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Red Talons, the throw-away tribe?

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  • Ana Mizuki
    started a topic Red Talons, the throw-away tribe?

    Red Talons, the throw-away tribe?

    (Note, in this, I'm discussing the general things I've seen in online forum gaming and here. I know a lot of the veterans here DO use Talons well, so this is mostly speaking in general)

    One thing I've noticed a lot in online games and discussions, is that as far as Red Talons are considered, they tend to be strawmen(wolves?), fallen tribe for sure or non-existant entirely. Now, I understand in part this, lupus are hard to play, lupus who don't even want to understand humanity are harder.

    Yet, I feel they should be present and their opinions heard more in games. Because Glass Walkers, their opposite is very popular indeed. And I think that skews the games massively as most games are set in cities and often Talons are banned. While this is true in canon, it game terms it also makes them look stupid. And if a well played Talon comes in-game, its often seen as backwards or stupid.

    And I think that takes away what makes the Walker vs Talon conflict so interesting, the fact that -both- are extremes on the Garou. By having no Talons or strawman ones, their side is not heard. And I think it should, because Talons are a reminder of the wild in garou, untouched by human culture. They have a great tribebook about how they deal with the wilds and spirits and handle the changing world. Not well, but they are far from ignorant or stupid. And without that voice, only the Glass Walker one is heard and so their extremity to human side is harder to see.

    So, I ask those who rarely use the Red Talons, what would make them more playable or something to be used more?

  • Kharnov
    replied
    Originally posted by Konigheim Horror View Post
    I don't remember anything about the Perfect Metis being naturally fertile... of course, I could be wrong. Do you disagree with the idea that the BSD were *trying* to make Metis fertile, though? That was in the original Book of the Wyrm. And it did not say there "This will never work", it said "If they succeed, the Garou Nation is done".

    Nevermind that it's only one idea to give the Red Talons more to do in the eyes of players than sulk and kill humans for pissing in the woods. That's what it comes down to for many, and it's a crying shame.
    Without explicit text to elaborate, I've always taken it as the Perfect Metis being born fertile. The whole point is 'a Metis with no (discernible) flaws,' and sterility seems like an evident flaw from a Garou or biological/evolutionary perspective.
    Last edited by Kharnov; 07-09-2020, 09:21 AM.

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  • Konigheim Horror
    replied
    I don't remember anything about the Perfect Metis being naturally fertile... of course, I could be wrong. Do you disagree with the idea that the BSD were *trying* to make Metis fertile, though? That was in the original Book of the Wyrm. And it did not say there "This will never work", it said "If they succeed, the Garou Nation is done".

    Nevermind that it's only one idea to give the Red Talons more to do in the eyes of players than sulk and kill humans for pissing in the woods. That's what it comes down to for many, and it's a crying shame.

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  • Saur Ops Specialist
    replied
    The Spirals didn't make a metis fertile. The Perfect Metis was presumably born that way, and Zhyzhak is homid. And also wildly out of character in that scenario.

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  • Konigheim Horror
    replied
    Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post
    Spiral actually didn't make metis fertile, they just make a LOT of them.
    There's a scenario in Times of Judgement where the Perfect Metis impregnates Zhyzhak. Though I got some details wrong; it's wasn't the BSD (who tried to get Metis fertile for a while now), it was the fallen Glasswalkers under Cockroach.

    I do understand if people scoff at ToJ scenarios for being, at times, pretty out there. You'll get no complaints from me. They're written for dramatic effect first and foremost. Trying to make Metis fertile, that does go back to Book of the Wyrm though, if I recall.

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  • Ana Mizuki
    replied
    Originally posted by Konigheim Horror View Post
    I know they're not actually vikings. I still think the idea is a big draw for some, even if it's not historically accurate either in- or out-of-universe.

    As for the other points: That all implies work needed by the writers, doesn't it? Going back to how they're not attractive NOW as player characters.

    On the topic of kinfolk, that's A) writer fiat and B) I did say a ritual. That's kinda the opposite of waiting for it to develop naturally. The Spirals managed to make a Metis fertile. Pentex made werecockroaches. At least it would be something different from "Kill the Apes!". Even if it's ultimately doomed to fail.
    Spiral actually didn't make metis fertile, they just make a LOT of them.

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  • Konigheim Horror
    replied
    I know they're not actually vikings. I still think the idea is a big draw for some, even if it's not historically accurate either in- or out-of-universe.

