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Tribebook: Black Furies
Welcome to a very special F&F series. I'm going to be going through my Tribebook collection and reviewing every tribe's splatbook. I'll be judging them based on how effective they are at providing viable character concepts and encouraging players to actually use the splat. These will be the Revised versions, because those are the ones I have.
I'll be skipping over Children of Gaia, since that was covered in the last thread and I don't have the book, but that's a perfect example of a bad splatbook. Aside from all the
, the book portrayed the entire tribe as a crew of naive, connection obsessed idiots, and nobody wants to play one of those. There was no diversity, no realistic political or spiritual tension, or teeth displayed. It's a perfect failure. But enough about the series! Let's get to the main event.
Black Furies are one of the odder tribes, in that rather than representing a specific wolf population, like the other splats, they’re supposed to represent an entire mythological meme, which is itself tied to a gender. Strictly speaking, they’re originally from Greece, and a lot of their milieu and imagery is associated with Greek mythology. Personally, I find their brand of mysticism a lot more evocative than their feminism, and their tribebook does a good job of presenting that. I’m not sure Werewolf: the Apocalypse needed an all-woman splat, but it could have been a lot worse.
Before we start the book, here’s a quick summary of the Black Fury entry in the Revised corebook.
Look at those toenails! Totally a werewolf. Also,
The Black Furies practice feminism with a vengeance.
Literally the first sentence and already we’re off to a great start. Legend has it that the Black Furies were originally a group of Greek women, who eventually inspired a whole bunch of warrior women myths. They also legendarily only produce female offspring, but it turns out they were just killing all their male cubs. (I’m excited to play a Black Fury already!) Nowadays, though, they just kick all of their males out (mostly into the Children of Gaia) and recruit lady werewolves. They keep male metis, though, and as we learn in their Tribebook, it’s because they’re sterile.
Remember, though, they don’t hate all men! Most of them get along just fine in packs with males. They just speak their mind and push for equality through recruiting women out of oppressive tribes. Seems to me that would create a lot of friction, but whatever.
Other than militant feminism, their other schtick is their Western mystic tradition. They have a spiritual connection to the Wyld (the counterpart to the Weaver and the Wyrm), and they worship it in a very particular Hermetic fashion. This involves maintaining strong natural places and performing witch-like rites (we’ll learn about those in the Tribebook, and oh man are they great.) Right now, it’s not clear how this is any different from the other tribes, other than how they’re all women.
Their tribe totem is Pegasus, who apparently really does hate all men because of Bellerophon. Packs of Black Furies are known as kuklos, or circles (I don’t know Greek, so feel free to point out if White Wolf is being dumb here.) They report to the Outer Calyx, the public leaders of the tribe, who then report to the Inner Calyx, the secret leaders of the tribe, who then answer to Pegasus. The Calyxes are in charge of protecting and keeping track of the Black Furies’ collection of fetishes. The main source of political tension is formed along age lines, where the younger tribe members are a lot more radical and political than the conservatives of the Calyxes.
Appearance: They’re women, so they could look like any woman. Good use of space.
Kinfolk: They’re women, so they could be any woman. There are some men who are just kind of ignored, but the Black Furies don’t hate them! Honest! Except some do. Another valuable entry.
Territory: Sacred groves, but those are threatened by MEN. They also try to be where violence against women is a serious problem.
The testosterone's getting a little thick around here. I say we let the men keep arguing for a few more hours and set off on our own. Let them keep posturing at the moot. We've got woman's work to do....
Stereotypes: Weirdly enough, they seem to like pretty much everyone, even the Shadow Lords and Fianna. The Fianna are particularly surprising, since they’re one of the most misogynistic tribes. The only tribes they don’t like are the Get of Fenris (assholes) and the Red Talons (racists).
Thoughts: This is actually not as bad as I remember. There’s not a lot setting them apart from the other tribes, other than the obvious membership requirements but they’re not so ridiculous as to be unplayable. There’s just not a lot to hook onto here. The wordcount they spend to counteract the stereotype that every Black Fury is a radical feminist just dilutes anything that would make them compelling to play. The Tribebook does a lot to fix this, but your mileage may vary on that.
Next time: “Unity in Alterity”, the lost TNG episode title.
Unity in Alterity
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I kind of alluded to this in my last post, but there actually is an underlying logic to the Werewolf splats. Every tribe correlates to a specific wolf population, and every generalized wolf breed has its own tribe. Of course, there's got to be more to a tribe than "from a particular country", hence the weird political stances each tribe adopts. The Black Furies, for instance, are really the wolves from Greece, and the feminism angle is meant to make them more interesting. We'll soon find out that's actually the least interesting thing about them, but spoilers.
I actually prefer the diversity of Apocalypse to the homogenized vaguely Native American flavor of Forsaken. In each of the Tribe- and Breed-books, each splat actually has its own origin myth. The werewolves' myths are usually minor variations of the one in the corebook, but the breeds can get really out there. Even though the tribes tend to stereotype, at least there's an acknowledgement of cultural diversity. More tribes also means more cool powers, so that's fun.
I think that's because the source subject matter for Werewolf is a lot weaker than for Mage or Vampire. In Western myth, werewolves are either baby-eating Satan-worshipers (premodern) or people who have a curse (movies) which doesn't make for a culture you can play in. I'm not well-versed in Asian and African lore, but I don't think their myths of werefoxes and wereleopards make them out as very playable character options.
That hits it right on the head, I think. Werewolf has to do a lot more myth and world building, because playing as the Wolfman doesn't lend itself particularly to player agency or acting as a party. I do love the werewolf cosmology, though.
In any case:
Tribebook: Black Furies
“Unity in Alterity”
The introduction fiction begins with Helena waking up, kissing her significant other Dian, getting coffee, and then driving to work at a clinic. Dian does the same thing, but has to pack up a first aid kit and a fetish flashlight. This is subtle juxtaposition, because Helena and Dian have very different jobs. I bet they turn out to have a lot of parallels, though!
As it turns out, Helena is a Black Fury, and she gives her elderly patients at the clinic potent herbal remedies for their illnesses, because fuck the Weaver, man. She’s supposed to be a nurse, but fortunately for her she hasn’t been caught by her supervisors. Her “Mediterranean coloration” (ick) leads people to believe she’s descended from Indian medicine women. I have a rant prepared about Werewolf’s approach to politics and real life issues, but for now we’ll just say that this entry into the debate on traditional medicine, um, doesn’t really work.
Old Werewolf is at its best when it is being Psychotic Captain Planet With Claws, and really becomes something terrible when it deviates from that. It's really, really hilarious when it's being Captain Planet Terrorism, though.
This is absolutely correct. I believe Ethan Skemp referred to this as "a metal album cover come to life" and when that aesthetic collides with real life issues, it can become amazingly insane.
Helena encounters a family that is obviously the victim of domestic abuse. The kids are malnourished, they have bruises, cuts and cigarette burns everywhere, and they look terrified and miserable.
I ask the necessary question. “Is their father here? Or at home?”
She shakes her head, still looking at the floor. “Haven’t seen him for months. He left us.” It is the answer I was afraid to hear. I know it is a blindness on my part, but these situations are so much easier to deal with when there is a man to blame.
As it turns out, Helena delivered the mother’s second child, so she’s bound to her by womb blood. Obviously. Helena takes the mother aside for a private talk.
Cut to Dian Axebearer (deed names, you know). She’s dealing with a trio of rookie werewolves. There’s Daniel, a homid who was drinking while guarding the caern, Raychel, an ugly metis who snuck into town, attracting attention, Sharpbite, a “feral” who’s apparently an asshole. After some awful banter (“you can also call me ‘bitch’”), they set out to hunt a Wyrm monster. Sharpbite’s cocky, Raychel’s scared, Daniel doesn’t give a shit, and Dian’s got a greataxe.
Back with Helena, it turns out that the mother is possessed (or at least influenced) by a Wyrm spirit! Because of course she is. Helena can’t hulk out and kill the evil spirit (darn!) so they’re going to have to do some INTENSE METAL THERAPY.
The mother explains why she loves her kids (her daughter chases grasshoppers
), and the demon’s resisting and there’s a werewolf cognitive behavioral therapist and oh man this is awesome.
Dian’s fight isn’t going so well, as a Bane is kicking Sharpbite’s tail (no pun intended). Sharpbite fox frenzies and runs away. It’s an emotion spirit of some kind, and it’s draining the werewolves will to live! It sends out a wave of helplessness, but Dian counters with RAGE and kerblammo! The Bane goes down.
HR Giger's initial ad pitch for the National Egg Authority was not well received.
The pair goes home, eat partially cooked steak (because they're wooooolves), and go to bed. They both got in a fight, see? See? It’s deep.
Thoughts: this story is pretty bad. Not in the sense that there’s anything really wrong with it, but it’s just so generic. It’s about fighting, like all Werewolf fiction, but that’s as far as it goes. There’s nothing about this that screams “Black Fury” over “Uktena” or “Children of Gaia”. It doesn’t make the Furies’ mysticism unique. In fact, it takes steps to make it homogenized and boring. Heavy metal therapy was pretty cool, as was the fight scene, but it’s got to have more than that to succeed. Negative points for the awful title, too.
The casual reader might ask, “Yo pospysyl! You’ve been saying that the Black Furies can actually be pretty cool and insane, but so far everything’s been really boring and uninspiring! What gives?” And you’d be right. All I'll ask
For now, we’ll end on the credits page, where we find out who’s responsible for this book. Ellen and James Kiley have already been brought up (it would have been hilarious if the feminist splatbook hadn’t been written by at least one woman, but alas), but it’s worth noting that Matt McFarland, known for his work on Changeling: the Lost, Mage: the Awakening supplements, and various “blue books” for the nWoD is a contributing author. As we’ll see, the work on the mystic trappings he introduces to Changeling and Mage have their origins here. See, the book focuses on two primary flavor sources for the Black Furies: Hermetic mysticism and feminism. I obviously don’t have any concrete information on this, but I’d be willing to bet that McFarland worked on the Hermetic end, while the Kileys worked on the feminist and political end. I’ll leave it to you to guess which one is better.
Next time: Words are tools of the Namer and baby talk is the one true language. (See, I told you things were going to pick up!)
Original SA post
Speaking of sex and sexuality...
Tribebook: Black Furies
Chapter 1: Avenging Claws Part 1
First thing we get in this chapter is an apology for how bad it is. Always a good sign. See, Black Furies don’t actually write things down normally. Why?
Back to the subject of writing. Pure thought is wordless. It comes out of the Wyld. Ask an infant sometime, or a wolf. Oh wait! You can’t: the Namer long ago forced our communication into language and words, and as he did that, he forced our
into a shape that only thought in language and words.
Got that? All language is the result of spiritual corruption, at least according to Black Fury theology. Spoken language is one thing, but written language is even worse. Spoken language, committed to memory, is tied to the ephemera of memory, while written words are trapped in stasis. Spoken language can die with the speaker, but written language might be kept by enemies, or worse, the Namer. This is a good preview of the Black Furies’ religiosity, if a tad ridiculous.
If you’re familiar with the Werewolf setting, “the Namer” might be unfamiliar to you. As it turns out, the Namer is the Black Furies’ name for the Weaver, because Weavers actually do useful things while the Namer only calcifies reality. It’s basically Banality to werewolves. Weaving is also important to the Black Fury milieu, since the Fates (a triple goddess, which will be very important) are themselves weavers. It’s a cool deviation, and it could provide a good vocal tic to your character.
To avoid the corruption of this written knowledge, the author has “agreed to sprinkle this text with half-truths, omissions, and outright lies,” responding to the protests of the elders.
Remember, the history you learned in school is a damned Namer lie, so forget all that and listen to these admitted lies.
