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Klaives through the Editions

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  • Klaives through the Editions

    This thread is about klaives, but this post is specifically about how klaives have changed over the editions. This is something I just noticed when rereading an old sourcebook, and I realized that it portrayed klaives differently than what was in my mind. So I just reread the three Player Guides and noticed their inconsistencies. While some of these can be reconciled with some effort so that all versions are correct, there are some inconsistencies that just can't. They're opposed to each other, perhaps intentionally so. This is just a legacy of the line changing developers as new people had new ideas that they thought were better than the old ones. It's just a fact with the changes in editions. To an extent "canon" was always subject to change.

    I'm not sure when the term klaive was first used. In the first edition corebook, there was only a fetish called a "silver sword". Later this would become the Grand Klaive. In the first edition Player's Guide, they don't even list a klaive in their list of new fetishes, but they have a section on klaive dueling. Maybe they just forgot to define the new fetish as an oversight (or I somehow missed it)? Anyway, we're told very little about them, but here are the major points
    • They are a fetish of war
    • Duels are fought to the death with klaives when they have conflicts that cannot be resolved
    • Usually they are made out of silver, but some are made of other materials
    • The first klaive was made by the Fianna Ahround Gwydion Wyrmslayer by binding a falcon spirit into a long knife
    • Gwydion taught his fellow Fianna how to create the same kind of fetish
    • However, it was a group of Silver Fangs - the Silverforgers - who first made a silver klaive
    • The Silverforgers are a group of Silver Fang philodoxes who learned the secrets of Silver from Luna herself
    • Armed with these secrets, the Silverforgers were able to calm the spirits of Silver which allowed them to forge these silver blades, even though it still gave them horrible scars and burn wounds
    • However, today the art of silverforging is dying as the Silver Fangs jealously guard their secrets and almost no new students are taught these arts
    • Non-Silver Fang Garou do manage to obtain silver klaives over the years, but the secret to do so belong to the Silver Fangs and the other tribes make non-silver klaives
    • It's mentioned that attuning the fetish is beyond a simple bond, and the spirit in the klaive will come to know its wielder and help him in combat
    The text seems to assume that klaives are frequent enough that both participants in serious disputes to the death can use them. We're given some special actions while using a klaive, but that is it. While the basics will stay the same in future editions, certain specifics will begin to change as certain elements are dropped entirely, new information added, and other things slightly change. The end result creates noticeable differences.

  • #2
    In the second edition, we're given new information.
    • Klaive dueling gains a name, klaivaskar. (Was this mentioned in any previous book?)
    • Klaives are sacred items given to Garou who may one day bear burden of leadership. They are symbols of status and authority
    • Klaive dueling are the means by which the most serious disputes are settled
    • Klaivaskar is a modern manifestation of the ancient Rite of Grievance (though I don't think this rite is ever actually detailed)
    • Klaives are most prominent among three tribes - Fianna, Silver Fangs, and Shadow Lords. Red Talons have the least, Children of Gaia often see them as symbols of strife among Garou.
    • Since the fall of the White Howlers, it has become acceptable to use klaives against these fallen Garou
    • Klaives are rare - less then 10% of Garou have one, and less than 1% have a Grand Klaive (among septs, which I take it means they exclude any garou who don't belong to septs whether that are Ronin, the Rabble among the Bone Gnawers, or lone Silent Striders among many others don't have them at all)
    • Wyrmslayer (the Gwydion has been dropped) created the first klaive during the late Bronze Age (probably around 1000-800 BC)
    • It's mentioned that Wyrmslayer crafted a silver klaive, contradicting first edition.
    • We're told Wyrmslayer's sept and caern are forgotten. WTF!?! This is major lore for the Garou, and it did not happen that long ago compared to many Garou events! This is something that should be known as popular knowledge to almost every Garou, certainly every Fianna and Silver Fang should know.
    • Klaive means "burden" in the Garou Tongue
    • Every tribe now has the knowledge and means to create klaive although the Silver Fangs are unrivaled masters for nearly 3000 years
    • Kinfolk are the ones who craft almost every klaive as it is too dangerous for Garou
    • We're given something concrete to the flavor text that an attuned klaive creates a bond with its wielder - if the wielder dies there is a chance the spirit bound to the klaive is set freed
    • Klaives are the traditional symbol of leadership among the Garou, and Garou who study klaive dueling also learn the history and legends of these notable legends. (Garou who have the Klaive Dueling secondary ability or as a Melee specialty can roll that + Intelligence to recognize specific klaives and their history)
    • Learning klaivaskar requires a mentor
    • Klaive duels are extremely formal and require a Master of Challenge to adjudicate (not mentioned, but assumed is that a Master of Challenge must know the Rite of Grievance mentioned earlier)
    • Masters of Challenge always stop klaive duels if a participant frenzies, and that Garou always loses the duel. It is acceptable to try to goad your Garou opponent to frenzy.
    So we have some noticeable changes. First, the klaive has become a symbol of leadership and authority, not just a weapon used to settle serious disputes. It is also always silver. No more talk of klaives made of non-silver. Second, the secret of crafting silver klaives now belong to all tribes, not just a Silver Fang secret. Third, kinfolk now make them instead of an elite group of Garou, particularly Silver Fang Philodox. Fourth, we're given some additional flavor text about klaive duels - such duels are part of a specific rite and the Master of Challenge is heavily involved. Lastly, we're given some additional information about who has the most klaives and their overall number among the Garou Nation.

