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Cat, Dog, Mouse (maybe Rat), rule the cities. In the right backwoods town though you don't want them to pull out their masks...
There are rumours that in Buckingham palace, a group of guards have masks with the faces of lions, all bedecked in gold and jewels... They have enslave proud, cunning Raven for their own ends, it is said
And remember that the ravens three are bad luck. That the raven on the battlefield is an ill omen. Perhaps that is why the raven is enslaved by the lion.
Tribe Raven is enslaved by the Lions, but Tribe Crow is free.
Of course the question is, are they separate tribes, following separate totems, or do they follow two different masks worn by the same being?
"They say that they're different, but they all look the same to me. Crows, Ravens, practically the same bird, really. But if they're all the same, how did one get caught? Are they really even the slaves of the Lions, or do they just use their position to influence things? Or is there really no connection, outside of smoke and shadows?"
"No, mate, they're different. The Ravens are crazy. I've seen them, all masked up at the Tower, murmuring, cackling about something big and dark and buried under London, something trying to wake up."
"Crows are crass and nasty, but Ravens are insane"
The Unicorn is like Keyser Söze. He's the Big Bad monster in the fairy tales crooks tell their children. Some say he's a myth; some say he's the secret master of all the tribes. One thing that all the tribes agree on though: if the Unicorn declares you his enemy, you are doomed, but if the Unicorn hires you for a job, you'll soon wish you were merely his enemy.
The cat tribe's motherhouse is located in the ancient city of Venice Italy and even the Pigeons of St Mark's Square are forced to admit that Venice is, was and forever shall be a feline domain. But like their brethren abroad the Pigeons know all the dirty little secrets so they've been able to broker a deal with the Queen of the Canals. The cats pretty much leave the Pigeons alone and the Pigeons don't share all those catty secrets with the rest of the tribes.
Pigeons don't have a motherhouse, as no city will claim the dirty lil bastards. They're rats with wings. They're flying vermin who are just as happy begging from tourists at Trafalgar as they are shitting in the Queen's tea over at Buckingham Palace. There's not a tribe out there who wouldn't like to see the whole damn lot of them wiped out or at least driven out of their town. The problem is the fucking birds know too damn much and are more than happy to share it, for a price that is. So what can ya do? At the end of the day even the most refined feline is forced to suck it up and pay a visit to some shit stained statue and deal with the flithy fucks if she wants to get anything done.
"It's funny how people hate rats with wings more than other rats... " - Big Sally, Rat Tribesman
Rats at least have the decency to stay out of sight of polite society.
The Eagle Kings took control of America, and cemented it- what, you thought the revolution was about Democracy? Why is it then that every president has come from the Eagle Bloodline? What about the rumors of some strange, exotic bloodline the Eagles are courting with their current pick for face of the country?
We've got a few of our brothers over there, but they're fighting a lost cause.
Most folk don't know about bitter fight among the Eagles in Philadelphia back in 1776. (Yeah, I know just like the football team--whaddya think they got the name in the first place?) You think the Revolution was all about the Minutemen shootin' the Redcoats and George crossin' the Delaware. But what was really happenin' was a group of Eagles breaking off from the Brits and stakin' their claim as a new tribe in a continent too far away from the Brits to stop 'em.
So, maybe you know that part of the story already, but do you know about the other fight that was goin' on in Philly in '76? Two factions clawed and tore at each other and only one came out on top. The winners joked that the losers oughta be called the "turkeys" and the losers seemed to disappear. Some say Ben Franklin was part of the Turkey faction, but who knows?
But the thing is, for over 200 years somebody has been throwin' sand into the works of the Eagles. It's never professional like the other tribes do--it's always somethin' weird to embarrass the Eagles in public. Up to now the Eagles been keeping it under wraps, like with J. Edgar bein' a drag queen and Kennedy humpin' all those chicks at the White House. But now this stuff is gettin' out. Bill and Monica was just the beginnin'. "Wide-Stance" Larry, "Appalachian" Mark Stanford, "Rentboy" George--this stuff has turkey feathers all over it.
The humans are winning. They steal our masks, and our powers. With profane magics, they rework our masks. Our totems scream in pain. Every mask we loose makes the thrice damned humans stronger, and us weaker. There is no tribe of man. Instead of being born to their totem, they choose and initiate their members, and gift them with a perverted mask, stolen from one of us true tribes.