The Earliest Days quickly recaps the standard Werewolf origin myth. “Gaia created the Wyld, Weaver, and Wyrm, the Weaver and Wyrm went crazy and hurt Gaia, Gaia created Incarna and the Changing Breeds.” Luna was one of the Incarna (the Black Furies sometimes call her Artemis), and she took the werewolves under her wing. The Black Furies believe that werewolves are actually older than humanity or wolves, although how this reconciles with the First Change is anyone’s guess. There’s an alternate story that posits that werewolves came after humanity and wolves. After male werewolves started killing everything, the blood formed female werewolves, who swore to fix everything.
”We are Gaia’s answer. From the soil of Her Earth She formed us, from ground stained red by the blood of the murdered. She created us female, every one; She made us bearers of life so that we might never take life thoughtlessly. She gave us fur as black as night, so that the wicked might fear our righteous wrath. She gave unto us a charge: to hunt the kinslayers and other profaners of nature, and so protect our Mother. We are the daughters of Gaia, born of Her body and blood. We are vengeance. We are the Black Furies.”
I am totally starting a band, calling it The Black Furies, and reciting that before every concert.
Eventually, the first Black Fury pack showed up. The oldest Gorgon, Euryale or New Moon, thought that males were the weaker sex. The second Helena the Theurge, knew that men would eventually rebel against female rule and cause the downfall of womanhood. Stheno, the Philodox, was the wisest, and Medusa the Artisan sung and Raged a lot Isthmene, the youngest and most beautiful of the Gorgons, had a silver labrys and totally beat up anyone who messed with her. They gathered more lady werewolves, who settled in Greece and at first worshipped Luna directly, until she had to help everyone out.
Prehistory opens up with this:
The simple truth of human existence is that Man has never understood Woman. Consider the very earliest days of human awareness, say, a year after Gaia created both. Man has a straightforward life. He wakes up, he hunts, he kills, he brings home part of the kill to his woman, they eat, the sun goes down the go to bed, they fuck – because, while Man and Woman might not know
sex is fun, it
fun – and then they sleep.
Woman’s life is much more complex, right from the beginning; she obeys mysterious forces and urges and often behaves in ways Man does not understand. With the phase of the moon she bleeds, and the blood brings changes in personality – Man calls it irrationality.
there. The chapter continues its junior anthropology by describing childbirth and I’m not even going into that. Man apparently believes that Woman is some magic babymaker with strange dark powers.
How humans and animals understand that sex is related to childbirth has been a perpetual anthropological curiosity, but Tribebook: Black Furies has the answer! Werewolves told us. Of course, the Black Furies wouldn’t have let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, because that would spoil the feminine mystique. Upon learning about sex, Man invented patriarchy and rape! In response, Black Furies started the Impergium, the era where werewolves would stomp around controlling human population.
We interrupt your anthropology lesson with a werewolf biting off a Centurion's head
Sidebar: there’s a spirit of Patriarchy, because of course there is. This Patriarch isn’t necessarily the Judeo-Christian god, ALTHOUGH HE COULD BE.
The Impergium eventually ended (although the Bacchanite camp refused to stop killing men). By this point, humanity had invented cities (other books imply that this is the major move that convinced the werewolves that Impergium wasn’t worth it, and I think W20 has made that even more explicit). Even then, though, humans apparently worshiped the Earth Goddess. The chapter continues with some comparative mythology. Yaaaay.
Comparative mythology has lost a lot of academic credibility since its heyday, so this is very much an artifact of its time. Apparently worship of fertility goddesses is linked to cave digging, which I don’t think is true, but I’m no expert.
Thoughts: I remember it being bad, but I don’t remember it being quite this awful. We do get some flavorful tidbits, with Wyld caves and an extreme paranoia and aversion towards the Namer, but it gets lost among all the…ugh. It gets better, I promise! Just hold on.
Next time: Clytemnestra, and the first appearance of the Order of our Merciful Mother. Those of you versed in Werewolf lore, get pumped and please, no spoilers.
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Sorry for the weeklong hiatus, but here it is!
Tribebook: Black Furies
Chapter 1 Part 2
“Greece” begins with this:
The Titans, progenitors of the Greek pantheon of gods, were all nearly perfect beings: they sprang from the marriage of earth and sky, literally Gaia and Uranus (probably some incarnation of the Patriarchy spirit, or maybe the Namer himself, I don’t know – you have no idea how much of this stuff I’m making up as I go.
Never change, Black Furies, never change.
The narrator then goes into hysterics about how Uranus imprisoned the Titans underground, i.e. THE WOMB. The Titans, either superpowered humans or spirits according to Black Fury lore, freed themselves and ruled over Greece in an age of peace and prosperity. Zeus overthrew the titans, imprisoning them in the Underworld (remember, THE WOMB) and took over. The Black Furies are not fans of the Olympians, as Zeus is a sky god, which is bad, I guess. But, they also believe Luna took the form of Artemis and tried guiding them.
In the Trojan War, the Greeks want to take back Helen from Paris (the narrator finds it necessary to remind us that Paris is person, not a city
.) However, there’s no wind! They need to make a sacrifice to Artemis, so Agamemnon chooses his daughter Iphigenia. The wind takes them to Troy, where they win and come home. Clytemnestra, Agamemnon’s wife, is angry about her daughter’s death, so she kills Agamemnon. Now, this is from the Orestia, which I haven’t read. I have read the Iliad and the Odyssey, though, and from those this doesn’t sound quite accurate. Then again Aeschylus wrote the Orestia, not Homer. If anyone knows more, feel free to chime in.
Back to the story, Orestes, Agamemnon’s son, kills Clytemnestra, believing that she just wants to continue an affair (the story I remember). The Black Furies (in the original the Furies) chase Orestes around the Aegean until he goes to Athens for judgment. Athena (a sky goddess) finds him innocent. To mollify the Furies, Athena appoints them as justice keepers in Athens, becoming the Eumenides, or the Kindly Ones.
The Black Furies have a different version! Luna sent Agamemnon an omen to protect him from the Trojan War. Agamemnon misinterpreted this as a need for sacrifice. Athena’s a jerk :hist 101: (a sky goddess, virginal(!), and “she
,” which is totally antithetical to the Black Furies’ Goddess concept), and valued the life of the father over the life of the mother. She didn’t grant the Furies their authority; they took it. In hunting down all criminals against women, they created an age of peace.
On to another myth! For thousands of years, Luna/Artemis was the Black Fury totem. The spirits of the Gorgons served her, except for Medusa, who lived for thousands of years. Medusa did eventually die, and Luna created Pegasus out of her corpse. Athena, out of jealousy, sent Bellerophon to tame Pegasus. Bellerophon fought with Chimera and the Red Talons (even though the Stargazers have Chimera as their totem, not the Red Talons), and so did the Black Furies. Eventually, Pegasus recognized Bellerophon as a glory hound, and so fought against him. Bellerophon had Pegasus gelded, which pissed it off even more. It killed Bellerophon, and told the Black Furies to never obey a man again! And also to stop killing male metis. Pegasus has no gender (:rainbowdash:), so that works for the Furies.
Bible Times! The narrator doesn’t like them. This whole section is
theism incarnate. Old Testament days were barbaric, and the Glass Walkers allowed it to be so (remember, both the Glass Walkers and patriarchy are tools of the Namer). Adam named(!) Eve, in so doing using Weaver magics to destroy womanhood forever! They take great issue with Lot. It turns out that the Black Furies destroyed Sodom.
Sister Mary Windhowl of the Order of Our Merciful Mother (
) agrees with the narrator’s summation of Bible Times, but brings up various powerful women of the Bible. Deborah led Israel in Judges, and various strong mother figures prevail. She doesn’t talk about Esther, though, even though that’s my favorite Veggie Tales episode.
They don’t object to the New Testament.
That Christ fellow sounds like he wasn’t an altogether bad guy.
He is a martyr though, and martyrs are dumb! Suffering for suffering's sake is bad!
Dark Ages! I guess we’re not talking about Rome conquering Greece and co-opting its legendry. Okay. Christianity, with its mixture of Patriarch worship and “good stuff” spread across Europe, replacing the old sky god cults. They eventually took up violent conversion. The Black Furies fought back, usually with passive aggressive tactics like stealing their livestock or ruining their crops. They would also attack priests or conversion parties that captured “wise women” of villages and turned people away from the worship of Gaia. The Church was an incarnation of the Namer, the Furies’ gravest threat. I'm sure tons of angry teens did tons of werewolves kill
games as a result.
This is about when the Order of Our Merciful Mother began. A Black Fury kinfolk became a nun, and was a devout follower of the Virgin Mother. A pack of charitable Furies learned of the abbey, and pledged themselves to it as well. The new Order became influential in the church and steered Catholicism to revering the Virgin Mary. Other camps were unenthusiastic about the Order, but a Freebooter crone pack (the first we’ve heard of the crones, by the way, but certainly not the last) arranged a peace agreement between them. The Order survives to this very day, so you too can play a werewolf nun.
This alone saves this book, and I won’t hear anything to the contrary.
The Black Furies then talk about Islam. Under Islam, women were property and were oppressed, with limited opportunities for divorce, property ownership, or testimony. The Black Furies fought in the Crusades against the Muslims to liberate caerns. This section could have been much worse, so I’m grateful that this section is really short.
Thoughts: Now we’re getting into it! The Black Fury mysticism and milieu is on display here. We have some good philosophical/anthropological hooks with the sky gods. I joked about them earlier, but it does make sense that the Furies would see them as manifestations of the Namer. Often, sky gods are creators and guiders of civilizations and laws, and so the primitive anarchical ethos of the Black Furies would find that offensive. The obsession with caves is also pretty nice.
I’m obviously not a fan of the
are fucking hardcore and I love them.
Next time: Witches! Native America! Hopefully Modern Times and the end of Chapter 1!
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Tribebook: Black Furies
Chapter 1, Part 3
This is going to be a long one, and for that I apologize. I just really want to get to the good stuff, i.e. the stuff that Matt McFarland wrote.
Because of the werewolf war against nuns (a result of inter-camp tensions, if you recall), the Church came to believe in witches. By the fourteenth century, the Inquisition started to fight against these witches, so we have the Black Furies to thank for the Spanish Inquisition along with everything else. I actually don’t mind this historical revisionism, because it would totally make sense for a secret warrior society dealing with an eternal cosmological battle to put itself at the center of a lot of history. Gaian ritual was mistaken for witchcraft and demon consorting, and a ton of Fury kinfolk died. Black Furies managed to get off scot free, though, because, hey, they’re werewolves, what do you expect? The Sisterhood camp originated here, forming to sneak women out of oppressive areas.
The Renaissance! It was a time of huge technological advancement, which to the Black Furies, is of course bad. Fortunately, there were Furies around to keep romanticizing nature, preventing Western civilization from becoming too corrupted by the Namer. The narrator speculates that if the Furies hadn’t done this, we would be living in a “cybernetic nightmare.” In other words, the Black Furies are the reason why you don’t have a jetpack.
The tribes were generally aware of the Pure Brother Tribes in the Americas and left them alone. They didn’t bother Africa because of the War of Rage, where they pissed off all the other werecreatures. Hey, wait a minute! They haven’t talked about the War of Rage at all! That’s, like, one of the most important aspects of the setting! Whatever.
Eventually, though, America was discovered, and the Black Furies had to find a way to get over to Europe. They didn’t want to open any war bridges to invade, so they sent a few packs to stowaway with some nuns. The Freebooters who went over there (we have no idea who the Freebooters are, by the way, but we can gather that they seek out caerns to protect) really liked the natural expanses of the region. These packs took over a caern and opened up the moon bridges so that more Black Furies could come and fortify the base. The Croatan were justifiably pissed, so they sent some diplomats and warriors to confront the invaders.