    The major changes are that klaives have become a lot more important, are far fewer in number, but also more widely available since a select group of Silver Fangs no longer have a monopoly in their creation. I think this last part really changes the setting. As a setting where the Silver Fangs alone have the lore and ability to craft silver klaives bolsters their authority (this is important in first edition as the Silver Fangs are clearly losing their status as unchallenged rulers of the Nation, and this is one of the few things they have to whip the other tribes if they too would like new klaives). And instead of this process becoming a lost, dying art, it is now widely known and no longer of being lost. And making KINFOLK the people who can craft silver klaives is very, very lame. I much like the idea of only Garou possessing secret lore able to craft them, but also at the cost of their skin being horribly scarred and burned.

    I actually like the first edition better in that specific regard. But the streamlining of "all klaives are silver" does have some benefit. Though the game now offers examples of non-silver fetish weapons like the Get of Fenris' Ironhammers and Black Furies' Labrys of Isthemene.


    • #3
      Revised edition Player's Guide mostly mirrors second edition, but there are some differences.
      • There's no more mention of Wyrmslayer or the Fianna's role in creating klaives.
      • It repeats klaive duels is the method of choice for serious disputes. This is common to all editions.
      • It says that some of the largest caerns may have two klaives kept specifically for duels, but this is rare. This calls into question how Garou can settle serious disputes if so few klaives are out there.
      • Much is made of the symbolic nature of the klaive as a symbol of the burden of leadership. Therefore, unworthy Garou are harassed and challenged a lot to remove it from them. We are saying more importance placed on it as a symbol of authority rather than a deadly means to resolve disputes.
      • We're now told that it is the Fianna, Get of Fenris, and Silver Fangs who possess the most klaives - these three have more than all the other tribes combined. The reason is that these tribes forged them a lot when they warred with the first Black Spiral Dancers.
      • Almost without exception, klaive crafters are kinfolk. Although it is Theurges who attend them and turn them into a fetish. We're a long away from a secret group of Silver Fang Philodoxes who monopolize the creation.
      • We're told that since klaives are so rare, that one way to discourage klaive dueling is to force disputants to try to find one they can use.
      • Few klaive duels do not have at least a few observers from other caerns. This really, really, interests the Garou.
      • Most duels are fought within a 15 meter diameter circle that has six Ahroun (if available) stationed equidistantly around it, with the Master of Challenge in the middle. Once such a duel is started, it will not be interrupted in any circumstance except a full scale invasion of the caern. This is sounding a lot more like a Rite, but no rite of grievance is actually mentioned.
      • Frenzy automatically disqualifies a participant (but so much for a duel to the death), but it is no longer universally acceptable to goad your opponent into doing it. Fianna and Shadow Lords find it acceptable, but Silver Fangs and Get of Fenris do not to the extent that attempt to do so will disqualify the participant!
      • Duels can be to first strike, first blood, or to incapcity/death! So much for the duels to the death of first edition! In fact, we're told official duels to the death are almost unheard of in recent years! The reason we're given, of course, is that the Garou population is too small so this stupid. Of course it is, but it also gave some gravitas to a klaive duel. Only grievances serious enough (to a Garou's Rage maddened eyes) lead to them. Now it seems like a hollow ritual and empty echo of the past.
      • Master of Challenge is mentioned many times, highlighting his importance in this. We're even told that the art of klaivaskar can only be taught by any klaive beaerer who has used his weapon in combat for more than a year and the Master of Challenge. This is an indirect way of saying any sept's Master of Challenge MUST be trained in klaivaskar. That's an interesting idea I'll need to be incorporating in my chronicles.
      So while Revised is very close to the second edition take, there are some notable changes. First, while acknowledged as a means to resolve "serious disputes", a klaive duel has been really defanged. It's no longer really to the death. There's still winners and losers and the potential for great harm, but except in rare circumstances, it's not final. So this means that klaive dueling is now much more likely to happen, but a lot less likely to settle a dispute because both participants live. The only thing that reduces klaive dueling is that it is so hard to find one you can use. Klaive dueling has become a lot less awesome. Second, it seems to be+ a requirement now for the Master of Challenge to be trained in the art of klaive dueling. I like this a lot. Third, that klaives were mass produced to kill Black Spiral Dancers is a neat idea even though it means the Get of Fenris now replaces the Shadow Lords as one of the tribes who have them. Fourth, there's been shift from klaives as an honorable means of death for disputes between Garou to a weapon used mainly to kill the Garou's enemies.

