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Garou Control over Kinfolk - a discussion (warning: triggering subject matter)

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  • While I think some Garou kinfolk may be at the "margins" Garou society, and torn between continuity with traditions and losing themselves with mundane humanity, I am thinking more of kinfolk who are well entrenched with Garou society - say in an exclusively kinfolk community with many Garou traditions - but simply don't have a Garou directly over them.

    In a previous thread I tried to crowdsource/poll what the ratio should be between kinfolk and Garou. I didn't get many responses as it seemed that this was something most STs and players didn't care about it. But it was one of the topics that eventually lead to this one as I worked on how to incorporate Kinfolk more into my chronicles. I use a ratio of about 100 Kinfolk to 1 Garou in terms of creating batches of Kinfolk community in my setting (there can be offsite communities as well to produce Lost Cubs and such). That isn't a strict demographic reality, just a guideline I use as ST in creating the setting. But other people might use a ratio of 30, or 250, or more. Adjust accordingly. I believe there is probably a decent chunk of Kenning Kinfolk that at any one time won't have a Garou "guardian", but still embedded into the community, still loyal to the Garou, and still present. These SHOULD be doing something. Their neighbors who are providing additional "taxes" or "tithes" would grow very resentful if they don't, and I don't see the sept not wanting to make use of these resources - whether it be their finances, skills, time, and so on.

    But what should those expectations be? On one hand, I expect the burden of supporting the Garou should be less. On the other, the "benefits" of having a Garou close by is also less.

    Here are some current thoughts.

    There is still a financial contribution to the sept. This could be the equivalent of a 1% tax or other minor contribution. Perhaps the "Church" sends out a special basket where everyone is expected to pinch in $5 or $20 a week or whatever the amount it. Or a trusted kinfolk is entrusted to drop by the various businesses and elite families of town (without a Garou guardian) and collect a similar "donation" (that is voluntary, but not really voluntary because social pressure is so immense). It could be collected in various ways. Donating is a sign that the kinfolk accepts the authority of the Garou and proof they still want to be protected. Kinfolk without the means may not need to donate (the well-to-do are expected to make up for them), but they may still need to make a symbolic donation as proof of submission/obedience. The burden is not anywhere near it is for those families with a Garou directly over them, but is made up by having a much broader tax base.

    There is an expectation that report suspicious activity. "Suspicious" being outsider humans who show up to the community. They should be monitored, and their activities reported to the sept. "Un-Garoulike activity" needs to be reported and prevented if possible. Children playing games of the World of Shadow from Black Dog Game Factory? That's a no-no. People asking for certain books at the library (never there, but potentially available through interlibrary loan), or looking up certain websites, or other forbidden research - inform the Garou. Strange behavior by certain animals? Tell the Garou. Perhaps even other odd things like - no dogs as pets allowed (cats are OK) - that the Garou either disaprove of, or must be regulated in order to better service the caern totem. A nearby caern of justice or fertility or healing or wisdom might spill over into a kinfolk community, and the Garou want the caern to be properly supported as a result. Or mandatory attendance at "festivals" that are pseudo- or semi-Gaian holidays. Or as mentioned in an earlier post total silence about certain topics of conversation. It could be things like ringing a church bell if outsiders enter the town so everyone knows to be on good behavior for the Veil. These would be things applied broadly towards the whole community. It could also mean that if a person ever tries to sell property to non-kinfolk, that the Garou sept must approve. And that certain things discovered by lawyers or doctors (which would normally be protected by confidentiality) must be reported to the Garou. No letting an outsider inherit land. No abortions allowed unless the Garou sept approves. We're getting into Folk Horror territory here - something similar to the villagers in the Wicker Man or Harvest Home. These kinds of activities don't require constant action, but when the even triggers it, they're expected to obey automatically.

    Then there would be the VIPs in town - the village president or mayor, chief of police or firefighters, head of any businesses, heads of prominent families - these get much more oversight. They must report to the Sept Council or a trusted Kinfolk representative who reports directly to a Garou. Perhaps the wife or husband of the Sept Elder who serves as the community matriarch or patriarch. Or someone else equally trusted and respected by the Garou. These people have much more responsibilities since they are the town leaders, and the Garou must control them. For all practical purposes, they are treated like having a "guardian" but the burden is lessened that much of what is asked for is provided by the town in general as opposed to reaching deep into their own pockets.

    I won't mention mating because I think that essentially involves claiming that kinfolk, and I want to discuss later when we talk about guardianship.

    Is there anything I didn't mention that I should have? Anything you disagree with? Other comments?

    Comment


    • If these kinfolk are part of a community integrated with humans, such as Glass Walkers in the city, this kind of stuff may be a lot harder since it can't be done openly, and the number of families controlled this way diminishes. I think that is fine as part of the setting. I think Urrah kinfolk communities are very different than non-Urrah. So things need to be changed and reskinned appropriately. But in terms of the types of ways these Kinfolk are controlled, or are expected to behave, I think are similar.

