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Red Talons, the throw-away tribe?

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  • #16
    The Revised Red Talons Tribebook noted that there are actually an awful lot of places in the wilderness that aren't so pure even though no human ever came to them. And the Red Talons are the only ones that live deep enough in said wilderness to bump into them and who have to deal with them. After all, it's not as if there was industrialization to spawn monsters back in the days where they came out of caves. Because they're being driven into dangerous and marginal habitats, they're going to be a bit resentful at the very least.

    Originally posted by Kat View Post

    Basically my post was somewhat ironical rather than full on serious.
    One day, you may find that the mask doesn't come off.

    Morality is subjective in the sense that what is moral to another may not be moral to other being.

    Of course, if morality of somebody involves me getting slaughtered potentially, I will contest that and likely not feel bad about killing in self-defense while I won't decree my or anyone's morality as objective.
    Flipside - wolves, the only Kin to the Talons, are hemmed in and in far greater danger of dying out completely. For the Red Talons, human extirpation is the logical end conclusion of a need for aggressive self-defense. Humans, to the experience of Griffin's tribe, always try to come back and rebuild, so they have to make sure that there won't be any of them left to come in and try again.

    But if some of them were willing, you know, to sit down and have a talk between two different species without it ending in automatic bloodshed, I would be also more than willing to sit down too, listen to their warnings of supernatural evil being a threat to both species, and who knows, maybe I would even invite them to a homemade dinner that is ecologically friendly even according to strictest standards because my rabbits have plenty free space to go around and they eat only natural food. Just let's be good neighbors, though please don't kill those local members of hunter club because I prefer political means of cracking down on them. Probably any reasonable Garou PC would not get an Ally dot because of befriending me, because let's face, I have no political power, but sure, I can donate money to ecological organisation that is front for Garou or sign an initiative.

    EDIT: I should probably make a thread what fun things you would with your Garou friends in spare time that would not be culturally insensitive.
    7 billion humans. A few tens of thousands of wolves, at the most, and they can be legally hunted and killed in many countries. There's no walking away from the problem for the wolves, because they're slowly being pushed out and killed. There can't be peace, because it far favors the humans. Red Talons killing humans on sight has another practical edge - no human who lives to report the location of their hidden kin can get the news out that there are wolves around, few hunters show up, and the Talons can deal with them far more easily than a huge production. There's no "seeing with eyes unclouded by hate" because the humans are dismissive, and few enough care to really change the opinions of the rest. Hate clouds human eyes far more than those of the Talons.
    Last edited by Saur Ops Specialist; 11-02-2014, 02:44 PM.

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    • #17
      One day, you may find that the mask doesn't come off.
      I might become like my friend June, everyone taking his posts at face value and him ascending to become a living meme.

      Realtalk, I don't deny Red Talon's viewpoint, they are entitled to a one as every being in the universe. I'm only sure if someone threathens one of my values, including my sense of self-preservation, I will fight back, so will Talons. Yes, I can respect that even if I don't agree from subjective viewpoint.
      Last edited by Kat; 11-02-2014, 12:43 PM.


      “I am absolute, I am perfect, I am supreme. I shall be eternal. My tragedy, is that there is no other fate for me. My powerlessness was that I couldn’t subjugate my journey to the gods, while dreaming of rebirth at the end of distant time, like other pharaohs.” Ramesses II, Fate/Prototype: Argent Fragments.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Saur Ops Specialist View Post
        7 billion humans. A few tens of thousands of wolves, at the most, and they can be legally hunted and killed in many countries. There's no walking away from the problem for the wolves, because they're slowly being pushed out and killed. There can't be peace, because it far favors the humans. Red Talons killing humans on sight has another practical edge - no human who lives to report the location of their hidden kin can get the news out that there are wolves around, few hunters show up, and the Talons can deal with them far more easily than a huge production. There's no "seeing with eyes unclouded by hate" because the humans are dismissive, and few enough care to really change the opinions of the rest. Hate clouds human eyes far more than those of the Talons.
        And I think this applies to any tribe with wolf-kin running free. That's pretty sobering.



        My gallery.

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        • #19
          I know I talk here about real life, but in defense of my country, many things may be absurd there, but population of wolves is increasing steadily. Would hope there would be more of them since some of weaker carnivores became a pest.


          “I am absolute, I am perfect, I am supreme. I shall be eternal. My tragedy, is that there is no other fate for me. My powerlessness was that I couldn’t subjugate my journey to the gods, while dreaming of rebirth at the end of distant time, like other pharaohs.” Ramesses II, Fate/Prototype: Argent Fragments.