Don't fuck with the rabbits http://i.imgur.com/uREBv.jpg
The Lion holds the Raven to keep down what must not be raised up. The Mice and Rats nibble away under the foundation, and you wondered why the Egyptians buried mummified Cats with their dead?
Legend says that if the Ravens ever leave the Tower of London the Monarchy will fall and with it the Lions power and thus will the Roman Eagles be able to rule once more. That is why the lions have clipped the Ravens' wings and why the black seeers are confined to the Tower to this day. Now I don't buy it personally, but it's funny how the Crows don't seem all that interested in liberating their captured kin isn't it?
Bastards the lot of them. They don't even have a tribe. No identity. Just a bunch of grinning lone guns who meet up every now and then to boast and get pissed and throw up all over the shop. Bleedin' Liability, they are.
Big Owl says that there used to be a Fox Tribe all proper like, but then something happened. They killed their King, ritually, rubbed out all his power. There isn't anything left of him anymore, barring a voice on the wind.
But the thing is- that was the plan. The King of the Foxes is Immortal now- and the Tribe no longer needs a leader or a structure, because wherever they go, they are protected. So you get Foxes in the country and foxes in the town, and you'll never, ever get rid of them.
So if you want them gone, you'll hape to do something really, really stupid. Bring the Fox King back- and who knows how mad he is, after all these years.
(Oh, and on the Unicorn thing- I wouldn't worry, the Lion beat the Unicorn all about the town. Keep your cap doffed to Her Maj, and you'll be alright.)
Some other animals to consider: Horses
Proud bloody country bumpkins. Never got on with the others, always had to keep moving
Hehe, the first things the Eagles killed were the little birds
I heard they keep to the fens out in Norfolk; judging by the way some of the villages look out there, I wouldn't be surprised
Bloody foreigners. The real Squirrels got killed off a century or so ago.
We don't talk about the Swans any more. not that they'd talk about us. These are not your normal street gang. They seldom if ever "rumble". They are "The Beautiful People". They use their totem abilities to manage human society (related to Dog, who use their abilities to herd and protect humans). They control fashion, social trends, and money. So they are all Posh. So while your cat girl is usually that sexy girl, a swan will run the show in the high society, high fashion, and high money (in a dillitant fashion), world. So if you need an invite to get somewhere, tap your swan friend.
Nah, they're dead, right? Right?
Old English Bear long gone, Da. But in Russia, many Bear. Also many Swan, some Tiger also. Russian Bear do much help American Eagle beat German Eagle, many year ago. Now not all in Russia like Russian Bear. Russian Bear like London. Is good home, Da?
Heard that there were a few in London, brought back from the Empire days. Never met any of them, hope I never do.
They're real. In Wales. They're... wrong.
You know you bring up a good point. In any city with a sizable immigrant community of which London is certainly one any established native tribe is going to have to deal with exotics.
For example I suspect there are enough members of the Naga Clan within London's Hindi population to justify their own Motherhouse.
Clan Naga, and you thought cats were all fucking spooky and mysterious like.
The thing about the Royal family is that not only are they 'in', but they're major bleedin' players.
Just the other week Her Maj had Jimmy 'Lopsy' Peeler shanked for what he said about her mum. The Royals rule London with an Iron fist, and they hear everything. Something about those Ravens, all going around, watching you, eyeing you up, steling your secrets... not that I've got any problem with that, mind, I mean, I'm a loyal subject an' all.
Anyway- whatever you do, don't piss about the Big Landmark- The Mall, The Houses of Parliament, The Tower of London (Raven Central) and Buck House. These places are off limits except on official business. And when it is official business, you'll know, because the Ravens will drag you there. Course, that doesn't mean they'll kill you, nah, just Her Maj- she doesn't have any time for shit from the peasants.
Ok, let's start giving some schticks and themes to these Tribes, then:
Cat: Smooth, calm, professional, and particularly tech-savvy
Dog: Sicilian mafia-style, with strict heirarchies and delusions of 'honour'
What is it they say about dogs? Oh yeah man's best friend. Yeah I know fucking funny right? But you know what's funnier, the dogs are fucking proud of it. Nothing at all feral about the pooches, being all so bound up with the well-being of mankind the way they are. Guard Dogs, Guide Dogs, Police Dogs and Lap Dogs the whole damn lot of em. Need help smacking back a brood of Sewer Rats trying to expand their terrority beyound the docks, don't bother calling on the Pack, no they're to busy pulling lil Timmy out of the fucking well he was stupid enough to fall into...again. But hey, at least they can fetch on command.
