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Head Canons & Home Brew

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  • Head Canons & Home Brew

    Well, my first attempt got eaten so lets try this again.

    Heya y'all!

    This is a thread for people's homebrew and head canons and setting thoughts and alternate takes on the WoD and all that other goodness that keeps us nerds going.

    I always like threads like these and take a lot of inspiration from them and I'm genuinely interested in what thoughts y'all have, so thank ya for reading this and I hope you fellow Werewolf fans participate or at least have fun reading this.

    Anyway, without further ado, let me post this and then get the ball rolling by sharing a certain headcanon I have about the origins of tribal totem extraordinaire: Grandfather Thunder!

  • #2

    -So, first of all, my inspiration for this theory. It comes from a few places. The first was an old post that Black Fox made about the implications of the title 'Grandfather' for the Shadow Lord's tribe totem and potential comparisons to the mythological 'Sky Father' archetype (I.E. Zeus, Jupiter, Odin, etc.). There was also the interesting existence of a certain Child of Gaia gift called 'Grandmother's Touch' (a more powerful Morher's Touch) and the implications of that. There was the prior evidence of Gaia's alternate avatars such as Danu & Rainbow Serpent. Then, there was the Greek mythology that is Gaia's irl name sake and the story of Gaia, Uranus, and Cronus' Ascension. The relevance of this will soon become clear.

    Core Legend:

    In the beginning, the world called earth was empty and barren and this displeased Gaia. She was ready to create life and become a mother. So she reached out to draw a mate and Sky took notice of Earth's beauty and descended upon her.

    From the union of Earth and Sky (now Mother Earth & Father Sky), the spirits we now know as Animal Father's were born and spread across the world. Mother Earth loved each of her creations and Father Sky was proud of them as well. They lavished their children with gifts and secrets. Those who particularly pleased Father Sky, he granted the Secret of Flight.

    Things were good for a time and Father Sky was pleased to consider himself Lord of Creation and Morher Earth humored her lover's pride. What did it matter to her?

    In time though, the Animal Spirits grew restless. They knew they too had the potential to create and be lords of their own, like Father Sky was to them. They took their sorrows to Mother Earth and she weapt at their despair. So she broke off an aspect of herself, made into a Maiden once again, and sent her to them. They lay together and from there this maiden became what we know as Mother Gaia (Mother Earth, Mother Nature) today and she sired animals and changing breeds with each of the Animal Fathers.

    By merit of this, the earlier Gaia became Grandmother Earth and her lover Grandfather Sky by the same merit. They were still proud, but Sky grew jealous that his lover had lain with other men. He began to grow jealous and spiteful towards his grandchildren, becoming more and more vocal about his power and ensuring they heeded his commands.

    Something occurred that further drove Grandfather Sky into his wrath. Perhaps it was Falcon's pride at being made king of the skies by Sun. Perhaps some bird such as Crow or Jay boasted of being lords of the Sky. Perhaps Raven tricked Sky. Perhaps Bat or Whippoorwill whispered poison into his ears. Regardless, what came next world br ruinous...

    Grandfather Sky unleashes his wrath over the skies and struck down his arrogant avian grandchildren. Falcon, Eagle, Crow, Jay, Hawk and all the others watched in horror as their father slew their changing breed offspring and nearly all their other offspring as well.

    The Animal Fathers fled to Grandmother Earth on horror at what Grandfather Sky had done and fear that his wrath would spread to all of his children. Grandmother Earth grieved the lost love of Sky, but steeled herself to vengeance. None would threaten her children. Not even their own father.

    She called to her children for one who was bold enough to aid her in slaying him. All agreed it must be done, yet none were willing to step forward and lay the first blow in the moment of truth. Bear feared it may shatter the sky or that he was too slow, Coyote pled that it not be him as his laughter would alert Grandfather, Cat rejected Gaia's request out of concern for Sky drenching his coat.

    Finally Wolf stepped forward and swore that he would lay the first blow. Grandmother Earth thanked him and commanded her children hide as she called their father...
    Last edited by Gryffon15; 12-26-2019, 03:54 PM. Reason: Fear of losing it all again to the forum eating it.


    • #3

      Earth called Sky as lover's do an lured him to her side, lowering his guard. As they were about to lay together as once before, Wolf chose his time to strike.

      With one great pounce and bite, Wolf tore away Grandfather Sky's genitals and cast them away, robbing Grandfather Sky of his power. The other Beasts leapt out to join Wolf and beat their father, exiling him back into the sky with shame and disgrace, never to be heard from again.

