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World of Darkness: Population Calculator Tool

World of DarknessWell, faithful Nerdarchy reader, I have done it. I have dipped my dainty size 14 toe into the pool of the 21st century, and how it has changed gaming forever. See, when I first started gaming in 1989, these kind of tools were not readily available. Though thanks to the way my father raised me, I have a mind for extrapolating numbers from any given source. Be it the trajectory of a ball in flight, the stress levels of the bridge I am driving over, or even the population census from the lore of a series of role playing games. To this end, I started a project this week based on various bits of lore I have found in the World of Darkness for purposes of making it easier to understand the true dire situation of the monsters in that world.

To see the results, click this download link: Download Continue reading World of Darkness: Population Calculator Tool

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World of Darkness: The Giovanni Vampire


GiovanniI stand at the hill, watching as a crypt is raided, or not necessarily raided, as it is not so much a break in as a break out. The new generation of Giovanni stepping out into the night. Followed by, oh my, he has been busy. Look at that, all his cousins are joining him in the march from the grave, but only he was gifted with eternal life. No, like so many from his family, he has cursed them with eternal death. And that my dear friends, is what make the Giovanni special. It’s a dead man’s party. Who could ask for more?
Continue reading World of Darkness: The Giovanni Vampire

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World of Darkness: The Nosferatu vampire

vampireTo talk of the Nosferatu I came to see, I need only speak of the golden age of movies, back in the days when silent films giving way to talking pictures had slain the careers of many. But one of the greats, known as Golden Gary, survived. He had style, and he had grace, he had everything that one could hope for. But what he also had was one of the most mysterious disappearances of Hollywood history. The truth is, he was embraced by the Nosferatu clan of vampire and rendered to be one of the ugliest beings ever known to man. Yeah, he gained power beyond most people’s wildest dreams, but he had lost the very dream he had been living. Continue reading World of Darkness: The Nosferatu vampire

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World of Darkness: The Lasombra vampire

World of DarknessKnowing their reputation, I chose to bring help with me to this. For this, I brought my uncle Darwin, the Fianna Garou, to Tijuana. Here we sit in a bar of ill repute, watching as an act of a fire dancer amuses the crowd. From speaking to the others here, I see that the masses all have one thing in common. The previous night they had all ran across a mysterious woman, they had all been told to arrive here and see the show. For what purpose, neither I nor they could ascertain. 

As the fire act ends, the lights and even the fires nearby seem to dim. With them comes the ever-rising drum beats like the thrumming of a great heart. As the drums meet a crescendo, the stage opens like a flower and up rises an exotic dancer who wields the shadows like silk to form the only clothes this predator wears. This way and that, she meets the gaze of the crowd one by one, the music driving them all to their feet in a hypnotic dance leading to death. 

As my uncle places his hand on my shoulder and the world fades from our fleeing to the umbra, we witness the entire crowd opening their own throats to bleed for their crimson goddess. As one, they die. And as one, they will rise as a new army devoted to the whims of the Lasombra that made a dance into a call for war.


vampireThe Lasombra, oh, how this vampire clan differs from the ones we have touched on before. You see, these bad boys are to the Sabbat what the Toreador or such are to the Camarilla. They are one of the founding clans of the Sabbat, and indeed, many of the rituals and traditions of the Sabbat spring forth from them. That is a round about way of speaking that the Lasombra are a group ripe with nobility, and this is not the kind of nobility that the Silver Fangs of the Garou enjoy or the Ventrue portray. This is best personified in the statement of “Tis better to rule in Hell than to kneel in Heaven,” and with that mentality they not only acknowledge the Beast within all vampires, but they beat it into submission like a dog ready to be unleashed from the very gates of Hel. 

Sounds fun, but let’s get into the flavor of these guys. To know them, one must hearken to many ways and people of times long past, to the ways and mannerisms of the cruel aristocracy of Spain, and onward to the death cults of Mexico and Latin America, to shadow deals, betrayals, and backs sprouting fresh blooms of daggers. By combining the new with the old, the smiling face hiding the danger beneath, you get a firm grasp of the ways of these vampires and how the Lasombra are one of the leaders of the Sabbat. Their ways, through silent observation and shadow dealings by ways of intimidating proxies, are but the first layer of this dark onion. For the monster that is hiding behind all the minions they have collected is more terrifying than every layer of defense combined. And the Lasombra typically revel in such knowledge.

Now these layers are many fold, as I have discussed, and one of the ones that most differentiates this clan from the previous ones is the way they “breed.” See, unlike selecting a specific target and converting them, the Lasombra very often will infect and change an entire group of people. Be this done zombie-apocalypse style, pseudo religious ritual, or in a blood-filled orgy culminating in the change, the result is the same either way. A massive increase in the Lasombra numbers through an army of “shovel heads,” shovel head being the term vampires use to denote a vampire that had been turned and abandoned to figure life out on their own. These orphans may not be individually strong, but they are numerous, and strength can be found in numbers, as the second generation would attest if they had survived the attack of their children. Mechanically speaking, a newly-turned vampire with their powers focused on combat could very well have the strength to end a much lower generation vampire’s long life. This is a lesson the Camarilla does well not to forget. 

Now why would an army of mewling pups be worthy of worry from the older vampires? What makes these Lasombra vampires act as superior to others even without the teachings of the elders? Well, that is because more than many vampire clans, the Lasombra are built to win this war on not one but on all fronts. Their powers (or disciplines) hit on every field of a war: Cunning through stealth and shadows, power through strength, and leadership through commanding the masses. I have spoken of Dominance before, but I want to point out a way the Lasombra use it that the previous clans did not, namely through commanding people to be herded like sheep. Be this to the slaughter for food or for mass turnings to make an army, the uses for this are a clear-and-present danger to all that oppose the Lasombra. When you stop seeing humans as human, you see them as merely 7 billion tools walking, eating, and creating more tools for your use. 

Next up of the powers of the Lasombra is Potence, and with this you can see why the army of foundlings is a scary thing. Imagine one night being alone surrounded by enemies, and the next night you rise with ten, twenty, or more confused savage children ready to be aimed by their creator, each one capable of bendiing steel with their bare hands and able to do similar damage to any vampire they come across. Mechanically speaking, their childe are capable (much like the Nosferatu, Brujah, or other possessors of this talent) of near automatically crippling or staking vampires if they are not taken as a very serious threat. This should not be ignored if you value your vitae.

vampireThe final and most terrifying discipline of the Lasombra is their unique mastery of shadows known as Obtenebration. This power is many fold, and in many ways is the very stuff of nightmares. It can be used to snuff out life and unlife alike, to hide your presence, and even to create shadowthings from some creative nightmare realm. With this power, you could rend an enemy with tentacles of shadow, drown them in darkness, imprison your foes, clone yourself with your own emancipated shadow, and even drag them back to the shadow realm itself. This power is the very stuff of nightmares in every sense of the word, and the most terrifying part is that it comes packaged with the other abilities I have mentioned above. Fear the darkness, my friend. Or as a particular villain played by Tom Hardy once said, “You think the darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man. By then it was nothing to me but blinding.”

This level of evil does not come without a price. There is an old saying, I believe it comes from Dante’s Inferno, but I may be wrong, that states, “When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back.” In this case, to become one with the shadows, the reflection of light some would say, the Lasombra cast off their own reflections. Be it a mirror, a pool of water, or anything else that would show them the face of their evil the Lasombra see when seeking their reflection. This may not seem like much, but it is a subtle way of detecting the Lasombra vampire for what they really are. And for this reason, they must take care lest their presence be revealed to those who could spell their doom during the daylight hours. No vampire who lives to see centuries forgets the days of Rome and when the kine rose up to slay the ancient undead who dwelled there.

For roleplay advice, I suggest looking to those who rule through terror and deed. A role that springs to mind is the recent portrayal of the Kingpin on Netflix’s Daredevil series. Also worth note is the gangsters of the Sopranos of HBO fame. These people rule through command, terror, and when necessary, deed. You would do well to practice an intimidating presence, and let silence be your ally. For it is far more frightening to know you can, but not when you will.


Well, that is the Lasombra in a nutshell, or should I say the shadow of them. I find them to be one of the more intimidating clans of vampires. Next week, we will be touching the true monsters of the vampire world, the Nosferatu. These twice-cursed bastards are going to be a royal pain to find. Wish me luck. I hope to see you there.

Did I miss something? Have any Questions or Comments? Feel free to message me at www.facebook.com/NubzTheZombie or email me at nubz.the.zombie@gmail.com.

