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Ana Mizuki

Children of Gaia Revised- Liveblog.

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So, to get more action going on this forum, here's a liveblog of one of the worst Tribebooks for WtA: Children of Gaia. What's a liveblog? Well, it is an open review/MST format that everyone can pipe in, as long as they have the book/PDF they can read from. The person commenting will do their turn of analyzing/mocking/whatever as long as they want, and then they will mark the page they stopped on so that a new person can continue from there.

With the format explained, let's get to it.

So, first off, the cover is nice. That is the style that hooked me to Werewolf to begin with, and I like Cries Havoc's anatomy and expression here. I think he knows what is included in this thing XD

The fiction cover,however is..weird. Not bad, but it has some odd choices. The crinos is wearing pants, and the...fomori? They have Anarchy symbols on their shirts. Now, I'd make a brujah joke here, but i think the artist was really going after the 'evil lawless goons' trope.

...I swear, this thing got bad in the first sentence. Hack, the lupus, is in his breedform in Seattle (in the city, I think). Better yet, he is asking what is peace while he hold his tail high. So he is being dominant over his packmate while asking an innocent question? Idk.

[he] was wearing a t-shirt saying ''If gays and lesbians are given equal rights then EVERYONE will want them''

Okay, I'm not the one to comment on grammar. But WHERE is the comma in that? It's not like it's hard to realise it should be there or anything. Also, I accidentally first miswrote 'were' instead of 'are' in there. Shows how messed up the grammar in general is.

Second, that is one awkward sentence to put on your t-shirt if you want to provoke people. It's not really a statement that invokes any feeling or anger. Things like 'Picket if you are a gay' or 'Homophobes do know about my cock' would be much better, and I came up with those on the spot.

Aaand the dreadlock kid arrives. Also, discussing war. And the grammar is just terrible in this, sentences come out awkward and clumsy with odd endings.

Ringer heard one man mutter, ''Is that a real wolf?''

Okay, what. If they realise it is a wolf, not on a leash..why are they just passing by?

Oh, and apparently you should know when a war is 'just' against Wyrm's minions. This means going to a WTO protest with a wolf and tons of ragey packmates, yes.

Soo, they are doing a Rite on the protest spot, and the protest is manned by a lot of garou. They do note that Rage makes garou anger easier, but so far the text doesn't support it at all.

And the police attack, throwing NERVE gas into the crowd. And if course, none of the CHILDREN OF GAIA know Mother's Touch to heal a kid who inhaled the gas.

Aaand, their brilliant strategy to get the poisoned people to the hospital? Take crinos and run there. Oh, but it is okay, because someone runs ahead a WARNS others about it..

...Oh, they are burning Rage to become the Flash! No, seriously, they are burning Rage to move faster than the eye can see to avoid Veil breach.

And the fomori actually ARE anarchists. They are tearing the Pentex shops down screaming against private property (isn't that communism?) and coporations.

So, to recap, we had the Children of Gaia doing a protest, police to shoot them and gas them. And now a completely unrelated group of fomori come out of nowhere and start a communist reform of Pentex.

Oh, and a combat in crinos and howling afterwards on the street. Nice. And the Theurge apparently used Pinhead the spirit to scare the Fomori O.o

The same scenario repeats again,too. They protest, police dislike it, and communist fomori jump in to cause a Veil breach.

The lupus gets bit by a fomor, and apparently he thinks he has become of the Wyrm.

...Okay. You guys know about the fact that the metis' father is a Dancer? Well, they are having a goddamn 'Luke, I am your father'-scene in crinos. On the street. Where there are still humans.

So, they beat the Dancer, and there is a mention about a Rite eating its Rage.

.....I Seriously HOPE it is not what I think it is.

And they leave, supporting the wounded Dancer, pondering what to do with it. Opening fiction end!

Chapter 1 next!

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Donor

Why did you do this to me, Ana.

Look what You've done.

Now I have to read chapter 1 of the CoG Tribebook again.

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Why did you do this to me, Ana.

Look what You've done.

Now I have to read chapter 1 of the CoG Tribebook again.

Don't worry, the pain is shared.

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Curator

I like this idea.

Ok, chapter 1... I like the art. I like the feel of serenity, the idea of an ancient tradition. It works. I get the feeling that this was maybe how the Children were...

