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historical decline of the wolf population

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Konigheim Horror View Post
    About the spirit connection... wasn't there an Umbral realm forcing shifters into their animal forms, taking their human skills from them and let them be hunted like beasts? Unfortunately, I only know the German name for it: Wolfsheim. Supposedly it exists to humble the Fera trapped inside. Forgive me if this is a little out there, I just keep wondering what kind of trauma a proud shapechanger might carry home after some time there. Or what kind of spirits it might birth if tapped from the outside.
    This Near Realm is called Wolfhome in English.

    Its a realm to make Garou (especially homids) get in touch with their wolf nature by forcing to experience life as a wolf does. For some, its just a vast wilderness or woods and prairie. But others experience a human dominated environment where things like humans capturing wolves and subjecting them to medical experimentation happen. So it seems either the realm gives specific Garou the experience they "need", or like the Cyberrealm it is being corrupted over time. In any case, different Garou have very different experiences when they enter it.

    Some seem to be left alone and never encounter man. Others are hunted in the wilderness. More are trapped in a suburban environment and forced to hide or be captured by animal controls. Others are hunted and brought to centers where they are tagged and released, and others are experimented on. So there's a lot of mystery.

    In my own chronicles, Wolfhome is the Near Realm of the spirits of domesticated animals and the spiritual echo of man's control/impact over nature. However, the Garou only "access" a portion of it, so they encounter only some of what the Realm has, they have very different ideas on its purpose, and interpret it through their own spiritual needs and ideas.

    So for my purposes, I probably wouldn't use Wolfhome as some kind of tie to Glass Walkers developing their pacts with Weaver spirits. But to your point, I might use something like the Scar which in the 19th century was less like an urban wasteland, and more about the potential of industrialization. When the Glass Walkers first encountered it, they might have seen it far more beneficial and agreed to do things with certain spirits that they did not foresee the consequences.

    But back to your last point, it's possible that a Garou could badly misinterpret an experience in Wolfhome, and that might have lead to strange consequences in how they alter their behavior as a result. It certainly has some kind of potential.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Konigheim Horror View Post
      The wolfsbane thing, I like. It could've been an angered spirit, or a mage with a vendetta against Garou, or another changing breed. Might be worth it to look at when the stories about wolfsbane started popping up to get a grasp on what it could've been and since when it became a serious problem.
      I agree that there is a lot of potential for enemies of the Garou to have riled up the Wolfsbane spirit as opposed to being something that the Garou did themselves. I think the real issue is what makes good sense for any ST's individual campaign. I think that it would be best if it was a significant group that could act as antagonists to the Garou. So while it could potentially be done by an individual or small group affiliated with the Order of Hermes, Verbena, or someone else, it is better sense for an outright antagonist to do so. So something like the Circle of Red or the Tremere would be better. Some might object to Tremere being the source because they lack connections to the spirit world, so maybe it's Koldunic Sorcery that would be better, which would make it a group of Tzimisce Sabbat. Perhaps Black Spiral Dancer allies to the Sabbat gave them enough information to do so, knowing it would hurt the Gaian Garou much more than them, and thus come out relatively ahead.

      Or it could be a conspiracy unique to an ST's campaign.

      I think making it one of the other Changing Breeds is also a good hook. But I don't know who would be the best contender. It's not something the Gurahl would do. But maybe one of the Bastet or Nagah? It would be a very good hook for a chronicle if it was one of the other Fera.

      One reason I like the idea of a Wolfsbane (or similar spirit) being angered at the Garou and causing more harm than what is in the corebook, is that it presents STs with an opportunity to provide a mystery and peril to the PCs even in the modern day, if they want. And that the PCs could resolve this and restore the setting to what it "should" be. So it's not just something that may have affected Garou in the 19th century. It might be something that began in the 19th century, and is still relevant. Requiring some deep Chiminage exploration, and interaction with an interesting faction of the WoD.

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      • #33
        Apologies for taking longer to answer, there were circumstances outside my control. So!

