Sitting 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. “
What can I say about the Bone Gnawers that has not already been said? Well, how bout a few tidbits of knowledge you may or may not know based on your experience within the world of darkness. Yes, the Bone Gnawers are the lowest of the tribes in many ways. They are not, however, always homeless or destitute. Nor are they always weak blooded or anything of the like. They are, however, the most wide spread of all the werewolf tribes. The Fianna see them in Ireland, the Get see them in Norway, the Striders see them everywhere. To understand the Bone Gnawers is to understand a basic fundamental feature of life in general.
No matter the land, no matter the era, the ways of man will always have someone brought low to support someone on high. The downtrodden, the ones made to survive where the upper crust could not dream, are everywhere. The Bone Gnawers have gravitated to and latched onto those survivors. Like many of the Garou nation, they became leaders of the people they were around, and as such the working class heroes of legend, may have a feral kernel of truth to them. The John Henry may have hammered in rail spikes at high speed using rage, or Robin Hood could have used wind spirits and gifts to remain the accurate archer he was. Beyond that, the one intrinsic truth of life is that everyone, no matter how high, has one direction they can go. Down. The Bone Gnawers happily accept the ones who have fallen or been rejected by the other tribes. The metis have a home and community here, a place in which they can fight the Wyrm with no stigma of their birth. No matter who or what someone has done, they can find earn renown with the lords of improvisation tactics. Shock troops, guerrilla warfare, or simple battle of attrition… the Bone Gnawers live and die by the creed, “Whatever works.” Course this does not mean that they ignore the tenets and rules of the litany but it does mean that they are comfortable bending the rules when necessary. If the Get are the warriors and berserkers, the Bone Gnawers are the every man. And it is not the Captain America who wins the war, it is the every man. It is every single one of us, working together, to a common cause. The Bone Gnawers are you, are me, are every person who has ever felt like fighting for a cause that is bigger than themselves.
The Bone Gnawers have been the eyes and ears on the street. The ones who overhear all while being seen by none. This is not done through invisibility per se, but by being those beneath seeing. The transients and homeless, the low class, the street worker or even the street walker. All of these could be a Bone Gnawer in disguise. Think of how many times you have had a conversation in a store or walking out of a theater and did not miss a beat when someone else was around. Yeah, think of that time you were on the phone with your boss, or your banker, or a family member and did not do a full three sixty sit rep every moment. Getting the idea of how much information these guys could have? Well just you wait, they have abilities that make this even scarier.
Well now, the thing about the Bone Gnawer roleplay that is actually surprising about real transients is that many of them are proud of their lot in life. They actually consider it a badge of honor to survive where others can’t. To be honest, there is a lot to be proud of there. After all, how many survival shows are there on TV? Well multiply that by ten because they actually survive in places of spiritual corruption as well. None the less, the Bone Gnawer actually can and will make use of everything around them. Keeping with their totem of the Rat, they are everywhere, and that includes areas with little else. To this end, don’t be surprised if the Bone Gnawer is a bit of a hoarder or collector of nicknacks. Be the one to know a guy who knows a guy. Play it up when you know something the others don’t or be proud of when you stand tall as others fall. Think outside the box, and I mean that in the try everything until it works kind of way. As my friend once said, “If a hammer does not work, use a screwdriver. If a screwdriver does not work, use a razor. If a razor does not work, use a tactical nuke.” Hehehe, that escalated quickly. Still, it does exemplify the way the Bone Gnawer works. They learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. For this reason more than anything, the Bone Gnawer tribe is often accused of being purely Ragabash. Thing is, most Garou do not like being told they are wrong. The Bone Gnawers are ripe with the calling of the bull at any gathering. Back all this up with stats like stamina, survival, streetwise, stealth, larceny, and other abilities that make it so you can never be caught unprepared. Think, “A jack of all trades is better then a master of one” and you got your mind in the right place.
So the Bone Gnawer tribe are known for being a walking Swiss army knife of abilities, and survivors. Their Gifts back this up at every turn. For this I present to you the highlights of their gifts:
Cooking allows you to literally cook down trash into near limitless healthy food. Say hello to why they can survive almost anywhere.
Desperate Strength lets you damage yourself to perform amazing feats of strength normally well beyond the player.
Resist Toxin lets you be immune to normal poisons. If it’s natural, you can take it. Hell, season your food with cyanide if you like the taste of almonds. (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME)
Scent of Sweet Honey makes someone you choose be a beacon to all manner of vermin. Beard of bees anyone?
Trash is Treasure lets you freely use any object that would normally be broken. Yep, pick up that busted cellphone and make a call.
Between the Cracks guides you to places where man will not bother you. A perfect place to wolf out or do rituals.
Blissful Ignorance is borrowed from the Ragabash but it grants the Garou the ability to fade from all senses. See? They are everywhere. And if you are not actively searching for them, this concealment is absolute.
Cornered Rat’s Ferocity proves you can’t survive if you can’t tussle. This sends you into a berserk frenzy and powers you up, making you a devastatingly skilled fighter for a brief time.
Guise of the Hound makes your lupus form appear like a normal dog. Great for blending in. Remember the whole talking around things that you don’t realize are listening? yep… here you go.
Odious Aroma you stink… you stink so bad it is a debuff aura.
Call the Rust turns you into a rust monster from D&D. Well not really but something you don’t like is gonna rust nearly instantly.
Gift of the Skunk you can spray like a skunk. It is a stun and debuff all in one… and that one is your butt.
Gift of the Termite lets you do what call the rust does, to something wooden. Point click destruction on documents and other things you need to smoke for the good of the veil.
Laugh of the Hyena makes it harder to mentally compel or control you as long as you are laughing.
Attunement alrighty, now we get to the scary. Remember the whole knowing things thing? Yeah… they get to talk to the spirits of the city itself to gain information. That’s right, they don’t even have to be around to know what you are up to.
Blink pull the X-Men Nightcrawler teleport from one shadow to another. It’s great, I love the theatrics of this one and how diverse it can be in it’s use.
Infest lets you cause an infestation of a building. This can have a multitude of effects but the primary purpose is to use vermin to make a place unwelcoming to humans.
Riot is a game changer. you can literally stoke the fires and cause a community to rage against the machine. Your Bone Gnawer has little if any control on the crowd’s actions but this gift is notorious for getting out of hand.
Survivor is a fun one. You become immune to need of food, water, and sleep. You ignore dang near any hazard and even resist wyrm toxins. This one has all kinds of uses but my favorite is tracking something like some inevitable predator. Woo! Fun!
Also worth note is the Rite of the Cardboard Palace, this is not a gift but a rite specific to the Bone Gnawer tribe. It allows you to make a home out of anything, cardboard becomes waterproof and comfortable to sleep in.
Alrighty. Well this wraps up the last of the living Gaian tribes, and to me that is an accomplishment. Well what better way to celebrate than to go on a cruise? I was looking at this Fan2Sea thing and think it could be interesting. Well, maybe after I deal with the last tribe still alive and kicking. See, there is one tribe that is not on the side of good. Chaos and evil are understatements when it comes to them. The Black Spiral Dancers are next. Fair warning… the next one will not be as family friendly, viewer discretion is advised.
Stay Nerdy my friends,
Nubz hails from the American Pacific Northwest where he has spent the last 24 years living the gamer life and running campaigns of all kinds. Through this he has managed to sate his acting bug and entertain many. Now a father, he wishes to pursue writing to leave a legacy in Nerd culture for his offspring to enjoy.