Garou of Clandestyne
The garou of the world have a particular culture all of their own, which is different yet similar to the indigenous culture of this land, Australia. Culture is, in broad terms, the particular customs and social mores of a particular group. It also includes intellectual and artistic achievement. This is definitely something we do not normally associate with werewolves, yet the rules state that they have cultural institutions and beliefs (pg.31). Here are some details regarding garou in Australia.
Multi-culturalism aside, the spirit world of this land is distinctly aboriginal or Koori in nature, and the World of Darkness premise, which we should remember is not the Clandestyne premise, gives players an impression of the Spirit that is Euro, dare I say it, American-o-centric.
Almost all the players will probably be ignorant of Koori culture, and have a minor prejudice against it as a background for the game world. Yet it is very illogical to utilise a foreign milieu when one of the most complex and original Spirit worlds exists here in our country. The best way to learn how it is used in clandestyne, is to play. However, here are some things to be aware of:
- The indigenous spirits are reluctant to interact with foreigners, and so avoid notice by the Garou where possible. The Koori dreamwalkers must have told the head honchos of the indigenous spirit world by now that white men can´t be trusted.
- Familiar spirits, Totems, and even Chimerical monsters or other fantastic creatures can and do travel to this land, but are reluctant to do so without a reason. While foreign players will be mostly unaware of the Spirit entities of the land, other beings know all too well the power of some of the ancient tribal spirits of Australia. In fact, no other place, including the much revered Amerindian lands, has as rich and varied spirit history as Australia. So, spirits with purpose will come here, when they have to, and they will be as unobtrusive as they can.
- Rituals of the foreigner will not necessarily work here. The Shaman style practices of the Garou are different to many of the Dreaming practices of the Koori. The most notable point is that the Spirit world and the Real world often overlap for the indigenous people, whereas the Umbra is increasingly hard to get to. So, players will find the rules are inconsistent and unpredictable where the Umbra is concerned.
- The Garou are by their nature Spirit beings, intimately tied to the Umbral or Spirit world. A Garou who acts or seeks to be separate from this is not a Garou. Gaia will reject them, as she is their spirit mother after all. It becomes harder and harder for the player to access their abilities, including Changing, the more they stray from a spiritual path.
Garou Culture basics
(from Werewolf rules, pages 31-45, fiercely edited.)
- Garou reproduce by breeding with humans and wolves in relatively equal proportions, or they are supposed to. Early in history this was easy, now with the destruction of habitats and decimation of populations, the wolf side of the family tree is hard to come by.
- Kinfolk are humans or wolves who carry the Garou recessive gene, are immune to the Delirium, and have virtually no Garou powers. Only 1 in 10 Garou children becomes a full Garou. Those Garou who mate with other Garou produce what is called a Metis, an infertile and deformed Garou.
- Every Garou undergoes a Rite of Passage before they can be accepted into Garou society as an adult. The ritual is different for each tribe, sometimes different for each pack.
- Garou are able to enter the Umbra, or Spirit world, and find it easier to do so from a spiritually powerful place. When a Garou group cleanse and dedicate themselves to a place, it becomes known as a Caern, and the Garou involved gain greater spiritual power and access to the Umbra.
- The Litany. Composed before recorded history, it is an oral record of the Spiritual Laws of the Garou people.
- Garou shall not mate with Garou.
- Combat the evil that devours the earth (Wyrm) wherever it dwells and whenever it breeds.
- Respect the territory of another.
- Accept an honourable surrender.
- Submit to those of higher station.
- The first share of food (the kill) for those greatest in station.
- Ye shall not eat the flesh of humans.
- Respect those beneath Ye - all are of Gaia.
- The veil shall not be lifted.
- Do not suffer thy people to tend to thy sickness.
- Thy leader may be challenged at any time during peace.
- Thy leader may not be challenged during wartime.
- Ye shall take no action that causes a Caern to be violated.
- Disputes are settled by mediation , and where mediation fails, a duel.
- Garou organise themselves into packs (groups of bonded friends and mates). A number of packs form a Sept (a group of Garou dedicated to a particular Caern). Garou also belong by descent to a distinct race or tribe within the garou species as a whole. Generally, a particular tribe will control a Sept.
- Garou vie for dominance with each other regularly, forever testing each others limits. They use three methods -
- the facedown: which is a battle of wills as they stare at each other.
- the game: where they try to outwit each other or beat each other at an agreed upon game of skill or wit.
- the duel: one beats the other into submission.
- Garou use a separate language of tone and body language to express themselves to other Garou, and they Howl as a form of communication.
- All Garou feel a connection to Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, also known as the Earth Mother of history. They classify any enemy of Gaia as evil, deeming it as a servant of or the actual Wyrm, also known as the Dragon-serpent of history.