        Both options for Wolfhome sound promising. The initial writeup I remember was of a realm with a particular purpose, as you noted, that could have changed along with how utterly horrible and corruptive the World of Darkness actually is. With spirits that might have been more in line with the Wyrm of Balance, at least in the beginning; hunters in our world can be professionals trained in protecting nature and wildlife (they need at least three years of study where I live!) more akin to forest rangers, or bloodthirsty thugs shooting wolves from a chopper for sh*ts and giggles and using drones against deer. In the Garous' world... oh dear.

        I also found it interesting that other Fera can apparently visit Wolfhome, with very different experiences. The Ratkin, for example, seem to think it's literally hell. Makes one wonder if that reflects some deeper problem with Wolfhome itself, if there's something in Wolfhome rejecting the Ratkin for their own corruption... or both. They are, as far as I know, as eager for mass-murdering humans as any Red Talon, if not more.

        So yeah, Wolfhome might be twisted more and more as the real world rots from within and its initial purpose gets perverted right along with it; and some poor werewolf or several might have gotten the wrong ideas after a stay there. They do often have trouble working through humbling experiences.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

          I agree that there is a lot of potential for enemies of the Garou to have riled up the Wolfsbane spirit as opposed to being something that the Garou did themselves. I think the real issue is what makes good sense for any ST's individual campaign. I think that it would be best if it was a significant group that could act as antagonists to the Garou. So while it could potentially be done by an individual or small group affiliated with the Order of Hermes, Verbena, or someone else, it is better sense for an outright antagonist to do so. So something like the Circle of Red or the Tremere would be better. Some might object to Tremere being the source because they lack connections to the spirit world, so maybe it's Koldunic Sorcery that would be better, which would make it a group of Tzimisce Sabbat. Perhaps Black Spiral Dancer allies to the Sabbat gave them enough information to do so, knowing it would hurt the Gaian Garou much more than them, and thus come out relatively ahead.

          Or it could be a conspiracy unique to an ST's campaign.

          I think making it one of the other Changing Breeds is also a good hook. But I don't know who would be the best contender. It's not something the Gurahl would do. But maybe one of the Bastet or Nagah? It would be a very good hook for a chronicle if it was one of the other Fera.

          One reason I like the idea of a Wolfsbane (or similar spirit) being angered at the Garou and causing more harm than what is in the corebook, is that it presents STs with an opportunity to provide a mystery and peril to the PCs even in the modern day, if they want. And that the PCs could resolve this and restore the setting to what it "should" be. So it's not just something that may have affected Garou in the 19th century. It might be something that began in the 19th century, and is still relevant. Requiring some deep Chiminage exploration, and interaction with an interesting faction of the WoD.
          What about the ancient conflict between the Shadowlords and the Tzimisce Koldun over freeing Kupala? Both sides used enough mystical firepower from the sound of it. Main issue is that it predates the Black Spiral Dancers significantly.

          As for the other Fera... who wouldn't want to take a good dose of poison to the bastard wolves? Sure, the Gurahl wouldn't, it's kind of their antithesis. However, what other Fera lived where Wolfsbane is plentiful? The writers stripped Europe bare of non-Garou shifters, unfortunately. Perhaps a gift of the medieval Ratkin? What other options are there?

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Konigheim Horror View Post
            I also found it interesting that other Fera can apparently visit Wolfhome, with very different experiences. The Ratkin, for example, seem to think it's literally hell. Makes one wonder if that reflects some deeper problem with Wolfhome itself, if there's something in Wolfhome rejecting the Ratkin for their own corruption... or both. They are, as far as I know, as eager for mass-murdering humans as any Red Talon, if not more.
            I think every ST will decide what the purpose for Wolfhome is. I use it mainly as the umbral realm of man's control over nature, especially animals. That's why its the "home" for domesticated animal spirits. For wild animals, their experience is all based on how man treats that animal.