Play Destiny or other PS4 games? Come join the Nerdarchy Playstation community and add nubz_the_zombie. I would love to play with you all.

Stay nerdy,

Nubz

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World of Darkness: The Tremere vampire

World of DarknessComing around the corner of a cliff face almost a mile outside of the warehouse I was told contained my target. A Tremere, a vampire with a long colorful history unlike anything I have heard before. Torture, betrayal, and the most inhuman acts one could imagine are commonplace in this being’s history. Born a man of faith during the Salem Witch Trials, he single-handedly dropped the population of mages to almost nothing in what would become the United States. This being, the source of the screams I can hear from hundreds of meters away, once picked a target that decided he would rather not be burned at the stake. A Tremere vampire that turned him, and created a monster whose evil has nothing to do with his lust for blood.  Continue reading World of Darkness: The Tremere vampire

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World of Darkness: The Ravnos vampire


“Find the Queen, win a prize! Ten dollars to seek the lady in red, twenty and you can guess three instead!” the man I seek states before I can even introduce myself, his grey eyes piercing in their intensity as he gauges my interest and gullibility. A Ravnos through and through, he follows his own path, and from what I can see from his long brown leather coat and weathered jeans, it has been a long path indeed.

“Alright, I’ll play,” I say as I throw down a ten dollar bill, its creases holding it in place upon his pop-up table as I see him nod in agreement before turning the queen of hearts face down. Continue reading World of Darkness: The Ravnos vampire

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World of Darkness: Homid

world of darkness homid garouAlrighty, I could do an intro for this but to be honest, your life is a better example. Your life, exactly as it is, is the life of a homid Garou until your first change. The main thing to remember is you are the new kid on the block, have the mind sent of wonder and discovery. Because I am sure you would lose your bloody mind if you woke up able to heal from anything and transform into a 800+ lbs beast of doom. Continue reading World of Darkness: Homid

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World of Darkness: Bone Gnawers

world of darkness baone ganwersSitting in this dimly lit alcove, almost like a castle made of mismatching brick of the surrounding buildings with gates made of steal dumpsters, sits the leader of the local pack of Bone Gnawers. His short dirty build is barely able to hide the wired muscle behind it. Though his Metis deformity is apparent with him standing barely 5 feet tall in Glabro, he has made up for it with pluck and cunning. Already I have seen this man turn a con that not only relieved my cab driver of his funds and dinner, but also got me here when I fully intended to be elsewhere.
“So you the guy who is talking up the other tribes huh? Finally time to lower yourself to talk to the Gnawers huh? I see how it is.” He asks me while pacing back and forth. His gate teeter tottering while he motions with his overly long arms, occasionally beating his chest to emphasize the words tribe or Gnawers.
My reply is more out of confusion than anything, but I decide to be frank, “Well I went in order of the votes cast by the gaming community here in Seattle and online.”
He seems to have heard what he needed as his bushy eyebrows perk up. Through his underbite he slurs a bit but it is obvious he is very used to speach in the near man form, “That’s what’s up. So we got votes huh? Looks like some people realize the value of us street folk. My mama told me the day would come when the Bone Gnawers were on top. Here we is, end times are here and who got da numbers? The wyrm is dropping bombs and we is thriving in the blast zone? The other tribes are biting at eachother and who got teeth on scales in every fight? Bone Gnawers of course! Believe that! You wanna know what makes the Bone Gnawers great? It’s because we were here yesterday, we are here today, we will be here tomorrow and every day. War, war never changes. It evolves but it stays the same, it always needs survivors and soldiers. We got both. Believe that. You can tell the bomb tossing Lords and the rule following Fangs to get their snouts out of each others butts, cause this is one war they isn’t gonna win less they learn to fight dirty and get there shiny clothes dirty too. Think the Gnawers who came over with the Pilgrims played nice? Nah, they learned and adapted. Same with the ones in every war and every situation. Big bad comes sniffing, Gnawers adapt and learn how to make him pull back with a bloody snout. That would be a good name for us, Bloody Snout Boys. Yeah, I likes it. ” He stands nodding in such a fashion his entire body seems to rock with his almost comically big head. From nearly every dumpster and dark area around me I hear mumbled agreement. A testament to their guerrilla tactics, one will draw all the attention and the others are free to move about unseen.
Quickly, I realize that had I been prey, I would be in a very bad place. Casting a glance over my shoulder to see a rather large female crinos with what a giant 12 painted on her chest blocking my exit. I turn back to the leader, “Oh, you are good. You have this down to an art.”
Smiling and nodding again the leader raises a hand in both victory and signal to the others, “That’s what’s up. You got it. Whateva works man, that’s the Bone Gnawer way”, he explains as the she-wolf crinos behind me steps aside to allow me exodus.
Leaving without turning my back to him, I agree whole heartedly, “Whatever works, and it does work I would say. “ Continue reading World of Darkness: Bone Gnawers

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World of Darkness: Uktena

World of Darkness - UktenaI have wandered for seven days and seven nights through the American Southwest, adrift due to relying on a map that I later realized was some sort of talon or fetish, for it changed to lead me back to the same rock over and over again. Each time I would look to the horizon and see a coyote before I looked back and found my map had changed. Maybe it was not a fetish, maybe it is one of those Nuwisha I heard about? Who knows? I didn’t bring enough water for this. I’d kill for a gallon of water followed by a rootbeer and rum on the rocks. Make that a double.

Sighing to myself, I approach the rock that was to be the start of my journey according to the map once again as the sun sets before me. Looking up expecting to see the coyote again I see an old man of Native American heritage. What tribe, I cannot tell, but his wisdom is clearly written upon every inch of his countenance. Sitting there as if he was waiting for me, he holds up a gourd that had a noticeable slosh of liquid inside as if he already knew of my thirst. Parched and somewhat desperate I thank the man and drink deeply. His smile seems to grow before his face changes to bright colors and his deep resonating laugh echoes through the canyon. Behind him before reality gives way, I spot a coyote looking down from the top of the canyon. Can a canine giggle? I swear he did…

Over the course of time I cannot measure, I was exposed to many things. Though I could not say for sure what I had drank, I suspect it was iowaska or peyote in it’s base. Needless to say, my time with the Uktena medicine man was an interesting delve between realities and I suspect even the umbra itself. Terror at what this happy man treated as normal was replaced with sadness at what he had witnessed. Memories, not mine but of the very land we stood, invaded my mind to remind me of things lost that cannot be regained. Dreams of a tomorrow that could be the last, and the necessity to do what is needed to ensure the dawn filled my slumber. Continue reading World of Darkness: Uktena

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World of Darkness: Children of Gaia


World of DarknessThe middle-aged woman before me hobbles up to an enormous pot of stew she has tirelessly been preparing all day. Every ingredient picked fresh as we talked that day. Her garden tended with love that she greets each and every person with. Her dark hair falls in ringlets where her scarf fails to tame it, her eyes look as deep as the blue ocean they resemble and just as weary of the world. Though her road has been long and arduous, the laugh lines on her face show as clearly as the sun rises. The world outside is cold, dark, uninviting but here she has made a home. Not just for herself but for the lost and wayward of the world. As she drops another slice of carrot, her birth tribes marking shows above her ankle. Born a Fianna, this woman has found a way that suits her soul best, within the Children of Gaia. “Like the man said, all you need is love. All this hate or stupid problems make up, they have not seen the real problems. I did, I lived through it. I know that attacking each other is never going to solve anything, sitting and talking is the way. Course that does not mean I cannot go old Irish fishwife on you, but you have to stop letting your head get ahead of you. Remember what Nana says, ‘When you stop to think, think again.’ Because you have to have your heart and your head in the same place or you lose your place. The lost, they come here. Nick, the girls, even brat child… They all find a place to get their head on straight here and I am happy you finally came home too.” Her eyes look off into the distance at a memory only she could know, a Theurge moon jingles on her ear like some ornament placed not to be the beauty, but to accent that which is already there. “One day all my kids will get along, and so will everyone else. I just have to keep on going, I will get there.”

-Granny K; Children of Gaia Theurge


children of gaia garouThe Children of Gaia are one of the most paradoxical tribes of the Garou nation. While they are Gaia’s warriors, they do not relish or revel in war. In fact, they abhor it. Especially amongst Garou and the other Fera. This is often mistaken as weakness but nothing could be further from the truth. See, it is easy to hate, but harder to love. It is for this reason, and for the millenniums of effort they have shown, that the Children of Gaia may very well be the strongest tribe of all, just not in a tear you a new orifice way. They are the peacemakers between the tribes, the diplomats and the ones in the middle of each argument calming it down. This may not seem that important but imagine a 13+ sibling household with teenage levels of hormones and there is only 8 slices of pizza to go around… Yeah… Scary thought indeed (well for those you who, unlike me, did not have 13 siblings. Thank Gaia they are spread out in age.)