      The Animal Fathers celebrated and decided to throw a party in Wolf's honor, which all attended, and Grandmother Earth herself praised Wolf. It was here that the seeds of Wolf's Pride were planted. After all, who else had been brave enough to usurp their Father? Why should Wolf not claim his father's title, the proud warrior thought.

      As the seeds of the Wars of Rage were being planted in Wolf's mind, the remnants of the now quietly exiled Grandfather Sky would take on life of their own.

      First 'The Pillar', which fell and drove itself into the Earth and from this birthed a great incarna called The Patriarch. The Patriarch would come to wield Grandfather Sky's scepter and thus proclaim itself Lord of Creation. This arrogance would lead to much strife amongst the incarna, as the Weaver adopted The Patriarch as Her Master of Hierarchy & Dogma.

      The Royal Jewels of Grandfather Sky had been torn open when Wolf struck and their contents fell over Earth in a great shower of revitalizing waters, causing them to become the great storm incarna which we call Grandfather Thunder.

      Grandfather Thunder remained a spirit of storms and hierarchy, a constant reminder that nothing was above the storming heavens. Yet while he earned some respect and honor for this, he grew bitter that he was denied the power he once had.

      Ages past and the Children of Falcon arose in what would be Russia as the alphas of all Garou. This wrinkled a certain tribe in the neighboring Carpathians who grumbled with envious pride about why the Silver Fangs should be honored and not them.

      This pride and wish of recognition called out to Grandfather Thunder and after some consideration he descended upon the wolves in their dreams. He foretold that one day, the Children of Falcon would fail and be unworthy of their titles and that on that day, a new alpha would be needed. He proclaimed that the Children of Storm would be prepared, having learned the nature of hierarchy and rulership for ages, training as the betas of the Nation.

      When the tribe awoke it was consumed by ambition and pride and called out to Grandfather Thunder to strike a compact. That they would serve him and recognize the spirit as their master, even over Wolf their father, just as the Silver Fangs had done with Falcon, and one day they would rise and become the true leaders of all garou.

      Thus the compact was struck.

      Thus the Shadow Lords were born.
      Last edited by Gryffon15; 12-26-2019, 04:08 PM. Reason: Same as above.


      • #4
        FINAL THOUGHTS (Post Script)

        What then of the Corax & Camazotz?

        -Perhaps the Corax were protected by their solar patron from Sky's fury. Perhaps the Corax were able to hide, thanks to Raven's cunning. Perhaps it was Raven himself who whispered in Grandfather Sky's ear and tempted him to wrath, so that Raven might secure dominion over the sky for his own children alone.

        -Perhaps the Camazotz had struck a deal with Moon to save themselves, just as the Corax did with Sun. Perhaps Bat had hidden his children in a cavern deep below ground and weathered the storm. Perhaps Grandfather Sky had forgotten to punish his mammalian son who too knew the Secret of Flight, so incensed was he at the hubris of his avian children. Perhaps it was Bat himself who whispered into his father's ears, either out of ambition or spite towards the true birds that had mocked him and his children as pretenders.


        This narrative presents an interesting new light on the relationship between the Black Furies and Shadow Lords as well and could provide drama in numerous contexts, including the potential of modern internal tribal tensions between young & moderate Furies allied with Shadow Lords and Eastern Europe while conservative elders remember the wrongs done by the Lord's tribal patron.

        (Hope y'all liked this and sorry about how long it went, but I wanted to spread it out to avoid the forums eating it a second time)


        • #5
          I like to think that The American Dream spirit is still alive, well, and a hell of a lot older than most would think, just Bone Gnawers think that only people from the 60's and 50's can contact and be patroned by him. I see him as red white and blue eagle (think Braviary from Pokemon) with brass talons and he flies with everyone who believes in America.

          -A proud American, who wishes to fly with him
          Last edited by BrotherMouse; 12-28-2019, 09:54 PM. Reason: poor spelling and lack of a comma.


          • #6
            Rad, thank ya my fellow Eagle Lander! *XD

            Speaking of that by the way, Nation Spirits in general should probably be a bit more prevalent. While it's natural that The American Dream gets more press from an American writing group, I wouldn't be surprised if every nation at least had a few associated jagglings and ones with particularly developed national identities were rocking full incarna.

            Naturally I'd imagine the big four of these being The American Dream, Brittania, as well as whatever represents China & Russia. (The Great Bear or Mother Russia comes to mind for the latter),

            Regardless, The American Dream & Brittania are both probably in a rather chaotic state atm.


