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W20 Totems for packs

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  • W20 Totems for packs

    Greetings,

    I have many fluff/lore questions about the totems for packs:

    1. Are the totems detailed in each of the Tribebooks only for members of that Tribe or any Garou pack take them?
    2. What are the attitudes for a member of a Tribe to be part of a pack with a different Tribal totem? For example a Wendigo Pack choosing Fenris as totem; or Children of Gaia Packs choosing Uktena as totem.
    3. Does the totem have to be geographically bound to the area the pack resides? Let's say to try to have Hummingbird as totem in Europe, or Polar Bear in Central America.
    Last edited by lbeaumanior; 03-06-2021, 02:07 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
    Are the totems detailed in each of the Tribebooks only for members of that Tribe or any Garou pack take them?
    No, unless the Totem description explicitly states this (or it makes sense in context).
    Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
    What are the attitudes for a member of a Tribe to be part of a pack with a different Tribal totem? For example a Wendigo Pack choosing Fenris as totem; or Children of Gaia Packs choosing Uktena as totem.
    Well, a mixed pack with Uktena as titem is the signature pack of revised.
    Children of Gaia might be tolerant in general and therefore find a pack of only tribemates that follows Uktena odd, but not offending.
    The Wendigo as a generally more separatistic in nature and would find a Fenris Totemed pack kind of offensive and certainly would ask the members for some justification for adhering to the ways of this totem.
    Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
    Does the totem have to be geographically bound to the area the pack resides? Let's say to try to have Hummingbird as totem in Europe, or Polar Bear in Central America.
    In the rules as written, no. But I would assume that most garou would be informed about the ways of totems to which the sprits are known to them. But with global travel, garou might be informed about totems from all over the world and so, they could approach foreign totems for patronage.


    That's my opinions on the topics...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by heinrich View Post
      Well, a mixed pack with Uktena as titem is the signature pack of revised.
      Which signature pack? Cause I don't recall any from revised ?



      Warrior of the Rainbow
      Saint among the sinners
      Pure among the dirt
      Loser among winners

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      • #4
        Mostly just seconding:

        Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
        Are the totems detailed in each of the Tribebooks only for members of that Tribe or any Garou pack take them?
        Totems are only for specific groups if they say so.

        Of course, there's plenty of them that you'd be hard-pressed to find members of other Tribes to want to follow.

        What are the attitudes for a member of a Tribe to be part of a pack with a different Tribal totem? For example a Wendigo Pack choosing Fenris as totem; or Children of Gaia Packs choosing Uktena as totem.
        Variable. The Wendigo/Fenris example is probably extreme due to the outright antipathy between the Wendigo and the Get of Fenris. For the most part, though, the Garou recognize that they're going to have a number of spiritual patrons at different levels and don't give each other flak over that.

        There's also a reason a common Totem bonus regarding the Tribal Totems is that it gets you respect from that Tribe. A non-Fenrir earning Fenris's favor is someone that's already proven themselves strong and worth the respect of the Get of Fenris. It's extremely rare for there to be a Tribal specific penalty on the other hand where you take a penalty with Tribes that don't like that Totem. I think the game is purposeful about that.

        Does the totem have to be geographically bound to the area the pack resides? Let's say to try to have Hummingbird as totem in Europe, or Polar Bear in Central America.
        No, unless yes. There are Totems with Bans that force their followers to be in certain areas after all. If your Totem tells you that you need to protect their living animal children, you can't live somewhere those animals don't.

        Beyond that? Spirits can go pretty much anywhere. While geography is certainly a factor in a few ways, lots of Totems transcend their physical forms for some other purpose. Beaver doesn't care about anything specific to living animal beavers, and while a pack following Beaver being in the middle of Africa is kinda weird, there's certainly: trees, rivers, and people that need a good pranking.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Nail Eater View Post
          Which signature pack? Cause I don't recall any from revised ?
          In the tribe novels the signature characters of Glass Walker (Julia Genereader), Wendigo (Northwind's Son), Bone Gnawer (Carla or something), Children of Gaia (Cries Havoc) and Red Talon (forgot her name) form a pack.