Now to tell the tale of how the Children of Gaia came to be is not a tale of countries they come from. No, it is not even a tale of a bloodline. This comes from before written history of man, to a time known as the Impergium. Where the Garou had decided that mankind should be kept in check. Not in any slavery fashion or lower citizen caste. This was murder, cold blooded, efficient culling of the population so that the Humans and the Wolves were roughly equal in number. This went on for so long that mankind developed an innate fear and reaction to the wolf. Ever wonder why you get goosebumps hearing that snarl or the legendary howl of the wolf? This is why. If your ancestors were food, you fear them. Kinfolk, the lucky few to be selected to live, did not develop this fear and their descendants share this feature in their immunity to Delerium. I digress, the Impergium did indeed end and by the Garou Nations decree too. The peacemakers who lead the efforts that would eventually lead to our world as we know it, became the Children of Gaia. Through their pact with Unicorn, a totem of healing and war alike, they began an eternity long tribal task to bring the tribes together in peace.

The Children of Gaia are numerous. In fact, they are likely the second largest tribe by numbers. This has often been used as an insult by many, especially the Get of Fenris, to show that the Children of Gaia are not ones to stick in combat past the first time their nose gets bloodied. The fact is, Garou are not the nicest people. As such, when a tribe has not treated a pup well, they are very likely to find a home in the Children of Gaia. The cast offs, the run aways, the orphans, and anyone who just wishes for a better world are welcome. No tribe treats their Metis as well, in fact they treat them as something they will find in no other tribe, equals. I think this is part of their helpful nature that lures and accepts the rejected, but I also believe the Children of Gaia accept anyone because, to quote a magic card, “We shall all fight,. For if we lose, We will all surely die.” A metis working as your equal is much more valuable than one shot down needlessly or one dancing the Black Spiral. Everyone has a use right? Speaking of which, the lupus are not as numerous in this tribe as they are in others, but they do exist. See to the wolf mind, war and hatred are a very alien concept (Except the Red Talons. Screw those guys.) and so the Children of Gaia’s ways just seem natural and easy to follow.

Now that is all fine and good but how does one roleplay a Children of Gaia? I know all to often they are played out like that Hippie who never quite left Woodstock but that is not always true. The social worker in the foster care system, the family councilor, the corporate conflict resolution specialist, and the teacher who cares despite all the troubles it brings are all examples of the Children of Gaia. You don’t have to be vegan, you don’t have to smoke weed, you don’t have to be poor. Bill Gates is loaded to the point I almost think the word needs a bigger font in his case. Yet he does more to help the world in one year then most people do in their lifetime. He could be doing anything, yet he chooses to help others. How awesome is that concept of helping others despite having funner options? Awesome enough that Former President Jimmy Carter does it with his own two hands building. Be the glue that holds the pack together. The one who listens to all the problems and then voices reason back. Be mindful not to try to control others, just let them see the benefit of working together as opposed to against each other. If all else fails, point them at something they both hate more than each other, The Wyrm. Most of all, be friendly, even when you don’t want to be. Like the man Patrick Swayze said, “Be Nice”. Still, Don’t forget you are a warrior of Gaia, and sometimes you must fight. Just don’t jump to it at every chance you have. Exude not anger, but a cold serenity that is intimidating in it’s own right.

A Children of Gaia member will likely have above average social attributes, if not exceptional ones. The physical attributes are likely your second choice. This is not to imply Children of Gaia are dumb, but something has to be last right? Now as for abilities, you should emphasize the stats that are good for resolving conflict. Empathy, streetwise, leadership, etiquette, and even performance can come in handy. Let your mind think of possible scenarios you have solved conflict in and build toward that. Thus a Lupus Children of Gaia will more likely have animal ken and primal urge than diplomacy and streetwise. Survival is never a bad idea, as is medicine. Politics can come in handy so you are not blind to what is going on in the Garou nation, as is investigation to figure out what caused a fight to begin with.


1279434575130Along with their unique spot within the Garou Nation, the Children of Gaia have many unique powers to them. Some of the highlights are as follows, though I want to state many of these make excellent abilities for any tribes Philodox.

Brother’s scent is one that always makes me chuckle. With it you can pull the “nothing to see here” in any situation where you are wandering around. That wolf wandering through the street? Totally normal and people won’t think twice. The naked guy covered in blood? Yep, he must have just made food for his family and went to get clothes off the line when he got locked out. Totally what happened.

Jam Weapon stops any weaver weapon from working. Hard to stab your brother in a knife fight when a knife won’t cut. Not to mention when a gun won’t fire.

Mercy makes it so you can cut loose on anything… and never kill them. It don’t matter if you are in Crinos and using your claws, the poor sap will survive.

Mother’s touch is a Theurge gift they “borrowed” but it is amazing for healing allies.

Calm literally allows you to drain a beings rage and drop them out of frenzy. Nifty!

Grandmother’s Touch is the upgraded version of Mother’s touch (which is a prerequisite) and allows you to heal yourself as well as others.

Luna’s Armor allows you to increase your soak rolls, even against silver!

Para Bellum makes it so that when you and your pack did not fire the first shot… you will likely fire the last. It raises strength and dexterity against the first attacker.

Unicorn’s Arsenal makes those you wound lose their will to fight, as well as the normal effect of said damage, this can quickly take someone out of the fight.

Dazzle allows you to bombard a being with love to the point that they are hypnotized and stand their peacefully.

Lover’s Touch will heal not only damage but the will to go on. Truly, this is one of the weirdest powers there is as you can hug someone to health.

Spirit Friend lets you project your desire for peace, and the peace you have personally found, out into the world. This makes dealing with many spirits easier.

Serenity is not just the name of a movie that wraps up a show in dire need of a second season. It shuts down anyone’s ability to get angry and feel that blistering hot rage Garou are so well known for.

Strike the Air is a game changer of sorts. Use it, and you will not be hit. You won’t be hitting back, but you won’t be hit no matter how hard they try.

Uncaught Since The Primal Morn makes me chuckle. Why? Because those super fast Silent Striders wish they had this. You pop this bad boy and no matter how fast you are chased, you are just fast enough to get away.

Halo of the Sun reminds all that these are warriors. You become surrounded by your own personal piece of the sun (known as Helios to Garou). You do more damage, cook vampires, you even get a nice defensive glare based buff. Game Changer here.

The Living Wood allows you to bring trees to life in your time of need. Be it to defend, restrain, or attack the trees are awesome allies to have.


LogoTribeChildrenofGaiaWell that wraps up the Children of Gaia for me. Their love and hospitality is as legendary as it is a very real thing. I really wish this upon everyone. Well, not my ex wife, but everyone else deserves it. I am going to go eat some stew and look at old photo family albums before heading down to the reservation.  See, next week we will be taking a peek at the most mysterious tribe of all, the Uktena. What secrets do they have in store? Join us next time on Nerdarchy.com!

Have any questions or comments? I would love to address them, so please direct them to www.facebook.com/NubzTheZombie

Stay nerdy,

Nubz

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World of Darkness: Shadow Lords

world of darkness werewolves“There is two type of Shadow Lords,” The impeccably well dressed man known as Mitchell “Midnight” Knight states to me as he faces his gargoyle lined Gothic fireplace. The fire’s reflection dancing in his cold blue eyes both in the figurative sense and literal. His hand swirls a glass of brandy worth more then my paycheck as he continues, “Those who have power and those who covet it. I was once the latter, and now am the former.”

Raising an eyebrow I ask him the question he is obviously expecting, “And how did you come by this power?”

Smiling at what he views as an easy manipulation, “There is an old saying in the industry you work in, and not the industry that brought you here mind you, that authority is given but power is earned. I earned my power through daring and deed. Through seeing an opportunity and seizing it by the throat.”

Not one to be pushed around, I try to take him off balance with my next statement, “But what of those who claim you got here on the backs of your packmates, your dead packmates to be precise?”

