Tribebook: Children of Gaia by pospysyl
OverviewOriginal SA post
I'd post the cover image, but there is none. More on that next update.
Here we go, the Children of Gaia. It’s been said before, particularly during Kurieg’s great review of the Revised tribebook, that the Children of Gaia really don’t make sense as a tribe. After all, this is a game about werewolves fighting giant monsters, and these werewolves don’t fight. While that is certainly true, I don’t think it gets at the core of what’s wrong with the Children of Gaia as a Werewolf splat. Like I said last time, Werewolf is a game all about RAGE, and simply put, the Children of Gaia aren’t angry. It’s not even a point of conflict for them, like the Uktena or the Stargazers. They’re just beyond anger . The concept of this tribe misses the entire point of what a Werewolf werewolf is .
That said, I do have soft spot for this tribe. If the oWoD had a robust mortals system, the Children of Gaia would make awesome villains . Just think about it: a friend or family member joins this crazy New Age club that seems almost like a cult to your characters. You investigate and wham! Turns out that not only is it a cult, it’s run by werewolves who want to enlist humanity in destroying civilization and sacrificing them to stop the “Wyrm”, whatever that is. Now you have to fight hippy werewolves. The Children of Gaia also work well as antagonists to a Werewolf group, in a sort of Walter Peck way. Your pack’s trying to do a job, but the Children keep interfering, making things worse. Even if they have a point, stuff needs to happen .
But anyway, enough of my sermon, let’s get to the core entry. This is going to be combination of stuff from Revised and 20th Anniversary. While their breeding stock comes from the Fertile Crescent and Phoenicia, the Children of Gaia truly established their tribal identity during the Impergium. They were the Garou that opposed the culling of humanity and successfully petitioned the Nation to step down. Of course, popularity for the impergium was already dwindling due to the difficulty of breaching new cities and the prevalence of silver weapons, but the Children of Gaia prevented the Garou Nation from engaging in a drawn out war.
From Revised, by Ron Spencer
Nowadays, the Children of Gaia are committed to two missions: fighting the Wyrm and mediating the divisions between the various tribes and septs. Of course, fighting the Wyrm takes on a different connotation to the Children of Gaia. To them, the Wyrm is to be healed. It was once an essential part of the Triat, after all, but it’s gone crazy. It can be helped, all it needs is love. They’ll still take down fomor and other Wyrm monsters that are a clear and present danger, but their first response is to figure out a way to make peace with the Wyrm.
The Children of Gaia are a relatively populous tribe, as they will accept anyone, even moreso than the Gnawers. They’re a popular tribe among metis, since they treat their metis better than any other tribe. They also take most of the male Black Furies. Also, on the sept level, the Children of Gaia are very egalitarian. They do require two elders in each sept, though, the Voice of Gaia (always female) and the Arms of Gaia (always male) to mediate disputes. Other than that, it’s free reign, attracting many homid Garou to their ranks.
Their politics more easily extend into the realm of mortal governments, too. They’re responsible for a variety of special interest groups and NGOs, and it is here that the Children of Gaia shine, protecting many natural areas and earning the respect of the Pure tribes for helping Native Americans. They have the largest kin and mortal networks out of all the tribes. They’ve even began initiatives to decrease the Veil to establish a network of mortal insiders. This is of course completely secret, since the other tribes would destroy the Children of Gaia if they ever discovered their transgressions.
Appearance : Their wolf forms are gray and brown and instead of radiating an aura of menace, they’re cute and cuddly! Truly, these are misunderstood monsters. In 20th Anniversary, they change this so that they project an eerie calm.
The hardest picture Ron Spencer has ever had to draw. From W20
Kinfolk : While the tribe originated in the Fertile Crescent, they haven’t had a real presence there for years. They now accept kin from any nationality, so long as they’re politically engaged.
Totem : Unicorn cares for the Children of Gaia. It’s normally peaceful, but it can be ferocious if threatened.
”Revised edition” posted:
Of course I’m teaching humans to respect nature instead of fear it. We destroy what we fear. That’s why you kill humans, isn’t it?
We’re Garou. We draw out the toxins from our Mother’s blood, cut away Her cancers, slay the parasites feeding on Her flesh. But once the surgery’s done, you have to bind the wounds back up, too.
Black Furies : They hate men!!!! (Revised) They have a lot of mystic knowledge, and they should share it. (W20)
Bone Gnawers : They’re Garou too, so we shouldn’t treat them badly. (Revised) They do care about the Nation, but it’s too bad they’ll sell us out to survive. (W20)
Fianna : They’re very emotional, and for that they should be respected.
Get of Fenris : They’re assholes. (Revised) They’re badass, but we can’t get along. (W20)
Glass Walkers : “Can they survive out of their fishbowls?” ( ) (Revised) They’re logical, but also alien to us. (W20)
Red Talons : They’re honest, but too bitter. (Revised) If only they weren’t psycopaths. (W20)
Shadow Lords : They’re selfish pricks.
Silent Striders : It’s good to be free, but I miss them! (Revised) I feel sorry for them (W20)
Silver Fangs : We need strong leaders. The Silver Fangs aren’t that.
Stargazers : We need their wisdom. (Revised) They’re devoted to peace just like us, but they want to forsake all emotion! (W20)
Uktena : Looks like we’ve got to heal the divisions between us. There’s a lot of mistrust between them and the Nation, which is too bad for both. They’re in danger. (W20)
Wendigo : We’re trying to help them, but they’re assholes.
A Naked WolfmanOriginal SA post
Sorry it's been a while, but it's hard to make this entertaining. Here's my best shot!
Like all the First Edition tribebooks, instead of a nifty Steve Prescott cover, we get an intro comic. These ranged from “popcorn fun” to “so bad it’s good” to “just awful”. Children of Gaia’s comic, made by Dan Smith (thanks, Bieeardo!), trends towards the latter category. I’m in the habit of uploading nearly every image from a tribebook to give a good representation of the art, but doing that for this comic veers dangerously towards :files:, so I won’t be doing that. I will add some representative panels, though.
First page features a naked wolfman, front and center. He’s in Glabro, not Crinos, so he probably has a dick. It’s tastefully hidden by flames, though, not unlike a certain famous deer man picture. Naked Wolfman is proposing a unity pact that will send regular search parties into the Umbra to help out imprisoned spirits and fight Wyrm banes in spiritual form. This is not popular, as there are more pressing concerns. Case in point, some scuttle banes are poisoning the bay!
Also, “We don’t trust your kind, blight! I mean, Blythe!”
Blythe proposes a compromise. He’d lead a war party to kill the scuttle banes. If they win, they’d form a unity pact, but if they fail to remove the banes the Children of Gaia would drop their request. Not only does this miss the point of the objections, but it is also a terrible plan. Regardless, Blythe challenges the size of the werewolves’ dicks, so their honor compels them to go along with the plan. However, treachery is afoot! A few delegates plan to assassinate Blythe on the mission because submitting to the Children of Gaia is bad, I guess.
This is like something out of Goblins.
And so the mission goes off. The party travels down a river, but suddenly, pattern spiders attack! They’re literal giant spiders, which is kind of a lame interpretation. One of the conspirators makes his move and Blythe is carried away in the current. He finds himself in a cave. There are pattern spiders there, too, but Blythe is compelled to heal them. He notices there are Wyrm leeches on the spider and he kills them. The spider leads him to the scuttle bane’s lair, and Blythe kills it.
