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  • Kinfolk relations in the dark ages

    I’m running a game that is essentially set during the dark ages. Though the setting differs slightly.

    In any case, I have come to ask for advice regarding my depiction of kinfolk relations with the local werewolf sept. During this particular Chronicle, the player characters discovered that there was a sept on a nearby mountain and that the werewolves of the sept had built a village at the foot of the mountain where several hundred kinfolk lived, there are also several wolf packs living in the mountains as well.

    The werewolves essentially built an isolated home for their kin and gathered them there, were the kin live in relative peace from any sort of disturbance and are protected quite vigorously by the almost 20 werewolves of the sept.

    The players found that the Kin are quite prosperous and have the freedom to elect their own leaders and make their own laws but are highly discouraged from leaving and are heavily influenced by the Garou who use a blend of intimidation and bribery (in the form of ensuring the village’s prosperity). The kinfolk trade with outside merchants and have a great deal of wealth compared to many mediaeval peasants.

    They are however, bred with a cold efficiency. The Garou of the sept know about inbreeding and how to keep the number of Garou up; thus, they enacted a selective breeding program where the elder theurge determines who will breed with who and commands it be done. Mixed feelings about breeding with random Garou and kin are common and there’s some animosity towards this, however, a plague recently devastated the region and the Garou are aware they need to increase their numbers or they will dwindle and fade.

    Recently, it was uncovered that when one Garou was sent to the village to breed with two of the kin women, he paid them money to have sex with him at the same time, arguing that this was no different than him having sex with them separately. This enraged some of the kin and upset the player characters (though not the players) as well other Garou, who saw this as a violation of a sacred duty that is only being enacted due to desperation.

    Thus, controversy occurred with the PCs arguing that the kinfolk were being mistreated and abused.

    The kin are largely kept separate from the Garou, know of their existence, but know little of their rituals and practices and are not used to but not entirely shocked by a Garou in Crinos form. The local sept leaders have made it clear that the kin need to be ‘handled’.

    This came to light after a Garou went into frenzy inside the kin village over an execution, the sight of Garou fighting other Garou openly (as the pack moved to restrain the snarling Crinos Garou, who went into the thrall of the Wyrm) roused a crisis and made the sept leaders essentially go into damage control mode as they tried to spin the incident and rehabilitate their image.

    Does this sound believable and in keeping with the setting? Is this how kinfolk would be treated?

    Note that there is a city with a large number of vampires nearby and that the werewolves and vampires know of one another and are on the brink of open conflict, though neither side wants a war and will not start one without good reason.

  • #2
    My guess is, that such a sept was consisting of Shadow Lords. Most other tribes, while still belittleing Kin, would have a closer relationship with their kinfolk.

    I'd assume that the garou/kin-leaders would have established a pseudo-religion, where the 'maiden of the spring' is selected by the great oracle and is to bear the child of the 'spring champion' or whatever. It is to legitimize the pairing and create social acceptance of the custom.

    As always, keep in mind, that not only the kin need to be handled, the garou need to be handled just as much. Also, not all garou are male, so the Elder theurge just as often has to tell a female garou to get pregnant with that man's child or this man's child. And, even if this selection grants a doubled chance of breeding true, which would be huge, the chance is still only 65%. So, the garou have to bring their not true bred children back to the kin village to be raised.
    If, within your setting you can't tell garou and kin apart after birth (which is the case in W20, but not before), then all children are raised with in the kin village anyway. That said, if this has been going on for generations, all the people there are related with each other, meaning, that 2nd or 3rd degree cousins, witch whom they were probably raised until the first change, so they are each others childhood friends and what not.

    So, the garou would for most of the kin not need a blend of bribery and intimidation to keep them, but a sense of home, belonging, duty, family and so on would totally suffice. Sure, every few years there might be someone who feels the Landerlust and who needs to get out there where the merchants come from and see the world, but that wouldn't bring down the sept or the kin village, even if their shared society would allow it.

