Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Protectorates & Septs

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Protectorates & Septs

    There is some important information in the early Rage books that aren't detailed in the corebook or various player and storyteller handbooks. Furthermore, some issues they bring up aren't explored. So this thread is to talk about some basic building blocks of Garou society and politics – regional protectorates and their attending septs. The term “protectorate” has various definitions, so for the purposes of this thread, it is only in reference to these regional protectorates.

    Rage Across New York tells us that Garou divide land into Protectorates based around natural formations and how water (in the form of lakes and rivers) are the most common borders. Cities, being scabs, are not considered part of the Protectorates, and often these fall between the boundaries of Protectorates as the Garou don't want to be responsible for them. So regional Protectorates seem to be the basic building blocks of territory for Garou. (This is something that should have been included in the corebook or Storyteller's Handbook. Personally, this is critical to how I run my games.)

    Some Protectorates don't even have caerns (like the Catskills, but Garou live there anyway). We also know that the Sept of the Green, despite having a caern, actually doesn't have a protectorate (although this would be New York City itself and Long Island) as the other Garou refuse to honor it as such.

    Dark Alliance: Vancouver has several elements that are hard to reconcile with later products. But it has one definition I've found helpful. A Protectorate is a territory controlled by a sept or affiliation of septs.

    Now if the Protectorate has only caern, then it naturally controls the entire protectorate. And in published sourcebooks, I've only ever seen one caern per protectorate. But a storyteller can easily add additional caerns to any protectorate, and some areas likely have many caerns even if most are rank ones. When that happens, we need to determine how these “affiliation of septs” rule the Protectorate.

    I think affiliation of septs can be broken down into several broad groups. If you can think of other alternate arrangements, please share them.

    Conflicting – septs in the protectorate are rivals and infrequently collaborate, and only under duress or direct threat. Protectorate probably divided internally between any conflicting septs.

    Informal – no formal rules or policies, but septs are well disposed to each other and agree on many things. Concolations probably only held to discuss specific, pertinent issues and emergencies.

    Cooperative – regular concolations with set policies, but relative equality among members. Septs need not be equal in power as long as the more powerful sept or septs do not abuse their power.

    Hegemonic – one sept dominates, often requiring tribute in the form of talens or other resources. Only found when one sept is powerful enough to intimidate less powerful septs and enforces that domination.

    I like this because this harkens back to how the bronze and iron age Greek city states operated in their territories (Athens in Attica, Sparta in Laconia, Thebes in Boetia, the city states of the Aetolian League or Arcadian League); and I use the Greek city-states as a major influence as how I run inter-sept politics.

    However, I would also like to explore the other scenario – what happens in Protectorates who have no caern (like the Catskill Protectorate in Rage Across New York)?

    Interested in everyone's comments.


  • #2
    Putting too much stress on Protectorates feels pretty weird to me because the most common Protectorate/basic building block of Garou society are Septs.

    Even while sticking to regional Protectorates, the later books give a simple definition here: a Protectorate is an area claimed by Garou (from a pack to multiple Septs, and even if the traditionalist Tribes scoff at it, the urban Tribes absolutely consider their city domains Protectorates and will enforce it), and a Sept is when a Protectorate forms around the defense and health of a Caern.

    The big question then, is what would actually draw Garou to form a Protectorate that isn't a Sept? To me, the most common answer is pretty obvious: kinfolk, especially wolf kin. So a Protectorate like the Catskills is a big deal to the Silver Fangs (at least of Houses Unbreakable Hearth and Wyrmfoe) for a concentration of old money families and preserved wilderness that means even without a Caern, they can have their most prized kin in one area and protect them. The Black Forest in Germany is similarly an important Protectorate to the Get of Fenris for the same basic reason. This has the side benefit of explaining more wolves in WtA to allow more Lupus characters even if they're hidden from human surveys.

    This means most larger scale Protectorates (even shared my multiple Septs) are going to be built around mono-Tribal alliances, or Tribes with close mutual cultural ties (like the Uktena and Wendigo, or the Bone Gnawers and Glass Walkers); so in your terminology somewhere in the Hegemonic to Cooperative range depending on how many Septs are even there, edging towards Cooperative as things focus more on urban centers, with maybe Informal only really being a city thing (the Gnawers stick to the gutters, the GWs stick to their high rises, they trade info to keep things safe and that's about it).