Perspective? What's that?
Later, the conspirators report that the mission fails. They’re smug, but Blythe comes back ultra smug and has them dance for him. And scene! That was as weird as it was awful.
When will you dance?
After a Yeats quote, the Introduction begins.
No joke, the best piece of art in the book.
Cast your senses about, and behold the world with your new eyes, your new ears, your new nose, your new tongue, your new skin, your new knowing, your new being. What a world of wonders our senses disclose! The bounty here is infinite, and springs from that same eternal source of life that offered you up as a benediction to the world.
Smell how the wind celebrates your presence! Hear how the animals of the forest sing your song! Taste how the plants of the earth rejoice in your communion with them! See how Luna and all the Celestines shine upon you and bathe you with their infinite light! Feel the vibrant pulse of the world’s living aura cradling your new flesh. Know of the love of Gaia in the space above your eyes and throughout your being. Be joy.
The universe hallows you and offers up its entirety to your succor and increase. There is no place so bleak, so dark, so corrupt that the love of Gaia cannot pierce it. Even in the deepest pit of the Wyrm, if you seek for Gaia you shall find her.
The Soul of Gaia is without limit. Your spirit is without limit. You have entered this land of false divisions to heal the rifts, bind up the wounds, and dry the tears of life. You will succeed. Gaia has foreseen it.
Part of the reason I wanted to do the First Edition tribebook is to describe some of the differences between the First and Revised writing philosophies. This passage is a great example of First edition’s reliance on purple prose. The entire book is written like this, and it does not let up. It’s a fun read, but it’s not good by any stretch of the imagination. This is a result of the biggest difference between the First and Revised edition tribebooks: looser editorial control. While the revised tribebooks are rigorously structured, with history, society, mechanics and characters chapters, the writers here can cover whatever they want, and in some cases that’s better. I don’t really need to know how werewolves reacted to WWI to get inspired in a modern setting. Then again, you get stuff like this which is just ridiculous to read.
Chapter 1 tells us to relax and listen to a history of the universe. Ambitious! Once the world was united and happy. Everything was one! But then things divided, and that was sad. The Triat was born and they started making things, and then the spirit and material worlds split. Then Eater of Souls, an aspect of the Wyrm, started attacking Gaia’s soul and she called for help. Wolf came to her aid, but he died. He was the first Child of Gaia, and the first werewolf. All werewolves are descended from him. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any tribes and it’s the Children of Gaia’s job to tell the other tribes that their existence is pointless. You can see why they’re not very popular.
Yeah, okay, I get it.
The true origin of the Children of Gaia came when the so-called tribes started fighting amongst each other. Gaia rescued some cubs and cried on them, giving them super Life powers. Gaia told the werewolves that fighting was of the Wyrm, and the werewolves were so impressed by the ultra-special Children of Gaia that they laid down their arms and wept. But they still didn’t learn their lesson, that all living things are Children of Gaia, no matter the tribe or species. Even Wyrm monsters are the Children of Gaia.
The werewolves were good at fighting Beast of War and Eater of Souls, but the Defiler Wyrm remained hidden, waiting. It takes advantage of the pain caused by spiritual detachment. To defeat it, the Children of Gaia plan to take down the Gauntlet separating flesh from spirit. Nobody’s sure how this is going to work, but the Children of Gaia are confident that it will.
Speaking of the Defiler Wyrm, he had a cunning plan to defeat the werewolves once and for all! See, Gaia made everything balanced. Populations could sustain themselves and would never overpopulate, despite that being a major evolutionary drive. Even humanity was content in this. But the Defiler Wyrm planned to help the humans breed beyond their means. Unlike all other animals, humans can breed whenever they want (kind of). Through making consensual love, humans can grow closer to Gaia, for that’s Gaia’s gift to humanity.
Even the most wicked, Wyrm-tainted person sees Gaia at the height of passion. (This is why we seem to “blank out” at the zenith of lovemaking. For we have beheld the face of Gaia, and the image is too great to bring into the limited confines of our conscious minds…)
The Wyrm saw an opportunity to corrupt this gift. Before his involvement, humans restricted their offspring to sustainable levels, somehow. This is despite the lack of birth control and the spiritual desire for fucking. Because most people chose not to have sex during the lactation period (seriously, this is in an RPG supplement), children were born three to four years apart. Thus, children could be loved and cared for, decreasing the influence of the Wyrm.
To overcome humankind’s natural abstinence from sex during lactation, the Defiler invented rape. Rape is unknown among animals in natural settings. But the defile tempted some wounded males, and encouraged them to overcome women by force, to turn love into violence.
:facepalm: This is the kind of thing that immediately seems stupid, but once you think about it, it becomes more and more stupid until the whole thing melts into a meaningless succession of words. Remember, this is the better edition!
Population quickly grew and so they were influenced by the Weaver, who taught them how to live in cities. This scared the werewolves, and so they started taking their own efforts to curb human expansion: the Impergium. This was super bad, and the Delirium is a result of the fear it caused. Eventually, they teamed up with the Black Furies and Stargazers (the Bone Gnawers aren’t mentioned) to convince the others to stop.
With the rise of cities, the Weaver’s power grew. For the most part, these early cities were matriarchal and the Children of Gaia taught them how to sustain their society. I suppose they also taught them about menstrual cycles and pulling out to allow them to control the size of their families, even though they apparently already knew about this. Of course, the Wyrm made efforts to forbid birth control and encourage rape, which caused mass poverty and despair. Despite how easily humans are swayed to atrocity, the Children of Gaia are in awe of their ability commune with Gaia.
Next time: Hammurabi, protector of peace and human rights
You Won't Attract The WyrmOriginal SA post
Exams and the job search have made this long overdue, but behold!
Chapter 1, Part 2
Well that certainly was a long time. Where was I?
Of course, the Wyrm made efforts to forbid birth control and encourage rape, which caused mass poverty and despair.
Fuck. Let’s not waste any time, then. One of the best tribebooks is coming up shortly, and if we’re going to get there, we need full steam.
The werewolves, and especially the Children of Gaia, tried to lead humanity down a path of peace, while the Wyrm targeted bitter individuals and encouraged them to dominate their fellow man and generally make everyone miserable. Despite the best efforts of the Children and the Black Furies, peaceful cities were conquered by warlike states and the Defiler Wyrm claimed more and more souls. Where the Children of Gaia fomented freedom, the Defiler turned those ideals against the love of Gaia and transformed it into hedonism and awfulness. Worse, the Defiler encouraged a love of symbols over love of spirits! For an animistic society, the Children of Gaia are oddly concerned about idolatry.
The Wyrm found eager allies in vampires, who are assholes. The Children of Gaia found allies in lady vampires, because they apparently like women more than male vampires like men. They also joined forces with the elves and faeries, but they’re confusing assholes, so that doesn’t work out too well. Mages helped out too, but, again, they’re elitist assholes.
Towards the end of the Impergium, Gaia revealed to the werewolves that there was an entire continent that was unspoiled by the Wyrm. The Pure Tribes went over to the Americas and many Children snuck along with them, disguised as Croatan, Wendigo or Uktena. Most stayed behind to help develop the ancient world and save the humans from themselves. Now, we know that the settlers of the Americas crossed over the ice bridge formed during the Ice Age, before any cities were known to exist, so this doesn’t really make sense. However, this is more of a legendary history than anything, so we can let that go.
