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  • Old Ones

    The first edition corebook introduced various concepts that did not seem the get developed afterwards. One of those were the Old Ones. Old Ones are Garou who have left their pack and retired to a caern. They are no longer required to partake in the routine affairs of the Garou, but are expected to advise the young.

    Now these are not the leaders – they aren't allowed to take sept or tribal positions. They are also beyond affairs of challenge or dominance. They are given proper respect as elders. However, in the current age much younger Garou have appeared to fill that role – often because they were abandoned by their packs and see the sept as a place of comfort. Kind of like drop outs. These younger Garou are often driven off by true Old Ones who see them as scavengers, but sometimes accept one who has shown sufficient wisdom.

    Later we are told that Old Ones are extremely important because Garou must impress them if they are to advance within their tribe. There are even mechanics on how to do so (roll your Manipulation + Ability you are showing off against the difficulty of the sum of the Old One's Perception and that same Ability). The book gives examples of what successfully impressing Old Ones can mean – gaining a Mentor, or being forgiven trespasses against tribal law. This attempt can be made once per moot by any character. If he succeeds, he gets the bonus and can try again next moot as well. If he fails, there is no penalty other than he cannot attempt such a roll at the next moot.

    The definition of moot is unclear here as first edition seemed to combine the idea of sept moots and tribal moots. But Old Ones are mainly a function of septs, but tribal advancement is a function of tribes. Not every sept will have an Old One for each tribe, and it is highly unlikely a tribe would accept the impressions of a member outside their tribe. I'd rule that this happens at tribal moots, but that the Old Ones in question were simply any Old Ones from that tribe who showed up from whatever sept they were at.

    This is in the same section as Renown and Rank so clearly this was meant to be important. In first edition, Renown was handled differently, and the corebook did not contain the Rite of Accomplishment. It's possible impressing Old Ones served some sort of equivalent function – a perfunctory thing you should do while you gain Renown and before you make a Challenge for rank.

    This is about the only thing we're told about Old Ones. I haven't found mentions in other books, unlike Lunatics which had an entire scenario book published about them, although I may have just missed any references.

    This is one of those aspects of the game which seemed to have been abandoned for whatever reason. I find the concept interesting, but wonder how much it would really add to the game and player's experiences. Has anyone else used this concept? What benefits do you think it would add to your game?

  • #2
    I used Elders that live in septs and don't have packs and don't hold official sept positions - neither as Mentors (rating 5) or specialised knowledge NPCs. But never used the system as described.

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    • #3
      Seems very similar though. I don't think that section of the first edition corebook was ever reproduced so it is not surprising the term or social mechanics associated with it don't show up. There might have been more traction with it if books like Rage Across New York, or even the Central Park caern description, gave us some examples of Old Ones in their section.

      What is interesting though is the idea that younger Garou can drop out of active participation in the Nation and squat at the Old Ones place. There was much more emphasis on the Garou being a demoralized and dying people in first edition and early second edition. But that conflicted with the more superhero/epic fantasy aspects that took over the setting.

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      • #4
        It SEEMS kind of like the courtier Auspice from the Hengeyokai almost...

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        • #5
          I do like the idea that septs are communities where you can retire to, so I'd have the Old Ones be the garou who either are heavily battle scarred but still good enough teachers to not need Winter Wolf. Or older garou who too have not as much physical power anymore but mental. Most likely theurges.

          Them not serving a sept position makes sense, because their usefulness isn't in that. Grimfang the Silver Fang is a good example.

          As for gaining rank in tribe despite being a sept-specific position, I think each sept sort of molds into their own mini-culture, nevermind garou of a specific country. So gaining tribal respect locally makes sense,


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
            As for gaining rank in tribe despite being a sept-specific position, I think each sept sort of molds into their own mini-culture, nevermind garou of a specific country. So gaining tribal respect locally makes sense,
            If the statement was that impressing Old Ones could assist in advancing the Garou in the sept, it would be much easier to understand. But advancing within the tribe presents some challenges. Let's say a sept has three Old Ones - a Fianna, Black Fury, and a Bone Gnawer. Your PC is a Get of Fenris. How would impressing any of those help you advance within the Get of Fenris? And in regards to players, what happens if 4 out of your 5 PCs have an Old One from their own tribe, but PC# 5 does not. Isn't that a bit unfair to her that she does not get a potential benefit compared to the other players at the gaming table?