... which is a shame as it disconnects with the start of the chapter, namely the Children now. The pack from the intro fiction is headed to Woodstock for a big moot - except it's not yet a pack, as it's set before the intro fiction, for some reason. We find out that one of the Garou had her first change online while on webcam. It feels like a very forced attempt to show how they've got modern problems and crap, but it's worse than the idea that the Ahroun's First Change involved flipping out in a car crash - fair enough - and rescued his family.

I forget the exact mechanics of who you don't hit in a frenzy, but I'm reasonably sure that's extremely unlikely in game. And just a bit Mary Sue. Frenzying Garou kill things. Anythings. If they're not careful, their pack. An inexperienced Garou manages to pick and rescue his family in a frenzy? It feels wrong and seems to be saying that being CoG intrinsically overrules being a Garou. Which is crap.

From there on we have the standard trawl through history - it's done back to front, which adds nothing and detracts a fair bit, and done in the style of tales at a moot. Well, why not I suppose.

The issue here is I come away with very little idea of what the average CoG did in most of these time periods. When the tribe migrated. When the tribe changed. The tales concentrate vastly on human history, then a CoG who did something. It's not particularly useful in other words. It's a greatest hits record. As a guide to the CoG through their history, it can be at best termed a loose guide towards interpretating things in your own view. That's cool, but could have been combined with some actual substance too.

The good things are the "This Earth Divided, We will make whole" blessing and response. It's a nice religious touch that suits them well. I like them when they're being somewhat cultic. I like the way they've presented knowledge gaps in the lupus' understanding.

An area of real crap is them going "Sparta was good! The women had it good!" I can see Black Furies being happy to overlook all the other horrendous things about one of the most harsh militarized cultures the world has ever seen. The CoG? Very bad research lapse.

Anyway. Chapter 2 for someone....

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Donor

One thing that VB Missed is that the Grand Moot for the CoG is taking place at Woodstock '99. One of the largest social gatherings in years, and if you read about it on wikipedia you'll see that it was also one of the most violent, yes, this is important, yes it will come back later, yes it will be stupid.

But seriously, how is that not a gigantic "The veil must not be lifted" Violation?

Also: You guys just gave me chapter 3 by default

:) thanks

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Donor

Chapter 3 has the Riot and the rite of sin eating. Just be sure to point out the Ringer/hack relationship, I'm not sure where its first mentioned.

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Chapter 2, The Grove.

First off, the garou finally act like they have Rage. and they note the fault in the Annointed Ones.

So far, the Camp section has been pretty good, noting that too much peace and acceptance without sense will only damn you. It has a lot of good discussion and anger, and explanations.

But, now to Breeds and Auspices chapter...oh boy.

...And the lupus suggests a kinfolk 'stud'...Wut. Anyway, the homid section goes on fine.

Until the BSD on the CoG forum comes up. It is treated as a curiosity and not a horrible thing it really WOULD be. Also, they go by what the person said...

...Yeah, I think it was a ragabash trolling there

For the lupus section, I'm not too bothered. Hack sounds a bit dumb, but otherwise he shows signs of a zooborn wolf pretty well with enough humanity to back it up.

Before we get to Metis, the idiots are AGAIN in a populated area with the text stating it is a perfect way to hide being a garou. Now, I can understand shooting shit casually. But this is a tribal teaching thing.

...And Rich the metis is in hispo. Veil? Bye bye.

And they think he is a ronin. Maybe I missed something, but aren't these guys rited?

There is also a paradoxical statement, Rich says his mother wasn't touched by wrongdoing.. but she was raped and mutilated by silver. Riight.

And we end the Breeds and Auspices part with no Auspices XD

You know, Hack's full name is 'Snow Falling on Hackberries'. Why the hell would he choose a name as stupid as 'Hack'? O.o

So, there is a biosphere sept position. Nice, but isn't that more Keeper of the Land stuff?

And now... the Litany!

Have to be nitpicky, but it states that wolves are morning people. Yeah, no. They are dusk hunters.

Yeah, they are treating the whole matter as gay issues. Hell, Hack even mentions 'Bible stuff'. As for the Tenet proper, there is no mention of incest, just that it might be risky for the mother (LOL,rly?) and other garou might get 'jealous'. Now, this might be headcanon, but I've always assumed that all garou -feel- wrong about having sex with other garou.

And apparently vampire culling is helping Beast of War. Wonder how they will deal with Moot Revels.

Oh great, a Pure One comes aroundm being all stereotypical.

Using Sam Haight as an example for mistreated Kinfolk, really? They say the name of the garou killer so casually.

