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How much do the Bone Gnawers factor into vampire behaviors?

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  • How much do the Bone Gnawers factor into vampire behaviors?

    Do vampires have some sort of understanding that the homeless population is off the menu? Do they consider sections of the city with large amounts of homeless people to be a de facto part of the forest? Does anyone, even the Nos and Gangrel, ever claim domain over areas that include clusters of homeless people?

  • #2
    one thing you have to keep in mind is that vampires as a whole don't really know much about the garou besides the fact they are big scary angry beasts that hate vampires, even the elders have very little info about werewolves since most garou will kill a leech on sight rather then talk to it.

    so to put it simply vampires are not worried about feeding on the homeless because as far as most kindred are concerned the lupines stick to the wild and not the city.
    Last edited by The smiling gun-knight; 04-25-2022, 04:44 PM.

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    • #3
      Except that it would fairly quickly become obvious that this wasn't true when vampires tried to eat homeless city people and got ripped apart either by their lunch, or a friend of their lunch. Moreover, this should have been happening forever, so it's not like it would be news or a recent mystery.

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      • #4
        Little-to-no.

        1: Gnawers kinfolk likely live in larger groups that make them less desirable to feed from. Loners and junkies are really what vampires are after.
        2: the Awareness talent is pretty good for getting the splats to subconsciously avoid one-another. Yes, not everyone has it, especially among younger neonates, but it remains a big factor.
        3: Vampires aren't that adventurous and usually feed in places they're familiar with and can control. Older vampires know what territory to avoid, and aren't likely to give it to their childer.
        4: Since most vampires usually don't do much damage when they feed, it's probably better to let things slide than escalate and cause a big issue. Remember, Garou can win battles, but they'll lose wars against vampires, who can replenish at a lightning rate.
        5: City Caerns are usually weak and despite being the biggest tribe, there aren't many gnawers and only some of them live within cities. It's a slight bias, but Gnawer Caerns are in Wyld bits of the city, Vampires tend to hang out where it's nice and wyrmy.


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        • #5
          Not as much as they would if any edition of Vampire had taken the shared, multi-splat World of Darkness seriously. There should at least be urban legends about someone disappearing after one dinner run too many at the homeless shelter.
          Last edited by Reasor; 04-25-2022, 05:16 PM.

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          • #6
            Excepting 100% coherent world building in the WoD is a recipe for disappointment.

            The best answer is, effectively, a combination of:

            1) The Gnawers don't actually care that much about vampires feeding off of humans. Gnawers are the bottom of the social order. Everyone shits on their people. Losing a bit of blood to a vampire is nothing compared to governments that make their lives a crime to fine them money they don't have, to give them criminal records they can never escape from so they can never get jobs, and then tear down whatever they can do to call something shelter. Essentially, unless a vampire is particularly reckless in thinking that poor people can be drained dry and nobody will care (which is bad practice even by vampire standards), the Gnawers aren't going to step in. Vampires are just one more drug, one more organized crime outfit, etc. in their view of the world. The few vampires that act bad enough that the Gnawers step in and do something about are going to get viewed by most vampires as hunter magnets anyway. A Gnawer kill is going to be less of a splatter fest because they can't get away with that sort of thing like their rural counterparts can, and more like a hunters going after a murder-happy vampire.

            2) Gnawers and their kin are not homeless. While the homeless are part of what the Gnawers see are their purview, most Gnawers and most Gnawer kin are working poor. They have shitty apartments that are shared by three times the occupancy limited by people working crap wages, but they have roofs, beds, kitchens, and food most days. Gnawers can do a lot to make sure their kin's meager budgets stretch just far enough when money gets tight.

            3) Most vampires avoid feeding on the poor. Vampires don't get sick, but they can spread disease and the poor and homeless have higher rates of diseases because they have less access to health care. Vampires can also end up on drug trips they're not expecting because they can experience drugs that their prey has consumed; and poor people are more likely to turn to drugs to cope with the stress of being poor. Feeding on the poor is seen as risky and low-class behavior by most vampires, and "low-class" vampires (at least ones on Humanity) tend to know those people don't need even more shit when there are juicy middle and upper class people to eat. Your average Nosferatu or Gangrel is more likey to just eat animals or use their Disciplines to hunt high class prey if only to not punch down on the poor more than society already does.

            Does that explain how vampires are completely blind to the Gnawers (and the Children of Gaia, and the Glass Walkers, and etc.) werewolves that are right under their noses? Nope. But it explains why conflict there is more rare than it might seem and how vampires at least can easily not chalk up any single incident to the Garou.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
              Do vampires have some sort of understanding that the homeless population is off the menu? Do they consider sections of the city with large amounts of homeless people to be a de facto part of the forest? Does anyone, even the Nos and Gangrel, ever claim domain over areas that include clusters of homeless people?
              As VtM is written, not much. “Lupines” are described as a rural threat that is part of what makes travel between vampiric controlled urban centers dangerous. Vampire shied away from heavier crossover elements in its setting descriptions even more than other WoD gamelines.

