Hierarchy

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Sept Positions

Septs only survive because Garou fulfill their various functions, from simple cleaning and maintenance to organizing the caern's defense or rallying the Garou to attack the Wyrm. Septs -- and their spirits -- honor those Garou who take on these jobs, which makes sept positions an important part of the Garou struggle for dominance.


These positions are traditional, but not written of in the Litany, and vary from location to location. Some of these positions may be absent in some septs, due to local custom or practicality. For example, a very small sept might do away with the position of Keeper, forcing the Keeper of the Land to recruit informally when she needs help. Other septs might split more complex positions into two or more simpler positions -- for example, embodying the Wyrm Foe's ritual and tactical responsibilities in two different Garou.


Many of these positions, especially those that don't involve combat or interacting with spirits, can be filled by Kinfolk. In particularly small or troubled septs, Kinfolk will be called upon to fulfill even some of those positions that do involve combat or magic to the best of their limited abilities. Because Kinfolk are not full members of the Garou nation, they cannot take on leadership roles. Most of the time, Kinfolk are limited to positions requiring Sept Standing 2 or lower. Kinfolk characters with sept positions reap the same mechanical and social benefits as Garou characters.


The sept positions -- and the number of dots of Sept Standing required to take them -- are described in more detail below. Every position also carries a special benefit for the Garou who fills it, reflecting the respect Garou earn for working on behalf of their sept.

Stacking Bonuses: At first glance, this seems like a lot of bonuses stacked upon each other. Between pack totems, sept totems, Gifts, and the natural blessings of Garou biology, a werewolf can rack up a pretty impressive set of abilities.


This is intentional because it reflects the Garou way of war. An individual werewolf is a powerful foe, but a pack is even more so -- especially if they are bound together by the patronage of a totem spirit. An entire sept mobilized for war, packs fighting alongside each other, is a rare and impressive sight.


If the Garou can stack dice and dots upon each other, calling upon spirit allies and wielding pack tactics, how can they lose?


Firstly, their enemies have benefits, too. Pentex is an enormous multinational corporation with a private army of monsters and money to spare. Black Spiral Dancers have pack totems, "sept" totems, Gifts, and allies of their own. The Weaver controls corporations as well and has several courts of subservient spirits, not to mention the entire weight of human civilization on her side. The Garou are formidable, but their enemies are on a whole other scale.


Secondly, the Garou aren't good at organizing themselves. Septs don't fall because all of these benefits aren't enough to keep them alive -- they fall because selfishness and pride keep them from uniting. Septs lose the patronage of their totem spirits, cast out their revolutionary leaders, and pursue old grudges rather than uniting against a common foe.


Caller Of The Wyld (Sept Standing 1)

Responsibilities: It is the Caller of the Wyld's responsibility to summon the sept's totem spirits -- including the spirit of the caern itself -- to most moots. This requires knowledge of Garou rites, to perform that actual summoning, and Umbral politics, to ensure that a spirit is not summoned out of turn or accidentally snubbed. The Caller of the Wyld is only needed during moots, so this is a good position for a young Garou whose quest for glory and honor could take her far from the sept. Young werewolves, especially ambitious Theurges, also enjoy this position because it helps them build a relationship with the sept's local spirits.

Most Kinfolk cannot interact with the spirit world, which makes it impossible for them to serve as Caller of the Wyld, even in the most embattled sept. However, the rare Kin who have developed the skill to summon spirits occasionally fill this position.

Benefits: The Caller of the Wyld gains a +3 to Social dice pools involving interaction with the sept's totem spirits, and a +1 to Social dice pools involving other Gaian spirits in the region.


Keeper (Sept Standing 1)

Responsibilities: The Keepers do the maintenance work and heavy lifting around the sept. Most Keepers are young Garou trying on serious responsibility, or those convicted of minor crimes trying to avoid a worse punishment. Keepers must spend some part of each day in the sept, looking for ways to contribute, but they have plenty of time to pursue their own business. Keepers work under the Keeper of the Land (described below) and assist her with her duties.