    The other major source of Protectorates, and probably the best suited for a more multi-Tribal situation, are going to be active war zones like the Amazon where the Garou are on the offensive instead of defending Caerns or kin. Without any certainty of even having a Sept/Caern as they push into Wyrm (or Fera) territory, claims are going to be tactical and leadership is going to depend on the war leaders. This setup is, however less interesting for a political/social game like what the Catskills offers, as active war means the Litany kicks in hard and everyone focuses on the fight.

    Comment


    • #3
      For our LARP game we also needed to reconcile this terminologies. What we thought:

      A sept controls a Protectorate, which is the area it's members feel responsible for. Some areas are part of more or none protectorate, like we established the twin cities of Mannheim and Ludwigshafen to be areas where our PC sept sends packs to from the west, but also a large NPC Black furies sept sends packs there, especially to tend to a spiritual place where a caern was destroyed there in the 18th century. Currently our sept and the Furies have a good relationship, but there was competition and conflict in the years before.

      Within the protectorate there are the pack territories. The Protectorates are responsibility of all packs of a sept, with the kinfolk helping out as informants. Pack territories are just the packs responsibility and other garou, even of the sept, usually don't interfere there.

      The caern bawn is usually the pack territory of the Warder and the warder pack (who usually all hold guardian office, unless they have higher offices). But, access to the caern of course is for all garou of the sept.

      If some new lone wolf or a pack tries to settle in the protectorate, sometimes even kenning kinfolk, the sept will evaluate and either drive the newcomers of or integrate them or allow them to stay in an associative position of sorts. Like a lone Stargazer who wouldn't be integrated by the Black Furies, especially if male, but would be tolerated. Or some Bone Gnawers who would be tolerated in the protectorate of the Glass Walker sept - who are nominally a sept pack, but aren't very integrated into sept affairs.

      There are some septs and therefore protectorates who don't hold a caern. Their garou sometimes travel as guests to neighbouring septs and petition for usage of the caerns powers. Unlike when a Ronin asks for such a service, the bar is low to be allowed access, but the Rite Master might test the skills of such a garou rigorously.

      There were septs that did hold more than one caern in the past, but our internal plot had them divide or be destroyed.
      We never had a protectorate that was held by more than one sept. But we have two septs that are located on two sides of a huge mountain in the Alpes. One has the protectorate south of the mountain range, the other north of it. Both share the caern in the cave deep under the mountain.

      Comment


      • #4
        There are many kind of protectorates. It s a general term among Garou, and they use it to mean lots of things. Often it is the sept protectorate they are talking about, but the books also mention pack protectorates and tribal protectorates, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are others. Sometimes protectorates don't even mean any kind of land/territorial division, but over specific peoples or concepts. It's why I clarified I was only talking about regional protectorates as defined in Rage Across New York (and which are used, though not as clearly defined, in other sourcebooks like Rage Across Australia).

        So if you want to talk about those other kinds of protectorates, this is not that thread. This thread is about the large regional protectorates based on natural features which comprise how Garou see territory. It's how they divide the land. Those boundaries are "natural" and "historical" even if not "political" (though they can be).

        Its the same way why many European peoples still reference old regional names and identify as a member of such even though those names or boundaries are no longer the administrative groupings used by modern governments. Likewise even Americans divide up lands into divisions that have never been political units. Virginia, for example, is often divided into five regions - Tidewater, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Valley & Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau. Most of the other states have similar divisions, usually based on geographical elements and how that has given those regions their unique culture and history.

        I think this does add to the game. While septs and the primary political component of Garou, that does not mean regional protectorates are unimportant. Such historical regions are often the source of common identity. So it can be a uniting factor for multiple septs within a Protectorate, or to distinguish/divide septs from different protectorates.

        Septs still have their sept protectorates, but they are within the larger Regional Protectorate. That sept protectorate may include the entire regional protectorate, or only a portion of it. And even if there is only one sept within the protectorate, it doesn't mean the sept is claiming the entire regional protectorate. They might only claim a portion of it because the rest of the territory used to be the responsibility of other septs (whose caerns are now gone), and they marshal their resources to protect only the traditional lands of their sept. This can create a lot of great mood for an ST. A Regional Protectorate that is effectively protected by its septs is a very different from a Regional Protectorate that is half abandoned because the Garou lack the numbers and caerns to do so.