The man turns to me so that half his face is covered in shadow, his stare freezing my heart as I realize he is not one to take jabs from a kinfolk. His voice as cold as those eyes as he responds in a tone that makes me feel that this is the final word, “Those who fell, did so for the greater good. The strong survive to serve Gaia, and to let the weak survive is not serving her or anyone else any good. Like a surgeon, I cut the diseased and weakened tissue in order to save the whole. Yes, it is not pretty, but it is better to be able to complain about a scar than to be silent and in your grave. War is not pretty, and we are at war. Do not mistake that. If your kin, be they the berserkers or the drunkards were to get in the way of saving Gaia, I would cut down every last one of them to save her and then sleep soundly afterwards. Your soft heart is a weakness, as is your reverence to past deeds of past ‘Kings’. Today and the deeds of those still living is all that matters. Your deeds show one that is willing to learn, so learn that what is needed is not always wanted and what is needed is someone with the strength and integrity to recognize the Wyrm’s influence where ever it rears it’s ugly head. The Shadow Lords are that, the surgeon and inquisition, ready to burn the impure to save the whole. Do not give reason for our eye to fall upon you. Oh, and you have roughly two minutes before I release the hounds. Be a dear and see yourself out.”

I gulp down a lump of fear and nod before gathering my items to leave, having found all I care to here. If you don’t mind, I am going to be a dear and see myself out now.


Shadow Lords werewolvesThe Shadow Lords are many things, and as one of my storytellers put it they are “well rounded assholes”. This Garou tribe is not the most beloved, and they don’t care to be. They are not the kindest, and do not see the reason they should be. They are often seen as bordering on corruption, power hungry, and covetous of the Garou crown. In fact, they are the greatest rivals the Silver Fangs have ever known. While the Silver Fangs rule through right of nobility and lineages that stretch back through generations heroes long since dead, the Shadow Lords are a tribe that weigh each Garou on the deeds in which they themselves have performed. This causes a few things that become readily apparent within the tribe. For one, the young are ambitious and tend to be prone to making grand moves in their bids for power. On the other hand, the elders have the power and know the cubs will do anything to get it. As my dad used to say, “there is brave ones, and there is old ones, but there is no old brave ones.” This statement is reflected in how the higher ranking Shadow Lords are the ones who learned to be patient, to be cold, and to calculate the precise time to strike. Like a stock-trader, there is always a time to act and a time to bide, survival is knowing which is which. Truly, the older ones are the pinnacle of power because they had to fight to get where they are and have the cunning to keep it. This meritocracy makes things stacked against the Metis from the start, but does not hold them back if they have the drive to succeed. The Lupus will often learn to dominate and cow his litter mates before he learns the ways of man. The Homid on the other hand, well…

Genetically speaking, the Shadow Lords hail from a stock with powerful builds native to what is now Eastern Europe. As such they very often come from Slavic or Germanic lines. Though they do breed with those of any type who show themselves to be sharp in mind and ambitious, the lineages are still heavy in that dark haired stock. Russia to Germany and Romania, the Shadow Lords have likely had a claw in every royal family or prominent mover and shaker. In the Americas, they shoot for the board rooms and lobby floors, or even as high as the White House if they could ever manage it. Woe unto those who find themselves in the courtroom of a Philodox of the Shadow Lords. They are just, but brutally so. One can expect the maximum sentence, if they are lucky enough to not have every sin and transgression laid bare as flayed flesh. Though what I think would be amazing to see is a detective or FBI member coming from this tribe.

This brings me to another point, the Shadow Lords are like the white blood cells of the Garou Nation. More times than not, a Garou rending the veil or breaking the Litany will find himself under the eye and thumb of a Shadow Lord. Those who are falling to corruption will find themselves sniffed out and brought to justice swiftly. It’s not pretty, as often the family or pack mates of the accused are not aware of the transgressions, but it is necessary. This “Spanish Inquisition” style of draconian justice makes the Shadow Lords one of the most disliked, if not out right hated tribes. Similar allegories could be made between the struggles of certain movements and the police forces of America. Where this hatred finds some ground though, is that the Shadow Lord will twist the knife and use the guilty to their own advantage if they can. Accessory after the fact I believe is the legal term, though I may be wrong. None the less, your skeletons in the closet are a weapon and tool to these Garou, don’t you ever forget it.

The Shadow Lords revere the Totem Grandfather Thunder, who is a blatant allegory of Odin. Old guy, very dominant and powerful, has ravens he sends out, controls the weather, yep… we got a link to Nordic beliefs. So it is not a big leap to see how the Shadow Lords have a “Might makes right” Darwinist belief system. That being said, they do have one thing going for them that most tribes do not. They are open minded about working with other supernatural creatures. In many texts it speaks of the relatively good report between the Corax and the Shadow Lords, likely due to them both having the favor of Grandfather Thunder’s raven’s Hugin and Munin. Vampires have even been known to broker deals with the Shadow Lords, though both sides expect and plan on betraying the other. Though I cannot find where, I recall one of the older books stating the Mokole have an intense hatred of the Shadow Lords, due to their efficiency at finding nests and smashing eggs during the War of Rage.

Worth it’s own paragraph is the Hakken of Japan. This is an off shoot of the Shadow Lords tribe that makes it’s home in Japan and parlays with the Eastern Beast Courts. The genetic link has little in ways of forming a common bond between the Hakken and Shadow Lords. In fact, they believe that the Shadowlords, and indeed the Garou Nation as a whole, is a group of blood thirsty barbarians. The Hakken believe the rightful way to be defenders of Gaia, whom they call the Emerald Mother, is to work with all other shapechangers as equals, not as players using pawns in a game. This cooperation spanning hundreds (thousands?) of years with the Beast Courts has granted the Hakken many strange and wonderful abilities. These Samurai like Garou can pull from the Hakken and Hengeyokai Gift lists on top of everything available to the Shadow Lords (breed, auspice, tribe). These powers come to bare in their role as the vanguard protectors of all that is good in the East.

Now as for Roleplay one should look to the ones who do the job you need done but don’t necessarily want done. To use comics and pop culture as a reference… A Ragabash Shadowlord would be like Batman, the ninja and detective who gets to the bottom of a situation and is willing to make the tough calls when it is called for. Do yourself a favor, check out when he stared down Darkseid and called his bluff. A Theurge Shadowlord would be like Night Wolf from Mortal Kombat. He channels the spirits and roots out corruption at it’s source whenever possible. A Philodox Shadowlord would be like Tuvac from Star Trek, coldly calculating but always for the greater good as needed. A Galliard Shadowlord would be like Thanatos from Gargoyles, fun loving but still darkly seeking power no matter the cost. An Ahroun Shadowlord would be like Judge Dredd. Judge, jury, and executioner of the Litany. Be harsh, be cold, be calculating. Others have time for fun and games, you do not. I’m sure there is other examples but those are some ideas.


werewolves world of darknessThe Shadow Lords are predators in the social and physical sense. As such they have been granted many gifts and aspects that enhance this role. Here is some highlights and my personal favorites:

Aura of Confidence is exactly what it sounds like and much much more. With it you never betray any sort of weakness and your aura is hidden from any who wish to see it.

Fatal Flaw allows you to gain a bit of an edge in almost any situation. The gain is small but every bit helps. The fact that it can be used infinitely and without cost is a blessing.

Seizing the Edge breaks an intrinsic game mechanic. Normally a tie goes to the defender but with this ties go to the Shadow Lord.

Shadow Weaving allows you to bend the shadows to aid you in many ways, not the least of which is to enhance your stealth abilities.

Whisper Catching allows all whispers within 200 feet to be heard clearly. Remember how I said these guys are good at catching the bad guys? This is part of why.

***Scary part? The above are all available at the start of the game and are rank 1.***

Clap of Thunder allows you to bring the BOOM! Crowd control is an amazing thing in any game, and this one works wonders.

Direct the Storm turns that nasty rage problem of Garou into a weapon, one you can aim.

Icy Chill of Despair brings all the terror one can instill in another to the forefront. Much like the scene in Lord of the Rings when Gandolf tells off Bilbo and scares him while he grows along with the shadows. “do not think me some conjurer of cheap tricks” or something like that.

Paralyzing Stare allows you to freeze a target in place with just a glance.

Shadow Cutting lets one attack their foes shadow but damage the owner. This is incredibly hard to defend against and the smart Shadow Lord will set up lights to lengthen shadows.

Under the Gun curses a target to have missiles literally change course and aim at the target of the curse. Like Dungeons and Dragons arrow catching shield, except… it’s the cursed one’s face.

Open Wounds turns the next attack into a Uwe Boll movie. The victim bleeds profusely no matter what aid is given.

Durance keeps some talons from being destroyed upon use. This can royally piss of spirits but may be necessary in some cases. Needs must when the devil drives.

