Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Uses of Seasonal Rites in Game

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

  • Black Fox
    started a topic Uses of Seasonal Rites in Game

    Uses of Seasonal Rites in Game

    How are the Seasonal Rites actually used in your games? Did they produce a good gaming experience for your and your game group?

    In my experience, seasonal rites are typically not done at all. I can't remember any game I played when my PC participated. And I frequently overlook them as an ST, and when I do try to run one of them, it hasn't been a great experience. So they don't seem to be popular.

    In theory, I like the seasonal rites. They're good flavor text that provides insight into Garou spirituality. And they're different from each other so that each could provide a different gaming experience. However, in practice I'm disappointed with them. I don't actually think they're very useful as a game experience for the PCs. But maybe it's because I'm running them wrong. So I am very interested in hearing about other people's experiences with them. I'm hoping to learn something.

    Since at least five Garou need to participate in a seasonal hunt, and some game groups have less than that there's the potential of including an interesting NPC with the PCs, and that might lead to something. But I can do that with many things, so it's not that big of a draw.

    So I don't make this one long post, I'll discuss each of the rites as a separate post on this thread. I'll introduce the rite, and describe how I currently think I could run it in game. So any feedback, your own examples, and your own ideas of running it in response would be great.

    I'm hoping to figure out a way to make seasonal rites actually gameable, and something PCs can look forward to.

  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by heinrich View Post
    just so that we don't play a Moot at each and every game - for there isn't enogh downtime play to really have stuff to be discussed at a moot. And it would get boring fast, with the Inner Sky being the same usually and the sum of stories to tell and songs to sing in the Galliard part of the Moot, also being limited.
    When I played LARP, we struggled how to do moots as well for the same reasons. I think we ended with doing one moot a year in character with the rest handwaved. If someone really wanted a scene that required a moot earlier, we might do a scene just for that portion, or figure out a way to do the scene without it occurring at a moot.

    Originally posted by heinrich View Post
    In general I would also recomend sept elders to appoint the duty of hosting a seasonal rite, and all related activities like housing external visitors and the fest afterwards, to the players. Either as a collaboration, or if one player has the time to do so between game sessions, as a task the single character does. It allows to bring in what the Player thinks or believes the culture of his character to be and can be quite rewarding.
    I think there is a different dynamic between LARPs (with many participants, typically dozens) and tabletop (which focuses on one pack, typically 3-6 players). The challenges of incorporating seasonal rites between them are similar, but slightly different.

    However, between the ideas I posted and the information you shared on your LARP, it seems we converge in that this works best with rotating packs performing/participating in any quests or the rite. In LARP, that's rotating PC packs. In tabletop, it'd be mostly NPC packs with the PCs doing it once only if the ST wants them to do so.

    Leave a comment:


  • heinrich
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    Is that the Fenris rite of the Rite of the Three Wells mentioned in first edition Storyteller's Handbook, or your own LARP's original rite? I always found it strange that the Storyteller's Handbook used a Celtic named holiday for the Get of Fenris' tribal seasonal rite.
    The four rites (Beltaine, Imbolc, Lugnassah and Samhain, iirc), are each half-way between a solstice and an equinox, if I remember correcty. They are prominently mentioned in both Fianna TBs, as you mentioned, but are not Rites in a game mechanical sense.
    So, we created festivities and collected inspiration from what we know about real-life historic celtic festivities, just so that we don't play a Moot at each and every game - for there isn't enogh downtime play to really have stuff to be discussed at a moot. And it would get boring fast, with the Inner Sky being the same usually and the sum of stories to tell and songs to sing in the Galliard part of the Moot, also being limited.

    For our character managment system there are some dummy Rites characters can learn that don't have any effect. These are so that PCs can learn the proper way to celebrate these rites or make up other custom seasonal Rites. One of our players has ties to Serbia and since his character is from a Shadow Lord sept there originally, he introduces their customs to our sept, which also includes seasonal RItes he designes, enters into our player content wiki and performs during a game after he gets ST consent.
    It is a welcome change of pace to introduce new stuff after 20 years of playing, and also generates some in-character discussions between the tribes. For example, he asked for a Rite that sevel garou act as stand-ins for slavic gods (all servants of Grandfahter Thunder, of course) during a ceremonie, with each god having a distinct set of characteristics. Besides who of the PCs would identify with which god it also sparked discussions on how appropriate it is to parttake in a Shadow Lord rite and honor spirits one has no alligience to.

