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Good uses for ronin and lost cubs

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  • Good uses for ronin and lost cubs

    The more I've grown, the more I've noticed that I like there to be non-typical factions in my settings. With WtA, I feel it could do more to invokveactual werewolf myths and tropes at times.

    Hence, this thread.

    These are just my ideas, but you are free to add your own or use these.

    Curers- Sometimes, a garou changes from a very distant ancestry or even in a place where no garou exist. While some learn to embrace their nature, others seek to cure their condition any way they can. Some try to drink wolfsbane tea, others seek help from faiths. Those who are lupus and cannot accept their growing mind often try to still live as wolves, rejecting any tries from the Nation or the Wyrm to convert them.

    The guardians- Sometimes, garou can group together and hang out without truly knowing what they are.These garouare like a small gang, protecting an area they somehow know is sacred.

    The Rejecters- Some garou just feel the Nation is not for them. Whether the militaristic way of life or just a feeling they do not belong, these garou become ronin voluntarily. Often, they live on the edges of human society taking odd jobs to survive.

    The Currs- Currs want to destroy the Nation for the sake of humanity. They heard the tale of Impegrium and they decided that the Nation cannot exist. These garou are often very short lived, as their tries to undermine the sept will end up in Punishments rites like the Hunt. Most are part of a tribe, but only because that allows them to hurt it from the inside. The most clever of the Currs will seem to be jusr normal cliaths, never reaching fostern but being relatively useful. Yet they slowly are dismantling the sept from the inside.

    The Ubermensch- Those garou who reject the Nation and the Wyrm not due to any moral claim. But rather because they feel any ties might make them -weaker.- These garou find hidden places where they can rule in peace, controlling the human population or area like a hungry beast.

    The Escapists- Sometimes, you just never feel right in the body you were born in. You wanted to be something, ANYTHING else. These garou(mostly homids, but some lupus are among their numbers) do not as much reject the nation but their birth breed and seek to live as either as wolves/humans or never leave the sept as they get to live as true werewolves.

    My gallery.

  • #2
    I agree that the game would improve if the setting allowed more visible werewolves that did not map the game's unique take, but incorporated more ideas from folklore and fiction. I'll be making some more posts, but wanted to make a general comment first.

    One issue is that the Ronin population tends to be considered to be very small. This, I think, is a mistake. If the Ronin are a much larger population, the setting could not easily exclude them entirely. Every sept and pack would have to deal with them somehow. The Garou Nation simply could not ignore them, or treat them as a side issue, even if there is no standard way of dealing with them across the tribes and septs.

    In my chronicles, I actually have the Ronin to be quite noticeable. This doesn't even require much change. The Bone Gnawers are said to be the largest tribe, but most of them are supposed to be made up of “rabble,” Garou who barely participate in sept activities, but can sometimes be summoned by the Bone Gnawers when they need numbers. I just say this large number of apathetic werewolves are actually Ronin, and that the Bone Gnawers are simply the tribe that does its best to stay in contact with them should the Nation or the local sept need them. This reduces the number of official Bone Gnawers by a lot (in my chronicles they are not the largest tribe), but otherwise is invisible. Instead, the Bone Gnawers assume an important role in being advocates for the Ronin in Garou septs.

    In addition to the number of the Rabble, there are also any number of Lost Cubs who had no early ties to the Garou and are not affiliated with any tribe. Then there are former Garou who have dropped out of the Nation due to cultural despair. It could be from an early experience of Harano, the culture shock of a people who do not fit into the modern world, or rejection of a society steeped in blood and gore.

    The Ronin don't integrate into Garou culture, but some of them do work together at times.

    I'll make a few more posts later.
    Last edited by Black Fox; 06-26-2019, 12:52 AM.


    • #3
      I agree, ronin are SO interesting if you just think of them beyond lost cubs or washout garou. Given how often the Impegrium comes up here as a negative, having garou reject it makes sense.

      They also offer a sort of space between the Nation and the BSDs, to showcase how varied garou can be.

      My gallery.


