Feral (dacnomaniac) wrote in garou_nation,

So I'm working on a one-on-one game for my partner and I right now. He's decided he wants a lupus Get of Fenris Ragabash. I wanted to have a way to give him guidance and hints when he gets confused in the story and to introduce plot threads and such. There will be "optional" Fera characters later on -- they might or might not end up in the "party", so to speak, depending on what he chooses to do. But I wanted to have another character there who was certainly going to be there. My player is also attracted to Werewolf largely due to the spiritual aspect, I also want to have an easy way to draw that in. Since he's expressed interest in prophecy I sat down to muse, and suddenly this story is popping up with much more intensity than I usually get for this stuff.

It's been a while since I ran something like this, especially something this relatively ambitious (my last game was very original, set post-Apocalypse, and very open-ended, unlike this) so I want to get what I've already got in my head down and get some input from other people, particularly on certain points.

So roughly, the idea I've got runs like this. The usual story goes that the Wyrm went mad and split into the Three-in-One when the Weaver bound it into the Pattern Web (or cast some kind of webbing over it, anyway.) I had a thought -- in many of the stories I've heard people use, the Weaver tries to catch the Wyld first, but only then turns on the Wyrm when she can't catch the Wyld. Surely the Wyrm would notice this and figure out what's about to happen? But then I thought, what if he saw it coming, but wasn't able to complete his self-saving plan in time...?

So here's my current spin on it. If you have any input -- on this part or any other aspect of the idea I post about -- please comment! No Garou knows any of this part of the background, at least not in this much clarity. They'll get ideas and such as the story goes along and eventually the whole tale will be known if he makes it through.

The original Wyrm of Balance saw the Weaver try to catch the Wyld and sensed its madness. It knew the Weaver could never catch the Wyld, and that it would not be content to just give up. So it decided to split itself into smaller spirits, still large enough to do their job, but small enough to slip through the weave of the net and thus be as uncapturable as the Wyld. First, it split itself in two. Then each of the two moved away from each other and began to split into three each. But then, the Weaver struck unexpectedly, knowing her quarry was escaping. If they hadn't moved away from each other, both would have been caught. As it was, one of the two half-Wyrms was caught in the net just as it began to split. Stasis touched it, and it got stuck partially split. The agony and psychospiritual division instantly drove that half of the Wyrm mad. The other half realized that it would suffer the same fate and that Gaia was doomed -- unless he could save himself. So while Weaver was busy with the trapped half, the free half completed its split into three parts. Then each part, reasoning that it was best to hide in plain sight, bound itself into a physical object. These objects became legendary fetishes, each held by a different group of Fera. However, the Fera never knew exactly what spirit was bound into them, or why. They only knew the legends of their creation (which I haven't yet come up with.) Being the first legendary fetishes (and possibly the first fetishes period -- haven't decided) their stories eventually got lost over time, until all that the Bastet and the Garou remember about their respective fetishes is that they are legendary and truly ancient, so ancient that very little is known about them beyond their names and what they've done for past owners.

The items are the Sleeping Mirror, held by Garou; the Sleeping Spear, held by Bastet; and the Sleeping Key, held by the Mokole. They, of course, remember more than the others do, and have some awareness of the objects' significance, though even they don't know anywhere close to the whole truth.

The Bastet owner of the Sleeping Spear and the Mokole guardian of the Sleeping Key may or may not become part of the pack/"party"; it depends on what the player's character chooses to do. However, s/he will have to convince them at least to cooperate, because the fetishes will not awaken until Ragnarok/the Apocalypse, and their full power cannot be unleashed unless they're assembled together and a specific ritual (short but essential) conducted. If they manage to do that, the three aspects of Balancing Destruction will break free of their physical bonds and merge back into the Balance Wyrm, which will then attack its insane counterpart and prevent it from engaging. Essentially it's kind of like the Elder Serpent in the Pangaea Apocalypse plot. It doesn't guarantee victory but it gives one hell of a fighting chance. And come to think of it, I might include the Elder Serpent plot, because if they can pull off having *both* ... the Corruptor Wyrm would be screwed and they'd have a good chance of working together to heal the Weaver, too. That would be a nifty ending, though difficult as hell to achieve.

I know better than to set this up as a linear story with specific events he has to respond to in specific ways in order to get the right results. Instead I'm trying to set up a much more general sort of plotline and the major characters, prophecies, et cetera that will be involved, and tailor the story specifics to his reactions. I'm hopeful that he makes the right choices so I can get him to the Big Grand Ideal Ending, but I'm prepared for this to go all sorts of ways. Or, at least, I want to be.