    In general I would also recomend sept elders to appoint the duty of hosting a seasonal rite, and all related activities like housing external visitors and the fest afterwards, to the players. Either as a collaboration, or if one player has the time to do so between game sessions, as a task the single character does. It allows to bring in what the Player thinks or believes the culture of his character to be and can be quite rewarding.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by heinrich View Post
    In autumn, half way to the winter solstice, there is Samhain.
    Is that the Fenris rite of the Rite of the Three Wells mentioned in first edition Storyteller's Handbook, or your own LARP's original rite? I always found it strange that the Storyteller's Handbook used a Celtic named holiday for the Get of Fenris' tribal seasonal rite.

    = = =

    I just realized that as written, there is a complicating factor for some Garou, and that is some tribes have their own seasonal rites/celebrations that may fall on these dates.

    The Silver Fangs, of course, have their own solstice celebrations organized by the Lodges of the Sun and the Moon. That doesn't mean Silver Fangs can't contribute to the standard seasonal rites, but there is probably a lot more preparation needed for Silver Fangs to do both. I imagine in cases where local Silver Fangs have to tribal elsewhere to participate in the Lodge celebrations, that the Silver Fangs may perform the solstice rites with their tribemates only, and not part of a multi-tribal sept.

    Fianna have their own tribal meetings during the Celtic holidays of Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnassa, and Samhain, but those don't actually fall on the equinox or solstice, just around them. But the first edition tribebook does mention the solstices and equinoxes as Fianna ceremonies. Presumably these are greater celebrations built around the seasonal rites, not in place of them. As a result, I don't think they present any problems.

    But the Glass Walkers originally were to hold their tribal moots at the 23 of the month at precisely 12:37 AM. That can sometimes fall on the solstice and equinox dates. In most cases, the tribe can probably attend both their own moots and the seasonal rites. But there may be times they can't. But Glass Walkers are probably an example of a tribe least likely to participate in these kinds of rites.

    I'm not sure of any other tribes that specifically called out these solstice and equinox times. But if anyone else remembers, just add them to the thread.

    This doesn't really change what happens during the seasonal rites themselves, but felt it pertinent to mention as it can impact how an ST presents the Garou during the rites.

    Leave a comment:


  • heinrich
    replied
    In our LARP games we use them.
    We usually have a Rite between spring equinox and summer solstice: Beltaine. We also use it as date for the Children of Gaia seasonal Rite "Earth Day".

    Then there is the "Great Hunt". Before the pandemic this was an event game each year. Four to six player characters were chosen and went on an mission laid down by visions from Helios. Usually large missions in scope, but with a time limit 'til sunset.

    In autumn, half way to the winter solstice, there is Samhain.

    We have a long vigil like element before the great hunt.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Hmm. I will take the lack of response as meaning people don't use seasonal rites at all in their games.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    The last seasonal rite is the Long Vigil of the autumnal equinox. This rite is more like the Winter Winds in the sense there is no challenge to overcome. It's a roleplay opportunity. One thing that is nice is it specifically calls out the Galliards to recite tales of the previous year. In my experience, Galliards seem to be the least popular auspice, and I find any opportunity to highlight their role to be good. Non-Galliards can also participate later in the rite, but this is clearly a spotlight for the auspice. Furthermore, the rite requires the identification of a "trophy" taken from the previous year, and its ritual destruction by hurling it into the bonfire.

    So this has a lot of good flavor text, and it gives something for the PCs to do. But unless the players really like telling stories (even in abbreviated form and then rolling the dice), it's a limited one. I think its main advantage is that if the PCs known in advance that this will happen, 1) they'll be mindful to claim a trophy when they can, and 2) they'll be thinking of what would make a good story to tell later. Since Garou can obtain Renown for storytelling, this does have its own reward.

    So as an ST running this, I think mainly it's about letting the PCs known in advance about the rite so they can prepare for it during the earlier game sessions. When the rite itself comes up, the ST simply gives a brief flavor text description of the sept meeting. After that, it's all up to the PCs as to what they want to do with the time. If that is nothing, the game moves. If one or more PCs want the opportunity for a roleplay scene to impress the sept, they do it.

    I can see this being great fun for certain game groups, or completely boring for others. So a lot depends on your players. The main reward here is another opportunity to tell stories, geared specifically for gaining Renown. ST may want to boost the normal Renown for telling a great story at this seasonal rite rather than the normal monthly moot.

    I think the most fun for this will actually be before the moots - the PCs thinking about the gathering of trophies that they'll ritually destroy at this moot. So I think this is one of those tools that might encourage PC behavior in other game sessions.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    The Great Hunt takes place over the summer solstice. Again, this is potentially interesting. The Garou have to hunt down a powerful Wyrm creature in 24 hours. So it should be a big challenge. And it is one that actually has some teeth. Septs that fail have difficulty of ALL rites performed by the sept increased by one for the next year. So there is strong in-character incentive for the Garou to succeed. Unfortunately, I think this has a major problem - the ST has no guidance as to the kind of creature that should be the quarry for a Great Hunt. A year ago I posted on this forum a thread to help generate ideas, but I didn't get much participation. It was enough to help me with one Great Hunt. But not enough to provide real guidance to STs on running this again and again.