        And they provide a tool for STs to customize his setting in many ways. If he does decide to include multiple caerns/septs within the boundaries of a protectorate (which was probably the case historically when there were a lot more caerns contrary to a modern setting), the next step is determining how all these septs view each other. This is an easy way to introduce inter-sept politics. Septs belonging to the same protectorate naturally interact with each other in a way they don't with septs outside the protectorate. So if an ST wants conflict, he can make these septs controlled by different tribes known to oppose each other. If the ST wants to limit conflict, he can still have those tribes presented in the chronicle, but split them into different protectorates.

        I often find as an ST, that after I create the major septs of the chronicle (usually done before play begins), I often find the need or desire to include new caerns and septs (usually minor rank 1 caerns). I can plop these down and not need to change the game's political divisions, because on a large scale I never divided up territory into exclusive sept protectorates. I divided up the map according to the larger regional protectorates. It's just a minor caern with limited sept protectorate that wasn't mentioned before in the same way people may forget to mention some other minor thing.

        And of course, it helps with situations like described in Rage Across New York when you have a large region - the Catskill Mountains - that doesn't have any caern. The Garou still recognize it as its own region. Its still its own regional protectorate. Even though it doesn't have any septs. There can even be Garou packs patrolling it. Though the ST needs to determine how those packs operate without a local sept as a base. Most likely, they either "belong" to a sept in another Regional Protectorate with full membership rights, or they allowed access to one as regular visitors but don't participate in sept moots and such, but still support by offering chiminage in the form of Gnosis or talens. I think this scenario in particular is worth exploring.

        So I think this gives STs another tool they can use in crafting their chronicle and running the game. It's been there from the very beginning, but it's always been neglected. Most games don't use the concept at all. I understand that. It's why I am bringing it up so more people become aware of it. I think some will find it useful.

        Comment


        • #5
          Your post happened while I wrote mine, so....

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          Even while sticking to regional Protectorates, the later books give a simple definition here: a Protectorate is an area claimed by Garou (from a pack to multiple Septs, and even if the traditionalist Tribes scoff at it, the urban Tribes absolutely consider their city domains Protectorates and will enforce it), and a Sept is when a Protectorate forms around the defense and health of a Caern.
          This definition has a drawback. There are supposed to be septs that don't have caerns, for what ever reason.

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          The big question then, is what would actually draw Garou to form a Protectorate that isn't a Sept? To me, the most common answer is pretty obvious: kinfolk, especially wolf kin. So a Protectorate like the Catskills is a big deal to the Silver Fangs (at least of Houses Unbreakable Hearth and Wyrmfoe) for a concentration of old money families and preserved wilderness that means even without a Caern, they can have their most prized kin in one area and protect them. The Black Forest in Germany is similarly an important Protectorate to the Get of Fenris for the same basic reason. This has the side benefit of explaining more wolves in WtA to allow more Lupus characters even if they're hidden from human surveys.
          The Black Forest has the Blood Fist sept with a caern. Given the size of the Black forest in relation to Protectorates in the US, I think it doesn't qualify as "Protectorate that isn't a sept"....

          I think there are plenty of reasons garou might come together in an area and form or declare a protectorate that is larger than their pack hunting grounds.
          First and foremost is that they live there. They might be remnants of an destroyed sept, or moved back to areas where they grew up after being found as lost cubs and being trained somewhere else. They could move their to follow their kinfolk, who move their for different reasons, or they simply might feel stuck in their septs and venture out on their own, claiming an area without a caern as their own.

          But those would be small protectorates I guess.

          Given the fact that Silver Fangs rule the world and there is a House in every corner of the world, I could find it believable that a Silver Fang sept would declare a certain area a protectorate what also houses other septs of other tribes. With some argument, real or made up, they justify the formation and continued existence of the Protectorate and use it to foster a spirit of unity among all the garou in the septs in the Protectorate. By this it makes it easier for the the Silver Fangs to govern their domain.
          Going back to the House Winter Snow's depiction in Silver Crown it seems that they did something like that and it worked for some time, until it failed with their last king.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
            Its the same way why many European peoples still reference old regional names and identify as a member of such even though those names or boundaries are no longer the administrative groupings used by modern governments. Likewise even Americans divide up lands into divisions that have never been political units. Virginia, for example, is often divided into five regions - Tidewater, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Valley & Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau. Most of the other states have similar divisions, usually based on geographical elements and how that has given those regions their unique culture and history.
            I tried to google this regions to get their approximate area and compare it with areas or regions I'm familiar with, but I can't really find any good information.