The Croatan told the Black Furies to leave, the Black Furies refused, the Croatan left, came back the next day, while the Furies still refused. This cycle repeated a few times. The Black Furies thought that the Croatan were kind of incompetent, because, hey, the Furies managed to take over that caern really easily. Eventually, a Wyrm monster attacked the caern and after the Furies and Croatan teamed up to defeat it, they arranged a truce. Elsewhere, the Furies were less successful at arranging peace agreements. They still only have a tenuous understanding with the Wendigo, but they count the Uktena as allies.
After the Black Furies reached peace with the Pure Tribes, the Furies suffered a schism. The Calyxes, leaders of the tribe, didn’t want to commit the necessary numbers of Furies to the New World. Despite this, the Calyxes wanted to continue their authority over the region. After some clashes, the American Furies broke away from the European Calyxes and formed their own jurisdiction. This is much more sophisticated politics than I’m used to from this book, and it’s pretty thin on the bone here. We’re going to get more in the next chapter, though, so that’s fine.
After this, the Croatan sacrificed themselves to defeat Taker-of-Souls. Their spirit wards started to unravel, releasing a whole bunch of Wyrm spirits and giving the Black Furies a lot more work to do. Incidentally, the Great Dust Bowl may have been the result of one of those spirits. In the late nineteenth century, another big Wyrm spirit, Storm Eater, surfaced in the American West. In 1890, a team of various tribes figured out how to defeat Storm Eater. One of their leaders, Dara, was a Black Fury, and she was the first to sacrifice herself. Dara’s Vengeance is a potent artifact to this day, so go forth, PCs and find it!
Some body part is backwards on this lady, but I can't put my finger on it.
On the Amazon: they don’t take kindly to their Amazons being associated with the Amazon River Basin, because that’s just really dumb.
Today’s great line:
A few weeks ago, I was having an interesting conversation about healthcare systems with a Glass Walker of my acquaintance
I can just imagine two werewolves sitting in some café, debating the merits of socialized health insurance.
Black Furies joined the Portugese settlers in South America, and they have some of the largest kinfolk populations in South America. They work really well with the werebeasts of the region, and are pretty strongly represented in Gogol Fangs-First’s Amazon campaign.
Speaking of wars, there were a lot of human wars in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Black Furies fought in them. In fact, the Black Furies welcomed these wars, since the most aggressive males would be killed off. The Furies focused on protecting women from rapacious armies. In particular, the Black Furies were involved in the Balkan conflicts, fighting a Wyrm spirit called Kolkos War-Feast.
A personal addendum: the last few paragraphs are really poorly organized in the book. It constantly jumps forwards and backwards in time, from region to region. I’ve tried to make a little bit better, but it really reads amateurish. It’s definitely like another writer took the reins from the witchcraft section on.
The 20th Century saw great advances for feminism, but also brought heavy industrialization. The United States moved West, killing both Indians and nature. The Wyld lost a lot of power in the early 1900s.
And now for a weird short story! Fort Dodge was formed in the early Western expansion. A Black Fury kinfolk gave birth to a Garou, and the Claws of Glory pack came to town to celebrate and recruit. They found some Wyrm taint, leading to a Wyrm monster with a bunch of indestructible eggs. The eggs were associated with a shallow grave. They discovered that a schoolmistress who wasn’t possessed was killing and torturing a bunch of school children. The Furies killed the teacher, destroying the eggs. The spiritual resonance of that vengeance makes the whole town feel more justice-ier, even to this very day.
Women won the right to vote in the United States, but the Black Furies really don’t care. They’re from a very strict hierarchy, you see, so to them voting is just
World War I was a good time for the Wyrm. Black Furies participated in the war to fight the Wyrm monsters that would inevitably attack, and to protect women, of course. Disease sprits like Tarkhor Night-Murderer killed thousands, and other spirits like Ulgesh the Hope-Render caused mass trench suicides. One thing I will say for this book, they come up with awesome
names for Wyrm monsters.
As women joined the workplace and won the right to vote, their social standing improved. The Black Furies really enjoyed the incremental sexual revolutions, because the Black Furies are secretly the most Third Wave of all Third Wave feminists. WWII was a particularly great time for this advancement, as women dominated the workforce almost totally. To the book’s credit, it gives the Black Furies a largely hands-off role to the feminist revolutions of these times.
The Black Furies really regret not doing more to fight Hitler earlier, but they were busy defending Greece and fighting the Wyrm monsters that resulted from the warfare. They couldn’t do much to stop the death camps either. Mainly, though, it was just ignorance that prevented them from taking more action. This is told surprisingly maturely and from what I remember, a lot better than other
books that deal with the Nazis and the Holocaust (I’m looking at you, Get).
The Black Furies are still pissed off about Women’s Liberation. There’s the idea that women are already liberated enough, and the work still isn’t complete. The Equal Rights Amendment was defeated. It’s all pretty much a wash.
In modern times, a male metis named Spartacus leads a revolt against the matriarchal leadership! Yes, really. His pack, named Freedom (yes, really), soon turned the revolt into a violent one, because he’s a MAN and that’s what men do (yes, really). Spartacus eventually lost in single combat, and was kicked out of the tribe. The way the narrator sees it, the metis already have it pretty good being allowed to stay in the tribe at all, so he shouldn’t have revolted. Hm.
The Stepmothers are another good pack gone bad. The pack, led by Sharra Clearwater, found an
factory dumping pollutants into the river. They learned that it was run by Black Spiral Dancers, evil werewolves. The Stepmothers attacked the hive alone, but went Wyrm crazy in the process. Now they’re the Wicked Stepmothers (sounds like a biker gang from Grimm), led by the Sh’ra Gthulkya, Clearwater’s new identity. They kidnap babies and recruit them into their pack! They’re a grave threat to the tribe, and the Black Furies haven’t told anyone else, because of course.
Sidebar: Demon worshipping serial killers are real! Hide your kids, hide your wives, because there’s Wyrm worshipping madmen about. They kidnap babies, and are often just regular people, but possessed, but so subtly that they’re impossible to detect!
I have no idea why this sidebar is here.
A new schism is forming, as other female werewolves join the tribe just to fight the Wyrm, but with all ladies. They don’t buy into the same mysticism as the rest of the tribe, nor are they committed to the Furies’ form of justice. The traditionalists of the tribe hate them, and they’re not too popular among the general population either.
The narrator then sums up the Week of Nightmares. Either an ancient vampire, a new kind of super-vampire, or a really powerful Wyrm spirit woke up and tore shit up. Werewolves, vampires, kung fu vampires, and ghosts teamed up to fight the vampire. She believes the Illuminati killed the super-vampire in the end, which is actually pretty rad.
The Black Furies are very concerned with the Balkans, as they’re right next to Greece. Soviet control kept the region stable, so the collapse of the USSR is bad news. Violence against women is a huge problem around this time, and prostitution is rampant.
A side note here about prostitution: Personally, I don’t have any moral or ethical problem with the simple idea of fucking for money, if it’s done freely, without strings, oppression, or abuse. Of course, it never is.
A weirdly serious turn for a book about werewolf nuns.
Kelonoke Wildhair of the Sept of Bygone Vision formed alliances with the Red Talons, and surprise surprise, the Shadow Lords. Conveniently, this triple entente gives the Black Furies a scapegoat for when things go wrong, since the Shadow Lords and Red Talons are notoriously unstable. It’s some great subtlety.
The war against Baba Yaga in Russia killed a lot of notable Black Furies, including Mother’s Pride, leader of the Blood of the Sea Sept. Her pack, the Fiery Axe, died when fighting the zmei Gregornous. Tatania, a rumored weak leader, is now in charge of the Russian Black Furies, and the Get and Silver Fangs threaten to take over.
The Black Furies are involved in the Congolese Revolutions, but they’re mostly ineffectual. Their Freebooters have managed to claim a few caerns, though.
Medusa disappeared in 2000, and now the Gorgon hivemind has dissolved. Packs can’t follow the Gorgons as a single spirit, but rather must choose one Gorgon to follow. The Inner Calyx might know more, but they aren’t talking.
The Metamorphic Plague!!! This is a big deal in the metaplot. In the Dark Ages, the Red Talons were known as great prophets, rather than homicidal maniacs. One particularly notable prophet predicted a whole bunch of metaplot. One of the things included in that prophecy was that the Black Furies were going to get a “changing sickness”. The Metamorphic Plague is that sickness. It’s dominant in Mexico, but it spreads from Fury to Fury internationally. The Plague first makes the Furies angrier, then changes their appearance, then changes their memories and personality altogether. It’s spooky.
In a weird deviation from our history, apparently the Black Furies have managed to make the Virgin Mary even more widely worshipped by the Roman Catholic Church. Indeed, the Pope himself has even called for the Virgin Mary to be named “Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate”.
And on that note, that’s the end of Chapter One.
Next time: The good stuff, and a completely different narrative style, and thank goodness for that.
The Triptych, aka the Good Part
Original SA post
Another week, another update to
Tribebook: Black Furies
Chapter 2, Part 1: The Triptych, aka the Good Part
It’s italics time! The traditional revised White Wolf splatbooks share a common format. The first chapter is usually an in-universe history of the splat in question. Chapter 2, beginning now, features representative members of the splat explaining how they do things to an outsider of one kind or another. Different splatbooks experiment with this, but Black Furies is a bit more traditional, but that doesn't mean it's not great.
A cub, Anxi, wakes up wondering where she is. Upon getting her bearings, she realizes she’s in Ecube, the Black Furies’ Umbral homeland, essentially the resting place of Black Fury spirits. Three werewolves are with her, a lupus Theurge known as Amethyst Wing-Mender, a dark skinned Galliard in homid form named Carlotta Parts-the-Mists, and a giant man, Symon World-Reacher, Philodox. It seems that the Wyld chose Anxi to learn from these three representatives. Amethyst begins the lesson.
The Divine is at once Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Where Gaia Herself is concerned, this three-fold entity explains the changing of seasons and the progression of the world. We lupus understand it just as we understand everything else: without thought. You have a long way to go, sister before you can know without thinking. If you ever conceive and carry a child, you will.
This is where this book gets
The big guy's the Matron.
You see, a lot of stuff in the Werewolf cosmology comes in threes, breeds, Virtues, and most importantly, the Triat. The basic structure of the Triat, Wyld, Weaver and Wyrm, is based on traditional triple goddess roles. There is a ton of mythological resonance here. The Scandinavian Norns, the Trimurti, the Morrigan, all of these partake in this symbolism. The triple goddess is popular in neopaganism, particularly in Wicca.
The Wyld can be understood as the Spinner or Maker. The Black Furies are based on the Greek mythos, so the Wyld is associated with Clothos of the Fates, Maiden spinner of infinite possibility, good or apocalyptic.
The Weaver is just that, or the Orderer. To the Black Furies, the Weaver is Lachesis. Once the Matron, it established limits on Clothos’ possibility. But, every rule must have exceptions, and Lachesis failed to understand that, going mad.
Finally, the Wyrm is the Cutter or Destroyer. Black Furies name it Atropos. Most tribes see the Wyrm as male, since it can’t create, only destroy. Black Fury narrator says that’s dumb. The Black Furies don’t understand why Atropos has gone insane. The narrator speculates that maybe Atropos has been replaced by something else.
