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What exactly are the Tribes?

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  • What exactly are the Tribes?

    Hey folks,

    I may be starting a Werewolf chronicle in the near future, depending on player interest. As I've been reading the core rulebook for 2E WtF, I found myself wondering: What exactly are the Tribes? I get that they relate back to the Firstborn and the chosen prey of any given Uratha. But from my experience in Vampire and Demon, I originally assumed them to be a sort of political institution. Something ideological. When reading through the settings in the book, however, I feel like they are less tangible than, say, the Invictus or the Tempters. They aren't described as institutions at all. From reading the Detroit setting, they don't seem to be anything more than loose relationships and a choice about what to hunt. At the same time, the write-ups for the Tribes in chapter 1 each include a section about gatherings, proposing some sort of organized existence.

    One thing that concerns me is players of different tribes in the same pack. In my usual group, I can easily see one going Blood Talon, one Bone Shadow, one Iron Master and one Storm Lord. How would you handle that when Siskur-Dah comes into play? If the pack hunts together, but they all prefer hunting different prey, that can provide conflict, sure, but it can also derail the game if it happens all the time.

    So, my questions are: What exactly are the Tribes? How organized are they? How much political power do they hold? How do they compare to the Covenants in VtR or the Agendas in DtD, which, to me, seem a lot more clearly defined and structured. And finally, how do you each personally portray the Tribes? As organizations with clear rules and defined membership? As loose affiliations?

    Thanks in advance for any advice and help!


  • #2
    Originally posted by Dragotarify View Post
    What exactly are the Tribes?
    Think of them as video game enthusiasts. Some gamers like strategy games. Others like shooter games. Some like interactive fiction. They can all point at really stand-out examples of their favorite genre. Some of them understand the perspective of the other gamers; some of them think other gamers just suck and just can't hack it in real gaming.

    Originally posted by Dragotarify View Post
    How organized are they?
    They go to conventions every now and then, swap tips about how to play their favorite games online. Some groups like to be organized about this. The only thing they all really have in common is a belief about sacred prey and a subservience to their Firstborn totem, including the tribal ban. Some of them have strong opinions and justifications for these things; others don't really care and just go along with it.

    Originally posted by Dragotarify View Post
    How much political power do they hold?
    Pretty much none, per se.

    Originally posted by Dragotarify View Post
    And finally, how do you each personally portray the Tribes? As organizations with clear rules and defined membership? As loose affiliations?
    When you're asking a question, please at least go down the first page of the forum:

    http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...nd-interesting


    I call the Integrity-analogue the "subjective stat".
    An explanation how to use Social Manuevering.
    Guanxi Explanations: 1, 2, 3.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Dragotarify View Post
      One thing that concerns me is players of different tribes in the same pack. In my usual group, I can easily see one going Blood Talon, one Bone Shadow, one Iron Master and one Storm Lord. How would you handle that when Siskur-Dah comes into play? If the pack hunts together, but they all prefer hunting different prey, that can provide conflict, sure, but it can also derail the game if it happens all the time.
      Generally you hunt the most pressing problem in your territory. While you can only have one Sacred Hunt at a time, nothing keeps you from doing one, then doing another afterwards. Multi-tribal packs are the given, and a single-tribe pack would be a group that has formed to be very focused. It is worth keeping in mind that sacred prey does not mean only prey. If an Iron Master wants to kill this rising politician, but Godzilla is invading, the Iron Master would likely see the urgency in tackling the greater, more immediate threat.

      So, my questions are: What exactly are the Tribes? How organized are they? How much political power do they hold? How do they compare to the Covenants in VtR or the Agendas in DtD, which, to me, seem a lot more clearly defined and structured. And finally, how do you each personally portray the Tribes? As organizations with clear rules and defined membership? As loose affiliations?
      They are like the covenants, they just don't organize themselves, usually, to political power. Which would make them more like agendas, but less fluid, you don't usually leave a tribe, but if you do it's not a common thing. Tribes focus your interests. There's a lot of analogies that could be made, I generally prefer college education, as tribes tend towards the passing down of knowledge, rites, and so forth. So if you become an engineer and your friend becomes a doctor you can still be friends, but you will have different outlooks on life, different personal interests, and different skills to bring to problem situations.

      That said there are examples of places where tribes have exerted political power. They tend to be places linked to the tribes totem, like Malta, which is run by Bone Shadows and has a past with Kamduis-Ur. They don't really have a global structure beyond membership, but Status goes a long way, someone with Status 5 would usually be well known and well-regarded by other members in that tribe.

      There's also the Firstborn, which ties everything together. And the three pillar lodges, which divide up the foundation. We get into that more in the other thread.
      Last edited by nofather; 02-23-2018, 02:56 PM.

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      • #4
        Thanks for your answers! This clears up some of the confusions I had about the tribes. I was aware of and had read the other thread about tribes but did not feel like it properly answered these problems I had with understanding the function of tribes. I'll go back and read it again now that I feel like I have a better understanding of what tribes are.

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        • #5
          I think they are analogous to religious or secular fraternities, like Jesuits or Stonemasons. Each tribe is a brotherhood of Uratha that have a preferred way of hunting, which correspond to the preferred prey of one of the Firstborn. They gather occasionally to perform rituals in honor of their patron Firstborn, to share knowledge, trade stories and to help and mentor each other. They aren't concerned with politics or governance like Mage Orders or Vampire Covenants.

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