      And of course, kinfolk in the city likely have much more of a need to be protected by local Garou. Chances of an encounter with a vampire or fomori is much higher, so wanting to keep in good stead with the local sept or other Garou authority makes sense.

      Comment


      • One bit on the kinfolk relation to the Garou nation - and the control level - is the utility of kinfolk to the nation. Kinfolk can hold roles that Garou can't due to the risks to the Veil. There is also the option of kinfolk as plants within human society
        one example been that several high ranking members of SAD are kinfolk and direct investigations away from the Garou (taken from Project Twighlight)


        Also another factor I think that is missing in general looking through this thread is that for many (if not most) Garou some of the kinfolk they support will be one of their parents. That kinfolk are actual family, and not just a notional one. Thus they are part of the culture and not just subservient to it.

        Comment


        • babi_gog love the spoiler! Didn’t know that.

          I think in general Kinfolk are expected to choose a Garou mate and have kids with them, and they’re strongly discouraged from falling in love or marrying outside the community, but they’re also never forced to get involved with a particular Garou if they don’t like the person that way either.

          Remember, forbidden love makes for some amazing plotlines.


          “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

          Comment


          • The FBI speaking of which Had one Freeform I was in where an SAD Agent tried spying on a garou and kin on their honeymoon.... Spying with :Astral projection.

            Then wound up as Slave they were planning to send back loaded with BS.


            Comment


            • Spying on a couple on their honeymoon is REALLY messed up. Even for SAD.


              “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

              Comment


              • Does sending them back loaded with BS sound like a reasonable thing to do?


                Comment


                • Black Fox I am very impressed with how much thought you've put into this topic. After rereading W20, again, I have realized just how important Kinfolk are, not just for Garou but all Fera, due to the Curse, and just how illogical some of the Fera PC templates are, with these roles much better filled by Kinfolk.

                  This has been very thought provoking foe me and will definitely have an impact in future games.


                  Comment


                  • I remember when 5th edition got announced, a website went up, and the werewolf tribes had sections talking about what kind of day jobs they had...
                    *shudders*

                    But, I don't actually think kinfolk are fundamentally neccessary for garou beyond breeding and in land ownership in areas where that may be an issue. Garou don't need money, they can hunt for food, they can be entirely self sufficient without relying on kin. It's only in areas where a caern can be purchased that kinfolk have more value, or with tribes that value a connection with humanity. Even if you enjoy kinfolk working jobs and acquiring money, most garou are still aware that they can drop all that if they wanted to.


                    Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

                    Comment


                    • Black Fox and thanks from me too. After reading this thread I’m defo gonna pick up A Breed Apart. Kinfolk are really important to a Garou and if I ever do play a Werewolf character I want to make sure she (or he) has a strong family structure.


                      “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

                      Comment


                      • There have always been weird templates and characters in the Rage Across and Tribe/Fera books because of the Curse. I remember several threads on this forum over the years about them. If you take the Curse seriously, many of these characters just aren't viable or realistic unless you assume they ONLY interact with Kinfolk. They couldn't do their jobs among ordinary humans. And even among Kinfolk, it can be questionable.

                        But certainly some Garou can work among humans. Ragabash who don't raise their Rage could do so, and I expect many Ragabash function as infiltrators among the Flock. Theurges could likely do so as well except that for many, their duties in the Umbra would conflict. Philodox are likely the last auspice who could hold most jobs as well although they'd need to avoid a substantial amount of humanity. Galliards and Ahrouns just have too much Rage. But I could see them holding certain jobs and following certain circumstances (thug in a criminal gang, any job where they work at home or do it alone, a place where they only meet Kinfolk). But even here, the threat of Frenzy should see them removed as any Rage roll could result in Frenzy for them (so even holding jobs among Kinfolk may not be smart). I think in the past when 90% of humanity were peasant farmers and Garou could live with their kinfolk family on some homestead or work as hunters of woodsmen, that holding a job was easier.

                        I also think that for many Garou, a typical 9-5 job would simply get in the way of their auspice duties and responsibilities to their pack and sept. 40+ hours a week eats up a lot of time that could be spent investigating Wyrm taint, building relationships with spirits, learning and practicing rites, patrolling the caern, studying the Litany, Silver Record, or other Garou lore, and planning attacks on Wyrm minions. I can see some Garou concentrating on interacting with the Flock. There are appropriate character and pack concepts that would do so. But I don't think most Garou would do so. They would want to limit that and keep it as flexible as possible so it doesn't inconvenience them for more important things only they can do.

                        Creating a character by focusing on an occupation is an easy to distinguish one character from another, so I'm not surprised many writers and STs do that. But it is actually a bad approach for Garou because it ignores the limitations of the Curse. Their backgrounds would need to include more information in order to justify it.

                        I also believe many people place Garou directly into the world of the Flock (where these issues are more important) rather than explicitly limiting them to a Kinfolk only community.

