Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cave of Secrets: Greetings (WtA)

Due to outside-of-game concerns, we had kind of a short session (issues on my part got us started a little late, and one of the players had to leave early), but we did in fact play Werewolf this past Friday.

So where we left off, the group had just arrived at a cave uncovered by a landslide and heard a voice in their heads welcoming them to "The Cave of Secrets." The cave's walls were covered in runes and glyphs, some of them Garou glyphs and some of them not. There was also a stone pedestal, also marked with glyphs representative of the different Changing Breeds -- even the 'Lost' Breeds (they couldn't recognize all of them, but they did note that the Kitsune breed glyph was noticeably absent). Among the glyphs on the walls, they also found glyphs for all of the Garou tribes (not just the ones native to North America), including the White Howlers but not the Black Spiral Dancers.

Before going in, Claudiu tried his best to think 'at' the voice to see if he got a response (none), and Åke tossed a rock into the cave to see if it set off any traps or defenses (nope).

Once they'd poked around the cave a bit, someone from the Edge of the Firelight pack said they were going to leave someone behind to keep an eye on things and go report in to their sept. My group said in the meantime they'd take the initiative to explore the cave. While this is going on, Claudiu shifts to Lupus form, takes a few deep breaths, and gets a whiff of the recent passage of something feline. As this was presumably the Bastet, he took off like a shot down the tunnel from where the carved and prepared cavern into a downward-sloping passageway that was much rougher and more natural.

The rest of the pack did their best to catch up, which was tricky when some remained in bipedal forms so as to use flashlights. But they all had to stop and regroup when they got to a chamber with three passageways coming off of it. But the scent trail continued down one tunnel, so they took off down that way where they almost hit a tripwire. It was connected to a hasty trap (basically an open bear trap duct-taped to the ceiling that would be tugged down onto someone who hit the tripwire) that Claudiu just stepped over and Jerry disabled.

The pack came to a chamber with a small creek running through it -- the local area is full of little creeks and such -- where they head the voice again, asking what brought them here and what their intentions are. Which got their attention at first, until a couple of them realized they were actually hearing the voice and not having it telepathically projected into their heads. Berry waved his flashlight around and spotted a woman in her 20's hiding behind some stalagmites, apparently the source of the voice. She tried to run but they managed to catch up with her and corner her, also noticing that she was some sort of cat-person (she was in Sokto, the Bastet Glabro-equivalent form). She reverted to Homid and prepared to defend herself, thinking they were after her. But they thought that she already knew about the cave and were trying to drive them off from something they needed to know about.

When they confronted her about the traps, she said she'd been led out to the hills by a dream-vision, only to find the terrain crawling with packs of armed Garou. She'd also encountered at least one fomor herself. So assuming she'd been led into a trap, she'd set a few traps of her own -- more to slow them down than seriously kill them -- and fled into the cave, only to hear the voice welcoming her to the cave as well.

As she calmed down and introduced herself as Andrea, she also shared with them her dream: She saw an old werewolf in Crinos form, with Native American clothing draped over it, bringing a sack of fetishes and such into the cave to hide away. She reproduced a glyph she saw on the werewolf's clothing, revealing that what she saw was a Croatan. They talked about the dream they had, and the dream that Roy described (and oh yes, there was a conversation about Roy and the Bastet's feelings regarding him) and the differences between them. They were coming to the conclusion that this was some sort of slumbering caern, and something that may have belonged to a couple of different Breeds once upon a time.

They do agree on a truce for the moment and go their separate ways exploring the cave. They offer to let Andrea tag along with them for the moment, but she insists that she'd rather risk her chances going alone than be on-hand for the shitstorm that would erupt if the other Garou caught the pack associating with her at this time.

(Stepping away from the in-character action and the write-up for a moment, this actually led to an interesting out-of-character conversation wherein I explained to a couple of my players what the situation is like with the Garou and their relationship with the Fera, regarding the Garou's cultural prejudices and such. (Basically, one of them asked if 'going around beating on Fera' was something they were expected to do, or something that was seen as okay) I don't mind my players' pack being a young and relatively liberal group willing to be open-minded about other Changing Breeds, but I did impress upon them the sorts of stories they likely heard growing up and that Garou are quick to blame Fera for things that go wrong so it gives them an excuse to persecute them. But I also drew from real world parallels of that sort of prejudice to spell out what sorts of Garou would have told them these stories and why.)

So once they split up, the pack decided to try and check things out in the Umbra, as they hadn't spent any real time there, only to discover they were in an area where the Umbra and physical world basically overlapped with no Gauntlet between. The thinning of the Gauntlet was so gradual they hadn't noticed at first. So to try and get the attention of any spirits or other guardians who may know something about the area (which they were even more sure is a caern of some sort at this point), Åke let loose with a Howl of Introduction through the cave, drawing the attention of an earth elemental.

Åke took point talking to it, but could only get a little bit out of it in English. Claudiu, as the pack's Theurge, used Spirit Speech to communicate with it on a more direct level. And what the pack got is that they were indeed in the area of an ancient slumbering caern that needed to be reawoken. To do that, they needed to find 'The Moonstone,' a focus to draw the caern totem's attention, and the 'Child of Secrets.' The Moonstone, according to the elemental, looked like a knotted ball of petrified roots and was something akin to a traditional caern's pathstone (which lets you open moon bridges). The focus they'd have to carve themselves, a representation of the totem -- Uktena -- to hold the Moonstone on the pedestal. And Claudiu was able to get out of the elemental that the 'Child of Secrets' would be a human, possibly Kinfolk, who was a seer of some sort and would be in the area.

So where we left off, they were about to go deeper into the tunnels to try and find the Moonstone. And that's it for now.

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