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Crime Examples for the Rites of Punishment

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  • Crime Examples for the Rites of Punishment

    I'm going to the board to crowdsource examples of crimes that should be punished by an appropriate Rite of Punishment. Garou culture tries to moderate most conflicts through its culture of dominance and challenges, but the Rites of Punishment exist for a reason.

    The reason I'm asking for examples is because I want think they have great roleplay potential. First, I need the occasional Garou to be the criminal so my PCs have the chance to actually use those rites during play. Second, even without PC participation, I think this is the kind of thing that drives plot. The actions of NPCs can have a cascade effect.

    I don't think I've ever seen a Rite of Punishment actually performed in game. It's something I think should occur more often, even if it is something that happens in another sept rather than the home sept of the chronicle.

    When I ask for crimes, I don't mean an ordinary list of crimes. Murder. Theft. Etc. That's easy. I'm talking about specific crimes with actual motivations of the NPCs.

    For example, for the Rite of Ostracism - the rite is performed on a Garou who murdered a kinfolk in a fit of rage after she turned down his advances. The period of ostracism lasts considerably more than one month, either an entire season or a lunar year. The Sept Council also issues an order to pay wergild to the kinfolk family and/or protecting individual Garou. (Note in my view Kinfolk to most tribes are little more than livestock. They love and cherish them, but they're not truly "people" in the sense that Garou are. Therefore, it's not punishable like "murder" is which is only against another Garou. Instead, it's like killing someone's cattle - still a crime, but not murder.)

    Obviously different crimes are punished in different ways by different tribes. But in general make it how the "typical" tribe would do it, but feel free to make comment or embellish on how another tribe would do it.

  • #2
    Alrighty, so some ideas!

    •A young fostern has watched bitterly as a rival obtains the rank of adren and being forced to address them as a superior has proven too much! The fostern has begun to bad mouth their rival, gaining the ire of the newly minted adren. The philodox has been forced to step in and to avoid an honor duel arising, has declared that the fostern must be punished for their refusal to acknowledge justly given rank and spreading slander... a punishment likely to further embitter them.

    •An athro has been seeking for an opportunity to lash out at a subtly rude ragabash for weeks and now has their chance. The ragabash was reported to have had contact with a leech (to gain information for some purpose) and the athro has feigned outrage. How dare this whelp blatantly defy the litany?! Were the Garou not made to combat the Wyrm wherever it dwells! The ragabash must be publicly punished and while the athro is pleased, the other elders are less so as now young garou begin burning bridges in assaults on low priority targets to prove their valor and zeal.

    •The spirits of the local woodland have turned to ire, plaguing the sept. Apparently some lupus relieved themself on a tree considered to be a significant pillar of a local spirit court, enraging the Oaken Chief. The sept must now punish the lupus and convince it to show contrition for disrespecting someone without knowing how or why; or else risk the local spirit court's anger.

    •A young theurge has been brought to the sept leaders to be punished. Their crime? The mass creation and distribution of talens. Why is this so wrong? The local naturae have begun to complain of the theurge's draining of the area's gnosis and that the creation of so many - so quickly does not show proper respect. The spirits demand punishment, yet the young garou have come to enjoy the plenty. Some may decide to challenge the garou who calls for the rite of punishment.

    •A garou has returned from a nearby moot meeting and find's many of their home sept enraged. They had met a garou whose ancestor had slain a common ancestor of many of the sept member's in a violation of the Right to Surrender. The sept maintains that the garou should have immediately denounced the craven's great-grandchild and challenged them to a duel for their honor. The ancestors are in uproar and the garou totally agree; the garou must face a rite of punishment for their cowardice.

    Comment


    • #3
      I must clarify that I'd like to see crimes linked to specific Rites of Punishment. Because the crimes linked to the individual Rites are often vaguely defined, I'm sure there will be lost of discussion of which crimes fall into appropriate Rites.

      So to use your examples crimes, this is how I would handle it.