There are plenty of triple figures in Greek mythology. The original Furies, or Erinyes, were Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera. The Furies act as inspirational figures to the Black Furies, obviously, and they’re common names among the tribe, so if you’re struggling to come up with a name for your Black Fury character, well, look no further. It’s not clear whether the Furies were actually Black or not, but they exist as Wyld spirits, too infused with chaotic energy to manifest. The Inner Calyx knows a rite to summon the Furies and incarnate them in three Black Furies to completely wreak vengeance on someone. After that, they continue enforcing justice and nobody can tell them what to do, not even the Inner Calyx. This has the tremendous potential to backfire, so the rite hasn’t been performed in ages.
Pegasus is awesome, mythical and so unbound by material reality. It’s a Totem of Respect, not War, which is contrary to a lot of Black Fury positions and points to an inherent tension within the tribe. Pegasus demands that her totem followers protect women who can protect themselves, which can be difficult to figure out. The Get of Fenris can’t, and so Pegasus doesn’t allow any of them to follow it. Pegasus’ spiritual retinue includes the Gorgons, the original Black Furies, Panther, for some reason (it may have joined Pegasus after leaving Lion’s brood once it fell along with the White Howlers), female spirits of all kinds, and Greek mythological spirits, even including centaurs. Pegasus keeps their rapaciousness in line.
Even the art's better in this section!
Auspices come from lunar phases. Each lunar phase is a particular behavior on Luna’s part, so each auspice corresponds to some facet of Luna’s personality.
New Moons (Luna Cries): During the New Moon, Luna turns her face from the world and weeps. Werewolves born under the new moon wonder why Luna’s crying, so they try to fix the world until it no longer makes Luna sad. Ragabash sometimes cause pain to effect change, but it’s a necessary evil. Basically, Black Fury Ragabash are a little more politically oriented and structure affirming than the general New Moon. In order for a Ragabash to join the Inner Calyx, they must make Luna smile during the New Moon, in other words, change the phase of the moon on their own.
Crescent Moons (Luna Ponders): The Crescent Moon is Luna turning back towards the world, trying to answer life’s most persistent questions. Theurges do the same thing. Learning is good, no matter if it’s the answer to a big question or a small one. Black Fury Theurges, then, are more about inquiry than lore accumulation.
Half Moons (Luna Speaks): Luna emerges from the darkness to give pronouncements. She reveals what she was crying about and what she learned in her pondering. Likewise, Philodox are to reveal accumulated wisdom and truth. Philodox enforce the law, but to avoid Weaver stasis, they’re sure to make sure judgment is deserved, following the spirit of the law more than its letter. Remember, every rule has an exception. Black Fury Philodox are more flexible than the mainstream.
Gibbous Moons (Luna Laughs): Speaking the truth cheers Luna up, so she comes into the light a little bit more and laughs. Of course, it may just be because the alternative is to cry, and the Galliard understand this. Galliards translate the pronouncements of Luna and the Philodox and make it relatable to the common werewolf. They educate more than rock out.
Full Moons (Luna Acts): Fully emerged into the light, Luna is ready to fight, becoming Artemis the Hunter. The Ahroun are her retinue. The Ahroun lead, deciding when to put down contemplation and act. They make mistakes, and the Ragabash are around to take care of it. See? Everybody has a role, and werewolf society is a cycle of these roles.
Canonically, lunar eclipses only occur during full moons, so all eclipse-born Garou are Ahroun. However, they’re more inquisitive and sneakier, but also moodier and prone to Harano (werewolf depression).
Black Furies test judgment, vision, fury, and mystery during their Rites of Passage. Why four tests and not three? One’s not a test. Okay then.
Judgment presents a cub with a moral quandary, either acted out, spiritually reflected, or even real. The cub needs to decide what to do. For instance, she might be taken to an elementary school to witness some bullies messing with a loner. What should she do to punish them and to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Vision gives the cub a riddle or spirit-quest. It’s not too difficult, since the elders don’t want cubs to die. Fury is really a test of the cub’s control over her rage. She may be taunted, or presented with a dangerous situation.
The last “test”, mystery, isn’t a test, but rather the initiation rite, where the fury drinks Elusian wine and gets a mystic vision. Elusian wine is an ancient drink, used in festivals honoring Demeter’s annual farewell to Persephone. It’s really kykeon, made from wheat and purple die. Its recipe was a well-kept secret among the Greeks. Great philosophers like Plato, Socrates, Epicurus, and Homer were initiated into the Elusian mysteries, and they learned a lot. Historians speculate that ergot is a key ingredient to kykeon, since it’s a common purple dye. It’s also a childbirth aid, which of course is exciting to the Black Furies.
I am almost entirely certain that this chapter was written by Matt McFarland, since tonewise it’s a complete 180 from the previous chapter, and therefore awesome. It cements the Furies as a unique and even necessary entity in werewolf culture as the Western mystics. There’s tons of flavorful hooks here and more to come. We’re finally at the good part and nothing can go wrong, right? Right?
Next time: The evils of baby formula and the official Black Fury position on abortion. It’s the return of the Kileys, ladies and gentlemen!
Original SA post
All the Werewolf related writeups so far are making me really sympathetic to Pentex's case.
You won't feel that way when you read more of
Tribebook: Black Furies
You must definitely will feel that way.
It’s Symon the Metis’ turn to speak, as the Furies teleport to a clearing. Symon begins discussing the discomfort Anxi may feel when addressing a male metis member of the Black Furies. After all, the traditional familiar term among the Furies is “Sister”, but Symon isn’t a woman. People do address him as “Sister”, though, but he allows Anxi to call him Symon.
The Black Furies are weird about metis. Even Black Furies have to go through all the effects of pregnancy, and it can be unpleasant, even dangerous. Pregnancy alters the entire body dramatically, which is particularly bad for warriors. They can’t shapeshift when the baby reaches a certain stage of development, as it would kill the child, just in case you were wondering. Black Furies tend to eschew hospitals and modern childbirth in favor of natural locales and methods, even in the Wyld. Wolves have it easier. Metis’ deformities can make childbirth disastrous, nearly always killing the mother in childbirth, hence the discomfort.
Apropos of nothing, here’s a sidebar! I have to quote it in full because wow.
Carlotta speaks of poison:
Everyone agrees that breast milk is best for babies: doctors, researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and parenting gurus. But nobody makes money from breastfeeding.
Sure somebody can make a little cash selling how-to books, bras with funny hooks and latches, or other paraphernalia, but the real money comes from selling something people use up and have to come back to buy more.
So how do formula companies get people to buy an obviously inferior product?
They fill baby magazines with images of happy white families gathered around beautiful bottle-sucking babies, while the images of breastfeeding feature minority women without wedding rings.
They give “seminar” trips in exotic locales in exotic locales to hospital administrators and ply the nurses with free pens and coffee mugs in return for their complicity in making sure every new mother leaves the hospital with a bag full of formula.
They buy privileged patient information from doctor’s offices
to carefully time doorstep deliveries of free formula to coincide with an infant’s growth spurts, when a mother may panic that she’s not providing her baby with enough milk. They compile free “how-to” tip booklets for breastfeeding that make it sound overwhelmingly difficult.
They sponsor episodes of TV dramas in which young mothers kill their babies trying to feed them naturally, with special attention the unattractively cast breastfeeding zealot.
They set the terms of the national dialogue on the issue stating that breastfeeding makes babies smarter and less likely to fall ill, rather than acknowledge that their product makes babies dumber and sicker.
If that weren’t enough, they ship their poisonous product to the third world, marketing it with images of prosperous American families. Poor families, wanting the American best for their families, spend a huge percentage of their monthly income on powdered formula and mix it with local unsafe water, and their babies sicken and die.
They send cases and cases of artificial milk for disaster relief, knowing full well that it will not only go to the orphaned, but to young mothers who will be forced to buy it once both their milk and the disaster supplies have dried up.
And people buy it. They buy in and put it in their babies’ mouths
in spite of the fact that it tastes terrible, is expensive, and isn’t subject to scientific testing or oversight.
Sound familiar? It should. It only gets worse when the Wyrm actually takes a hand.
So Tribebook: Black Furies weighs in on the breastfeeding vs. formula debate and completely embarrasses itself. I don’t want to derail this review, so I’ll just say that this rant just recycles really trite talking points that are easily countered. There are good arguments against formula, but they’re not here.
In an earlier update, I promised a tirade about how Werewolf best handles politics. Now’s as good a time as any, so here goes. The lead developers for Werewolf: the Apocalypse call it a “metal album cover come to life.” The world of Werewolf, then, is the crazy pseudo-spiritual metal realm of those covers. It’s emphatically not our own world. Every World of Darkness game brings that to the front, hence the title. When issues in our own world are present in the world of Werewolf, they’re writ spiritually large so that werewolves can have epic kung fu battles with them.
You might argue that Carlotta’s rant here is about the formula companies in the World of Darkness, not our own. But her use of common talking points in our own debates and that last line especially really make me doubt that. Having a werewolf lecture me on feeding my child formula when jobs and daily life make breastfeeding difficult comes off as
and baseless. Having werewolves deal with real life issues in real life contexts doesn’t work, or is at least really difficult to sell well.
Matt McFarland handles the abortion debate a little bit better, but not much. His Black Furies are divided on the issue. On the one hand, abortion rights are an emblematic women’s right too. On the other, life is sacred to the Furies, and killing babies with technology is not great. In the end, McFarland’s approach is to just not tackle the issue at all, which is fine, but it raises the question of why it’s brought up in the first place. I think that precedent in Werewolf literature created an expectation of political talk in Werewolf books, forcing McFarland’s hand. The Kileys might have pushed him on it too.
That out of the way, let’s talk about the breeds!
Homids are the most politically engaged of the breeds, which makes sense. There’s also an aside on sexuality here. There are a lot of lesbians in the Black Furies, and nobody really cares. Sexuality is a complex issue. Furies are wary of scientific explanations for homosexuality. They’re more focused on the lovin’.
Lupus are the extreme minority in the tribe, and their wolf populations are threatened, like all the other tribes. They used to be the leaders of the Furies as the breed most connected to the Wyld, but as the homid majority has grown, they’ve lost influence.
Metis are unique in the Black Furies, since they can be male. In fact, male metis are more valued than females, and more are allowed to stay in the tribe. Symon theorizes that they’re kept because male metis are less likely to be accepted by other tribes. He also provides a much less charitable theory that female metis are less female because they’re barren.
The Black Fury kinfolk section mostly deals with how the Furies treat their male kin. They still respect them, but they treat them very carefully, and vice versa. They value marriage, but not as a contract.
Age roles are important to the Black Furies, as it’s a vital concept to the triple goddess.
Ah. You’re familiar with the concept; yes it’s like Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, or if you prefer, Urd, Skuld and Verdanda. I’m glad they still teach the classics in public schools – eh?
A comic book?
Well, I’ll be.
Maidens are women pre-motherhood. This doesn’t mean virginal, mind you!
Mothers are, well, women who have had children (whether a miscarriage still counts is debatable). The Black Furies want every member of their tribe to proceed into this group, but more and more young Furies want to avoid it.
Crones are those too old or otherwise unable to bear children. Yes, this does mean that all female metis are Crones. You can move straight from Maiden to Crone through injury or birth control.
Next time: Of calyxes and camps, which means more werewolf nuns!
Thank you so much for picking this back up! It's what inspired me to start participating in the Something Awful forums. I'm glad to see that the horrible charts are consistent, even in the art department.
And there's a Pentex book too that reduces them to puppy kicking evulz.
That was actually written by my favorite member of the White Wolf old guard Richard Dansky. I like it, since it's basically a really good dark re-imagining of Hoggish Greedly and Looten Plunder. It also fleshes out Black Dog, which is great.
The Outer Calyx
Original SA post
Tribebook: Black Furies
Chapter 2, Part 3
The Outer Calyx is comprised of 13 Furies. A pool of worthy candidates is selected every three years and the main thirteen are chosen via lottery to respect the Wyld. Dead members are replaced by their protégés or their seats are left open until the next “election”. In order to qualify for the Calyx, you must complete a variety of games at the grand moot, and of course there’s politicking along with that.