          The Bone Gnawer Tribe novel tells us, how the Bone Gnawer came to meet the others (they were brought together by circumstance earlier in Europe). She is from an american mixed-tribal sept. An Uktena Ragabash Metis of her sept tricks her into interfering with an ongoing Rite of Passage. As punishment and to get her out of sight until things blow over with the tribe that held the Rite of Passage, she is send by her Tribal Elder to (iirc) NYC to meet with and assist the others - who eventually become her pack. Before leaving she asks the Uktena Ragabash why she pulled that prank on her in the first place, and the Ragabash said, because she was so cocky that she deserved it, but also, because Uktena (the totem) told her (the Ragabash) in a dream to make her (Carla or something) the one that will be send to assist the others.

          Later in the books, when all of them are together, they are saved by Uktena from a spring tide or something, and accept Uktenas patronage. It's been a while so I'm fussy on the details. Since the whole pack's job is to find secrets of the past, Uktena is a suitable totem, but also Uktena guided the formation of the pack, at least partially. It is overall a nice story element in my opinion.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by heinrich View Post
            In the tribe novels the signature characters of Glass Walker (Julia Genereader), Wendigo (Northwind's Son), Bone Gnawer (Carla or something), Children of Gaia (Cries Havoc) and Red Talon (forgot her name) form a pack.

            The Bone Gnawer Tribe novel tells us, how the Bone Gnawer came to meet the others (they were brought together by circumstance earlier in Europe). She is from an american mixed-tribal sept. An Uktena Ragabash Metis of her sept tricks her into interfering with an ongoing Rite of Passage. As punishment and to get her out of sight until things blow over with the tribe that held the Rite of Passage, she is send by her Tribal Elder to (iirc) NYC to meet with and assist the others - who eventually become her pack. Before leaving she asks the Uktena Ragabash why she pulled that prank on her in the first place, and the Ragabash said, because she was so cocky that she deserved it, but also, because Uktena (the totem) told her (the Ragabash) in a dream to make her (Carla or something) the one that will be send to assist the others.

            Later in the books, when all of them are together, they are saved by Uktena from a spring tide or something, and accept Uktenas patronage. It's been a while so I'm fussy on the details. Since the whole pack's job is to find secrets of the past, Uktena is a suitable totem, but also Uktena guided the formation of the pack, at least partially. It is overall a nice story element in my opinion.
            Oh yes, I forgot about tribe novels.


            Warrior of the Rainbow
            Saint among the sinners
            Pure among the dirt
            Loser among winners

            Comment


            • #7
              This is one of those situations where our anwsers are academical, and you'll really have to see what the person running your game thinks about them...

              Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
              Greetings,

              1. Are the totems detailed in each of the Tribebooks only for members of that Tribe or any Garou pack take them?
              2. What are the attitudes for a member of a Tribe to be part of a pack with a different Tribal totem? For example a Wendigo Pack choosing Fenris as totem; or Children of Gaia Packs choosing Uktena as totem.
              3. Does the totem have to be geographically bound to the area the pack resides? Let's say to try to have Hummingbird as totem in Europe, or Polar Bear in Central America.
              1. Usually no, they can be for any pack that can live within their lifestyle, and that will agree to bond with the pack. Mind you some totems are quite exclusionary and will not have anything to do with certain groups or packs that don't meet their standards. I don't see Allmighty Dollar aligning himself with many Bone Gnawers or Children of Gaia.

              2. This is a very complicated thing, and something I feel doesn't really happen a lot in a setting. The only reason this would happen is if say there was a mixed tribe sept, where members of a tribe were prominent, and a young pack wanted to honor those members and their tribal totem by petitioning to follow that totem. So, for instance a group of young Children of Gaia that came to a Uktena sept to offer their help and pay back what they feel they are due, might petition Uktena to guide them and help them on their way of making amends.