      1) Disrespect - not actually a crime. It's up to the Garou whose dominance is being challenged to enforce his place in the hierarchy. The disrespectful Garou is clearly challenging the elder, so the elder gets to pick the challenge - Facedown, Gamecraft, Duel, or whatever that gives him the advantage. There might also be Renown loss determined by the sept elders if the disrespectful Garou is really speaking out of bounds all the time - loss for Speaking dishonorably to one's elders, or Participating in unjust challenges (since he shouldn't be challenging the Garou in question). Only if the disrespectful Garou brings the entire system of rank, dominance, and challenge into disrepute because of his behavior would I hit him with a Voice of the Jackal.

      2) I'm not sure what the crime is in this one. Only if the Sept Elders had made a decision to avoid attacking certain Wyrm creatures in order to go after the others would they attempt to reign in the Garou attacking "low priority" targets. Because that would challenge the authority of the sept (specifically the Wyrm Foe, I believe, as he coordinates attacks). And before we get to the Rites, there'd need to be intermediate steps to assert dominance. I wouldn't go straight to punishment. The accused Garou would probably ask what law they've violated. It has to be a clear case of them disobeying the sept officer who has the proper authority. Perhaps if their actions are truly foolish, hit them with an appropriate Renown loss for causing trouble and interfering with the ongoing campaign against established Wyrm threats. Otherwise this is a political dispute within the sept in terms of aims and policy and needs to be addressed in the Cracking of the Bone. I think a lot more story needs to be done before we get to the use of any rites.

      3) Pissing off important local Spirits that it affects the Caern - While I think at first the sept would simply instruct the offender to make proper chiminage restoration, I do agree it is possible the spirit demands the local Garou to punish the offender if it is especially egregious, or if it violated prior promises the sept made to the spirit (and perhaps even forgotten by the sept because it was done centuries ago). Or perhaps the caern totem is angry because of it. I think this would most likely be punished by Voice of the Jackal, though if the violation was truly offending, it might justify the Stone of Scorn (which I rank as a worse punishment than the other rite).

      4) Draining Too Much Gnosis - I would treat it like the above. Both crimes are similar in nature, you've offended the spirits. The first response would be to try to assuage them in terms of chriminage, but if the spirits are truly offended, the sept likely will need to appease them. I think the sept would be careful of the punishments however, as previously the sept likely was happy with the Theurge's attempts to create talens. However, if he was warned beforehand to not anger the spirits and he did so anyway, I could see the Stone of Scorn being applied right off, or even the Satire Rite if he truly screwed up.

      5) Not Standing up for the Sept's Ancestor - This is an intriguing case. I like it. I think it affects both the spirit relations of the sept, and the sept's honor. I'd probably hit them with the Renown loss similar to speaking poorly of one's pack as an equivalent. Not because of what he said, but because he failed to assert the sept's honor. I would have lots of questions about how well know the both ancestors are to the sept members, but given your scenario I assume the Garou in question should have known even if he did not (I hope the ST notified the player beforehand!). I am thinking the Stone of Scorn for this one.

      If you think differently, I'd like to hear it. I think this is an area where there'd be lots of differing opinions.

      Comment


      • #4
        Ah thank you for the clarification! I'll give those some thought as well, but I'm glad that these provided something interesting to chew on.

        Comment


        • #5
          The crime of mating with another Garou is a good example of how the same crime can be punished in very different ways because of differences within the tribes and septs. It's an example of a religious taboo, like incest, and those are almost always harshly punished because your crime is not just against a person or the community, but against the divine. So how should these Garou (Chararch) be punished?

          There are many Garou who would punish it with the death penalty. I think the Get of Fenris and the Shadow Lords are good examples of such. They will call the Rite of the Hunt against that Garou. Some septs might allow such Garou to avoid the rite by throwing themselves at the Wyrm until they die in order to redeem themselves. In my own chronicles, this is something often done in order to ensure the sept takes good care of the Metis child after they are done. (I imagine there are other death penalty cases like this. I imagine it is one reason why certain groups - like the Sabbat - claim many Garou trophies. They don't realize the only realize they killed that Lupine was because that Lupine always intended to die at their hands, and their only goal was to eliminate as many vampires (or whatever) as they could before they went down.)