Rat: Crazier than a shit house...uh... you know
Pig: Brutal, efficent and dirty; Guy Ritchie-style East End gangsters
Have ya ever noticed that you never see a female Pig? Not a one. Where do they keep all their Sows anyways? Why don't they let em out? Misogynistic bastards! But I will say this, they do have a nose for rooting out the goods, they call em "truffles". They can smell valuables a bleeding mile away, so I guess they do have their uses afterall.
We've talked about Rats, but what about the Mice? What's their deal?
Your basic average everyday sort of wanker. The majority of the Masks are Mice. As such, they're numerous, slightly overlooked (let's face it, everyone else is sexier than Mice ((ok, not the Frogs. inbreeders.) Or the Pigs- eugh)) and clued in.
Hehe, you've obviously never seen a sow; we don't keep 'em out of sight for shame. Makes those cat bimboes look like Frogs, and they've got minds to match
Safety in numbers doesn't actually mean much if you were the poor bastard blown away, so the Mice are pretty cautious and hold longterm grudges against their own.
Which is good fun for everyone else.
So you've wandered all of old London Town, wondered why you haven't seen any Sheep? They're all in Wales, Dragon doesn't get hungry often, but when he does it's best for all of us if he doesn't have to go far.
Did'ya hear about poor old Peter, lost his mask. He had to be put down like a... well, not quite like a Dog.
Huh, yeah the Mice are easy pickings, but there's so little on each it's not worth the effort. Course, some folks'll try to get around that by dealing in volume.
Doves: This is a group that once wielded massive power, but now seem to be lost in the noise. Doves are associated with Christianity. They are protectors of the faith they way Dogs are the protectors of Humans. Since the Reformation, their power (as allied with the Lions and Eagles), has fallen. As the Church broke up, so did the Dove Factions.
Doves believed they onetime channeled divine will. They were the Angels (Winged Defenders, Protectors, and the occasional warrior) of legend, myth, and of biblical notice. (Yes they have cheaper shapeshift gifts and Glide gifts). Their divine connection has been broken (sometime just before or durring the reformation), so they are a shadow of their former self in terms of raw power. Since the decline of the Churches power, their temporal power has faded as well.
Now the Doves are a minority everywhere. The Damm Pigeons have taken over.
Cat: Catnip, i.e. the good life, the finest wine, the best truffles in season, gold not silver. This is more intoxicating than anything else. Follow that car? Not in that piece of crap Ford! I'll wait for the valet to get my Jaguar...
Crow: Shiny baubles... must have...!!!! Can't resist nicking that unique item regardless of whether it's priceless or worthless. You just made peace with another tribe and are celebrating together when you see that diamond on the other fellow's mistress. It would be so worth it to start a tribal war just to hold that gem in your hands...
Dog: Scratch a puppy behind his ears and say "good doggie!" and he'll storm the gates of Hell for you. Dogs claim to be the toughest, but they are suckers for fast talk and flattery. You're supposed to hit that back-stabbing Rat, but when you meet him he says how much he admires your skill. He wishes he could recruit you for his team. He could use a good doggie like you. You wanna be a good doggie, don't you?
Lion: Not sure here, but all punning aside, I think pride cometh before a Lion's fall. Hook them with their honor and you can lead them by the nose.
Mouse: Hmmmm.... not sure about this one either.
Safety in numbers. a lone mouse is a dangerous mouse, and they have a tendency to fold when alone or follow with the crowd.
Pig: Greedy, greedy little piggy. You agreed to split the haul 50/50 but you just can't resist going 60/40 or maybe 70/30 or even...
Pigeon: Pigeon comes home to roost. Not too bright and got no muscle, but they are all over the place. Trouble is, a pigeon is loyal to his home and mates first. Want to make a pigeon cooperate? Threaten his chicks and nest eggs. Which isn't too hard 'cause there's so friggin' many of them.
