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tribal moots

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  • #16
    Thank you Black Fox for writing these summaries about individual Tribes. They are very interesting to read for me as someone who mostly read M:tA and V:tM books so far.
    Last edited by Muad'Dib; 12-10-2018, 12:23 PM.


    • #17
      Part of the benefit of doing this for me is that I use these posts as my own short synopsis/cheat sheets for my own games. Glad you are enjoying them as well.


      • #18
        I decided to check some details on Tribal Homelands since the Fianna rite of Imbolc sends participants to there and saw that one needs to be at least Athro rank to freely enter the Tribal Homeland of their own tribe. Presumably, participation of the Rite negates their requirement so Fianna of lower ranks can enter. I thought I should mention it though.


        • #19
          The corebooks say the tribal moots of the Get of Fenris are wild affairs with much eating, drinking, howling, and fighting. Although not seen by outsiders, Get customs actually regulate what seems to be an uncoordinated brawl. The fights establish the hierarchy of dominance for the regional Get of Fenris. While it mentions that slamdancing over the sounds of speed metal and industrial music, I'd say any kind of loud, exciting music is traditionally played. Party music that can be played during fighting challenges is really the only thing that is needed, and that changes over time.

          While this description establishes the mood of Get tribal moots, there actually is not much here for STs and players in running the scenes. There will be physical fights that establish the Get hierarchy.

          The first edition tribebook gives us a little more. We're told that the Get divide their moots between the informal and formal - and the corebook is clearly only describing the informal moots. The informal moots are merely parties designed to be fun, so that local Get can get to know one another, and settle disputes in a friendly atmosphere (if they want that). There is singing and drinking. But the moots have a variety of games, all of which are physically dangerous and they give some examples (basically any kind of competitive physical tests you can think of with the added risk of aggravated damage of some kind occurring). These informal moots can be joined by those outside the tribe as well.

          The formal moots are Get only (no outsiders allowed), always take place indoors at a " great Lodge House." There is NO fighting at these moots unless they are done to the death in a formal arena outside the lodge house. Challenges to become Jarl are done here. The Get gather at formal moots to discuss tribal law, commemorate the dead in sorrow, or celebrate great events.

          I would say the the great Lodge Houses are likely properties maintained by the local tribe/jarl for just these purposes.

          Since we aren't given any kind of regularity or purpose to any of these moots, I think they would have to be called for specific purposes. There might not even be formal moots called for years unless there is some kind of controversy, threat, or challenge. The informal moots are probably called on a regular basis at least once a year, possibly more if the Get are getting feisty or need some joy.

          The annual seasonal Rite of the Three Wells found in the Werewolf Storyeteller's Guide. Always held on October 31 (strangely called Samhain in the book, although that is not a Germanic term), the rite is held in the umbra and success allows the Get to find one or more of the three wells of Yggsdrasil. This is the great World Tree of Life (although the Norse Yggdrasil itself is thought to be merely a branch of the actual Gaian World Tree) which Norse legend says has three wells (one located in Asgard where the Norns are, one in Jotunheim, and one in Niflheim/Hel) hidden under one of its roots (the book notionally just has it in the Get Tribal homeland, but even if that is the case, you may want certain portions of the Get homeland to resemble their mythological homes or even place it in more appropriate umbral homes). The number of successes on the rite gives how many wells the ritemaster can find. The Get can choose which well they will visit if they get more than one success. Upon arriving there, they will be confronted with a challenge, and if the Get succeed they can gaze upon the well and receive visions. Then after they return to the Realm, the elders briefly decide what the omens mean.