          But not all tribes go that way. Those that are more squeamish use the Rite of the Lone Wolf and cast off the Garou as Ronin. (It was a disappointment that the W20 corebook does not have that Rite listed. It's an essential Rite of Punishment for the game. They list the Rite of Sacred Rebirth twice, but didn't list the rite that creates Ronin!) I think this is the rite used by many of the tribes that do't kill the parents outright.

          For some decadent tribes, that may even be too much. They probably use an extended Rite of Ostracism and Satire Rite. The Charach stays a Garou, but likely has to assume a new name and live their life at a new sept, not allowed to go back to their own childer. I imagine in some cases, the Garou punish each parent differently. The father might be more severely punished than the mother. For example, I think Black Furies might be far less willing to harm the mother than the father (especially since the father of any metis must come from a different tribe than theirs!).

          Lastly, I could imagine the Bone Gnawers or some particularly corrupted Children of Gaia septs not bother the parents at all. Though those septs run the risk of being collectively punished by nearby tribes who will hold a Concolation. But if kept secret, this could happen for a long time.

          Comment


          • #6
            Some ideas after looking over the first couple rites of punishment from the W20 book...

            RITE OF THE JACKDAW

            •Embittered Sibling
            -A pack has sworn as part of its role not to share the secrets of the pack with outsiders. However a member of the pack who was romantically involved with a pack mates sibling, even taking them as a mate, has begun to develop additional sexual relationships. The bitter packmate is outraged at this mark on their sibling's honor and has declared their packmate to be unfaithful, humiliating them and stripping them of some honor renown. However, the unfaithful packmate called for a rite of punishment which was found just for the embittered garou had broken an oath of secrecy. Now both have egg on their face and this poor pack and kinfolk are caught in the middle.

            •Youthful Folly
            -A fresh cliath has been brought into the sept' culture and sworn to keep the secrets of their brothers and sisters. They are young and idealistic and truly believe every breed must uphold their sacred duty. However they are now in hotwater, after a witty corax convinced them to tell the raven about an upcoming planned raid. The corax blabbed to a rival sept who swept in to take the glory and now the cliath must be punished for being so free with knowledge.

            •Buried Treasure!
            -A young garou has been entrusted with the secret of where their ancestors buried their wealth for safe-keeping. Well, the sept fell on hard times, so the garou told their elders about the hidden treasure and the (stolen) treasures helped regain financial fluidity. The ancestors however are furious and they will withhold all aid until the garou is duly punished thus the sept has half-heartedly performed the Rite of the Jackdaw.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for posting this. The Rite of Jackdaw was particularly hard for me as I was having trouble coming up with examples I could use in play. I had actually not thought of any explicit "sworn to secrecy" routes. I was thinking of something like an inadvertent Veil breach, revealing something too much about the Garou to human or supernatural confederates/allies, or revealing tribal secrets. The kind of "assumed" sworn to secrecy stuff.

              This prompts a question to my mind. Do many or all packs have a "secrets of the pack" clause - stated or unstated? There's always a lot of stuff that falls into "don't talk about the family to outsiders" or the kind of personal conversations you have with friends when it is obvious it is told in confidence. Should packs work that way, or is it better to lay out what is specifically secret? Like many things I suppose it depends on the pack. Some packs are probably like families or groups of close friends, while others are more formal or like a secret society.

              I don't think having "assumed" secrecy for packs is a problem. As long as it was reasonable for a pack member to think certain confidences should have been kept secret, I think the sept could rule that it violated secrecy. It depends on the sept culture of what kinds of things are included in that. But the use of the Rite of the Jackdaw to enforce sept standards of behaviors is something I think is totally inline for the Garou. But as an ST, I would give my PCs a heads up if they were going to do something that obviously violated such "assumed" sworn secrets (aka "You know, that's not the kind of thing you reveal in this sept).

              For the first example, I wonder how "this guy slept with my sister!" really fits into "revealing pack secrets". Even if the affair was secret, does it really count as a secret of the pack? I don't think that would be the case normally, though I can imagine some packs keeping a very strict "don't tell anyone about the personal activities of another pack member" policy or similar.

              I agree with the second.