Speaking of legends, let’s go fuck some up! Apparently Siduri Sabitu of the Epic of Gilgamesh was actual a Child of Gaia. When she poured the cup of reality revealed to Gilgamesh, it really told him about vampires.
At this point, the Children of Gaia regarded the human race as children. (Nowadays we’re adolescents. I can’t imagine why anyone would consider the Children of Gaia to be condescending.) As children, we needed parental rules, i.e. the rules of Gaia. The Children of Gaia did so through human rulers, particularly Hammurabi. Hammurabi’s laws ushered in an age of peace for Babylon, despite allowing slaves, legalizing violent vengeance, and encouraging public stoning of those who violated the sanctity of another’s fields. Fortunately, though, a wily Children of Gaia Ragabash was able to secure some property rights for slaves! Truly, the Children of Gaia are wise and compassionate.
In Egypt, the Silent Striders encouraged belief in the Gaian Egyptian pantheon. It was truly a time of peace and justice in ancient Egypt. It was the vampires who encouraged all the excesses of the Egyptian pharohs. But, Nefertiti, kin to the Children of Gaia, and her ally Ahmenhotep exiled the vampires when Gaia granted the pharoh super light powers. Ahmenhotep then changed the state religion to worship of Adem, a god of light. Monotheism is apparently of Gaia, so this was great. Him and Nefertiti did all kinds of great works, excluding ending slavery, but what can you do? Then the vampires took over again and planted King Tut in the throne.
Notice the shadows here. These aren't vampires. A giant jackal/wolf is crushing innocent people. A tribe of peace indeed.
In Crete, the werewolves fought a big battle with some Wyrm monster. Crete was the stronghold of the Apis, the minotaurs or werebulls. They all died in the fight. Most subsequent books state that the Apis were driven extinct during the War of Rage by the werewolves, but internal consistency has never been the strong suit of the oWoD.
Everybody loved Gaia in Greece. Worship of Pan-Dionysus, “the virgin-born king who is sacrificed, gives of his flesh to his followers and is resurrected” ( ) was popular. Dionysus was half-man, half-beast. Look, like Alien Ant Farm, I have no problem with getting myths wrong. But clearly the book here is trying to impress us with its historicity and getting things so blatantly wrong just ruins that. Pan was the half man, half beast, not Dionysus. The most animalistic Dionysus ever got was partying with satyrs and creating dolphins.
Even more mythic inconsistency. Minotaurs wear boxers, not briefs.
Greek democracy was also a ploy by the Children of Gaia to bring the city states closer to the Wyld. Unfortunately, only males had rights in these early democracies. Still, the werewolves still taught the women how to wield power. One werewolf, either a Black Fury or a Child of Gaia, was named Lysistrata. Also werewolves invented the Olympics, because they wanted to prove that “democracies do not war with democracies.” Let’s just move on.
The Gaian pantheon of India encouraged a religion of all sex, all the time. The Children of Gaia taught the Indians the Tantric mysteries to further their love of sex. There’s no escape, is there?
Buddha…existed. The tribebook just thought you should know.
The Children of Gaia journeyed into the far corners of Asia, where we suffered great losses at the hands of the terrifying eastern vampires, who are infinitely more powerful than their western counterparts, and far more knowledgable.
Oh, early nineties White Wolf, I can’t stay mad at you. In Asia, the Children of Gaia chilled with the Stargazers and the dragons. They invented Confucianism, but Lao Tzu’s koans were totally mind-blowing!
I assume this is an eastern vampire, since only one of those can handle the power of this image.
The Hebrew originally worshipped a female and male god, but the Wyrm perverted their religion into a patriarchal one encouraging violence and death. Where once inheritance and rulership passed down from the women, “like all early societies” (forget it, it’s Gaiatown), the Semities were ruled by brutal king. Eventually, though, Jesus came along to try and fix everything. Eventually, his church was corrupted by the Wyrm, who created the Council of Nicea to enforce one solitary set of Gospels. Religious wars started. Eventually the Children of Gaia installed Julian as emperor (somehow), but he was ineffectual, and so the Roman Empire fell. At least this book doesn’t claim that Jesus was a werewolf.
In Arabia, wolf and moon gods and their worshippers ruled over the lands. When thing got out of hand, the Children of Gaia sent their kin Zoroaster to sort them out. Unfortunately, the Wyrm corrupted all these religions. Its servants collected all these ideologies, desexualized them and turned them into the Koran. (Um.) Children of Gaia kinfolk mobilized sufi ideology to counteract this, but to no avail. Making the modern Middle East peaceful is a challenge, because
An ancient vampire called Malkav slumbers there somewhere, a vampire consumed by madness. His lunatic dreams infect the people, and drive them to madness and war. Some of our Ragabash say this vampire is a source of enlightenment, but few agree.
Many Arabian Children of Gaia are very exceptionally savage, though others are extraordinarily peaceful as Sufi-like.
In Northern Europe, the other Garou tribes took care of stuff, but the Roman Empire brought war to the land. (Because it’s not like the Visigoths were particularly warlike, right?) Fortunately, as the Catholic church turned apocalyptic, people lost the will to plan out wars of conquest. Sure, why not? Still, the Church justified the widespread enslavement of millions. To counteract this, the Children of Gaia created the Reformation! Again, sure, why not?
The Wyrm then moved onto the New World. The Pure Tribes had grown pacifistic in the intervening centuries and so were not prepared for the incursion. Eater of Souls cursed the Indians with plague, and we’ve got to break down why this is offensive. It’s true that the coming of European people brought smallpox and other diseases that wiped out ninety percent of the Native American population, and that this was largely unnoticed by the Europeans. But, a lot of this was intentional biological genocide, and to attribute that to a fictional nonhuman entity is horrendous.
When the Croatan sacrificed themselves to seal Eater of Souls away, a Child of Gaia died with them. Of course the Children of Gaia would be so petty as to make sure everyone remembered their sacrifice too. The other Pure Tribes regarded the European tribes with suspicion (hm, I wonder why? It’s not like they tried killing all the Indians, oh wait) but the Children of Gaia patiently waited for them to get over having ninety percent of their people’s population wiped out. The Pure Tribes now respect the Children of Gaia over everyone else. Fucking great.
The Puritans the Children of Gaia had created had been corrupted by the Wyrm and now terrorized the New World. In response, the Children of Gaia refocused their efforts to reforming all of human society. To that end, they created the Age of Enlightenment and Deism, somehow. They also invented the Iriquois Confederacy and American democracy. Compare and contrast to the Bone Gnawer treatment of the same subject.
Jacques Necker, Child of Gaia kin, was the French Minister of Finance. It was he who planned the French Revolution. He had the government borrow money to join the American Revolution, but all the spoils went to the Americas. The vampires of France were distraught, and their hold over France weakened. Necker, though, deplored the violence of the revolution.
If there was anything the Founding Fathers stood for, it was tolerance for everyone (excluding non-white, non-male, non-property owners). One of the biggest things the Children of Gaia accomplished was helping to settle a peace between the USA and Canada. Even bigger is that they “freed women from the shackles of servitude,” even though Britain did it way before and that sentence is completely meaningless.