    This is one area of the game (out of very many) that I feel should have been better addressed in the ST Handbooks. But there's little out there to help STs.

    I haven't quite figured out how to run this. I originally thought that as a sept activity, the entire sept should participate. I think this mentality was because the first time I ran this was part of a LARP for the entire gaming group. However, I'm coming to the conclusion this doesn't work in a table top setting. Instead, this is really an assignment for one pack of the sept. And there should be a competition between packs to determine who is worthy to do it - since it's high stakes if it fails. The greater number of participants seems to cause the rite to unveil an even more powerful foe, so the greater number of people isn't always better. It is usually worse. So the idea is to select a competent group to do so. That likely excludes any Cliath and most Fostern packs. But a very experience pack of Fostern or greater usually works best. That reduces how often the ST needs to run this for any group of PCs. For small septs who can't afford it, they may not even risk doing the rite. But the more warlike ones may do so and eat any failures - better to have tried and failed, even with the penalty.

    I do think there needs to be a lot more guidance on the kind of foes that would be appropriate. Even if the ST doesn't run it, this is the kind of thing PCs will ask what was fought. What we really need are several different kind of random tables to assist the ST, with each kind of table being a list of foes distinguished from each other by difficulty, theme, contrasting against the kind of caern totem, etc.

    Out of all the seasonal rites, the Great Hunt is probably the only one that could be the basis for an entire game session. Every other seasonal rite seems to be nothing more than a 2-10 minute scene during a session where something else takes the stage.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    The Rite of Reawakening is for the spring equinox. Here there is something the PCs could actually do - a spirit quest that has seven parts. But there's two big flaws. First, there is very little guidance provided for the seven tests the ST should prepare. With some research on real world myths (Inanna's descent into the underworld is an obvious source of inspiration for this) and creativity, an ST can come up with something. But the game should really provide something else. Second, I don't think this is something that is very repeatable. While the rite symbolically shows Gaia's rebirth from winter torpor, the real meat of the rite is the individual spiritual growth of the individual Garou (PCs) that participate. So this isn't something that can be repeated often, certainly not on an annual basis. (I understand in many chronicles, a Garou PC advances from Cliath to Elder in about 45 game days so this is perhaps not a problem for them. But I think for any chronicle that takes place over many game years with a more reasonable time between major adventures, this does create a problem). Third, the rite implies success is not based on the ritemaster's roll of Stamina + Rituals. It's on the Garou passing these challenges. So the seven tests shouldn't be too difficult; perhaps they're even easy. If so, that's not very interesting for the character as they have little opportunity for growth. But we're not given any bonuses or penalties for success or failure, so it doesn't seem very important. Furthermore, it's not clear whether only one Garou needs to succeed, or all of them, or whether the more Garou that succeed is better. So for something that seems very interesting at first, it turns out to be kind of lackluster.

    This is how I'm thinking of handling it. At large septs, the rite isn't done en masse. It's mainly a test of a small group (likely one pack), with Garou rotating throughout the years until most Garou have participated, and then the cycle begins again. This really isn't possible in smaller septs, but perhaps this is an occasion when multiple septs in a region work together instead of septs working by themselves. That's be a good opportunity for PCs to meet Garou at different septs and roleplay that out. Perhaps there's even a competition before the rite to determine which group gets to participate (as they want a group that is ready to be challenged by the rite). Maybe the sept where the rite is held even rotates based on the pack/group that won the earlier challenge. Then the ST shares with the PCs what each of the seven gates/tests are. And then the player narrates what happens, and the ST adjudicates whether he passed or not (or works with her so that her character has a better chance of passing).

    Rather than concentrating on whether the PC passes every test, this is really just an opportunity to allow the PC some character growth - which might be from reflection of previous life events, or even retrospection after the rite from failing one or more of the tests rather than passing them. I don't want to penalize PCs for "failing" the test if that provides better RP opportunity. So it may just be me as ST awarding more XP for that game session based on creativity and roleplay from each of the PCs.

    That would provide a good single game session. Then the following game years would be NPCs, but the ST could always repeat this after so many game sessions when he thinks its appropriate for the PCs to experience the rite again and show their character's spiritual growth or problems.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    The Rite of Winter Winds obviously takes place on the winter solstice. It's evocative as written, but I can only think of them as a brief description by the ST to the PCs participating in it. There's really nothing for them to do. There is no conflict, or uncertainty. Only if the ST throws in a complication that makes the rite incidental to the story is there something to do. So I don't see anything gameable here.

    The only real use by an ST that I see is just as a brief ST flavor description, perhaps as a prologue to some other story.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X