            • #7
              I may try to post something more indepth tomorrow, but a few short odds and ends:

              Mechanically, I started using the CoD/Storypath set of Attributes a dozen or so years ago as well as a trimmed down list of broad Abilities (eight each of talents, skills, and knowledges) and have been pretty happy with the results. Also 1st ed Exalted's ability speciality system.

              I don't have Tribal Totems sponsor packs or caerns. This is seen as being slightly beneath them, and they have large broods who handle that for them. I also appropriated a few bits of Forsaken lore, including Father Wolf as the spiritual progeniter of all Garou, the five spirit wolves (or close approximations of them) as the offspring of Father Wolf and Luna who patron/represent the Auspices, and the Hero Twins who were the original homid and lupis who went on legendary adventures together like Thor & Loki or Monster Slayer & Born of Water.

              I also like to tie Grandfather Thunder to the various Skyfather and Thunderer myths. This includes having them in India (most of their human kin being Kyshatriya and seeing Indra as GF) and the ancient Greek and Black Sea area (Zeus) and later Rome (Jupiter). This later gets tied in with the Catholic Church, especially when the tribe uses the Reconquista to establish themselves in Iberia, leading to their large presence in New Spain, and so now I have this large tribal subculture of ethnically Latino Lords who see God the Father and Grandfather Thunder as one being, this super stern and judgmental patriarch who will gladly vent His wrath on those that offend Him. Obviously, a lot of them join the Judges camp as a modern day Inquisition of the Littany. (Feel free to insert your Monty Python or Mel Brooks joke here; if I had written their tribebook, the Philodox template would've been a lupis Judge called The Gaian Inquisition who had this extremely black and white sense of right and wrong, seeing nuance as a human corruption.)

              I like American Dream, especially the way it can be different things to different people. In addition to the Bone Gnawers and Silent Striders, I've mentioned my interpretation for the Children of Gaia in another thread. I can actually see certain Black Furies having their own take on it, and possibly the Fianna, Get of Fenris, Glasswalkers, and maybe Silver Fangs as well. (I might could even come up with a variation for the Wendigo based around the idea of equal justice and rule of law based on legal challenges enabling the enforcement ofold treaties, but its followers would probably be pretty rare and viewed with suspicion by more traditionalist Wendigo.)

              Historically, I moved the loss of the Silver Crown and fall of House Winter Snow (who were associated with the Germanic tribes, Charlemagne, and the Holy Roman Empire) to the early 12th century, with Europe's Garou Nation in a three way civil war for power between the Falcon Banner, the Army of Thunder, and the Unicorn Crusade.

              I ignore a lot of the old metaplot. My games always default start with the recent death of the aged Silver Fang "king" of eastern North America (he has an exiled greatgrandchild but that is left nebulous in case someone wants to play that as a character), a dynamic new Shadow Lord leader is emerging in Europe, and various ominous signs of trouble. The Ahadi is a thing, being a few decades old now (I've toyed with backdating it to the Victorian period for a game set in that era, but I'm not sure I can make it work right.)

              I like to present all three parts of the Triat as being equally threatening, as they are all broken in their own way. My Possessed borrow a lot from Forsaken's spirit ridden and spirit claimed, with people or animals being ridden/haunted/influenced by banes, drones, and sprites and sometimes completely overtaken and turned into spirit-flesh fusions of Mockeries, Perfected, and Wyldwarped. The same thing can happen with various animal, elemental, lunar, conceptual and other spirits, whose behavior and reaction to the Garou can vary wildly. And Garou can fall to any part of the Triat. In addition to the BSDs, Proteans no longer have a consistent form or personality (and have no difference between former Garou or Fera), while those fallen to the Weaver combine the worst traits of Forsaken's Ivory Claws and Mage's NWO and ItX.

              My Kinfolk come in a basic model (immune to delirium, a little heartier than average) and two Kinfolk+ models. The Wolfblooded are much more primal and physically dynamic, but prone to minor mutations that make them a bit more animalistic (nothing crazy, usualy heightened senses, excessive body hair, flexible joints, really hard nails or small fangs that can do minor damage, animal magnetism, better than average healing, etc.). And yes, there is a corresponding Apeblooded for wolves, making them smarter, able to comprehend human speach and symbols, and other things. The Moonstruck are kin with an unusual spiritual sensitivity and connection to Luna, usually giving them gifts of insight, visions, and sometimes psychic powers, but at the cost of mental stability sometimes to the point of Derangement. (Mokole kin have something similar called Suntouched, who tend to be charismatic warrior-heroes, but are prone to hubris.)