"This is the worst one for us. We're all of us closer to the humans than safety would wish"

....You CONSTANTLY run around in warform! Around people! And discuss tribal stuff in a party!

You aren't closer to humans, you are just a bunch of idiots.

And there is a challenge to True Silverheels...Only, another garou comes around and is all 'come on guys,chill'. And everyone calms down. Yes, matters of great importance should NOT be settled at all, just chill.

Holy shit, they are using the Skinner as justification for being more open with people. Logic, that is weird.

Also, an extra tenet, which isn't bad. But still.

And now, the tribes.

And we start off with the scariest side of the tribe; That all garou are Children of Gaia, regardless of tribe.

The Get section is truly something else,too. They focus almost solely on the racism part. And yes, 'violent homo-stuff'. This tribe, made to bridge peace between the garou.. totally hates the Get to eight decree.

And Hack deserves his name and pretty much hacks the Red Talon part into oblivion. All he says is that Ringer should stay away from them, pretty much.

And time traveling Gazers leaving.

...And I'm going to ignore the Fera and Other sections. Why? Because these guys aren't elders. These guys are barely cliath. The fact that Mandy KNOWS about the Dreaming is enough to make me groan.

...And, I'm going to stop here for the moment. I have to gather my strenght for the 'around the world' part.

So, this chapter might seem ok in some parts, but if you pay attention you'll notice that the gang seem to be partying, going to concerts etc. more than doing anything for Gaia.

They also seem to dislike most tribes, or be ignorant enough to not understand why they would hate them. These are, again,kids. Not elders, bunch of opinated partiers told to preach the Gospel of Unicorn.

As for our lovely gay werewolves, it seems Ringer's name was once supposed to be Kevin. The writer uses Kevin sometimes for Ringer randomly. And Hack, I seriously do not get him. If he was older and more experienced, I would understand his knowledge. But he is a cliath lupus, yet he spouts stuff about politics and history. And leads Ringer into the relationship, treating it like it was not a big deal.

The non-reaction to their relationship is still confusing,though.

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Donor

chapter 3's ready and waiting :)

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So, CoGs around the world.

So, first off, the typical song and dance about an eurasian tribe not being found in the Europe anymore. To which I call bullshit. Yes, America is a big and a wonderful place, but I'm pretty sure tribes did not all go enmasse to the New World and leave their old Caerns behind just like that. Especially a tribe like the Children of Gaia shouldn't be rare in Europe. They even claim the tribal hostilities is the reason why CoGs aren't found in Europe. So, is the tribe like a wilting flower who can't deal with conflict at all? And they note that Magrave is doing better than them too.

So, they really treat the tribe like it can't deal with conflict at all, or tense situations. Russia is similar, with the tribe needing HELP to survive there.

And cue 'America is the TRUE land of the garou' crap. I know I'm getting mad here, but good God this is stupid. Poor widdle Children are apparently unable to survive in their HOME continent, but certainly on a place that was taken over from others.

And this seems true in other places too, where 'human rights' people would be sent from the USA...

Yeah, Krieg, do your worst on Chapter 3.

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Okay, Chapter 3.

Uhh, that sure is some Art you've got going on there chapter 3 title page, but at least it's better than what is to come.

Opening blurb is okay but it says that the Children of Gaia are rarely creatures of passive resistance, but that's what they were doing in the opening fiction before the Black Spiral cops showed up.

Backgrounds, noting really overtly bad here, other than a couple of jabs at other tribes. Ancestors has an odd line.

"A child with high levels of Ancestors is often a touch more cynical, being well aware just how recent most Western cultural revelations are, but they are also much more steeped in the older traditions of their tribe."

What?

Gifts, again nothing too bad here, though the wolf has some bizarre proportions, and appears to be four feet long.

Back to the fiction!

Okay, apparently while the CoGs were having their Moot, a riot broke out at woodstock and people were using their candles to light bonfires, and rioting.

And of course, the thinly veiled lead singer of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers is going "Yeah! Kick some ass, doods! Get it on! Rowdy! Rowdy! Rowdy! Whooee!"

(Sic, seriously, doods)

Rich, master of the obvious, tells them that "Something is wrong here", and someone else yells "THEY'RE RAPING THAT GIRL!" and everyone rushes into the mosh pit, which now includes a "rape gauntlet".

The pack alpha tells everyone to stay Homid, which they do, but they don't act very much like a pack. Rich peeks sideways and sees a massive eruption of wyrm energies. And then Black spiral dancers jump out of the flaming port-a-poties.