            So I'm not surprised Ratkin have terrible experiences there. Rats are not treated well by man. They are either a pest to be exterminated, or they're used in scientific experiments. Neither would be pleasant to be subjected to. I think wolves have more varied experiences now. They could be hunted and killed; or abducted and subjected to various things, or left alone. So Garou could potentially have various experiences. I think most of the other Fera would be the same. And of course, treatment of nature and animals changes over time and between places, so that could be part of it. And I think the Changing Breeds experience a lot of what they take into it. Either in the sense of "you've completely neglected your animal nature, so now you are going to experience what it's like to be an animal" or "you're bringing in a lot of hatred against man, let's examine that."

            I see it mainly as place for the ST to do stories like Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Bambi, Watership Down, and similar "animals as semi-realistic protagonists" tales in the context of the game.

            But I haven't read any of the Fera books closely, so I could be missing out on canonical experiences.


            But the key to Wolfhome, at least for me, is that it is there to teach the characters something. It may not be a lesson they want, but it's what they are going to get. It seems to be mainly for teaching homids about their animal side, so I'm not even sure if a lupus can enter it or what their experience might be like. If so, it might be to teach them the essence of man's dominance over nature so they have a better understanding of why man is able to control things, and therefore what may or may not work in thwarting it (if so, it may explain why the Red Talons rarely seem to act on their genocidal impulses - maybe they understand how it could backfire.)

            ‚Äč= = =
            I just realized that this last part could be something we could use. Perhaps early on in the mass killing, the Red Talons (or others) did retaliate which only caused more wolf hunting. As a result, one or more lupus Garou had an experience in Wolfhome where they saw the end result of retaliated killings - the extinction of all wolves. So the lupus came back and shared the experience. He wasn't believed at first. But then other lupus began having the same experience. The Garou who had the most desire to retaliate were precisely the ones to have that experience in Wolfhome. So a religious movement began that caused Garou to hold back, or to only retaliate in certain circumstances (I love that White Wolf story from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and would want it to be a real event in game).

            Religious communities often experience persecution at some point. Often they come up with some kind of explanation as to the purpose of the Tribulations they are going through. So the Garou (or maybe a part of them) reluctantly accepted it. It was something that had to happen. But perhaps it was something they needed to tolerate only for a hundred years or some other event. So that eventually (once the mass wolf hunting stopped), there may be a new sort of conditions that would allow a greater killing of wolf hunters, provided they violated certain precepts or other conditions that told the Garou these were OK to hunt.

            This goes back to one of my original ideas that there might have been some sort of spiritual taboo or cultural event that caused the Garou to withhold retaliation. So I like that this discussion on Wolfhome lead back to it, and gives us a key that can be used to explain it. We now have specific information that leads into it - Wolfhome, a religious movement, and can develop historical NPCs as a result. That is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to get from this thread.

            Of course, everyone's tastes are different. But I think I can use this as another element.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Konigheim Horror View Post
              What about the ancient conflict between the Shadowlords and the Tzimisce Koldun over freeing Kupala? Both sides used enough mystical firepower from the sound of it. Main issue is that it predates the Black Spiral Dancers significantly.
              Kupala is enough of a major league evil spirit that he could be behind it. And he already has connections to the Garou setting as you said. Some Tzimisce plot doesn't need to happen in the Medieval or earlier era. It could still happen in the time frame we like. Perhaps by non-Sabbat koldunists still living in Transylvania (the Oradea League). If you make these Tzimisce knowledgable enough about the occult - and with Kupala's support they can be - then you don't need any connection to the BSDs to explain how it is possible. I definitely think they are a strong contender for the role.

              Originally posted by Konigheim Horror View Post
              As for the other Fera... who wouldn't want to take a good dose of poison to the bastard wolves? Sure, the Gurahl wouldn't, it's kind of their antithesis. However, what other Fera lived where Wolfsbane is plentiful? The writers stripped Europe bare of non-Garou shifters, unfortunately. Perhaps a gift of the medieval Ratkin? What other options are there?
              Since the Fera are likewise susceptible to poison, and anything they can do to Garou might blow back on them (either because it affects them as well, or the Garou could retaliate by doing whatever they did to some other spirit) I think the best option is for a Fera the Garou believe are already dead. Garou know the Bastet are still around, so they're lots of targets for retaliation. They don't know (I think) that the Nagah still exist (and poison is already their thing since they're venomous creatures). If I went down this route, I'd use the Nagah.

