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White Howler Gifts/Mechanics and White Howlers in Play (Iron Age, Rebirth etc.)

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  • White Howler Gifts/Mechanics and White Howlers in Play (Iron Age, Rebirth etc.)

    Blooding Fury seems like an AMAZING Gift - White Howler tribe book, W20. You take 1 point of unsoakable Aggravated from your own fang/claw, and you regain all of your Temporary Rage. This is huge right?

    Subterranean Affinity feels like a very powerful merit given the proclivity Wyrmish monsters and various undead have for caves, basements, tunnels and sewers. It would also combo well with being a basement dweller yourself, which makes sense given White Howler cairns. Basically you get +3 dice when you're underground, or in caves.

    The Rite of the Sacred Tattoo, and the Rite of Sacred Art to make the former even easier, feel kind of busted. RAW it seems you can have all of the tattoos listed, it's just that once you have bound with a specific tribal totem, other tribal totems will never accept you, a certain pack totem, other totems will never accept you etc. As an example, one of the tattoos (dedicated to Gaia) gets you double Gnosis regeneration.

    Howl of Healing would be busted if you had any living friends... which you do in an Iron Age game! If you're reborn in modern times... well you can use it on your kids someday! Basically every White Howler who can hear you regains 1 health level per success, no issues with various damage types, just regain.

    ----------------------

    Now, onto White Howlers in play - does anyone have any experience playing one, or seeing one as a PC or NPC at a table? Iron Age, or Modern Times? An interesting quote from the tribe book:

    Even in mundane genetics, researchers often find unexpected results. Add spirits in to the mix and almost anything is possible. For a White Howler to be born to a pair of Kinfolk parents who have long-since forgotten their ties to werewolves would be almost impossible; but stranger things have happened. Such a birth would certainly attract the attention of the spirits, especially Lion, who now serves as part of Griffin’s brood. He would have to regain his place as Totem of an entire Tribe once more. He might well promise almost anything to those who could rescue the new cub and keep it out of harm’s way, all while bearing Griffin’s displeasure at losing a powerful servant. Unfortunately, the Black Spiral Dancers would also jump at the chance to pull one of their long lost brethren into the not-so-tender throes of their familial embrace. Their attempts to claim the White Howler cub for their own, with the full backing of the Wyrm behind them, might give even the most stalwart Garou cause to consider getting involved in Lion’s quest
    The implications of a White Howler being born in modern times are very interesting to me - you have a young Garou to foster and protect, and surely a whole bunch of spirits and people trying to either kill, kidnap, train, influence or recruit them. Everyone has a stake or interest, whether it's ensuring the "traitors" stay dead, helping a spirit they like to flourish, using it as a weapon against the BSDs, hoping to restore true spiritually attuned wolves to Scotland...

    Anyways, looking forward to hearing people's thoughts on the abilities and narrative place of the tribe!

  • #2
    Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
    Blooding Fury seems like an AMAZING Gift - White Howler tribe book, W20. You take 1 point of unsoakable Aggravated from your own fang/claw, and you regain all of your Temporary Rage. This is huge right?
    Eh? Primal Anger is a level 1 Gift that lets you deal 1 agg to yourself for 3 Rage. While less useful for higher Rage characters, it also can go above your permanent Rage rating. Blooding Fury is a rank 3 Gift, and you have to have Rage 4+ before it's actually better (though both is a strong thing to have if there's a good healer in your pack). Considering the comparisons here, I think Blooding Fury is actually underwhelming in the context of Primal Anger existing.

    Subterranean Affinity feels like a very powerful merit..
    Yeah, this one feels more off to me. I think it should be something more like decreasing penalties created by underground/cave spaces like darkness and tight quarters, rather than bonus dice.

    The Rite of the Sacred Tattoo, and the Rite of Sacred Art to make the former even easier, feel kind of busted. RAW it seems you can have all of the tattoos listed, it's just that once you have bound with a specific tribal totem, other tribal totems will never accept you, a certain pack totem, other totems will never accept you etc. As an example, one of the tattoos (dedicated to Gaia) gets you double Gnosis regeneration.
    First off, the Rite of Sacred Art doesn't do anything for the Rite of the Scared Tattoo. Sacred Art only boosts the Rite of the Fetish when it's used on scars or tattoos.

    Second... yeah the ability to get all of the tattoos is strong. But you only get one shot at each, and if it fails (esp. if it fails for Gaia or Luna) it's a pretty bad situation. I would do something like increase the difficulty and Gnosis cost of the Rite by 1 for each existing tattoo, so the risk of failing if you keep going for more increases and would be discouraged.