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          • #20
            The problem is largely an out of character one. Everyone sitting around the table is, obviously, human. some may be higher or lower on the evolutionary slider, but all still human

            And it can be difficult to look at a type of character that regards humans as th ultimate expression of the game's ultimate evil, and not go "well, they're wrong." While at the same time, it's hard to look at the Walkers, who are almost all human, who have their lupus eating off a plate, and go "they're wrong," especially as you tap away at your phone and listen to skrillex or whatever.

            You take this perception - that the Red Talons are inherently wrong and evil - and combine it with a general reluctance to play lupus, and another trend that many games seem to have, a focus towards city activities, and we you have a tribe that gets little to no play time, except as rather cartoonish NPC villains.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
              See, from what I've seen, the opposite is true. Most PCs even from non-urrah tribes have much more common with the Walkers than Talons.
              What people play and what the books make available for play are two different things. This statement is true simply by the fact that Homids are the most popular (and populous) Breed and the Red Talons don't have any. The same factors that make playing with cities more popular online is the same reason you see more city viable concepts online. That has nothing to do with why the Red Talons are written up in a problematic way.

              I'm just asking in general why they tend to be ignored so much and what could be done to fix the situation for them. Just a curiosity and a thought experiment. And also to consider if I ever put up a game.
              Redo them completely is my answer. The problem with them is that the only thing that makes the Red Talons distinct from any other Tribe is they take the anti-human bias of the Garou Nation (which yes, should be a thing) to extremes. Almost every Tribe once found it acceptable to cull humans. What would you do with a Red Talon in play back when the culling was still an accepted thing? What would make them special then? Nothing.

              Especially if you find the Red Talon vs. Glasswalker dichotomy interesting, you need to make the Red Talons (1) something that is actually opposite rather than generally so and (2) give them something that doesn't pigeon hole them so strongly away from the other Tribes.

              Solution? Make the Red Talons, essentially, Ratkin (who seem to be pretty popular if you allow Fera in a larger online style game). Make them the Wyld Tribe to the Glasswalker's Weaver Tribe. Their anti-human bias becomes an incidental thing where the humans are just the biggest sources of the Weaver spreading. The death of lots of humans isn't the goal, attacking the Weaver's infrastructures and systems is the goal. That just happens to be really bad for humans on both an immediate level and a social level as chaos and upheaval follows in their wake.

              The Red Talons should love being in the city for the joy of facing their enemies head on. The Wyrm and the Weaver co-mingled in a target rich environment where they can strike both in the name of combating the Wyrm. They can be there to get in the face of all the non-urrah Tribes for getting to cozy with the ways of the city instead of using that knowledge solely to strike at the enemy. Etc. You can even adjust Griffin's ban and have Homid Red Talons but they have to do something like be exposed to the Flux first; to show their dedication to the Wyld.

              Playing a bunch of rabble rousing Wyld proselytes is more appealing than playing a sulky group of assholes trying to prove who hates humans more. And this also changes something pretty important. In the canon cosmology, the Red Talons are basically doing something pointless in the large picture. Yes, avoiding the extinction of wolves is good, but extinctions both happen in nature anyway and its a defensive battle when there's an offensive war to win. Turning them into anti-Weaver extremists means they actually have a point. The Weaver's webs are making the return of the Balance Wyrm impossible.

              EDIT: Though, back to the main question of the thread; Why are the Talons boring, why are the wilds they live in boring? That in itself is part of WtA's world, yet it so easily gets pushed aside in favour of the cities.
              One, you stated that this is largely coming from a bias of online games. Cities are flat out easier to play in, but we're humans living in them. We understand then and know them. Whereas the number of humans that play online RPGs and are also equally familiar with living out in the true wilderness is a rather small group demographically speaking.

              Cities have a lot of appeal. Most Garou are going to be Homids, which means they are going to grow up in human environments. Two Tribes are heavily linked with urban settings (and two of the bigger ones at that) while one Tribe is explicitly not, and it is supposed to be a very small Tribe for it. Being near an urban area means more enemies to fight, more meaning to the repercussions of the Veil and the Curse, and more for kinfolk if they're being played to do anything. If you're playing in a larger game with interactions between the Garou and Fera, or other supernatural types, the city is the easiest way to facilitated that without it becoming a bloody violence fest.

              That's it in a nutshell. Cities have more options for play than wilderness games. Not that what wilderness games have to offer is bad, just limited to very specific things. There's really no way to escape that without completely redoing WtA.

              Originally posted by HOD View Post
              The notion that humans are wyrm tainted and should either be exterminated or at best brought back to "controllable" population levels is NOT something that is "exceedingly well represented in the Garou Nation as a whole". For starters, all the other Tribes have homid Kinfolk (usually more than lupus). This means a Get lupus CANNOT hold this position at all, since it basically means he wants to kill over half of his own Kinfolk, which would be.....odd at best.
              The notion that humans are out of control is well represented as a position amongst the Garou. As I said, what makes the Red Talons different is that they're extremists about it. They're willing to play the, "I hate humans more than you!" game, instead of accepting that humans exist, the Litany in fact demands that you can't just eradicate them, and actually doing something more useful than turning themselves into outcasts since, as you point out, the other Tribes don't like the idea that the Red Talons want their families dead.

