Monday, December 28, 2015

Cave of Secrets: The Spiel (WtA)

Okay, so, after various things being put off and cancelled and what have you due to a variety of personal issues, we finally got to play Werewolf a little while back. (Not this past Friday, but the Friday before. I've been in the process of moving to a new house, which has delayed this write-up.)

And before I get into the meat of the write-up, I just want to say that I hope everyone's had a pleasant and safe holiday season.

Anyhow, where we left off, the Sons of the Saga were taking Deborah Foss and her brother Walter Foss back to Deb's place to tell her the truth of her heritage and destiny. Claudiu jumps right into the basics of 'there's werewolves, they can do werewolfy things' and then proceeds to shift into Lupus right in front of her without warning. She freaks out slightly, everyone starts talking over each other about the suddenness of the demonstration, and then Åke steps up to take over the talk. He proceeds to give her the Cliff's Notes on spirits and the existence of the Umbra. Claudiu, concerned that she's going to wind up overwhelmed and confused, suggests that perhaps now that they've dumped that much on her to let her questions guide the rest of the conversation.

After a moment to collect her thoughts, Deborah explains that she can conceptually grasp the whole 'spirit world' thing, the animistic universe she apparently lives in, and all that. But she's having trouble figuring where the werewolves come in, at which point they explain the concept of Garou bloodlines and Kinfolk. Which leads into the revelation that she and her brother are Kinfolk (it comes out over the course of the conversation that Deborah and Walter are cousins of the Simmons family nearby). Walter tells her that their father (who was a Get of Fenris) died when she was too young to remember him, and he thought that perhaps it would be possible to shield her from the larger battle. What larger battle? Well, this lets the group segue into explaining to Deborah about Gaia, the Triat, and the conflict with the Wyrm. And being about the right age for such a reference to come to mind (she's in her mid-30's), Deb naturally has a couple of "So where do the five teenagers with magic rings come in" moments.

But now that they've laid the groundwork, the big picture, and all that, they get into the current scenario. They tell her about the cave, about the spirits that need to speak to her at the cave, and that even though she herself isn't Garou she's still being called to service. Walter's a little less than comfortable with all this, and it's a lot for her to take in. So she asks if they can give her a night to absorb everything before they haul her out to the middle of nowhere. The pack agrees to meet her at the coffee shop the next morning, and on their way out Berry takes a moment to pull Walter aside and apologize for everything at the Open Mic Night.

Outside, the group figures out how they want to keep an eye on things. Officially, they're backing off to give her her space, but now that they're so close to resolving this they don't want to leave anything to chance. Claudiu and Jerry watch the trailer, while Åke and Berry move up the road a piece to the edge of town proper and watch the road there. Over the course of the evening, as everyone keeps guard and occasionally patrols a perimeter, Claudiu and Jerry find traces of an unfamiliar wolf, laced with cigarette smoke (which seems familiar to them for some reason), in the woods near the trailer. Jerry leans in for a closer whiff and also manages to find traces of Wyrm taint. They manage to trace the scent back towards town proper, and there's a bit of a panic as they try to decide whether or not to follow up now or focus on watching the trailer and keeping Deborah safe. The group votes for the latter, and the rest of the night passes without incident.

The next morning, even though they planned to meet Deb and Walter in town, the pack sticks around Deborah's trailer to make sure Walter picks her up, and then they take off in Lupus form to try and beat them to the coffee shop. They get back and sit down with the Fosses to figure out the plan to head out there (which isn't terribly complex, as the cave is only a few miles' hike from town if you leave your vehicle in the right spot). But at this point they're getting into some of the more esoteric stuff and there's some concern about the mundanes overhearing them. Which leads to Claudiu trying to pretend the group is talking about roleplaying games, which winds up annoying and confusing Jerry because he doesn't get the references at all (being both a metis and a Stargazer).

As the two of them bicker, Berry goes ahead and gets Deb and Walter towards their vehicle to get ready to leave, when they spot someone watching them from across the street, smoking some familiar-smelling cigarettes. (He was the guy smoking outside the Opera House who ksaw Claudiu take off in Lupus form to follow Deb and Walter back to the trailer) Åke recognizes him as one of the musicians from the Open Mic night, a fellow by the name of Andy Stump. Claudiu and Jerry, having resolved the argument, come out and once the pack has noticed him he tries to nonchalantly stroll away. Jerry tries to follow him, managing to also identify him as being Wyrm tainted. Jerry follows him down a couple of side-streets until the guy appears to have vanished into mid-air. (Presumably, he's stepped sideways)

So the panic from before comes up. Do they try to track him down or follow him? Do they risk being led into a trap, and/or leaving Deb or Walter vulnerable? After some argument, they decide to pursue a more prudent option: They'll take Deb and Walter back to the Cranberry Glades Sept, stay there for the day to let Deborah get acclimated to being around Garou and also to take precautions for traveling out to the cave. So they head back to the sept, show Deb and Walter around as best as one can show around a couple of unfamiliar Kinfolk without causing trouble (it helps that there are Garou at another local caern that can vouch for Walter). There is a moment where Deb gets a little freaked out when she meets Build This Wall, the sept alpha (who's a metis with thick, hairless, rhino hide-like skin). It's a little like that episode of Futurama where Fry's ex-girlfriend shows up and is freaking out a little bit at everything. She eventually settles in, though.

Before things go any further, though, the Sons of the Saga acknowledge that they need to sit down and figure out who's in charge. They've been winging it so far, but the arguments over what to do about the sightings of what was likely a BSD (or maybe one of those rumored cannibal Hillfolk Bone Gnawers you hear about) have made it clear that they do need a consistent chain of command. Åke and Berry both preemptively decline to challenge for the position, leaving it up to Jerry and Claudiu. I left this pretty much entirely up to them to sort out, as I don't have a dog in the fight (so to speak) but for the sake of recapping later I did write down the various arguments and counter arguments.

Claudiu starts off by expressing his opinion that Ahroun (like Jerry) are at their best when being directed, not necessarily in charge; especially when directed by someone who isn't going to be at the forefront of every battle and thus likely to die first. Jerry feels that Claudiu hasn't shown himself to be a strong enough leader to provide the sort of direction that he talks about when he speaks of leading Ahroun. Jerry also opines that a Theurge's spiritual duties could be strained by also giving them the responsibilities of command. He also feels that being in charge in battle and being the first into the battle are (or should be) considered basically the same thing. Claudiu points out how often he's been stepping up to take the leadership role when they need plans. Jerry's response is that he also "makes his own calls" (I'm quoting him here because I'm honestly not entirely sure where he was going with it) and that Claudiu's plans often involve splitting the pack up.

In the end, though, they realize that in the end, unless they want to attempt a challenge inherently slanted towards one auspice or another, it really comes down to who Jerry and Åke are willing to follow. So the two step aside to deliberate and come back to announce that their vote of confidence is with Claudiu. Claudiu and Jerry accept their judgement, with the understanding that if Claudiu falters as alpha then Jerry will have no choice but to challenge him. Claudiu, accepting that, proceeds to choose Jerry to be his beta.

And at that point, we called it a night.

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