    According to the older Dark Ages Werewolf Book the Veil wasn't a thing until recently, so their society (kin and garou) can very well be a shared one. Sure, garou tend to keep kin in the dark about the more dangerous, frightening and specific details of the supernatural world, but for example collect parts of the villages harvest to be used as sacrifice to spirits is something the kin can very well be informed about and be present at the ritual. The more participants the more powerful a Rite (well the lower the difficulty, and therefore the more successes), and while Kin aren't counted as full participants, if have at the back of my head that they at least count as half a participant. So a village in a harvest celebration can be a quite powerful aid to any theurge who wants to appease the spirits.


    The fact that a garou paid two women for a threesome, well, my guess it is up to the individuals in question, whether or not they find that offensive or not. Obviously, the theurge elder and basically any herb woman or midwife in the village would know, that the physical volume of sperm would not be larger while having a threesome and that the chances of conception might not be the same as when the male would have met the ladies at two separate occasions. Therefore the breeding aspect of the whole affair is kind of in question - which makes things worse.
    But, prostitution is possibly not a problem, in the dark ages. I mean, they aren't christians, and even then it might not have been a problem in the dark ages.

    In the US prostitution is illegal, as one can see in basically every TV show. In other parts of the world:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped..._countries.svg
    Light red indicates illegality, but only Johns are prosecuted.
    Dark red indicates illegality, prostitudes are prosecuted.
    Green and blue indicate legality with varying levels of state regulation (for example minimum age or illegality of brothels).

    In the dark arges, prostitutes were considered of low standing, sometimes lacking civil rights to some degree. However, they also had public duties, for example during the carnival season representing the joy of living and luck. Also, the city hangman (also of low standing) usually was also the one responsible for running the city owned brothel. Regulations determined the minimum number of clients women hat to serve, that they had to offer their duties to every citizen, who they were to be cared for if sick (yes, they kind of had insurance) and how they have to be fed.

    So, for the most part, there might be no problem, if the garou paid women for sex. If it isn't exploitation, the garou tribes shouldn't have traditions against it either.

    Comment


    • #3
      Why is it that I'm reading this description and getting images of M. Night Shymalan's The Village?


      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by heinrich View Post
        My guess is, that such a sept was consisting of Shadow Lords. Most other tribes, while still belittleing Kin, would have a closer relationship with their kinfolk.

        I'd assume that the garou/kin-leaders would have established a pseudo-religion, where the 'maiden of the spring' is selected by the great oracle and is to bear the child of the 'spring champion' or whatever. It is to legitimize the pairing and create social acceptance of the custom.

        As always, keep in mind, that not only the kin need to be handled, the garou need to be handled just as much. Also, not all garou are male, so the Elder theurge just as often has to tell a female garou to get pregnant with that man's child or this man's child. And, even if this selection grants a doubled chance of breeding true, which would be huge, the chance is still only 65%. So, the garou have to bring their not true bred children back to the kin village to be raised.
        If, within your setting you can't tell garou and kin apart after birth (which is the case in W20, but not before), then all children are raised with in the kin village anyway. That said, if this has been going on for generations, all the people there are related with each other, meaning, that 2nd or 3rd degree cousins, witch whom they were probably raised until the first change, so they are each others childhood friends and what not.

        So, the garou would for most of the kin not need a blend of bribery and intimidation to keep them, but a sense of home, belonging, duty, family and so on would totally suffice. Sure, every few years there might be someone who feels the Landerlust and who needs to get out there where the merchants come from and see the world, but that wouldn't bring down the sept or the kin village, even if their shared society would allow it.

        According to the older Dark Ages Werewolf Book the Veil wasn't a thing until recently, so their society (kin and garou) can very well be a shared one. Sure, garou tend to keep kin in the dark about the more dangerous, frightening and specific details of the supernatural world, but for example collect parts of the villages harvest to be used as sacrifice to spirits is something the kin can very well be informed about and be present at the ritual. The more participants the more powerful a Rite (well the lower the difficulty, and therefore the more successes), and while Kin aren't counted as full participants, if have at the back of my head that they at least count as half a participant. So a village in a harvest celebration can be a quite powerful aid to any theurge who wants to appease the spirits.


