anarchy folk-punk , I guess.
Anyways he starts singing, in the Garou tongue, which is why none of the lyrics to the song rhyme, at all.
No, I am not typing out this stupid shit.
Rough summary: Gaia made Garou. Garou split into two factions. The factions fought. Gaia found 5 dead puppies. Gaia nursed them back to life. Those 5 dead puppies were the first CoGs.
Then Ringer notices the guy who told the stupid ass story about Sumer and asks him if the origin story was true. He says that there are other stories, and Joné activates her visor’s MP3 recording functionality. Fuck you Joné.
Time isn’t a one-way street, not even the two-way street our wonder-working foes would claim. It is a maze; our knowing of it mazier still. No one can say when a legend is a legend, when a myth is a myth.
He just kind of rambles on for a page and a half about things that might have been, mentioning that at one time “We slew humans to prevent their numbers from growing, but also to prevent the skilled and powerful hunters from challenging our terror-rule over the two legs. We wanted to control their food-gathering, use them as breeding stock, drive them as cattle.” but then a couple of garou decided they wanted peace, and they were the first CoGs.
Then Rich, out of nowhere, stands up, shifts to crinos screams “The Garou are the children of Mother Gaia. Let no one dispute this!” and then falls over and has a seizure. They shove Ringer’s bo-staff in his mouth and then all four of them sit on him to pin him down so he doesn’t fucking murder someone by accident.
But then the tale telling is over, and the prize is announced. SURPRISE MANDY WINS! Since apparently while other people were, you know, paying attention to the people actually competing. The Judges were listening to Mandy explain things to her pack, which was the real point and therefore she wins. Also we finally find out her deed name “Steam Rising on Teacups”, so there’s that.
Then Rich sits up and says that everyone should go to bed now. And they do. Sure. why not.
Trials of the current age
These tales take place at “Another campfire, another night” which means we’re free of Joné and the wonder PDA for 2 whole pages
They’re short stories mostly just to patch in holes or let the author soap box some more.
1: Abolishing camps is probably a dumb idea, both wolves and humans are territorial, and, you know, wolves run in packs(even if wolf packs are family units. werewolf packs aren’t, but they don’t make this distinction because the author probably didn’t care) so trying to make one gigantic uniform uber-pack is a dumb idea.
2: AIDS is bad. And there’s probably a worse disease that’s coming down the pipe. AND THERE’S A SHADOWY GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION THAT’S CREATING THEM HUNT THEM DOWN AND STOP THEM!
3:Countries have Rogue Nukes........ that’s... basically it. Countries have Rogue Nukes and you should be scared.
4: This is talking about the Metaplot from the end of the Time of Thin Blood book, when the Ravnos Antedeluvian woke up and started murdering everyone somewhere in India. Then 3 super powerful Kuei-jin block out the sky with storm clouds to try and slow him down. Also there’s a single solitary werewolf pack there basically looking up at Kaiju nightmare man and shitting their pants. Then the Technocracy drops a Spiritually Awakened Nuke on him, which not only kills everyone in the radius *but* Ravnos, but rips their spirits asunder, cracks open the walls of hell, creates the avatar storm, and allows wraiths to walk the world. Also since the Kuei-jin are dead now, the clouds part, and the Technocracy use their giant array of mirror satellites from Batman and Robin to focus all available sunlight onto Ravnos, which finally kills him.
What I’m saying is Time of Thin Blood was crazy
There, Chapter 1 is FINALLY done.
Next chapter has to be better, right?
Up Next: Werewolf Biker Gangs
SocietyOriginal SA post
This chapter begins with a quote,
Who is this Unicorn but the only-begotten Son of God? -Saint Ambrose
We open with the pack sitting around a campfire, listening to a folksinger who apparently sucks, according to Ringer. "But it wasn't polite to let him know, no matter how much Ringer would have liked to put the guitar out of its misery by smashing it over its owner's skull." The Peace and Love tribe, people. Then he asks "So what are these 'camps' I keep hearing about?" Which is probably the most transparent set up I've ever seen. The response is that some are geographical, but most are ideological, and that all of the Children of Gaia ones are ideological, and all of them share Unicorn's ideal for Peace. We'll see how well that works out.
The Anointed Ones
These guys are the absolute peacenicks, "worse than Joné will ever be." and the point is raised that when your basic structure includes something named 'rage', total peace really isn't an option. As a result, the other tribes don't let them into their Packs, since you don't want someone watching your back who won't raise a finger to save your life.
Joné defends them, bringing up The Angels in the Garden, another camp, and their one real success against the Seventh Generation, which was basically the Arkham branch of NAMBLA. That while the other tribes were doing the actual, you know, destroying of the group, they were saving the children, and they even brought most of them 'into the veil' and made them kinfolk (yes that's a thing we'll get to later in chapter 3). While saving children is laudable, if that's your only claim to fame as a 9 foot tall death-beast, you've got issues. It's even more telling that the Angels disbanded right after the 7th gen fell, and they joined up with another camp.
Here we have our first piece of Leif Jones artwork, don't worry, we're easing you into this. This isn't bad beyond the fact that it looks pretty empty for Woodstock.
Seekers of the Lost Tribes
That camp being the Seekers, which are honestly one of the CoG camps I actually like, though they're presented rather horribly here. What they are, is a tribe that tries to find information on the 3 dead Garou tribes, and the other dead shapeshifter breeds. They also try to do genealogical studies on kinfolk to try to find the last traces of Croatan blood, things like that. The reason being that they believe that the only way they can win the apocalypse is if all the Garou tribes and all the other Fera join together to fight the Wyrm. How they're presented here are a bunch of Bigfoot hunters who roam the nation hunting down 'ghost wolf' sightings and trying to 'redeem' black spirals back into the pure tribe they used to be. The only redeeming part of this section is that we find out that Joné is a seeker and the entire pack starts ripping into her being nuttier than a conspiracy theorist.
The Patient Deed
"There were other camps too." Amanda walked with them as Hack padded ahead. "My parents and some Hell's Angels were part of-"
"The Hell's Angels? With the Children of Gaia?" Ringer was laughing and scared at the same time."
"Of course we thought they were with us," Amanda said. "They seemed to be the same thing as us, rebels and outcasts. The Patient Deed - that's the camp that tried this - always held that we should welcome all, try to stay our hands, not fight till the Last Day. Not afraid of violence, but wanting it in its proper place. But just as always, we were assuming the natural goodness of people. And we were wrong."
"Let me tell you about my parents." Amanda said.
"They were what would probably be called 'hippies' nowadays, but really they were just part of the whole Berkeley intellectual crowd. For a while they hung out with a writer named Ken Kesey, became part of his group of "Merry Pranksters.' Stayed at his place all the time smoking pot and dropping acid."
Joné interrupted briefly to ask. "Kesey? Didn't he write One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Was he one of us?"
"Yes he wrote the book. No, he wasn't one of us.
So they drop acid with the Hells Angels, have orgies, etc. and think that the Hells Angels are as nice as anyone else because they only interacted with them while they were on acid . Then they invited them to an Anti-War march, and the Hell's Angels, being a motorcycle gang founded by WWII veterans, turn on them.
The moral of this story is to make us feel bad because apparently the Patient Deed did a whole bunch of good things before the march basically made the Camp implode, but no one remembers it because of the 1960s. And the rest of the Garou nation paints the Children of Gaia as stupid Peacenicks just because of the things they did during the 1960s. Which is an argument that I'd take more seriously if THEY WEREN'T CURRENTLY AT WOODSTOCK 1999.
Here, have werewolf bikers.
Yeah that's more like it. Look at that horrible anatomy and that 'Wolf'.
This is the other camp I like, the way they're characterized here is as the members of the CoG who are sick and tired of the other tribe's idiocy when it comes to pursuing peace at all costs, and are the ones who are actually willing to fight to protect the peacemakers, or fight because fighting needs to be done, or fight because they're goddamn werewolves.
Joné calls them "Hardasses", which only serves to endear them to me more.
Servants of the Unicorn
These guys are the ones who try to make peace with the other tribes, and were the vast majority of the tribe before the camps were abolished.
As an aside, Ringer notes that the entire place feels 'kooky', because it was, apparently, a Caern at some point in the past. Caerns are locuses of spiritual power, and are incredibly valuable. My, how convenient that there's a Caern underneath the old Air Force Base where Woodstock is being held.