              The third I question because in my mind, an individual Garou violating some sort of personal family secret wouldn't be the sort of thing that provokes Ancestor spirits in general withholding aid from the sept. I could see another Garou or kinfolk of that lineage complaining to the sept that they violated a secret though. Or perhaps even an individual Ancestor spirit appearing to a Theurge in the sept or tribe and complaining about it. But I think it would have to be less about generic wealth, and something more like a prized and unique (but obviously valuable) heirloom.

              But I like these, and they are definitely making me think of possibilities.

              Comment


              • #8
                (Apologies for length, this wasn't that long in my head.)

                I think this may be a controversial topic. How do Garou punish a Kinfolk or Garou who marries or has romantic relations with a kinfolk who isn't "approved"?

                I've seen this issue approached various ways online when there is a substantial player base of both Garou PCs and Kinfolk PCs. I rarely see this issue crop off in tabletop games because Kinfolk are usually only presented as part of someone's background. But it is something that could come up in play, and I think it'd be interesting to see how individual PCs react.

                How Strict is Approval?
                Some games have a strictly controlled policy by tribe - kinfolk "owned" by a tribe are only able to mate with kinfolk of the same tribe. For some tribes, there is a select group of kinfolk of other tribes that might allow to be mated provided the Garou elders of those tribes agree. Examples are usually Wendigo and Uktena (assuming the Uktena kinfolk are also American Indian as opposed to any of the other races they've subsequently brought in). But often this is extended to general tribes of good standing in the Nation (Shadow Lords, Get of Fenris, Fianna, etc.). These rules also apply to tribes who really shouldn't care about their kinfolk intermarriage at all like Glass Walkers and Bone Gnawers. Of course if Pure Breed is involved, things become very strict. Silver Fang kinfolk basically can't mate with anyone outside their tribe.

                This is meant for the PCs of course, but we have to assume it is applied to the general NPC kinfolk population as well. Which means the Garou are exercising a control over Kinfolk that would be perfectly acceptable in pre-modern times when arranged marriages were routine, but is very unacceptable today in the eyes of almost all the player base.

                But there are other games where this is not even an issue. While mating with one's tribe is preferred, it seems there isn't any real issue to have a mate of another tribe.

                So obviously there is a wide range of opinion. Of course, in these games I've only ever seen Garou/Kinfolk PC mating. I've never seen two Kinfolk PCs get married. But one has to assume the same rules apply.

                The Litany Precept Involved and Exceptions
                But what happens if the rules - whatever they may be - are violated? Things are very different now, and Kinfolk in modern societies are exposed to a lot of culture that undermines the traditional control Garou have over their kinfolk's sex lives. There is a much greater risk kinfolk have unapproved mating. So what happens if a kinfolk has an affair or relationship with kinfolk (or Garou!) of another tribe that isn't approved? In the Litany, this is essentially a violation of Respect the Territory of Another.

                In practice, Garou don't try to control the sex lives of all their kinfolk. Especially in an age where social mobility exists and not everyone can be kept in the same small village, lots of Kinfolk effectively escape the control of the Garou. They blend into the local population and are forgotten (this is easier for Kinfolk who don't have direct Garou relations, but may be several times removed for their nearest Garou relative). And some Garou may not have the heart to prevent a close Kinfolk from marrying for love.

                But we don't need to talk about these cases. Only the ones where it does matter. In these cases, the Garou break up the pair and forbid them to see each other. But then comes the actual punishment. We have several different cases to consider. Affairs that involve two kinfolk, and affairs that involve a kinfolk and a Garou. (Obviously this only applies to homids. I don't see how this can be really enforced with two lupus kinfolk, although a Garou and lupus would still be an issue.)

                Case: Two Kinfolk
                Let's consider two (homid) kinfolk first. I don't think any Rites would apply (those would be reserved for Garou only except in exceptional circumstances). But I think the general method of Shaming. Shunning, Death would. First, I think the two kinfolk would be treated different. Women would be punished more lightly than men because in terms of breeding, women are more important. Your birth rate is dependent on fertile wombs available, not fertile men. Other than being scolded, I think most women would escape punishment entirely. Although egregious cases might be treated with more public shaming, even if it is just a gossip campaign undertaken by other kinfolk.