              I've worked at adapting Forsaken's Hosts to Apocalypse, using only insects and having them be the remains of what the Ananasi warred with in prehistory, but it is still a work in progress.

              What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
              Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)


              • #8
                Originally posted by Gryffon15 View Post
                Naturally I'd imagine the big four of these being The American Dream, Brittania, as well as whatever represents China & Russia. (The Great Bear or Mother Russia comes to mind for the latter),
                The Yellow Emperor and Rodina, maybe.
                India would be Bharat Mada, IIRC.

                My old Mutants and Masterminds setting used to use mystically invested national champions quite a bit, especially in preWW2 eras. Besides my Captain America analog of American Spirit, I had L'Belle France (who was tied in with Joan of Arc and other stories, and who split into what came to be called L'Belle Maquis and L'Belle Vichy during WW2), and Reichdame (originally a product of Jungian psychology experiments in WW1 that were tragically twisted in the next war), both of whom were artificially fused into a single entity, Europa, during the 80s. I think I've also got several pages of notes somewhere for various ones I never got to use for one reason or another, including Mexico, Brasil, Korea, Ethiopia, and others.

                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)


                • #9
                  Head canon: there was no War of Rage.


                  • #10
                    In general, I try to keep how things were presented in the corebooks with a preferance to earlier editions than later ones. I ignore metaplot entirely. I would say these are the distinctive features of my chronicle settings that are different to canon in some degree.
                    1. The Garou and Changing Breeds were born somewhere around 12,000 BC when the Pleistocene transitioned to the Holocene. I ignore almost entirely any background earlier than this. This also means that the Pure Ones are indigenous to North America – there was no landbridge crossing.
                    2. I reject the introduction of modern multicultural concepts to the Garou and Changing Breeds. I don't use the Beast Courts or the Ahadi. Stargazers are part of the Garou Nation. The Boli Zousizhe and Hakken are simply local variant names for the Glass Walkers and Shadow Lords. China and the Far East has lots of indigenous tribes – Silver Fangs, Children of Gaia, Bone Gnawers, and Red Talons are all there besides the others.
                    3. I've made changes to some of the Changing Breeds. The Ananasi don't exist. Mokole are were-crocodiles only – none of this dinosaur stuff. The Nagah did exist, but are now extinct. There aren't many Ratkin, but the entire breed has more or less fallen to the Wyrm for all practical effect. I try to make the local Bastet prominent in the setting if possible.
                    4. I've made various alterations to some of the tribes to make them more playable as both PCs and NPCs. Typically this is by reexamining what their tribe's totem should be portrayed. I've made several “Heretical Thoughts About...” posts on some of these totems.
                    5. Focus is much more on individual septs than tribes. I base my portrayal of the various Garou septs to the city states/palaces of bronze age Greece like in the Iliad. They will unite against common threats and share a common culture, but there is much infighting. This is mediated as best they can by the regional Silver Fang king and the Children of Gaia.
                    6. I focus more on the roots of Gothic horror and Lovecraftian horror than on high fantasy.
                    7. I've completely reimagined PENTEX and created various other Wyrm factions to provide antagonists for the Garou. Overall, I am fairly disappointed with how the Wyrm and its minions are portrayed in the game, although there are lots of bits I can use.
                    8. The Garou Nation is basically the were-canids. Pure Breed Silent Striders are werejackals, although they become indistinctive wolves as pure breed lessens. Nuwisha were once part of the Garou Nation and had all five auspices except that they lost favor with Luna and were cursed with only having one. The Pure Ones treat them as family though the Eurasian Garou don't.
                    9. I don't limit myself to the canonical Silver Fang royal houses. There are other dynasties and cadet branches that can lose and regain “kingship”.
                    10. Garou in crinos don't have precision grip. If werewolves want to shoot guns and such, they can stay in homid or glabro.
                    11. In modern days, there are much more Ronin than the setting displays. The “Rabble” of the Bone Gnawers are actually just Ronin the Bone Gnawers get along with.
                    12. Lots of cities don't have Glass Walkers or Bone Gnawers. They simply don't have the numbers to do so. Only those urban areas that have actual caerns attract Garou of those tribes - with a few exceptions. Tribe members are much more likely to be in smaller cities than in large ones.