Anyways, apparently some of the members of this Camp try to make peace by showing how much they can contribute by gathering together members of other camps and pointing them in the direction of places of Wyrm Corruption. Apparently there's a group that goes on regular treks into the spirit world to hunt down Wyrm Sites, to which ringer responds " Kewl . Can I go?"
Then there's this rather bizzare aside talking about the Get of Fenris, which is the tribe that takes from Germanic/Norse stock and is basically the de-facto 'Warrior Tribe amongst an entire race of warriors' group. Apparently the Get and CoGs worked together in South America to fight apartheid, since they thought that if the Whites were so superior to blacks they could damn well fight to protect those rights without Laws. Which is darkly hilarious I guess. But then they go on to say how the Get LOVED the Zulu tribes, and bred with them because they were Brave and Strong. Which I can see them doing, but it seems rather tacked on and kind of a "SEE THEY AREN'T RACIST GERMANS I SWEAR" thing. Then there's this little gem.
One of them howled in moot once. 'I need no LAW to make me the master. I AM a master and no one will slander me by saying that a law MAKES me so.
Bringers of Eternal Peace
This is the token 'evil' Camp that every tribe is required to have by law. Get of Fenris get The Swords of Heimdall, a group of Neo Nazis. Red Talons get the Lodge of the Predator Kings, who think that their tribe is screwed and that they should kill(and eat) as many humans as they can before they're gone.
Children of Gaia get the Bringers, who are basically 'Black Spirals who still think they're Children of Gaia', as Mandy puts it. They think that since peace is the only answer, they should just reach the easiest peace by giving up and letting the Wyrm win. Since if the world's destroyed everyone will be at peace.
Then we get into the various breeds.
The werewolves born as humans. They're most of the tribe, so Hack tries hooking Mandy up with a 'good Kinfolk stud.' she points out that it wouldn't really change much since as a Homid herself, she would have homid children, where as a male can impregnate as many wolf kinfolk as he wants, just so that image is lodged in your brain. They don't really go into much detail beyond the fact that they're very multi-ethnic
"That's a neat thing about us...." Wind buffeted Ringer's black hair, a sensation he hated. Should shave it again, but Hack likes running his fingers through it, when he has fingers.
"That you're all mutts?" Hack loved homids (one in particular) but enjoyed making fun of them too.
The wolf born. Hack goes off on a little speech about how only about 1/50 Garou in the children of Gaia are Lupus, and most of them are born in zoos, like Hack was. There's also apparently a rite that allows homids to have lupus pups which goes completely against what they just said in the last paragraph. Hack also goes off a bit on how the wolves take extra time to understand 'peace' as a concept since fighting is kind of a part of life when you're a wolf. Ringer asks if he would prefer being wild to living with humans, Hacks says that he'd miss humans with their crazy ideas. Also Ice cream. And then Ringer says that the two of them should 'go for a walk'. While 'Music pummeled them as Blip-3.1416 began a set.'
As they're walking, Ringer again mentions that this place feels off, and hack agrees with him, saying that there's something bad going on.
Back with the not-gay people.
"Rich, do you think the Children are really fair towards metis?" The great wolf-head turned toward her in the camp lamp's light. The noise of the festival roared outside the camp circle. This, was a great place to pass unnoticed as Garou.
"mandy, that's not a fair question. No tribe, not even the Gnawers, knows how to deal with us. None of them really deals with us the way that they deal with two-legs or four-legs. We know this is true... it's okay."
Oh well, Rich and Joné snipe back and forth for a while about how technically the Black Spiral Dancers are PLENTY accepting of Metis. And Rich tells his pack mates that his father is a Dancer, and that his Mother was Fianna(the token Irish tribe).
Apparently the Dancers attacked their Sept while they were having a revel. His father "Raped her and mutilated her with silver, then left her alive to watch her packmates hanged, cut down alive, and skinned over a fire." You know, because otherwise we wouldn't know they're the bad guys. Then his mother escaped to a CoG Sept, bore Rich, then ran off to go regain her honor by dying in battle against the nearest black spiral sept.
There's some talk about how the Metis are hard workers because they have to ingratiate themselves to the other members of the tribe, and that they use the fact that they're stuck in Crinos form until their first change to work as heavy labor. Honestly it seems kind of exploitative since they're technically minors but whatever.
That girl seems incredibly blasé about the fact that her face is melting
Ringer and Hack rejoin the group, I'm not sure if they really just went for a walk or if they shagged behind a tree, but Joné grins at them when they return. Kinfolk are the humans and wolves that are related to Garou but aren't Garou. They're immune to the Delirium that affects most normal humans so they're a nice support network for them to have. Ringer points out that the kinfolk effectively are the Children of Gaia because they keep the various organizations that they've founded to promote peace running. Including the Church of Gaia, and I shit you not, the "Gaian Rainbow Action Community Explorers". Which is apparently the Gay Boy Scouts.
Apparently the CoG's have their own special positions within the hierarchy of the sept. These are pretty pointless so I'm only going to mention the things that stand out
Voice of the Goddess
A female only position that serves as the speaker for Gaia in the sept. There's no real election, and Mandy pretty much flat out admits that it's basically the bossiest woman in the Sept who gets the position by default.
Arm of the Goddess
The main protector and 'get shit done' person in the Sept. Apparently Ringer used to date the Arm at his last sept. Which sounds like a really awkward masturbation euphemism which almost has to be intentional.
Supply your own Rocky or Shawshank Redemption caption
The Heart of the Goddess
"But Mandy, who is it that connects the Head and the Arm of the Goddess?" Rich spoke the Garou tongue, human speech lost in his dire-wolf shape.
Woodstock drummed on.
"The Shoulder of the Goddess, of course." Joné looked up from the glowing computer screen. "Does the sept have a 'Spleen of the Goddess' too?"
"No office or sept's big enough to cover the whole of Her." Mandy was unruffled, used as she was to No-Moons.
"The Hole of the Goddess? Which hole is that?"
The Heart of the Goddess is the center of the Sept, that's... basically it. There's no real description of it beyond the fact that it's often a Metis, or someone removed from the cycle of mating, and sometimes they're crossdressers. They try to keep the sept centered and operating without actually doing anything. There's a story about one Heart that collected the life stories of everyone on video tape, apparently that was a big thing.
Someone who speaks for nature, the plants and animals who can't speak for themselves
Someone who speaks for the dead. Since they're usually real downers most septs don't keep them around anymore.
Then Ringer decides he wants to see if the beer tent is still open, and him and Hack walk off again, right past the mud wrestling pit.
Yes, you heard me correctly. There is apparently a mud wrestling pit, where two men and two women are fighting 'mostly nude'. Hack says that 'this is the tackiest thing he's ever seen'. Which it is, you can't just throw something like this in there and then say that it's tacky and get away with it.
Oh well, some random Theurge walks up besides them and asks if they want to go to a Rave, because he's going to hold a rite there. So Hack shifts up to human form, and he and Ringer go mosh at the rave for a while as the Theurge circles the mosh pit chanting.
"It didn't work, really. I don't know if you noticed," History-of-Clay said.
"What didn't work? What rite were you trying to perform?" They walked toward the beer tent.
"The spirits... to see if they'd come, maybe. The beat summoning them. but no joy, sorry. I guess trying to keep the rite subtle so the humans wouldn't notice is no way to convince the spirits that they're wanted."
"I, uh, hope it works out better next time. C'mon Hack, lets go drink some beer."
Ringer, half-awake, stretched on the air mattress. The tent was big enough for him to stretch, at least. First time's never that good, they told him. The guy had been great, had been wild, had been.... He turned.
A wolf slept beside him, legs moving in dog-dreams.
"Hack, wake up. We gotta talk."
Yeah this seems like a good place to stop.
The Litany of Funny WalksOriginal SA post
Chapter 2 part 2: The Litany of Funny Walks
Sorry for the delay, now, where were we?
Ringer, half-awake, stretched on the air mattress. The tent was big enough for him to stretch, at least. First time's never that good, they told him. The guy had been great, had been wild, had been.... He turned.
A wolf slept beside him, legs moving in dog-dreams.
"Hack, wake up. We gotta talk."
There’s going to be a lot of quoting for this section of the book because even I’d be incredulous of some of the things that the book is going to be throwing at us.