              But yeah, at my own table if a vampire player (presumably settling on low humanity or pursuing a Path of Enlightenment) were to have their character just eat and dump the homeless repeatedly because the authorities won’t look closely at it, the homeless reaching out for Bone Gnawer aid is EXACTLY the problem I’d have that character run into.


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              • #8
                'Except that it would fairly quickly become obvious that this wasn't true when vampires tried to eat homeless city people and got ripped apart either by their lunch, or a friend of their lunch'

                yeah but how often does that really happen, remember that the garou are a dying race especially in the Morden day so the chances for a kindred encountering a werewolf dressed like a homeless person is very small.

                'Moreover, this should have been happening forever, so it's not like it would be news or a recent mystery'

                again the low numbers of garou and the kindred lack of knowledge of garou tribes makes it difficult to prove the correlation between the bone gnawers and the homeless, also bear in mind such tales of kindred who enjoy feeding on the homeless only to have one of them turn into a 7 feet man-wolf is told by word of mouth by creatures who existence is dependent on lying.
                Last edited by The smiling gun-knight; 04-25-2022, 05:35 PM.

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                • #9
                  Each splat was built to be stand alone with cross over possible rather than being inherently designed to be cross over native. The closest WW ever got was with the Kindred of the East line which inherently mentioned the other splats as somewhat coexisting rather than being automatically blood enemies.

                  As for Bone Gnawers, I would say they factor into a given game in direct proportion to the players causing headaches for the ST.

                  RLS or Random Lupine Syndrome is an uncommon affliction found in VtM groups. Precursor symptoms include defeating the BBEG far too easily, boasting about your character stats, and consuming the STs snacks. If you have an outbreak of Random Lupine Syndrome, assuming you survive, please see your life insurance agent before it goes full blown into RLPS or Random Lupine Pack Syndrome. There is no known cure for RLPS.

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                  • #10
                    Bone gnawers should factor into a vampire game in the same way any other werewolf would which is nothing at all, each gameline in oWoD is independently written and most of the times they don't even pretend they give a shit about world building coherency so trying to think about a canon answer too much is a recipe for disaster. To make matters more simple, if you are running a werewolf game then the bonegnawers (and the glasswalker, and the children of gaia, and any other werewolf that lives in a city for one reason or another) will be an ever present concern for the local kindred population who will limit their predation to anything but your players territory, if you are running a vampire game then werewolves live out of the city and as long as they stick in urban areas, they will be fine.

                    For a more direct answer to your question, my personal take is that, since bonegnawers are not omniscient, they are not going to notice the effects of your normal vampire feeding on the local homeless since they usually don't look much healthy in the first place so short of catching a vampire in the act, they just won't be aware of them.

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                    • #11
                      The "each game line is independently written" thing is well meaning official position and all, but really not functional.

                      First off, we've had lots of official crossover books. Not a vampire book about lupines and how to use them. Books where VtM vampires and WtA werewolves are both present as they officially exist in their own "independent" worlds. "Bone Gnawers don't exist in VtM, just Lupines," doesn't work when there are VtM books with Garou and their Tribes in them. The Silent Striders do not have unspecified Egypt themed leeches as their ancestral enemies. The have the VtM Clan of the Followers of Set/Ministry as their ancestral enemies. The books have never actually been written this way. They've been written in a weird limbo of sometimes being independent game-worlds, and sometimes being one overarching game world, and trying to have it both ways has never been committed too strongly enough to do it right.

                      Second, the way the societies in the games are structured, that limbo is untenable. The WoD hasn't been written with a eye towards making sure there's space in the setting so the different supernaturals don't trip over each other. You can't have official setting material for, say, New York, in most of the game lines and then try to say that the different supernaturals just pass each other in the night because everyone's so rare. For that to be functional, supernaturals need to be narratively rare (not just rare because some number in a book about how many of them there are is printed, because the authors and players will ignore the hell out of that number). It needs to be explicit that there are major cities with no vampire societies in them because vampires are rare enough that sometimes that they can't actually occupy every city. Most cities don't have more than a few lone vampires, if any at all. And the same needs to be true of everything else. Each "independent" setting needs to be written to make it believable that no vampire in a given city has ever run into a Bone Gnawer because it's believable that there's no Gnawers in that city, and vice versa.

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                      • #12
                        Generally my take on the subject is that Bone Gnawers aren't numerous enough and there's so many homeless that this is just chalked up to, "Random Lupine encounter."

                        It probably happens often enough that vampires probably know Lupines EXIST in large part because of them (as they'd otherwise just avoid the outdoors) but not so much they've ever put together a coherent, "Attacks on the homeless=werewolves."

                        Presumably most vampire encounters are with Bone Gnawers and Glass Walkers.