            Now first edition is very bad at distinguishing between sept and tribe as distinct social organizations at times. I just did an entire thread on the difference between sept moots and tribal moots. So it is entirely possible that in retrospect the write up on Old Ones should have been about the sept. And many of the benefits described (gaining a mentor, forgiven for trespasses against the law) are just as easily handled at the sept level instead of tribal level.

            In fact, the more I think about it, that's just the superior option. Old Ones influence things at the sept level, not the tribe. (Although of course, there is no problem letting Old Ones also influence their tribe as well, although I'd do it in a more limited way so this is just one more option for a PC to advance within their tribe so it doesn't unduly benefit her over another PC who does not have that option).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

              If the statement was that impressing Old Ones could assist in advancing the Garou in the sept, it would be much easier to understand. But advancing within the tribe presents some challenges. Let's say a sept has three Old Ones - a Fianna, Black Fury, and a Bone Gnawer. Your PC is a Get of Fenris. How would impressing any of those help you advance within the Get of Fenris? And in regards to players, what happens if 4 out of your 5 PCs have an Old One from their own tribe, but PC# 5 does not. Isn't that a bit unfair to her that she does not get a potential benefit compared to the other players at the gaming table?

              Now first edition is very bad at distinguishing between sept and tribe as distinct social organizations at times. I just did an entire thread on the difference between sept moots and tribal moots. So it is entirely possible that in retrospect the write up on Old Ones should have been about the sept. And many of the benefits described (gaining a mentor, forgiven for trespasses against the law) are just as easily handled at the sept level instead of tribal level.

              In fact, the more I think about it, that's just the superior option. Old Ones influence things at the sept level, not the tribe. (Although of course, there is no problem letting Old Ones also influence their tribe as well, although I'd do it in a more limited way so this is just one more option for a PC to advance within their tribe so it doesn't unduly benefit her over another PC who does not have that option).
              Then the Fenrir is either shit out of luck, or actively put down by the Fury old one. They then have to go seek an old one for their tribe from another sept. A good question would also be why the Fenrir IS there to begin with? Are they with their pack, or was there a call for aid by the sept? These things very much can create good RP oppurtunies, as long as the player chose it.

              Though, yeah, old ones being sept elders makes more sense.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
                Then the Fenrir is either shit out of luck, or actively put down by the Fury old one. They then have to go seek an old one for their tribe from another sept. A good question would also be why the Fenrir IS there to begin with? Are they with their pack, or was there a call for aid by the sept? These things very much can create good RP oppurtunies, as long as the player chose it.
                Realistically these are all good points, but I am mostly approaching this issue from an out of character perspective from and ST or PC. So I am concerned about fairness to all the PCs - that each one can have the same opportunities as everyone else.

                Saying there is an Old One from their tribe they can visit, but its at another sept, is a solution though. But it goes back to the idea that the setting of a Werewolf game is actually based on a region filled with multiple septs the PCs visit, and not limited to one caern/sept. The various Rage Across books imply this, and I think an unstated premise of the game is that PCs should actually be part of an Anruth pack that visits various septs as opposed to being based in just one.

                However, in practice, I've only seen games based at one caern, with the PCs visiting other caerns only because of specific plot/adventure/scenario. This is probably because it is easier for the ST to handle NPCs in only one caern, and that the PCs too want to build relationships with one set of NPCs as opposed to wandering between septs as an anruth. I wonder how many actual chronicles people have played in where the PCs were anruth.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

                  Realistically these are all good points, but I am mostly approaching this issue from an out of character perspective from and ST or PC. So I am concerned about fairness to all the PCs - that each one can have the same opportunities as everyone else.

                  Saying there is an Old One from their tribe they can visit, but its at another sept, is a solution though. But it goes back to the idea that the setting of a Werewolf game is actually based on a region filled with multiple septs the PCs visit, and not limited to one caern/sept. The various Rage Across books imply this, and I think an unstated premise of the game is that PCs should actually be part of an Anruth pack that visits various septs as opposed to being based in just one.

                  However, in practice, I've only seen games based at one caern, with the PCs visiting other caerns only because of specific plot/adventure/scenario. This is probably because it is easier for the ST to handle NPCs in only one caern, and that the PCs too want to build relationships with one set of NPCs as opposed to wandering between septs as an anruth. I wonder how many actual chronicles people have played in where the PCs were anruth.
                  I mean, playing a metis, lupus, Bone Gnawer, Wendigo, Uktena, Glass Walker or Shadow Lord can create unfairness for the player. That is the way WtA functions. I think if the ST is open about the difficulty of the character gaining reputation due to the Old Ones either lacking or not liking their tribe, things are fine. It is when the ST springs that on the players suddenly, then it is a problem.



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