"Morning." Wolves were morning people. Ringer was not.
"Hack, uh, about last night-"
"You feel okay? Happy? Didn't hurt you did I?"
"Yeah, uh, I feel really good." He smiled, hung his head. "But... I mean, don't you think it's wrong or something?"
"You didn't think so 'bout two a.m." Hack was wearing his human form, possibly in case Ringer wanted more. "Going to blame it on the cheap beer? Come on, you know you're a kweerboy."
That said, kweerboy?
"Yeah, i know I'm gay." Ringer wondered briefly where Hack learned everything about human society when he'd been pupped a wolf. Not important. "But, I mean, you're a wolf !" Dawn reddened the tent's fabric.
"Not now. And when I'm a wolf I don't want you, or anybody, except when the time and the company are right."
"Huh?" Ringer's Garou senses could still smell last night.
"It's - no, don't ask. It's too complicated, take my word for it."
"But, look. I'm human, or at least mostly human. You're a wolf. And we're both Garou . Are't we supposed to... not do this?"
"Well, The bible stuff is for humans, one or two religions' worth. And i'm not a wolf when we're hittin' the mat. Now the litany's another story. I'm not mating with you, because I mate once a year-"
"-In good years." They both laughed. Ringer though I'll never leave him. Never.
"And if you're hoping for cubs I have some explaining to do." His face grew serious. "But the Litany is for real."
Enough of that tangent, the Litany! Basically it’s the Ten Commandments: Werewolf Edition. It’s a list of tenets that were (in theory) handed down by Gaia herself. The scenario via which we learn about the litany? We’re flashing back to when the entire pack were in a diner the previous day.
”Other tribes don’t like our take on the Litany....” Mandy blew across a cup of coffee in Sally Ann’s as cars whizzed by. Woodstock was already steamy this early on a summer morning.
“LIke the Talons?” Joné dug into a tofu scramble on toast. The owners has let Hack in (good reason to come here) and Ringer had given him last night’s Chinese leftovers while the other patrons smiled.
Mandy goes on to state that “the litany is phrased the way it is for a reason” but also “Things change. Oh, things change.” so it’s written the way it is but it also changes, or something.
Anyways, you know how I’ve been harping on how the Ringer/Hack relationship is really out of place in Werewolf: the Apocalypse? The reason is rule 1 of the Litany.
Garou Shall Not Mate With Garou
Mandy pushed her eggs aside. The diner crowd was thinning as the morning passed. “Yeah, this is a tough one, because humans don’t understand us, and wolves are only up for it during estrus. Basically it means don’t, really don’t, make metis. I know, Rich, you don’t like that. Sorry. But that’s what it means.”
Joné asked, “So two Garou, if they like each other, they can-”
“Careful. Really Careful. Our bodies don’t work like a human’s, so pills and condoms don’t always work either. If you’re gay, just have a pup by kinfolk and no one will care; if you’re straight, watch it with other Garou.”
“But isn’t that rule kind of, well, outdated?” Joné was curious.
“No. For one, if you flaunt a Garou lover, other people will get jealous, and you don’t want to go through what a proven charac goes through. For another... well, I know a Fury who had a metis pup aborted -” Rich growled softly - “Because it would have killed her before birth. So watch it.”
Combat the Wyrm Wherever it Dwells and Whenever it Breeds
They were back in the truck, highway rushing past. Hack said, “The Litany orders us to battle, but Garou have fought for eons against the Evil One and the Wyrm just grows stronger no matter what we do. If we’re working for peace, we’ve failed.” he was in Lupus as usual, sprawled across Ringer’s lap. How lucky we are, Ringer thought. If I was dating a human, I couldn’t have his head in my lap, not most places.
“There are lots of ways to ‘combat’ the Enemy.” Mandy turned in the shotgun seat as Rich drove. “Violence really just makes the Beast-Of-War stronger, and it’s how the other tribes have kept on losing. If you kill a dozen Black Spirals, the Hive can just go out raping and make more - sorry Rich. But it’s true. But if you create a lasting peace, like the peace between Japan and the US, then the WYrm loses strength. It’s harder work than fighting, but it yields a better crop.”
Respect the Territory of Another
"This is one of the lesser commandments these days," Mandy said as they parked the truck amidst myriad vehicles. Hack jumped from the tailgate as Ringer and Joné left on human feet. His nose twitched, maybe, Ringer thought, at the crushed and poisoned grass that lay round them. "Most septs will at least leave you alone unless you cross them. I don't even know why the elders-"
"What the coil is wrong with you?" Hack exploded in the High Tongue. He trotted among them through the festival gate. "Look, you're born human, but you can still smell someone else's piss as well as I can. Maybe homids can squash it, but the feeling is real. Any warm-blood, maybe the deaders too, gets jumpy around Strangers! it's not something you can wish away. You twolegs scent yourselves, wash yourselves, and keep your distance even then. Your blood knows if you don't. There's a reason for that rule."
Accept an Honorable Surrender
This section is bad, but not 'quote the whole thing' bad. Joné argues that this tenet implies that it's even better to resolve a problem without fighting. Hack states that all of Gaia's children have ways to avoid fighting. Joné counters that Humans don't. Then Hack(the wolf) points out that humans created diplomacy, statecraft, and the Congress of Vienna.
Submission to those of a higher station
This part isn't horrible, just wordy.
Starts out with a "Not It" contest when they try to decide who their Pack Alpha is, then we get to Mandy, "'I am not some kind of patriarchal authority figure. I think it's an outmoded idea.' She folded her arms defiantly." Which of course pisses off Hack. They go back and forth for a while when a guy shows up out of nowhere and interrupts them.
"Excuse me," the stranger said in slightly accented Garou, "Moon shine always on you. I am Ten Bulls, and come with news. Who is your great blessed alpha?"
"I...I am. A star shines on the hour of our meeting, Ten Bulls. I am Amanda." The human names sounded odd in the Garou sentence.
"Your fame goes far, Amanda." Clearly it hadn't if he didn't know her deed name, but he was being polite. "Four Winds Howl sends his greetings and bids you to the council fire at moonries. The Pipe will pass among us then. Is it your pleasure to attend?"
"It is... we'd be honored, yes." She nodded.
"May mother keep you till then." He loped off toward another campsite.
"That was weird," said Joné.
The First Share of the Kill for the Greatest in Station
Hack Growled, "Food isn't always plentiful. The strong need to be strong. Someone in the pack has to be in fighting form."
"Social Dariwnism, dammit. Well," Amanda insisted, "I'm not a wolf. And i don't hunt for my food. So what good is that to me?"
"It's about sharing, period." Rich was sitting by the fire's ashes. "About portioning out. You said the leaders aren't always the old, the strong, the lucky. Well if the Greatest gets the first share, then he should use it for the good of the tribe. Maybe he needs to feed his warriors. Maybe mothers, maybe the poor among the Kin. Maybe he is wise enough to know what to do with it. And it's not just about deer's meat. It's everything. It's your damn passion for social justice, okay?"
"You two-legs turn the Litany upside down!" Hack growled. "It is the truth, not grass to be twisted and woven."
"It's words. if they mean something different to me, you've no right to call me wrong."
Ye Shall Not Eat the Flesh of Humans or Wolves
Hack dares Joné to re-interpret this one... and she rises to the occasion. "Just about every human society I ever heard of has rules against eating human flesh, most human flesh, most of the time. So is that one also a command not to 'eat' people by taking away their food? What they need to live?" what? If I eat a hamburger, I'm committing cannibalism by not letting someone else eat that hamburger? Then Ringer agrees with her and says that they should talk about that at the campfire they got invited to later that night. Also, it should be mentioned that Ringer has been practicing his staff-fighting forms since they arrived at Woodstock again, and at this point Hack bites said staff and they start playing tug of war.
Respect those beneath ye - all are of Gaia
This is basically a general "Don't be a dick to humans and kinfolk" Rule, though it's also a "Don't be an asshole if you're the alpha" Thing. Though Rich gets a dig in at the Get of Fenris "The Get are beneath us, beneath or contempt, at least. Do we respect them?"
The peacemaking tribe. Folks.
The Veil shall not be lifted
You know, don't let humans know that werewolves exist. Kind of the exact opposite of this.
Look, Leif drew a Werewolf on model for once. Give him a gold star.