                The man will be treated more harshly. I think it might lead to a prolonged or permanent exile (de facto Ostracism) - something long enough to prevent the two kinfolk from getting back together. For their ardor to die. And for the woman to get used to whatever future mate she may have. Unless the kinfolk community is especially large or the man has another prospective man in the community he can fall back on, for most cases this is practical permanent exile. If the man comes back in violation of the exile, all bets are off. He can be killed if someone from the offended tribe desires to do so. Although perhaps a wergild must be paid for the "privilege" of doing so. "Sorry your stupid son decided to come back. He's dead now. But here are two cows for your farm. Enjoy the milk."

                It can be worse. Depending on the circumstances, I could see the Garou deciding the mating was effectively "rape" or "kidnapping to do so" and decide to kill the man. I think the Silver Fangs would push for this if their kinfolk was the woman (but not if the kinfolk was the man). And I definitely see the Black Furies deciding this. Harsher tribes like the Get of Fenris and Shadow Lords also likely. The Wendigo too would enforce this harshly. On the other hand, the Children of Gaia might not even care. And the Bone Gnawers probably don't. Other tribes are somewhere inbetween.

                Case: Kinfolk and Garou
                Same situation but this time one of them is a Garou. Circumstances change here. I don't think the kinfolk in this is really addressed at all regardless of their sex. Though Garou might threaten the kinfolk simply to scare the person off and appear to be consistent with how they treat other kinfolk. The kinfolk clearly does not have the power in this relationship. So what do they do with the Garou?

                Obviously this varies with tribe. I think the tribes that are most extreme about protecting their bloodline (Silver Fangs because of Pure Breed, Wendigo because of ethnonationalist issues similar to Pure Breed) would seek the death penalty, but might be pacified with permanent Ostracism. They have to because any violation of their bloodline might lead to a reduction of their numbers. They can't risk the precedent of a weaker punishment that might encourage other wrong matching. They need to set an example so everyone else is persuaded to not even try.

                For the other tribes, I think the issue of the sex of the Garou comes into play. A female Garou would give birth, and that child would be raised a member of the tribe. That tribe isn't really losing any potential future members. The mother's tribe - since she is the Garou - obviously gets to claim the child. There may still be issues involved, and the other tribes would still demand something. But it'd be a lot less punishment. Probably one of the Shaming rites. I could see Stone of Scorn being used. I don't think Satire Rite would be used unless the female Garou in question repeatedly did this.

                If it is a male Garou though, it is a different story because the male is "violating" the other tribe's Garou. He's potentially stealing a womb, a kinfolk, or a new Garou from the other tribe. That Garou has to be punished. For the typical tribes, I think the default would be Ostracism and the exile would last more than a month. Maybe a full year. I think the male Garou would be lucky to escape with a Stone of Scorn. Again, we have outlier tribes like the Bone Gnawers (who probably don't care) although they may find it amusing one of their kinfolk was prized by one of the "better" tribes. And Children of Gaia are inclined to be sappy about love and would likely push for lesser punishments. It is also not a surprise that both tribes canonically are known for accepting the "rejected" Garou of other tribes, and therefore have less issues of maintaining their population.

                Comment


                • #9
                  So here is a less complicated one - Perjury.

                  In non-official circumstances when a liar is exposed, you get the renown penalty; or when someone tells an inconvenient truth they are rewarded because Garou understand there are times when the truth must be heard. In cases when a Garou has found out to have lied when talking to sept officials during a hearing or other official matter, I think the crime of perjury must be punished more severely.

                  I think the Stone of Scorn is reserved for that - perjury, not ordinary lies. Although perhaps very egregious examples of perjury might result in the Satire Rite, and Garou who have been repeatedly caught out as perjurers or liars would receive the same.

                  Edit: After further thought, I think perjury needs to be punished more strongly. So I now think it's something punished by the Rite of Ostracism. The length of ostracism being dependent on the nature of the perjury with the more serious lies being for a longer time.
                  Last edited by Black Fox; 06-07-2020, 01:32 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Besides coming up with possible examples in game for PCs to be involved in, I'm now wondering about the impact of this on NPCs of my chronicle settings.

