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Shattered Dreams and the Bunyip

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  • Shattered Dreams and the Bunyip

    So I am currently running Shattered Dreams, and I am starting to prep for the War of Tears leg of the journey. Does any one have any great ideas that they may have used with Bunyip (made up camps, cultural habits ect.) or great websites to use for Aboriginal cultures located around Uluru? I'd like to make the Bunyip npc's come alive as much as possible, since this will be my players first time interacting with them ever (none of them have really read the W20 core on them, or Rage Across Australia or any source, they are completely unaware of anything other then dead werethylacine, this is going to be fun!)

  • #2
    Ooh! I'd love to hear how the game has been going to date.

    As for your question, google and wikipedia are your friends. Customs like 'Skins' and 'Men's/Women's Business' are probably enough to confound your players. Bear in mind the Bunyip will have 'Bunyip's Business' - so there's quite literally things they know that they will not speak of with other Garou. Said Garou, frustrated by such may even fall into frenzy. Conversely, Bunyip in the presence of said Garou are suffering their own allergy - don't hesitate to play up the monstrous and bizarre (and painful) shapeshifting.

    Garou wanting to learn Bunyip secrets may have a better chance by making contact with local Ananasi - whether the spiderfolk are lying or not is something the Garou may discover the hard way.

    Depending how late into the War of Tears you set the game, the Bunyip may have a 'Spider-Killer' Camp. That's not the best name for them, but I'm in a bit of a rush. I imagine these Bunyip being instrumental in summoning the Yahwie, one way or the other.


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    • #3
      Alright, this is definately a start. I'd done some research on Wiki, but I can't find much on Pitjantjatjara custums or culture to help flesh out the Bunyip. At least I can't find stuff that I've found satisfying? I guess that's the term...just some really lose stuff. Personally I want to have them as lifelike as I can instead of a bunch of Aboriginal stereotypes. I like the idea about the skins and "Bunyip Business". One question is, that one of my players is playing a Nuwisha....should I have the Bunyip curse act up around her as well (maybe with a diff that's easier to avoid then for a Dingo)?

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      • #4
        You don't need a lot on the Pitjantjara themselves. Remember that the Bunyip weren't just confined to Central Australia, they roamed the whole continent. While it's good that you want to avoid a bunch of stereotypes, this does mean that you can take those bits and pieces of the culture that interest you, or that you think would be fun to introduce to your players, and bring them together for the Bunyip.

        Look at what's common across many Aboriginal nations - a strong sense of ritual, initiations into secrets and specific roles that can be performed. A Bunyip Ragabash or Ahroun has stricter expectations placed upon her than perhaps other Garou tribes. Moving outside those roles can be difficult, and bring shame to the individual if done poorly, but perhaps great renown to the one who manages to bring the different aspects together well.

        The 'skins' and initiations are going to cause some initial confusions and difficulties with outsiders because the Bunyip don't understand how the other tribes fit into those structures. From the other side, the tribes don't understand that they need to fit and can have trouble relating in the right way. Speaking from experience, and for the moment looking past the societal difficulties of poverty and privilege, even today the traditionally-focused indigenous people in Central Australia have difficulty interacting with those outside their national and family groups. Outsiders aren't initiated into the proper ways of being able to interact, so how do you interact with them? The safest way to avoid getting it wrong and causing offence (to the outsiders or your family) is to ignore them and act like they're not there.

        Because the Bunyip roamed all of Australia, they know many introductory rites and customs. They understand that people can be different. It wouldn't hurt your characters to do some small amount of research in game to at least try and make an effort to present themselves in the right way. Even beyond what they could conceivably find with a few Academics rolls, Rituals and Occult are going to help them here, as is taking the time to call up spirits and seek their input into how to behave respectfully.

        In the beginning at least, interactions are going to be rather ritualized and formal. Once the proper introductions are done - and these can take some time and aren't likely to be short utter without causing offence - then more personable discussions can take place. But even when friendly, there will be areas of discussion that are off limits without the proper initiations, or the intercession of powerful patrons to press home the lack of time.

        One thing to be mindful of (and I'm being extremely broad brushed here to the point of almost stereotyping), is the concept that everything that happens is caused to happen. Chance is not viewed as a dominant factor. If someone gets sick, someone else caused it. If someone dies, look for the new people in that person's life, or those carrying a grudge. Go back through their recent acquisitions - were any of them gifts? Were they cursed? I'm not suggesting that you play this up too much, but if you want to cause some difficulty for your players, having just a few things go wrong after they've arrived will put them in the spotlight.

        Re: The Nuwisha - that's a good question. I'd say that you've probably got the right balance there. They should have some reaction, but less than the dingo seems reasonable.


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        • #5
          Two interesting (imo) cultural differences to play up that may be relevant relate to songlines: how the Australian Aboriginal tribes describe directions and time. No time (ha) to go into those here and now, but for example, directions are absolute. This is how modern researchers can trace quite ancient paths to find evidence of geography that no longer exists.

          quick edit: As for Nuwisha, I'd be inclined to not have them affect the Bunyip allergy at all. ymmv.
          Last edited by nikink; 02-27-2017, 02:30 AM.


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          • #6
            So right now I am imagining that they are rather homid heavy as a tribe. My thoughts on this would be that the Bunyip would probably see the creation of metis as a sever crime due to Rainbow Serpent being a fertility spirit (at the least as its Rage Across Australia write up), and would probably be rather upset over the concept of its children creating sterile metis. Also from what I read many Aboriginal cultures have strong relation taboos, and I could see that transferring over to the litany too (maybe I'm wrong or my research is off? I'll admit Australian Aboriginal cultures are something I as an American am not very knowledgeable on so I'm rather self-conscious). As for lupus (as a tribe would they have their own word?) with the Thylacine being stuck in Tasmania for such a long span of time, I can imagine that their lupus born are rather rare compared to so many other tribes....thoughts?

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            • #7
              ...would Pure Breed be accessible?

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              • #8
                Metis Bunyip are so rare as to be thought impossible by the European Garou. Bunyip have had to learn over the last 50,000 years or so, how to maintain lines of kin such that inbreeding didn't destroy the closely knit (if widely spread) packs. Basically, metis are very rare. I seem to recall a sidebar explaining as much, but maybe it was removed during development.

                Anyway, yes, to procreate a Metis is a crime before Gaia AND the Rainbow Serpent AND the Tribe, AND the pack and... so on. It would merit quite severe punishment for the transgression, though probably only the parents suffer for the crime. The unfortunate child suffers social stigma, as well as any innate deformities. Whether that is worse than the suffering of other Garou Metis is an open question, and probably irrelevant.

                I reckon Lupus Bunyip would be rarer than Homid Bunyip, but not by a huge margin at the start of the War. Obviously over the course of years their numbers diminish quite rapidly. Remember the Bunyip have pretty decent means of traversing the continent, and reasons for doing so, which bring those from areas which no longer have Thylacines, into the southern habitats. It's quite likely a Bunyip custom to strongly encourage mating, as they know too well the risk of 'losing the wolf' (so to speak!).

                Pure Breed is almost certainly accessible, imo. I don't think it'd be common, but it wouldn't be locked out. Whether it would have a game effect worth measuring... tricky. Certainly not for the Europeans (as if they'd care!), but I'm unsure about how Aboriginal customs treat lines of lineage and iconic hero ancestors. So, I guess the answer is ... maybe? Whatever works for your game would be fine.


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