As one might imagine, elections via lottery are vulnerable to corruption and there is almost certainly some dirty dealings involved with the Calyx. Iona Kinslayer is chosen for the Outer Calyx year after year in defiance of probability and metis are very rarely called upon. Then again, this is a universe where the laws of probability are controlled by magical entities beyond mortal comprehension, so who knows?
The Outer Calyx is the body that decides tribe policy, what it should focus on and finding worthy members. Each member is responsible for a particular region of the world, and they serve a sept position in their region. Getting the attention of the Outer Calyx is a good way to get Renown, since they’re also responsible for dealing with spirits on a tribe-wide basis. Of course, if you get the negative attention of the Outer Calyx, that won’t work out well for you.
The Inner Calyx is different. Once, Luna granted five Black Furies, one of each auspice, a powerful fetish. The Ragabash got the Cloak of Luna, the Theurge her Salve, the Philodox her Bridle, the Galliard her Loom, and the Ahroun received her Bow. These five Furies were the original Inner Calyx. Nobody knows who the Inner Calyx are, but they have veto power over the Outer Calyx and protect the most powerful fetishes. They’re made up of five Furies with a representative from each auspice. To enter the Inner Calyx, there’s a challenging test. The Ragabash has to make Luna smile, i.e. make the moon change phase out of schedule, and the other tasks are equally impressive. Luna herself chooses the Inner Calyx, and she’s incomprehensible. Werewolves as low as Rank 2 can be chosen.
The Calyxes are a subject of a lot of controversy in the Black Furies, mostly between young and old Furies. The schism between American and European Furies was over their unquestioned authority. Worse than their centralization is their anonymity. The Inner Calyx is completely anonymous and therefore unaccountable. They might not even exist. The Outer Calyx is supposed to be randomly chosen, but newbie werewolves are less likely to be chosen, which is completely undemocratic. The lottery also removes accountability.
The Fury camps are known as kuklos. They don’t see eye to eye, but they don’t fight!
The Amazons of Diana aren’t a self-identified group. Really, it’s a catch-all term for a particularly aggressive Fury. Their goal is to prove themselves the equal of the Get of Fenris or the Shadow Lords on the battlefield. Rather than dedicate themselves to the vengeance that the rest of the tribe pursues, they focus on hunting Wyrm monsters, opposing the conservative members of the tribe. They’re the most vocal and visible Furies to other werewolves. Angela Cries-for-Blood is the most notable Amazon, and she’s responsible for establishing political alliances with other tribes. She’s a forward-looking voice in the Black Furies.
Carlotta pipes up again, recommending that Anxi not join the Amazons, because they’re maniacs, maniacs I say!
The Amazons claim to protect women and world and prevent violence, but really they’re all crazy kill monsters. Another valuable contribution from Carlotta, then.
Pictured: a cockroach dragon wolf with PVC pipe legs getting eaten by three wolves and axed while a legionnaire looks on. Werewolf!
Bacchanates, on the other hand, are the most dedicated kuklo to the Furies’ vengeance. They enforce Gaia’s law, destroying her enemies. They dismiss the Amazons as third wave feminists only focusing on appearing the equal to men. Rather than fight the more visible forms of the Wyrm’s corruption, the Bacchanates hunt down rapists, domestic abusers, polluters, and those who clone humans(?). They totally wreck their targets, sometimes getting mistaken for natural disasters. edit: Seriously, they're all about the RAGE. First edition Bacchanates were never out of RAGE mode.
The Freebooters’ ranks are rapidly decreasing. They find places where the Wyld is strong to convert into caerns. Because there are so few Wyld places left, they have trouble recruiting new members. As a result, the Freebooters are further divided into two loose camps. One, led by the Ragabash-Mother Erin Walks-through-Darkness, believes that they need to find a new home for Gaia somewhere in the Umbra (basically outer space). They’re the extreme minority, though, and the rest of the Freebooters are committed to finding either very subtle Wyld hotspots or reopening closed caerns. They also steal tainted fetishes for purification.
The Moon Daughters, on the other hand, are gaining new members rapidly. They’re neopagans who want to revolutionize Garou magic. They modernize old occult knowledge, similar to the Glass Walkers. They’re committed to change.
That short description may sound boring, but a sidebar goes into more detail. They have a lot of connections to the human occult underworld, meaning they can find lone werewolves more easily and learn of strange supernatural phenomena they can deal with. They also try to shape those Wiccan communities to form a religion that can evolve to survive.
I’ve already talked a lot about the Order of Our Merciful Mother, but here’s the complete entry. It’s the result of Black Furies infiltrating the Catholic Church. The Order isn’t centralized, as each pack tends to its own community. When need is dire, though, they convene in northern Italy. The last time they did this was during World War II.
The goal of the Order is to use the tools of patriarchal culture to subvert it and create more favorable conditions for women. Those members of the Order who join other convents tend to actually espouse their virtues and are the most politically engaged sisters.
It turns out that Carlotta is a member of the Order (nooooo). She worked in the Vatican and faced a lot of the scorn that other Furies have for the Order. From their perspective, the Catholic Church and convents in particular support oppression. Carlotta argues that those women who join convents choose to do so, and the Furies shouldn’t judge their reasons for doing so (not a strong argument). The Order isn’t even exclusively Catholic; there’s at least one Muslim member of the Order.
As a personal aside, there is precedent for convents subverting the will of the larger Catholic Church. You might remember the National Coalition of American Nuns and the LCWR publicly dissenting with the American Council of Bishops over healthcare and several other policies. Back during the sexual revolution of the sixties, a young sociologist entered a convent to educate the nuns there. Six months later, the convent had descended into lesbian orgies and was cast out of the Church. The convents have always been more liberal than the mainstream Church, and its inclusion here is pretty cool. Werewolf nuns are also a great thing that makes this Earth a richer place to live in.
The Sisterhood is the connections camp of the Black Furies. They maintain information networks and can procure things. They were founded during the Inquisition when they maintained an underground railroad to rescue accused witches. They accumulated a lot of information doing so, and they continue that propensity to this day. They don’t like the Order, believing that they’ve been tainted by the Patriarch spirit. Carlotta attests that she’s worked well with Sisterhood members before, though. edit: According to the first edition book, the Sisterhood concentrates properties and manpower. A lot of this was mystical artifacts. I assume this aspect was downplayed to avoid stepping on the Freebooter's toes, but mechanically they stick with this interpretation.
The Temple of Artemis is the conservative ideological leader of the Black Furies. They have very strict membership conditions (meaning your character can’t start as a member). They believe that the Black Furies should stop working with the other tribes altogether since the Furies alone uphold Gaia’s laws. They see the fight against the Wyrm as quixotic and choose to focus on their original roles as avengers and enforcers. They hold an undue influence over the Outer Calyx, although they often judge werewolves without the sanction of the Calyxes or even local septs. They don’t like the Moon Daughters as they’re namby pamby liberals.
Next time: The Quran, casual racism, and more sex talk.
Original SA post
Tribebook: Black Furies
Chapter 2 Part 4
Let’s finish up Chapter 2 already and go go go go go!
Symon tells Anxi not to underestimate the importance of the Litany, since it’s one of the few things the Garou Nation could agree on. I’m only going to tackle the notable ones, since a lot of these don’t add anything to the corebook description.
Garou Shall Not Mate with Garou:
Symon, as a metis, doesn’t really like this tenet. After all, would you feel comfortable telling a metis that his existence is a bane on werewolf kind? Well, obviously some werewolves do feel comfortable with that, but nevertheless it’s complicated. Like all the tribes, the Black Furies claim that they treat their metis better than their peers.
Carlotta says that “mate” doesn’t necessarily mean “have sex”. You know what that means! Lesbians. Preventative measures for pregnancy tend to go screwy for werewolves, so gay sex is the only way to get your werewolf jollies. Of course, not everyone’s gay, so straight people have to deal with that.
Toto likes to watch.
Personal aside: I get what the designers were trying to do when they put such an emphasis on werewolf sex. It’s all very Freudian, with the Eros and Thanatos urges duking it out. In a constant crisis war situation, those urges are going to be stronger than ever, and in part werewolf is about confronting your own RAGE. That conflict invites the parallel with Eros. The problem is that most gamers are going to sign on for RAGE and less for freaky werewolf sex. At the table you can downplay the emphasis on werewolf lovin’ or recast it as courtly forbidden love a la Tristan and Isolde, but why put so much wordcount into something that’s going to appeal to so few people?
Combat the Wyrm Wherever it Dwells and Wherever it Breeds:
Apparently the Litany verbatim states that the Wyrm is the source of all evil, but Symon doesn’t buy it (and if I recall correctly none of the other tribes believe that either). The Wyrm does profit off evil and make it worse, so fighting it is still important in the battle of good vs. evil. After all, the Black Furies spend a lot of time enforcing justice, and the Wyrm exacerbates those problems.
Amethyst is less enthusiastic. Fighting the Wyrm as the werewolves do now only targets the symptom. The disease itself is unbeatable.
Respect the Territory of Another:
Pretty standard. No mention of Greek hospitality codes, though, which is lame.
Accept an Honorable Surrender:
Don’t fight other werewolves. Even if you have to deal with a formal challenge, you should make sure it’s a fight to first blood, or even change it to a contest of wits, like a chess match! If you lose a fight with another good werewolf, call it quits before you die, because a dead Garou is a useless Garou. Carlotta warns that this can be difficult, because of the RAGE.
Submission to Those of Higher Station:
Higher station usually means a man, so Black Furies don’t like this tenet. At least, that’s how other tribes see it, which creates tension in inter-tribe relationships. Furies also don’t like submission. Younger Furies will be particularly rebellious. Carlotta agrees with the young Furies, recommending that they stick up for lady werewolves that are browbeaten by a male alpha.
The First Share of the Kill for the Greatest in Station:
This leads to pissing contests between wannabe alphas. Black Furies are better, though, so they take a more egalitarian approach, sometimes letting their underlings pick a valuable fetish from the spoils.
Amethyst tells a story about a Glass Walker who found a fetish in a vampire’s haven. Against the Black Fury’s protest, he took it for his own, since it had Glass Walker markings on it. Later, he was put down for eating humans. Apparently, the Glass Walkers gave the vampire the fetish to make him less hungry. I guess it had the opposite effect on werewolves?
Ye Shall Not Eat the Flesh of Humans:
Humans are addictive, apparently.
Do Not Suffer Thy People to Tend Thy Illness:
Although the Furies are potent healers, sometimes they just have to let some werewolves go. It’s sad, but that’s life.
The Leader May be Challenged During Peacetime:
This is the most controversial of the werewolf laws, since werewolves are constantly at war. The Black Furies have it even worse, since the Inner Calyx is completely anonymous. You can’t challenge a leader if you don’t know where to find her.
Carlotta wants to add her own tenets to the Litany! These are rules that the Furies consider equally important to the Litany. First, Suffer No Abuse to Women. Second, Remember your Parents. This is to prevent Furies from hating all men, since they have important fathers to remember. Train the Weak; Protect the Helpless: nothing’s going to advance if the weak stay weak, so it’s the Furies’ job to make them stronger. Keep the Wyld Places Pure means to focus on protecting Wyld hotspots, and also to protect your virginity for as long as possible.
The narration shifts to Carlotta as the Face of the Mother (the atlas section) begins.
Europe: there are a lot of different civilizations here! Most of the European Black Furies are in Greece, but they’re allowed to populate wherever they have permission. The Get of Fenris don’t like them, though, so there are very few German or Scandinavian Furies.