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                        • #13
                          As I have it, this is a good example of urban lore---the kind of knowledge which is passed down from sire to childe, or more rarely by surviving a harrowing experience. "Picking off a stray wino is one thing, but avoid bum camps unless you're desperate...." Licks eking out a marginal existence who don't know where their next meal might come from, such as young Anarchs and Caitiff, Gangrel and Nosferatu, prize such knowledge. Dealing with lupines (as well as the Restless Dead or Stranger Things) is all part of knowing how to survive, whether in the vast dark between the cities or a filthy backalley behind the Prince's tower. Scions of the High Clans typically are far less aware of just how closely they rub shoulders with the lupine menace, even if that corpo lawyer or angel investor they cultivated at a party is in reality one of the Corporate Wolves.
                          Last edited by Ventrue Busboy; 04-25-2022, 09:54 PM.

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                          • #14
                            I just remembered that "Clanbook: Nosferatu Revised" actually mentions the Black Spiral Dancers as a tribe to watch out for, because they're supposedly rivals for the same territory according to our narrator who heard it from a guy who heard it from another guy. This telephone game urban legend could have feasibly have started with an encounter with some Gnawers instead of the BSDs.

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                            • #15
                              The way the setting was written implies there is generally little conflict between vampires and the Bone Gnawers. We do know there is some limited interaction.

                              1) Early material stated there was some connection between Nosferatu and the Bone Gnawers. Both were somewhat socially looked down upon or discriminated by their peers, and both possessed information networks. So there was some common ground.

                              2) Some Bone Gnawers were allies of the Sabbat. New York's Sept of the Green had a truce and some collaboration with the New York Sabbat for decades at least until the early nineties (Rage Across New York stated that the truce was fraying, but left it up to the STs to decide what would happen). And the STs Guide to Sabbat listed the Bone Gnawers as among the sect's limited allies. I would suggest this is more of tactical nature with limited packs, and possibly just limited to the Sept of the Green and its allies among the Garou.


                              But otherwise, we're given little information that suggests there is much conflict. These would be the reasons I would give for that.

                              1) Bone Gnawers aren't everywhere. They shouldn't be found in every city. Even as the "largest" tribe (and I'll comment on that later on), they simply don't have the numbers to occupy every city with sufficient numbers. In truth, there are probably many cities where there are no Garou at all (Glass Walkers, Bone Gnawers, or assorted others). Not every city is going to have a caern or established presence of the tribe. For all we know, the canonical septs of the Green (New York) and Awakening (DC) might be the only Bone Gnawers septs on the whole Eastern Seaboard.

                              2) Bone Gnawer numbers are overstated. A large number - perhaps up to half - are "Rabble" - meaning werewolves who are absent from any involvement in the tribe or Garou Nation. They're basically Ronin who've been given the tribal Rite of Passage because the tribe doesn't care. While supposedly the Rabble would come a running if the tribe needed help, we have no evidence at that. The actual number of Bone Gnawers are much smaller than is nominally accepted.

                              3) There is a fair number of non-Rabble Bone Gnawers that basically don't fight for Gaia. There's an entire camp of Man Eaters. Others are just looking out for themselves and their own interests. They have no real protectorates.

                              4) Then there are Bone Gnawers who do fight for Gaia, but they aren't placed to do anything about vampire predation in the city. The Hillfolk are out in the rural areas, and the Deserters are exploring the Umbra.

                              5) There's probably an overemphasis on the connection between the Bone Gnawers and the homeless. It's more like the downtrodden or poor. Camps like the Frankweilers and Hood would intersect with the homeless a lot, but they'd also spend a lot of time with the working poor. And there's a big difference between people who are temporarily homeless because of some issue beyond their control who need a helping hand to get back on their feet, and long term homeless due to severe mental illness and/or drug addiction. Which groups are Bone Gnawers more likely to interact with? They don't have unlimited time or resources. They're going to concentrate their efforts, and that will be different in each city the Bone Gnawers are at.

                              So the situation probably isn't that vampires who prey on the homeless are tripping over Bone Gnawers. In some cities, the vampires don't have to watch out at all because there aren't any Bone Gnawers there. In other cities where there is some interplay, it's probably more like a division of territory - hey don't feed in this section of town because vampires who have get attacked or disappeared, but these other sections of town are OK. The Bone Gnawers likely defend a very specific territory and drive away other predators, but they can't be everywhere. And these territories would likely be long established and well known by both sides. Only in cases where one group or the other newly arrives in a city once held by one group alone would there be any kind of conflict, and that would only last until both sides came to some informal understanding of the territorial lines.

                              If we look at New York City, it's basically the second scenario presented in Rage Across New York. The Sabbat leave Central Park and Manhattan mostly alone in exchange for the Bone Gnawers killing any Camarilla vampire that disturbs the peace. In return, the Bone Gnawers there basically have abandoned all the other boroughs. Any homeless in the Bronx or Brooklyn can be eaten by the Sabbat without any trouble. (If you closely read the original descriptions of the Sept of the Green in the first two corebooks and Rage Across New York, the Bone Gnawers do not come out well as sterling examples of the Garou.)

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