The rest of the chapter is just a summary of American history as told by the most naïve person in the country, and it’s boring and dumb and I’m tired of this stupid, stupid chapter. Suffice it to say that, without exaggeration, the Children of Gaia are responsible for every major positive political victory in the United States.
I hate this book.
Next time: Chapter 2 – The Quest for Peace
Wikihow: How to GaiaOriginal SA post
The Path of Peace
Chapter 2 finally fills us in on the framing device for the book. The audience is a brand new werewolf, and the introductory paragraphs teach us how to be a good wolf. It’s cute. Child of Gaia narrator urges us to exult in the natural world and enjoy the sensations it offers. The world is the Children of Gaia’s inheritance. All werewolves, and indeed all living things, are Children of Gaia, they just don’t know it. But, humans can perceive it in tiny moments. At birth, when they hold a baby, when they show courage, when they perform kindness, and when they make the world a better place, Gaia is there. The Children of Gaia exist to support these and allow all living things to unite in experiencing closeness to Gaia.
Finally, we get a raison d’etre for the Children of Gaia, and it’s a good one. In fact, it retroactively makes the previous chapter more useful. We understand the Children of Gaia’s goal and their methods. Unlike most werewolves, they believe in law as a force for good instead of a tool of the Weaver. They’re granola crunching peacenik liberals, where most werewolves are anarcho-primitivists. They focus on Wyrm creatures that deter from the holy union that all living things should share.
It’s a valid concept, but not one that belongs in this game. Every tribe should be angry about something, and the Children of Gaia just don’t have anything to get them enraged. Sure, the Wyrm might mess the world up, but the Children aren’t angry about it, just sad. They’re smug assholes, and when you sign up to play Werewolf, that’s not going to be compelling PC material. They aren’t werewolves, not as Werewolf: the Apocalypse conceives of them.
If I were to rework them, and I have (more on that later), the Children of Gaia would be angry at the Garou Nation at large. The Children of Gaia have argued for effective strategies and time and time again they’re ignored. The Garou Nation refuses to help the Children of Gaia when they’re in trouble when the Children are willing to sacrifice everything for them. The Garou Nation is worse than ineffective; its blunders have ensured that the Apocalypse can’t be prevented. The textual attitude the Children of Gaia have for the Garou Nation isn’t compelling; this is.
Imminent Strike, a camp presented in this chapter, points to this. They want to cut all ties with the Garou Nation, violently if necessary. It’s a nice political concept if that’s the kind of chronicle you’re participating it, but it’s out of place in the Children of Gaia as written. The Crest of the Unicorn is similar, but they focus on deposing the Silver Fangs.
The One Tree is also an awkward fit, but it doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. Their program is literally “kill Wyrm attackers”, but dispassionately. Considering RAGE is a power stat for the werewolves, that’s going to be difficult.
Servants of the Unicorn are the largest camp, and they’re also focused on inter-tribe politics. They want to unite everyone! Boring, but it’s the default Children of Gaia political perspective, with over half the tribe buying into it.
Chapter 2 marks the point where the art director just gave up and just took anything Richard Kane Ferguson gave him.
The Patient Deed exists in opposition to Imminent Strike. They want to teach the other tribes to be better, as patiently as their name suggests.
The Anointed Ones are flat out unplayable unless everyone in your group signs on to play them, since they refuse to fight. Anything. Even tangible spirits of pure evil. Fighting solves nothing, after all.
The Demeter’s Daughters focus on environmental education for humanity. They think connecting humans back to nature would solve most of the problems of modern society, so outreach is their major goal.
Angels in the Garden fight for the children! Part of the intertribal group Heaven, they rescue children from kidnappers and abusive homes. The Angels in particular focus on reforming education and children’s literature to bring them closer to Gaia, like the Demeter’s Daughters. I actually like these political programs. I don’t know that I’d play a werewolf, but it gives kinfolk something to do and advances the idea that werewolves do tangible good in the World of Darkness.
Aethera Inamorata teaches people how to have good sex. The Wyrm has made sex seem evil and bad, and so the Aethera Inamorata are its greatest foes. They also serve as werewolf matchmakers. Is it any surprise that this is the longest description of all these camps?
Unicorn, the Children of Gaia totem, is a healing spirit, and it is a powerful symbol to humanity even today. That’s great and all, but how can we link it to sex in the creepiest way possible?
As a young girl approaches adolescence, she goes through a “unicorns and rainbows” pahse. This scorned stage is actually a crucial rite of passage in which her emotional body is given divine strength, just as her nascent sexual body is prepared for the ordeal of childbearing.
Anyway, the Children of Gaia keep their homeland open to everyone and the unicorns that live there freely heal and invigorate all visitors. It’s rumored they can even purify Black Spiral Dancers.
Oh, come on, you can see the other horn!
Homid werewolves are important to the Children of Gaia for supporting and providing kin networks that they can rely upon. The Children advocate breeding only with these kin since they know how to best take care of a baby werewolf. Wolves are hard to find and the Children of Gaia don’t bother for the most part. The Children of Gaia accept all exiled Metis, but they are very strict about not producing any themselves. After all, they support love between Garou and the proliferation of Metis would besmirch their reputation. Some Children sages believe that science or magic will one day reverse Metis sterility, making them the best werewolves ever.
A Metis werewolf?
The Children of Gaia encourage improvisation during rites to stave off the Weaver. For them, the key to successful rites is not reproducing old chants or dances, but in listening to the spirits. Moots also change depending on the needs or moods of the day. Their Rite of Passage differs the most from the other tribes. Apparently, other tribes literally murder werewolf cubs during their Rites, but the Children of Gaia are far too enlightened for that. Actually, this book is an example of the Children of Gaia Rite of Passage! They just love each other and promise to love each other forever and ever.
Law is a valuable thing to the Children of Gaia, and the Litany is no exception. But, they have fairly liberal interpretations, which makes the other tribes mad.
Garou Shall Not Mate with Garou : All consensual sex is beautiful! This tenet doesn’t ban inter-werewolf love! Fortunately, the Children of Gaia invented the condom and birth control ( ), so they can have as much sex as they want! Unfortunately, it’s been established that Garou tend to break condoms and birth control doesn’t really work for them, so sucks to be them, I guess. Also, this law doesn’t excuse mistreating Metis.
Combat the Wyrm Wherever it Dwells and Whenever it Breeds : The Children of Gaia focus more on the second part than most other tribes. They fight the efforts of the Defiler Wyrm more than anything else, which makes the other tribes suspicious.
Respect the Territory of Another :
Other tribes say we violate this law most of all. But remember, Gaia has given us all the living world and all the Umbra. Our protectorate is all of humankind. We need only ask our own permission to go anywhere. In truth, all other tribes need our permission to go anywhere. This is not mere sophistry. This is a potent Legacy from the Mother. But remember: all are Children of Gaia. Those who acknowledge this have open access to all the world.
In practice, it is often politic to go through the motions in seeking permission before entering territory another Garou has claimed. Though some among us insist that we press the issue with other Garou and force them to acknowledge that the entire world is our territory, most of us do not believe that we have time for such a battle.
Accept an Honorable Surrender : I have a hard time imagining the Children of Gaia would ever be called upon to follow this, but they take it seriously.
