It turns out I wrote a LOT of words for my game notes, so you may get these for a couple more weeks. For Werewolves, I wanted to move far away from “noble protectors of the Earth” and focus more on “bogeymen for Vampires.” I wound up borrowing from lots of sources, Dresden Files among them, to heavily spin most of the canon tribes to fit that decision.
Perhaps the greatest supernatural threats to Cainites are werewolves. They do not appear to follow the dictates of Hollywood: a lupine can be active any night of the month and even during the day (admittedly less of a problem for the Kindred). It is true that they are vicious killing machines, and they seem to have a particular hatred of confirmed Cainites. Even a weak werewolf seems to have supernatural physical gifts combining the powers of the Brujah and the Gangrel, and they seem undaunted by many disciplines of control.
Kindred of Atlanta are advised that lupines have been encountered in the suburbs, particularly forested areas north of the city. For safety, Kindred are expected to stay within the Perimeter unless given special dispensation by their sires. If you believe you are being hunted by a lupine, or you spot one in the city, contact your sire or the Sheriff immediately and do not return to your haven or any other safe place until you have taken sufficient automotive or public transportation to lose pursuit and erase any trail.
Any Kindred proven to have deliberately used, agitated, or otherwise interacted with lupines without special dispensation will be censured.
There are very few reliable tales of lycanthropes, which is odd given that their nature is so violent. Logic would indicate that they are very rare or somehow keep themselves hidden.
Most occultists believe that aconite is completely ineffective, though some insist that, while it doesn’t help ward against the beasts, it may create an unusual reaction in a lycanthrope in its human form.
Silver seems to be more widely regarded as effective, though most believe that it should be inherited and blessed before it is truly useful. Since someone who tries to use silver weapons that are not effective doesn’t often live to pass on the tale, there is very little useful evidence on this point.
Part of the problem with classification of lycanthropes is that there are so many types, at least in the historical records. Curses, insanity, diseases, deliberate skinchanging, and possession by demons are all commonly listed causes of lycanthropy. Perhaps the most interesting fact is that all of these methods result in such a similar result, perhaps because fear of beasts is deeply ingrained in the human psyche.
Some more new age thinkers have proposed that lycanthropes are a mystical immune system for the planet, as they have decent anecdotal evidence that raging beast men tend to prefer destroying unnatural targets to the innocent. Most laugh at this presumption, as there are clear conflicting examples of terrible things done by weres. If there is a tendency to attack “unnatural” targets, it may simply be that those tend to have the most distinctive smells and appearances to attract the attention of rampaging beasts.
The confusion of blessed, inherited silver is almost certainly due to the different methods of creating a werewolf: those with transformations associated with the moon are sympathetically harmed by silver, those possessed by evil spirits are the most vulnerable to blessed weapons, and those laboring under bloodline curses are similarly weak to inherited possessions (silver or not). Clearly, a weapon with all three traits will harm the widest assortment, but there are more types that might have an entirely different weakness, or none at all. For example, deliberate skinchangers, such as Native American Shamans, have no tie to the moon, traditional demons, or curses, while the plight of the Wendigo is much more likely to render the beast vulnerable to fire than to any material weapon.
The more new agey believers in lycanthropes as some kind of good thing are almost certainly being manipulated by the beasts themselves trying to provide a cover for their transformed exploits. There are hushed rumors of a group calling itself the “Children of Gaia” that seem interested in recruiting lycanthropes of all stripes. This is not more widely known purely because of a grave realization: most of the time, lycanthropes are almost certainly undetectably human, but likely have a vested interest in infiltrating occult groups that might seek to hunt them. Can we trust anything we “know” about them?
I’ve heard many names…
Black Fury, Fenris’ Get, Lords of Shadow, Striders in Silence, Fangs of Silver, Uktena: all of these have a great deal of control over their transformations and can be reasoned with, though they are best avoided.
Gaia’s Children, Fianna, Stargazers, Red Talons: these are less rational, and less in control, but can still be trusted to try to manage their depredations in most cases. Best to avoid, but likely not vindictive in human form.
Gnawers of Bones, Walkers of Glass, and Wendigo: These you must truly fear. If they appear human, it is only a thin veneer. If they suspect you know them, your life is forfeit. If you think one is chasing you, do not stop running until there are oceans between you.
- Black Furies: Hekate’s matrilineal curse causes these women to turn into wolves whenever they are angry or afraid.
- Bone Gnawers: Animalistic nature spirits trapped in the stone of the city sometimes possess those already on the fringes of reason and society (street people) and turn them into bestial monstrosities. Their rampages are often random, but occur more often with the moon.
- Children of Gaia: Some of the other types of lycanthrope have banded together, believing they have a higher purpose to protect the wild spaces.
- Fianna: Several European curses follow family lines, causing them to transform under the moon or other strange circumstances. These are especially common in the British Isles.
- Get of Fenris: The Norse berzerkergang traditions are not forgotten, and modern Asatru sometimes wear the bear shirt for their own purposes. They are often mistaken for wolves in their furs and rage.
- Glass Walkers: Who knows why various corporations sometimes try to make wolflike monsters in their labs? They seem to escape with alarming frequency.
- Red Talons: Sometimes wolves are born with human-level intelligence… and vindictiveness.
- Shadow Lords: European warlocks have long held skin dancing secrets to turn themselves into wolves. Sometimes, Gangrel infiltrate such covens.
- Silent Striders: African shamans have a tradition of skin dancing as well, though they typically do so for more laudible ends than European mystics. Some travel the world and some maintain the tradition from slavery (and used it to good effect to escape).
