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Imperial Moots

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  • Imperial Moots

    Imperial Moots are one of those concepts introduced in the early game that seemed would be a big deal, but then forgotten about. It's mentioned in both the early corebooks (1991) (without much information, almost like a teaser) and the first edition Storyteller's Handbook (1994). Then, nothing. I don't even see it in the Revised Storyteller Handbook (2002). I don't think it is even mentioned in the tribebooks (1997 and 2003).

    The write up of the Sept of the Green tells us that there have been less than 20 Imperial Moots, and that the last one was in 1855 when that caern in Central Park, New York City was created. We're told that creating a caern in the heart of the country's largest city was "audacious". But it was to "quell the expansion of cities" and that an unheard of amount of Gnosis was spent to create a caern of the Wyld, and that no revel had ever been greater.

    So we're told explicitly that this was a huge undertaking - and not simply just to create an urban caern. It was supposed to "quell the expansion of cities." I think this gets lost to readers because we're subsequently told that it was simply too hard to maintain such a caern, the Silver Fangs abandoned it as a result, and the only way the caern was saved was by the Bone Gnawers moving it and finding a second caern totem/caern heart to save it. As a result, the caern is now a Caern of Fellowship (instead of a Caern of the Wyld).

    So in retrospect, the last Imperial Moot was a huge mistake by the Silver Fangs which likely tarnished a lot of their esteem in the eyes of other Garou.

    But while giving us a sense that Imperial Moots are important, we get nothing else. It's not until we get to the Storyteller Handbook that we get real information.

    There we learn that "the heart of Silver Fang power" is the special ritual of the Imperial Moot. They can only be called by the kings of the Silver Fang, and only in the most critical circumstances. In this ceremony, the Silver Fangs direct the energies of the entire Garou Nation to one endeavour. Examples given include destroying a very powerful Wyrm being, empower a dying caern, or reclaim an area for the Wyld. That last bit sounds like what they attempted to do in New York City in 1855.

    Then we're given a nice little plot teaser that many Garou believe the Silver Fangs will soon call another Imperial Moot for the purpose of reconsolidating their power. In that upcoming Imperial Moot, the Silver Fangs will demand every individual Garou swear loyalty to the Silver Fangs on pain of death or banishment. It then states that as a result, some Garou are preparing to attack the Silver Fangs in response, or to arrange things so that the loyalty is made to the Garou Nation as a whole rather than to one tribe.

    So the game originally meant this to be a BIG thing in the setting, even teasing an upcoming major metaplot event.

    But since then, nothing. It is possible some other reference to it has been made somewhere, and I just haven't seen it. But I don't think so. I think it's just been forgotten.

    So I'm curious whether anyone has used this concept or seen this concept used in any of their chronicles. And regardless if you have or not, what do you think would be good examples of such a Moot.

    Remember that its importance is that it enforces the authority of the Silver Fangs. It is a legitimizing ritual for their authority since only they can do it. And they are only able to do it when there is such a pressing need that the other tribes are already pre-disposed to follow the Silver Fangs in accomplishing that goal. In essence, the Silver Fangs are invoking their divine right to rule by compelling the fractious tribes to work together to accomplish one goal.

    Now, I don't think the Concord is one of those times. The Concord is so important, that if it was an Imperial Moot, I think it would have been mentioned as such. Instead, it just seems to have been an ordinary concolation (albeit one with vast significance). Furthermore, the debate at the Concord was so divisive, it would not serve as a purpose of uniting the tribes under the direction of the Silver Fangs.
    Last edited by Black Fox; 04-09-2020, 07:25 PM.

  • #2
    While this is certainly an area that an ST can determine what happened in this less than twenty times, it is also a lot to come up. I wouldn't want the game to define for us each and every Imperial Moot. Every ST needs some wiggle room to define the important events of their own chronicle history. But I think a few more examples would have been nice.

    For example, I think one historical example could have been an Imperial Moot where the Uktena and Wendigo finally accepted the authority of the SIlver Fangs and their involvement in the Garou Nation. Historically, of course, the New World tribes would not have been part of the Garou Nation as defined by the Old World Garou. They were part of what we can call "the Three Brothers" nation. So ending outright warfare, conforming a common Litany, and more would have been an important event. Even if it might have been presented as "a peace agreement among all tribes", or some other wordsmithing in order make it palatable.

    Another example might have been an event early on in the War of Rage. Now while I believe the "War of Rage" is more a concept of Garou historians after the fact that made sense of a bunch of individual conflicts that had little in common, I can also believe that there may have been some very important events like an Imperial Moot as part of that history. Obviously the war between the Garou and Gurahl was a MAJOR thing. It involved the desire to learn how to bring the dead back to life. The Garou more or less declared the Gurahl traitors to Gaia as a result. And it made the Bear totem such a shameful thing to have, that it removes 5 temporary Honor and permanently reduces future Honor renown awards. That sounds like something to me that may have resulted from an Imperial Moot that declared the Gurahl an enemy to the Garou Nation that had to be fought.

    I also believe that at some point, the Garou might have called an Imperial Moot to declare the Black Spiral Dancers a major threat, or perhaps to destroy them outright in an extended campaign (like the wars of Caledon the White, Silver Fang Ahroun, who lead a Garou army to destroy the Black Spiral Dancers around AD 800, or perhaps a later time in the Middle Ages after the Dancers spread throughout the world). Or perhaps an Imperial Moot was never called to do that as the Dancers were not seen as particularly dangerous enemies until well after 1855 when the last moot was called.