Strength of The Dominator drains a targets rage into the Shadow Lord, again a gift that makes them the inquisitors of the Garou.

Obedience turns the Shadow Lord into the ultimate Alpha Wolf. His commands, his words, his will is law and must be obeyed.

Shadow Pack is an amazing tool when one needs reinforcements. Similar to the clone Jutsu of Naruto, you create copies of yourself that share all your skills and abilities but none of your property or gifts. Imagine a Raging Crinos splitting into many, all of which want to eat you. Yep… that’s a game changer.


Shadow Lords World of DarknessWell that sounds like a good breeze over on an interesting tribe and one of my personal favorites. You are highly encouraged to give these guys a try, as everyone likes the bad-ass anti hero. As always, you are encouraged to ask questions or make comments. I’d also love to hear who your favorite anti heroes are.

For now, I have to go prep Midnight for a showdown with my players that is coming soon. That and I have to get ready to roll out to Egypt to speak to the Silent Striders next week. The Striders are the an amazing tribe with a rich history. Plus they are the first tribe that stems from Africa, which we all know is home to an amazing amount of fauna. What does it take to be the alpha predator there? What does it take to kick that predator out of it’s home? We shall see! You enjoy yourself, I know I will.

Stay Nerdy my friends,

Nubz

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World of Darkness: Glasswalkers

MV: Connection established, is this the one speaking to members of the Tribes?0ae6a02607c17d6b2020aec30b958c15

Nubz: Umm… Hi? Yeah, and you are?

MV: Max Valentine, or MV for short. 

Nubz: Nigel or Nubz if you prefer. 

MV:  Yep, so are you a Fianna boy or is it a Get of a Get? 

Nubz: I prefer Nubz but any is fairly accurate. 

MV: Well mixed heritage is common in the Glasswalkers, ever thought about joining?

Nubz: I don’t think that is my cup of tea.

MV: I dunno, you are a pretty good shot. 98.5% accuracy at Gameworks last time you went. 

Nubz: How did you know that?

MV: And you are fairly active in security, that could be handy with getting the fang and bang boys in places.

Nubz: Okay seriously how do you know that?

MV: Ooh, fan of classic horror and cinema. Mary Shelly is one of my favorites too, though I have to go with Wolfman for obvious reasons. 

Nubz: Where the hell are you getting all this? I am supposed to be interviewing you…

MV: Dude… your old poetry was bleak, except when it’s not. One second you are all blood and darkness, the next you are all lovey dovey. 

Nubz: Yeah, was alot of emotions in my teen year… wait… You are hacking me?!

MV: Alright so you are probably an Ahroun with the slow on the uptake thing… That’s okay. I still think you are special. 

Nubz: Sigh… What’s your point?

MV: My point is that anyone can and everyone can be of use to Gaia and we Glasswalkers are the ones who roll with the times to turn the ways of man into a fine edge to cut the head off the Wyrm. 

Nubz: That… is a very good point.

MV: The fact that you are doing this, talking about the tribes, well alot of people don’t like it. But us Glasswalkers, we think outside the box. We are looking at it as a chance to seek out lost cubs. See, we work our hoodoo voodoo a bit different. Every time someone loads up this Nerdarchy.com a Cockroach spirit crawls into their system and finds out if they are an agent of Pentex or the Wyrm or whatever.

Nubz: That’s rather clever.

MV: It goes a bit further. Do you know what Gnosis is?

Nubz: Yeah, it’s like… spirit power or something. Most kin don’t have it but you Garou do.

MV: I know a kin that does, sweet girl I knew in highschool. Well this bug, lol bug lol, it can sense gnosis. So if the user has it, we Glasswalkers have a homing beacon to a potential lost cub. 

Nubz: That is ingenious but why mention all this to me?

MV: Let’s just say Sheila found something on your system.

Nubz: Sheila?

 

-Chat Conversation between Nigel and Maxwell “MV” Valentine; Ragabash Glasswalker and hacker.


 

207bb4912d4d95da12bf8fb1f2102272The Glasswalkers are a tribe of Garou unlike any other, and probably the easiest to relate to for that exact reason. You see, this tribe is as close to humanity as the Red Talons are close to wolves. This has caused friction and even whispers of them being corrupted or losing their way. Not exactly unfounded, but still it does not cover the entire picture. Adaptation and thinking on your feet is the way of Glasswalkers throughout the ages. In fact, they have adapted to each age as it comes, each iteration being at the forefront of Human development. With each age comes a new name, such as the Iron Riders who were at the bleeding edge of the Industrial Revolution. As City Warders, they guarded the cities of man from the medieval age all the way back to the rise of Rome. Warders of Man would sit watch as sentinels of the tribal man before agriculture allowed true settlements. I am certain their has been others, but these are the big ones.

Why do they follow man so closely? Well to play with all the interesting toys of course! Well, not entirely true but the fun things that come with each age have always been adopted and put to use by the Glasswalker Garou. Guns, computers, bombs, and even things like credit cards have had spirits invested in them and turned into Fetishes that would appall the other tribes. Even artificial intelligence is within the realms of possibility with these Garou. This love of technology also brings forth an entirely new battleground, throwing a wrench into Wyrm corporations or even just mankind’s ignorant destruction of the planet. Oh my… is Al Gore a Glasswalker? Well he isn’t likely but I would not be surprised if Howard Hughes (Ragabash), Bill Gates (Theurge), or Steve Jobs (philodox) was. That being said, they may be the cyberwarriors of the Garou but they are also the first ones to bring a Sniper with Silver bullets, a bit of C4, or even claws and fang when the occasion calls for it (alright the last one they are not the first to use but still).  The fact is, the fight is changing, and these Garou change with it. This is often mocked by the other tribes but Vampires, Black Spiral Dancers, and even the Wyrm is slower to evolve than most… and any advantage is worth taking.

As was mentioned a few times, the Glasswalker Garou are close to man, and thus they are far from their wolf side. Their wolf kinfolk have their small number protected on private lands. This segregation leads to alienation from Wolf ways and the tribal ways of “normal” Garou. For this reason many of the Lupus breed Garou take off and head to other tribes. This means that if you run into a Lupus Glasswalker, you may have just found a leprechaun riding a unicorn that is on it’s way to see the guy who makes Shatner’s and Trump’s hair. That being said, the tribe seems to treat it’s Metis with a surprisingly liberal attitude. In fact, they are barely held back by their mule status, and are even allowed positions of power. This is partially because Glasswalker’s tend to follow human’s habits of poor choices of lovers. Finally, the tribe as a whole tends to view kinfolk as a number and asset. Often delegating menial tasks to them and treating them as workers in a company.

Physically, the Glasswalkers tend to mate with whoever catches their eye. As such, they tend to follow whatever is attractive in the area and time they are in. Yep, that means Seattleite Glasswalkers’ are hipsters… May the fleas of a thousand Bone Gnawers infest their nether regions. This extends to their fashion, fetish’s and even markings. It is not entirely uncommon to see a purple Mohawk wearing Crinos with piercings in interesting places. The Glasswalkers are big fans of using the rite of binding to make sure these fashions and even things like cellphones are always available to them. Anything can aid in the fight, so the Glasswalker’s don’t judge. In their wolf form, these Garou vary vastly in size, shape, and even color. There is no pure breed, and thus there is no uniform look.

How a Glasswalkers is supposed to act is very subjective. See, the Glasswalkers is the one to roll with the punches, to adapt to a situation, and think outside the box. For this reason, I find their Ragabash to be amazingly fun to play. You want to be the one to have the plan B, and don’t be afraid to encourage a human solution when the rest of the pack are all paws in for going wild. Even if you go with the wyld plan, have back up. The Glasswalkers tend  to inject their own style into life as a Garou, favoring skills often ignored by other tribes such as firearms, drive, computers and larceny. Don’t hesitate to look for the times when you can do good work with these.