Rabbit: Run Rabbit Run. Rabbit's fast, Rabbit's quick in and out. That's what makes them ideal for time-sensitive jobs. But just say "boo!" and Rabbit's gone--or frozen in fear.
Rat: Not sure what the Rat's weakness is...
Rat is polluted. Physically, with disease. But mystically too. Rat can't work Rituals that require cleanliness or purity. Rat can't get into fancy parties. Rat gets pulled over by the Filth. Rat doesn't get on with other people.
Oppurtunists. Rats get everywhere, always on the lookout for food. Unfortunately, this means that when the oppurtunity arises for them to get an edge (real or imagined) they have to go for it, and often that means they run into unexpected surprises...
Raven: Raven is clever. All over the world everyone says he's clever from the Viking god Odin to the Indian tribes. But too clever for his own good. Edgar Allen Poe knew that Ravens can talk when they want to. How do you make the Raven talk? Tell him, "I got a secret." He'll soon talk up a storm and he'll sell his soul (or someone else's) to you to find out what it is.
The Pig's territory is Soho, one of the centres of sex and drugs in the city, and it fulls their strange, hedonistic rituals it's said. Recently, the Cat's have been trying to get in, building up a network of higher-class escorts to rival the Pig's streetwalkers, but so far a few of the more prominent members have... "shipped off to France" as Rotten Reg, current Big Pig of the Tribe, says.
The Mice may be as common as dirt, and the Lions rarer than gold, but the two have tight ties going way, way back. Just don't ask 'em about the Elephants...
See I got two competing themes with the Cats going on: Ptolemaic Egyptian and Venetian. Cats are Matriarchal and all Female Cats are considered Priestesses of Bastet, but they all have a decadent Venetian flare to them. Makes sense to me.
Both decadent and luxurious cultures standing athwart the trade routes to the Indies. Ptolemaic Egypt was dominated by a mercantile minority (Greek traders had a long history in Egypt predating the Ptolemies...), Venetians formed mercantile minorities in the great ports of the Eastern Mediterranean (including, IIRC, Alexandria).
Hmm, Alexandria, Constantinople, Venice, Lisbon, Amsterdam, London... follow the money, follow the spice.
OTOH, Rome has to be something big for the Cats. The whole city is overrun with strays, especially the Colosseum.
"'cause Catz is traitors, bruv! 'dey made a deal with the Eaglez, but dey double-crossed 'em. Can't trust a cat, innit?" - Mickey, Tribe Mouse snitch
You know how them pathetic little Mouse wankers are everywhere? Strike you as odd, ever? That 'cause they once were the big shots, y'know - back in the day, them an' Rat got together an' held the civilized world in an iron grip. Dark Ages, y'know? After them Eagles got whacked an' the bright, shiny promises of things gettin' better turned ugly. Got together to rule the world. Sound cli-shay? Shore, mate - an' it kinda was. But those cli-shays had to start somewhere, din't they? Only things went bad - with all them Mice runnin' about, them Rats jez couldna' resist makin' everythin'... cozier - jez that... little... bit...
Rest is history, as they says - Black Death an' the rise of the "Heroic Cat Saviours" an' all. That's why them Rats and Mice ain't gettin' along - bad blood, y'know?
So now's I spun ya that yarn, howzabouta cuppa fer yer best Pigeon bud?
The Tribes may be at each other's throats but there are Threats that they will all respond to, no matter how grudgingly-
The Dragon and the Unicorn. The Dragon runs the wild parts of Wales and the Unicorn pops up all over but was once the Heraldic animal of the house of Stuart, and so has strong links to Scotland, former Stuart palaces and so on. Both are rediculously powerful but barely use this power- The Dragon rampages now and then and the Unicorn is in the shadows, whispering and plotting, but neither are Players in the same way as the Tribe Leaders are. If someone learns that either the Dragon or the Unicorn are active, then the word will get out, even to enemies. No one wants these two entities upsetting the apple-cart.
Faceless Ones. Blank-masked goons who follow the instructions of a voice in their heads, the Faceless Ones just want to trash the place and ruin everyone else's fun. They are the kind of people who like to stage elaborate murderes implicating the Tribes so as to aim Mask-less society at them one week, and the next go around with chains smashing in faces. Because they apparently have a hate on for the Tribes they are everyone's enemy. We don't know where they come from, what they want or how they work. We do know they bleed and die just as well as everyone else though.