The Calyxes are based in Greece. The Inner Calyx is rumored to have a super-secret island in the Aegean with their own caern. Any Black Fury can visit a Greek sept for certain moots. It’s a festival of revelry and occasionally righteous murder, fun for the whole family.
In the early 2000s, when this book was written, the Balkans were in a crisis. The Black Furies work with the Shadow Lords to help out. The Furies fear that some Wyrm creature is pulling the strings, but they recognize it’s probably just humans being humans.
Asia belongs to the Stargazers. There’s lots of rumors of crimes against women, but no word of organized Black Fury activity. There are Black Furies around, though.
The Middle East! Carlotta knows about the reputation that the Middle East has (before 9/11), but she wants to make sure Anxi knows that the Quran is more complex than a lot of people give it credit for.
The Quran, for example, states that women must wear veils so that they will not be molested and may maintain their dignity. The idea is for men to talk with them rather than ogle them. Can’t say I disagree with the spirit, but the problem is that it has the effect of making women the same, and I can’t help feeling that might make us interchangeable for some men. Also, it isn’t just the veil that causes us problems. Female circumcision, while not an official Islamic practice, does happen. There are certain circumstances where it is legal for a father to murder his daughter.
This is…actually pretty culturally sensitive, but a little misplaced. No mention of stoning rape victims? Women are seriously oppressed in certain Middle Eastern countries, and while bringing it up might make the book a little too “real” for some, presenting this front doesn’t really work either.
Carlotta warns that there are a lot of vampires in the Middle East, so be on the lookout. Remember, pre Afghanistan and Iraq invasions.
Africa’s pretty bad. All the massacres strengthen Banes, which makes things even worse. There’s some talk about the Ahadi, which is a contender for the coolest thing about Werewolf: the Apocalypse, but the Black Furies can’t breed with African wolves. Why they can’t breed with African humans is anyone’s guess. Only the Red Talons, Silent Striders, and Bone Gnawers have kinfolk there.
THERE’S NO BLACK FURY SECT IN SOUTH AMERICA. The Amazon War rages on, and a Get of Fenris member is in charge. The Black Furies are frustrated, but they just barely manage to admit that Gogol Fangs-First is doing a good job. Electra Shildmaiden is the key Black Fury player, collecting stories of the war and of native peoples.
America is the land of the free!
Carlotta goes on about how much women suffer in the United States, mostly about rape culture in a roundabout way. Women feel uncomfortable in their bodies due to ads and sex is repressed. It’s a bad deal all around. If only they lived in the Middle East!
There are very few Black Furies in Australia because of the Bunyip ghosts. The Black Furies who do live in Australia are based in the Kangaroo Island Protectorate. They’re still guilty for their part in the Bunyip genocide.
Why is this giant naked lady smiling? I'm concerned.
The Wyld Umbral realms are the most important to the Black Furies. Pangaea’s a nice place to kick back and relax. They send cubs to train and learn in the Heart of the Wyld. The Inner Calyx may meet in the Black Fury homerealm. The Atrocity realm is the most important non-Wyld Umbral locale, since it allows Furies to see all the crimes against women taking place in the world. It’s important to remember, though, that what you see in the Atrocity realm has already occurred. You can’t stop something going on in the Atrocity realm. Many Black Furies go crazy trying to prevent all those tragedies.
Carlotta prepares an interview with two Furies to discuss the other tribe and breed stereotypes. Cara is a young liberal and Konstantina is an conservative Crone.
Cara doesn’t trust them. They’re gross, creepy, and they deal with Weaver spirits. Konstantina doesn’t like them either, but she does appreciate their connections. Using their networks doesn’t come cheap, though.
Children of Gaia:
They adopt male Furies, which makes them okay in Cara’s book. Konstatina knows that even though they’re the peace tribe, they can still fight!
They’re alcoholics and they always hit on the ladies. Cara begrudgingly accepts them, while Konstantina values their fighting spirit. Amethyst interjects to let us know that drinking is a skill too, and a valuable one at that. It can get info without the use of any magic.
Get of Fenris:
Cara knows this one Fury who left the Get. She didn’t get any respect, and the ladies won’t stand up for themselves. Konstantina believes they fought for the Nazis. Amethyst agrees, the Get of Fenris is worthless.
Cara believes the Glass Walkers are okay. They’ve got connections, but they might be cyborgs and cyborgs are creepy. Konstantina believes that they may be corrupted by the Weaver!
Cara just kind of avoids these guys. Konstantina fears that they may join the Wyrm out of RAGE.
They’re untrustworthy, says Cara. Konstantina has fought with the Shadow Lords in the Balkans and she trusts them. The Silver Fang propaganda machine may be wrong about the Lords. Symon, though, believes that the Shadow Lords have a big scheme going, and it might involve the Furies!
They’re quiet (
) but they have good info. Pay whatever they ask. They’re good people.
They’re too old! Konstantina respects them. Carlotta suspects they’re going crazy (they are).
Cara: The Uktena look like the end result of a Klansman’s nightmare: they’re a delightful medium-brown, with the features of all six continents wrapped up in each face
Konstantina doesn’t trust them for dealing with Wyrm spirits. Symon doesn’t like them for killing the Bunyip and then stealing their caerns. They also kicked out a lot of Fera from their caerns.
They’re assholes! And racists!
It turns out that the other Fera aren’t extinct! Carlotta alone’s giving us her opinion on the breeds.
Carlotta heard from a Fury who heard from a werecheetah that there were werehyenas who named themselves “Choosers of the Dead”. Carlotta didn’t believe the hype, but there was this one time that her library was broken into, but the only book missing was about a giant hyena demon! Eh, probably just a coincidence.
Maybe they have to do with the mythical Arachne! They’re bitter about something
Some Furies take Panther as their totem, but the Furies don’t have good relations with the werecats. They don’t know what their role is, but they do take advantage of their secrets.
The Furies like them since their warriors are female.
Extinct, but they were pretty cool.
Dragons have it rough, just like witches, so the Black Furies look out for these guys.
Extinct, but it’s weird how few records there are of them
I once saw a man approach a pack of Black Furies and hail them with “Hey, girls!” Of course, they surrounded him menacingly; he didn’t flinch. They shoved him a bit; he didn’t lose his smile. Finally, one of them asked him what he meant by addressing them so disrespectfully. He just grinned wider and asked if they really
girls. And none of them knew how to answer him. After all, if they said “no”, they would be denying their sex. If they said “yes”, they’d look rather foolish. I don’t remember any of them answering, but the Nuwisha just walked on, leaving them confused and frustrated.
Symon says they’re fucking trolls.
They’re creepy. Don’t trust them.
Vampires are city folk and sponsor efforts to pave over paradise to increase their feeding grounds. They can enslave werewolves. Basically they’re the antithesis of the Black Furies and they must be destroyed.
They can be okay, but they sometimes abuse spirits. Sometimes, though, they misinterpret werewolves as demons and try to suppress them.
Help lady ghosts, but don’t feel too bad when you see the ghost of a man you killed.
(Best I could do, sorry) The good news: satyrs are real! The bad news: they’re rapists.
And just like a cheesy movie, the three spirit wolves bid Anxi adieu and she wakes up.
Next time: Mechanics! (finally)
Original SA post
Tribebook: Black Furies
Chapter 3, Part 1
All the Tribebook mechanics chapters are organized identically: first a guide to using backgrounds, then new gifts, and closing out with nifty rites and fetishes.
First, Background suggestions!
A lot of Furies are from other tribes, so they probably have friends from the tribe they left behind. Because they’re politically involved, they also have connections in left wing NGOs. Despite their mysticism, they don’t tend to have supernatural allies, not even the Wyld changelings.
Because the Furies are tied closer to human political history than most tribes, determining what era the ancestors you’re contacting are from is a good idea. Pretty good advice!
The temptation here is to just have contacts with feminist organizations, but Black Furies are just people, except they’re also werewolves. Pretty much anyone could qualify as a contact to a Fury.
While most werewolves use klaives, Furies favor fetish labrys, a double headed axe that the Gorgon Isthmene wielded. The Black Furies’ powerful fetishes are all from ancient Greece, and they should maintain that imagery. Modern fetishes tend to be useful tools. Surveillance tools are a good idea to better track down transgressors.
Mostly humans, tend to worship Gaia. Basically dirty hippies.
Predominantly crones. A retired crone is going to be more accessible, but less helpful in battle, while a working crone is going to be busy all the time. If a Fury’s mentor is from another tribe, it’s probably female. To have a male mentor would draw a lot of ire from other Furies (plot hook!).
Not as socially helpful within the tribe. Higher Breeding will make you look more Greek and have your wolf form much more pretty. Men will also be nervous around you.
This varies from person to person!
Rites are pretty common among the Furies. Even starting characters are encouraged to know rites.
Furies don’t like male-ish totems like Bull or Grandfather Thunder. They also don’t like city spirits like Cockroach. Other than that, though, they’re fine with anybody.
Amazons of Diana:
No real suggestions. They do tend to live near caerns if they’re sedentary, but many are nomads looking for Wyrm monsters to kill.
As one of the more mystical camps, they have more mystical backgrounds, i.e. Fetish and Rites. Devoted as they are to traditional Black Fury ways, their Totems are almost always Pegasus or one of the Gorgons.
As nomads, they don’t tend to have Allies or Kinfolk, since these represent close, developed bonds. They do have Fetishes that they discover on their journeys or caern Rites.
On the other hand, Moon Daughters are all about the connections. They tend to have lots of dots in Allies and Kinfolk. They’re pretty mystical too, so they take Rites and Fetishes (although rarely fetish weapons). They’re also educators, so Mentor’s a good choice too.
Order of Our Merciful Mother:
A lot of them take vows of poverty, so no Resources or Fetishes. They do have lots Allies and Contacts, built from spending time in communities.
As information brokers, they have lots of Contacts, Allies, and Kinfolk they can call upon. Selling their info gets them a lot of Resources too.
Temple of Artemis:
Don’t start as a member of this camp, you special snowflaker! Anyway, they don’t have Mentors because they already know everything they need to. As elders, they have higher Pure Breed and Rites. They also get access to nice Fetishes.
Next is the Gifts section. Now, before we look at the gifts in this book, let’s see the Fury Gifts in the corebook to see how they compare. They only have one unique gift at Level One.
Breath of the Wyld:
The Fury creates a feeling of life, vitality, and peace in the target, refreshing them. The target gets a +1 bonus on all Mental rolls, but the difficult of Rage rolls is increased by 1. Taught by a servant of Pegasus.
The other two Gifts increase senses or the ability to find the Wyrm. These are good characterization, painting the Furies as mystical (Breath) or as hunters of the Wyrm or other transgressors.
The only new Level One Gift that all Black Furies can take from the tribebook is
. The Furies need to find transgressors even if they aren’t of the Wyrm! Spending a Gnosis point and succeeding on a Perception + Investigation roll reveals where a transgressor might be, with a decent margin of error. Taught by an owl spirit. Another perception gift.
Amazons of Diana can take
at Rank One. Artemis was good at archery and so are her followers. Spend a Rage and get +3 on your next bow attack. Artemis demands that her followers be virginal, though, so mothers and crones get +2. Flavorful!
Members of the Order can get
, which is a Theurge gift. Sisterhood members, meanwhile, get
, taught by a raccoon spirit, which allows them to send a small item into the Umbra temporarily. This is good, but the Sisterhood is so poorly defined that I don’t understand why they get this Gift. edit: It's more reminiscent of the first tribebook. It would make sense that werewolf nuns can heal you, I suppose.
The core Level Two Fury Gifts are
Curse of Aeolus
(summons a fog, difficulty dependent on environment) and another sense boosting Gift, again establishing mysticism and hunting.