            As you describe it, the protectorate ideas stems from kinfolk and homid born garou who have a local identity in addition to a tribal identity and sept identity. And from that basic concept, they can find common ground with the human population or garou of other tribes and septs who share this same local identity.

            But in my mind, several such regions in Germany would house only one sept or maybe one rural and one urban sept. So they really don't form larger Protectorates with multiple septs in my mind. In the US, where the areas and distances are much larger than in Europe, I find such a thing believable, but I never experiences that people there identified as "Blue Ridgers" or something (There is some campfire song about people from Blue Ridge mountains, though).
            The only german region that pops into my mind that would be large enough to house multiple septs and still share a common mentality and culture would be "Ostfriesland", which is the North Sea coast. A large region, but still - in my mind - a similar kind of people that live there.

            But, than again, my believe about what area one sept should have as their sept Protectorate, might be off... in that case, more than one sept would fit into one such region....

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by heinrich View Post
              I tried to google this regions to get their approximate area and compare it with areas or regions I'm familiar with, but I can't really find any good information.
              I'm not sure what you mean by this. Rage Across New York has a good map of how the Garou Protectorates of the sourcebook are divided. There's the Catskill Mountain Protectorate, the North Country Protectorate, the Finger Lakes Protectorate, and the Niagara Protectorate. I've found that map very useful as inspiration. But keep in mind that these divisions are based around natural geographic features, and are somewhat arbitrary. An ST could find several ways to divide up the state (and nearby areas) into Protectorates that would equally valid in my opinion. This isn't an exact science.

              Rage Across Australia details another group of Protectorates, but unfortunately does not include a map. Although I'm sure it is possible using the descriptions for someone to draw general boundaries of the Protectorates on a map.

              Almost all of this derives from the Geography section in Rage Across New York. So if you want a better understanding of what I am talking about, read that if you can find a copy. It's only several pages.

              Originally posted by heinrich View Post
              As you describe it, the protectorate ideas stems from kinfolk and homid born garou who have a local identity in addition to a tribal identity and sept identity. And from that basic concept, they can find common ground with the human population or garou of other tribes and septs who share this same local identity.
              No. It has nothing to do with homid Garou or human kinfolk.

              It is Garou in general (homid and lupus) who have determined the boundaries of these regional Protectorates based on what they thought were defining natural features and natural barriers - like large rivers used as boundaries. These can change over time, as the presence of large cities (scabs) tend to be excluded from Protectorates and often serve as a boundary marker between Protectorates (like a no-man's land). Think about how the Garou would have divided the land back in the Stone Age - long before any human cultures would change and define the land according to their own needs.

              I would say that most Protectorates and their boundaries are quite old - defined by the Garou long, long ago based on what they felt were natural geographic units. They have nothing to do with human political boundaries or human cultural distinctions, although it is possible they coincide sometimes.

              In so far these have their own regional Garou identities, it is because it would have been part of the local Garou culture for hundreds or even thousands of years.

              Originally posted by heinrich View Post
              But in my mind, several such regions in Germany would house only one sept or maybe one rural and one urban sept. So they really don't form larger Protectorates with multiple septs in my mind. In the US, where the areas and distances are much larger than in Europe, I find such a thing believable, but I never experiences that people there identified as "Blue Ridgers" or something (There is some campfire song about people from Blue Ridge mountains, though).
              I completely disagree, but it is possible you've misunderstood what I meant because I wasn't clear enough. For example, in Britain people could refer to themselves as being from Yorkshire or the Lake District, even though Yorkshire hasn't existed as a real political administrative unit for some time, and the Lake District never. Likewise people distinguish Lowland Scotland from Highland Scotland. Likewise in Germany, you certainly make distinctions between Rhineland, the North German Plain, the Harz Mountains, and many other geographic features, and very often this carries over to description of actual peoples ("I'm a Rhinelander") even if it is not the immediate classification they give themselves.

              People in Virginia certainly do distinguish the areas where they live. This doesn't mean they call themselves Tidewaters, Piedmonters, or Blue Ridgers. But talking among themselves, they do distinguish the regions they live in, and very often the geographic areas they live in create very different cultures with different interests. It's one reason why West Virginia split from Virginia and became its own state during the Civil War - the culture of the people living in the Appalachian Mountains was very different from eastern portions. As another example in the state of Washington, people make a distinction between people living west of the Cascades, and people east of the Cascades. Very different natural features have lead to very different economies and political interests. I can go on for almost every American state and explain how different geography has created different regional identities within the people there. They aren't the primary means of group identification, but they're there. A lot of distinctive German culture does seem to conform to these natural geographic differences in Germany.

