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  • Fostern theurge challenge

    We're using a soft renown system, where we advance players when it feels right in the story. It's worked well this far, till now.

    One of my PC's, a Fianna cliath homid theurge just challenged his mentor, a Shadow Lord adren npc, for fostern.

    The adren doesn't think he's ready, and wants to set him a hard challenge that will serve as an educational experience. Detroit Sept. Any ideas as to what might be suitable?
    Last edited by pwtucker; 01-15-2022, 10:40 PM.

  • #2
    The purpose of a rank challenge is for the Garou to demonstrate that he is ready for the responsibilities of that rank. A Fostern's responsibilities are fairly low. If a Cliath is a teenager just graduated from high school and ready to move out of his parents' house, then Fostern is someone who has mastered being an adult. He holds a steady job, saved up some money, owns his own means of transportation, pays all his own bills, stays out of trouble, and is ready for the responsibilities of starting his own family. For Garou that means he is no longer making the typical rookie mistakes of Cliaths. It also means they are ready to assume more duties as it relates to their auspice.

    There's not much difficulty to become Fostern in my opinion, but it certainly is not automatic. Certain people are too immature, foolish, or whatever. If the Garou truly isn't ready to become Fostern, he should fail. Fostern is not about being a leader, or an expert, or potential. It's just being a responsible adult who is a good example to the cubs and cliaths, who takes his sept duties seriously, is able to perform minimum auspice duties, can follow the Litany, and so on.

    Now I don't believe that a rank challenge is an appropriate venue for education if you mean the Garou should learn during the challenge as he passes it. Tests should validate that a test taker has learned the material, not to teach him anything new during the test. Teaching occurs before the test. But if you mean the Garou will fail the test and "teach" him he is not ready and why he isn't ready, that's OK. If that case, the NPC (meaning you the ST) should determine why the Garou isn't ready, and give him a test in that area which he'll likely fail. Then he'll know he isn't ready and must master X first before challenging again.

    So the real question is why does this adren not think this PC is ready? What is it that he's failed to show that he's ready to be Fostern? Is it the lack of a particular skill set he thinks the Garou needs? Is it being unproperly prepared for his auspice responsibilities? Is it a lack of knowledge about Garou culture than any adult Garou should know? Does he show a profound character weakness that is inappropriate a mature adult? Does he violate a tenet of the Litany? Not show sufficient concern about the Veil? Something else? Where is he deficient?

    Once you determined the reason the Garou is not worthy to be Fostern yet, then your task is simple - give him a test that forces the PC to confront this weakness. He should fail it because he lacks whatever it is takes to do it. Make it clear the PC needs to overcome this weakness. His failure is a result of not having the required skill, character, reputation, or whatever. Most likely he fails, and then works on correcting that weakness for next time. It's always possible the PC may still win the challenge by pure luck, or somehow pulling it off. So be it - hopefully he figured out he got lucky and corrects the defect anyway.

    Of course, if the adren doesn't feel he is ready yet, he could just tell him "no, you're not ready" (and possibly explain why). The PC may just challenge another person, so I understand why the adren may want to craft a challenge now. But it is an option, and since it's his mentor who does this, it should lead to a conversation.

    If you really want to guarantee a failure, you can make the challenge subjective enough that the adren must certify it's been successful or not. Not something that can be objectively won in a clear cut way. Completing a race under a minute is an objective test. A person either succeeds or not. A gymnastics routine that is judged is something where different judges can rule differently. Is it a 8, 9, 9.5, 10? You probably want something where the adren can honestly say the adren failed and explain why if pressed. It needs to be opened ended. "Convince me you are a knowledgeable theurge. You have 24 hours (or whetever in game time) to determine your answer and then give it to me." That puts all the burden on the PC who needs to present a bunch of information to you. But since the criteria is not specific, it means anticipating what he thinks the NPC wants. So if for example, the PC can't name various spirits around the caern bawn (because he's never bothered to interact with them enough or whatever), then his failure to do so is the reason why he fails being "knowledgeable".

    If you tell us the reason why the adren does not think the PC is ready, I may be able to give more specific advice.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with Black Fox on the matter of Fostern Challenges, or rank challenges in general.
      While it is not the case here, as far as I understood the original post, I could see social factors at play when it comes to rank challenges, too. A Mentor, for example, might not leave the impression he is too easy on his protege or consolidating his power by bringing allies into higher ranks.

      As far as objective results for tasks of a challenge go, the Garou issuing the challenge can outsource the judging of the result to the gathered Garou (if there is a Moot ongoing, for example) or the Master of Challenge. In any case, in my opinion, one should abstain from too vague defined tasks or the outcome. It's rarely a good game element, when one person is confident what he did and others are not....

      As for the example what a Cliath and Fostern would be in human society, I'd like to add, that Fostern, in times past, might have been the age when a young Garou was moving to another sept to be fostered there, learn beyond the ways of his own sept, and then return as Adren or to challenge for Adren back home after an extended stay in another sept...

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks as always, Black Fox and heinrich. Excellent feedback, and I appreciate the pushback against my inclination to make the challenge harder than it needed to be.

        The main reason I was against his succeeding at the challenge was due to his not having accomplished much of anything; doing away with our renown system has resulted in an amorphous progression which has worked well, but also allows players (in this case) to strike out before they're ready. The rest of the pack is fostern, and each of them accomplished a couple of new feats before challenging for that rank. The cliath's player was playing a similar fostern before who died, and I think he's just itching to catch up with the others again, hence his impatience despite not having clearly demonstrated growth or maturity in game yet.

        But your advice is well received, and I'll craft a challenge that's fair but which calls for him to reflect on the role of an adult theurge and what that means in the sept. Again, my thanks!

        Comment


        • #5
          If the issue is that he hasn't performed some kind of "feat", and the other fostern have, I think it's perfectly fine to assign some kind of similar "feat" or "feats" as his Fostern challenge (or as a part of his challenge). After all, if that is proof of being able to handle the responsibilities of being Fostern, and he hasn't yet, it's an appropriate test. "Let's see if he can do it." I'm not sure what you mean by the term feats, but it is obviously clear in your mind given the chronicle.

          Or you can simply have the Adren (and any other member of the sept who may be asked), say "Hey, every other Cliath who wanted to be Fostern has performed one or more feats that indicate they are ready. Come back and challenge when you have achieved that." It really depends on how important that is to you in maintaining the coherence of your setting as something that distinguishes Cliaths and Fosterns.

          Either way works, as is ignoring it entirely, as long as you're comfortable that the PC has shown he is ready to become Fostern.

          Comment


          • #6
            Running in a pack of Fostern and not stand out as being less capable, might merit being a Fostern.
            Sure, having some feat accomplished is nice, but going on missions with only Fostern and acting like a Fostern is its own accomplishment.

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