Submit to Those of Higher Station : This law doesn’t remove your ability to question decisions. You should do so, but respectfully.
The First Share of the Kill for the Greatest in Station : If they really were the Greatest in Station they’d share the kill. Therefore, if they don’t let a Child of Gaia take what he wants, he should destroy the elder. I know I wanted the Children of Gaia to treat the other tribes with more hostility, but I didn’t want them to act like superpowered five year olds.
Ye Shall Not Eat the Flesh of Humans : Just don’t.
Respect for Those Beneath Ye – All Are of Gaia : This is obviously the most important part of the Litany for the Children of Gaia.
The Veil Shall Not be Lifted : This is important, but the Children of Gaia rely on their kinfolk network. They take great pains to expand it, and sometimes lifting the Veil is necessary to do that. They even have a Gift for it! Other tribes don’t like this because it could literally mean the extinction of their species, but they worry too much.
Do Not Suffer Thy People to Tend Thy Sickness : This law was more important during like, the Ice Age, when everyone was going to die. Now, there are options, so the Children of Gaia flat out don’t obey this law.
The Leader May be Challenged at Any Time during Peace : The Children of Gaia do feel they have a responsibility to follow this, but they prefer non-violent challenges of open discourse! Truly these are savage monsters.
The Leader May Not Be Challenged during Wartime : While the Children of Gaia are all for discourse, they do understand that the battlefield is not right time for it. Still, if Child of Gaia really doesn’t want to follow his leader, he can say so and step back as a conscientious objector. If he’s right, great! If he’s wrong, don’t get mad at him, because he thought it was the right thing to do.
In any other RPG book this would be the worst piece of art. Here's it's one of the best.
Ye Shall Take No Action That Causes a Caern to be Violated : No room for interpretation here, just do it.
It is foretold that the Desperate One will singlehandedly avert the Apocalypse, but only by breaking every law of the Litany. Most believe this is a metaphor, but it could be true! This idea later develops into the Perfect Metis, a Metis without deformities and who can have offspring.
The leaders of the Children of Gaia are decided in a Grand Moot where all the Children gather together and shout their ideas at each other. By the time they’re done, it’s clear who the leader is. There are no succession crises and it works every time. I…I can’t even.
Every Children of Gaia sept has two leaders, one male and one female. The female serves as the Voice of the Goddess and is the executive. The male Arm of the Goddess enforces her edicts. A third leader, the Heart of the Goddess, is the judge (this is not a typo, on my part, anyway). This mimics the Triple Goddess, because there are three. It’s also analogous to the three branches of the United States federal government, but much less democratic and effective.
The Children of Gaia break the Veil at their discretion, so they have a huge kin network. They can find Changed cubs quickly, and they can mobilize great political efforts easily. They even have a name: the Gaia Network. The youth have splintered into several subgroups, each with their own cute acronym that I’m not going to bother to list. The book does, though, because the authors have no idea what’s interesting.
My face right now. I hate this book.
Next time: Chapter 3 – Please don’t bring Sondheim into this.
GiftsOriginal SA post
Chapter 3 and Gifts
Sorry Alien Ant Farm!
The three great cosmic forces are the Wyld, Weaver and Wyrm, but the most powerful forces of all are Gaia’s love and compassion. It is these forces that are set against the evil anger, hatred, and spite of the Wyrm. Any division between people is the fault of the Wyrm. Gaia’s will is for all humanity to be united as one.
This battle is everywhere, even in the text of the Bible! Sometimes God is portrayed as loving, and sometimes not. The book of Deuteronomy is set against the Song of Solomon, and so on so forth. It’s not the accumulation of books written under different social
necessities; it’s good guys versus bad guys, way more interesting.
To illustrate the challenges of being the Children of Gaia, the narrators tell of a time when the United States government sent federal workers to relocate the American Indians. The Uktena requested that werewolves help defend the Indians from being forcibly marched for miles, a march that would result in hundreds, if not thousands dead. The Children of Gaia decided to send only a few packs to their aid, while the majority continued to side with the government. Now, they acknowledge this was a mistake, but they don’t feel too bad about it. After all, we only learn by making mistakes. What’s a few hundred dead Indians, eh?
The good news in the fight against the Wyrm is that its forces are divided between its own triat. The Defiler Wyrm spreads hate and weakness, which can even hinder the efforts of Eater of Souls and Beast of War. Eater of Souls spreads fear and hunger. It encourages over consumption and violence born out of fear. How do you fight against such evil? Loving Gaia, of course, “and the world shall magically transform before your eyes to a loving home overlowing with love and respect and friends who care for you.”
Think of the Eater of Souls as Mola Ram. Apologies to Alien Ant Farm
Beast of War is all about hate. It makes things really angry, and that’s bad. The Defiler makes sociopaths, and that’s also bad. The Defiler makes personal pleasure seem to be the most important thing in a human’s life, weakening their empathy. Worse yet, they target children, turning them into adult sociopaths. Eventually everyone on earth will be a sociopath and everyone will just start killing each other and everyone will die. Loving them should do the trick, I guess.
! Vampires are just the worst. They have no empathy, no souls, and no way to avoid degenerating into insanity. But, some Children of Gaia have managed to make them act slightly more human. They don’t explain how, so that’s that, then.
The worst thing vampires have done is ruin ankhs. Ankhs used to symbolize sexuality, with its ovals and crosses, but really because everything symbolizes sex to the Children of Gaia. Vampires turned ankhs to a symbol of the undead! But, it could be that they like ankhs so much because they secretly want to be redeemed! This is seriously the weirdest thing in this book!
Okay, this is the last one, I swear!
Most werewolves think vampires are of the Wyrm by default, but some want to be redeemed, even though they have no empathy. Even if they do awful things, they might still secretly really really want to become good people again. Still, don’t trust them, because at heart they’re terrible awful people. This is a good effort to inject some character doubt to the morality of killing vampires, but it doesn’t work because it’s in this book, which condemns all of the Middle East to constant warfare.
! Wizards, are, well, smug. Sometimes they work towards pagan ends and practice good spirituality, other times they just want to see the world burn. Verbena are witchy which is cool, the Celestial Chorus worships Gaia, the Akashic Brotherhood are secretly Children of Gaia (whatever), Dreamspeakers chill with the Children all the time, and the Virtual Adepts are pretty open about allowing werewolves to explore cyberspace. But, the best Tradition of all is the Cult of Ecstasy, because they love getting high, and getting high is of Gaia.
! They’re living magic! They can be allies, but also enemies! Be friendly, but not too friendly. Honestly, if you wanted to invoke a sense of uncertainty to these guys, you shouldn’t have mentioned them at all.
! They’re the worst. They’re all mopey and sad and they harsh our mellow. Kill them. Kill them all. (Or, whatever you do with a ghost, I guess.)
The Children of Gaia focus their numbers in war torn areas. They also party in Switzerland, where they can teach peace to peaceniks. They facilitate adopting Russian babies. They’re most populous in the United States. They have plans to move into the Balkans so that the Shadow Lords stop helping their kin carry out genocides.
And with that, our Rite of Passage is over! Just remember, you can make a difference every day.
I miss SCAR already.