Sorcerers Or just human magicians in general. Normal folk who learn a bit of ritual hoo-ha or whatever you want to call it and then start screwing with everyone's projections, powers, thrones and principalities. Annyoing, arrogant and ignorant of what is really going on. Find them, shank them, go home, party, alright?
The Warped Some Masks go off the deep end. Actually, most masks are already off the deep end but it sometimes they go off in non-socially approved manners, and I don't need to tell you what they are. The Warped are just off, they are the Totems perverted, altered, through a glass darkly. They leech off the power of their former Totem, and if that wasn't enough they tend to carve up whoever, whenever. Some Tribes keep an eye on the Warped of enemy Tribes and keep them pointed elsewhere, others take them out pour encourgey ley autres, or whatever, others frag 'em before they are themselves in turn fragged.
This of course leaves out certain big bads, Rogues and Vagabonds, weird things that your cousin once saw in a basement in Deptford, and others. There are certain blacklisted individuals who have wandered away from their Tribes without becoming Warped, and there are whole Tribes that have been wiped out (ask what happened to the Weasles. The Frogs, Moles, Rats and Badgers ganged up and wiped them out pre-WWI). It's a weird place out there, and you have not seen everything.
EHheheeeeee... god, I love it when people talk about the Dogs like they're big and powerful, always tickles my gizzards. I see them in theri little packs and their little clubs, and I remeber. Passed down to me, this little snippet is. My father ate an eye to get it, went through the Rite of Munin on his father, who did the same to his father, all the ay back to the time before the Eagle kings. There was a time back in the day, when the wolves were beautiful and proud and strong. They sang to the sky and the moon and keep great swathes of land. There was a time where they were strong of limb and sharp of tooth, they were, and everyone feared them. You couldn't sway their honour for love nor money, not like the mangey creatures they are today. You see, back then... Dog was Wolf...
Oh how the might have fallen...
Mr. Monday, Tribe Raven
This is for the legend and rumors department
I was doing some travelling last week. Southwold I was in. A few tribals in the area, but nobody I knew. The last time, the Rats were all over the docks. They own the place, it is their turf. I was down there just snooping the other night. Curiosity killed the Cat.. I know . I know. The odd thing? There were no rats to be seen in any of their normal places. I am not sure if they are gone to ground or dead. I eventually found a knot of the Rats. They were armed and going some place. They found their prey, this lone man naked in sand not far off the dock. He was doing some mojo. You know how they go when there is a bunch of them and there is a weak target. I was going to jump in, but it was over almost before I could blink. That was no metaphor. That was God's Truth. Four guys under 2 seconds. They were dead or dying at the guys feet. I could see him with the eyes of the cat at that distance. He was wearing a shark mask. He sniffed the air. I left, on the bounce. I may be curious, but I am not stupid.
Sharks, Dolphins, Orcas, Otters, and possibly others are out there. They ply their trade off the lands, dealing with the few sea bound nodes. They have little to do with the land, but sometimes.. just sometimes, they come ashore.
If you have a campaign in other places, these tribes might be about. In England/ London, not so much.
I have heard tales of our brothers and sisters locked in the jaws of the Lion. Which just goes to show you that the Lion is indeed foolish. Do they not know that it was Raven who stole the sun? That it was raven who placed the stars in the sky and who released death from his pine box? They try to contain that which cannot be tamed.
But what of us? Of the forgotten sons of Raven who even now lie forgotten and cast aside by Proud Eagle? They say that we came from mother land to fight, but we have been here all along. And we are not alone. We sing our songs and dance our dances and wait for the day when proud Thunderbird will once more take the throne from Eagle.
- Two Feathers
Everybody talks about pollution and filth and disease, how Rats are unwelcome by anyone else. Why would we need anyone else when we have each other? Talk as much as you want about the Hounds and their Packs, you can't fathom the Unity of the Swarm. Alone, any Rat can swim your rivers, climb your walls, burrow through your sewers and chew through your steel. Together, we swim your oceans, climb your towers, burrow through your defenses and chew through your heart.
Remember, in the city you are never more than five metres away from a Rat.
Still feel like talking?
"He plays grinning, entangles soothing and kills smiling. This is the Nature of the Fox, and in this he is perfect." The Lord of Malperduys, King of the Foxes.