      The only other book I know that prominently discusses klaives is Revised edition's Hammer & Klaive, so I read that too. Whoah, boy. Do we get major changes from that. It's a good example of how edition changes can throw canon out the window.
      • The First Klaive is now made by Wind-howl, a female Silver Fang Galliard, using a Glade-Child spirit during the time when the world was new and was killed about three minutes into her first battle with it.
      • Since the Silver Fangs have a strong tradition of (multiple if need be) Silver Fang descendants trying to rescue lost klaives (from ancestors fallen in battle), this has impressed many spirits who make them more eager to be included in the next Silver Fang klaives.
      And that's about it. Granted, I did not read the book closely. I skimmed it looking for references to klaive and found few. So I might have missed more details. But they really botched the story of the First Klaive, didn't they? Unless you simply want to throw out canon, I think you need to assign the story of Wind-howl as simply a pathetic attempt by the Silver Fangs to appropriate the creation of the first klaive from the Fianna. The story is either completely made up, or somehow represents how the Silver Fangs first learned to make their first klaive, as opposed to Wyrmslayer's First Klaive. Or perhaps the story has some basis in fact (some SF Galliard by that name did make an early fetish weapon), but is completely wrong on many details. I can't even match Wind-howl to the story of the Silverforgers because she's not a Philodox and didn't learn the secrets of silver from Luna. (Which is not surprising since that is probably non-canonical now).
      Last edited by Black Fox; 05-15-2020, 11:56 AM.


      • #4
        This is a lot of really interesting analysis and while I do agree that having the Silver Fangs be the predominant masters of Silver klaives while other tribes use primarily non-Silver klaives, it does take something away in a sense that a lot of people would be annoyed about being mostly unable to use the cool Silver klaives.

        But, ultimately, my point here that I'm actually writing this to make is that I'm actually pretty forgiving of inconsistency in the klaive origins and even Gwydion's true origins being lost because ultimately, something this epic of proportion would see so much revision and regional drift such as to make it nearly impossible to clear up short of a quest into the tribal homelands to find Gwydion so he can set the record straight.

        (I also find it neat that Gwydion made the first klaive with a falcon spirit because in Changeling the Dreaming, the symbol of House Gwydion is a silver falcon.)


        • #5
          One reason that I like the story of Wyrnslayer is that there is a persistent meme in Werewolf that the Fianna did many of the Garou cultural achievements first. They created the Garou Tongue. They were the first tribe to form. They created the first klaive. They were instrumental in the creation of the Litany. They made the alliances with the Fey. They aren't the kings of the Garou Nation, but they certainly contain a lot of its culture heroes.

          I also think that elements included in the original write up gives STs more tools for plot. If everyone can create klaives (albeit by passing the duty onto kinfolk), it just becomes another Background. But a Silver Fang monopoly on creating silver klaives, a special camp of Silver Fang Philodoxes who are the only ones who know the secret, that the art is dying and new silver klaives may go extinct unless new silverforgers are recruited, and the implicit idea that this monopoly is one of the things holding up Silver Fang leadership can be utilized by players and STs in a number of ways.

          If you want a silver klaive and you're not a SF, now there's a story an ST can run. Do you suck up? Do you provide lots of chiminage? Do you challenge for one? Do you steal one? Do you go on a quest for one?