Kinfolk frequently become Keepers. Even the most conservative Garou agree that Kin can perform petty, but necessary, work for the sept. In conservative septs, Kin gain much more respect for taking on this job than they do for ambitiously claiming a responsibility that some Garou believe should be for werewolves alone.

Benefits: The spirits of the sept understand that the Keepers are the minions of the Keeper of the Land, and grant them some respect. Keepers enjoy a +2 bonus to Social dice pools involving spirits that live in the sept's Umbral reflection.



Master Of The Howl (Sept Standing 1)

Responsibilities: The Master of the Howl is a largely ceremonial position, often given to a young Garou as a gateway to greater responsibilities. The Master of the Howl is responsible for leading the sept in howls and songs, including the howl that formally begins and ends every meeting. Young Garou also covet this position because its public nature gives them an opportunity to showcase their skills and earn the respect of the community, but it is still a position that leaves them plenty of free time to pursue their own agendas.

Only Crinos, Hispo, and Lupus forms have the anatomy to make the sounds necessary to fulfill the Master of the Howl's responsibilities. Human kin have the wrong bodies, and wolf kin lack the intellectual complexity. As a result, the Caller of the Wyld is always Garou.

Benefits: A character fulfilling this role reduces all difficulties to express himself through howls by 2, thanks to the constant practice. He also gains +1 die to Social rolls with anyone who attended a moot for three days afterwards, provided his performance was adequate, thanks to feelings of fellowship towards the Garou who led the community in howl and song.

Because the Master of the Howl has procedural duties, he also wields great power over the way the sept meets. A Master of the Howl can, in theory, convene a meeting at any time -- or refuse to convene a meeting when called upon by the leaders. Abusing this power or using it politically will probably result in the Master of the Howl being replaced, but sometimes the sacrifice is worth it.



Gatekeeper (Sept Standing 1)

Responsibilities: The Gatekeeper maintains the caern's moon bridges, opening and closing them for certain rituals or at the request of Garou who wish to travel through the Umbra to another sept. The Gatekeeper also keeps and defends the caern's Pathstone. Not all Gatekeepers are Theurges, but all must know the Rite of the Opened Bridge and the Rite of the Opened Caern, at least. The Gatekeeper is usually tied to the caern, especially when the moon bridge is in demand, making this an unattractive position for most young and ambitious Garou.

Like the Caller of the Wyld, the Gatekeeper's responsibilities are primarily spiritual. As a result, Gatekeepers are never Kin.

Benefits: The position of Gatekeeper conveys three bonus dice to Social dice pools when dealing with the sept's totem spirit. Although the Gatekeeper doesn't enjoy a bonus when dealing with the Garou of his sept, many Garou seek his favor, since he can either expedite or delay their requests to use the moon bridges.

Responsibilities: All of a sept's Garou are ready to lay down their lives to defend it on a moment's notice, but the sept's Guardians have made it their personal responsibility. Guardians act as a sept's sentries, patrolling its borders and responding to threats. They do not take the offensive or investigate potential danger, at least not in their capacity as Guardians. Most septs have between five and ten Guardians -- the equivalent of one or two packs -- and it isn't at all unheard of for an entire pack to collectively take on this duty. In times of war, the Guardians are on duty at all times and cannot leave the sept. In times of relative peace, a Guardian might be able to work out an arrangement that lets her leave the sept to pursue her own agenda.

Most septs view it as an unforgivable shame for their Kinfolk to take up arms. Even though almost every sept has armed its Kinfolk at one point or another, only a sept on the edge of extinction would actually name its Kinfolk as Guardians. Some progressive septs dodge this issue by giving their Kinfolk warriors some other title, like "commandos" or "support squads."

Benefits: A Guardian's constant training and familiarity with the terrain allow her to reduce all difficulties by 1 when fighting within the sept grounds.

