First things first. Let me state that I really appreciate all the feedback we get on these posts. Clearly we’re not going to be able to make everyone happy when you have different factions wanting different things out of the book, but it’s nice to not damn the torpedoes and forge ahead blindly. We like the feedback, thanks!
Second things: Upon review of the outline, seems we have a little more room for word count in the spreads of the Lost Tribes. The Gifts will not be part of the spreads: in fact, they’d had some room budgeted separately for them. So things are looking up.
Shall we have a sample?
When the continents split apart and the Garou divided themselves into tribes, three made the long walk across the ice to the Americas. These three, the self-described Lands Garou, were the Uktena, Croatan, and Wendigo. Today only two remain. Middle Brother, the steadfast Croatan tribe, is gone. But tragic as their loss was, it was also noble. Where the Bunyip were slain by their own kin and the White Howlers fell to the Wyrm, the Croatan sacrificed themselves to the last to banish a great evil. To this day, many wish it hadn’t been necessary. If only they had lived, perhaps the Uktena and Wendigo would not be so close to the brink. If only they had had more help, perhaps the Garou Nation would still have their strength. If only they had been able to slay the Eater-of-Souls outright, the Wyrm’s strength would have been cut by a third. If only.
The Croatan earned their name of Middle Brother not from age-based seniority, but from their role among the three Pure Lands tribes. The Wendigo were always angry and rash by compare, full of the fires of youth. The cunning Uktena sought wisdom, sometimes at the expense of the here and now. The Croatan took the balanced path between the two. They were passionate but not mercurial, savvy but not over-introspective.
Another aspect of the Croatan’s tribal mentality came from their elemental connection. The Croatan drew strength from the earth itself, channeled through their totem Turtle. They were solid and steadfast, not as slippery as the water-influenced Uktena and their river serpent totem, or as cold and furious as the Wendigo and their bitter wind-spirit allies. This influence had its drawbacks, of course. The Croatan were a stubborn tribe, often to the point of inflexibility. When blood spilled between the Three Brothers — and it did from time to time — the Croatan had their share of the fault.
Also matching their ties to the earth, Croatan were strong believers in the sept and the caern. They took the concept of sacred lands more seriously than most Garou ever did. They were also a fairly practical tribe, not much given to poetry or fancy. They called the five auspices Trickster, Shaman, Law Giver, Songkeeper and Warrior — some say because they found the old Garou tongue names a little too nuanced.
The Croatan’s fall came in the late 16th century, when it seemed the Apocalypse was about to come early. Eater-of-Souls (also known to the Croatan as Jipijka’m), one of the three heads of the Triatic Wyrm, had drawn so near to the physical world that it would soon physically manifest. The entire tribe gathered to fight, even as they knew that battle would not be enough. When the Eater-of-Souls broke through into the material world, the Croatan enacted a great rite to make the ultimate sacrifice. They gave themselves to the last, dealing Eater-of-Souls a vicious wound and banishing it back to the Umbra for many centuries of healing.
Yet the cost was a tribe. The Croatan were gone forever — even their ancestor-spirits participated in the rite. Their bloodlines would merge with those of other tribes, or be lost entirely. In the modern day there are legends that perhaps a single ancestor-spirit survived, or that there is one cub of pure blood that might awaken Turtle as a tribal patron again. There’s always hope. But the Uktena elders shake their heads, and say quietly that it’s a vain hope — comforting, perhaps, but nothing else.
Appearance: In their hybrid or wolf forms, Croatan with strong Pure Breed tended to have rich dark brown coats that shone like mahogany, with a slight dark brindling or mottling along the back and hindquarters. They were otherwise a very diverse tribe, deriving as they did from an entire third of the various nations of the Pure Lands.
Kinfolk & Territory: The Croatan preferred to leave the most northern portions of the Pure Lands to the Wendigo, and never ranged as far south as the Uktena did. They favored the lands around the Mississippi and much of the North American East Coast. Stories place them alternately as staunch allies of Mound Builder societies such as Cahokia, or as the force that turned on them to destroy them — or sometimes both. They took their human Kin from a wide variety of nations, most of whom were adopted by the Uktena and Wendigo shortly after the Croatan’s disappearance.
Tribal Totem: Turtle, a mighty spirit of earth and water said to hold up the world. He taught the Croatan much about fortitude and enduring hardship, and with their loss, he fell into a slumber from which he has yet to wake. Other totems revered by the Croatan include Thunderbird, Corn Maiden, the Earth-burrowers and the trickster Trout.