    Perhaps a better candidate is that the Silver Fangs called an Imperial Moot to destroy all the Zmei dragons. Not only is each Zmei powerful, they wanted to destroy all seven of them. Of course, they only destroyed Sharkala, but they did manage to bound the rest of them to magical slumber. The only problem is that this is portrayed in Rage Across Russia as a Silver Fang tribal thing as opposed to the entire Garou Nation wiping them out. But this is the kind of task I think is reminiscent of what an Imperial Moot would be about.

    I'll let you know if anything else springs to mind. Given the incredibly rare nature of Imperial Moots, I think most of them most have occurred way before most historical times. We're talking Stone Ages here - before Rome, Greece, Persia, Babylon, or Egypt. And unfortunately there are very, very few references to events that happened that far back in any of the written material.
    Last edited by Black Fox; 02-13-2020, 11:29 PM. Reason: Added another candidate idea


    • #3
      Thats a really cool catch... and something I think I now want to work into the Savage Age. Maybe the very first moot (the one that finalized the creation of the Garou Nation) is, ages later, called the Imperial Moot... and set the tone for subsequent Imperial Moots (which would all be major events). In that case, perhaps "Imperial Moot" is a monicker only applied after-the-fact, when the garou community agrees that the past moot was especially important.

      Please keep digging up anything else you find. This sort of stuff is a lot of fun.

      Weaponized Ink:
      Werewolf: The Savage Age!


      • #4
        This could lead to some interesting revisionist history by the Silver Fangs if the Siberakh (the progenitor Tribe of the Silver Fangs in the Savage Age) was not the Tribe to call the first Imperial Moot.


        • #5
          I think one could have been called for the destruction of the Seventh Generation, as that seemed to be Alberch's pet project.

          My gallery.


          • #6
            I see the Imperial Moot being a Silver Fang only (perhaps one only taught to the kings themselves) special caern rite (since it is a moot). Probably tied to Helios or Falcon since the Silver Fang's kingship derives from their association with those spirits. So I don't think it is a rite any other tribe has. Or since the spirits empower rites and make them work, it is something that simply can't be done with any other tribe.

            We're not given any details on how it is done. But I imagine all the top Silver Fangs have to agree to do it. I can't see one lone Silver Fang doing it on his own. But certainly a Silver Fang who has the Silver Crown (which did not exist as a concept when the Imperial Moot was first mentioned) probably has the influence to get the rest of the tribe to agree provided there is a legitimate reason. But it is definitely something the tribe as a whole must want to do because it would reflect on the tribe as a whole. There is likely some kind of tribal procedure that authorizes the use of the rite and calling of an Imperial Moot. I imagine there must be some big Silver Fang tribal moot that comes first where they agree to call a Imperial Moot later.

            And the purpose of the Imperial Moot is probably something that all the other tribes will want to do. Because calling them to do something where there is not already great consensus risks diminishing Silver Fang legitimacy. So I think the Silver Fangs have to be careful when to do it. If for whatever reason there is significant dissent, it could backfire and diminish the tribe's prestige and authority.

            I imagine what the Imperial Moot does in practice, is encode a specific action into the Litany to legally compel the other tribes to follow that action. We know the major 13 precepts of the Litany, but the corebook makes it clear the actual Litany is much longer and goes into detail - part epic poem, part law code, part history. So if they designate an enemy to destroy, it gets specific mention under the section of Combat the Wyrm Wherever it is Found and wherever it Breeds and binds the other tribes and septs to fight it. And if they want to empower a caern, it becomes a detail under the section of You Shall Take No Action That Allows a Caern to be Violated. Presumably something like "Bear and his Children are real Pricks and we don't like them" becomes its own part of the Litany, outside the 13 main precepts, not usually mentioned. But it is in there somewhere.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Coyoteintx View Post
              In that case, perhaps "Imperial Moot" is a monicker only applied after-the-fact, when the garou community agrees that the past moot was especially important.
              My interpretation is that an Imperial Moot is something distinct from "its a very important moot." After all, the Concord doesn't seem to qualify. And the wording seems to imply there is a special rite involved (though it is not stated outright). And the purpose of the Imperial Moot isn't to decide things - it is to carry out a specific action.

              I see it as being something similar to the medieval Popes authorizing a Crusade, or dividing the world's territories between Spain and Portugal during the Age of Discovery. It may address a problem that needs the Pope's authority to do, but there is an ulterior motive of raising or confirming the Pope's authority to begin with.

              It might be possible that the first Imperial Moot did create the Garou Nation as a distinct legal entity and codified things in what the Silver Fangs could or could not do (odd things that get mentioned in various books, like the Silver Fangs have the right to attend other tribe's tribal moots). I imagine that first Imperial Moot was something like the Tribe of Falcon invites all the other tribes to give them big news from Helios! And all the tribes show up and ask, "Wow, cool. What does Helios tell us?" And the Fangs go, "Congratulations, Helios tells everyone that we're in charge. And it's going to be great. And this is how things are going to be done going forward so we can all do cool stuff like kill lots of Wyrm things." And because this is the late Stone Age when people aren't very sophisticated, the other Garou are like, "Wow, really? Well, if Helios wants that, it must be good."