      • #4
        I think you can group Ronin into two broad categories. Before breaking them down further, I'll define those two groups. The first are those werewolves who participated in the Garou Nation at some point, but subsequently left (sometimes by force, sometimes by choice). These are the former Garou. They might be exiles, criminals, drop outs, or fuck ups that have been outcast by the Garou. Then there are the tribeless – werewolves who were never part of Garou culture (often Lost Cubs), but know the Garou (other werewolves to them) exist and sometimes cooperate with them. But they don't trust or like the Garou and find their culture strange or repellent. They explicitly reject their ways. These are usually people who had their First Change as adults, and thus had fully formed personalities and values by the time the Garou discover them, and they are unable to educate/brainwash them like they can with young teenagers or those who grew up in knowing kinfolk families.

        I believe a major explanation for Ronin are that homids start with a very minor tie to Gaia, having only a Gnosis of 1. Their connection is weak and therefore they simply don't feel an obligation to defend her. In fact, if they live in urban human society, such a connection may only alienate them as they now feel uneasy where they once did not before. Lupus with their much stronger ties to Gaia (starting Gnosis of 5), are likely never Ronin in this way. They have too strong a connection to Gaia. Certainly even a Gnosis of 1 creates some sort of connection and feeling for Gaia stronger than before the First Change, but such unusual feelings can be unsettling and terrifying for some as it is profound and joyous to others. It all depends on many other factors in their lives, and a lot can be used to justify that they overwhelm the sentiments such a low initial Gnosis provides.


        • #5
          The former Garou can also be divided into several groups
          • The criminals – criminals are those Garou whose crimes against the Garou Nation have caused them to become permanent exiles. These people knew what would be the punishment for their crimes if they were discovered, and did them anyway. They are often resentful against the Garou Nation, but lack the insanity to join the Black Spiral Dancers. Often they will continue their traditional practicies as much as the spirits allow them. The great thing about criminals, from an ST perspective, is that you can have them do all the things that a werewolf might do, but a Garou wouldn't. Want a werewolf assassin in a vampire game that does hits for the Prince, or a werewolf who falls in love with a newly embraced Gangrel? Using this kind of a Ronin makes sense.
          • The mercenaries – these were people exiled for crimes real or imagined, but who regret their decisions and hope to work their way back to their people. They try to ingratiate themselves with whatever sept will receive them and attempt to win back their good graces and rejoin the Garou Nation. This type of Ronin is good background element in a traditional WtA game.
          • The demoralized – these tribeless were actually once members of the Garou, but voluntarily dropped out quickly, not liking their strange religious ceremonies or fanaticism. They have a superficial understanding of the Garou, but have rejected them. They may be willing to stay in contact with individual Garou, but for the most part do not cooperate with them. They are the ones most like the tribeless, and sometimes share the “lessons” about the Garou that they learned. This could also be a good Ronin NPC for a traditional WtA game, or be an important mentor NPC in a PC Ronin game.
          • The firebringers – these Garou feel their exile has been unjust and motivated for bad reasons. They neither desire to injure the Nation as a whole (though perhaps certain individuals may have concern for retaliation), nor to crawl on their bellies and beg for forgiveness. If the petty leaders of their old tribes won't allow them back in, then their only choice is to beseech the spirits themsselves and create their own tribes. Some may seek to create a new tribe with the totem of Boar, or Bear, Raven, or Fox. These spirits are friendly to the Garou, and are potentially available to create a new tribe. In my eyes as an ST, the firebringers are doomed to fail. Such quests are not easy, and if they were truly possible we would have seen the establishment of new tribes anytime in the past few thousand years. But that does not mean it cannot make a good story.
          • The traitorous – these Garou have rejected their people and are now active enemies of the Nation in whatever capacity. They may or may not seek to join the Black Spiral Dancers. But in any case, work directly against them. Many of them are not even evil or bad from humanity's perspective. They may simply see the Garou as predatory or criminal in their interactions with humans, and seek to protect the Flock from them, viewing themselves as tragic heroes with a Curse. These could be a secret society desiring to find a cure for lyncanthropy, those who think the Garou's connection to spirits is a sign of devil worship, or who simply think the Garou culture is a relic of Stone Age superstitition and advanced an updated and revised society with significant changes to rites and its own laws. This last group would be similar in some ways as Anarchs in Vampire. For whatever reason, they are werewolf antagonists to Garou. Many tribes would consider them to be of the Wyrm although of course may have absolutely no Wyrm taint on them at all.


