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Caern & Totem for humans

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  • Caern & Totem for humans

    Warning: This will be long, but I hope we can have a good discussion about it

    Other supernatural creatures with totems in the canon
    Recently I have been entertaining the idea of human groups adopting totems and caerns, specially the PCs of my table. There is some precedent to it. Shape-shifters are not the only ones with totems. Changelings can have totems too, that work exactly like the shape-shifters totems.

    The nunnehi and menehune (native american changelings) have totems, since they are more connected with the nature (they themselves are sometimes the very own nature spirits of the land) than their european cousins. Although no doubt others might have totems too.

    So there is already two supernatural entities that can have totems. Both have a very good connection with nature. And I don't doubt more changelings could have totems too, but this just wasn't properly explored.

    Mages have totems too, but maybe these are not a valid example, because they follow different mechanics, unlike the changeling totems which work exactly as the shape-shifters totems, but mostly used as personal totems.

    Caerns for humans

    Changelings don't need caerns because, well, they need glamour, not gnosis, so instead they do have glades and freeholds, or fountains of dross. But there are other creatures that use gnosis beside the shape-shifters: Kinfolk are the most obvious example, some of them are much more attuned to Gaia, and even thought they are not half spirits, they have a connection strong enough with the spirit world to use gnosis.

    And there is also the kami, perhaps the last example of gaia will still being manifested directly into the world. These strange beings, that are neither human, nor spirit, can also have gnosis and use it.

    And I don't doubt some hedge sorcerers (specially those who work in harmony with nature) could use gnosis, and not a in destructive way, unlike some mage examples. Hell, I don't doubt some non kinfolk humans can use gnosis too, albeit much rarer still than the already rare kinfolk who can use it.

    All of these "humans" can use gnosis, and so, obviously would benefit from accessing a caern. To gather gnosis, and for other spiritual reasons too.

    So is there any reason beside angry shape-shifters trying to monopolize caerns, that a human only caern could exist?
    This one is actually a question. If there was plenty of caerns for everyone, so much that there were empty caerns lying around. Could humans caerns theoretically exist? Caerns where kinfolks, hedge sorcerers and kami get together to make their own rites, and speak with their own totem? and maybe even access the umbra, using special rituals?

    A totem for people... The People
    The people is a totem of war. And from it's description, it surprising that it actually wants to have any connection with garous, as if shape-shifters were not really his thing. So, what is this totem main interest? Humans of course. If you read the description:
    You will see that humans can be influenced by the people, or even channel it, even if they are not aware of it. The People is the totem of humans. why wouldn't it become a personal totem for a human group? Or a lone human? Given that they actually search for its favor?
    And there are other totems that humans directly strengthened or created, and might try to follow, aware that it is a totem, or even not: O Mighty dolla, The american dream, easy credit.
    And there is nothing barring humans to actually search the favor of more traditional totems.

    What is happening in my chronicle
    Im running a soft-crossover chronicle. It's the story of how a bunch of disdained people got together. They are considered secondary in their respective societies, they are kinfolk, revenants, sorcerers, kinains. They live at the margin of their respective societies. And they realized that they would gain more helping each other than trying to earn the respect of their superiors.

    Here is a brief summary of the PCs, so you can understand better what is going on.

    Pablo: A native american hedge sorcerer, a good samaritan that have to deal with racism on a daily basis, specially because of his scarred appearance. He uses his alchemy to help the people in need.

    Ingrid: A blackfury kinfolk that used to be a get of fenris kinfolk. She was a victim of abuse in her old tribe, although it took years to realize, because she was also protected and treasured, and even loved by her garou husband. After his death by the hands of the BSD she wandered off and realized that she was being used as a breeding stock. She decided to help other kinfolk that are abused by their tribes.

    Olivia: A ducheski revenant. Her family betrayed the tzimisce and went to the tremere when she was little, and later she alone betrayed the tremere and run away from her family. She hates the jyhad and everything in the kindread politics, but she still a scholar who loves to study everything supernatural. She idolizes Beckett, but never met him.

    Kay: Kinain of Nocker heritage, her mother abandoned her when she was little, and so she grew kinda ignorant of changeling society, so she is always wary of changelings, specially those who see her as lesser and enslave enchanted humans.

    John: A get of fenris kinfolk that became a merceary, he actually belives in the garou mission, and want to help as much as he can, but is also aware that some garou simply don't understand the "little man" on the ground, specially when they kill humans who don't realize that are working for the wyrm.

    This is the group, and we played many sessions of varying style, investigation, combat, intrigue, etc. But a overall theme that become common is how weak they are in a society that gives them no respect. Often they end up helping other vulnerable NPCs, they can never fight back against truly powerful enemies, like vampires, garous, changelings, but they use their cunning.

    We begun to play with the idea of a "level up" What if if the revenant is embraced? What if the kinfolk became a kami, and the other one a skin dancer? What if Pablo awaken and becomes a mage? What would they do then? We havent done it yet, but I've begun to pave the road. Their work attracted the attention of a totem, The people. The totem grows tired of Garou focusing so much at the wyrm, and wants someone to actually fight the weaver as the main enemy. And The People decided that maybe actual humans who are oppressed can fight for him much better.
    It begun to send visions and dreams to the kinfolk members of the group, and eventually it will direct them on how to find a caern, pays chiminage and take it as a totem.

    How feasible do you think this is?
    The caern must obviously be small, something so beneath the notice that no one found before. I haven't thought about what place it could be. But you think this is theoretically possible in this crossover game? The PCs who can learn gifts, will be able to take gifts as benefit, all others will have to take bonus skills instead. In the group there are obviously members that would be seen as enemy by garou, by their simple nature, like the revenant scholar. Hell, all of them, even the kinfolk could be seem as enemy by a radical enough garou. But Do you know what kinds of groups could tolerate the existence of this group of humans? Other garous that choose The people, probably. But what more? And, about the other societies (vampire, changeling) which ones would be able to tolerate this group? Any plot hooks for them after they get their caern and totem? Interesting conflicts and how they could be solved?

  • #2
    There are humans who use caerns. They are Mages, and they call them "Nodes".


    • #3
      Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
      There are humans who use caerns. They are Mages, and they call them "Nodes".

      Yes, but they don't use it exactly as shape-shifters do, right?


      • #4
        Shape-shifters don't all use Caerns the same way.

        Mages with the right Focus could model Garou ways of managing a Caern far more easily than pretty much anything else in the WoD; followed very closely but Numina users (which are frequently treated as mage-lites anyway). Even better than Kin that have access to Gnosis or Kami.

        Ultimately, the issue is the concept of humans doing something overtly supernatural and still treating it as something about "humans." Lots of people considering the Imbued no longer human because of their powers. Anyone capable of managing a Caern is going to cross that line as well. It doesn't really matter which game line you use to power it.