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Metis' role in the 5th edition?

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  • Metis' role in the 5th edition?

    So let us say that you get to decide some aspect of the (to be) 5th edition, mainly the breeds. You still want homid and lupus to be there, but what about metis?

    Here I move to the meat of this thread. If WtA faces the kind of heavy restructuring that Vampire went under, should the metis breed still remain in the game?

    For one, what message does it send to the players that the garouxgarou child is a deformed and infertile creature, named rather poorly as metis? This isn't 90s anymore, we are more aware of players who are disabled. Or what about the actual Canadian metis people?

    Then there is the fact that metis have zero actual werewolf myth role. They are very much a combination of The Grotesque and Madwoman in the Attic tropes. Not as much on anything werewolf myths have.

    Then again, metis serve as a good example of garou pride and arrogance, not to mention moral blindness. They are very much the example how dark garou society can be at times.

    What do you guys think?



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  • #2
    Metis are a part of Werewolf, I would say they should be kept as such. They don’t have to obviously and can make a different choice since they are the content creators.

    Just because people deal with deformities in the real world does not mean that we should remove them in fiction. How they are portrayed is another discussion and they can be portrayed as a capable part of the society as those with deformities are in the real world. As far as naming If they change it they change it, doesn’t really matter to me.

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    • #3
      I don't think you can call something W5 and just white-wash over the Metis existing in the game and cut them. To keep it a WtA game, and not a new Werewolf game (Forsaken already cut them out for instance), I would do the best I could to address issues with them rather than just axing them.

      Work on the name? Yes, though it's a bit harder than it sounds unless you redo the whole language of the game. One of my choices here would be to keep it Metis, but explicitly make it clear that the Garou are referring to the Greek goddess Metis (which has a lot of resonance that's less dismissive/diminishing of people with disabilities and plays more with sins of pride and prophecies of future doom), not the French metis for mixed race individuals. I'd also include a sidebar acknowledging it as an OOC saving throw rather than insult anyone's intelligence by trying to pretend it was always meant to be that way.

      This is also a way to adjust the fiction around the Metis. I would do things like introduce the idea that the first Metis were not cursed with deformities or infertility. As Zeus feared losing his status to his child with Metis, the Garou feared the Metis would usurp all of the power in the Nation despite Gaia saying the Garou weren't supposed to do make Metis (or did she?). It is then the Garou - as Zeus sinned by eating Metis - who somehow messed things up. Also it's the Garou... messing everything up is what they do. They plead for the spirits to enforce the Litany, and, thus their persecution of the Metis is that much more hypocritical. This also plays well off the other Fera who generally don't have Metis issues (either they can't make kids that way, or no problems occur).

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
        I don't think you can call something W5 and just white-wash over the Metis existing in the game and cut them. To keep it a WtA game, and not a new Werewolf game (Forsaken already cut them out for instance), I would do the best I could to address issues with them rather than just axing them.

        Work on the name? Yes, though it's a bit harder than it sounds unless you redo the whole language of the game. One of my choices here would be to keep it Metis, but explicitly make it clear that the Garou are referring to the Greek goddess Metis (which has a lot of resonance that's less dismissive/diminishing of people with disabilities and plays more with sins of pride and prophecies of future doom), not the French metis for mixed race individuals. I'd also include a sidebar acknowledging it as an OOC saving throw rather than insult anyone's intelligence by trying to pretend it was always meant to be that way.

        This is also a way to adjust the fiction around the Metis. I would do things like introduce the idea that the first Metis were not cursed with deformities or infertility. As Zeus feared losing his status to his child with Metis, the Garou feared the Metis would usurp all of the power in the Nation despite Gaia saying the Garou weren't supposed to do make Metis (or did she?). It is then the Garou - as Zeus sinned by eating Metis - who somehow messed things up. Also it's the Garou... messing everything up is what they do. They plead for the spirits to enforce the Litany, and, thus their persecution of the Metis is that much more hypocritical. This also plays well off the other Fera who generally don't have Metis issues (either they can't make kids that way, or no problems occur).
        Just a note, I'm not saying metis should be taken out. Basically just thinking on what a writer would change if they were going for different take on werewolves in the setting.

        What about them is werewolf rather than another trope? In Forsaken, as cool as the unihar were, the uratha never really NEEDED metis the same way as garou do.

