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Kinfolk-Why choose the animal kin?

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  • Kinfolk-Why choose the animal kin?

    This is something that has popped up a lot in my games both as an ST and as a player, I've always viewed human kinfolk as the more useful. They are people you can use as middlemen between garou and human society and they don't bug out when you go full Crinos. In several games ive been involved in there is always one person who insist Wolf Kinfolk are better and gripes about how we've treated them as what they are, Wolves and they're nothing special aside from kinfolk. Is there something me and the past ST's I've dealt with have missed? Is there some kind of special power that lupus kin have over homid kin? Homid kinfolk get to have personal lives, jobs, connections to the outside world and more while lupus kinfolk are just wolves who are breeding stock and can possibly be trained to alert the sept if they run the woods around the Caerns bawn and something enters their territory?

    If anyone can help please do, because Im trying to wrap my head around why they want to have 2+dots in Kinfolk and make it only lupus kin.

  • #2
    Who says wolf kinfolk can't have personal lives, they are just with their pack and other wolves.

    The thing with including wolf kinfolk is, that the game then must also showcase that these wolves are people as much as the human kinfolk are. This does mean the game has 'talking' wolves, but that is kind of the point. The usefulness of the wolf kinfolk is that they see things in the wild that humans don't AND offer the garou a chance to be with wolves who understand them. Same with human kinfolk, only in the modern world, human kinfolk are generally more useful because humans rule the world.


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    • #3
      on a related note, is it probaly a good idea for a Kinfolk Vetinerian to shoot a wolf kin with a tranquilizor dart, or can he probaly convince them he means no harm with Animal Ken?

      No idea on the roll he'd need to make there.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
        Who says wolf kinfolk can't have personal lives, they are just with their pack and other wolves.

        The thing with including wolf kinfolk is, that the game then must also showcase that these wolves are people as much as the human kinfolk are. This does mean the game has 'talking' wolves, but that is kind of the point. The usefulness of the wolf kinfolk is that they see things in the wild that humans don't AND offer the garou a chance to be with wolves who understand them. Same with human kinfolk, only in the modern world, human kinfolk are generally more useful because humans rule the world.
        I understand that wolves will have their packs, and the 'talking' wolves thing but from what I understand it's less talking and more body and howl language. The wolves protect their territory and pack.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Freederp92 View Post

          I understand that wolves will have their packs, and the 'talking' wolves thing but from what I understand it's less talking and more body and howl language. The wolves protect their territory and pack.
          Yep, but for some garou, it is a needed respit from their stressful lives. Like human kin are, essentially.


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          • #6
            Wolf kinfolk only make sense for lupus breed Garou, and can only come into play in wilderness areas. And unlike human kinfolk, who can be rational creatures that could be willing to help a Garou even if only distantly related (or perhaps not even distantly related, but in on the secret), wolf kinfolk I think would need to be immediately related to the Garou, either from the Garou's original pack, or related packs recently split off from it. If not related and therefore friendly, even kinfolk wolves would be wary if not hostile towards the Garou.

            However, I do think there are several things wolf kinfolk can do that human kinfolk could not, or at least do as well.

            Wolf kinfolk can cover a lot more wilderness territory than a human can. Wolf pack territories can range anywhere from 50 sq miles to 1000 sq miles. And they would know that territory much better than a modern human knows the lands they wander across. With their sharper senses and sense of smell, they can also discover all sorts of unusual things that humans might miss. So while the wolf kinfolk themselves may lack the brains to know that there is a secret PENTEX facility in the mountains, or that fomori lurk in that cave. Or simply that there have been new intruders in the territory. Or that new animals have appeared. They can tell the Garou that something is very wrong and dangerous there (or just unusual), and the Garou can confirm the details himself. So they can make scouts and spies provided you work them in naturally by letting them do their own thing and simply listening to them.

            They can also better determine how healthy the local ecosystem is and therefore give early warning that something troubling is going on. Everyone may already know that there is a mine in that area, or that there is a hunting lodge nearby. But if PENTEX has recently bought the place and begun to illegally introduce something into the system as a result, it would not be immediately apparent or suspicious to humans for some time. But wolf kinfolk could likely detect immediately - even if not affecting themselves, they might notice that certain prey or other animals are leaving or acting strange. Or that what they eat no longer tastes how it should. So in a way they can be great researchers and scientists.