        The fact that a garou paid two women for a threesome, well, my guess it is up to the individuals in question, whether or not they find that offensive or not. Obviously, the theurge elder and basically any herb woman or midwife in the village would know, that the physical volume of sperm would not be larger while having a threesome and that the chances of conception might not be the same as when the male would have met the ladies at two separate occasions. Therefore the breeding aspect of the whole affair is kind of in question - which makes things worse.
        But, prostitution is possibly not a problem, in the dark ages. I mean, they aren't christians, and even then it might not have been a problem in the dark ages.

        In the US prostitution is illegal, as one can see in basically every TV show. In other parts of the world:
        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped..._countries.svg
        Light red indicates illegality, but only Johns are prosecuted.
        Dark red indicates illegality, prostitudes are prosecuted.
        Green and blue indicate legality with varying levels of state regulation (for example minimum age or illegality of brothels).

        In the dark arges, prostitutes were considered of low standing, sometimes lacking civil rights to some degree. However, they also had public duties, for example during the carnival season representing the joy of living and luck. Also, the city hangman (also of low standing) usually was also the one responsible for running the city owned brothel. Regulations determined the minimum number of clients women hat to serve, that they had to offer their duties to every citizen, who they were to be cared for if sick (yes, they kind of had insurance) and how they have to be fed.

        So, for the most part, there might be no problem, if the garou paid women for sex. If it isn't exploitation, the garou tribes shouldn't have traditions against it either.
        Thank you for your comment, I appreciate your feedback. I found the references to the interrelatedness of life for the sept and the village Very helpful

        Comment


        • #5
          Furthermore I’d just like to add that I had not actually thought much about the sharing of rights and rituals with members of the kin village and trying to incorporate certain religious, spiritual or mystical elements of Garou life with them.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hello,

            It would be great to know the exact location of the village, it would help me tremendiously. I come from central-eastern Europe & have some (deeper than avarage) knowledge about my region. If your story is situated here, I'd gladly help.

            Originally posted by Zennis View Post
            ...sept had built a village at the foot of the mountain
            Building a proper village is not a small undertaking. And when your Rage drives the population / workforce away, it's still harder. I find it mopre possible to slowly influence / change the local population of a village and turn them into kinfolk.


            Originally posted by Zennis View Post
            where several hundred kinfolk lived, there are also several wolf packs living in the mountains as well.
            Several hundred people makes a town or city in early medieval Europe and not a village. Additionaly I find the number of kinfolk very unusual.

            About the size of the town: It's existence couldn't keep as a secret and the local politics would seriously influenced by the ruling noble family. Of course if the noble family is the scion of a Shadow Lord lineage, it just jelps.


            Originally posted by Zennis View Post
            The werewolves essentially built an isolated home
            I find this very unlikely. Without the support of the neighbouring region a town would wither. It's not an easy task to supply hundreds of people with every resourch they need. And almost no place have everything they would need. Meet and would would be easy. Grain is out of option in a mountainside. You'll need iron for tools and weapons, and coal to make them. Precious metals for jewellery, water to feed the population, precious metals to make the girls happy, etc.

            Originally posted by Zennis View Post
            The players found that the Kin are quite prosperous and have the freedom to elect their own leaders and make their own laws
            I find this disturbing. Democracy is an idea what is nonexistent in the medieval Europe. Also the Garou are not a big fan of the democracy. Why would they promote something they don't konw about & what they (usually) despise?

            Originally posted by Zennis View Post
            The kinfolk trade with outside merchants and have a great deal of wealth compared to many mediaeval peasants.
            This could cause attention to the town and make it wanted by other forces. Also don't forget about the power of the CHURCH!
            And what do they use for trade?