    As for the other points: That all implies work needed by the writers, doesn't it? Going back to how they're not attractive NOW as player characters.

    On the topic of kinfolk, that's A) writer fiat and B) I did say a ritual. That's kinda the opposite of waiting for it to develop naturally. The Spirals managed to make a Metis fertile. Pentex made werecockroaches. At least it would be something different from "Kill the Apes!". Even if it's ultimately doomed to fail.
    Last edited by Konigheim Horror; 07-04-2020, 12:16 AM.

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  • Damian May
    replied
    Well, what is a dog? It is a wolf that has been forcefully physically and mentally warped into a tool or toy for and by humans. I don't think they would blame the dogs....why would they? But humans for doing that to them? You betcha.

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  • Saur Ops Specialist
    replied
    Originally posted by Konigheim Horror View Post
    Fully admitting my inexperience with W:tA here, so please feel free to correct me if/when I get something horribly wrong. Ahem!

    The Talons seem indeed limited in scope. They're dominated by their "Kill the Apes!" theme, easily overshadowing anything else they might bring to the table. Kill all humans, kill most humans, kill some humans... nothing not connected to ape-killing in sight. For the record, I personally despise the Ratkin for much the same reasons and find reducing an animal that appears to have profited from the rise of cities themselves, nevermind one that can be affectionate, smart, and overall great pets, a disservice.

    Plus I dislike WW's murderfactions. But that's neither here nor there.

    Added to that, exploring internal fractures among the Tribe kinda goes against what they try to be at their core, doesn't it? Wolves don't have political parties. That's a human thing.
    Captive wolves play politics to determine hierarchies because their wild-living family-based grouping gets disrupted and leaves unanswered questions of social organization. This would also presumably happen normally among the Garou, given the inability to breed with each other to the effect of starting families, even if they didn't turn into humans.

    The Red Talons aren't just wolves, sure, but they're pretending really hard that they are, and that means adopting a limited perspective because deep introspection isn't wolf-ish.
    Correction, the writers thought that it wasn't very wolf-like. The writers were also bound by prejudices from before good research on wolf cognition, though, so we could easily change that given various data points like the survey of behavior in Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are or Mama's Last Hug. Contrary to memes spread by game designers, there is no "eternal now" that ensnares the thought processes of wild animals, for example, but writing so that everything complicated is couched in terms of scents and tastes first and foremost might be a bit trying.

    That they then complain about reality not conforming to their wishes is very human again, as others pointed out...

    They also don't have a cultural hook. Get, Silent Striders, Fianna, Furies, Uktena, Wendigo, Siberakh, Shadow Lords... Nobody can tell me "viking werewolves" isn't a huge draw for the Fenrir, for example.
    First, the Fenrir aren't actually Viking werewolves. They're werewolves that incidentally lived around/preferentially killed vikings and hate the pre-Christian Norse/Germanic religions with a fierce passion. Secondly, this can work to the Talons' advantage by setting up an anti-mythology, a cultural standard that broadly resembles human mythology but reversed. The Fenrir already do this by turning Norse/Germanic folklore on its head and presenting Odin as a villainous bastard and foul necromancer, their tribe's eternal enemy, and Valhalla as a hall full of spirits that the tribe will have to do battle with. You just need to go deeper into this, though admittedly not having connections to a specific human cultural group does make the question of where to start rather open-ended.

    If it were up to me, I might do something completely left-field with the Red Talons. Something crazy. Like, say, introduce a faction working on rituals to turn ordinary dogs into kinfolk. Yeah, it would be an admission of defeat in a sense, but dying for your pride is a HUMAN goal. Beasts are about survival.
    Dogs metaphysically cannot be kin or changers of any kind because they're domesticated. It takes four generations of feral living to undo this, bare minimum; usually, that means breeding with wolves as well.

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    I assume Red Talons see any domesticated animals as "traitors". I don't think they see the animals as guilty - they know they're just animals and don't have choice - but they see domestication as a perversion enabled by the Weaver or Wyrm, and feel a mix of anger and sadness at such animals, and hate humans even more for it. But dogs especially, since they are often the enemies of wolves - protecting the flock and helping human hunters.

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  • Konigheim Horror
    replied
    All good points. And good examples, I think, of exploring different viewpoints in and from their limited worldview.

    The Red Talons are doomed to think. They SHOULD have a greater variety of opinion than they admit to themselves and, especially, to others.