LogoTribeGlassWalkers (1)

As the lords of adaptation and followers of the ultimate form of survival, the Glasswalker Garou are given an amazing breath of gifts, and I do mean that… these guys are swiss army knives, to aid in the fight against the Wyrm:

  • Control simple machine allows you to… duh. Talk to, and control simple machines such as doors, levers, and pulleys.
  • Diagnostic you get to be Geordi Laforge, telling what is wrong with a machine at a glance.
  • Plug and play is low level and yet is a game changer. Using this you connect any tech to any other tech. Ever see the game Watchdogs? Yeah… this can be fun.
  • Trick shot increases your chance to fire any gun in a non directly damaging way. I’ll be your huckleberry.
  • Cyber Senses allows your Glasswalker to have radar ears and UV vision. Really any sense can be replaced by a cyber version. My personal suggestion? Echolocation. It is super handy.
  • Hands Full of Thunder removes the need of ammo (as long as their ammo to begin with) from any gun you wield.
  • Jam Technology lets you jack up any tech, even one’s with no computery parts. Anything man-made is effected, even to the point that a scalpel will not cut flesh at all.
  • Power Surge causes a blackout in the local area.
  • Steel Fur gives you armor, and makes you look like a werewolf Colossus from X-Men. Kinda cool. Bonus if you have a Russian accent or have a girlfriend who walks through walls.
  • Control Complex Machine allows you to… sigh… anyway, this time you can talk to anything tech upto and including computers and smart phones.
  • Intrusion makes any barrier fall before the Glasswalker.
  • Electroshock lets you wield electricity as a weapon. I would not suggest trying this in the shower.
  • Elemental Favor is a weird one that works a bit like… well… it changes but stuff like glass exploding, water backing up in pipes, and gas leaks happening are common. Storyteller decides.
  • Attunement lets you literally talk to your city to gain information.
  • Doppleganger let’s you morph into another for a bit
  • Signal Rider lets you surf the web, or a phone line, or any other form of two way communication in such a manner that it becomes a way of fast traveling to a desired location.
  • Tech Speak lets you communicate (one way) through any kind of tech. Tv’s broadcast the message, radios play it, billboards display it, phones yell it without even being picked up. This can be an amazing source of pranks.
  • Chaos Mechanics is a game changer. This allows you to use Gnosis and Rage at the same time. Woo!
  • Summon Net Spider cuts the difficulty of using, hacking and building computers by 50% and even allows you to summon a Net Spider spirit to do your bidding.

 

Alrighty, that ends my jaunt with the Glasswalker Tribe. I will state that the Glasswalker’s did survive the change to Werewolf: The Forsaken in the form of the Iron Masters. Furthermore the Glasswalkers have an amazingly powerful Fetish in the form of the PUDA or Personal Umbral Digital Application. This thing is nasty by any standard. Anywho… Next week we are jumping in with the ultimate feminists, the Black Furies. Questions? Comments? Leave them below or as comments on Facebook. I will be happy to help and answer them all. Take care you all. I need to factory wipe my computer after my little chat with Mr. Valentine.

Stay Nerdy,

-Nubz

 

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World of Darkness: Fianna

Fianna1As I settle by the fire set in a old stone fireplace of a pub filled with music and mirth, I reflect on the luck I have to be related to these people. My cousins, first, second, twice or thrice removed… These are my kin and I am kin to them. Since I was young, my family on my mother’s side have been part of the Fianna and their Celtic kin. Warriors and poets, living each moment to it’s fullest yet never forgetting the past. Our people have been one of contradictions and traditions. These traditions are carried in the hearts and tongue of every single Fianna, be they Kinfolk or Garou. I am no exception, and for this I have told the tales of my interactions with the other tribes so far and now I hear their story from the lips of one man. A man who’s blue eyes speak of a life well lived; Of wars fought and babies bounced on knees, of love found and lost in the blink of an eye only to be dwarfed in the eye of the storm of true passion, and of pride in observance of ways far older then us being taken up in pride by those barely old enough to memorize the jig they now proudly show to the family.

Leaning back in his chair, holding a bit of tinder to his pipe as he speaks, “Gather round, gather round… pipe down and listen pups or ye will feel a whooping like your ma should have givin ya on your first howlin moon. The history of Gaia is alive within us all. It is our calling and our lifeblood to be steeped in the history of life in all it’s myriad of forms. Not just the ways of the Irish but in those of all walks of life. From the ways of Gaia and the Litany to when it was broken in moments of passion so powerful that they could bring a Get Ahroun weep. From the life of the Celts to the way they have had to fight for every breath of freedom. We must not forget, for those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”

Taking a long drag of his pipe, the movement revealing a Fianna tribe tattoo marred by a trio of claw shaped battle scars older then I am. His eyes hidden beneath a wool cap, he continues, “See most would consider us hot heads and flighty poets. But sure as I am a McNeil, we are more than this. Ah, I see you youngsters are listening now huh? Well let me tell you a bit more. See the Get were called to fight, the Fang to lead, the Talon to cull and preserve. We are called for something different entirely. We are the ones to remember for all the tribes. This is both to call forth memories of the greatest triumphs, but also to ward off the hubris and mistakes that were made. We are teachers, but when your student is one who can fly off the handle in a rage you don’t sit them at a desk and pass out tests. No no, you have to howl and sing, praise and poetry are the tools of the teacher of the soul. We fight alongside them, and remember because if they fall they will live on. It is a heavy burden, to carry the weight of the dead from a thousand battles past. “

He leans forward, his beard and mustache turned up in a bit of a smirk, “Warriors that are forgotten are ones that never existed in the first place. If they did not exist, then the battle was not fought and makes meaningless the fall of our brothers sisters. We add meaning, and for that there is no higher calling. Fianna are the keepers of inspiration of the heart, the mind, and the soul.” He stands up and taps out the pipe before lifting a large tankard filled with a dark beer to the moon, “It is for this reason we are the ones who do not run from death but greet it as an old friend with smile and open arms. If the Wyrm thinks any Fianna is going to roll over and show our belly in the Apocalypse, they have another thing coming. I am a McNeil and Gaia saw fit I came into this world kicking and howling covered in someone else’s blood, and by Fionn mac Cumhaill I will be damned if I don’t go out the same way!”

Holding up our drinks as a chant of allegiance to Gaia is raised as one, it’s tone like a heart beat of some mighty beast of yor, “Gaia go Bragh! Gaia go Bragh! Gaia go Bragh!”

-“Uncle McNeil”; Patriarch of McNeil clan and Homid Galliard Fianna


 

The Fianna are a proud and amazing tribe that seems to hold a special place within Garou culture. See, Fianna are quite contrary to most in many ways and paradoxical in most. Many other tribes believe their Kinfolk are there to serve them, but the Fianna live for and with their Kinfolk like no other. Where the Celts go, the Fianna are sure to follow. This has lead to many conflicts, be it with the European Garou invading Ireland or the expansion of the new world leading to conflicts with the Wendigo and Uktena. In modern day, they are prone to grouping with the Irish where the culture of old is preserved. To this end, they tend to set up home in places that remind them of Ireland and the old lands whenever they are abroad. Be it rolling green hills and old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest or the cramped boroughs of Hell’s Kitchen in New York.

Paradox is defined as a statement that contradicts itself by presenting two facts that are both true and in their contradiction render neither true. This is in essence, the spirit of the Fianna. Known the world round as the Garou who are most prone to partying and living in the moment, but also known to be lovers of songs that commemorate the ways of the old. There memories and song are not limited to just Garou or even just the Fianna though. Any good story is worth telling, no matter the inspiration, a tale of Gaia is a tale worthy of being told. Even the Lupus tend to learn keening, haunting, beautiful song based howls. Beyond this, they are at a bit of a contradiction when it comes to their families.  The passionate and romantic nature (plus that infamous accent) lead to many times where Garou and Garou have lain together, but the Fianna believe that with the corrupted bodies of the Metis come a corrupted soul. For this reason Metis never hold positions of power or even garner much respect at all. Abused and downtrodden, many have been known to leave for the Children of Gaia or the Black Spiral Dancers. Sadly, the lessons the Fianna sing of have never taught them that kindness can keep an ally from becoming an enemy and that any ally is better then none. Especially in the end of times, when the hot blooded nature of this tribe has infuriated many from the other tribes only to idly cool at the sound of the silver tongue of the Celtic Garou.


 

steve-prescott-fianna-poster-700From their basic nature, the Fianna are of Gaelic and Celtic descent, and as such they follow suit in style and art. From decorating fetishes with knotting, to woad tattoos. So if you study the culture of the Irish from whatever area and era you are playing, you can get a fair grasp on what to do. Furthermore, an Irish accent can add a huge level of authenticity to the game experience for all. Remember Irish mannerisms are  a tad different than American culture. Shake hands firmly with everyone you meet and sincerely greet them. Do no show signs of public affection. Avoid grandiose movements or body language. Eye contact is not only polite but expected to the Irish. To look away from a Fianna when speaking to (or being spoken to by one) could be grounds for a Rage check. A frenzy check would be logical if one were to give a “reverse V for victory” gesture with their fingers, as this is tantamount to an extremely vulgar and obscene gesture. Dress conservatively, avoid flashy clothes or unnecessary “bling”, as these are frowned upon. Subdued colors, wools, and tweeds are the most popular. Raincoats are common year round and often are an identifying article of clothing, especially among males.  Be forthright and honest from the beginning. Have a slight disdain for the pretentious. Do these and you have a very good start on being a Fianna.