        I'd change the name to something like Pravus (bad/misshapen in latin) to imply how they can be seen. I'd also maybe take away more 'human' deformities, to imply that what is wrong with metis isn't due to them being disabled/infertile but a spiritual fuck up. Plus, garou can still be born with regular disabilities so metis ones being clearly different would add to the distance between the breeds.

        The tribal treatments are fine, as they were VERY well explored over the years.


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        • #5
          Short: I'd keep Metis as Metis.

          Long: In the WW lore the Metis has a place & a purpose. Their existence is a failsafe. They remind the People that they are dependent on their Kin & on humanity With the Metis (as a punishment) their relationship is co-existence (in theory) as protector & mate.

          Without them it would be reasonable to breed just in themeselves (Curse, Veil, function, camaradice, etc.). This could and would have destroyed humanity long ago or fallen to the Wyrm in hubris.

          Yeh it's not 90's, but is it really neccesary to modify a games spirit to make it politicaly correct? Do we really have to cut out critical parts? How many metis people felt abused by the WW game?

          I say, keep the soul of this RPG or if it wouldn't be profitable, create a new one. For me it's always pain to find my old RPGs mangled to fit the zeitgeist.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lachdanan View Post
            Short: I'd keep Metis as Metis.

            Long: In the WW lore the Metis has a place & a purpose. Their existence is a failsafe. They remind the People that they are dependent on their Kin & on humanity With the Metis (as a punishment) their relationship is co-existence (in theory) as protector & mate.
            I don't think it is politically correct to reconsider metis' role as 'punishment', as many players of WoD are disabled themselves (one of them, yo.) Or that the abuse they face is 'justified' if even a little. Heavy Arms above offered a good alternative way to justify the metis without implying disability is a punishment.


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            • #7
              I think one of the reasons Metis existed in the first place was to answer the question, if we have werewolves who are born from humans (homids) and werewolves who are born from wolves (lupus), then what happens when it is the werewolves who mate? If you remove the Metis breed, you still have that question to answer.

              Now it is true that Metis don't exist as actual werewolf myth and folklore. But MOST of the game is like that. In folklore, werewolves are simply humans practicing black magic to turn into wolves which then attacks and kill livestock or their fellow man. There is no lupus breed. There is no crinos form (or glabro or hispo). There are no auspices or tribes. There is no connection to the moon. Some of these accrued to the myth due to modern movies and books which developed the basic concept in its own way, but they aren't any more (or less) authentic than new WtA concepts.

              I am fine with Metis as is. I believe an aspect of the Changing Breeds is that Gaia wanted them to serve as a bridge between the two worlds (man's and nature/animal). So homids learned what it meant to be animal, and lupus learned what it meant to be human. They're supposed to take that back to their people. However, when Garou breed with Garou, that doesn't happen. Instead of becoming a bridge between two worlds, they're stuck in their own world as their parents (and society) are neither human nor animal.. That isn't what Gaia wanted, so that is why Garou are not supposed to breed with each other. For breaking the taboo, their children are marked. To me, this works on a thematic level.

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              • #8
                I think we should keep Metis

                but I think Breed Auspice, and Tribe should no longer influence starting Traits.

                give other bonuses to make up for not starting with higher Gnosis.

                Like in Changeling 20


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
                  I'd change the name to something like Pravus (bad/misshapen in latin) to imply how they can be seen. I'd also maybe take away more 'human' deformities, to imply that what is wrong with metis isn't due to them being disabled/infertile but a spiritual fuck up.
                  I'm not sure any of this gets away from the issues with the Metis besides the name. They're still being punished for their parent's inability to keep it in their pants.

                  Originally posted by Lachdanan View Post
                  They remind the People that they are dependent on their Kin & on humanity With the Metis (as a punishment) their relationship is co-existence (in theory) as protector & mate.
                  It's completely unnecessary to have the Metis to have this effect though. If every Garou-Garou mating resulted in a horribly painful miscarriage it would have the same enforcement aspect without treating disabled children as a divine punishment on their parents.

                  Without them it would be reasonable to breed just in themeselves (Curse, Veil, function, camaradice, etc.). This could and would have destroyed humanity long ago or fallen to the Wyrm in hubris.
                  This is basically what happened anyway. The Garou have largely abandoned humanity and just breed in their little family groups of Kinfolk.