          While the rite is important, this doesn't seem to fit the solemn atmosphere of a formal moot. I'd conduct it more like that of an informal moot where outsiders are not allowed. Because the challenges involve lots of Get NPCs, I'd say the ST will just describe what happens, although if there is one or more Get PCs, he might actually roleplay and throw dice in a small scene that affects only them during the greater challenge just to establish how well they perform in the eyes of the other Get. Any visions and omens, and their interpretations, is just an excuse to give clues (to whatever degree the ST wants) as to ongoing or forthcoming events in the chronicle. Norse mythology gives a little more detail on the three wells that is given in the book, and I would use that to determine what kind of visions might be seen. Book says the Well of Urd (in Asgard) covers Wyld and Wisdom, and the Norse description says it is a very holy place, a place of meditation, and the presence of the Norns means it is a sight of fate and providence. Well of Mimir (in Jotunheim) covers Weaver and Honor, and real myth says it is the well where Odin sacrificed his eye so he could drink and receive its wisdom. Hvergelmir (in Niflheim/Hel) covers Glory and the Wyrm, and in Norse myth is covered with a vast amount of serpents and the dragon Niddhog is nearby. It is also the source spring of all the world's rivers. In the rite description it says the challenge at Hvergelmir is almost always a fight. I would use the North myths to help fill in the other details for challenge. I would also make what wells the rite master could discover always the same order - one success is Hvergelmir, two successes include Mimir's Well, and third allows Urd's well to be found. But most of this can just be flavor text (although I would present different kind of challenges at each well, with Urd's well being one to test the mind or spirit rather than the physical traits).

          I am not sure why this rite is held on October 31. That date is not particularly famed in Germanic traditions. I assume when creating the Garou seasonal calendar of all tribes, they just needed certain rites to occur around the entire year, and needed some tribe to hold theirs then. And because the Fianna were already given Imbolc (February 2), they slotted the Get here. If you don't particularly care about that, you could set the date on another part of the year - Walpurgis Night on May Day's Eve is much better known in the Germanic world and might be more appropriate.
          Last edited by Black Fox; 12-14-2018, 02:32 PM.


          • #20
            It just occurred to me that whenever the descriptions of tribal moots state that other tribes are sometimes invited, that it is code that means "even though only one of the PCs pack is a member of this tribe, their PC packmates can also attend so you can run a scene with all of them."


            • #21
              The tribal moots of the Glass Walkers is one where the ST needs to make some decisions. In the corebooks we are told that the tribe meets every month precisely at 12:37 AM on the 23rd of every month. These moots are very formal and rigid and controlled by the elders where business is discussed, although younger Glass Walkers are increasingly calling their own informal moots that are more like raves and parties and are primarily social. The meet every month mention is clearly intended to be a sept moot, but since most published depictions of septs are multi-tribal, this leaves us little to do for the tribe unless Glass Walker PCs are intended to meet monthly for both the sept and the tribe, which can eat up a lot of time.. As a previous poster mentioned, having quarterly business meetings are a good compromise.

              I've tried to discover the reasoning behind the 23rd day at 12:37 AM. Obviously being so precise gives us flavor text for a tribe in thrall to the Weaver, but if 23 or 12:37 have any symbolic value themselves I can't determine. I once thought maybe it was either a series of prime numbers, or the fibonacci sequence, but later I saw both didn't work. If anyone knows, please inform me.

              The tribebook confirms the description in the corebook, but gives us more details. The formal moots are called Conventions and are presided over by a Philodox. At the meeting, only one representative from each "House" (the tribe is organized into 4 houses; I won't go into detail here about each house) is allowed to speak during the meeting, although other individual Glass Walkers may be allowed to speak if they petition in writing before the meeting. After discussion and agreement on what needs to be done, the tribal leader assigns each of the Houses its duties for the next two months and then Theurges call upon spirits to aid the decisions. Its mentioned that the rigid and very formal proceedings are done so as not to offend the Weaver spirits whose aid and support the tribe needs. These moots sound less like a formal business meeting, than a very choreographed stockholders or Board of Directors meeting.

              As a result of the very bureaucratic and ritualistic Conventions, more Glass Walkers hold Raves to maintain their link to the Wyld which is mainly partying with music and drink albeit also with unscripted statements between songs by tribe members, something like spoken word or a poetry slam. It's mentioned that the tribe leaders have ruled that half of all tribal moots should be raves.

              There are some interesting ideas here. I like that Glass Walker tribal moots are very formal occasions due to the demands/chiminage of Weaver spirits the tribe uses, but they know this is calcifying the tribe. I would make the Conventions quarterly, and simply say the Raves are unofficial moots, mainly but not exclusively held by the young, done with the support of the tribal elders.