          • #6
            The tribeless werewolves are treated very differently by the various tribes. The most hostile are the tribes who are most traditional in outlook: the Get of Fenris, Red Talons, and Wendigo. Totemless Garou are a big heresy in their eyes, and they think they set a bad example for the young. Then there are the tribes who want to work with them. They are the Bone Gnawers, Children of Gaia, and Uktena along with a small number of Shadow Lords and Silver Fangs who either sense an opportunity for leadership or a sense of obligation, although those tribes as a whole do not. The other tribes are generally indifferent or wary – not initially hostile, but not friendly either.
            The tribeless in turn can be divided into several groups.
            • The cure seekers – these werewolves seek a cure for their condition. Many look for things that can simply prevent them from changing and lessen the Curse, but some believe a permanent cure is possible. These are usually not found cooperating with the Garou, and often view them as dangerous threats. There may be small informal groups of such cure seeking werewolves (and their loved ones) who go through various ways to reduce their Rage. They might use scientific medication. Work for DNA. Study folklore and occult looking for various medicines or rituals that would alleviate or eliminate the symptons of lycanthropy. They'd make an interesting antagonist - especially if they are rivals to Garou PC pack trying to locate a newly changed cub.
            • The bullies – these werewolves are gangs of thugs who revel in their supernatural power, but reject the Garou Nation's superstitions and attempts at social culture. They sometimes cooperate with local septs and packs, but only for a price or against mutual threats. As a group, they cannot be easily intimidated. Nor can they be individually isolated and brainwashed. Yet many septs won't want to risk alienating them in the hope they might "save" one or all members later on.
            • The occultists – these are werewolves who explore the occult world looking for answers, but who reject the staid beliefs around a Mother Goddess. They adopt or invent their own spirituality, whether they see themselves as children of the Beast and work with Satanists (or even outright Infernalists), or adopt some kind of neo-pagan belief that does not match the actual Garou religion. If exposed to Garou religion, they might convert. Or they might just pick and choose certain elements as they build their own belief structure. They might sneak in to observe Garou moots so they can observed and "steal" rites, or learn the names of spirits. They might learn Paths of Sorcery on their own. Or attempt to kidnap vampires for experimentation. They'd have various non-werewolf allies who are also part of their occult group.
            • The collaborators – these tribeless have choosen to work with the Garou against obvious common threats like vampires and Black Spiral Dancers. They reject the superstitous ways and outdated beliefs of the Garou, but are much more engaged with the supernatural world around them. These are much more heroic type Ronin who see a need to cooperate with Garou on some threats, but ignoring other things. This group would make a good replacement for the Rabble found in the Bone Gnawers.
            Tribeless werewolves generally do not have Gifts except in rare circumstances, and have never achieved rank (not even cliath) within the Nation.


            • #7
              Probably the biggest drawback to playing Ronin as a means to emulate traditional werewolves is that Ronin really aren't eligible to learn new Gifts. This is the one thing Ronin don't have compared to Garou, and it marks them as being different than Caitiff to Vampire Clans or Orphans to Mage Traditions.

              However, while spirits won't teach Gifts to people not of appropriate rank, a Garou could do so (although likely at the cost of angering the spirits).

              ​There may be unscrupulous NPCs willing to teach Gifts directly to a Ronin. In any kind of chronicle with a Ronin PC, this kind of NPC is essential. They are not very concened if such spirits are offended. These might be Ronin who were once standard Garou exiled for crimes who no longer care about things like a former high ranking Garou (and therefore one who can know lots of different Gifts) who committed a great crime and exiled. Or they may be ambitious or dastardly types willing to do so in exchange for someone willing to do them services. A Shadow Lord power broker trying to gain secret helpers to perform missions he can't do himself would be such an example.

              And of course you have Black Spiral Dancers and Banes who might offer in the hope they can begin the process of corrupting the Ronin and eventually having them join the Wyrm.