"This is the worst one for us. We're all of us closer to the humans than safety would wish... the Veil is weak for us." This is true, the CoG clan flaw is that humans get kicked up a few notches on the chart for if they remember the werewolves or go crazy or not. Mandy sees this as a great thing, "We can share Gaia's blessing with everyone. That's why she gave us this gift." Which is probably why they were talking about Garou breeding habits in the middle of a restaurant not two hours ago feeding their wolf pack mate leftover Chinese food.
Do not suffer thy people to tend to your sickness
Which they interpret as "Don't ask for help, but you don't have to turn it down if offered." The example give of this is a 110 year old werewolf howling, and Joné and Mandy geeking out about how awesome she was.
The Leader may be challenged at any time during peace
This section is completely disjointed due to the narrative.
1. the author gets in a dig at Hunters by calling them "those crazy humans with burning baseball bats."
2. Ringer once again comments at how awesome it is to have a gay wolf as a boyfriend since they're doing the head-in-lap thing again.
3. An Imminent Strike Philodox challenges True Silverheels for dominance of the CoG because he thinks that his passivity will get them crushed under the heel of the Wyrm. Like, just out of nowhere. Mid sentence he just interrupts the proceedings at the moot fire and issues a challenge.
4.The book gets an actual genuine laugh out of me. "Hack went to where halfMoons were gathering to judge. Ringer wondered how many years collectively had gone to legal wrangling while species went extinct daily. Gaia, forgive us for the snail darter. "
The Leader May Not Be Challenged During Wartime
The two heroes circled int he council ring. They disputed judges, argued over what gamecraft was appropriate. Finally a Garou approached armed and in jungle fatigues. "Warriors of Gaia! War not with each other. Winter-stars, let us return to our seats. There is much that we must attend to." Rich sat bolt upright, startled into Crinos.
"Mule! That's garret Faithful! Look, Ringer!" Ringer saw the hero lead Winter-Stars toward the ranks of chairs that the Knights had erected. Garret's ash-blond hair and kingly features made him as hard to ignore as a battlefield flare. A female Knight sat by Winter-Stars and spoke into his ear.
"So his alpha can just call him off like that?" Ringer was curious.
Rich leaned closer. "He called war discipline on him. The Knights are fighting down there in the Amazon; Garret can't be challenged until the Garou withdraw. Believe me he's not power hungry. But he's the only one they'll listen to." As well as a hero to Full Mons, Rich didn't add. That made sense, Ringer thought. No anarchists in foxholes.
"Especially not in a sacred place. That's the biggest rule of all."
What's that? There might actually be some fighting over what's the proper course of action? NO! Ringer's personal hero will show up to stop things since the CoG can never be wrong ever. Oh, and that line there at the end?
You shall take no action that causes a Caern to be Violated
Yeah, there's a dormant Croatan caern here, on the Woodstock 1999 grounds. Yeah, they let thousands of humans just wander around here. Yes they address this, sort of.
"I think the humans are safer with us here than not. I know, bringing humans and the People together like this is a little weird. But it can really dispel suspicion that there's something weird going on if people walk through a park and don't see anything strange. Hiding in plain sight has saved a lot of Garou."
"What if there's trouble?"
"Other tribes blame it on us 'breaking the Litany' again. Funny, when we save a caern they aren't as quick to praise us. Caerns and septs have to make these decisions themselves. So always ask if you bring someone, anyone. The Skinner may be dead but there are many just as bad."
And that's all the tenets of the litany. At least, that's all the ones that all the other tribes have. CoGs are so special they added another one.
Create and Pursue Peace Wherever you Can
This is completely ancellary. All it is is a sniping match between Hack and Mandy over whether animals are violent or not, while Ringer uses Joné's visor to search up pictures of Harpy knives... because large curved flensing knives are SUPER Peaceful.
Now we're REALLY done with the Litany, which means we get to move on to the next section that every white wolf book is required to have by law, Stereotypes!
I'll just point out the really bad ones.
Black Furies : They're all women, they're "Not all lesbos, most I know are hetero", they keep a few metis men around, since they can't father kids anyway. but otherwise they're probably the closest tribe to the CoG, even though they're all warrior amazons.
Bone Gnawers : Rich-"They are the best friends I ever had. Gnawers spoke for me in moot when the Children of Gaia would not. They love metis as well as two-legs. Honor to the sons of rat!' He seemed to consider the matter settled."
Fianna : They hate meits and all the fera. They would have let Rich's mom's die in childbirth if they could help it. CoG's see them as debaucherous assholes who don't want to do any actual work.
Get of Fenris
This one gets a quote.
"They're the Germans... Scandahoovians, whatever, right? are they all crazy? Nazi types?
"Most Get I know would pull your intestines out through your throat for calling them Nazis. They believe in the strong dominating the week, but the way this one Get put it, they thought the Nazi party was governed by the weak. But as for being crazy - well, yeah. They are given to war, enough that I fear Beast-Of-War lives in them. They hate us for seeking peace, hate all humans -"
"Wolves too. I know," said Hack.
"-Who aren't 'pure' enough for them. So wolves that are part dog, humans who are, well, anything but white, they don't like. ANd ringer - they don't like gay people either, even when the Get practice some... violent homo-stuff themselves. Maybe if they saw how strong we are in different ways, how hard we struggle, that what we seek is purer than anyone's hate, purer than anyone's race, that peace is stronger than giving into Rage, maybe then they would struggle as hard for peace as for victory. Maybe.
I can't go into too much detail but, basically, this is so amazingly wrong in every single way save them not being nazis. And weren't they saying that the Get weren't racist this very chapter?
Shadow Lords : "They're really more like the kings of the spoiled potato salad. They love telling other Garou what to do, and they boss their kin around really badly. A lot of their kin leave, even go to other tribes. They love darkness, dark magic, it all stinks." apparently the only reason they haven't been kicked out of the garou nation is because they tricked the other tribes into thinking they're okay.
The lupus' eyes were hard and cold. "I suppose there aren't enough stories of Children of Gaia deciding to try trusting their most ancient enemies and getting stabbed in the back for their trouble? Not enough stories about us getting massacred for opening our arms to real monsters? You want to write a few more?" He locked eyes with mandy for a moment, then looked away. "Fine, dream your dreams."
Fade to White
fine, whatever. After wards, Ringer decides to go take a shower and
"Hey, you're with Joné Palladino's pack, right?" It was Soldier-of-Paradise, towel over his shoulders.
"Yeah. Kevin. Ringer, i guess, here. Uh, good story, the one about Crete." Why, Ringer wondered, am I so tongue-tied?
"Thanks, whatever. Just somethin' I heard from that Professor. Hey, glad you guys made it.
"Hey, it's none'a my business," the little man went on in his maybe-Oklahoma drawl, "but you and the wolf... you two together?"
Why not tell him the truth? Not like he's gonna mess with me, Ringer thought. His heart still flip-flopped, from a life in the closet. "Yeah, he's... I mean, we're..."
"Yeah. I could tell. Hey, it's awright. just... you know, don't be a shit about it. You know? And-"
Soldier of Paradise was grinning. "It makes you happy, man. It makes you fuckin' glow. I can see that, and I don't even know you. That's really cool."
After that there's a chapter on the Children of Gaia around the world, which is incredibly stupid. Why is it incredibly stupid? Because most of them are written in character as people sending Joné E-mails, or AIM Transcripts. It's hard to figure out what's canon information and what's bullshit.
I have no idea who this is supposed to be
There's a few rants from the POVs of various characters around the world about how all the world governments suck equally and don't adhere as much to peace as they should. Generally stupid stuff.
Until you get to North America, where we get stories about how the Children of Gaia used Moon Bridges (Which are more or less exactly what they sound like, Caern to Caern paths through the spirit world made of moonlight) to smuggle slaves out of the South.
There is one story from Australia that deserves mentioning.
The children in Australia have been shaken deepl by the dissapearance and apparent death of the Metis scientist Cernounos. This brilliant Garou had taken DNA samples from specimens of thylacine skin and hair, supplementing them with living blood cells provided to him by a mysterious Aboriginal man who claimed to know the last Bunyip Kinfolk could be found near the Torres Strait. Using this DNA, he cloned several "Garou" infants and brought them to term using plastic pouches to simulate the thylacine's birth experience. The litter grew quickly and began Changing within two months of birth. The largest female, called Greatstripe, became the leader and the pack became brutal hunters. The native spirits remained silent on the new "Bunyip" and Cernounos told no one about his research. Gradually Darius Winchester, our Silver Fang King, became aware of the new creatures. And so did others: rumor has it that a cabal of life-warping humans with Gifts sought to use the Metis' scholarship for their own ends.
