Werewolf Paris/Paris

From RPGnet
Jump to: navigation, search

Three Uratha, three Tribes, three different initiations that have revealed the world's true nature - the spirit world that lies alongside the flesh, the horrors that menace the Gauntlet and stalk the herd, and the ancient enmities that the Forsaken are caught up in.

Mentors & Tutors[edit]

Written-in-Blood has been mentored by a rahu called Noah Vengeance-in-Silver, so named for having killed an Ivory Claw in horrific fashion by pouring molten silver over the Anshega. Noah is a member of the Matagot lodge and, despite his Oath-breaking acts of terror, takes a very grim, even sin-eating approach to the task - his serious demeanour and relentless lessons about why he is damning himself so that other Forsaken need not be is considered by the Tribe to be a good crucible for new Suthar Anzuth to go through. Noah is a member of the Burning Ground, a pack with lineage back to WW2, they are part of the Lamplighter Protectorate and hold territory in the commune of Pantin.

Howling Phantom has been mentored by an ithaeur called the Eaten Wolf, a blind shaman who has sold many parts of herself - both flesh and symbolic - in pacts with the spirits of Paris. One of these pacts sold her former names, and now no-one can even remember what her deed name used to be. She is extremely wise but the Tribe also consider her a good warning to new Bone Shadows of where to draw the line in dealings; her mutilated and scarified flesh, empty eye sockets and the befuddling amnesia that can cloud out parts of memories of her usually do that job well enough. The Eaten Wolf is part of the Tithed Scribes, a pack that holds the Memorial of Fighting France in the west suburbs and that includes several members of the Lodge of Death; the Scribes remain apart from allegiance to either Protectorate.

Bianca has been mentored by the Storm Lord Cahalith called the Fishing Cat, known to Bianca more commonly as 'great-aunt Lucile'. Lucile is matriarch of the Louvier clan, a major bloodline of Iminir in Paris that is bound to always provide one of its number to a special bond with an eerie old spirit in the Street of the Fishing Cat in the 5th Arrondisement. This arrangement is a strange and symbiotic one, and Lucile has a particularly good sense of the spiritual currents of the city and urban courts in Paris; she is essentially in her own, personal Lodge. Lucile is one of the elders of the Zero Point Protectorate, and the Louvier pack hold portions of the 5th Arrondisement as their territory.

Then there is Henri, part-wolf, no Tribe, sought by his former compatriots of the Office of Specific and Non-Specific Oversight, the off-the-books government hunter agency with a dark past and sinister practices, in deep with some sort of occult corporation called Cheiron. Still, he has one advantage - the ancestrally-bound spirit of dust, straw and guardianship that is always there for him. Henri still has problems wrapping his tongue round the spirit's 'real' name but it translates to Empty Dust.

Lore of Light[edit]

As well as the knowledge that their tutors have imparted to them, there are other pieces of knowledge, rumours, advice and the like that have been passed on.

France and Paris are both unusual in their own ways. France has far higher number of Uratha in its population that you'd expect, and this doesn't appear to be down to bloodlines or inheritance. It's geographical, with immigrant groups suffering the same increase in Uratha when they come to France, and emigrants losing it in other lands. Paris itself has a very thin Gauntlet - in part due to centuries of Beshilu gnawing at it, the tumult of revolutions, the spiritual impressions of vast mass graves and the like. The Eaten Wolf implies that there is more to the Gauntlet's frailty, and that she knows why, but as yet does not reveal such secrets to Howling Phantom.

Darkness and light play a key role in the spiritual ecology of the city. Not only are the broods of light and dark very powerful, but these symbols run through the agreements, pacts and rites of the Parisian hisil. Many packs have places in their territories that they must always keep lit or in darkness in order to adhere to strange Bans and laws of the Shadow. All of the mentors have made it clear that identifying the particular requirements of the local spirit ecology in terms of light and dark will be important to managing it and wielding power over it. The Lamplighters have taken their name from the belief that, unlike Zero Point, they hold up the wellbeing of the city and its Uratha.