Mechanics are stuck into the back, like an embarrassing secret. First up is the optional tribe weakness. Under the tribe weakness rule, Children of Gaia provoke less severe Delirium (in short, if a werewolf shapeshifts in front of a normal human, the human is likely to go batshit and forget the whole thing). Pretty lame.
Gifts! From the corebook Level 1 Gifts, we have Mercy , which downgrades your natural attack damage to bashing. Kind of sets the tone, doesn’t it? Mother’s Touch heals, and Resist Pain does just that. Right away, these Gifts really set the Children of Gaia’s program in motion.
W20 has Jam Weapon which disables all weapons within earshot of the werewolf(!). If you use rocks or sticks, it won’t work, but even swords or knives will refuse to cut. I can just imagine the arguments at the table whether a spear is sufficiently natural to escape this Gift. Brother’s Scent gives the werewolf complete anonymity, so that nobody specifically on guard will notice the werewolf. Even if you’re naked, bloody, and holding a giant sword. These are also appropriate to the Children of Gaia, but I’ll leave it as an exercise to you as to which ones anyone would actually take.
Core Level 2 Gifts include Calm which takes away RAGE from a single target. If the target doesn’t have RAGE but can still frenzy (i.e. vampires), this Gift ends a frenzy. Luna’s Armor buffs soak. W20 adds Unicorn’s Arsenal which makes your claws and teeth all glowy. When these natural weapons attack an opponent, the opponent loses 2 dice from all attack rolls against you during the rest of the battle. Para Bellum is a little bit weird. It can only be invoked when somebody else starts a fight with your pack. It gives your pack additional dice in all Strength and Dexterity rolls for the whole fight. Children of Gaia don’t start fights, but they can definitely end them.
You know how you'd turn in the same paper for two different classes in college? Kane's made an entire career of that.
The tribebook doesn’t have any Level 1 Gifts, but it does have a few for Level 2. Grandmother’s Touch (kept for W20) is the same as Mother’s Touch, but can be used on yourself! It’s an essential gift, but also not very compelling. Spellbinding Oration lowers the difficulty of Social rolls. Also pretty boring. Both of these Gifts are taught by unicorns.
On to Level 3. The core has Dazzle which paralyzes people with feelings of awe and love. It doesn’t really work on things without emotions or spirits of hate. Spirit Friend gives you more dice when talking to spirits. W20 removes this restriction, which I actually think is to its detriment. It’s kind of like how grogs hate the ability to trip oozes in 4th edition, it just doesn’t sit well with me.
Speaking of W20, it brings Lover’s Touch , which can heal wounds or add Willpower or Essence (to a spirit). It can even suppress derangements. The text explicitly states that you do not need to actually be lovers to use this Gift, nor is it used exclusively through sex. The user does have to have a personal connection to the target, pals at minimum. It does require giving the target a friendly pat on the back at the very least.
Interesting side note! These Gifts were updated for W20 by Holden Shearer, who’s currently working on Exalted Third Edition. If you haven’t been following that thread, there was recently some controversy over the inclusion of explicitly sexual charms, many which were rape-y, at the very least. All of these charms required sex, and some created ghosts to be used exclusively for continuing sex. That Holden understood that requiring sex for powers is bad in W20 is either encouraging for Exalted, or really sad.
The tribebook only has one Level 3 Gift: Good Faith . It creates an aura of goodwill and cooperation. Anyone who tries resisting the call to calmly discuss things in good faith will suffer uncontrollable flatulence. Yes, this is a Gift for making mean conservatives fart. Nineties Werewolf, everybody! It’s taught by the New World Trinity, who we’ll get to.
At Level 4, Children of Gaia can take Beast Life , which calls a whole bunch of critters to your aid (unless the critters could be hurt), and Strike the Air , which allows you to perfectly dodge every attack an opponent makes until you attack back. It can be used on multiple opponents, but since it requires a Willpower per target, it isn’t that feasible. W20 has Serenity , which causes an opponent to fail any and all Rage rolls. Uncaught since the Primal Moon is basically Expeditious Retreat. A common thread running through the core Gifts is that they are all awesome and really flexible. Serenity can be used to stop a frenzy as well as give your enemies a huge debuff, for instance.
Level 5 brings Halo of the Sun which scares Wyrm creatures, blinds foes, debuffs all attacks within a certain radius, adds dice to your attacks, AND deals true sun damage to vampires. The Living Wood brings a bunch of trees to life to fight for you. These trees can have a strength of up to 15, but I think 10 would be the average. These Gifts are so awesome that W20 retains them without change.
The tribebook’s Level 5 gift is Trust of Gaia which forces anyone you speak to to trust you completely. Not even mind control can override this, partially because this is mind control. Basically this is Charm Person, and as a pinnacle of power, it’s kind underwhelming.
Next time: Rites, totems, characters, and post mortem
Rites, Merits, & FlawsOriginal SA post
Rites, Merits, Flaws, and Appendix 2
The Rite of Comfort prevents a werewolf suffering Harano (werewolf depression, if you recall) from worsening their condition. This isn’t too bad. What is bad is that it redefines the mechanics of Harano for 1st edition. Basically, if a PC werewolf falls into Harano, the Storyteller by default gets to state that the character needs to do several self-destructive acts, solely at the ST’s discretion. The Storyteller also gets to decide how the PC actually gets out of Harano. Basically, if you get Harano, you might as well turn your character sheet in because RAW the Storyteller will play it for you. Harano gets actual mechanics in later editions.
Rite of Gaian Blood makes your blood vampire proof. Vampires won’t get nourishment from it and are repulsed by your presence. Cool! The Rite of Resolution is used before ritual combat, for instance during leadership or rank challenges. It prevents both werewolves engaging in the fight from frenzying. This is also cool, but is prohibitive at Level 4.
Rite of the Parted Veil makes a human permanently immune to Delirium. Kurieg was right about why the Children of Gaia weakness was bad. For the most part, Delirium is handwaved by the ST, since to actually prepare full stats for every human NPC is ridiculous, especially when the only time it will come into play is if a Child of Gaia is all by herself. Really, STs will decide on a character importance basis whether a human can remember a werewolf attack. Because Rites usually work on the story level, this is a much better rite. It needs to be performed three times, so it’s a big deal. You could use it to intimidate people, but that would be awful. :shh:
Incidentally, these Rites don’t actually describe how you perform them. Not only were the Black Furies’ and Bone Gnawers’ Rites fun and flavorful, they also had fun and flavorful methods for invoking them. That’s missing here, and it’s to the book’s detriment.
I guess they're all supposed to involve peace pipes.
The End Time Rite is a weird one. The werewolves involve dance for three days straight, and they see how their recent actions have affected the outcome of the Apocalypse, and how the Apocalypse will turn out. Most Children of Gaia believe that the world will be born anew after the Apocalypse, but most see that the next world will be really crappy. They want to fix that, but that means not trying to stop the Apocalypse, which is dumb.
The New World Trinity is the only new Totem in the book. It’s the three symbolic birds of the American Revolution: the Eagle, the Dove, and the Turkey. The Eagle represents the Adamsian notion of a warrior who fights to provide his children the opportunity to become philosophers. The Dove represents the Jeffersonian ideal of peaceful and free trade, of both goods and ideas. The Turkey represents the Franklinian ideal of being really weird and smart. They teach a few Gifts in return for treating everyone kindly and fairly. A really crappy totem.