              My point is not that a Lupus Fenrir is the same as a Red Talon, but they can fill the narrative role of "big bad wolf that despises humanity" just fine. They're not the same because they're just going to go kill the Wyrm instead of becoming anti-human extremists. Even if they fundamentally agree on the position the Red Talons are starting on.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                One, you stated that this is largely coming from a bias of online games. Cities are flat out easier to play in, but we're humans living in them. We understand then and know them. Whereas the number of humans that play online RPGs and are also equally familiar with living out in the true wilderness is a rather small group demographically speaking.

                Cities have a lot of appeal. Most Garou are going to be Homids, which means they are going to grow up in human environments. Two Tribes are heavily linked with urban settings (and two of the bigger ones at that) while one Tribe is explicitly not, and it is supposed to be a very small Tribe for it. Being near an urban area means more enemies to fight, more meaning to the repercussions of the Veil and the Curse, and more for kinfolk if they're being played to do anything. If you're playing in a larger game with interactions between the Garou and Fera, or other supernatural types, the city is the easiest way to facilitated that without it becoming a bloody violence fest.

                That's it in a nutshell. Cities have more options for play than wilderness games. Not that what wilderness games have to offer is bad, just limited to very specific things. There's really no way to escape that without completely redoing WtA.
                Yeah, there is more to do in cities. Though, I've seen the problem between rural caern VS city solved by having a city board on the forum for city focused characters. So it's not impossible to combine them.

                I guess what I'm looking for is, how to drum up interest in a rural sept game as a concept. And through that, see the viability of Talons.



                My gallery.

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                • #23
                  Yeah, there is more to do in cities. Though, I've seen the problem between rural caern VS city solved by having a city board on the forum for city focused characters. So it's not impossible to combine them.

                  I guess what I'm looking for is, how to drum up interest in a rural sept game as a concept. And through that, see the viability of Talons.
                  Only way I could encourage one of my players to play in rural setting would be if he could play a redneck. Whelp, Hillfolk of Bone Gnawers are kind of 'rednecks'

                  But realtalk, rural settings can be charming and they have their own merits, that said by someone who lives on the edge of a small town and can visit all those villages on foot. Small town setting like that could be a wonderful compromise, though I doubt there is much Wyrm-taint in my town. Any threat like that would have to come from outside. And there is a good place for a caern in one of villages, which happens to be next to a place where we keep European bisons under protection. Probably Silver Fang dominated Sept, due to various reasons.


                  “I am absolute, I am perfect, I am supreme. I shall be eternal. My tragedy, is that there is no other fate for me. My powerlessness was that I couldn’t subjugate my journey to the gods, while dreaming of rebirth at the end of distant time, like other pharaohs.” Ramesses II, Fate/Prototype: Argent Fragments.

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                  • #24
                    I think the Red Talons are fine as they are. They are often limited as a PC choice because 1) most players prefer to play homids, 2) a lot of games aren't based in areas where there is large wilderness, and 3) many STs don't know how to run a game where lupus issues are prominent. That's not the fault of the Tribe. I think it's good they exist for those troupes who do see a use for them. I think online games are more limiting because the nature of the play are more limiting to lupus.

                    Portrayal in WoD materials may need to better, but honestly I find that is the case with many tribes, clans, traditions, etc. Generally I find the core books to be filled with very strong images and themes that are badly developed in subsequent books. I usually keep the things I like, jettison those I don't, and introduce my own ideas.

                    In general, I tend to run focused games in Werewolf with limited options for tribes appropriate to the setting I have. I did run a brief campaign where Red Talons were an option and prepared a lot of materials to help players. Those who played Talons had a blast. We explored lots of different things involving the Wyrm that did not involve humanity necessarily which pointed the tribe's ire in a different direction, and I had a plot with humans reintroducing wolves into the wilderness (which is why the Tribe sent some Cliaths down to that area) which caused some good character interaction.

                    Even if not as PCs, I think a good ST can do lots of fun stuff with the tribe as NPCs. They are actually one of my favorite tribes.

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                    • #25
                      Black Fox, I'd love to see some plot summaries of those games! Having solid ideas of Red Talon stuff to run would be real nice.

                      For me I think one reason people have problems with Talons is, they don't logically fit into any campaign that isn't focused around them. They're not short on plot points, it's just that their plots are generally mutually exclusive, it's like running a game with both vampire and garou PCs--even if you give them a common foe, it's not going to last, and they aren't going to be in the same place at the same time anyway. Run a one-off game with a mostly- or all-Talon pack, something where you see them as more than strawmen, and they'll feel a lot more developed after that.