Though the tribe has a special place for Galliards, the tribe makes good use of all Auspices. Every single auspice learns myth, legend, and song of the people though. The tribe of the Stag venerate love of life above all, and such should be reflected no matter the time of their birth.

The Fianna Garou, especially those of pure breed, tend toward either black or reddish to reddish brown fur and hair. In the summer months this can show more red tint but it is fairly constant otherwise. The blonde Fianna are newer and not common in the pure breed. That being said, eyes tend toward the blue spectrum or green. Your Fianna could have hazel or brown, but these really are not common. Especially in those who descend from the “Black Irish”. Keep in mind that other than the roving Irish and those of the pirate/fishing clans, the Fianna tend to be more on the pale Caucasian side of skin tones. The fore mentioned exceptions having pale skin that quickly takes on a copper tan when in the sun. I know this one from personal experience. Now another interesting feature of the Fianna is tied directly to the eye contact thing I mentioned. If you have ever heard of “when Irish eyes are smiling” well it is more then a pretty song, alot of Irish have low brow, deep set eyes, with high full cheeks. This adds up to a rather intense gaze some would say looks like squinting that almost disappears into a sparkle of their eyes when truly smiling. Finally, the Fianna tend to have unusually large lupus forms.


The Fianna have a few amazing plot points in history that one should consider.

  • The Western expansion and colonization of the Americas was fore-fronted by the Irish kinfolk and Fianna Garou.
  • The English invasion, enslavement, and war on the Irish.
  • The Irish involvement in the war on the English lead by William Wallace.
  • The battles for New York involving the Irish Gangs.
  • World War One and World War Two were both grounds for heavy Irish activities around the world.
  • The activities of the Irish Republican Army.
  • The grand daddy of them all, the fall of the White Howlers and the rise of the Black Spiral Dancers.

 

Fianna2The Fianna Garou have a host of gifts unto themselves that separate them from the others in terms of power and flavor (ever wonder what an Irishman tastes like?). Here is some of the ones I think are the most iconic or interesting;

  • Faerie Light grants control of the will of the wisp and can be used to light their way or to lead a foe into an ambush with the small bobbing lights. This, along with many other gifts, have lent credence to rumors that the Fianna are either part Faerie or at the very least have friendly relations with them.
  • Persuasion… I did mention they were silver tongued after all.
  • Two Tongues is a hoot to use as you are allowed to have two conversations fully separate from each other at the same time.
  • Glib Tongue makes the audience agree to anything, even total nonsense.
  • Flame Dance allows for the warrior poet Garou to dodge as easily as many breath.
  • Howl of the Banshee can force others to run in fear
  • Howl of the Unseen allows you to communicate through the gauntlet; either from the spirit world of the umbra to the material world or the vice versa.
  • Faerie Kin throws away any rumors, you have friends in strange places and they come to aid you in times of need.
  • Fair Fortune grants the luck of the Irish to the Fianna Garou.
  • Ley Lines allows you to manipulate energies to throw off and frustrate hunters.
  • Balor’s Gaze makes your eyes glow red and inflict pain on every foe in their sight.
  • Phantasm allows you to create illusions that will fool all five senses
  • Call the Hunt brings down the Huntsman, Hern the Hunter if you will, and his hounds. These allies are powerful and worthy of the steep cost of calling them.
  • Fog on the Moor allows the Fianna to pass through material objects in a ghost like form (not silver!)
  • Gift of the Spriggan is the game changer. You become Ant Man. Growing upto three times your size or shrinking down with no loss of stats. You have no idea how fun this can be.

 

LogoTribeFiannaHad enough Fianna? Well, we are here to stay. Personally, they are one of my favorite tribes for many many reasons. This overview does not do them justice, I strongly suggest picking up the tribe book on these guys. It is amazing. As always, if you have questions or comments please speak up. I promise I will respond to all I see on Facebook and here on Nerdarchy.com. That being said, I am going to be signing off here. I need some sleep as today is my first day off in a long time. Next week we will be going online and speaking to the lords of tech the Glass Walkers. Now that is a Paradoxical Garou Tribe if I have ever heard of one! Have fun all.

P.S. To all the Fathers out there I would like to wish a happy Father’s day. Myself and (I believe) the other Nerdarchy members are proud gamer dads. It is the hardest but most rewarding role we have ever had to play, but we wouldn’t have it any other way would we?

Stay Nerdy,

Nubz

 

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World of Darkness: Red Talons

world of darkness red talonsSo I originally went to go see if I could find one friendly Red Talon, but so far I cannot find a single one. Not one in the zoo, not one in the game park, not one in the city in general. What I did get was a few friendly Bone Gnawers who pointed me in the right direction. Packing a backpack, a bow and full quiver, and my survival knife I headed off into the untamed wilds that earned my state the name “The Evergreen State”.

Day one: I hunted and caught a rabbit. It was good, but still I could not yet sense anything out here but myself. Still, I was told I would only be allowed to live if I could prove I was respectful of nature. Thus, I used a smokeless electric burner to heat the water and boil my catch. Still feeling pretty human as I bed down in a lean tent but, I am glad my father taught me to hunt. 

Day two: Woke up to find wolf tracks throughout my campsite. I was warned they would pick me up quick but this is startling. My stove was destroyed, as was a few other comfort items. I take this as a test, which is how I was told this would be handled. “Only the strong survive?” Alright… you are on. Finished the rabbit today, but the prey was scarce today. Tonight I set up tent beneath an immense Douglas Fir, amazed at the beauty of the land the Red Talons have chosen to make their home.  Continue reading World of Darkness: Red Talons

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World of Darkness: Silver Fangs

tumblr_mayv4aLfxC1rswd31o2_1280Standing in the center of a moot is an honor afforded to few kinfolk, and to be the center of a Silver Fang moot is rarer still for one who shares little to no blood of the noble rulers of the Garou. Still, in silent reverence I stand surrounded by many before the great, and some would say greatest, Ahroun himself. Greying but still powerful, the long haired man in ornate armor sits upon his throne, the Silver Crown resting on his brow. Nobility, the blessing of Lord Falcon, and power is felt in every powerful corded muscles, every fleck of silver in his cold blue eye, and even the scars of claws long since cleaved from the owner who claimed the small victory of the king’s eye in his younger years. With a twitch of his wrist he draws my eyes to the immense runed blade at his side, the Grand Klaive, noblest of blades that any Garou could hope to wield within their lifetime. 

With a quick glance, I see the tale of his people written upon the portraits of kings that came and went. From the noblest and first of the lines within both human and lupine, to the leaders at the forefront of every battle against the wyrm. Kings who stood at the gates of hell and roared a challenge as they sacrificed themselves to slay more Wyrmspawn in one glorious stand than most Garou have ever seen. To leaders of werewolf and man who’s words echo with the ages, amplified with every beat of the hearts of their descendants. Rising to the current leader, King Jonas Albrecht, who has come back from exile and harano, united the tribes against the very end of times, and even beaten back the Wyrm from claiming the throne in acts of betrayal most vile. 

A glance to the other side tells a different story indeed, ones that fuels rumors that soil the reputation of the Silver Fangs. Of tyrants who’s madness was empowered by the drive to rule, and the lust for the purest of lines of wolf and man leading to occasional inbreeding. Like a moon in waning, the dark side had it’s apex too. The portrait closest to the king, and closest to his blood. The last king, Jacob Morningkill, Albrecht’s own grandfather. The very same man who’s madness lead him to exile his own grandson on the night of a great victory for all Garou wrought by Albrecht’s own claws. An act that would humble and eventually lead to the man standing seated upon the throne before me. 

With a motion, a mere flick of his wrist, I see the truth above all. That it does not matter the good, the bad, or anything that is within each Garou, it is their duty to do their best against the Apocalypse. For though this tribe was born to rule, nobility is found within every single being of Gaia. That though I am but kinfolk, I am still held to a duty greater than myself just as this great king is. Empowered, as if some lunar fire had been lit within my very soul at his very presence, I kneel with right hand touched to my heart. A heart I feel the very beat of Gaia within, one that beats in sync with this king. No, I feel it now, the beats of every Silver Fang heart swearing allegiance to the war on the Wyrm with every breath that escapes their chest. A line of Silver Fangs stretching back to the beginning of man and beyond, one that is connected to every Garou and kinfolk there ever was or ever will be. An entire tribe that will not rest until victory or the last beat of a Silver Fang heart sounds a death knell for all that is good, noble and pure.