                    How many NPCs in a sept should have been recently (in the last few years) with one of these Rites? I don't think it's much in most septs. But maybe 1% is a good figure. Very low, but not unheard of. This might be different per tribal and caern standards. Shadow Lords might be particularly strict on this, hitting Garou more stringently and harshly. And Bone Gnawers probably rarely punish each other even for actual crimes.

                    A good outlier, I think, would be in the case of metis. Most septs will likely use rites of punishment on metis far more frequently than they do on others. Both from a sense that other breeds view metis negatively and prone to think the worse, and from a sense that being harsh on them will help "improve" them and hoping the fear of that will cause their behavior to be better than that of their parents. It would also go a long way to show the discrimination used against metis. "Always" have the metis NPCs in your sept as having been punished by these rites at some point in the past few years. With more emphasis on the early ranks (Cliath and Fostern) than the higher ranks when such punishments have likely ended (because the Garou has proven themselves and are also now much more dangerous, and likely having stronger allies). And more likely to be a "minor" punishment rite like Voice of the Jackal than a more serious one (and thus needing more serious abuses/actual crimes) like Stone of Scorn or Satire Rite or Ostracism.

                    For example, when introducing a claith metis character for the first time, maybe have their voice be squealey as a result of the Voice of the Jackal, done for vague reasons by the sept. They have some justification, but it was mainly because the NPC was a metis and the same behavior would have been overlooked if done by a homid or lupus.

                    Another thing I need to do is come up with NPCs who have experienced the Stone of Scorn sometime in their past. And perhaps one or more rare individuals subjected to the Satire Rite at some point in their life (though perhaps not at their current sept). It would make interesting background for that NPC. And it is not something I have considered before when creating NPCs. It'll take more work, but I think it would be an easy way to add more depth to a few NPCs. And considering some Stone of Scorns are permanently carved or marked with the name and actions of violators, it could be a tool the ST can use to introduce some of these NPC background elements to the PCs.

                    There are limits to how much can be done with Garou at one sept. But if the setting comprises multiple septs, and the PCs visit these other septs on occasions, they can come into play. And for certain important NPCs, having examples of this in their backstory can help build them up. Whether it is for being unjustly punished, a redemption story, or simply to mark someone as "bad".

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Another benefit of having NPCs known to have rites of punishment performed on them, is that I think it normalizes it as part of the setting. Players can see having a rite performed is not the end of the world. They see once done and after a certain passage of time, that it's forgotten and NPCs move on.

                      Then if it ever becomes necessary to perform the rite on a PC, it's more likely for players to accept it as normal, as opposed to their PC being persecuted or they reacting negatively Out-of-Character. If the only time they see these rites used are when the PCs do something, it may seem more arbitrary or unjust than if they see it having been done to NPCs as well.
                      Last edited by Black Fox; 06-09-2020, 12:39 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here's a crime I'm not sure how it is punished: trespassing.

                        Trespassing is definitely against the Litany. Respect the Territory of another is high up there. But it is something that both humans and wolves have to enforce - stronger parties will always attempt to push how much they can intrude. In human society, its the police that enforce property rights, but historically this was something that required the owners of that property to enforce. Among wolves, packs fight each other for hunting grounds and such.

                        So among Garou, I wonder how much of this is something the sept enforces, and how much of it requires the pack that claimed that territory to do so. Who would want to fight on behalf of a pack if the pack isn't strong enough to defend their own rights? Furthermore, there is a possible end run around trespassing - using the challenge system to enforce your competing claim on certain territory/possessions. I think any given specifics can be gamed in the system.

                        So when does it switch from being an issue that a pack or individual Garou needs to defend on their own, and the sept as whole decides justice and punishment? I think this is inherently a political situation. The sept steps in only when they think a larger issue is at stake. So if they find a Garou (or pack) guilty, how do they punish it?

                        I think the first such violation is simply a decision to uphold the rights of the violated Garou, and issue a warning. Perhaps some renown loss. But if the same trespassing incident repeats, the sept will need to back up their decision with a real bite. So while I think we could have a variety of responses given any specifics, I'm leaning towards the Rite of Ostracism again.

                        But I think territorial disputes can go all over the place. So if people have ideas, let's hear them.

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