Guardian (Sept Standing 1)

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Guardian
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Responsibilities: All of a sept's Garou are ready to lay down their lives to defend it on a moment's notice, but the sept's Guardians have made it their personal responsibility. Guardians act as a sept's sentries, patrolling its borders and responding to threats. They do not take the offensive or investigate potential danger, at least not in their capacity as Guardians. Most septs have between five and ten Guardians -- the equivalent of one or two packs -- and it isn't at all unheard of for an entire pack to collectively take on this duty. In times of war, the Guardians are on duty at all times and cannot leave the sept. In times of relative peace, a Guardian might be able to work out an arrangement that lets her leave the sept to pursue her own agenda.

Most septs view it as an unforgivable shame for their Kinfolk to take up arms. Even though almost every sept has armed its Kinfolk at one point or another, only a sept on the edge of extinction would actually name its Kinfolk as Guardians. Some progressive septs dodge this issue by giving their Kinfolk warriors some other title, like "commandos" or "support squads."

Benefits: A Guardian's constant training and familiarity with the terrain allow her to reduce all difficulties by 1 when fighting within the sept grounds.

Den Mother (Sept Standing 1)

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Den Mother
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Responsibilities: The Den Parent looks after newly-changed Garou, teaching them to respect their elders and instructing them in the ways of the Garou. While some Septs view the Den-Parent as a glorified babysitter for werewolves who need coddling before experiencing the real world, the post has its benefits. The Garou under a Den Parent's care learn more about Garou society, and often have an easier time integrating with the sept. The Den Parent is also responsible for allowing cubs to undertake a Rite of Passage.

The Den Parent has a more thankless task -- looking after the metis offspring of sept members. Some take to the task, while others bridle at being nursemaids to Garou who do not know their strength. Because of this, Kinfolk are never Den Parents.

Benefits: The Den-Parent gains a +2 bonus to Social dice pools involving cubs in the sept who have not yet gone through their Rite of Passage.


Keeper Of The Land (Sept Standing 2)

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Keeper Of The Land
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Responsibilities: The Keeper of the Land maintains the sept's physical appearance. However, she is more than just a glorified janitor -- not only do the Garou deeply respect someone who takes responsibility for protecting and beautifying the natural environment, Gaian spirits find a well-kept sept more attractive. Thus, the Keeper of the Land is a combination gardener, park ranger, and shaman.

In an urban caern, the Keeper of the Land makes sure that the caern reflects the wishes of the local spirits. She spends a lot of her time rearranging piles of trash, moving dumpsters, and planting small gardens. Instead of shrines in secluded caves and hollow tree trunks, urban spirits prefer things that resemble community memorials to the victims of car accidents and gang violence, except with strange sigils replacing photographs and the addition of an offering bowl. The result looks like a strange combination of urban renewal and modernist feng shui.

The Keepers, described above, assist the Keeper of the Land in her duties, giving her plenty of free time to leave the sept and pursue her own goals with her pack.

The Keeper of the Land has limited interaction with spirits. It's possible, though difficult, for a Kinfolk to fulfill the Keeper of the Land's responsibilities, though she might have to rely on Garou to let her know if the spirits needs are neglected.

Benefits: The Keeper of the Land is beloved by all the sept's spirits and can count on their advice and help. A Garou who fulfills this position well enjoys a +4 bonus to all social dice pools when dealing with spirits associated with the sept, including the sept's totem.



Talesinger (Sept Standing 2)

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Talesinger
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Responsibilities: Technically a minor position, the Talesinger is honored far above her station. The Talesinger takes the stage during moots and tells stories that serve a variety of purposes, from entertaining and educating with stories of the past, conferring news of the wider Garou nation, and keeping the wider sept aware of the great deeds -- and embarrassing failures -- of its packs. Like the other positions related to the moot, the Talesinger is a good position for a young Garou who wants the freedom to come and go from the sept as she pleases.