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  • Gryffon15
    replied
    Well I know it's fairly well established that to be referred to as a 'dog' is considered an insult amongst the Garou. Given that the Red Talons are the ones most dedicated to the Wyld, feral nature, and self-declared opposition to humanity... I doubt they hold dogs in very high regard.

    At best I imagine they might see dogs as cunning survivors who forfeited their true nature to endure... but I see this as a very minority opinion amongst those of the Whelp's Compromise. I would imagine that most Red Talons see dogs as victims of humanity and Weaver taint at best or as traitorous quislings at worse.

    Ultimately I see them seeing the current form of dogs as tragic figures who have been perverted and mutated by Weaver taint and who have forfeit their spiritual birthright through accepting Man's yoke.

    Feral dogs might skate by but they're on thin ice.

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  • Konigheim Horror
    replied
    Originally posted by Ana Mizuki View Post

    The thing about Red Talons is, indeed, that they are being very human about things while they think they are being wolves. Red Talons actively refuse to engage with a human mind.. but that human mind is the reason why they are complain about the Litany in the first place.

    Red Talons are not thinking like wolves, in truth. Actual wolves won't whine about old-days, they adapt. They don't force limitations for themselves, they don't make an infirmed choice what is 'acceptable' for a wolf. Red Talons do, they limits themselves while saying 'wolves' act the same. They have writing (but not HUMAN writing), culture and septs like all garou.

    Red Talons are the best when they are serving as a reminder of willful ignorance and yet what a lot of garou have lost.
    As a symbol, it works fine. Is it interesting as a playable character concept, though? Is it enough? It doesn't seem to be for many, hence the dearth of Red Talon players in comparison.

    Sidenote, does anyone here know much about what the Talons think of domestic dogs? Is there anything at all? Their feral ancestors may have died out, but they're still awfully close to wolves in general. Closer at any rate than MARSUPIALS. If I were a Red Talon, I'd have some very conflicting feelings about the human-friendly traitors to wolf-kind.

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  • Konigheim Horror
    replied
    Originally posted by MyWifeIsScary View Post
    Ratkin are the best splat. Change my mind.
    They had some awesome concepts. Munchmausen are pure love. Now, if only they could get away more from their iron-clad Gaia-given duty, but then, W:tA had that problem at its core, how the major cosmological aspects were more or less cut and dried, if I remember correctly.

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  • Ana Mizuki
    replied
    Originally posted by Konigheim Horror View Post
    Fully admitting my inexperience with W:tA here, so please feel free to correct me if/when I get something horribly wrong. Ahem!

    The Talons seem indeed limited in scope. They're dominated by their "Kill the Apes!" theme, easily overshadowing anything else they might bring to the table. Kill all humans, kill most humans, kill some humans... nothing not connected to ape-killing in sight. For the record, I personally despise the Ratkin for much the same reasons and find reducing an animal that appears to have profited from the rise of cities themselves, nevermind one that can be affectionate, smart, and overall great pets, a disservice.

    Plus I dislike WW's murderfactions. But that's neither here nor there.

    Added to that, exploring internal fractures among the Tribe kinda goes against what they try to be at their core, doesn't it? Wolves don't have political parties. That's a human thing. The Red Talons aren't just wolves, sure, but they're pretending really hard that they are, and that means adopting a limited perspective because deep introspection isn't wolf-ish. That they then complain about reality not conforming to their wishes is very human again, as others pointed out...

    They also don't have a cultural hook. Get, Silent Striders, Fianna, Furies, Uktena, Wendigo, Siberakh, Shadow Lords... Nobody can tell me "viking werewolves" isn't a huge draw for the Fenrir, for example.

    If it were up to me, I might do something completely left-field with the Red Talons. Something crazy. Like, say, introduce a faction working on rituals to turn ordinary dogs into kinfolk. Yeah, it would be an admission of defeat in a sense, but dying for your pride is a HUMAN goal. Beasts are about survival.
    The thing about Red Talons is, indeed, that they are being very human about things while they think they are being wolves. Red Talons actively refuse to engage with a human mind.. but that human mind is the reason why they are complain about the Litany in the first place.

    Red Talons are not thinking like wolves, in truth. Actual wolves won't whine about old-days, they adapt. They don't force limitations for themselves, they don't make an infirmed choice what is 'acceptable' for a wolf. Red Talons do, they limits themselves while saying 'wolves' act the same. They have writing (but not HUMAN writing), culture and septs like all garou.

    Red Talons are the best when they are serving as a reminder of willful ignorance and yet what a lot of garou have lost.

    Leave a comment:

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