                    • #11
                      I always saw Werewolf as more inspired by 1930s weird fiction in a sort of Conan vs the Mythos thing rather than high fantasy, but I can think of three or four authors from back then who were clearly on some sort of New Age Dances with Tolkien train at the time.

                      What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                      Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)


                      • #12
                        I'd agree that early Werewolf is more like Conan vs the Mythos, or at least hints at it. But much of the Revised era to me seems like an excursion into high fantasy with less basis in the real world.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                          I'd agree that early Werewolf is more like Conan vs the Mythos, or at least hints at it. But much of the Revised era to me seems like an excursion into high fantasy with less basis in the real world.
                          Which parts specifically, out of curiousity?

                          What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                          Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)


                          • #14
                            A quick, somewhat silly headcanon before I take the time to genuinely reply to folks:

                            •Pre-Renaissance legal codes, from Western Europe to East Asia and to North Africa, almost universally possess examples of laws which allow the authorities to place animals on trial as well as people. Modern day academics refer to this as perhaps stemming from the theocratic nature of the Divine Right of Kings, or some other superstition. The Changing Breeds on the other hand suspect that this was in-fact a policy aimed towards them. While it was incredibly rare for a medieval or ancient human community to be able to capture one of them and successfully try them, it was used from time to time as political theater to motivate hunters and exterminators and undeniably lowered their kinfolk numbers to some degree. Many changing breeds, garou and bastet especially, claim that this was the result of Weaver and/or Wyrm corruption as well as vampiric tyranny of human communities. The more level-headed, such as Corax and certain ragabashes & theurges, acknowledge that while that may account for some cases, humanities treatment during the Impergium and related killings before and after is probably more to blame.

                            Modern examples of this are very few, as it fell out of favor after its relatively modern climax during the Inquisition and Renaissance scholars dismissing it as a superstition of their foolish and fearful ancestors. However from time to time throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa; cases will occur that some small settlement that has suffered extreme live stock losses or unexplainable manslaughter will turn to it desperation (to the scorn and mockery of the international community). Alternatively PENTEX (as stand in for all Weaver-Wyrm corps) has occasionally used these long forgotten laws to lobby for modern governments to execute troublesome captured animals.

                            While not at all the greatest threat, as a symbol it is still a great humiliation and cause of Rage the Garou Nation and Fera alike.


                            • #15
                              Alright so after yesterday's nap, I'm gonna hop back to stay involved with the discourse, seeing as I started it.

                              [No One of Consequence (NOOQ) #7]
                              •That totem thing is fair and I may actually borrow that as it does seem to make sense, although I may allow exceptions for the high caerns of the tribes, as their most sacred places. My group has already been doing something akin to this as one of our players dislikes multi-tribal packs following any particular tribal totem. The Father Wolf-Luna connection is neat and I might adopt it as an alternate story or heresy to the Mother Earth-Father Wolf narrative. Either way, a story of the first two garou being a twin lupus-homid is a myth I'm definitely stealing.

                              •I really like that expanded take on the Shadow Lords and their connection here with the Catholic Church which I'm 100% stealing, especially as it works really well with the fam theory I started this with. Also I like to imagine that the Vatican in a comedic hypothetical based off this is a 'Young Pope' style battleground of intrigue between Black Furies and Shadow Lords to the bemusement of the current Pope and extreme concern of the Cardinals.

                              •Each tribe having their own slightly or broadly distinct view of The American Dream is def interesting and could be a useful analogue for how many views of America exist irl. I can definitely see a Rosie the Riveteer manifestation of the Dream for the BF, maybe John Henry/The Steeldriving Man as one for some combination of the Bone Gnawers, Silent Striders, and Uktena; and I imagine the battle for Uncle Sam's patronage is vicious amongst political tribes.

                              •That's a cool shift, I think I'll steal that, particularly since that trifecta of political tension is one I already use in my setting. I've also mused at times with adding a few houses or moving a few, particularly the notion of adding a few in East Asia (looking at you China, Japan, & Mongolia), because I generally feel WW suffered greatly fleshing out beyond Euro-America.

                              •A solid starting slate, my group generally likes the characters and metaplot of the WoD but I can definitely see adapting this for other groups.

                              •The Triat & Kinfolk things are both quite cool. I also try to give each head of the triat opportunities to show off their good and bad side. Your kinfolk ideas are very interesting though and while I might down play the Forsaken elements a smidge (my group loathes NWoD; I like it), but the notion of certain kinfolk being able to boast heightened spiritual capabilities and most being something slightly more/different then human definitely interests me.

                              Thank ya for all this great stuff y'all!