          Or since it's a dying art and the lore isn't being taught anymore, what do you do if your PC wants to learn the secret, especially if you are not a SF? What will you do? Is there a reason why new students are not being lost? Or simply distinguishing a sept by the fact that one of its members know this lore. What impact does this have on your chronicle?

          How do the Silver Fangs use their monopoly to uphold their power? Obviously letting them be borrowed for things (like klaive duels) creates debt. Or giving them away to Garou of other tribes who have demonstrated loyalty to the kings.

          I do like much of the additional information on the details of klaive dueling in later editions, but I like the first edition's emphasis that these are duels to the death and only utilized for the most serious of disputes or personal conflicts.

          I hadn't given much thought to klaives before I did this research. But now I'm thinking of how to use this in my games as I feel there's a lot of story potential. I just need to figure out the right blend of all the editions to use. And I may change some elements - like keep the Silver Forgers, but have some of their members be other tribes (especially the Fianna) who have been sworn not to teach anyone who has not been admitted to their guild (which is controlled by the Silver Fangs). Or perhaps allow every tribe to make klaives, but only Silver Fangs know the secrets to make Grand Klaives (the old Silver Swords).
          Last edited by Black Fox; 04-09-2020, 07:10 PM.


          • #6
            After considerable thought, I've determined how I'll be presenting Klaives in my chronicles. Before this, I never paid them much attention to kalives, but I'll work to incorporate more of them into my games going forward. This is a synthesis of their depictions throughout all editions, ignoring what I don't like and adding some new things when needed. The earlier editions have precedence for me, but I'll be using the later editions for additional flavor and to fill in some gaps that first edition didn't address. Here are the main points.
            • Klaives have always had silver in them (unlike first edition). It's just too essential.
            • Gwydion Wyrmslayer of the Fianna crafted the original klaives in the late Bronze Age around 3000 years ago. "Gwydion" is based on the legendary Welsh hero Gwydion. This helps give me the actual caern and sept he belong to - Mount Snowdon in Wales (listed in Werewolf: the Dark Ages). It is called Wyrmslayer's Sept in honor of the legendary Fianna, and has been a center of Fianna klaive crafting ever since. The silver for their klaives traditionally come from the Cwmystwyth mines in Ceredigion, Wales, a center of silver mining since the Bronze Age. Note that the human legend of Gwydion includes elements of both the Changeling House Gwydion's founder and Gwydion Wyrmslayer. The Fianna was named after the Fae.
            • Klaives are made by Garou, not kinfolk. Since the breed form does not suffer aggravated damage from silver, there is no reason why kinfolk need to be involved.
            • The art of Klaive crafting is now universally known throughout the Garou Nation, although the master craftsmen of the Nation are considered to be the Fianna and Silver Fangs, followed by the Get of Fenris and Shadow Lords, and then everyone else. Klaives from their provenance are known for their quality and prestige.
            • However, only the Silver Fangs are able to craft Grand Klaives. An elite camp of Silver Fangs known as the Silver Forgers were able to learn the secrets of silver from Luna herself that allowed them to combine multiple spirits (war, silver, and additional ones for additional powers) that allowed for Grand Klaives. Virtually all Grand Klaives belong to the Silver Fangs except for a few that were given as gifts, lost in challenges, or when other tribes recovered those lost in battle. Recover of such Grand Klaives is important to Silver Fang Roaylists.
            • The Silver Forgers are an elite camp of Silver Fang Philodoxes who preserve he secrets gained from Luna thousands of years ago. Their camp entrance requirements are exceedingly high, and very few are accepted leading to the crafting of Grand Klaives as a dying art. Presumably these strict requirements are part of the chiminage requirement to forge such weapons, but since those secrets are only known to the camp, none can truly say. Camp members are often known for their horrible burns and scars indicating they must forge their Grand Klaives in a non-breed form.
            • Possession of a klaive is a traditional sign of authority in the Garou Nation. Most are held by those in the office of Sept Elder or another sept office (particularly the Master of Challenge) with the others being personal possessions. Less than 1 Garou in 10 have a klaive; it is closer to 1 in 20.
            • Many such klaives are not actually used, but are kept for ceremonial use or stored in secret caches "when needed." This creates resentment as many younger Garou want them to available for their own dangerous quests.
            • Klaives are often lent to others for the purposes of dueling, or to fulfill certain quests. This requires others to attune to the fetish, but afterwards the klaive is always expected to be returned. If they are not, that Garou is marked as a criminal and will be punished by the rite of the Voice of the Jackal if not slain outright.
            • Klaive duels among the Garou are almost always to the death. Septs often do their utmost to prevent disputes between Garou getting to this stage, and the Master of Challenge uses various ploys to delay or obstruct them, but when an actual duel is held a Garou will almost certainly be dead.
            • To become a Master of Challenge, it is a virtual requirement in many septs to be a master of Klaivaskar (either possess the Secondary Ability, or specialty in Melee).
            • A klaive duel is very ritualistic, and in fact is its own Rite, a variant of the ancient Rite of Grievance. A Master of Challenge is always the ritemaster. Duels are fought within a 15 meter diameter circle that has six Ahroun (if available) stationed equidistantly around it, with the Master of Challenge in the middle. Once such a duel is started, it will not be interrupted in any circumstance except a full scale invasion of the caern.
            • A participant who Frenzies is disqualified automatically and loses the duel. The Master of Challenge always intervenes in this case. Very often the shame of losing results in the suicide of the duelist, or his falling into harano. In some tribes there is considerable social pressure put on the losing Garou to commit suicide in order to die an honorable death.
            • Standard mechanics for klaives apply. An attuned klaive creates a bond with its wielder - if the wielder dies there is a chance the spirit bound to the klaive is set freed.
            • Garou who study klaive dueling also learn the history and legends of these notable legends. (Garou who have the Klaive Dueling secondary ability or as a Melee specialty can roll that + Intelligence to recognize specific klaives and their history)
            • Learning klaivaskar requires a mentor. Melee can be used when wielding a klaive in combat, but does not count as "knowing" proper klaivaskar.
            So while there is a lot of consistency over the years regarding klaives, there is some inconsistency between editions and sometimes between sourcebooks within an edition. The above is my personal reconciliation.