Maybe Kane thought he was working on the Uktena book.
On to Fetishes. Truth Feather literally just teaches the Truth of Gaia Gift. The Fetish is Rank 2, and it teaches a Rank 1 Gift. The Goggles of Sight Beyond teaches the Sight Beyond Gift. Are we seeing a pattern? These are atrociously uninspired.
Gaia’s Ghost Shirt is a little bit better. It gives you extra soak, more if you refuse to attack. Furthermore, it renders the wearer fully immune to several direct attack Gifts. Decent, but way overpriced at Level 5.
Merits and Flaws! Burned Out means you’re tired of this shit. No mechanical penalty, it just gives you a free Merit point for roleplaying someone who’s tired of fighting things. Horn of the Unicorn gives you a free success on healing rolls. It’s not a real horn, though, because that would be interesting. Naïve is another flaw that means, well, you’re naïve. Again, no mechanical penalty, just a free point for your character concept. Along the same lines, Proselytizer means you like to convince people that you’re right. Finally, Supporter is a Merit that determines that you listen to people. It gives you -2 difficulty on all social rolls. This costs only 2 Merit points. These are all dumb.
Yep, Kane thought he was working on the Uktena book.
The second appendix gives us our sample characters and a summary of the Children of Gaia. They have to balance pacifism and violence! That’s all.
Aww, look how happy he is!
I live for their laughter, even when they laugh at me. But I always have the last laugh, for they never realize they stopped fighting each other to laugh at me, and walked away as friends.
Growing up as a wolf, you learned the similarities between humans and wolves and what drives them apart despite these similarities. You believe that laughter is the best medicine, at least for strife. When things get too heavy or hostile, you lighten the mood by acting the fool. Your wide range of experiences help you understand the humor of both humans and wolves (wolves have a very German sense of humor). Everyone likes you due to your gregariousness. Your equipment includes juggling balls, string, a chew toy and a kite.
I really like this character! He’s the most basic Ragabash you can get, but that’s fine. It helps that he’s accessible, Most first time role-players are best served by adopting a snarker attitude, and this is closely related to that archetype. She obviously has high Charisma and Wits and he’s got good Dexterity besides, meaning he’s not useless in a fight. She has a good Abilities load out, with some dots in Brawl and Dodge. She’s put all his Backgrounds into Allies, which is appropriate. The only thing wrong with her sheet is that he’s bought up his Rage instead of his other stats. Still, this is great. She wins the Best Sample Character Badge for the book.
This reminds me of some old anime.
Do you really think that only the Garou are part of Gaia’s plan to save the world? Even the Garou cannot agree on the details of Gaia’s lan. So how can you be sure that many other creatures are not also part of the holy game of redemption?
From childhood your curiosity was legend. You’ve always had a sense that the world was filled with the paranormal. When you became a werewolf, your beliefs were finally vindicated and you finally had the tools to investigate the occult. You team up with Gangrel and they’ve inducted you into their search for a vampire turned human. On that journey, you’ve encountered all kinds of magical creatures, but all of them were concerned with either their own betterment or the betterment of the world. You advocate for vampires within the Children of Gaia, which is radical even for them. You’re slow to pass judgment, but once you find evil vampires you kill them quick.
I’m ambivalent about this concept. The sheet doesn’t help things. For some reason he’s focused on Social Attributes, although he has well rounded mental stats. His Abilities are all over the place, but he does focus on things that will help paranormal investigation. He’s chosen useful Gifts, but I don’t know why he’s taken Rites and not Contacts. As a Homid Theurge, he’s naturally bought up Gnosis. All in all, he’s perfectly playable, but his Prelude is a little too involved.
I can already tell she's going to be the worst.
Do you disdain me for the accident of my birth? Do you use the lofty perch aafforded by the accident of you birth to judge and condemn? Then “pure blood” must not make for a pure heart. ( ) The splendor of Gaia’s love can be found in the most base-born, even as it can be lacking in even the most high.
After your parents tried to drown you, you were brought to the Children of Gaia. As a metis, no one likes you, but the Children of Gaia stick up for you. You have a unicorn horn deformity and you serve as a healer. As a Philodox, you attempt to enforce balance. Although you don’t command respect, you project authority. You teach by example.
Insufferable, and her Social Attributes reflect this. She focuses on Mental Attributes, but for some reason she’s bought up Stamina. She also has high Brawl and Melee, but very few points in Medicine. She does have a good Rituals score, though. She also bought a Mentor and put Background dots into Past Life, now known as Ancestors, which allows you to contact the spirits of the past. She’s also bought a fourth Gift for herself, although Resist Pain could easily have been let go. A lot of bad decisions here, and she easily earns the Worst Sample Character Badge for this book.
You make a truly convincing case that there is no hope. But I am here to tell you that I know for sure there is hope. Hope is a living being. I met her! No, really, it’s true. Two years ago, I was in the Legendary Realm. Sit and I’ll tell you the story.
This makes me wonder who she’s talking to, but it's honestly pretty cool. Your parents were famous kinfolk. During your Rite of Passage you tripped out and found Unicorn in the Umbra. You partied with her for a bit, and afterwards you stuck to the Umbra. There’s a ton of cool shit there, and you want to find it all. You find stories there and relate them to everyone you meet. Your equipment includes an Uzi, flack jacket (sic), flashlight, grappling hook, and a stun gun, which is pretty badass.
New players have a hard time with Galliards and similar. It requires a lot of innate social ability, and as we all know that’s hard to come by. This character adds tons hooks to get players to open up when playing a Galliard, and that is awesome. Her sheet doesn’t deliver on this promise, though. She has Social Attributes bought up, even though her equipment and role suggests she’d be better served with Physical Attributes. She has no dots in Firearms, which is insane, so she can’t even use her Uzi (not that she can hold it with 2 Strength). Persusasion and Mindspeak are unsuited to Umbra partying. She does have Ancestors, but she’s spent most of her backgrounds on a Fetish from the Atrocity Realm that renders her immune to possession and makes it more difficult for her to frenzy. She’s more suited to a leadership role, which I guess is workable (she can lead exploration parties into the Umbra), but I prefer the character suggested in her writeup. I’m actually inspired to write my own Umbra explorer character.
What! Doesn't he know that carrying two knives isn't mechanically optimal?
Wicked cur! You would kill all humans? You are a disgrace before Gaia. The world would be a better place without your hate. Stop your cruelty now or I will stop you.
Like Batman, your parents were people who fought for social justice and killed by the people they tried to help. Also like Batman, you trained yourself since then to fight criminals. Being a werewolf really helps with that. Unlike Batman, you kill criminals, as well as incalcitrant Garou. Your equipment includes a lot of weapons. Basically, think werewolf Batman.
Well this is straightforward. This character is all about combat. Tons of physical attributes and combat abilities make him pretty good at it too. Not much else to say!
I love these sample characters. Honestly, the last ten pages make a great tribebook all on their own. We get a much better sense of how to play as a Child of Gaia, including common values, abilities, and traits. From these characters, I actually want to play a Child of Gaia, which was inconceivable from before and after reading the tribebook. However, we still have one more appendix to go!
Next time: Of signature characters and Gron.