                      Also, the lupus form is _hard_ to run tabletop or LARP. You can't really appreciate or convey the differences in communication of being in that form for a long time as easily. Forums or MUSHes are easier that way.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Traveller View Post
                        Black Fox, I'd love to see some plot summaries of those games! Having solid ideas of Red Talon stuff to run would be real nice.
                        It's been over ten years so I don't have summaries easily available. But here are some things I remember.

                        1) Make individual animals distinctive NPCs. Determine who are the key species, and have at least one member of each detailed in appearance and personality. Any names will be those your Talon (or lupus or even general Garou) NPCs gave them. Read Bambi by Felix Salten - lots of ideas on how to portray animals. Jungle Book is also awesome. Aesops Fables is also helpful. For more contemporary, something like Mouse Guard is even good. Watership Down and Plague Dogs as well. Detail your wolves and wolf kinfolk a lot, but don't neglect your rival predators and prey (big and small - deer, beaver, mouse, squirrel) and the distinction between wild, tamed, and domesticated animals.

                        2) Emphasis on spirits interaction in the Umbra is essential. Talons are basically there to help regulate that. Are wolves not finding enough prey? Find out why the spirits of the prey animals are offended. Even outside of wolves, Talon Theurges can be kept busy mediating disputes between rival spirits flocks; or trying to get rain or weather spirits to work as they should especially if weather is erratic - drought, floods, or such.

                        3) Natural disasters can lead to a lot of cool scenes, especially once PC Talons accept other animals as real NPCs they care about or dislike. Set a massive wildfire in the woods and you'll have plenty of drama.

                        4) I highlighted that the purpose of predators are to cull the weak and sick, not the strong. Same applies to humans. You can teach Talons to be selective of what kind of humans they should kill and get good discussions on what is definition of weak and sick as it relates to humans.

                        5) The Talons in my chronicle had to deal with the fact the reintroduction of wolves in the area were the result of humans; and that evidence of wolves hurting humans and livestock would endanger the wolves. This forced the Talons to develop a strategy on what they could or could not do, especially since there were a few other tribes in the chronicle as well.

                        6) Have the Talons deal with threats from invasive species - plants, vermin, animals, whatever.

                        7) Be more creative with Wyrm creatures. Less Fomori or man made toxic spells, and more ancient horrors hidden in the Earth or coming from the outer dark. I go all Lovecraftian - I have them deal with Colors out of Space, Fire Vampires, Shoggoths, or whatever. Have Banes be disease spirits infecting your prey animals or whatever. Show how the Wyrm manifests outside of Man. Be creative with your Wyrm creatures to focus the game away from "killing humans."

                        8) Use the deep wilderness as a benefit. Keep small human settlements. Have areas of the forest or prairie or whatever where people don't visit so that it belongs only to the animals and Garou.

                        It is a very different game than most people are used to, but it can be very fun if you have the right players. The Talons are the only tribe not dominated by homids. Even though other tribes have lupus, those lupus are a distinct minority and don't set the agenda of the tribe. As a result, a Talons chronicle can highlight a lot of things homids don't think are important, but actually are to the Garou.

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                        • #27
                          6) Have the Talons deal with threats from invasive species - plants, vermin, animals, whatever.
                          I suggest feral 'house" cats. They may be second most proficient species at killing off whole species.


                          “I am absolute, I am perfect, I am supreme. I shall be eternal. My tragedy, is that there is no other fate for me. My powerlessness was that I couldn’t subjugate my journey to the gods, while dreaming of rebirth at the end of distant time, like other pharaohs.” Ramesses II, Fate/Prototype: Argent Fragments.

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                          • #28
                            Cats are easy for Talons to deal with; hunt 'em down, eat 'em.

                            Kudzu, though? Short of burning it or eating it, it's almost uncontrollable (and burning it is a temporary fix)

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                            • #29
                              Cats are easy for Talons to deal with; hunt 'em down, eat 'em.
                              Unless Pentex gives them a boost.


                              “I am absolute, I am perfect, I am supreme. I shall be eternal. My tragedy, is that there is no other fate for me. My powerlessness was that I couldn’t subjugate my journey to the gods, while dreaming of rebirth at the end of distant time, like other pharaohs.” Ramesses II, Fate/Prototype: Argent Fragments.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by The Cat Came Back View Post
                                Cats are easy for Talons to deal with; hunt 'em down, eat 'em.
                                Most Red Talons in North America wouldn't need to. The coyotes in the area would take care of that for them. Their dilemma would likely involve support of the coyotes.

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