              But that's humans. I simply used that as an analogy to show why Garou would do something similar. Not that these were the same divisions the Garou used.

              If I was going to divide Germany up into similar Protectorates using the basic definition found in Rage Across New York, I'd likely do something like this:
              • North German Plain from the border to the Elbe, and from the North Sea to the Lower Saxon Hills.
              • The Lowlands west and south of the Teutoburger Forest and north of the Ruhrgebiet. Rhine is the western boundary. This could be included in the above, but I think there's a nice border between them.
              • The Harz Mountains and Thurignian Forest in central Germany - the uplands between the Weser and the Elbe.
              • The Hessian Highlands to cover the upland region between the Rhine and Weser.
              • The Rhenish Massif west of the Rhine and north of the Moselle that includes the Ardennes going into France and Belgium.
              • The Hunsruck and Palatinate Forest west of the Rhine and south of the Moselle. This also extends deep into France.
              • The Black Forest east of the Rhine going east until the Swabian Alps.
              • Bavaria north of the Alps until it hits the Danube.
              • An Alpine region that includes a lot of Switzerland and Austria.
              • The South German Scarplands with borders being the Rhine, the Danube, and the mountains/hills of the previously mentioned Hessian and Harz/Thuriginia.
              • The North German Plain east of the Elbe and west of the Oder, although here I'd create two Protectorates one north of Berlin/Spree/Havel, and one south. They were previously one Protectorate, but the rise of Berlin in the 19th century caused it to split.
              • The various southeastern mountains around the Czech Republic would be their own Protectorates and combined with the mountains and hills on the Czech side of the border.
              Given the highly dense urban areas of Germany, there are probably lots of areas not included in the Protectorates that the map alone would contain. Actual conditions would remove a lot of land from the Protectorates from a Garou perspective. Of course, the Glass Walkers might control some of this land in their urban septs, but other Garou don't dignify this with the term Protectorate because the Glass Walkers are defending "scabs", not proper Gaian wilderness. But I think as general, distinct natural units of Germany, they would work. And they could have been the basis of Protectorates centuries and thousands of years ago when human inhabitation was much less.

              This doesn't mean you wouldn't come up with a different arrangement for your own chronicle. You might combine certain areas together, split them apart, use some other natural geographic feature as the basis of a protectorate, or pick different natural features and cities as the borders between them. But upon looking at a geographic map of Germany, this is how I would divide it up. Each is a distinct natural unit with recognizable natural boundaries (or large cities) between them.
              Last edited by Black Fox; 07-30-2020, 01:50 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                I'm not sure what you mean by this.
                I mean, that I used the names of regions of Virgina you provided and searched that for example in wikipedia to find an approximate area in km².

                Sure, a region, that's population has its own distinct identity, might vary in size, but I would have found that helpful as a means of comparison.



                I wouldn't have imagined Protetorates going back as far as the Stone Ages. I mean we are talking times then, when the tribes were formed and such, and in my head canon back then, the defining division of Garou was just that, the Garou that identified as belonging to the Fenrir tribe, the Fianna tribe and so on. Each having a large distinct area of the world they inhabited.


                I would imagine, that really old Protectorates are only partially the case. In Europe and asian Russia I'd imagine that vaguely the same local identities from which the garou Protectorates stem, also were regions by which local human groups evolved. With the kinfolks being a bridge by which garou and humans influenced each other.

                In the US and Canada, I'd believe, that the Protectorates created by the pure tribes probably didn't survive the arrival of the european tribes for most part. Instead they formed local identities by settling and making the land their home - building Protectorates around them.

                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                But that's humans. I simply used that as an analogy to show why Garou would do something similar. Not that these were the same divisions the Garou used.
                Ah, okay.
                I would imagine that they do today. Most garou are homid. Most garou kinfolk raise those homid garou until puberty and the first change. Therefore I'd imagine that the Protectorate bounderies for the garou more or less overlap with human cultural regions.

                I find your divisions of Germany could work, and would form areas in which I'd imagine more than one sept.

                Comment

                Working...
                X