    Howl of Healing would be busted if you had any living friends... which you do in an Iron Age game! If you're reborn in modern times... well you can use it on your kids someday! Basically every White Howler who can hear you regains 1 health level per success, no issues with various damage types, just regain.
    Again, consider the context here. Howl of Healing is a level 5 Gift. It's supposed to be powerful. Mother's Touch is a level 1 Gift, heals all types of damage, and can heal multiple levels in one application. Given how much damage things in the game can deal, healing 1 level of damage is easily overwhelmed in combat. This is far better for things like suffering some sort of area effect that deals low levels of damage over time to make sure everyone can get to safety.

    Now, onto White Howlers in play - does anyone have any experience playing one, or seeing one as a PC or NPC at a table? Iron Age, or Modern Times?
    Modern times as a fellow PC.

    The biggest issue, is that a new White Howler is a Big Deal. It quickly takes over the story unless everyone is as special of a character. If you're just playing a Cliath Get of Fenris looking to crush some Wyrm skulls and make a name for yourself, you quickly fade into a background character to the White Howler's story of reviving their Tribe and the Black Spirals doing everything they can to corrupt the Howler or kill them.

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    • #3
      Thanks for clarifications and perspective!

      What's interesting about Subterranean Affinity is that it applies to ALL actions taken below ground level. If you're a basement dwelling teenager that'll apply to your homemade tattoo parlouring, your attempts to record a solid single with your band, trying to hack a senator's twitter account, chatting with a ghost about avenging their murder, putting together your conspiracy theory board for vampire activity in the city...

      Even if it only applied to your personal little basement (which isn't an unflavourful base for a White Howler, an underground home is very fitting) it's very good. Then apply to the sewers, to underground prisons, to caves, to pits containing the wyrm (definitely a good idea to go down and check on those).

      My instinct is to say that WTA is very generous with adding to dice pools, see Pure Breed for instance and how universally it applies to social checks (and let's be honest, high stakes social checks in WTA are often going to deal with Garou politics, the litany, challenges and debating matters of renown). Then again, even with that in mind, +3 dice to absolutely everything you do underground is strong, especially for a 3 point merit! Interesting though.
      Last edited by 11twiggins; 01-18-2022, 09:54 PM.

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      • #4
        It always feels like WtA writers frequently assume "+X dice" will be read as, "+X dice when your ST OKs it based on the flavor text of this widget," and forgets that people tend to default to technical parsing of rules text. Subterranean Affinity is a perfect example of this.

        Then again, WtA is one of the few WoD games that seems to understand how much difficulty matters more than dice pool in most cases (though how that gets applied doesn't always make sense to me). +3 dice absolutely pales in comparison to -3 difficulty for anything your character is built to be good at. 8 dice at diff 3 is significantly better than 11 dice at diff 6. A lot of players try to stack up huge dice pools, but don't look for difficulty reductions and their characters don't feel as powerful as they might sound based on the investment.

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        • #5
          So it turns out that White Howlers GET Primal Anger as an inherent Gift! So Blooding Fury isn't just underpowered, it's also semi-redundant (outside of having a very high rage pool to refill, or wanting multiple refills per scene).

          Big fan of their ghost motif, the spiral imagery, the blue woad, the connection to the Picts. Imagining a revived one in modern day using a lot of Scottish slang which mystifies Homid and Lupus alike.

          "Maw left me with an empty, so awe wis like let's 'ave some bevvies!"

          "... what?"

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          • #6
            Would a White Howler born in modern times actually BE a White Howler, that's the question. By genetics and spirit, sure. But they'd need to be accepted into the White Howler tribe after their first change, and no one exists to do those rites. Would they be inducted by ancient Pictish ancestors? Or would they be inducted into the Children of Gaia or Bone Gnawers as a placeholder, and espouse that they are the first of the new White Howlers, sheltering within a living tribe for the time being?

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            • #7
              A cub before their Rite of Passage and induction into a tribe is just a cub. Despite whatever Pure Breed or lineage they have, a cub can theoretically belong to any tribe. This is why male Garou born to Black Fury Garou or kin can be turned over to the Children of Gaia, or how cubs who fail the tests to become one tribe end up with the Bone Gnawers, or why the early books made mention of tribes "stealing" lost cubs who had their First Change and raise them in their tribe instead of giving them over to their "proper" tribe.

              So technically, if Lion could just adopt a new Garou and turn them into a White Howler, they could have been done even before any remaining pure breed White Howlers (or even just a descendant of such) arrived in the modern age. After all, we know some of the White Howler kinfolk were adopted by the Fianna after they conquered Scotland and expunged the Black Dancers. (Likewise for the Croatan kinfolk incorporated into the Wendigo and Uktena.) If you could restart the tribe by simply having some Garou volunteer to do it, it would have happened by now. So some kind of ingredient is missing that prevents the tribe from being reborn.