              The tribebook also gives us two explicity seasonal rites/holidays - All Machines Day and Promethean Daze. All Machines Day is actually a week long celebration of spirits of machinery. The Day itself is held on the Ides of March (March 15) but begins the preceding Friday (Vulcans Day) and ends the following Saturday (Sister Science Day). All Machines Day itself is spent cleaning and repairing machines so they can receive the attentions of their appropriate spirits.

              This is clearly some large scale chiminage required by the tribe to maintain access to some of their more technologically inclined Gifts.

              The other seasonal rite is Promethean Daze which is another weeklong celebration held between Christmas and New Years Day. It's divided into two parts. The first is where Glass Walkers cross traditional boundaries in an attempt to revitalize the mind, and the second is to engage the spirits to hold their favors for the coming year ahead. This sounds a lot like the old Roman festival of Saturnalia. There isn't much here other than to give the Glass Walkers a celebration specific to them that can be "hidden" beneath the traditional Christmas celebrations.

              However, the two celebrations combined show a theme in the first tribebook - the need for the tribe to appease the spirits of the Weaver which makes the tribe increasingly predictable and formulaic, and tribal celebrations to break that down and renew their ties with the Wyld to restart their creativity.

              The ST's Handbook gives us a completely different seasonal rite - Memorial Day. This level two rite is held on the same day as the human culture's day to honor the fallen in battle. I imagine in Europe this would be November 11 (America's Memorial Day observances date to the Civil War and thus predates Europe's various Armistice Day/Remembrance Day based on the end of the World War I). This rite calls upon "a city spirit" to help the tribe for a one year period. It is basically a variant of the Rite of Summoning and includes chiminage negotiations, and as - is the norm for many of these seasonal rites - the spirit gives a quest for the tribe to complete (aka send the PCs off on a quest the ST wants them to do).

              This obviously began as some sort of the funeral/memorial service of Glass Walkers on behalf of the city spirits, and only transferred to an existing human holiday for cover.

              These Glass Walker moots and meetings show the tribe has to do a lot of chiminage to maintain its ties with the various Weaver spirits. Since the tribe's actual tribal totem is Cockroach (not a particularly Weavery insect like bees or ants would be), it means there have been a lot of tribal heroes who have done a lot of work to earn the favor of these Weaver spirits, but that the tribe still needs to maintain a lot of ongoing chiminage to keep those favors coming. This is a tribe very in hoc to the spirits. All those Weaver Gifts come at a high price.

              So surprisingly, the Glass Walkers have A LOT of tribal moots or at least tribal meetings. Quarterly conventions plus three seasonal moots plus any informal raves means the Glass Walkers do a lot. At the same time, this establishes Glass Walker customs as being very separate from the rest of the Garou Nation which is thematically appropriate. The Glass Walker moots and festivals would really make it hard for the tribe to coordinate with the other tribes, making them do their own thing. Since most of these meetings are mostly flavor text, the ST would not need to spend much time on Glass Walker PCs to the neglect of PCs of other tribes. But in an only Glass Walker PC chronicle, the ST could use it as a means to establish distance between that tribe and the others as their rites and celebrations, and the timing of such, is very different.


              • #22
                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                It just occurred to me that whenever the descriptions of tribal moots state that other tribes are sometimes invited, that it is code that means "even though only one of the PCs pack is a member of this tribe, their PC packmates can also attend so you can run a scene with all of them."
                The player characters could also attend a Tribal Moot if none of them are members of a particular Tribe ; an NPC ( a Garou, or a Spirit ) could invite them.


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                  The player characters could also attend a Tribal Moot if none of them are members of a particular Tribe ; an NPC ( a Garou, or a Spirit ) could invite them.
                  Yes, you are completely right. That hadn't occurred to me, but there are lots of reasons why an ST may want to do that.


                  • #24
                    Red Talons have tribal moots that revolve around hunting or howling competitions. They try to lose any human rationality and act on pure instinct to return to their animal roots. In addition, they have other "darker" moots where they perform human sacrifice. Corebook explicity mentions a Yuletide rite where they pin a human to a tree and eviscerate him.

                    Unfortunately the Red Talon Tribebook does not provide any other details. It is the first tribebook which does not have a section detailing tribal moots. This is bad. All the other tribebooks have built on the little information given in the corebook, so this is a loss.