When the new pack of "Bunyip" were about a year old, they dissapeared. Their creator confided in his co-leader Inanna, then went to seek his lost "children" and never returned.
It does in the worst possible way
They do, however, leave us with a picture of Ringer and Joné.
Which is where the chapter ends.
Next Time: Magic Shit and Orgy Mechanics
Fetishes & FetishesOriginal SA post
Since it took me so long to get the last half of chapter 2 up, I figured I'd put some extra time in and get this finished up.
Chapter 3: Fetishes & Fetishes
Here we are, folks, the reason I wanted to review this book. Sure the other chapters have been bad, but this chapter can take the cake of all of them. Not only does this chapter have some of the worst IC Fiction of them all, it also has actual mechanics.
To set us off on the right foot, it opens up with a quote
What would that world be, a world without war? It would be the real world. Peace was the true life, the life of working and learning and bringing up children to work and learn. War, which devoured work, learning, and children, was the denial of reality.
- Ursula K. Le Guin, Four Roads to Forgiveness
Well first off, he got the name of the book wrong , secondly that's one hell of a cherry pick, as the quote continues
But my people, she thought, know only how to deny. Born in the dark shadow of power misused, we set peace out- side our world, a guiding and unattainable light. All we know to do is fight. Any peace one of us can make in our life is only a denial that the war is going on , a shadow of the shadow, a doubled unbelief.
Which pretty much fits the Children of Gaia perfectly, how can you seek peace when you are literally born for war? If we had a better author maybe we'd be addressing that point, but these are gay hippie werewolves who love peace and can do no wrong, so we can't have any kind of dissent from our magic peace utopia.
There are a few more paragraphs before we get to the rules where we are told "It should also be noted that Children are very, very rarely creatures of passive resistance - they're werewolves, and as such potentially the least passive creatures on the planet." Which runs counter to most of the rest of the book, where we're shown peace lines preventing police from getting at a ritual, our pack running away from the police, and only beating up people because they were giving the rest of the peaceful protestors a bad name. Show, don't tell.
There's nothing new here, and they paint in broad strokes around the fact that the other tribes don't really trust them enough to form any real lasting bonds, so most of their Allies and Mentors are other Children of Gaia. They also say that someone who has a bunch of Ancestors rating is usually cynical because they are "Well aware just how recent most Western cultural revelations are," which I'm not quite sure how to parse.
There are a bunch of these so I'll be only including the notable ones.
By dipping your hand or touching your forehead to a body of water, you can cleanse it. Which itself isn't notable, the associated picture, however, is.
Which is apparently some kind of wolf-ferret thing.
Swallow Rage(Level One)
You can prevent yourself from going into a frenzy by either beating yourself until you stop, or shaking so hard your muscles/tendons break. Which I'm including because that's a pretty hardcore way to keep yourself from frenzying in public.
Domestic Seeming(Level One)
You make yourself look like a dog in wolf form temporarily. It says even vampires and mages are fooled. Which is kind of dumb.
Grandmother's Touch(Level Two)
There's a rank 1 gift available to every Theurge, CoG, and some tribal camps, called 'Mother's Touch' that only allows you to heal others. This one allows you to heal yourself as well. I suppose the idea is that if you are the mother, then your mother (the grandmother) can heal you.
The only reason I'm including this is because of the next gift.
Lover's Touch(Level Three)
That's a rather drastic escalation.
The Garou touches the afflicted person kindly; the system is the same as for Mother's Touch. The two need not be lovers but the contact must convey affection and warmth; the two may embrace, one may caress the other or wrestle with him, or there may be further intimacy. The Garou spends a Gnosis point and rolls Int+Med as usual; each success may restore one health level of damage, one point of Willpower, or one point of Essence (if the target is a spirit).
So yeah, if you really wanted to have your Ahroun fuck health back into a spirit, now you can.
Soothe the Savage Beast(Level Three)
By "being the catalyst for any sort of soothing music(singing, turning on a radio, playing a CD, etc.) the garou makes it more difficult to Rage." The idea being that you can have a duel between Garou and have soothing music playing so that they don't frenzy and kill each other, another example is when the Children must fight another tribe, they sometimes use this gift because they are more adpet at fighting without their Rage.
Which I'm picturing as the Get of Fenris getting their Asses kicked because one guy's standing off to the side holding up a boombox like John Cusack.
Next up are fe-
HA HA NO posted:
Night had fallen some time ago and the circle of Garou was well lit by the Umbral fire, but it became noticeable that more fires were erupting in the material world.
Oh, right, it's the last night of Woodstock '99.
Ringer peeks sideways and sees people tearing down the peace wall and throwing it into giant bonfires. then yells "You guys better step sideways right now!" and Ringer and his pack shift to human form and do so.
More shouting and screaming could be heard over the Flaming Green Jumping Beans' music. In the mosh pit, he saw fights, with two guys at least lying still and bloody as the band screamed "Yeah! Kick some ass, doods! Get it on! Rowdy! Rowdy! Rowdy! Whooee!"
Now admittedly I wasn't at Woodstock '99, but I'm almost 100% certain that the Red Hot Chilli Peppers didn't do this.
Rich notes "Something is going horribly wrong here," but before anyone can act, Garret Faithful, Ringer's personal hero, points at a crowd and screams "They're raping that girl! Come!" The security crew start pulling the "idiotic band" off the stage, when Mandy notices a "Gauntlet of men forcing frightened, screaming women through their ranks." So she calls for the pack to go over there and stop them.
Ringer takes this opportunity to think "How had the peaceful air of the concert changed? Why had everyone become so violent?" Apparently he was too busy sleeping with Hack to have noticed Limp Bizket's set the night earlier. Or Rage Against the Machine's set immediately afterward where they Burned the American Flag .
Anyways, their first 'pack action' is a complete failure. Rich is snatching bottles of water and belts from the men who are using them to beat the women. Any who resist get a backhand to the ground where 'they lay very still.' Joné is comforting the women that they've already saved rather than helping them save more. Ringer is playing 'when all you have is a hammer' and bashing people bloody with his staff, and Hack is 'getting a little too into dealing out justice." To which Amanda comments "We need work."
Immediately after they disperse the 'wilding line', a horrible noise catches their attention, Rich feels his hair stand on end, and he steps sideways. He sees the spider webs that make up the spiritual reflection of the air force base bulging with black liquid, and steps back into the material world just in time to avoid getting covered in 'vile blackness'.
"I think this place of power has been claimed by the wrong side," Rich had just begun to say when dark forms burst forth from the bonfires of burning port-a-potties and water booths. they were easily identified as Black Spirals and twisted formori.
What?! Were they just hiding in the port-a-potties waiting for their chance?
Garret Faithful runs past and calls Ringer and his pack to action, citing "Trouble at the main stage - follow me!" and tells them to "keep peace, keep the human shape. Find the troublemakers and sit on 'em."
Hack's Immediate response is to say "So much for homid only!" shift to Hispo(dire wolf), charge the nearest Black Spiral Dancer, and sit on him while ringer beats his head in with his bo. Joné's in Glabro(big-ish human) form too, so they're just completely ignoring the stated procedure at this point.
Ringer and Hack(back in Human form) jump two guys hassling kinfolk by the speaker tower, only to get overpowered by them when they turn out to be Formori. Ringer's assailant picks him up and smashes him into the speaker tower a few times before one of the Kinfolk smashes the Formor in the head with a chunk of concrete. He takes the opportunity to get him in a choke hold at which point she hits him again, twice. Ringer throws him to the ground and kicks him in the stomach to make sure he's unconscious. At this point the kinfolk smiles and pulls out a switchblade, wait what?
"Shall I? Or are we being peaceful?"
"Leave it to the war leaders. No need to do any more killing than we have to."