              Is it simply an issue with the Totem? Is it the lack of specific rite knowledge that died out with the Garou? Something else? A combination of many things? Ultimately it's up to the ST to determine if they want it possible to resurrect the Howler tribe or if it is impossible. Depending on the era of the books, this is either something hinted at being possible, or it waves the naughty finger at any reader who dares contemplate it. However, I think most people would say if it is possible to do so, some kind of chronicle spanning epic quest should be needed.

              We also know that the Black Spiral Dancers can often sense when an unknown Howler-related Garou is born that they don't control. Previous books mentioned things like corrupt Kin-Fetches who inform the Dancers (although if true, these would have to be far superior Kin-Fetches than those actually used by the Garou!). And that Fianna Garou who do have some of the old Howler blood can have horrible nightmares and such. So the lore is, if you're related in any way to the Howlers, it's going to be bad luck for you.

              In the 2e Book of the Wyrm, we're told that Dancers are either zero Pure Breed or 5 Pure Breed, and that those high PB Dancers tend to be part of the Cluithi camp who preserve some corrupt version of the original Howlers practice.

              So in practice, we know there are times when a descendant of the White Howlers is born as Garou. They are often targeted by the Dancers who want to keep that lineage totally to themselves. Most who are born are probably claimed by the Fianna who have the most intact Pictish lineage among their kinfolk, but it's not exclusively theirs. There's various lost kinfolk out there. And if found, they could be inducted by any tribe who wanted to claim them. There's lots of candidates.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                A cub before their Rite of Passage and induction into a tribe is just a cub. Despite whatever Pure Breed or lineage they have, a cub can theoretically belong to any tribe. This is why male Garou born to Black Fury Garou or kin can be turned over to the Children of Gaia, or how cubs who fail the tests to become one tribe end up with the Bone Gnawers, or why the early books made mention of tribes "stealing" lost cubs who had their First Change and raise them in their tribe instead of giving them over to their "proper" tribe.

                So technically, if Lion could just adopt a new Garou and turn them into a White Howler, they could have been done even before any remaining pure breed White Howlers (or even just a descendant of such) arrived in the modern age. After all, we know some of the White Howler kinfolk were adopted by the Fianna after they conquered Scotland and expunged the Black Dancers. (Likewise for the Croatan kinfolk incorporated into the Wendigo and Uktena.) If you could restart the tribe by simply having some Garou volunteer to do it, it would have happened by now. So some kind of ingredient is missing that prevents the tribe from being reborn.

                Is it simply an issue with the Totem? Is it the lack of specific rite knowledge that died out with the Garou? Something else? A combination of many things? Ultimately it's up to the ST to determine if they want it possible to resurrect the Howler tribe or if it is impossible. Depending on the era of the books, this is either something hinted at being possible, or it waves the naughty finger at any reader who dares contemplate it. However, I think most people would say if it is possible to do so, some kind of chronicle spanning epic quest should be needed.

                We also know that the Black Spiral Dancers can often sense when an unknown Howler-related Garou is born that they don't control. Previous books mentioned things like corrupt Kin-Fetches who inform the Dancers (although if true, these would have to be far superior Kin-Fetches than those actually used by the Garou!). And that Fianna Garou who do have some of the old Howler blood can have horrible nightmares and such. So the lore is, if you're related in any way to the Howlers, it's going to be bad luck for you.

                In the 2e Book of the Wyrm, we're told that Dancers are either zero Pure Breed or 5 Pure Breed, and that those high PB Dancers tend to be part of the Cluithi camp who preserve some corrupt version of the original Howlers practice.

                So in practice, we know there are times when a descendant of the White Howlers is born as Garou. They are often targeted by the Dancers who want to keep that lineage totally to themselves. Most who are born are probably claimed by the Fianna who have the most intact Pictish lineage among their kinfolk, but it's not exclusively theirs. There's various lost kinfolk out there. And if found, they could be inducted by any tribe who wanted to claim them. There's lots of candidates.
                If we're going off W20 stuff, it does seem like a Garou being born who is a descendent of the White Howlers would be a big deal - presumably with some Pure Breed so that their white coat and specific lupine traits would shine through in their transformations. Given the death of Scottish wolves, this would be a Homid. If we take the quote from the most recent WH tribe book at face value then such a cub is the missing link for Lion to reassert himself as a Tribal totem - or it's the start of the epic quest so to speak! But yes agreed that you'd be a very high priority target for BSDs, but that has some upsides:

                - Glory in spades
                - More chances to do some anthropology on your people's old rites, even if you need to peel away 3000 years of corruption
                - Leads on potential kinfolk and cubs, even if they come with some "baggage" to say the very least!

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