Now, as far as the Garou go, the Fenrir happen to be the holders of this fetish, the Sleeping Mirror. They aren't aware that it's part of a trinity or of its true importance; they know it is a legendary fetish -- seeming to do nothing at all, at least not for millennia -- that it is truly ancient, and that it must be protected. The Fenrir also have a prophecy about two Garou of two different auspices born in one litter to a wolf-Kin bitch which they do not realize is related to the fetish.

I sat down to write out the prophecy about the cubs and it came out like this.

the youngest bitch-daughter of Fenris,
wearing her sole cast-down shirt,
will retreat to a coyote's den
to end a beginning and begin an ending.
the fruit of her labor shall be two-fold,
bearing the children of Ragnarok:
brothers of Fimbulwinter victory
harbingers of a final ending
and a fresh beginning.

by these signs ye shall know them:
for Luna shall rest Her blessing upon the mother's belly
and midwife the first babe with Her silver hands
and he shall fall easily from his mother into Her arms:
his coat shall bear the marks of Her touch.

yet Coyote shall have placed his unseen shadowy finger
on the mother's belly in a spiral motion
turning the second cub around in its mother
so that it shall enter this world backwards
and gain the backwards wisdom.

the mother's labor shall run so long because of this
that Luna must turn her face away to don the black mask
and only then will the second be born
from shadow into shadow
and his paws will touch the ground first
and so his paws shall always be on the ground
and in his gleaming eye
will shine the laughter of the hidden moon
though his brother shall gleam in the dark
like the edge of a blade
the wildfire shall take them for its own
and bid them bear it to its prey
yet they will come through the conflagration
afire with victory for their True Mother.

Essentially, it says that a purebred Fenrir Kinfolk wolf, the youngest adult female alive at that time, will give birth to two cubs, both Garou, in a place where both Luna and Coyote are able to influence the cubs. The first cub will be born easily and normally, midwifed by moonbeams, but the second one is breech and thus takes a very long time to birth (also impacted by the will of Gaia, Luna, and/or Coyote -- still deciding how roguish he's being here. :p) In any event, it takes so long to be born that Luna moves from crescent to new, thus making the second cub a Ragabash with the first a Theurge.

Now, I know that wolves usually give birth quickly, especially when there are few cubs, but even a natural breech birth can really slow things down, to the point of serious danger to the mother and the cub. If the will of Gaia Herself, or even Coyote the Incarna, is involved, that can make a lot of difference also, of course -- which is how the mother and cub survived the ordeal in the first place.

I thought about it; if the first cub is born late on the last night of the waning crescent moon, that makes it possible for the second cub to be born on the first day/night of the waning "new" moon (shouldn't we call it the old moon when it's waning?) without too much unrealistic time dilation. It is unrealistic, but no more so than plenty of other Garou stuff, IMO. If you feel differently, though, tell me -- especially if you have any better ideas about how to accomplish this.

What I want to know is, does this stretch plausibility too much, or can it fly given the relative epicness of the plot, setting, theme, et cetera? And what do you think of the prophecy itself?

Note that the prophecy can be interpreted in different ways in some places. It's mostly hopeful but I deliberately included parts that could be interpreted negatively, even banefully. It's like a lesser version of the First Metis idea/prophecies.

In any event, he's playing the Ragabash and I'll be running the Theurge as if it were a player character. (The prophecy says "brothers" right now but it's possible he'll choose to play a female, so I may have to change that detail, but that doesn't really matter so much.)

I also need to come up with Bastet and Mokole prophecies and such regarding their Sleeping fetishes and such. Do you have any recommendations about making Bastet and Mokole prophecies "feel" different from the Garou without making it overly obvious what race made the prophecy?

The game starts with them as cubs so I can educate Mitch a bit about how things are "normally" before the rug gets yanked out beneath them, and so that Mitch can settle into his character and get an idea of who s/he is and how they'll react in various situations. Then I'll play out the Rite of Passage and maybe one or two minor sept-related quests after that. There will probably be some fuss about the Prophecy from nervous/conversative/reactionary Garou who react to the seemingly negative parts, or maybe not -- depends on how interested in Garou politicking we both feel when it comes time to play.

In any event, shortly after their Rite of Passage, the Wyrm will attack the caern in force (haven't decided exactly how -- will probably take the opportunity to either introduce or raise a serious grudge against my two Black Spiral Dancer main antagonists,) trying to get the Sleeping Mirror. (If the Corruptor Wyrm gets ahold of the fetishes, it will subsume its other half, and Corruption will become the whole of the Wyrm with Balance no longer extant at all in any form. Not Good.)

