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  • #31
    True. However I find "rule their lives" is a unnecessary´harsh choice of words. I haven't read W20 Kinfolk, but "Kinfolk: Unsung Heroes" and other books have plenty kinfolk who are perfectly independent. Sure they are part of the garou society and there are certain obligation, expectations that come with that, and which are enforced at least by peer pressure, at the worst with physical violence, depending on the expectation and culture of the sept (and therefore tribe).

    But "rule their lives" reads a bit like a D/s 24/7 Total-Power-Exchange relationship. And while some garou might have those, and some might be the submissive in the relationship, it certainly isn't the way the majority of kinfolk/garou relationships.

    Especially as there is no renown gained from "micromanaging the live of your relatives". Garou have lots of other things to do...

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    • #32
      Yes, risks from murder, kidnapping and corruption are higher than for the average human, but I'd expect childbirth is drastically safer for the mother and the newborn as well as early childhood being safer - and these factors contributed most to the numbers in less advanced ages.


      What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

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      • #33
        I'm reluctant to go down that route. RPGs are not meant as any kind of economic or demographic simulator. They are meant to satisfy resolution for combat and other needs in an adventure game. Applying them outside of that context tends to lead to results that subverts the setting. Every game that has crafting rules for PCs tends to lead to overproduction of those commodities for example. Many people have commented over the years how routine magic in fantasy RPGs subverts many of the tropes one expects in a pseudo-medieval setting. D&D spells like Cure Disease, Raise Dead, and others should totally change the setting. Fantasy games have always struggled with those with the default of many campaigns being simply to ignore that.

        I think we need to ask ourselves what is our expectation of the setting, and whether the logical results of the rules and mechanics actually support that or undermine it? In this case, does the setting lead us to expect kinfolk are far more successful than others in terms of their health, longevity, fertility, etc.? If the mechanics and logical results support that answer, nothing more to do. If they don't, we have two choices - change the setting or figure out reasons why the rules don't lead to a change in the setting. I almost always prefer to do the latter.

        The setting as I see it does not show that kinfolk are dramatically more successful than normal humans. The setting indicates the trend is for there to be less Garou, less kinfolk, and less Pure Breed as the years go by. Instead of being fabulously successful as a whole, the Garou and their kinfolk allies are gradually losing in a long defeat. Those are the assumptions of the setting. So for whatever reason, it seems to me that kinfolk overall should not doing significantly better than their surrounding human neighbors.

        There can be many reasons for this. Every ST will pick those they like.

        One is that things like curing disease, medicine, etc. for kinfolk is actually not something that Garou can do. Mother's Touch and similar Gifts either don't work or work in different ways for illnesses. Same thing with Talens, fetishes, awakened plants, etc. They might have some beneficial impact, but not to the point where it affects statistics that much. There can be many reasons to do so dealing with spirit types, their taboos, specifics of how things work, etc. But in the end it's all flavor text you like.

        Something similar is the Pure Breed rules for kinfolk. I always felt the kinfolk Pure Breed rules in the Kinfolk book as not something binding outside of those PCs. If kinfolk having Pure Breed meant a higher % of children being Garou, it is very hard to reconcile that with the idea that Pure Breed is dying. It should be the exact opposite - Pure Breed being much more common. So I see those rules simply as an artifact of the game wanting to give kinfolk PCs a reason why they would want to put points into that stat because otherwise it does not help them. It's not something actually present in the setting for NPC kinfolk.

        Another option might be that this is simply a function of the Veil. A kinfolk community in the Dark Ages setting that does not have mothers dying in childbirth, a lot of child mortality, a population showing the affects of poor nutrition, and typical problems with their harvests is one that is going to attract attention. Other people will wonder why these people are so lucky or blessed? That will prompt investigation at best. At worst, they'll be accused of witchcraft and the local authorities will be sent after them. Or it'll be a big shining beacon to their supernatural opponents. In a modern setting it may be the arrival of many medical or academic researchers wanting to study the population, and the arrival of so many outsiders in the community is going to raise a lot of questions and heighten the chance the Garou may be discovered. So the Garou simply decide they're not helping them except to counteract supernatural causes/attacks, or in exceptional circumstances (i'll do it for my immediate family, but no other kinfolk).

        A related issue reason for not helping might not be the Veil, but a belief that Gaia intended for there to be all of these problems, and that it would be wrong for Garou to interfere in these processes without very good reason even for kinfolk. Like all things, certain tribes and septs may look at it differently, and the attitude can change over time. A belief held in the Dark Ages setting does not need to be held in the modern setting. It's just an example of why we're not seeing something in the setting that we think is a logical conclusion of the rules.

        Now perhaps you go the other way. When you see a discrepancy between the setting and what seems to be results from the rules as written, you simply change the setting and go with it. As long as you realize that's what you are doing and live with the consequences, that can also work. But it's a different style of game than portrayed by the books.

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        • #34
          I think I recall seeing references to crop failures and plagues affecting Kinfolk, but sometimes less so.