Because the Talesinger's responsibilities are mostly social, Kinfolk can theoretically fill this position. However, most septs have found that this usually ends badly. One of the Talesinger's jobs is to mock Garou who make mistakes. That's hard enough for some prideful Garou to bear, and almost impossible if the Talesinger were Kin. Worse, a Kin Talesinger would have a hard time defending himself if a Garou flies into a frenzy at his words. As a result, most Talesingers are Garou, even in septs with low Garou populations.

Benefits: The greatest benefit of this position is its political capital. Many Garou want to court the Talesinger's favor, since the Talesinger decides how to interpret their packs achievements and relate them to the rest of the sept. The Talesinger gains a +3 bonus to Social dice pools when dealing with all Garou of her Rank and lower.


Wyrm Foe (Sept Standing 3)

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Wyrmfoe
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Responsibilities: The Wyrm Foe's responsibilities are partly practical, partly ritual. At the end of each moot, the Wyrm Foe leads the sept in declaring its solidarity with the Garou Nation and readiness to do battle with the Wyrm. More practically, the Wyrm Foe is the offensive counterpart of the Warder, in charge of coordinating the sept's packs in their assaults against the Wyrm. When the sept needs to defend itself, the Wyrm Foe works under the Warder to make sure that the sept's packs are armed and positioned for defense, instead of offense. Because he must submit to the authority of the Warder, the Wyrm Foe is seen as a position of lesser status, and many Wyrm Foes aspire to replace the Warder, either by serving honorably and receiving a promotion when the Warder steps down, or through scheming and challenges.

Benefits: The Wyrm Foe is the focus of the sept's martial fury and discipline. He urges the Garou to make use of their inner beasts, but to do so constructively. All Garou who hear the Wyrm Foe speak before a battle require an extra success on Rage rolls to give in to frenzy for the duration of the fight.


Truthcatcher (Sept Standing 4)

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Truthcatcher
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Responsibilities: The Truthcatcher is a combination judge and jury, charged with settling disputes between members. In some septs, the Truthcatcher may also serve as a lawyer, advising and representing Garou when they stand before the sept's elders. The Truthcatcher needs to be intelligent, persuasive, and possess an exhaustive knowledge of the Litany. The Truthcatcher needs to hold court at every moot, and should make herself available at regular intervals between moots, but need not be available at all times. Any dispute that can't wait a day or two is probably the domain of the Master of Challenges, rather than the Truthcatcher.

Benefits: Everyone wants to court the Truthcatcher's favor, because no one knows when they might be called upon to defend themselves or stand in accusation of a Garou who has wronged them. The Truthcatcher has a three-die bonus to Social dice pools when dealing with the Garou of his sept. He also gains three extra dice to all Enigmas and Law dice pools when investigating a crime.


Warder (Sept Standing 4)

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Warder
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Responsibilities: The Warder is the highest military position in the Sept. The Wyrm Foe, martially inclined packs who follow her authority, and the Guardians all bow to his authority. When the sept is under attack, the entire community defers to the Warder to defend the safety of the sept's resources, including Kinfolk and other non-combatants. The Elders have final say, but the Warder is usually the first to declare martial law, suspending the laws of challenge in favor of uniting against a common foe. When the sept is not under immediate attack, the Warder coordinates the efforts of the Guardians and decides about how much of the sept's military resources can be put at the Wyrm Foe's disposal, and acts as the Elders' second in command..

The Warder can only rarely afford to leave the sept -- no Garou community can ever be completely sure that they are not about to be attacked -- and when he does he usually deputizes his responsibilities to either the Wyrm Foe or his most veteran Guardian.

Benefits: The Warder can bring a great deal of social might to bear. In times of relative peace, the Warder is still a highly respected member of the community and enjoys a three-die bonus to all Social dice pools when dealing with members of the sept. The Warder has nearly unlimited discretion to draw resources from the sept when need be. This translates to a pool of three dots of the Fetish or Resources backgrounds for personal use, provided he spends most of his time in the sept. He can also draw on an additional three dots to equip his Guardians or other packs under his command. The Storyteller should keep an eye on the resources the sept has on hand -- no amount of authority can cause a klaive or a cache of land mines to materialize where none existed before.