Uhh yeah just ignore the fact that she had a switchblade and was asking if she should kill a dude Ringer, it's a completely reasonable reaction
At this point the cops show up, clean up the stragglers, disperse the rabble, etc. Amanda gets a chance to take a final look at the scene and realizes
A Pit. This whole thing could have ended with the creation of a Pit. The Dancers and formori were already there in force, ready to begin the rites; when the concert-goers flew out of control, that must have been like a sirens song tot he banes in the area- or any that came with the fallen. They almost did it. They could have done it, encouraging even more suffering and cruelty as they went, generating enough anguish to taint the caern into something horrible.
Or, you know, if you guys had done the sensible thing and not let them hold Woodstock on top of a dormant caern you wouldn't have had to narrowly escape doom. This is the thing that bothers me most about the narrative (other than all the historical facts that they got wrong) the fact that they let all these humans onto one of their most sacred sites, because they hoped that all the peace love and happiness from the first woodstock would just open up a new caern of love and understanding right then and there. Which is violation of multiple tenets of the Litany on a tribal scale.
Alright, we're done with the Ringer and Joné show for now..
Now we're ready to take a swan-dive into the Abyss.
Rite of the Teachers
Use spiritual awakened drugs that are so toxic they deal bashing damage to you, so you can step sideways easier
The Bowels of the Mother
Author's Friend Soldier-of-Paradise is quoted as coming up with this rite, as he was serving on a Navy ship and couldn't get access to the earth required for his ritual. Which, being a ragabash and therefore godlike in the eyes of the author, prompted him to think "There's wind in your lungs, water in your veins, fire in your heart, and soil in your bowels. " Yeah, when I said this chapter had magic shit in it I literally meant Feces. Basically if you know this rite, you can substitute the body of another person (over your heart instead of over a fire, is a given example) for another Rite, but it makes the other rite harder to do.
Then out of nowhere
Soldier-of-Paradise was not successful in his attempts to perform the Rite of Spiritual Awakening on his intestinal bacteria, but perseveres nevertheless.
Rite of the Pregnant Mule
This rite is basically a rebirthing ceremony that lets a Metis adopt another child. "The adoptive parents are then counted as the true parents of the child in every way (including Renown)." Except I can't think of a single mechanical benefit of being considered someone's parent outside of a few gifts in a few books (not this one, notably), and being the parent of a Metis is actually a Renown penalty , so okay then.
Out of nowhere at the bottom of the page we have this image. Which is it's own special combination of amazing and horrifying. I'll let you guys chew on it without my commentary but I will tell you that yes, there was something there for me to censor.
Rite of Comfort
The Ritemaster chants, burns mystic incense, and engages the sufferer in breathing excercises. The dispirited may leave before the rite begins, but not after it has started. The recipient takes the number of successes as extra Willpower, she may not harm herself until all the bonus points of willpower are gone.
Basically spiritual Intervention.
Anyways, we turn the page and this happens
Remember how I've been saying "Wait 'til chapter 3"? This is chapter 3.
Rite of the Clouds and Rain
This rite is kept a careful secret by Children of Gaia, and all who so much as know of it must swear never to mention it among non-initiates - if revealed, anyone involved would likely be ostracized by the rest of the Garou Nation. It allows the partial control of Rage at the price of violating a basic Garou law: the first precept of the Litany.
The rite involves channeling the force of Rage by having sex in Crinos form. To avoid injury or death to the partners, both must be Garou. Because the fear of producing a metis is so great, metis are often asked to perform the rite, as they are sterile. Some Garou often enjoy multiple partners while performing this rite, although having more than one sexual partner during the rite can be somewhat confusing. Some say that the more Garou are involved, the more powerful the rite becomes. The truth of this is unknown.
Why does this need to exist.
System: The sexual partners invoke the spirits of peace and of desire, spending a point of Gnosis. They must demonstrate genuine affection for each other , or the rite will not work. If it works, the Garou can control the tendency to frenzy for the rest of the story. The storyteller must determine the chance of pregnancy, if it is possible at all. Everyone involved in the rite loses a temporarily point of Honor; the spirits who empower the rite, permissive though they may be, are still witnesses to the participants' transgression.
Note that the mechanical benefits aren't actually expanded on, just 'control the tendency to frenzy', whether that's extra dice, a complete inability to frenzy, we don't know, and that's kind of the point. This is transparently just an excuse to have Crinos sex and lots of it. Note in the 'story' part it says that having multiple partners empowers the rite further, but the System section says that they must demonstrate genuine affection for each other... did I start reading Bliss Stage by mistake?
MET: Owing to the nature of the rite, this is best done through Storytelling.
And thank god for that.
Rite of Anger's Purge
This allows you to literally beat Permanent rage rating out of someone, it's listed as a punishment rite but there's opportunities for this to be mechanically exploited. This is, supposedly, the way they subdued Dad Vader.
Rite of Talisman Adaptation
For the low low price of triple the gnosis points of the Rite of Talisman Dedication you can make your dedicated items shapeshift with you, like a backpack turning into a dog-pack.
Except that's what the Rite of Talisman Dedication already does .
Rite of the Sacred Peace
Other than using the word Peace so much that it ceases to have all meaning, this is *apparently* what caused that guy back in ancient sumer to get captured and put on a literal leash. I'm beginning to see a lot of rites that exist only to justify the stories the author came up with... or stories that were made to justify the existence of the rites.
Alternation of Generations
Case in point, remember that story that Hack was telling Mandy about a rite that would let her have wolf cubs? This is it. by spending a Permanent point of Gnosis, a female can birth a child of the opposite breed form, no guarantee that they'll be Garou... and the XP cost for Gnosis is rather substantial.
But that's not the worst part of this rite
The ancient lupus among the Children of Gaia beheld the "Eternal Heat" of humankind and realized that this ability could vastly increase their breeding capability as well as enhancing the pleasures of mating.
Rite of the Parted Veil
This allows Garou to 'adopt' humans as kinfolk. Which... dammit CoG's, stop being so stupidly trusting of people.
Behold the rare porcuwolf
Merits and Flaws
Just going to touch on the notable ones, most of which are flaws.
You're REALLY GOOD at inspiring people. "(You must roleplay this, of course)" which gives you a -2 difficulty to social rolls... wait what? a 2 point merit that gives you a -2 difficulty to ANY social roll? *and* you give +1 die to any group effort? There's a reason they got rid of difficulty reduction merits in Revised.
This one... I kind of like. for every flaw point you take your maximum rage is lowered by 2, to a max of 3/6. And you're "doglike" in appearance. There's also social problems, it oozes style and it isn't creepy. So i like it.
That didn't take long.
You can't intentionally harm anything, you automatically get the Vegan flaw, and can't deliberately cause Lethal or Agg damage. Ever. As a creature with a bite and claw attack built in that deal Agg.
Nothing worth noting.
And we're back to the fiction. They're packing after the concert, and planning for Seattle.
Joné checked over the route on her Visor, websurfing in the tail of the van with one leg dangling in the grass and the other tucked beneath her. They had already started strategy for the protests in Seaggle: thousands were gathering, Garou and Kin not least among them, to protest the globalization that made Pentex and its litter of corporations so powerful. Joné had logged them into a chatroom where all kinds of protestors, labor unions, women's groups, native peoples, gay rights activists, on and on, were swapping information, places to stay, places to eat (especially important if you were a vegan, she explained), what everyone was going to do when, even lyrics of songs and MP3 files of the music for everyone that wanted to sing, to shout, Ya Basta! ("Enough!") it sounded cool as hell; Ringer was happy just to be going somewhere, doing something that made a difference, but with people that, well, really cared about him
Mandy finished rolling up a tent atop a groundsheet and smiled. "Yeah. There's plenty of room; you guys would be great there. If you'll teach martial arts -"
"And interior decorating?" Gaia , Ringer thought, sweating and boiling New York sun, I am the luckiest guy alive. They're even kewl with me being with another Garou.
"Only if you want to. Is that all of the stuff from the tents?"
"Yeah, his and my stuff's in my car already. We're all ready to go." Guy thing: take what you need, pack it and get moving. Girls were different, Ringer thought. Or is that sexist? Hell if I know
We've already had too many of those... Oh wait magic items, got it.
Dice of Challenge
I like this one just because it's literally described as a pair of d6s. The judge spends 1 point of gnosis per person competing in the contest, they all roll the 2d6 of justice, and whoever rolls highest 'wins' the argument.
Tattoo of True Shape
A fetish created by Soldier-Of-Paradise again (isn't he dreamy?) It's lets you shapeshift to larger forms in smaller spaces, like say, the hallways of a navy ship?