            • #7
              This is really cool Black Fox! I like your overview and how it does its best to weave in all the best elements without leading to contradiction and to help bake in flavor and lore into the setting.


              • #8
                Now that I figure out the basics of klaives in my chronicles, that only leaves coming up with a heritage for any individual klaives in my game. There's a chance for some interesting flavor that could enrich player's RP experience and world building. It sets klaives apart from other fetishes, and makes them more interesting to PCs.

                Other than things that might drive chronicle plot, or intended for use in some PC's backstory, I think I'll treat this as an opportunity for player collaboration. I'll ask the players to contribute ideas and figure out a klaive's heritage in several portions (creation/origin elements, identification with any authority roles, and 3-12 noted exploits associated with that specific klaive). I'll then reward them with an XP.

                So I'm currently brainstorming ideas for two klaives I'll be locating in the home sept and a third for player background, but I'll leave every other klaive potentially out there to the ideas of my players.


                • #9
                  I am compiling Rites outside the corebook that are available to PCs to learn. As a result, I want to create an actual description of the Rite of Klaivaskar as a modernized version of the Rite of Grievance. I tried to include all relevant information from all editions. I am putting it up here for review and feeback.

                  Rite of Klaivaskar
                  Type: Accord
                  Level Three
                  Klaivaskar is a variant of the ancient Rite of Grievance. Klaivaskar is a ritual klaive duel between two Garou whose conflicts have not been able to be resolved. Traditionally Klaivaskar is fought to the death, but in current times Garou often try to prevent Garou from engaging in the practice. A frequent means is to deny the participants use of klaives as these rare fetishes are rarely possessed and not often loaned out. As a result, Klaivaskar is almost always fought by older, experienced Garou of high Rank with access to klaives, and their duels are frequently attended by observers from other septs. Some tribes seek to reduce the death of Garou by deciding victory in Klaivaskar by first strike or first blood instead of death. This is frowned upon by many Garou who see it as a demeaning of the rite.

                  System: The Rite of Klaivaskar must be overseen by a sept's Master of Challenge who acts as ritemaster. Duels are fought within a 15 meter diameter circle with six Ahroun (if available, but other Garou can be substituted as needed) stationed equidistantly around it, with the Master of Challenge in the middle. Once such a duel is started, it will not be interrupted in any circumstance except a full scale invasion of the caern. A participant who Frenzies is disqualified automatically and loses the duel. The Master of Challenge always intervenes in this case. A successful completion of the rite initiates combat. A failed rite is seen as dishonoring the ritemaster and the two participants. A ritemaster who is viewed as purposefully failing the rite loses five temporary Honor.