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              • #37
                I am in awe at how fast you spin the modest Wolfhome idea into such an interesting story hook.

                Nagah, hm? Apologies for my ignorance, but were there Nagah around in those places Wolfsbane evolved?

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Konigheim Horror View Post
                  Nagah, hm? Apologies for my ignorance, but were there Nagah around in those places Wolfsbane evolved?
                  Interesting question. I haven't found any range map of wolfsbane, but it's supposed to be found in mountainous regions in the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe, Asia, and North America. And the plant was used in medicinal traditions in Europe, India, and China. So it seems well spread enough that the Nagah could be there either in their heyday before the War or Rage, or even now where they are hiding. Wikipedia mentions its used as traditional medicine and poison in India and Nepal, which is where I would traditionally place most of the surviving Nagah.

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                  • #39
                    Well, that's a good indicator then. It totally could've been created under their jurisdiction. Another question regarding the same topic would be, is it an approach the Nagah would take?

                    As far as I am aware, they claim to be the judges and executioners of Gaia. They seek to punish Fera and others who strayed too far from their "righteous path", often through cover murder. In this manner, poison is very fitting; it also fits the snake themes. However, it's a rather individual approach. Unless they condemned all of werewolf-kind, or took the stance of culling their numbers rather than removing the corrupt ones, seeding poisonous flowers is rather indiscriminate, isn't it?

                    If it was the Nagah, I feel like there needs to be one or more steps to explain their actions. Whether it was a radical group who really did/does believe in cutting the Garou down to size, or a corrupt faction more interested in murder than justice, whether it was a ritual that went beyond its initial parameters, perhaps beseeching a plant spirit who became so enraged it led to literal poison springing up around the world.

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                    • #40
                      I agree that this is not something "normal" Fera would do. It would either need to be a conspiracy of angry, bitter Fera, or a group outright falling to the Wyrm. It wouldn't be something the entire breed would do or approve of. But a small group motivated by revenge could possibly do something. (Plus I think the Nagah, Ratkin, and Ananasi are the most likely to be prone to bitter rages and brooding over perceived wrongs for various reasons. But they may just be me rather than a canonical attitude.)

                      If that group believed the Garou should be collectively punished for their actions of the War of Rage, just like how the other Changing Breeds suffered, then doing something to stir up the Wolfsbane spirits might be appropriate.

                      Remember, their motivations would be different than if the Tzimisce or some other Wyrm faction did it. They might be just see it as an evening of the odds for the relatively few hunters who killed the Garou, or even of people defending themselves from Garou attacks. The indirect effects of performing such a "curse" might not occur to them. They likely won't even connect it to a century of wolf killing, since it's just a small part of what happened. They'd just think, "Wow, it was tough to perform all that Chiminage. But we really stuck it to the Garou for a while now. That'll teach them." That's very different from, say, an attempt by the Tzimisce or Circle of Red to permanently curse the Garou (but which only lasted a "brief" time of several decades or a century, and it was determined the cost in vitae or Willpower or whatever just wasn't worth it) in an attempt to kill them, or weaken them.

                      Maybe the Nagah even sent the Garou some enigmatic message warning them to refrain from some action, or announcing the curse for some ancient wrong. But the Silver Fangs at the Concolation who received it were like, "What the hell is this?" Shoo that spirit away," and returned to whatever business at hand. And it was sometime after that the "curse" went into effect (and ended either when the Chiminage wore off, the Nagah called it off after a predetermined time, or the Garou performed some penance that cause the "curse" to end).

                      Depending on who is selected to be the architect, and their motivation for doing so, this "plot" ends up being very different. So an ST can use the mystery of what happened during this time for various ends depending on what they like for their own chronicle.
                      Last edited by Black Fox; Yesterday, 08:24 PM.

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