Any Black Fury can take
at Rank 2, a touch attack that stops healing or regeneration for a certain amount of turns, taught by a cobra spirit. They can also learn
Stoking the Soul’s Fire
from a wolverine spirit, which can refill your RAGE. These establish an angrier tone for the Furies.
An Amazon of Diana can take
Flurry of Shots
which grants a free bow attack. Kind of OP, although I’ve never seen in in play, but it’s taught by a Lune, so it could be really difficult to learn. Bacchanates can learn a Gift of similar strength in
, which takes away three dice from an opponent’s soak pool, even if it’s a solid object.
Freebooters can learn
, a Silent Strider Gift, and
Omen of Power
, which allows the Freebooter to find a caern or abandoned fetish within 20 miles, making it the signature Freebooter Gift. Moon Daughters, out of the generosity of their heart, can lend a Gift to another werewolf through the use of
, taught by a hen spirit.
Here’s a fun one: members of the Order can learn
from a unicorn spirit. This Gift convinces faithful parishoners that Gaian ritual is natural. Basically, it brainwashes people into participating in the Gaian spirit cult. It’s Jack Chick’s worst nightmare!
The corebook Black Furies get more anger Gifts at Rank Three.
Coup de Grace
, a misnomer, doubles the damage an attack does.
doesn’t do any extra damage, but it doubles wound penalties for a certain amount of turns. The tribebook brings
Barring the Will
, which refills the willpower pool.
The tribebook also has
Flames of Hestia
at Level Three, which can purify food, people or spirits, and by “purify” I mean do 1 unsoakable aggravated damage per success. The Sisterhood gets the gift
, which summons a spirit owl to express deliver something at 100 miles per hour. I really think the Sisterhood should have been smugglers rather than generic information brokers, because their Gifts are actually interesting and tailored to that end.
The first core Gifts I don’t like for the Furies,
just causes pain, stunning the opponent for several turn, and
allows the Black Fury to
shoot her claws out of her arm
. Cool, but also really fucking weird. Body Wrack just seems awkward to use in a standard combat.
Only Crones get to use the Level Four
Bolster the True Name
, which refills your Gnosis pool. Such eldritch power must be kept out of the hands of the cubs! More usefully, Amazons of Diana can take
Blizzard of Arrows
which allows you to shoot every opponent you can see in one turn at no penalty.
What does it take to impress that werewolf?
The capstone core Gifts are
, which is freeform shapeshifting (most Furies shapeshift into pegasi) and
, which summon a whole bunch of Wyld spirits who then do whatever the Storyteller wants. Both of these are really evocative for the Black Furies’ worship of the Wyld, but I can’t see anybody taking Wyld Warp over Thousand Forms.
The capstone charms in the tribebook are restricted to camps, annoyingly. The Bacchanates get
Storm of Mother’s Wrath
, which summons a fuck-off hailstorm that penalizes all physical dicepools by 3, except for you pack. Humans flip their shit when they see this storm and try to get out of there.
The Temple of Artemis gift
Walk with Hades
has some…interesting flavor text.
When Persephone entered the lands of the dead with Hades, her lover, her mother, Demeter, the harvest goddess, went in after her. As an aspect of Gaia, Demeter understood her daughter’s desire for Hades, but refused to let a powerful spirit remain in the deadlands for long. Eventually, Persephone acquiesced to return to the living realm, under the agreement that she could periodically return to Hades’ side, and could return to the Underworld, eventually.
Demeter agreed to this arrangement verbally, but eventually performed a secrete ritual to block her daughter from returning to the land of the dead.
I’m not sure whether the writers knew the story or they’re trying to be clever, but this is lame. The gift itself, taught by a follower of Persephone, who created her own paths into the Underworld, allows the user to enter the Underworld and talk to ghosts. I have no idea why they didn’t just use Orpheus for this.
Next time: No jokes about Fetishes please; that just really wouldn't be Rite.
Also Merits and Flaws.
Black Fury Rites
Original SA post
Tribebook: Black Furies
The Black Fury Rites are all secret, so if your non-Fury character starts with one, you’re a special snowflake. Of course, a lot of these rites are particularly well suited to lady characters. I’m really not sure the other tribes would want some of these Rites.
Rite of Motherhood
initiates a Maiden into, well, Motherhood. The new mother needs to break out of her chains to get to her child. Hopefully that child is still alive, or this could be a really gross initiation.
The Rite of Acceptance
allows a werewolf from another tribe join the Black Furies. Doing rite stuff for a few hours summons Pegasus (or at least an avatar). Impressing Pegasus with your Etiquette or something allows you to join the tribe! If you don’t, you have to do a quest. If you botch the roll, you can’t join the Furies.
Soothe the Scars
is magical domestic abuse therapy. It calms down the victim and allows her to move past and heal with incense and New Age or “children’s music”. I’m sure Raffi does wonders for helping people through domestic abuse. It prevents Wyrm spirits from possessing victims and helps them through the healing process. It’s a Level Two rite, which seems high.
Let the healing begin.
The Fertility Rite
! Okay, this one is pretty bad. It’s meant to fix the wombs of those who can’t conceive children anymore or increase the chance of conception. To do this, the lady has to strip, lie down, and be anointed with the menses of a fertile woman. It can be used on men too, but I have no idea why a Fury would use it on a man.
is a Freebooter rite that allows them to find a suitable place for a caern in the wilderness. It’s a pretty tricky series of rolls that doesn’t necessarily give you a specific caern spot, but that makes sense. Finding caerns is supposed to be difficult. The Order of Our Merciful Mother is developing a similar rite for cities.
Bearing the Caern
is like the rite Building the Caern, but it uses the birth of a newborn. The child becomes a superbaby, immune to the Delirium and spiritually connected to the new caern. The baby’s healthier, and is often raised in the caern. If the birth goes well, it’s a good omen, but if it’s messy, it’s bad. This is actually really cool for the setting and there could be plenty of stories prepared about its use, but I have no idea why a group of player characters would take this rite over the more general purpose Building the Caern, as they’re both Level Five rites.
Wasn’t that scene in Game of Thrones with Melisandre and the shadow baby cool? With
Birth the Fire Warrior
, your Black Fury can do the same thing, only instead of being a shadow, it’s a Fire Warrior. Inspired by the Aztec myth of Coatlicue giving birth to Huitzlipochtli, the Aztec god of war, to protect her from her rebellious children, this rite allows a Fury to go into labor for ten minutes, then have her loins explode with fire, producing a warrior to kill all your enemies. Cool!
is a little more low-key. Derived from the practices of the Oracle of Delphi, the Fury gets high and receives a vision of the past, present, and future. She can analyze a loved one’s timeline, her own history, or a more general prophecy. To get anything useful from these visions demands a lot of successes.
Avenge the Innocent
is the rare rite of punishment that is used predominantly on humans, rather than Garou. With some tangible and spiritually significant artifact from the target’s crime, the Fury can burn it and summon a hippogriff spirit to age the target one year per day until he dies. Pretty dang metal, especially since the target doesn’t even need to be present, or even known to the Fury. The crime in question can range from a murder to a bad divorce settlement.
Curse on Household
is an even worse curse. It’s reserved for really bad transgressions: murder, rape, cannibalism, or parental incest. The curse doesn’t affect the targets themselves, but their children, their children’s children, and so on. You can be specific about how the curse proceeds down the line. You can also decide when the curse will take effect. It doesn’t necessarily need to occur at birth. The curse can be anything bad: chronic schizophrenia, hauntings, inability to keep a job, bad luck, or a skin condition. The curse must have a fulfillable condition to lift it, but it can be something really improbable. It requires a pretty easy roll, but it’s a Level Five rite. The two punishment rites are among the best I've read. They really evoke the kind of spiritual horror that this game should have.
Rejuvenate the Soil
is an Autumn rite that produces better crops in the next year. Kind of step down from the previous rites, but it’s Level One.
The following Rites can only be performed by certain age roles. The
Rite of Pure Breeding
helps a Maiden divine whether a certain mate would be good to breed with.
Free the Wayward Child
allows a Mother to kick her son out of the tribe using an anointment of tears.
Curse of the Crone
is, of course, a Crone rite for philanderers that renders a male target sterile and shrinks his dick off. Activating it uses a physical artifact from the target, anything from an article of clothing to his semen. It can be undone, though. Less ludicrously, Find the Scythe allows a Crone to divine how a target will die.
Totems! These mostly come from Greek myth, natch.
collectively act as a totem for Black Fury packs. They used to serve individually, but there aren’t enough Furies to do that nowadays. They teach their charges art and manners, boosting a Social attribute and Performance, Expression, or Enigmas for each pack member. Each member of the pack should be closest to a particular Muse. Calliope likes poets (Expression), Clio serves historians (Enigmas), Erato makes erotica (Expression), Euterpe likes instrumental musicians (Performance), Melpomne inspires tragedians (Performance), Polymnia favors sacred poetry (Expression), Terpsichore inspires song and dance (Performance), Thalia likes comedy (Performance), and Urania favors astronomy (Enigmas). I really like the Muses, so I’m glad to see their inclusion. Muse packs need to devote their lives to art and protect free expression.
The Gorgons now serve as totems separately. In-universe, the pack must choose to follow the Gorgons, but the specific member will choose the pack. Out of character, the players can just choose the Gorgon.
is a hardline feminist. As a Ragabash, she encourages her followers to act against patriarchal norms. As the oldest Gorgon, she supports the classic Fury belief that women are superior to men and should subjugate them. She really likes lesbians and slut walks. Followers get the Gifts Kangaroo Leap and Fatal Flaw and +3 to intimidating men. Euryale packs can’t include men or participate in male-led septs unless the sept leader defeats the pack alpha in single combat.
is more equitable than Euryale. In fact, she’s often hard on women, placing some blame on the mother if the father abuses her children. She’s most devoted to the truth, however, and will punish only the most culpable party. Following packs get the gift Name the Spirit and bonuses to Charisma and Investigation, as well as a Wisdom renown. Her packs must have equal membership of males and females.
is the youngest and prettiest Gorgon. She’s the Ahroun of the group, and she doesn’t like backtalk. She hates it when her older sisters condescend to her. Her followers get bonuses to Glory, Rage, and labrys wielding. They’re also immune to fox frenzy. Their ban is that they have to beat up any male that insults them.
The whole reason the Gorgons were split up is because of
disappearance, but for some reason she still has her stats laid out. She hates men even more than Euryale. She’s even upset that male metis are allowed in the tribe. She grants the Gift Inspiration and bonuses to Craft and Honor, but she doesn’t allow her followers to even speak to males.
is the most devoted to finding Medusa as the one who holds all the Gorgons together. She doesn’t like men, but she supports Helena in the sisters’ fights. She grants Strength of Purpose and bonuses to Stamina, Strength, and Wisdom. Her followers can’t refuse a request to fairly judge a case, especially if it’s between a man and a woman.
I don't know what's going on with that lady in the back.
hasn’t taken a new pack of Garou followers for a long time, so taking her at chargen would have to take some pretty strong justification to the ST. She grants Eyes of the Cat and lowers all rolls involving stealth, grace, or balance. Her followers can ask favors of Bastet, but Get of Fenris and Red Talons hate them. Panther demands that her followers protect all cats and spend a month in the Amazon once a year.
was the Greek god of justice. She kept balanced between the Triat, but in recent times is stuck between the Wyld and Weaver. Her realm is now in the realm of dreams, giving her the sobriquet “Dream-Weaver”. Her followers are devoted to justice and tend to be older Furies. Each of her children get a permanent Wisdom renown and bonuses to Enigmas and Gnosis. Her Galliards get Dreamspeak. Everyone gets prophetic visions. She won’t let Glass Walkers follow her, nor can her followers ever learn Glass Walker exclusive Gifts. She’s the most expensive totem in the chapter.