Sometimes, in the Shadow, areas of night-time Paris have their skies ablaze with fiery, ruddy light, as if the nearby city were burning. Beware, says Vengeance-in-Silver, for it's an echo of the old revolutions and violence of the city, and danger abounds on those nights. Look for opportunity, says the Eaten Wolf, for the one who braves the flames and draws from the banquet beyond returns with a belly full of secrets. Watch for these apparitions of fiery night, says the Fishing Cat, for they are bleed-offs of the massive spiritual energies flowing into the Zero Point and indicate stresses and weak spots on the cromlech lines.

Those cromlech lines are ancient routes of spiritual power that run into the city from all manner of direction, lining up with the cromlechs of past eras in a vast grid of energy. This grid, says the Fishing Cat, is what ties Paris into the wider France as its symbolic heart, and what makes events in Paris so important to the rest of the country. The problem is that, in recent decades, possibly since the Dance of the Lights in the 1960's, the power is surging inwards uncontrollably and throwing all things out of balance. The lines come together at the Zero Point of Paris, by Notre Dame. Handling this overload is the proclaimed purpose of the Zero Point Protectorate, but the spiritual lines can have strange effects on all the territories they run through. The Eaten Wolf says that they're lines of the dead, that the cromlech are linked to the groaning grave-sites buried beneath Paris. The Fishing Cat says that one of the cromlech lines runs under Montreuil as it passes towards the Zero Point.

It is the tradition of Parisian Uratha that the resting places of noted werewolves are sacred locations, especially to the Hunters in Darkness and Bone Shadows. The proper reverence and maintenance of such sites is considered right behaviour, itself a measure of honour. Those who disdain their forebears and the noble dead are living only in the moment and insulting the history of the Forsaken. The Eaten Wolf mutters about tombs as wells and sinkholes that suck down Death essence; the Fishing Cat firmly instructs that honouring the past is paramount; Vengeance-in-Silver leaves no doubt that handling such sites will affect how both spirits and Uratha look upon the pack.

The Sacre Coeur in Monmartre is sacred to both Forsaken and Pure, a place of penance and neutral ground. The humans raised up the cathedral there as a symbol of order and spirituality that would reimpose old cultural strictures upon France; it is akin to both an immense lightning rod and attennae at the same time, its structure plugging into the immense Locus that swirls and seethes beneath it. Its architect, and many of his leading workers, became Claimed by something during the construction, leading to a bloody purge by the Uratha in 1914. Even the Eaten Wolf just shakes her head when speaking of the Sacred Heart, simply advising that it is consecrated with blood and should not be disrespected.

Oh, and don't mess with the cats in the Monmartre graveyards. Just don't.

The Uratha of Paris[edit]

The Forsaken of Paris are broadly split between the Lamplighters Protectorate that holds wide swathes of territory in the banlieues, the Zero Point Protectorate that struggles to keep its grip in the arrondisements, and those packs that remain unaffiliated with either. There are a great number of Uratha in Paris, more than one might expect, and still there is much unclaimed space to be taken by newcomers.

The Zero Point Protectorate formed back in the early 90s among the packs of the central arrondissements, in response to the discovery of the growing energies in the cromlech lines by the Bone Shadows of the Red Children pack. The overall purpose of the Protectorate is to monitor the cromlech lines, prevent a disastrous level of Essence forming in the zero point itself, and to do what they can to discover what is causing the problem and to prevent any other creatures from using or aggravating the surge. Because the Protectorate's territories include various symbols that are important to the wider Shadow of France, they have good connections and influence with Uratha from beyond Paris, and hold many valuable spiritual resources. However, the Protectorate's creation caused plenty of friction. The Protectorate of the Dance, formed in the 60s, was slowly falling apart by the end of the 80s and the formation of the Zero Point Protectorate caused it to topple; the new, more insular Protectorate cut many of the Uratha of Paris out from the influence and access they had once enjoyed.