            Originally posted by Zennis View Post
            a plague recently devastated the region
            The Garou have easy option (Fetishes & Gifts) to counter plagues. This intervention could increase the moral and loyality of the population and could be much more easily implemented than in modern time periods.

            Originally posted by Zennis View Post
            Thus, controversy occurred with the PCs arguing that the kinfolk were being mistreated and abused.
            The players should forget our modern wievpoint. These kinfolk have much more right & general wellbeeing than any other people of europe.

            Originally posted by Zennis View Post
            This came to light after a Garou went into frenzy inside the kin village over an execution, the sight of Garou fighting other Garou openly (as the pack moved to restrain the snarling Crinos Garou, who went into the thrall of the Wyrm) roused a crisis and made the sept leaders essentially go into damage control mode as they tried to spin the incident and rehabilitate their image.
            Medieval population believe in angels, daemons, werewolves, faeries, singing rock, undying lords, gods, speaking toads, and pretty everything. They don't need a logical explanation to a werewolf, so the damage control would be much easier if they'd play the right tones.


            Originally posted by heinrich View Post
            I'd assume that the garou/kin-leaders would have established a pseudo-religion, where the 'maiden of the spring' is selected by the great oracle and is to bear the child of the 'spring champion' or whatever. It is to legitimize the pairing and create social acceptance of the custom.
            As long as they keep the town a secret - what I find impossible - it can be done. But than the HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH OF ROME comes banging the doors. The last organized pagan European religion was eradicated around 1377.


            Originally posted by heinrich View Post
            So, the garou would for most of the kin not need a blend of bribery and intimidation to keep them, but a sense of home, belonging, duty, family and so on would totally suffice. Sure, every few years there might be someone who feels the Landerlust and who needs to get out there where the merchants come from and see the world, but that wouldn't bring down the sept or the kin village, even if their shared society would allow it.
            Yeh, Heinrich is right. The social aspect sould be more colored with family relations, religion, etc.


            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Zennis View Post
              Furthermore I’d just like to add that I had not actually thought much about the sharing of rights and rituals with members of the kin village and trying to incorporate certain religious, spiritual or mystical elements of Garou life with them.
              But why not.

              In my opinion, garou always shared a close knit tie to their kin communities, how else would human customs and beliefs have had impact on the garou tribes and tribes would have certain human ethnicities and myths they are tied to. One would also assume, that the Pure Ones did kept this ties with the indigenous population of America alive, while the European tribes failed to keep the majority of humans in line - so to speak.

              Originally posted by Lachdanan
              Building a proper village is not a small undertaking. And when your Rage drives the population / workforce away, it's still harder. I find it mopre possible to slowly influence / change the local population of a village and turn them into kinfolk
              You are right. I assumed this was the case.

              Originally posted by Lachdanan
              I find this disturbing. Democracy is an idea what is nonexistent in the medieval Europe. Also the Garou are not a big fan of the democracy. Why would they promote something they don't konw about & what they (usually) despise?
              True. However, certain aspects of democracy were present from ancient greece. Guilds for example had certain rights to govern themselves, as long as they payed taxes. I'd assumed that the kin people in the village had some say in whom they regard as town spokesperson and certainly govern themselves in regards to the rules and tradition the community has to adhere to.

              Originally posted by Lachdanan
              The Garou have easy option (Fetishes & Gifts) to counter plagues. This intervention could increase the moral and loyality of the population and could be much more easily implemented than in modern time periods.
              Fetishes take time to create, but sure, simple deals with spirits, like water elementals or the like would give the garou an huge advantage in fighting any non-supernatural sickness, and providing help for their kin, too.

              Originally posted by Lachdanan
              As long as they keep the town a secret - what I find impossible - it can be done. But than the HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH OF ROME comes banging the doors. The last organized pagan European religion was eradicated around 1377.
              Maybe so. But certain pagan practices remained. With a priest-ish person among the Kin who shields them from the church by writing letters to his bishop regularly and making sure that taxes are payed. Deception goes a long way here...

              Comment

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