I am not making this stuff up.

Someone else screams at the garou to "keep the peace, keep the human shape", which prompts Hack to say "So much for Homid only", switch to hispo, and then sit on a black spiral dancer while Ringer bashes his head in with his staff.

Then hack and ringer run off after some people who have kin pinned up against a speaker tower, turns out they're both formori and Hack and Ringer barely defeat them.

Then the kinfolk pulls out a knife and ask if they should finish the job or "are we being peaceful?"

The fuck? The kinfolk just suggested casual murder and he shakes it off like it's nothing.

The garou sound a retreat and evacuate the kinfolk as the police show up because "The wrym has possessed all the rioters"

So apparently the black spiral dancers found out that the CoG's were having a moot to create a new caern at Woodstock, and tainted the whole damn thing to create a Pit.

Good job.

Ugh, between this and the Seattle WTO Riots it might be best for the world if the CoGs just.. stop trying to help.

Okay time for the Rites

Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Minor Rites

Rite of the Teachers: Fairly standard, though it plays to the Hallucinogenic drugs stereotype a bit much.

The Bowels of the Mother: You can use your shit in place of ritual components. And I'm not being flippant, you can literally use your Feces as a substitute for ritual components. It then goes on to state that the person who created this rite "was attempting to perform the rite of spirit awakening on his intestinal bacteria", he wasn't successful.

Rites of Accord

Rite of the Pregnant Mule: This is a rite that Metis can use to adopt other Metis. ("Who better to raise a troublesome differently abled cub"), by making the cub crawl through the parents legs as though it was born again. The metis is now the 'true parent' in every way, including renown.

Aside: the picture at the bottom of this page is... amazing. I have no idea what that wolf is doing but that guy is apparently incredibly amazed by something on the back of the wolf's head, and possibly contemplating why he's completely naked except for his watch.

Rite of Comfort: The ritemaster burns incense and leads the person suffering from Harano in breathing exercises to make it impossible for him to commit suicide or slip deeper into harano. .. okay?

RITE OF THE CLOUDS AND RAIN: "This rite is kept a careful secret by Children of Gaia, and all who so much as know of itmust swear never to mention it among non-initiates - If revealed, anoyone involved would likely be ostracized by the rest of the Garou nation."

Why? you may ask?

"The rite involves channeling the force of Rage by having sex in Crinos Form. To avoid injury or death to the partners, both must be Garou.(NO REALLY!?) Because the fear of producing a metis is so great, metis are often asked to perform the rite, as they are sterile. Some Garou actually enjoy multiple partners while performing this rite, although having more than one sexual partner during the rite can be somewhat confusing. Some say that the more garou are involved the more powerful the rite becomes."

Yup...

Oh, wait, in all the descriptions of wacky Crinos sex they forgot to say what the rite *does* in the blurb.

Apparently the partners invoke the spirits of peace and desire, then spend a point of gnosis. Then they must "Demonstrate genuine affection for each other" or the rite doesn't work.

So the CoGs display genuine affection for enough people to pull off a damned orgy?

Yeah so.... for doing this, they can re-roll a single frenzy roll at some point during the story.

And they lose a point of Honor because the spirits are still freaked out by it.

Rite of Anger's Purge: You can now literally beat permanent rage out of someone. Spend a point of rage for each point you want them to lose, then beat them into unconciousness. If they frenzy later, however, it all comes back. It fits thematically with the tribe but my brain keeps going over how overpowered this thing is.

Mystic Rites

Last Blessing: I like this one, ritemaster spends a permanent gnosis, and a dying Metis gets locked in Homid or Lupus form, its expensive but thematic, no problems here.

Rite of Asklepios: This one is interesting, and thematic, allows a ritemaster to cure an unknown disease, even ones that are normally incurable.

Rite of Blood Kin: No problems with this one either, perform the rite, write down all the kin you know, and a bunch you don't know will get written down as well.

Sin-Eating: I'm italicizing this one because it's important later. The ritemaster lays out a Meal on the subject, and eats it, and in doing so also eats their Wyrm-taint. And this can be used on black spirals. And then the ritemaster just needs to go ritually cleanse himself and all will be well.

Sing the Many Shapes: Ritemaster pleads with one of the lost changing breeds or Bunyip to stop haunting them. Okay, it works.