Ugh, yet another piece of crunch that oozes 'peace'. You walk from caern to caern across the land, stopping at each one to speak out about peace, gather followers, and have kinfolk decorate the staff. When you finally arrive at your destination you get +1 die on peacemaking rolls for each caern you've visited which lasts for 1 day per caern visited. Apparently there's one elderly CoG that's been walking for forty years gathering Trinkets from caerns... you know, rather than actually doing any fighting.
Those are some creepy creepy faces on the men
Fuck you TB:COG.
Not going to talk about how AWESOME you are about making peace that you have your own skill.
Garou Staff Fighting, it's got lots of flavor, and is described as a semi-non-lethal alternative to Klaviskar or Kalindo.
Shitty artwork though.
They all aren't all that *useful* but they're still flavorful, I'd need someone else to tell me if the moves are even remotely translated correctly (they're all in gratuitous Sumerian) but they're still interesting.
And that's chapter 3
Next: Chapter 4: Elvis, Hillary Clinton, and General Martok
PCs and NPCsOriginal SA post
Chapter Four and Epilogue: PCs and NPCs
This chapter is short enough to finish in one update because it's nothing but Premade characters and 'Tribal Personalities' read, historically important NPCs.
Which means this is the last update I have to do for this book!
We start with a doozy
At least it's not Leif Jones anymore
Quote Hey, stupid, that light is green!
Concept: You exemplify the No-Moon as contrary and questioner of the ways - perhaps a little too much. At moots you recite a strange kind of inverted Litany, insisting that strangers should be allowed to walk into caerns unannounced and that Garou should have sex with each other! When the backward interpretation of the Litany is helpful, you are there to say it was the truth all along. When it isn't - well, that makes the Philodox look good, right?
Roleplaying Notes: You're a contrary, but not as a joke; you legitimately believe that playing devil's advocate is a good and necessary par of any important decision. Tell stories in a reversed way so as to highlight the cruelty and prejudice of Garou (and human). When you creatively misinterpret things that you see or that people say and do, allow them to misinterpret you and your ideas: fair is fair. Act contrary about half the time, and refuse to be predictable; always keep them thinking about what you're saying. Anyone can laugh at you, but they should feel a little big uneasy at the same time. No one save yourself really knows when you're mad (or do you?)
Quote: Let's party!
Prelude: You were born to a wealthy Kinfolk family and raised to aspire to high standards of living. Unlike most other homids, you were carefully groomed to the ideals of tribal culture (even if they didn't tell you about the tribe until much later). The peace and love stuff was pretty good, but what you really liked was the permissive attitude towards lovemaking and altered states of consciousness. Your teenage years were quite a ride.
Except she DOES that's why she does all the drugs.
Concept: You're a high school stoner turned apprentice ritemaster, expert in the ritual use of teacher plants, drugs, and alcohol. You like having a good time: Drink, weed, sex and dancing. The spirits do too so why complain? Some spirits like to possess you in return for giving you knowledge or using their powers why they are embodied in you. Of course, while they are around, they want to sample the pleasures of mortal existence, and you have no trouble obliging.
Also her equipment entry notes "Condoms, half a dozen secret stashes, spare set of 'party' clothes" to drive the point home the "Sex, drugs, and parties" thing.
Quote: Fate is not always fair, but she's real. Now, pick a number, high or low.
Concept: You're a recovering gambling addict who's trying to learn the purer ideas behind games of chance and skill. Your risk addiction is satisfied by the thrill of Garou deeds, and you are much in demand for gamecraft at moots. Your fascination with all the arts of the game makes you a model arbitrator for challenges of that sort, although you like staredown and combat challenges much less. Games of chance are your specialty, although you are learning that games of pure mental acumen such as chess and go are a much better test of wits; but card games, matching luck with cleverness and people skills, are your favorite
Quote: Here, class: see how the wolf's foot is adapted to run on forest floors...
It's a pretty good plot hook, and a perfectly serviceable NPC. But it's a really bad character. Having Werewolf Steve Irwin run up to you and let you know that there's a wyrm tainted teacher trying to corrupt a classroom of kinfolk and pre-change Garou and requesting your help to sort it out? Works pretty well. Being that NPC means you're either splitting the party or you've got the rest of the party traveling around the country/state with you waiting for you to find wyrm for them to punch.
Quote: (turn, turn, kick, turn, somersault, full stop and bow)
Concept: You're an Ahroun who channels your rage through physical exercise, dance in particular. As one of the few remaining lupus in the tribe, you provide a useful point of view in moots. You want to become a better warrior but recognize that dancing is a valuable outlet for you. Your intense interest in martial arts, especially Iskakku, led to a similar interest in dance, and you spend some time with a dance troupe in a large city. Your undocumented status as an "immigrant" may cause problems at some point, as you have no identification at all.
Roleplaying Notes: Speak little, do rather than say, and be at your most eloquent as a dancer.
All of these characters come with pre-filled out character sheets, and they're all pretty much horrible. The Theurge and Philodox have no brawl, melee, or firearms skill. The Ragabash and Galliard have 1 dot of brawl each, and the Ahroun has (gasp) 2, and 2 dots of Iskakku. Everyone except the Ahroun have their physical stats as tertiary, and the Theurge has a stamina of 1. I'm all for having non-combat characters in games, but in a game like Werewolf you at least need to know how to throw a punch or shoot a gun. If you actually took these precons and made them into a Pack, they'd die horribly in the first combat encounter they couldn't fuck, dance, or gamble away.
The book heralds the next section as Peaceweavers but it's the important NPCs section, even more importantly is we're back to Leif Jones artwork.
Someone, somewhere, looked at this and said "Yes, Leif, that looks like a werewolf."
"Him-Her" was covered earlier in the book, which makes me wonder why they're featured again here. But there's a lot of contradictions to the previously mentioned story. Apparently 1: They were not murdered by angry talons, their entire family was instead. 2: They didn't die before hearing the verdict on the repeal of the Impergium, they were killed in the first post-impergium city by vampires who wanted it for their feeding grounds.
So i guess even the authorial mouthpieces can be wrong?
Christine de Pisan
No. No, stop it TB:COG.
Yes, the author is claiming that the "mother of modern feminism" was a Children of Gaia Kinfolk. Yeah, not actually a werewolf (thank god?), but apparently City of Ladies was written to try and calm down the Black Furies, and one of her "Child of Gaia Allies" took her on regular Umbral journeys to talk to the spirits.
Apparently he was a Christian missionary sent with the establishing fleet to Australia when they sent the first prisoners for the penal colony. Except that with his birth date (one is provided) that would have made him eighteen, pretty young for a priest even in those days. He chafed with the Silver Fangs over the treatment of the aboriginals and got sent to Norfolk Island to live out the rest of his days where he spent his time reforming rapists and murderers.
Yet another kinfolk, Elihu Barret was a legendary blacksmith and took a vow of poverty. Taught himself French, Spanish, German, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, and Hindi. And even Though he took a vow of poverty, worked through letters and personal visits to bring together peace workers in Europe and North America. He created the "League of Brotherhood", which was a Garou Organization working for peace in the Nineteenth Century. He died a elderly man saddened at all of the senseless death in World War I.
Except his name was Elihu BURRITT , his nickname was the "Learned Blacksmith" not "Steelwright", he created the League of Nations, and he died after the CIVIL war. He also most definitely did not look like an Elvis Impersonator. It's pretty amazing what authors thought they could get away with in the days before Wikipedia.
He's one of the heavy hitters in the Amazon war (and ringer's personal hero), but he's worried that war is only feeding the Wyrm and (Sigh) that he should seek Peace.
Otherwise he's completely bland. Next.
She's the founder of Project Vajra, which sends Garou teams into countries in southeast Asia to get pictures and other evidence of human rights abuses to report them to the UN. Apparently several countries have sent kill teams after her.
Also I think Leif traced a picture of Hillary Clinton.
The dude from the cover, and that picture looks really familiar for some reason. His background states that he's probably one of the best diplomats the Garou Nation has ever seen, and he'd probably be able to bring down the tribal barriers if, you know, it weren't for the fact that he's got ram horns, making it a little difficult to move around in human society.
He's also given a statblock and roleplaying notes, which contain this gem.