Master Of Challenges (Sept Standing 3)

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Master of Challenges
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Responsibilities: Given how prone the Garou are to internal fighting and disputes of honor, the Master of Challenges is possibly most important member of the sept. Her responsibility is to oversee challenges of all kinds. She protects the elders against distraction by meaningless challenges, and is the first line of defense for young Garou against being humiliated by their betters. The Master of Challenges must be a powerful and respected Garou, with the strength of arm and personality to enforce order on impassioned werewolves.

Unlike other members of a sept's judiciary, like the Truthseeker or the Council of Elders, the Master of Challenges must remain at or near the sept at any time. When passions run hot, sometimes only the rituals of Garou society stand between a relatively normal conflict and a sudden frenzy that ends in tragedy.

Benefits: The Master of Challenges is widely respected and gains a three extra dice to all Social dice pools when dealing with septmates. In fact, the position of Master of Challenges is regarded so highly that even outsiders will bow to her will, granting her a +2 bonus to Social dice pools when dealing with outsiders in sept territory.

Finally, long practice dealing with the dangerous passions of the Garou grants the Master of the Challenge a special benefit. As long as she is acting in her capacity as Master of the Challenge, she does not need to make Rage rolls due to frustrating or infuriating trigger situations.



Master Of The Rite (Sept Standing 3)

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Mistress of Rites
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Responsibilities: The Master of the Rite is the sept's chief shaman. Almost always a Theurge, the Master of the Rite is responsible for overseeing all the rites and rituals performed in the sept. The Caller of the Wyld, the Gatekeeper, and to a lesser extent, the Talesinger and the Keeper of the Land are subordinate to the Master of the Rite. In addition to performing many important rites himself, the Master of the Rite must act as the sept's repository of spirit lore, whether this means memorizing extensive lists of local spirits and their preferences or maintaining a written library. When other Theurges and Umbral questers need advice, they come to the Master of the Rite.

Although he needs to be available to the sept's members and leadership and must attend all moots, the Master of the Rite does not need to stay at the sept at all times. However, his knowledge and expertise is an important resource. The rest of the sept would see it as a sin against the principles of Wisdom for the Master of the Rite to risk himself unnecessarily.

Benefits: The aid and advice of the sept's various spirits counts as three dots of the Allies and Mentor backgrounds, which the Master of the Rite can call on at will. These Background dots are only available from the sept itself, and the spirits aren't as willing to aid a Ritemaster who spends too much time away from the sept. The Master of the Rite is known and greatly respected by the spirits of the sept, which grants him three extra dice to Social dice pools when dealing with the sept's totems and local spirits.


Elder(Sept Standing 5)

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Alpha
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Beta
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Responsibilities: The Elders are the leaders of the sept, though what that means varies from one sept to another. In septs there is an alpha and his second, in some just an alpha, and in some large septs a council of seven, nine, or even thirteen Elders makes decisions. In some septs, the Elders are representatives of tribes or major political factions. In some septs, the Elders must be respected as warriors and are mostly Ahroun, in others they must be mediators and are overwhelmingly Philodox, and in others they are the sept's boldest and wisest shamans and magicians. Whatever the case, one Elder holds the position of sept leader.


Benefits: The Elder is the leader of the sept. Her power is only limited by the Litany itself and the power of the sept to unseat her if she proves herself corrupt or incompetent. This translates as a +5 bonus to all Social dice pools when dealing with the Garou, Kinfolk, and spirits of her sept. Even outsiders will accord an Elder great respect, granting a smaller (+3 dice) bonus to social dice pools. The Elder also has the ability to marshal every resource the sept has at its disposal. The Elders can theoretically call upon every spirit ally, financial resource, and fetish the sept has to offer. The Storyteller should judge what is appropriate, since different sized septs have such radically different resources to offer.