- Silver Fangs: A strange line of mystically-augmented, porphyria-suffering Russian nobles still lives in the world and can transform at will into a semblance of wolf shape. This ability almost makes up for their other crippling problems from inbreeding.
- Stargazers: It is said that Hanuman played a merry trick on this bloodline of Eastern werewolves. Their triggers are strange to Western thought.
- Uktena: The Native American tradition of skin dancing pays particular attention to using these gifts to protect the holy spaces and police the spirit world.
- Wendigo: Cannibals in North American blizzards often find themselves transformed into wolflike monsters. Even if they exit their rage with the fading of the snow, they transform again, inevitably, in future snowstorms wherever they may be.
- Anansi: African trickster shamans
- Bastet: Shapeshifting descendents of Egyptian priests
- Corax: European trickster shamans
- Mokele: A bizarre Florida urban legend that may be shockingly correct…
- Nuwisha: Native American trickster shamans
The Circle of Silver
Player Notes (Academics or Occult 3)
From The Sunset of the Golden Dawn, 1975
The memoirs of one of the members of the London lodge refer to an argument in 1899 between two leaders about refusing advancement to Crowley, suggesting that “If he doesn’t like the decision, he can go join the Argent Moonrise.” The context makes it unclear whether this is a joke, or actually refers to a derivatively named lodge. The name comes up again nearly fifty years later. During the Nuremberg Trials, one of Hitler’s aids refers to a communique he read in 1935 from Thule Gesellschaft listing the assets they could mobilize for the Führer, which included “der Silbern Mondaufgang.” If these references are even connected, it implies that there was such an order, and it was eventually co-opted by Germany. No further reference has been found since, so it is unclear what happened to the order after the war.
The Order of the Argent Moonrise was a tongue in cheek response to the Order of the Golden Dawn. Initially, it was a collection of occult dabblers that couldn’t make it into the Golden Dawn. Over time, its dilettante members became a useful screen for practitioners of black magic to hide from the temporal and occult authorities. By the 1920s, it had succeeded in remaining secret while the Golden Dawn had become public and essentially failed, and it was held together by a global leadership that controlled lodges in several major cities. It also included, known only to its ultimate leadership, several supernatural creatures interested in the networking opportunities inherent in the order.
During the 1920s, the Munich branch of the order was essentially indistinguishable from the Thule Society, and leaders of that cult eventually worked their way into prominence in the Order’s global leadership. They began to encourage the other supernaturals in the order to recruit their peers, and by the 1930s they had a clear goal of organizing a secret occult army for Germany. In the early 1940s, they began deploying these groups to achieve ends against the Allied countries. Most were defeated by the native supernaturals, but not without great loss in some cases.
The order as a whole laid low for the next couple of decades, and the worst of the Nazi leadership died off in this time. But the will to power remained strong among its members, and it has recently begun to recruit and move again. Now referring to itself as the Circle of Silver in casual conversation, its focus has changed to accruing power for its members beyond what they can achieve in their own political groups.
The lodge in Atlanta includes several lupines and elves, as well as a couple of sorcerers. It formerly included three Cainites, but they were lost to the sabbat (which the Circle is still interested in learning more about, as its members refused to share such power). They have their fingers in several areas of occult significance in the city, and are willing to obliterate anyone that gets in their way (though they’ll try to suborn first).
Devin joined the society on a lark back in the 1920s but abandoned it and worked against it once the Thule control became apparent. The city’s leadership is still aware of her and unsure how much she knows about them.
- Title: Harpy
- Coterie: None
- Generation: 9th
- Clan: Nosferatu
- Sire: “Some Ottoman troublemaker…
- Childer: Adam, Brett
- Concept: “Our Imperial will…” (Pride)
- Trouble: “I will not be spurned!” (Vengeance)
- First Impression: Towering, annoyed, out of style and overdressed, illusory mask clearly some moderately famous fashion model oddly stretched across her size
- Other Notes:
- Scouts for talent at (The Tabernacle)
- Has knowledge about (The Galilee Codex)
- The Bishop: Obsessed with
- She frightens him (The Fire-Drinker)
- The Gunsmith: Spurned and shot her
Anna would have been a classic Nosferatu punishment-embrace if not for her own dark secret. Embraced in 1739 by a Cainite whose descendents had been badly hurt in her reign, he had no expectation that she would wake from her death, transform into a slavering wolf creature, and diablerize him. It was unexpected that the embrace of a Silver Fang would work so seamlessly, or that she would retain her powers through death; it was only his use of Animalism to render her pliable that had kept her from slaughtering him before the embrace.
Now powerful in mortal life and two supernatural spheres, Anna “died” and began to govern Russia from the shadows, becoming a persistent power behind the throne. She was instrumental in forming the Shadow Lords alliance of lupines, and at one time controlled most illicit activities in Russia. That was before the twofold punch of Rasputin and Communism broke much of her powerbase in the early 1900s. When she tried to recover, she found new Kindred in power and mortal criminals being carefully manipulated by a shadowy figure behind the scenes known as The Bishop. Despite her best efforts, she was able to acquire only a modicum of her previous power, and found all of her attempts to expand thwarted at every turn.
And for a time, a small piece of a superpower was sufficient as she bided her time, but the fall of the USSR shattered her influence once again. Annoyed and ready to try again in greener pastures, she moved to Atlanta, which she heard was newly devoid of Camarilla to get in her way. She was shocked then, to see a strong leader already in place, and shortly thereafter to see a familiar face from Moscow, Sinclair, as well as hear rumors about The Bishop moving to Atlanta as well. Convinced they’re both deliberately maneuvering against her, she has begun to seek for allies wherever she can to uncover their plot and punish them for the past century.