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What will happen if the Totem Spirit of a Tribe is destroyed?

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  • What will happen if the Totem Spirit of a Tribe is destroyed?

    In Apocalypse, a legendary rite called the Rite of Vengeful Spider can make destroy tribal totem spirit a bit easy. So what will happen if the totem is really dead?

    My thoughts: The most direct thing is, the tribe’s everything, their lore, tribal Homeland, status and so on will cease to exist, all tribal garou will become Ronin indeed, spirits refuse to admit them, etc.

  • #2
    Not having a tribe is different than being Ronin. Cubs don't have a tribe yet spirits can interact with them, and many playing groups allow auspice and breed gifts to be taught to them. Ronin is not the default state of Garou. It is a mark caused by the Rite of the Lone Wolf that permanently ostracizes that Garou from other Garou and the spirits.

    I am not familiar with that Rite. However, old World of Darkness spirit lore states that should an Incarna be destroyed, that a jaggling can be promoted to replace it. If say Stag was truly dead, then there couldn't be any deer in the world since he is the Platonic manifestation of deer. It is impossible for deer to exist without him. So depending on how the rite is written, it may just destroy that specific incarnation of the Incarna, and Gaia would promote a jaggling to replace it. The new Incarna would be far less powerful, but that would mean very little to most of Earth;s inhabitants. That would only have meaning at the immensely powerful level that Incarna and equivalent Umbrood operate in. In this case, the tribe would more or less continue to exist with little change although the destruction of the Incarna would reverberate in the Umbra somehow. This would be the option I would pick - although I repeat I haven't read that rite and don't know if there is wording in it that would cause me to change my mind.

    Another option is that "Stag" is indeed dead, but a different manifestation of deer takes his place. Instead of "Stag" it might be Hind, Yale, or "The Horned Lord" or "The Prince of the Forest" or the "Crowned Deer". A different replacement, but one that allow deer to continue to exist. In this case, there may be more leeway for STs to do all sorts of flavor text in regards to the tribe, but essentially the tribe survives.

    Yet another option is that Stag or Deer is demoted, but one of Stag's brood takes over. Maybe Elk or Moose or Rabbit depending on their respective power. Deer then becomes part of the totem brood of the new replacement. Affects on the tribe to be determined by ST. They could still exist, but loose much of its spiritual power. Or if the new totem is an easy replacement, they might transfer their rites and such to the new totem. Lots of room for interpretation.

    The last option is more severe - Stag is dead and therefore deer no longer exist. Around the world deer birth rates plummet, and the animal succumbs to some horrible disease. Scientists are baffled, but likely blame it on Global Warming. Very soon all deer are extinct. At that point, the tribe likely stops existing. Members split and find other tribes to be adopted into. Garou everywhere (and indeed the rest of the world) attempt to exist in an ecosystem without deer.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
      Not having a tribe is different than being Ronin. Cubs don't have a tribe yet spirits can interact with them, and many playing groups allow auspice and breed gifts to be taught to them. Ronin is not the default state of Garou. It is a mark caused by the Rite of the Lone Wolf that permanently ostracizes that Garou from other Garou and the spirits.

      I am not familiar with that Rite.
      It's a quasi-mechanical setpiece (quasi because the ST is encouraged to handwave mechanical interactions between NPCs) to see if a group of Gaian elders in the worst position imaginable can hold out before help arrives or simply just avoid letting the burden thrust upon them crush them. The ideal outcome for the BSDs that serve as ritemaster is the corruption of the totem and tribe; if the totem dies, it's more of a second best outcome, as it presumably removes a major ally of Gaian Garou from the field and wreaks utter havoc with the tribe's society as a whole.

      However, old World of Darkness spirit lore states that should an Incarna be destroyed, that a jaggling can be promoted to replace it. If say Stag was truly dead, then there couldn't be any deer in the world since he is the Platonic manifestation of deer.
      More the primal lifeblood. Platonic implies an unchanging ideal of perceived traits, which is more the Astral Umbra's thing.

      It is impossible for deer to exist without him. So depending on how the rite is written, it may just destroy that specific incarnation of the Incarna, and Gaia would promote a jaggling to replace it. The new Incarna would be far less powerful, but that would mean very little to most of Earth;s inhabitants. That would only have meaning at the immensely powerful level that Incarna and equivalent Umbrood operate in. In this case, the tribe would more or less continue to exist with little change although the destruction of the Incarna would reverberate in the Umbra somehow. This would be the option I would pick - although I repeat I haven't read that rite and don't know if there is wording in it that would cause me to change my mind.
      Incarnae are the gray area of Werewolf's cosmology. To take an example from what happens when you cap off a Maeljin successfully, it would probably involve a decline of earthly deer to some extent, particularly those associated with where the Fianna had a historical range. Given that Stag is more specific than Deer, it might even just hit male cervines.

      Another option is that "Stag" is indeed dead, but a different manifestation of deer takes his place. Instead of "Stag" it might be Hind, Yale, or "The Horned Lord" or "The Prince of the Forest" or the "Crowned Deer". A different replacement, but one that allow deer to continue to exist. In this case, there may be more leeway for STs to do all sorts of flavor text in regards to the tribe, but essentially the tribe survives.

      Yet another option is that Stag or Deer is demoted, but one of Stag's brood takes over. Maybe Elk or Moose or Rabbit depending on their respective power. Deer then becomes part of the totem brood of the new replacement. Affects on the tribe to be determined by ST. They could still exist, but loose much of its spiritual power. Or if the new totem is an easy replacement, they might transfer their rites and such to the new totem. Lots of room for interpretation.

      The last option is more severe - Stag is dead and therefore deer no longer exist. Around the world deer birth rates plummet, and the animal succumbs to some horrible disease. Scientists are baffled, but likely blame it on Global Warming. Very soon all deer are extinct. At that point, the tribe likely stops existing. Members split and find other tribes to be adopted into. Garou everywhere (and indeed the rest of the world) attempt to exist in an ecosystem without deer.
      It normally takes a hit to a bigger spirit for something like that to happen, especially given, as noted, that Incarnae are kind of expendible and don't have the major repercussions that the death of a direct spirit of a river or the like would have upon reality. Celestines are explicitly capable of just recreating their existences at a slight cost, much as the Celestines of various celestial bodies are noted as being able to recreate the sun, moon, etc. if they happen to be just physically destroyed.

      tl;dr By the setting as written, very little happens from the death of an Incarna alone, but the intent of the specific Rite might have been to make the tribe need a new patron.

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