NPCsOriginal SA post
Appendix Three describes historically significant Children of Gaia. Remember how Bone Gnawers reminded you that their sample historical characters were meant to inspire you and give you some stat blocks to work with? There’s no such preface for “The Blessed”, so we’re left to assume that these guys are so important and awesome that we’re meant to be eager to read about them. Obviously, this is not the case.
Lore-Speaker Gron can be found in the most esoteric of Children of Gaia historical records. After all, they have the best records out of all the tribes, save perhaps the Fianna. Gron was a hermaphrodite caveman werewolf who was instrumental to ending the Impergium. She challenged the head werewolf to a Gamecraft challenge, but Gron put a Stargazer surrogate into the ring. Somehow, this ended the Impergium. I guess it was supposed to show that the peace movement had much wider support than the Silver Fangs thought, but I don’t know why they would care. Gron was assassinated soon after, but Gron’s work was done. He’s meant to be an inspirational figure to modern day Children of Gaia, so I guess he can work as a character hook, but only to a player who is really :sperg: about Werewolf. So me, I guess.
This certainly does look like a figure of exceeding wisdom.
Siduri Sabitu from the Epic of Gilgamesh gets a write up here. Awesome. She was the head of a large network of kin and werewolf priestesses at a time when vampires ruled over humanity via their puppets. While most of the Garou wanted to just kill the vampires’ servants, Siduri wanted to educate rulers about why vampires suck so hard ( ) and why choosing life is so much better. Gilgamesh was just the first. Sabitu’s program probably averted an apocalyptic war between the legions of the undead and werewolves, so she’s pretty cool.
I've given Kane a hard time through this whole review, but pictures like this demonstrate that he's a talented artist who is not served well by black ink.
Jasper Covington was born an English aristocrat to Children of Gaia kin parents. (Isn’t it funny how the Children of Gaia hobnob with the rich and famous, despite their communistic rhetoric?) He was taught that open violence against the Wyrm was ineffectual at best, and so he focused on pulling political strings to get Gaia’s work done. So, he started the Enlightenment! He bought salons and lounges and invited philosophers to philosophize and patroned the best ones. His get-togethers popularized Deism, and he invented the noble savage to save the Indians. Wasn’t that nice of him? Basically, he’s responsible for compassionate governance.
And pictures like this show that he also can't draw faces.
Sarah Rasheeda Ben-Fasil is a key player in Middle Eastern politics, at least as far as the Children of Gaia are concerned. Her parents were Israeli and Egyptian Garou kin, which is actually kind of bold of the writers. Sarah served in the Israeli army as a guerilla, but she spread peace wherever she went and never killed anybody, no sir. I guess the writers’ courage only goes so far.
She was the one who discovered that Malkav was sleeping beneath Jerusalem and was responsible for driving hundreds of pilgrims crazy. Apparently this is medically documented as “Jerusalem Syndrome”, and linking vampires to a mental disease is bad whether it’s real or fictional. She wants to kill Malkav, but instead she’s developed antidotes to vampire crazy. You might think that would make Sarah too famous, but she doesn’t give it to people, just to other Children of Gaia. Thanks, Sarah!
Look, I know she's supposed to be young, but I'm pretty sure she's not twelve.
Despite her youth and setting in the present day, Sarah’s not our signature character. The sigs never really got traction until Revised, but I want to include every signature character in these write-ups, because they’re honestly one of my favorite things about the game. Even though the line made a ton of mistakes with its fluff and spawned several irritating GM PCs, the signature characters strike a good balance. Pretty much all of them are relevant to the metaplot (although some more than others), but they’re low powered (at least in the fiction), and so unlikely to step on your players’ toes. Your pack could actually meet Jonas Albrecht and stand a good chance of taking him in a fight, provided they had a little XP under their belts.
They’re also all really likeable, too. I have a feeling that they were all built like starting PCs (some of them actually were used for examples of character creation), and that gives them really basic but meaty backstories and cool, but not overpowered, abilities. It also has the effect of bringing them down to earth. You really could play as one of these characters and develop the respect they have in the setting naturally.
It helps that their fiction is just plain fun. Unlike Vampire’s Clan Novels, the Tribe Novels are straightforward epic urban fantasy. Albrecht’s pack and the Silver River Pack wander around the world, pursuing alternately political ends, personal character development, or Wyrm monsters. It’s hokey, but the characters are all presented as goofy, likeable dudes. The novels are also written by White Wolf all-stars. Bill Bridges and Justin Achilli wrote several books, and the people responsible for the non-bad Vampire novels (there are a couple), were put to work on this series.
But, it’s not even necessary to read the novels to know these characters, because they’re all featured in the Revised core. Every tribe picture is the picture of its signature character. The examples of character creation are always for the signature characters, who you would see in action in the inter-chapter fiction. It’s a remarkable feat of integrating the sigs into your game and having them be key players in the setting, but at the same time leaving room for your own games.
We’ve already met a member of Albrecht’s pack, the signature Black Fury Mari Cabrah. Running parallel to those stories is that of the Silver River Pack, which is supposed to be the more traditional pack, that is, more like player characters. Bone Gnawers had a write up for Carlita “Big Sis”, but the pack also includes the signature Child of Gaia, Cries Havoc.
Cries Havoc is unusual among the signature characters, as he’s the only Metis. His role for new players is to demonstrate a standard Metis backstory. As a Galliard, he’s taught how to tell stories and be personable from childhood. As an adolescent he ended up teaching other Children newbies how Garou society works, but once fully inducted they spurn him, which is all very teenage drama, but it still provides easily roleplayed character hooks.
Cries Havoc was also personally visited by Unicorn as a baby, which doesn’t confer on him any special powers or make him the Chosen One any more than any other Child of Gaia. As his mother tried to escape her sept with him, Unicorn confronted the pair and asked Havoc whether he wanted to live up to his destiny. Since Cries Havoc was a baby, he said yes. This gave Unicorn the right to murder his mother, because Unicorn is fucking metal. Cries Havoc was taken back to the Children of Gaia sept and taught how to be cool. Eventually, he was recruited by Storm Eye, the Red Talons sig and alpha of the Silver River pack to help save the world from Jo Cal Matric, a Serbian Wyrm monster.
Cries Havoc is consistently described as a low power Galliard, but he’s still capable of doing so high action epic fantasy feats. He personally defeats high Rage Banes, he solves ancient riddles, and helps defeat the aforementioned elder evil. His pack’s arc is very much in step with that of PCs. They start off threatened by minor enemies, but once they get some experience they’re capable of charging through hordes of Wyrm monsters and saving the world. The battle with Jo’Cllath’Mttric is pretty much a chronicle ender. He starts out as kind of a baby, but he ends up becoming an auxiliary leader and problem solver that’s integral to the team. He’s great.
And so concludes our look at the Children of Gaia. Was it, as the fans say, better than the Revised edition? Honestly, yes. At the very least, this book didn’t try selling particular, named character to us as totally cool and relatable. It just presented the tribe’s viewpoint. Of course, the tribe’s viewpoint is inane, asinine, and completely unworkable for player concepts, but I feel like the book doesn’t even care about that, so it can’t really fail. The sample characters it offers are actually pretty good, so there is some value to this book. I would never, ever recommend this book to a Werewolf fan, but I don’t necessarily regret reading it. It did what it could with a completely worthless splat. I can’t really be angry at it.
Next time: Croatan Song, the most boring book ever written for Werewolf