                        In games that I've played (and run), Kinfolk has always been a secondary characteristic of the setting. Something acknowledged as being in the background or part of a character's Backgrounds or backstory, but that's it. Not something prominent in the setting. Lately, I've been trying to fix it and make Kinfolk much more prominent because I think it is a positive for the setting. So it is good to hear others are doing so as well because of this thread.

                        A large part of this is reading and watching some classics of Folk Horror like Wicker Man and Harvest Home. I thought they were ideal examples for kinfolk communities, and I wanted to do something like that for my setting. So I started planting various settlements of kinfolks here and there. Differentiating them - not just be tribal affiliation, but their exclusivity or integration with the Flock, their attitudes to Garou and human society and values, and what Garou if any are part of it. And creating institutions like a boarding school, a private sanitarium, private banks, law firms with exclusive clients, and fraternal socities that are entirely kinfolk and used by the Garou. As a result, it's raised some questions in how I should interact with PCs once they make contact with these people, and thinking how I can enrich my PCs roleplay.

                        So thanks for any compliments. If I've given any thought to this, it's because I've been struggling as to the practical application of this. So I'm using this thread as a sounding board to determine if my ideas sound right before I start exposing them to my players. I'd rather this group comment first and save me from potential conflicts with my players if I get something wrong. So the comments here do help me - letting me know I'm on the right track, and sparking new ideas as people make their own contributions.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
                          I remember when 5th edition got announced, a website went up, and the werewolf tribes had sections talking about what kind of day jobs they had...
                          *shudders*

                          But, I don't actually think kinfolk are fundamentally neccessary for garou beyond breeding and in land ownership in areas where that may be an issue. Garou don't need money, they can hunt for food, they can be entirely self sufficient without relying on kin. It's only in areas where a caern can be purchased that kinfolk have more value, or with tribes that value a connection with humanity. Even if you enjoy kinfolk working jobs and acquiring money, most garou are still aware that they can drop all that if they wanted to.
                          That is actually not true. Most garou, no matter how much they yap about humanity being bad, WANT and NEED human contact. Maybe some Elders could, but most garou still want their cars, jeans, clothes, playing cards and such. That is the whole issue with Red Talons, most garou are too human to get their point. In lots of books, they are called outright psychopaths by other garou.


                          My gallery.

                          Comment


                          • Ana Mizuki exactly. You said what I was thinking very eloquently.


                            “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

                            Comment


                            • Something to add to level of overall sept control over general Kinfolk population: it is probably the Sept Council that makes decisions like they feel it would be very useful to have someone work in the phone company as an installer of equipment, or that they want someone to enter law practice and eventually become a judge, or that they want someone to attempt to join the FBI, or some other big career decision in order to help out the sept. An individual Garou could do that as well, but an individual attempting to do so is likely trying to build a power base. The Sept Council is more likely to do so for a genuine need and their decision offers a legitimacy to it.

                              It may be something that originates within the sept itself, or is discussed at some concolation, and the septs who attended try to implement that on the local level.

                              I don't think the sept picks some kinfolk and tells them what to do specifically. Instead, I think the sept may call for volunteers among the kinfolk population. These kinds of worthwhile positions often require special training, long term commitment, and are highly competitive. Not just any kinfolk can do it. So they call for volunteers and offer compensation for succeeding. So the kinfolk who have the right talents and disposition are encouraged to select themselves and go about it. Perhaps supported by any necessary local "scholarships" or other support so it can be provided. In doing so, such kinfolk likely get a Garou "patron" or "control" that ends up being a guardian. So we'll talk more about that later.

                              They may also gain other benefits and privileges like claiming mates as if they were Garou, being awarded actual Renown if they achieve that goal, and being groomed for additional leadership among the Kinfolk with Garou support. ("We're going to make Bob the next mayor because he proved so useful as a lawyer these past ten years. Let everyone know he's supposed to win with 55-60% of the vote next election.")

                              But what if they don't get volunteers? Or the people who try fail? I think the Sept Council will re-evaluate. Maybe they give up for a while, knowing they can't force these things. But sometimes the need may be so great, they do start putting immense pressure on people they think could do, but aren't stepping up to the plate. I think these social pressures can be intense. And the Garou also have Gifts that can help "convince" people. If the need is "local", they may pass word to allied/friendly septs that they need some Kinfolk with X skill or talent, and offer an incentive for kinfolk to move to town to help out.

                              Comment


                              • Odd thought : Kinfolk looking out for eachother and getting eachother into important possitions in society (not to mention garou mysteriously removing wyrmish rivals) creates reactionary conspiracy theories of secret ruling classes akin to stonemasons or "the jews" or lizard people, whilst left wing onlookers see nepotism and ruling bloodlines. These sentiments arent universal and it isn't always obvious, but there tends to be pushback against kinfolk sproradically, especially when someone fans the flames. Often creating an 'us vs them' environment.


                                Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

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