In desperation, responding to the Prophecy and spirit-dreams, the Ritemaster (and ranking Theurge) of the Sept gives the fetish artifact to the Ragabash (because the Wyrm will expect them to give it to the Theurge and/or the "light" one) and opens a Moon Bridge to help them escape. I haven't decided yet if something will go wrong with the Moon Bridge that dumps them somewhere random, or if the Theurge deliberately sends them as far away as possible. In any event, they end up in Central or South America (maybe the Amazon, maybe not -- or Africa would work too.) This is where they have a chance to connect with the Bastet and Mokole and achieve the ideal ending. The work will all be on him, though, to make it happen -- if I use the Theurge to get it done I'm just writing a story by myself and there's little point playing the game, really. He'll help but ultimately it'll depend on the Ragabash's actions and choices and words.

It's at this point where I have very few concrete continuings. If he gets the Bastet *and* the Mokole to totally cooperate, then he can achieve the "ideal" ending as mentioned above, but there are so many other ways it could play out that I want to wait until we get to that point before doing any more specific planning for it.

Mainly I need to get the prophecies and characters written up. I've been having trouble deciding what tribe of Bastet to use...

Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.
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By this time you'll have your game fully planned out I think, and the first sessions you posted sound like you had much fun. :)
But maybe you'd still like opinions about the Bastet. Your setting instinctively makes sense for them, since their lore involves a dual nature of the Wyrm. They have Asura, the evil Triatic Wyrm, and Calash, their dark father and the original Balancer Wyrm who's still believed to work in the world today. So you could or should put these two names in your prophesy. Also, their prophesy would very likely be in the form of a Tahla, a riddle-story that speaks in metaphors and uses insider knowledge, so that only the initiated and the smart can get their meaning. There's a part about how to create these in the breed book. :)
Most STs probably would have everything planned out by now, but I'm one of those ones who's more comfortable improvising for the most part. I once played a campaign that ran for a year and a half without making one single pre-session plan. I just literally showed up and ran with however the players felt that day. It was a chaotic game, but it was designed to allow for my style of STing so it worked out very well (as I said it lasted a year and a half, and the only reason it died was that two of my players worked retail and the second holiday season devoured them alive.) So yeah, input is always helpful. Even when I post Session 30 (if we get that far) I'll still be interested in input. I want to do this especially well, as it's an epic story, which I've never done before, and also because I'm changing my ST style somewhat for it.

This time I'm planning a lot more since it's just Mitch and he's never played enough before to be so... self-motivated, I guess is the term? As my old players were. I could rely on them to just take off running with the smallest bits of an idea, but Mitch still needs a bit more guidance from me, so this time I actually have a metaplot for the campaign. It's pretty vague, though, because I have a phobia about overplanning. I can all too clearly see myself plotting something out in incredible detail, and then having my player(s) just wander off in a totally different direction and force me to change everything.

So I just never plan anything firmly that they could disrupt. I know most of the basic ways this could end, I know what principle players are involved (characters), and I know what those players are going to be *trying* to do. So when we play I just run through that, and what Mitch does in response becomes the plot and I make it up from there. It seems to be working pretty well so far. I had notes on the stats and powers of the Banes, and the name of the Black Spiral Dancer and what fetish he had, and the names of important Sept members. I have a writeup of the Sept itself and the caern and caern totem on my computer, and a couple of scrawled unfinished hand-written notes about the upcoming Rite of Passages, and I have various scenes in my head of them being challenged by suspicious members of the Sept who aren't ready to hail them as the incarnations of the prophecy just yet. And that's really the extent of my preparations right now. I try not to get too far ahead of myself.

Of course, after the next session, I'll be almost out of forward planning and it'll be time to do some more. And the Bastet may come in as soon as the fourth or fifth session depending on how fast they get through their Rite. So yeah, it's a good time for Bastet thoughts. :)

And yes, I had noticed that about the Bastet, their belief in both Asura and Cahlash. I was indeed planning to make Tahla a big part of it. I figure that's a natural task for Shadow-Touch, the Ragabash -- trying to interpret the relevant Tahla and realizing they relate to the Garou prophecy, whether the Bastet know it or not. Haven't decided if they do or not yet. On the one hand I like the idea of Bastet kind of wanting to reach out to Garou but being too pissed off and resentful to actually do it, thus forcing intense RP to bring them in, but on the other, it also makes sense that they'd totally reject anything that seemed to link them to Garou. Especially one tribe I've been thinking of using, the Balam. Then again they've also allied with Garou in the Amazon in the official metaplot, so either way could work...

Thanks much for your thoughts. :) Anything else you've got is always appreciated.