            Then there are other things that animals seem to inexplicably detect early on that humans and our technological devices don't. Many seem to be able to sense earthquakes far ahead of time, know when massive floods will happen, or other big changes in the weather. To the extent how well certain animals can know this in advance is debatable in science, but there is sufficient cause for wolf kinfolk in the game to know some of this. An ST can then use that to give a heads up or other subtle warning that something may happen which may impact the game in a mundane or supernatural way (knowing an earthquake may come may allow the Garou to prevent or save another group of people of people being trapped in a cave, building, or other inaccessible area, or that some force is doing something that will impact the local environment liek releasing a trapped bane which will then cause an earthquake, tornado, or some other disaster as collateral damage). So they can act as an area's sentry or warning system.

            For lupus characters, having out with wolf kinfolk gives that Garou the same kind of companionship and emotional support that human kinfolk give to homid characters.

            And if characters need to hide from humans or towns, they can survive quite easily int he wilderness by being part of the pack. Without needing to threaten the Veil by going into Hispo or Crinos, the can stay in lupus form and still bring down big game with the pack. They can feed on their kills, or even if not there during the kill, they can scavange off the carcass later. They can share body warmth during the winter to make things a little more comfortable. And they can convince the pack to do the same for a normal human who might be stranded during a storm that might otherwise day in the wilderness. So wolf kinfolk can provide resources and shelter - not in the form of money to buy things, but directly by food and pack bodies. And if you are someone who has skills in certain crafting and survival, you can use the leftover animals parts of the kills to make all sorts of things from leather clothing from skin, knives and other tools from bones, sinew and fat to make bow strings, thread, and soap. So they can be a source of providing certain kind of resources.

            Wolf kinfolk can also become good mentors to provide justification for a Garou PC to learn skills like Primal Urge, Stealth, and Survival and perhaps other Talents like Alertness, Brawl, Dodge, Intimidation, and Leadership. Many games don't bother having PCs justify how they improve skills, but for those that do simply watching the pack they are on and repeating what they do for an extended time can support those ability increases. So they can be mentors and teachers.

            In certain chronicle settings, a lupus PC who brings in their pack into an area previously without wolves, might noticeably improve the local ecosystem in ways a human never could. You can have very obvious benefits like greater ecodiversity as predators cull large prey, allowing other species to thrive, to unexpected things like changing physical structure of rivers. This is not something that can happen in every chronicle setting, but it could be included in some. As a side effect of that, all that ecological change can then offer many opportunities for lupus characters in other ways. As new animals appear, or existing ones appear in greater numbers, then spirits may become more plentiful offering opportunities for lupus theurges. Lupus Galliards will have more opportunity to use Beast Speech to talk with the new animals, learning more from them. So wolves can act as engineers of ecology and nature.

            And these all happen without any active guidance of the PC. You don't need to tell them what to do. You just make good use of what they do naturally. So in wilderness chronicles (or at least chronicles that include large area of wilderness that wolves live in), wolf kinfolk can be very valuable.

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            • #7
              Nah the real power is to take Caged Folk and then a whole bunch of Ratkin kin.. then you have Nimh Rats.

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              • #8
                Black Fox I like the examples you've given and I can understand the whole animals senses weather phenomena early before it hits, intruders in their territory, or even scents that don't belong in their neck of the woods. We've used that kind of stuff before as things wolf kinfolk can do as well as provide support in one form or another. In our current chronicle we do a fair bit of globe trotting mainly in the States so far and its been hard for our ST to explain that the kinfolk in question might not be as easily accessible especially if our Caern Hub is in Upstate New York and possibly Florida and we're in Arizona.

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                • #9
                  You may want to ask the one player you have who complains how the ST is not portraying wolf kinfolk well exactly what he expects from them. He may have other ideas.

                  I don't see how wolf kinfolk could be easily transportable between vast distances like upstate NY, FL, and AZ. It might be possible for backstory to allow that separate wolf kinfolk live in those areas, yet they all recognize the Garou PC. But the same pack being in those territories doesn't seem viable to me. And if for whatever strange reason you collect and transport the same pack to different areas, it would take a while for them to acclimate to their new pack grounds, and they'd probably be disturbed and disoriented for a while from the traumatic experience of being dislocated from their home territory.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                    You may want to ask the one player you have who complains how the ST is not portraying wolf kinfolk well exactly what he expects from them. He may have other ideas.