                  Yeh it's not 90's, but is it really neccesary to modify a games spirit to make it politicaly correct?
                  People have been talking about this and how to address it since the 90s. I don't care what labels you want to toss on the idea. People have been turned off the game for decades because of the "Metis are punished with disabilities to show their parents a lesson," thing. it's been demonstrated time and time again that nothing the Metis add to the game can't be done a different (and frankly better) way, and those ways mean more people want to play the game. Why not change it if that's the case?

                  How many metis people felt abused by the WW game?
                  How does it matter?

                  Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                  I think one of the reasons Metis existed in the first place was to answer the question, if we have werewolves who are born from humans (homids) and werewolves who are born from wolves (lupus), then what happens when it is the werewolves who mate? If you remove the Metis breed, you still have that question to answer.
                  Oh, lots of possible ways to do that, but to condense a bitt:

                  1a) Garou-Garou matings don't result in pregnancy. They can bone all they want, try any magics they want, but in the end nothing will work. If the Garou want kids, they have to look outside themselves.

                  1b) As mentioned above, make this any number of degrees harsher with things like the fetus will never survive, or steal the unihar concept from Forsaken for some extra "you done fucked up," consequences. This is all stuff that makes 1a worse without changing the answer.

                  2) The mating never results directly in more Garou. The offspring are either normal humans or wolves depending on the mother's Breed, or sometimes Kin. You can tack on other things like these offspring don't get Pure Breed or whatever.

                  3) The mating results in a spirit that's pulled off into the Umbra for whatever reasons and for whatever purposes, which can range from good and innocent to horrible. There's no breed to play, and the Garou have little known reasons to accept this is a good thing to do.

                  I am fine with Metis as is. I believe an aspect of the Changing Breeds is that Gaia wanted them to serve as a bridge between the two worlds (man's and nature/animal).
                  I think being fine with the Metis as-is is being fine with some really questionable stuff. I'm comfortable with saying it would be too big of a change to avoid, "this isn't Apocalypse anymore" backlash, but that's not the same thing.

                  The "bridge" issue suffers in a lot of places:

                  1) It doesn't actually work, the Garou just select small groups of insular human families to breed with instead.

                  2) It doesn't make sense for the Metis to even be possible. If Gaia truly wants there to be no Garou-Garou mating... why not make it impossible for that to happen?

                  3) This why I suggested some of what I did earlier. If the Metis originally - and according to Gaia's design - weren't being used like this implies, and rather as the bridge between Homids and Lupus to make the whole bridge concept functional, there's a lot more merit towards them having a real place in the intended functioning of Garou society.

                  4) It doesn't really address why so many of the other Fera never have this problem.

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                  • #10
                    I really like the metis, conceptually. They're really the whole 'child paying for the sins of their parents' thing that personally I find really compelling as a story hook. That said, I also recognize that they can be hella problematic, and 5E would be a good time to hardcore course correct on that. I like the idea that they carry some sort of deformity, but I'd really like to see it be more of a supernatural deformity/limitation than any real-world sort of thing.

                    Also, I'm all for changing the breed name. It costs nothing to avoid being offensive.

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                    • #11
                      Werewolf is pretty heavily about balancing the Glories of your Elders with holding the SIns of their mistakes. The Metis are perhaps the most blatant but are part and parcel to everything from the Interegum, to the the War of Rage to the Apocalypse itself... Do Metis need to be deformed for them to hold their parents "Sins"? Being Sterile is a pretty big deal by itself..

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                      • #12
                        I think the problem with the Metis as written, is that they don't really sell the "sins of their mistakes" aspect. It's not like a Metis' distant descendant is going to pay some sort of price in all this.. they aren't ever going to exist. That's one of the reasons I like a change to the lore where the Garou Metis weren't originally punished at all, but like all those examples, it's the mistakes of the Garou as a people that drove history in a bad direction.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                          I think the problem with the Metis as written, is that they don't really sell the "sins of their mistakes" aspect. It's not like a Metis' distant descendant is going to pay some sort of price in all this.. they aren't ever going to exist. That's one of the reasons I like a change to the lore where the Garou Metis weren't originally punished at all, but like all those examples, it's the mistakes of the Garou as a people that drove history in a bad direction.