Before we delve into Fetishes, it’s important to lay out the stats for the signature Black Fury weapon, the labrys. It’s difficult to wield, but does an impressive amount of damage even unenchanted. Wielding two at a time is extraordinarily difficult and boosts Intimidation rolls.
First up is
. Of course. They boost fertility. Next is a
quiver of silver arrows
. They deal more damage than regular arrows and deal aggravated damage to werewolves.
allow a Fury to see anything within a certain distance.
The Sisterhood gets a cool fetish: the
. It can discern the last seven people who touched a given coin. Again, the Sisterhood gets cool tricks, but they’re so varied that I can’t figure out their role.
Bow of Artemis
boosts hunting rolls and all Archery rolls, but only a Maiden can use it (remember, Artemis). A
is just like a regular labrys, but it deals aggravated damage.
can trap Bane Spirits. A
Labrys of Isthmene
is just like a fetish labrys, but it grants the use of Spirit of the Fray.
There are only five
Lashes of the Furies
. They do decent damage and leave distinctive permanent scars. They can also reveal the sins of those they strike. The
, the most powerful fetish in the book, does slightly more damage than a fetish labrys, grants a free Block, and gives extra Gnosis to the wielder.
The first merit here is Unusually Fertile. Of course. It doubles the likelihood of getting pregnant after intercourse! Caern Child is the child that was born with the Birthing the Caern rite. Basically you’re the chosen one of a given sept and you get all the benefits and costs, spiritual and social, that entails.
The only flaw of the book is Infertile. Of course. You lose a point of honor renown and can never learn Mother gifts.
Next time: Sample and famous characters! “Phear my l33t skillz bizatch!”
Original SA post
Tribebook: Black Furies
Chapter 4, Part the Last
The last chapter does two things: describe sample and important splat characters and provide a summary of what the splat’s all about. Here, the authors state that Black Furies aren’t about rejecting males (they have brothers, so that’s completely ridiculous! Why would you think the tribe that doesn’t allow men in it is somehow defined by that choice?), but rather about their mysticism and their society. They are in a bound sisterhood, so they have important spiritual connections. Let’s see how the sample characters mess that up!
Ron Spencer's on art duty for this chapter, and I gotta say, he's risen to the challenge of drawing a non-badass werewolf quite well.
I don’t understand. Why shouldn’t I submit to him? Doesn’t he outrank me?
A wolf-born New Moon, everyone knew this character was different, but hated and feared her. She wasn’t treated as well as her fellow pups. She got food after everyone else, and life sucked, but she accepted her lot because someone has to be the omega. This, of course, is not how wolf society works at all. There’s an alpha, the oldest and most reproductively successful wolf, and everyone else. Wolf society isn’t hierarchical at all and most Werewolf books actually recognize that.
The First Change happened when a beta female beat the character up when she was shot down by the alpha. Even though she knew to resist (ugh), the character felt her RAGE and she killed that wolf. She ran away until other Black Furies found her. They were upset because she killed a wolf kin (even though Garou are rare enough that it should really balance out but whatever), but she was accepted into the tribe anyway. She learned quickly out of fear of rebuke, but werewolf society is confusing! Everyone gets to breed? (Again, the alpha wolf doesn’t stop anyone in the pack from having sex because it would be dumb to stop kin from producing more kin to help hunts.) Some people are better than others? (Why would this be confusing to her?) Asking questions is the Ragabash way, but she feels uncomfortable doing it. What an empowering archetype.
The character sheet is well thought out, even though she would probably be better suited with higher physical than social stats. Her RAGE is low, though, and her Talents are spread a little thin.
Phear my l33t skillz, bizatch!
Oh, I'm going to hate you, aren't I?
She grew up in the suburbs, which didn’t help her spiritual connections. Her mom was nominally interested in nature, but she was also kind of lazy. Her dad was into technology. He encouraged her interest in technology. When she discovered the Internet, she loved all the information she could get from it, but hated the porn and piracy. She totally hacked the hell out of the bad sites. Her First Change happened when she found a bondage porn site. She flipped a shit and destroyed her computer. Her parents managed to talk her down and call up the Furies. I don’t care what anybody says, this First Change reverses my opinion on this character and makes her my favorite.
She got through orientation just fine, but her interest in computers was scandalous. Computers are the tool of the Weaver. It’s why it has
When she demonstrated how easily she could find rape porn and snuff peddlers, though, the local Furies supported learning computer spirit magic. Unlike the Glass Walkers, she forcibly binds technology spirits rather than befriending them. She’s not a great fighter, but she has good insight into Weaver and Wyrm spirits. Her roleplaying notes recommend that you use pseudo-sorcerous lingo like “hex” or “virtual pentagram” to build up your witch status.
Quote aside, I was pleasantly surprised by this character. She’s pretty cool. She’s physical tertiary, which isn’t great, but she hasn’t dumped any important stats. I would argue that she has too many points in Contacts when she would need more Resources, but that’s not a huge complaint.
Modern Day Atropos
Too late for prayers now, sonny-boy.
. She grew up in a hick town. She didn’t go to college and married out of high school. Domestic abuse was pretty high in the area, but she found a good man and had several children. Her life was pretty boring, but she was an avid reader in anthropology and folklore.
Her First Change happened in her fifties. Her youngest was coming to visit her with her new baby, but they were hit by a drunk driver. The driver in question was the judge’s brother, so he got off easy. She flipped out and probably murdered the drunk. The Furies found out and took her in. She took to Garou life easily. She’s devoted herself to taking care of minor problems like mortal criminals so that the Furies can focus on the major ones. Taking care, of course, usually means murder. She knows the evil that lurks in men’s hearts and will totally put a battle axe in your face, but she’s also still very motherly.
I love this character. She has the physical stats she needs to fulfill her concepts, although she could do with more Dodge and Melee. Just switch some points out of Crafts and into Melee and she’d be among the best sample characters the tribebooks have to offer.
Organization XIII now accepts werewolves.
Hear the words of Gaia’s dreams, proud child of Stag! Do not set foot on the battlefield without girding thy loins with the armor of wisdom, or else you throw away your life! But wield the weapon anointed for thee, and they foes will fall as wheat! A great doom lies over they meeting with the Black Children, and Death waits at thy heels with bared white teeth! Ai! The vision passes…I can see no more
As a metis, her mother was cast out to perform an atonement quest. Because she died on the quest, the Furies never spoke of her, unsure of whether she was absolved or not. She was treated pretty well for a metis, and the local Mistress of Rites took her in and trained her in her practices. She became an expert in interpreting the Python’s Trail visions, but she was passed up for filling her mistress’ role when she died. She offered to take her skills elsewhere. She never learned the Python’s Trail rite, but she could still make up oracular visions.
A basic false oracle archetype, but it works. Again, physical tertiary, which is bad for a Galliard, as there’s limited opportunity for her to use her increased RAGE. She’s pushed up Rituals and Rites, so she’s got that down.
Soldier of Our Merciful Mother
Fuck yeah, Ron Spencer!
Hail Mary, full of grace. Hear the prayer of the warrior who kneels before you. Bless me, sacred Mother, in my battle and forgive me for the blood I must spill. Have mercy on the souls I free from their corrupt bodies. Amen.
Of course the only representative sample character from a camp is from the best camp. She had a lot of brothers and sisters growing up. Her parents had to work hard to care for all the children, so her grandmother was mostly responsible for raising the family, and she did a great job. Her grandmother was very faithful and the Soldier inherited that devotion. She worked hard in Sunday School and tried to live her life to the standards of Christianity.
In high school, her junior prom date tried to rape her, but she hulked out. She still feels guilty about it and does a lot of penitential work. This isn’t to say that she thinks she deserved the attack or anything. She now works with the Order as a warrior with faith. She’s not a member of a convent as her RAGE is too high, but she does her best to live a Catholic lifestyle and avoid excess pride.
The character’s evocative, but she doesn’t have the stats to back it up. Her Attributes are fine, but she doesn’t have enough combat abilities. She needs to concentrate her ability dots to truly support her concept.
Featuring Angelina Jolie
One of the greatest Furies, Leukippes was a great Scythian archer. She lead the Furies of her nation to overthrow the Assyrian Empire. Her greatest exploit, though, was defeating the sorcerer Kamisos. He was a false (or not) devotee of Apollo, but truly served the Wyrm and hunted down Greek werewolves. Leukippes and her pack infiltrated Kamisos’ revel and slew him. She’s used to demonstrate the power of infiltrating Patriarchal institutions subtly and the danger followers present rather than the religions themselves.
Guilieta Hidden Road
Guilieta was a Ragabash working during the Inquisition to rescue accused witches. She was religious and her First Change may have occurred on a pilgrimage. This didn’t shake her, though, as she eventually came to influence in the Church and a member of the Order. She first tried to stop witch hunts, then directed them towards proper targets. Her actions supported the nascent Sisterhood, and to this day the Order and the Sisterhood fight over her legacy.
Born Electra Stavrakis, she was from South Carolina during the sixties, a very contentious era to be raised. She participated in feminist movements and Changed during a demonstration gone bad. Although she doesn’t do much political activism nowadays, she focuses on raising awareness from sept to sept. Her cause of choice is the Amazon campaign, but she has trouble motivating other Garou to get involved. She’s made progress in developing local allies, but the Balam want her to depose Golgol Fangs-First for someone more kind to Bastet. Her stats are kind of low for Rank 4, but she knows a lot of Rites and Gifts. She really is built around social motivation rather than brawling, but she exists in a warzone.
"This right here? It's a head.
She’s a signature character from the novels! She worked with Jonas Albrecht to protect Evan Heals-the-Past and formed a pack together. They had adventures, resulting in Albrecht reassuming the throne of the Garou Nation. She’s gotten some notice too, communing with Pegasus and handling a lot of powerful fetishes. She now works in New York as a vigilante. Her main rival is Kula Wiseblood, who accuses her of being soft and a bleeding heart werewolf liberal. She doesn’t really work with other Black Furies, and other werewolves doubt her competence, which works just fine for her when she proves them wrong violently. Incidentally, she’s the Black Fury illustration in the corebook. Although her stats are primarily built around asskicking, she’s a Theurge, and she knows every Rite she can or at least how to learn it.
The first ever wereowl.
A Black Fury serial killer, she’s murdered at least 150 men, most likely many, many more. The people she’s murdered aren’t deserving either; she’s torn apart entire strip clubs. Despite her excess, she’s still considered a Black Fury, meaning Pegasus at least tacitly approves of her actions, which really isn’t helping Fury PR. Pegasus refuses to comment, making matters even worse. The Furies are divided on what to do with her. Some say that she needs to die while others believe she can be saved. Nobody knows who she is or how she’s managed to evade notice. She might have supporters across the Black Furies or even in other tribes, or she might be a rogue Black Fury faction. Basically, she’s a walking plot hook.
And on that note, that’s Tribebook: Black Furies! Final verdict? I liked it. The history section is useless, but the other chapters have cool, evocative material. Usually the last chapter is the weakest in a White Wolf splatbook, but this one really stands on its own. There are epic plot hooks to sink into, and the Furies certainly feel more necessary than their core entry makes them out to be. They're not just feminists; they have an active role in human society in judging crimes, more so than the other tribes, and they have a devotion to mysticism that rivals the Uktena. They feel fully realized. If we’re going to judge the book on whether it makes Black Furies more playable or interesting to enact, I’d argue that this one does. It’s certainly not the best Werewolf has to offer, but it’s decent, and it could have been a lot worse than that. But next time, we’re going to look at a book beyond decent.
Next time: Bone Gnawers!