                    I don't see how wolf kinfolk could be easily transportable between vast distances like upstate NY, FL, and AZ. It might be possible for backstory to allow that separate wolf kinfolk live in those areas, yet they all recognize the Garou PC. But the same pack being in those territories doesn't seem viable to me. And if for whatever strange reason you collect and transport the same pack to different areas, it would take a while for them to acclimate to their new pack grounds, and they'd probably be disturbed and disoriented for a while from the traumatic experience of being dislocated from their home territory.

                    Thats essentially how the ST put it a couple sessions ago because they remind him about it every once and a while when they think it might benefit them. The player in question believes wolf kinfolk are super intelligent for wolves. As for shifting the possibly kinfolk wolves the rest of the group has pointed out doing such a thing wouldn't end well especially if were to take the caern in coastal FL as our own.

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                    • #11
                      If you want to go globetrotting around the world and stay connected to your kinfolk, wolf kin won't work, but that's a particular condition in your particular game that prevents their usefulness. Maybe that player didn't anticipate or understand where the story was going to go?

                      If you're worried about the diminishing population of Garou in the world, you'll have noticed that wolves can easily bear you 5 times as many cubs as humans, and those cubs will reach maturity in a couple of years rather than a couple of decades. If your sept has a lupus-wolf kin couple, they can have a litter of 5-6 cubs a year, and in about 2 years you'll know if those cubs bred true. By comparison, a homid-human kin couple can have a "litter" of 1-2 children a year, and in about 15 years, give or take a few years, you'll know if those children bred true. Wouldn't you like roughly even odds of "breeding true" every couple of years for as long as you both shall live?
                      Last edited by Wilson; 07-02-2018, 05:42 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Wilson View Post
                        If you want to go globetrotting around the world and stay connected to your kinfolk, wolf kin won't work, but that's a particular condition in your particular game that prevents their usefulness. Maybe that player didn't anticipate or understand where the story was going to go?

                        If you're worried about the diminishing population of Garou in the world, you'll have noticed that wolves can easily bear you 5 times as many cubs as humans, and those cubs will reach maturity in a couple of years rather than a couple of decades. If your sept has a lupus-wolf kin couple, they can have a litter of 5-6 cubs a year, and in about 2 years you'll know if those cubs bred true. By comparison, a homid-human kin couple can have a "litter" of 1-2 children a year, and in about 15 years, give or take a few years, you'll know if those children bred true. Wouldn't you like roughly even odds of "breeding true" every couple of years for as long as you both shall live?

                        Yeah so the only use for wolf kin is baby machines..

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wilson View Post
                          If you're worried about the diminishing population of Garou in the world, you'll have noticed that wolves can easily bear you 5 times as many cubs as humans, and those cubs will reach maturity in a couple of years rather than a couple of decades. If your sept has a lupus-wolf kin couple, they can have a litter of 5-6 cubs a year, and in about 2 years you'll know if those cubs bred true. By comparison, a homid-human kin couple can have a "litter" of 1-2 children a year, and in about 15 years, give or take a few years, you'll know if those children bred true. Wouldn't you like roughly even odds of "breeding true" every couple of years for as long as you both shall live?
                          I don't think the setting actually supports this. If it did, then the lupus breed wouldn't be dying off at a faster rate than the homid. Since we know the lupus have been in gradual decline for a long time, even before the large scale wolf killing of the 18th to 20th centuries, then the rate by which new lupus Garou are born must be worse than the normal homid rates to the extent than even the greater litter size and faster maturation of wolf kinfolk. If it was easy to increase Garou numbers by breeding with wolf kinfolk, then the setting would already reflect that.

                          I know there are rules out there on the likelihood of producing Garou from various types of mating, but that really only gives a quick tool for STs to determine things for the PCs. It's not a hard set of demographic rules for the setting. Coming up with actual demographic rules to truly determine chances of Garou breeding requires too much information that the game cannot provide us. STs really just have to wing it in terms of the greater population for Garou to fit the setting, and leave any mechanical die rolling to those few cases where it impacts the players.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lian View Post
                            Yeah so the only use for wolf kin is baby machines..
                            That's not what I meant, at all. I was just adding another point to the list of useful contributions that lupus kinfolk can offer.

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