                    The first edition Storyteller's Handbook gives us the seasonal rite of the Rite of the Impergium. On this night, they sing the Song of the Impergium and then enforce the Impergium once again as the pack patrols their pack territory (and even beyond) to look for humans to cull from the herd. Nothing is said about killing all humans, so likely the Red Talons use some sort of selection process (perhaps more out of a sense to not threaten the Veil and not provoke the other tribes from attacking them). The only thing odd about the rite is that it is listed as happening on June 28 (exactly one-quarter of a lunar month after the summer solstice). I don't think any of that would occur to a lupus Garou. I would change it to "the first full moon after the summer solstice" that is something a lupus is more easily going to remember. Although not stated in the text, there must be a reason why this rite is held at this time of the year - this may be a clue that the Concord ended (or began) on the summer solstice or near that time.

                    So there isn't much here for flavor text. In one way, this is appropriate for a tribe of lupus. We shouldn't have very human seeming moot details. In another way, it is disappointing. We're not given any interesting hooks. We can only do so much with the idea that the Talons will perform a human sacrifice. But I guess with concentrating on their animal impulses and killing someone, it provides a simplicity and intensity that distinguishes the tribe from the others. And what we do know a yuletide rite and a post-summer solstice rite, does continue with the idea that many tribal rites happen on a quarterly/seasonal basis. Perhaps the Talons perform the normal solstice/equinox rites, and then follow up with a special tribal rite/moot around the same time?


                    • #25
                      We get more detail for Shadow Lord tribal moots. They are held in desolate, isolated locations, preferably when storm clouds are overhead. Since weather is fickle, that sounds like there is not a set of regular dates, but are specifically called on special occasions. The moots are very hierarchical and decorous with much pomp and music (drums and Gregorian chants are listed as examples). Oh, and the Shadow Lords also perform human sacrifices on occasion.

                      Their tribebook calls them "shadow moots" and state they are done in secrecy. They also have a purpose - to organize the tribe and plot against their tribal enemies. It also says that the moots themselves can be held in hierarchy themselves, presumably with higher ranked moots of higher ranked Shadow Lords/septs instructing the lower ranked moots on what they need to discuss or plan. Words like conspiracy and co-conspirators are banded about.

                      Unlike other tribes, these shadow moots do NOT involve all the shadow lords of the local area. Instead, they are organized in a cell structure lead by one master conspirator who calls together his allies to plan. So presumably, a local area may have multiple cells secretly meeting (and not always at the same time, and certainly not at the same place), or perhaps none at all. Furthermore, Shadow Lords who are members of these cells may decide not to attend in order to throw off rivals or protect the cells secrecy. The goal is to pass on information received from a higher shadow moot onto the entire cell. The leader of each shadow moot is a Grand Master, and may be aided by a theurge ritemaster who acts as High Priest.

                      So these are very political affairs held in secret and called when the higher ranking Shadow Lords, or important local potentates, need to get something done. They are also places where hierarchy is established and Shadow Lords are divided into various ranks within their tribal hierarchies. In addition, non-Garou allies of the Shadow Lords can also attend these moots - and these can be mages, vampires(!), faeries, and others.

                      This is cool, but requires a lot more work by the ST who has to determine how many different conspiratorial cells there are, who they report to, and who is below them. As well as how Shadow Lord Garou may move between cells as they become more powerful and thus are recruited by higher ups and leave their old cells behind. This can be a big pain in the ass, but might be a lot of fun for some STs and PCs.

                      We're not given much further detail about these moots during the seasonal rites section in the ST Handbook. There the rite is the Rite of the Opened Claw held October 5 (two weeks after the autumnal equinox) by the Hakken. It is a kind of tea ceremony where two Shadow Lords are selected randomly by ST fiat - and if either one has Wyrm taint, the tea will kill him. Those who appear particularly pure (by halos) after drinking the tea will gain status within the tribe. Other than that this is held on a particular date, this hierarchy determining rite would fit right in as a special tribal rite during these shadow moots. Some kind of variant could very well be used by the non-Hakken and take place once a year or so. The fixed date for this Hakken ceremony might be explained as a result of the Hakken's slightly different culture.