                          Metis are punished for their parents sins. Even the most progressive tribes treat them as second class garou. So while they won't have to deal with descendants, apocalypse at least seems there's a good chance that's true of any breed.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post

                            I don't think it is politically correct to reconsider metis' role as 'punishment', as many players of WoD are disabled themselves (one of them, yo.) Or that the abuse they face is 'justified' if even a little. Heavy Arms above offered a good alternative way to justify the metis without implying disability is a punishment.
                            I’m sorry to hear about your problem. Really is. We also have two disabled person in our gaming-club and try to fit the game experience to comfort them. (English is my second language, so if I can be equivocal.). I don’t think they are offended by the existence of Metis, and non of us found it more than a role-playing opportunity what can be excluded (a rural wolf-pack with just lupus is an example) if needed.

                            It should be empathized that not disabilities are punishment, BUT the (or at least as the Garou see it) existence and disabilities of the Metis.

                            About the abuse of the Metis: It’s a different matter. The conservative, dysfunctional patriarchy what is the Garou society punishes/abuses the Metis. It shows the internal problems of their social construct but can be varied from Caern to Caern.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            If every Garou-Garou mating resulted in a horribly painful miscarriage it would have the same enforcement aspect without treating disabled children as a divine punishment on their parents.

                            It’s harder to see your pup have a disability than have a miscarriage. Trust me, I know.
                            If the existence of metis is really a punishment, it’s a bigger, cruel, heartless, but more efficient one.
                            BUT we still don’t know if it’s the case. The Garou could attach legends to a problem what affected their life. Back than the existence of Metis was because of too much spirit-stuff contained in the flesh.


                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            This is basically what happened anyway. The Garou have largely abandoned humanity and just breed in their little family groups of Kinfolk.
                            More or less, yes, but the chance of peaceful coexistence is still exist.


                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            People have been talking about this and how to address it since the 90s. I don't care what labels you want to toss on the idea. People have been turned off the game for decades because of the "Metis are punished with disabilities to show their parents a lesson," thing. it's been demonstrated time and time again that nothing the Metis add to the game can't be done a different (and frankly better) way, and those ways mean more people want to play the game. Why not change it if that's the case?
                            Frankly, I *personally* don’t like the Metis. But every game-world is a spider-web. If you start to pull one thread everything moves. That’s my problem with retconning. It messes everything. Metis had a place and role to play. Retcon them is problematic.
                            Maybe we are too much Eastern-European, but I don’t know anybody who put down WW because of the Metis, but me may be one continent away.


                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            How does it matter?
                            It doesn’t, but was a topic above.

                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            . If Gaia truly wants there to be no Garou-Garou mating... why not make it impossible for that to happen?
                            That’s what we don’t know.

                            By the way, Onyx Path offered us /the writers a tool to change the Metis, namely Shattered Dreams.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                              It's completely unnecessary to have the Metis to have this effect though. If every Garou-Garou mating resulted in a horribly painful miscarriage it would have the same enforcement aspect without treating disabled children as a divine punishment on their parents.
                              But then you are punishing the mother for the sexual act, there will be an issue with that if it's the direction they take too.

                              The changes to Metis really depend on how you want the issues to be dealt with.
                              Firstly- the name, it's meant to be pejorative, especially with the ties to Native Americans. Changing it would signify a significant change to attitude to them, A sidebar would make sense if it stays though (Like the old cartoons with disclaimers about racism)
                              - Sins of the father (or mother too, that counts!) - Is it a problem in general, or just the way it's presented, and what the "Punishments" are?
                              - Deformities, There has been a bit of a movement to stop tying monstrousness with real-life disabilities. More so in D&D and similar fantasy, but it could be an issue. I've not actually talked to anyone affected personally. Can this be resolved by only having supernatural and not-disability-representing options for the Metis?

                              What if the spirits punish the parents of a Metis with marks showing they broke the litany instead of the Metis itself? Gaia declares that the punishment should be on those that transgress instead of the innocent children?

                              It'd still give the temptation to create Metis for quickly replenishing their numbers, even though the Metis would be sterile.

                              *However, W5 will likely be created with Video games and LARP compatibility in mind (Considering Paradox Interactive) so it may be influenced by BNS Larp versions of what's going on with Metis and the spiritually unawakened werewolves...

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