Character Creation: The Croatan were the most social of the Three Brothers, and many expressed this tendency with their Attributes and Abilities. They were a stolid, enduring tribe, and favored Traits that enhanced their resilience in one way or another, such as Survival.
Initial Willpower: 4
Background Restrictions: No restrictions.
Beginning Gifts: Master of Fire, Mindspeak, Turtle Body, Wyld Resurgence
Quote: “Older Brother is wise, and teaches us wisdom; but he is also a little too wise for his own good, and so he teaches us humility. Younger brother is brave, and teaches us bravery; but he is also a little too brave for his own good, and so he teaches us patience.”
• Master of Fire (Level One) — As the homid Gift.
• Mindspeak (Level One) — As the Galliard Gift.
• Turtle Body (Level One) — Many of the Croatan’s Gifts emulated the power of their patron, Turtle. This Gift allows the Garou to emulate Turtle’s stoicism by slowing his metabolism into a torpor-like state. The werewolf becomes inactive, but can go without breathing for hours at a time and ignore extremes of heat or cold. Uncontrolled bleeding stops, and any poison working its way through the werewolf’s system is greatly slowed, not taking effect for hours.
System: The player spends one Gnosis and rolls Gnosis, difficulty 6; success indicates that the werewolf enters the trance. The trance lasts for up to one hour per success, although the Garou may choose to awaken after a specific amount of time has passed.
• Wyld Resurgence (Level One) — As the Black Fury Gift.
• Strength of Purpose (Level Two) — As the Philodox Gift.
• Turtle Shell (Level Two) — The Garou can seal herself in a mystic protective shield that resembles a turtle’s shell. The shell is opaque from the outside, but those on the inside can see through it. The werewolf can opt to bring others into the shell with her, if her power is sufficient.
System: The player spends one Gnosis and rolls Stamina + Survival. Each success gives the shell two soak dice and two effective health levels; the radius enclosed is two yards per success. A Crinos-form werewolf requires about two yards radius, so with two successes, two werewolves in Crinos could be protected (or three humans or Homid-form Garou, or so on, at the Storyteller’s discretion).
The shell lasts for one scene, or until broken either by the Gift user’s will or by sustaining too much damage — whichever comes first. When broken, it shatters into pieces that dissolve like so much mist.
• Call Earth Spirit (Level Three) — This Gift is another of those that draws on the ancient alliance with Turtle, summoning an earth-spirit to rampage forth and crush things or people at the werewolf’s bidding. The Garou must have some earth at hand to invoke the earth-spirit, although a handful of dirt or a smallish rock will suffice.
System: The player spends one Gnosis and rolls Manipulation + Occult, difficulty 8. The spirit cuts a path of destruction in a straight line for up to 30 yards, inflicting 10 dice of lethal damage to anything in its path. Botching the summoning roll calls forth an earth-spirit of some sort that is hostile to its summoner.
• Shell (Level Three) — As the metis Gift.
• Hand of the Earth Lords (Level Four) — As the Uktena Gift.
• Stronger on Stone (Level Four) — Just as the Uktena were mighty in the waters and the Wendigo drew power from the winds, the Croatan were at their strongest when standing on the earth itself. This Gift allows a werewolf to mimic that strength — the closer the Garou’s tie to earth, the stronger he gets.
System: The player spends one Gnosis and one Rage. The character receives a number of bonus dice that he can add to Strength or Stamina (or divide between them) for the remainder of the scene, depending on where he stands. On dead wood, concrete or other artificial flooring, the bonus is one die. On living plant matter (such as thick grass or a tree root), the bonus is two dice. On bare earth, the bonus is three dice; on naked stone, four dice. If the character is separated from the ground (such in an airplane or on a bridge over water), the Gift has no effect.
• Katanka-Sonnak’s Spear (Level Five) — Some cultures that the Croatan took as Kin were sunworshippers. The Croatan in turn established strong ties with Helios and the Planetary Incarna of the sun, Katanka-Sonnak. This Gift springs from this alliance; by invoking the power of the sun, the Garou can call a shaft of fire from the sky to impale an enemy and immolate him in continuously burning flame.
System: The player spends a point of Gnosis and rolls Dexterity + Occult to strike the target; no range penalties apply, although the werewolf must be able to see her target. If the strike is accurate, the victim takes 10 dice of damage from fire damage each turn; this damage is aggravated, although shapeshifters are able to soak it. The fire cannot be doused with ordinary water; it will burn until 10 turns have elapsed unless quenched by a water-spirit, somehow dispelled, or until the victim takes no damage on a particular turn.
• Survivor (Level Five) — As the Bone Gnawer Gift.