You never truly feel welcome at any sept; it seems sometimes that people would rather listen to a white boy calling himself Wendigo or a scruffy Fianna Ragabash than you.
Samuel "The Skinner" Haight
Odds are you've heard of this guy, because he's the entire reason that revised World of Darkness games basically said "NO CROSSOVER, EVER".
He started out as any other kinfolk, but he was snubbed because he, unlike his father and brother, did not change. So he sought out a vampire and became a ghoul, as a ghoul he worked out some hedge magic, and found some cultists in India that taught himt he Ritual of Sacred Rebirth. Turns out if you skin 5 Garou under the same moon phase, and preserve their skins, then make a fur suit out of them and put it on under the same moon phase (I.E. skinned 5 guys under a full moon, then perform the ritual on a full moon) you become a Garou of that auspice, and if they didn't give their lives willingly, the wyrm corrupts the everliving FUCK out of you.
So now he's Garou, except that's not enough. He assaulted the Verbenna and stole the root of their Life Tree, giving him a staff that gave him archmage level powers.
This still wasn't enough, so he woke up the Baali Antedeluvian in hopes of draining his blood to become an even more powerful ghoul .
He died, horribly.
And to drive the point home, in the Wraith corebook they point out that one of the highest ranking members of the Wraith hierarchy has an Ashtray made out of the living essence of Haight's soul.
Did I mention he's CoG Kinfolk? Cause he is. They fucked up big time and the other tribes won't let them forget it.
Seattle, December 3, 1999
A band was playing a Baka Beyond tune that Ringer vaguely recognized, and a Choctaw dance troup in baggy shorts, t-shirts and feathered head-pieces was celebrating victory.
Suddenly the noise of shouts broke in. "Cops! Look out!" Why now? Ringer wondered for a moment, then struggled to keep his balance as two woman ran into him in panic. His back ached from kidneys trying to expel the tear gas.
The dancers fled, the band trying to carry their drums and didgeridoos. The crowd was breaking up, screams of fright as the cops showed up with shields and clubs to impose "order". Behind faceplates they looked fiercely pleased to be doing their job, angry after the rioters had destroyed so much and attacked so many people. Hack was nowhere in sight. Police vehicles moved into the ends of the block, voices blaring from loudspeakers. "Secure the area. Secure the area." Damn, ringer thought, this is looking bad.
A kinsman, Mike, was down from tear gas and Ringer was trying to wash his eyes when he felt a cop grab him - don't Rage!, he barely remembered in time - and shove him onto the ground. Next to him another cop was beating a skater kid, the boy's screams unheeded. Rage, and they'll all die. The cop screamed at him, spit falling on his neck, his turned head. Pain dislocated his world for a moment as the cop struck him on the arm. Gaia, this is hard, images of dismemberment, bowels on the street, the dying faces of foes and himself howling in triumph - don't! The asphalt ground into his face, his teeth. "Fuckin' anarchists!" The man pummeled him on the side of the head, dazing him. Gaia, this is hard. The baton hit him again, again, again, shoulders, back, one hard across his ass. One cop or two? he didn't know, mind awash in red.
No, of course not, he notices the friendship bracelet on his arm that Mandy won for telling the best story, and remembers "Peace. Mandy's knowlege, Joné's hate of violence, Rich's iron willpower, his partner's love. " and that gives him the willpower to force himself out of a frenzy.
See, the unbroken cord is an actual fetish in this book, but it's kind of stupid and almost worthless. I completely forgot it was referenced here so I didn't put it in the review. I went back and looked at it just now.
It doesn't do this. It doesn't do anything even remotely resembling this.
He shifts back to homid form, and gently leads one of the police officers over to the curb to sit down.
He took the horror-blasted, paralyzed cop in his hands, pushed him gently to a curb, made him sit down. He saw that his own hands and arms were covered in spray paint, a huge splatter of paintball paint along his side. Blood but no marks, no scars. The change had eaten Ringer's wounds, another evil blessing. The policeman, mouth open in shock, dropped his baton. It's okay, ringer wanted to say. I won't hurt you, dude. But the words didn't come.
That was okay.
It was an Ahroun's way to be silent.
Where the fuck did the paint come from? Were the police shooting him with paintball guns in between baton hits? Spraypaint? What?
And that last line? Seriously?
Ringer made it to the alley before throwing up. He sat there a long time before Hack game, wolf-shaped, and nosed into his chest, licking ringer's face. They waited till Ringer had stopped crying and his stomach was quiet, then walked through quieting streets to where their packmates waited.
We're almost at the end folks, just a few more pages.
Sunset Sea Caern, California, January 2000
The caern rang with the songs of the ritual, as Summer watched from a director's chair. Rich's father walked, danced, in a strange backward circle, spiraling outward from a face sandpainted at the circle's center. He then lay dazed-looking as the ritemaster, Silence-Covering-the-Sky, placed wafers of bread over his forehead and heart. She was a woman with red hair and freckles on her back, where her dress showed a curve of sunburn. "Into these, then, pass thy sins, and into who eats of them. May thy soul ascend to the sky, tossing on a fiery chariot...."
I mean, what would you do if you saw a dazed man stumbling around in a spiral away from a sand face, while people chanted, and the minute he fell to the ground someone put a plate on his back and started eating.
Anyways, they talk for a bit about if Rich really wants this to succeed or not, and if this is the right thing to do, or if it will even work. Odds are it won't, but they're hopeful.
Ringer woke, a moment's where-am-I resolving into yeah at the feel of his partner beside him. Early morning, sun through windows that Joné had likely opened en route to coffee. Hack slept on, blissful. He stretched, got up, and felt the past in the weight of his body on the floorboards. No pain, no scars: in that, Garou were more peacefulw ith themselves than humans ever could be. Into the kitchen in his Dalmatian print boxers, he found dishes in the sink - the others had been and gone, maybe watched the sun rise over the forest. There was, of course, coffee on top of the stove. Beyond the window the bamboo waved in the wind, undulating like the sea.
He sat with a cup on the back steps, wondering whether Woodstock and Seattle had done any good in a sick, dying world. Saving a girl from a mob, protesting the Wyrm's hell-body of corporations, dancing while species went extinct, chanting over a Black Spiral to save him, or yourself....
Of course it had done good. He couldn't stop the Apocalypse. But he could live his life, each day of his life, for good, not for ill. For good, not for gain. No matter where you were, you could serve Gaia, and he'd seen that himself. Thanks, Soldier-of-Paradise. What next?
I can go to Asia... or home. Or wherever. Where the pack goes. That's where I belong. They need me, I know that. I-
Need them Wind stroked him, raised gooseflesh.
He stood, stretched, stepped back inside the little house to where Hack lay. Behind him, he saw a fleck of green-gold fall, land in the coffee, sink. Grain? it had the shape of an ear of wheat. He stooped and looked.
It was a bamboo flower.
And that's the end of the book and the story.
There's a short section by Chad Imbrogno on "Peace as a theme in Werewolf." that is relatively well written. It touches on the fact that having your players at least talk about what peace is can make the violence that they do partake in more meaningful. Make them actually think and talk about what they're fighting for rather than give them an endless parade of Banes to kill. It also asks a few questions like "What is peace" "Who has the right to enforce peace" "What means can you use to enforce peace without making things worse" and "Why even bother." It's good, and I can't entirely fault it.
Which means the last little bit is going to be horrible.
To Chris and Jim, soldiers of paradise.
Author's Special Thanks
Thanks again to the clutch - oh, I mean the pack: Chad, Mike, Meegan, Dean, Neal, and Steph. Thanks to Chad, Neal and Steph for doing good research.
Thanks to Mark for being my inspiration for peace, and to Ursula K. Le Guin for seeing a world where peace was real.
Last, thanks to my students and friends aboard the USS MITSCHER.
This book is fantasy, and werewolves are imaginary creatures. But the causes that the Children of Gaia fight for are real, and so are the people, in our world, who work for them. Like the World of Darkness, our own world is in serious trouble. it does not have the Garou to defend it. But it has you and me. Issues I've worked on include women's reproductive rights, gay civil rights, recycling, organic gardening and farming, and police brutality. There are many other worthwhile causes, and I'd urge you to consider working for or donating to them.
Yes, you just paid Fifteen bucks to read a 100 page call to action for more donations to the author's pet charities.
That's the end.
Fuck you Jim Comer.