          There is also the question of "coddling the weak", as Garou might see it. Disease is both natural selection and population control. Keeping relatively unhealthy kinfolk alive may have been viewed as a bad idea, by the majority of the Garou, for the majority of their history. In the modern day, this view may be discarded for the sake of survival. Or just ignored because "we are the last generation, so the breeding no longer matters".

          Bastet DO have Gifts to cure diseases, including a rank 5 Gift that works on a whole village population at once. So they probably did and do manage the public health of their kinfolk carefully.

          Gurahl also have healing Gifts, of course, but are so rare that they probably can't really make a large-scale difference anymore.
          Last edited by Erinys; 03-03-2021, 03:44 PM.


          She/Her. I am very literal-minded and write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
          My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
          Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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          • #35
            I'm going to apologise in advance for snipping the rest of your well thought out response. It's a great take and never acting reactionary is a good practice for any kind of collaborative effort. I do feel that a good fantasy setting using such elements should consider their impact on society at large - something that made Eberron quite interesting.

            Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
            IA belief held in the Dark Ages setting does not need to be held in the modern setting. It's just an example of why we're not seeing something in the setting that we think is a logical conclusion of the rules.

            Now perhaps you go the other way. When you see a discrepancy between the setting and what seems to be results from the rules as written, you simply change the setting and go with it. As long as you realize that's what you are doing and live with the consequences, that can also work. But it's a different style of game than portrayed by the books.
            To me it comes down to a simple matter of family trumping everything. A lot of the time it's downplayed by people discussing Kinfolk that they are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters, as if they were some general pool of people that just happened to be related to shifters. And people have traditionally gone out of their way to help, protect and enable their family. For Garou this is even a bigger imperative. I mean, if you had the opportunity and means to alleviate the suffering, ensure full tables or a solid job for your family, what would stop you?

            This of course doesn't mean that other factors won't impact their numbers.


            What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

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            • #36
              Aside from murder and kidnapping, the threats facing Kinfolk (and humans in general) have also changed over time, and vary between countries, social classes, and urban vs. rural. Garou are probably a lot better at addressing some threats vs. others. "There are no jobs except at Pentex and their almost-as-bad competitors" isn't an easy one to solve. "Nobody wants to live in the woods as subsistence farmers anymore, the children all moved to the big city." is another tough one. And if the political/religious/corporate authorities decide your Kinfolk are "dissidents"*, oh boy.

              * (they probably are)


              On the subject of how harshly Garou rule over their families, I think there's something that hasn't been considered yet. It just occurred to me now.

              In a traditional European, South Asian, East Asian, African, Arab, etc. culture, the father rules the household and everybody does what he says. At least in the European tradition, he doesn't tell you why you have to do X, or show much affection openly, but you bloody-well do what he says. Feminism and youth rebellion have chipped away at the willingness of current generations to put up with this crap, but for a long time that was the way it was, and most people went along with it. I won't assume everyone did, of course, but it was "accepted." From what I have heard about my own family history, many folks just didn't expect things to be any different. When on top of it, the husband worked outside the house doing prestigious manly things, and the wife was an illiterate stay-at home wife, that added to the idea that she didn't get to make any decisions. My illiterate great-grandma had ~9 children and did what she was told and that was that.

              I would think that in Kinfolk families, the Garou (of any gender) tell you what to do, and you're expected to just do it. You're raised to believe this is the way it is, the way it has always been done, and "everyone" (read: most Kinfolk who haven't left) does what they're told. You probably realize at some point that your life depends on doing what you're told; not just because your werewolf relatives might fly off the handle, but because if you mess something up you might get visited by a cannibal fomori squad at 2 am, or buy the wrong product and taint your whole neighborhood, or anger a local spirit and lose the next 10 years of crops. The Garou know what they're talking about concerning these things.

              So while most of us probably chafe at the idea of taking orders from Raging inhumans who might view us as breeding stock, the average Kinfolk may still have a decided non-modern view of their situation.
              Last edited by Erinys; 03-03-2021, 06:37 PM.


              She/Her. I am very literal-minded and write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
              My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
              Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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              • #37
                That view is pretty much supported by a lot of the Tribal sterotypes on Kinfolk and things that are presented as bad about Garou society. It's also something that really chafes more modernist tribes and indidivudal kinfolk. But, yeah the Werewolves are the bosses and the Kinfolk should keep quiet and do what they're told (traditionally). A lot of the modern takes in later Werewolf books is all about briding this gap and treating your kinfolk better, but your analysys is on spot for how it looked through the ages (and how a lot of modern kinfolk families might still operate!).


                What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                  One is that things like curing disease, medicine, etc. for kinfolk is actually not something that Garou can do. Mother's Touch and similar Gifts either don't work or work in different ways for illnesses.
                  Asklepios Rite is the first thing that comes into mind for curing disease. In general illness is not that much of a theme in WoD - or at least I didn't notice it ever given much thought. Poisons, on the other hand, are easily remedied, if not fast working...
                  There is "Eve's Blessing", a Gift, present in both versions of the Dark Age rules, that protects unborn children.