The Lamplighters Protectorate formed around ten years ago, binding together the more powerful packs of the banlieues under the leadership of two elders - the ancient Blood Talon Scourge-of-Valais and the Iron Master Dolon Laguerre. The two elders are reputed to loathe one another, but the collapse of the Protectorate of the Dance had left both of them with greatly weakened power-bases. Fortunately for them, they were able to take advantage of the Zero Point's focus on the cromlech lines and the spiritual energies within the Isle-de-France itself, a focus that left fewer resources and less aid being given to the packs out in the banlieues. During a renewed period of Pure aggression, one that scattered two packs entirely, the elders managed to put aside their differences and forge the Lamplighters under the banner of fighting the war and shouldering the duties to the Forsaken that Zero Point seemed unwilling to do. More numerous than Zero Point but more widely scattered and less well-resourced, the Lamplighters have nonetheless managed to fight back effectively against the Pure and take some steps to managing the rest of the city's unstable spiritual ecology. The two ravenous elders, however, are as much feared as they are respected, and often refered to mockingly as Hirsent and Isengrim when out of earshot.

Ghost Wolves are extremely numerous in Paris, largely as very small packs or even individuals in the banlieues. Many have a warped mixture of Uratha and Christian (or Muslim) beliefs; these werewolves are usually referred to as devil dogs or hellhounds by other Uratha, since they tend to believe that they are demons or have been cursed by Satan in some way. A few maintain cults of Ys, maintaining a myth of the sunken city that considers it as both lost homeland and promised paradise that they can attain by through hunting whoever it is that their particular cult holds as sacred prey; both the Storm Lords and the Fire-Touched use the Ys cults as intermediary recruiting grounds, the latter as a step towards the belief of Taga Dan. Unfortunately, lone Ghost Wolves also often seem to form their own little cults of humans in France, teaching rite-craft to the herd and preparing cultists to become Claimed for their spirit-allies; these cults have been a major source of witches and sorcerers over the centuries, but at least in Paris they used to be easier to hunt down. The vast population of the city now means the opposite is true; it's easy for a cult to hide amongst the masses.

The Apollonians are a source of trouble for the Zero Point Protectorate in particular, and contest a few key territories in the arrondissements and inner banlieues. These bizarre cultists are all members of an esoteric lodge of Uratha who worship Apollo in his aspect as a wolf, and reject the Forsaken and Pure mythologies alike. They consider themselves to be guardians of places that are sacred to the Light of the Sun, and the Forsaken have some evidence that they may have started as a Hunter in Darkness heresy. The Apollonians have been practicing their frenzied, ecstatic rites and debauched entertainments for at least a couple of centuries. The lodge claims to hold defilers of their sacred places as their holy prey, but the hidden little shrines can hardly have enough curious trespassers to justify the Apollonian cult's numbers.

The Amazigh are traditionalist Uratha from the Berber immigrants into France, both Pure and Forsaken alike. Amazigh packs are insular and refuse to embrace any werewolves who are not strict adherents to the supposed traditions of the Maghreb Uratha, even other immigrants who they judge to not hold to the old ways enough. The Amazigh hold themselves to be purer and wiser than French Uratha, regardless of those Urathas' origins, and while they do partake in the Forsaken Protectorates and the Pure cults, they always hold themselves aloof to some extent. Even the rivalries and feuds amongst the Amazigh Pure and Forsaken are highly opaque to outsiders. The Amazigh lack numbers, however, and their power is only likely to diminish and take them closer to irrelevance as even young Berber-immigrant Uratha feel they have little in common with some traditionalists following old and strict rites for little obvious practical benefit.

As for the Pure? Well, they have their own divisions and rifts. The Ivory Claws of the Silver Principality, centred in Versailles, are united but their influence in Paris itself is strictly limited. The rival Fire-Touched sects of the Iron Banner, the Blind Sight and the Scarlet Cathedral squabble with each other and the other Tribes for power. Old families of Ivory Claw lineage sneer at the Fire-Touched masses but carefully trade their knowledge and skills to Rabid Wolf's children in return for the lore and the blood that they seek. Even their totems are divided, and not along Tribal lines; a small enclave of Fire-Touched in the far west recently came under attack by both Fire-Touched and Predator King packs, whose totems sought the destruction of the enclave's own spirits due to some transgression or other.

Back to main page