              3. I generally feel that you can only get the totems that are applicable to the area where your game starts. So if you're from Florida, you're not getting Polar Bear as your totem. However, the totem WILL follow your pack around the world once they start globetrotting (unless it's ban is something related to a specifc area). They might complain, ask for more gnosis and to go back, but they will follow their pack no matter what - and that's how you might find a Hummingbird in the middle of Siberia with its pack.


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

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Asmodai View Post
                This is a very complicated thing, and something I feel doesn't really happen a lot in a setting.
                Really? Because I think this happens all the time, and I see this in game constantly. Players pick pack totems on the basis of what cool powers they will get and whether the totem fits within their pack quest they've assigned themselves.

                I think the game even assumes this as it makes lots of references like "Shadow Lords follow their activities with interest" (for packs that pick Grandfather Thunder) or "Members of the Wendigo tribe respect packs who take their patron as a totem, though they may not fully trust them."

                Since most people start playing with just the corebook and not with all the other supplements, their first packs will likely be just the totems from the corebooks which are overwhelmingly the tribal totems.

                I think people belonging to a pack whose totem is a different tribal totem is routine, and often without any issues at all. There are probably some cases where following certain pack totems will lead to tensions or conflicts, but that is probably limited to a few obvious choices. A Get of Fenris who follows Pegasus will probably be asked lots of questions. But if he follows Stag? Probably none. And whatever conflicts arise should be a lot less even compared to the Bear totem which penalizes you with massive Honor renown losses.

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                • #9
                  Interesting, I've always felt that PC packs were out of the norm and filled with weirdoes, who tend to advance faster in rank than the setting implies, to who way more interesting things happen than anyone else and who tend to be so much more special than any other packs, totem choices included . I wouldn't think that's a statement about the setting, though.


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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Asmodai View Post
                    Interesting, I've always felt that PC packs were out of the norm and filled with weirdoes, who tend to advance faster in rank than the setting implies, to who way more interesting things happen than anyone else and who tend to be so much more special than any other packs, totem choices included . I wouldn't think that's a statement about the setting, though.
                    I agree that PC packs are "special" because they are the protagonists. But that does not mean everything about them is unusual. One thing the Rage books lacked was anything like packs and charts that detailed relations between packs, like the old coterie charts of Vampire. As a result, we strangely don't have many canonical examples of packs in the game. That may be way you and I think so radically different. It'd be interesting to hear what other people think.

                    How I design the setting is that NPCs are divided along a spectrum. The main group represents the statistical mean. They advance about a rank every decade and tend to plateau at Adren and Athro. There is a smaller group of losers and fuck ups. They get killed a lot, serve as the butt of jokes, and typically advance very slowly. Then there is a small group of competent, ambitious NPCs who are peers of the PCs. I always tell my players, "They think they are the PCs, and you are the NPCs the ST sends to thwart them."

                    I certainly think that totem choice needs to be meaningful, and if you pick an unusual totem, it's going to come into play. If a Silver Fang chooses Rat, there will be consequences. But if he picks a respectable totem like Stag, Owl, or Fenris, it's not a big deal. A Wendigo who picks Fenris though, will have some interesting times. But Stag is an awesome totem even if his tribe thinks the Fianna are jerks. But the latter will still lead to some interesting roleplay should he interact with Fianna.

                    I am prone to have NPCs be monotribal packs, or multitribal packs with only 2-3 tribes as members. The standard PC pack of lots of tribes is unusual. But following other totems isn't unusual in my chronicles, and I have not yet played in someone else's chronicle where that is unusual either.

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                    • #11
                      I agree with you on practically everything you said here about how the Garou society works in game, so I guess our readings aren't that far off. I just feel the specific tribal totems being used by packs that are in no way affiliated with that tribe are rare (double so for totems like Fenris, Wendigo, Pegasus and Griffon).


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

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