                  I agree with Asmodai that kinfolk are the fathers, mother, siblings of the garou and are treated as such and therefore are also protected to the best of the abilities of the garou and cared for. Sure, the type of relationship can be different in many ways, just as human family relationships can vary greatly, and evolve and change over time, too.
                  I also think that Erinys is right about the way that Kinfolk tend to do what garou say, because they (usually) know what they are talking about. I still can think of kinfolk matriachs/partiarchs who have lived longer than the reign of the last three sept leaders together lasted, and who probably have their families "in line" in all things concerning human or kinfolk matters. In any case, social interaction is governed by social rolls and other aspects, that might be very individual. "Can't say 'no' to my mommy' is a valid flaw, and might last, even if you are athro now and your mother is just a kinfolk. And with all the bloodshed you experience, it is good to be able to get home, eat a hot soup while mommy removes the blood stains from your cloths...

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Asmodai View Post
                    But, yeah the Werewolves are the bosses and the Kinfolk should keep quiet and do what they're told (traditionally).
                    I got a different impression, especially in "Kinfolk: Unsung Heroes".
                    The garou see the kinfolk as feeble, which by comparison to a crinos they are. Also, Kinfolk, for the most part can't enjoy the wonders of Gaia (Primal-Urge, Umbra travel, feeling alive in general). So, garou tend to belittle kinfolk for their own good (and possibly even more, for it becomes habitual). The war to defend Gaia is on one side really dangerous and on the other side the garou's holy duty. Both reasons contributing to the tendency to keep kinfolk out of it. Although, there are groups that think differently (Dies Ultimae) and in the modern day, there are lots of tasks kinfolk can accomplish without endangering themselfes and a lot of tasks garou simply can't do any more (especially if the ST is strict when applying Curse-Rules). So, there is a shift.

                    In addition to that, kinfolk can, and maybe have been, great advisers to garou, especially on human matters. They have the same five dot limits on social and mental traits and abilities and can therefore accomplish just as much as a garou in most fields. It is just the supernatural side of things that they are usually less knowledgeable about, because the garou don't tell them that much. But for most of them, that might be okay. Some might get crazy, like Sam Haight.

                    So, I don't think that garou, in general, expect the kinfolk to keep quiet in matters they know about and can contribute. There is however an general assumption, that kinfolk don't know (meaningful things) about the supernatural, defence of the Caern or attacking of the Wyrm. So, in this matters garou, by default, would think the kinfolk should do as they are told and keep quiet. Just as they are supposed to, if one of higher station addresses them....

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                    • #40
                      Absolutley! I think one of the biggest goals of modern Garou is to bridge the gaps they caused through hubris and callousness with their family and recognize how much kinfolk can contribute to the War. Dies Ultimae were one of the cooler ideas about that, but there is room in every Caern, Sept and even in some packs for Kinfolk support and cooperation.


                      What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

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                      • #41
                        I think there's a lot of things the Garou don't care about and kinfolk do whatever they want within that sphere. Then there are things the Garou do care about, and they'll issue directives of varying strictness to kinfolk on what to do and how to do them. Again, different tribes and septs will vary in their approach. Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords will be much more strict than Bone Gnawers or Stargazers.

                        That can include local government decisions so the village council defers to what the leading Garou want. The public schools aren't going to accept that money from the federal government. It comes with too many strings attached.

                        That can include who certain kinfolk are allowed to marry. Sally can't date or marry that human who goes to her high school to whom she has a crush. She has Pure Breed and is going to mate with this Garou or this kinfolk heir of a prestigious line.

                        That can include financial decisions. No you aren't allowed to sell your house to anyone. We can't allow non-kinfolk to move in. Sell at a lower price instead to this kinfolk.

                        That can include career decisions. We can't afford you to leave your job for a better paying one with more career opportunities. Your current job is providing us a lot of useful information. You are helping the Nation.

                        That can include intervening in family matters. What is wrong with you? Your child is playing that roleplaying game from Black Dog Game Factory. Didn't we tell you that was bad? Take those books and throw it away. And cancel your child's access to the internet so he can't play on Zoom with his online "friends" who got him on that. By that way, I saw you reading that Sookie Stackhouse book. That is pro-vampire propaganda designed to get everyone comfortable being slaves to the Leeches. Throw it out and I better not see you reading it again.

                        And so on.

                        Ultimately knowing kinfolk are part of a cult and are brainwashed to varying degrees by the Garou to serve their needs. Kinfolk live in a world that is not hospitable to their views. So Garou need to take charge and set limits in order for them to retain control. That does not mean Garou abuse their kinfolk, at least not by intent. There's a reason why some kinfolk leave their communities - they want to escape from it.

                        You can depict a sept that exercises hardly any control over their kinfolk; and you can depict a sept which exercises lots of control over their kinfolk. I believe the average Garou will be closer to the latter than to the former.

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                        • #42
                          Although, the level by which the garou society explains their stance on certain topics is a contributing factor to the relationship in general.

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