And me, a lowly kinfolk of mixed heritage, now charged to tell the people of Gaia, “The Apocalypse is coming, and those who fight for Gaia, will never fight alone.”

With a raise of his brow and narrowing of his eye, the King addresses me finally, “You understand…”


The World of Darkness is an amazingly diverse place but even monsters need a leader. That leader for the Garou is the Silver Fang. Just as the Get of Fenris were called to fight, the Silver Fang was called to lead. Called forth from the noblest lines, very similar to the European noble lines that emulated them, the Silver Fang can count on kings, queens, tsar, and presidents, and every other form of royalty within their bloodline. Though their is whisper from various tribes, especially the Shadowlords, that this purity has lead to madness, harano, hubris, and inbreeding. Rumor or not, the majority of the Garou tribes still afford respect for the Silver Fangs. Some carried on the backs of deeds of the past, some through their own actions, but for good or ill, all Silver Fang feel the pull to a leader of some form.


LogoTribeSilverFangsTo explain the Silver Fangs one must explain what harano and hubris is as it is the cause and fuel of the darkest this tribe has to offer, and in over coming it, one can see the brightest the tribe has to offer.

Harano is an all encompassing sense of doom, dread, and the painful realization that despite (or perhaps because of) the actions of the Garou; The actions of man kind have caused the slow, agonizing death of Gaia. That no matter what one does, the end times are coming fast. Sound fairly emo, but this is not even half of it. See, just like Rage, the Garou feels things at such an intensity that it reaches supernatural levels. The side effect of this is taking more warriors off the battlefield of the Apocalypse than most Wyrm spawn. A Garou that refuses to raise it’s claw is as good as dead. Though any Garou may feel this, Silver Fangs are the leader in this horrible fate.

Hubris is the opposite of this. An all encompassing passion and pride in oneself that leads to madness, and overconfidence. Like ebb and flow of an ocean, a Garou can bounce between hurbis and harano, but it is during this time of hubris that he is at his most dangerous. See a Garou that refuses to act is useless, but a Garou that inspires others where victory cannot be found is a tool of the Wyrm. Suicidal acts such as these has caused the death of many Garou, and though the Silver Fangs are guilty of the most cases of hubris (such as King Jacob Morningkill), the greatest ever lead to the corruption of the White Howlers and creation of the Black Spiral Dancers.


 

alberchreiJonas_Albrecht_crinosNow we can move on to speak of how the Silver Fangs act. The word noble may mean different things to different cultures but inevitably you will find that it follows those who are the pinnacle or paragon of their culture. A Russian Silver Fang is everything one can expect of a noble Tsar of the North. A European Silver Fang of the knightly age is holding court, balls, and jousting with the best of them. An American Silver Fang is where things get interesting, as I stated before, they are the paragon of their capitalist culture. The Wolf of Wallstreet truly is a wolf, and one that leads the pack with as predatory nature as any other. Teddy Roosevelt would be a grand example of a Silver Fang in modern America. A leader in his time, a bit nutty, but a leader none the less. George Washington himself would have been counted amongst the Garou Leader tribe, a prime example of a Silver Fang as I have ever seen one.

This being said, the Silver Fang tribe is shaped by (and shaped) modern American/European/Slavic Culture. To this end I will say… Act like someone from the age and area you hail from. They are very little difference between the Silver Fang and the Alpha/Upper Class of the society/ecosystem they originated from.

Physically the Silver Fang tend to follow the features of nobility in their area, though I noticed angular, sharp, western beauty features are most predominant. In their wolf form they tend toward white or silver coats with a full tail brush. Their fur is sleek, muzzles long, and features well defined. The metis of this tribe have mental disorders more often than physical but are afforded some respect due to their pure lineage. Though they are denied the ability to hold rank.

The Silver Fang should act with pride, with panache, and with the swagger that comes with having everything handed to them. Coddled, be it by wolf kinfolk giving the choicest meats or from Daddy buying his little princess a Porche. The Silver Fang spends most of their life getting everything they could want and from the moment of their first change they spend the rest of it earning it through service to the Garou.  Though many believe it is a right to be extracted at the cost of others, the good leader will show that true success is done through cooperation and not upon the backs of their subjects. To know how to be a Silver Fang look to leaders who act through example without detriment of their team. Cyclops of the X-Men uptil 2000 or so, Captain America (pre hydra BS), Superman, King Arthur, every bloody captain of the show Star Trek. Okay, side note… my bets are: Kirk is a Ragabash, Sisco is a Theurge, Picard is a Philodox, Janeway is a Galliard, and Singh is an Ahroun (you may ask who but SERIOUSLY check out Star Trek: Renegades.)


 

“Authority should be seen as a part of leadership, not as a way around it.”

— Michael McKinney

“He who has great power should use it lightly.”

— Seneca

Interacting with the Garou is along the lines of one of the greatest quotes I have ever heard. “Authority is given, but Power is earned”. And to this end, a Silver Fang spend his life earning the power he had claim to since his birth. The Ahroun leads is leader in battle, the Galliard a leader in song, the Philodox a leader in fairness and diplomacy, Theurge a leader in spiritual matters, and the Ragabash is a leader in thinking outside the box. Silver Fang Garou should not assume they can bark orders (hehe… unintentional pun) but when the Ahroun jumps on the back of a Wyrm rending it with fang and claw today; He can expect to see others follow him to task tomorrow. Each and every task has some way to solve it, and the Silver Fang is the one to sacrifice himself to get there. Through this, they earn respect and scars alike. Do not ask others to do what you are not willing to do yourself. This does not mean you have to be able to do everything, but you should spend the time asking yourself, “If I could… would I?”. The noble Silver Fang would say yes. Of course, a good leader also knows when he may not be the best for the task. In these cases, delegation of authority to others is useful. As is giving respect where respect is due. The best example of this in modern cinema is summed up from the Avengers movie with two words said by Captain America, “Hulk? Smash.”


 

7355f7521a3d7c102cdb88d588a84f5aThe gifts of Falcon and Luna charge the Silver Fang with amazing powers indeed. Many can be found within various sources such as the Ahroun’s ability to turn his claws into silver and the Children of Gaia’s ability to wrap themselves in the Armor of Luna to ward against Silver. The most impressive powers are unique to Silver Fangs and are as Follows:

  • Wrath of Gaia: Display the Majesty of Gaia to drive minions of the Wyrm to flee at the mere sight of you.
  • Mindblock: Your mind becomes nearly impossible to influence by any supernatural means.
  • Burning blade: Any weapon you wield is ignited in flame, dealing two extra aggravated damage and setting opponents ablaze. (Burn the Heretic!)
  • Talons of the Falcon: Your claws deal three greater damage and the damage dealt cannot be regenerated for the remainder of the scene.
  • Sidestep: You disappear and reappear, completely unharmed by the attack that would have felled you.
  • Mastery: You can impose your will and command on any Garou, even the corrupt Black Spiral Dancers.
  • Unity of the pack: Your entire pack gets a greater dice pool to accomplish acts together
  • Luna’s Avenger: Game over man… Game over… This is the game changer. The one that asserts dominance in battle over even the greatest Get Ahroun. You literally become a Garou made of silver. As such you are more durable, immune to silver, and bypass the defenses of most shapechangers.
  • Renew the Cycle: The Silver Fang are beings of purity and as such, they have a rank six gift that removes any source of animation from undead permanently. A freshly killed vamp falls dead, an ancient vamp or mummy crumbles to dust. There literally is nothing undead outside the range of this power.

 

That draws us to a close on this tribe. The first born, first to lead, first in many things… The Silver Fang was a lot of fun to write about. I love that they kept Albrecht’s story going twenty years after I first picked it up in my youth. This tribe has it’s down sides, as does every monarchy in history. But they have their truly amazing leaders too. I think the current queen of England is a Silver Fang for the record. I encourage you to think about Aragorn and his evolution, Tanis as well. The world of myth and legends that inspire us are ripe with amazing leaders, as is the real world. Think of those whom inspired you, and emulate them.

Speaking of leading… here is a lead on next week, we will be covering a tribe of Garou that is a bit different than most. In fact they are completely different than any human walking this planet because they don’t have any humans at all. Blood thirsty, savage, and feral… I run with the Blood Talons, or perhaps run from them.

 

Stay Nerdy!,

Nubz