Rite of Talisman Adaptation: This is like regular talisman attunement except for triple the gnosis the objects will switch to something form appropriate. Like wolf-tailored body armor. Also noted is that if you attempt to adapt something frivolous, like a coffee mug, you *Lose* 3 *permanent* gnosis instead.

Rite of Resolution: Again, this makes sense as a rite. Before a duel, the combatants show respect for each other in some way and the ritemaster rolls against the highest rage score. For each success one frenzy can be ignored. To keep combat honorable and people alive.

Rite of the Sacred Peace: Other than using the word "peace" so often it ceases to register as a word, this rite requires an entire community, garou, kin and non, to gather in the caern and declare themselves dedicated to "the peace of the land", the "Strength of the peace" is equal to the number of garou and half the kin who join in the rite. Anyone who attacks them has to roll willpower Diff 8 and accrue more successes than the "peace". I'm not sure if they have to succeed to declare war at all, or if they fail something bad happens, it doesn't say. But if ever the peace is broken, the leader of the community can curse the breaker with a dark-fate flaw with a dice pool equal to the strength of the peace.

Peace peace peacey peace.

Alternation of Generations: Uhh... Apparently Some lupus way back when saw that humans could have sex whenever they wanted, got jealous, and came up with this rite to "Increase their breeding potential and enhance the pleasures of mating". What does it do? At the low low cost of one permanent gnosis, a mother can change her breed form for the purposes of bearing one child, and conception is guaranteed.

End Time Rite: Giant mass prophecy rite, fairly tame, next.

Rite of the parted veil: Thematically appropriate but kind of powerful for what it does. Two werewolves who are unrelated to a chosen human must dance around him while the ritemaster sings the song of welcome, while rolling against the person's willpower. Once he has successes equal to the targets Age, blammo, they're Kinfolk to the CoG.

Yes

The children of gaia have a rite that allows them to turn humans into kinfolk with absolutely no cost except time.

Merits and Flaws

This way lies stereotypes a plenty.

Merits

Distant Sire: Your real parent is still friendly with you.

Supporter: You're *really good* at supporting people. -2 difficulty to social rolls and any group effort you partake in gets +1 to its dice pool

Flaws

Naive: You're unwilling to believe that people can be 'bad', so the difficulty to detect wyrm or use empathy is increased by 2.

Vegan: This makes you unwelcome at social gatherings (Oh noes!) and you can't hunt! (The audacity!)

Charach: Yuuup.

Docile: for every point of this flaw (up to 3) your maximum rage is reduced by 2. Also you look like a dog.

Burned Out: You've seen some shit, man, you don't even know. Also Willpower roll difficulties are increased by 1.

Ahimsa: You're a vegan, also you've taken a vow not to kill any animal large enough to see, and you cannot deliberately inflict lethal damage. EVER. And if you ever kill delibrately the ST slaps you with a newspaper and takes away 3 points anywhere he likes.

Totems

Nothing really bad here.

Oh look, back to more fiction!

So Jone's back to being more glass-walkery than a glass-walker. And they're talking about going to the protests in Seatle where they'll be protesting Pentex's Globalization with, quote

"Labor Unions, Women's groups, native peoples, gay rights activists, on and on."

You know, to show how progressive they are.

And then they're going to go to California, where Ringer can teach martial arts.

And Interior decorating

Because he's gay.

He then thinks "I am the luckiest guy alive. They're even kewl with me being with another garou."

to repeat

His own internal monologue uses kewl, instead of cool.

I was a teenager in 1999, this is not how my brain worked. No.

Then he makes a casual feminist joke and tosses Hack into the car.

Fetishes

But I thought we already went over those.

Oh, the background, not sexual fetishes, got it. Most of these aren't that bad, just one sticks out.

Dice of Challenge: The 2d6 of judgement, the ritemaster spends 2 gnosis, gives one die to each opponent, and whoever's 'right' will win the roll.

LET THE DICE DECIDE!

Other new stuff

There's a new metis deformity that gives you scaly skin and makes the Mokole like you. apparently. Also there's a Meditation skill. And Iskakku.

Iskakku is probably the best thing to come out of this book, it's basically the staff fighting equivilent of Klaviskar, it's non-lethal but effective, and kind of cool in a flavorful sort of way.

the art for it is still bad, though.

That's not how faces work.

Oh well, next up is chapter 4

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Utter destruction of sense? Yes

Don't even get me started on how poorly they betray the actual events of Woodstock 99 and the '99 Seattle WTO Riots...

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Yeah, who wants to talk about such riveting characters as

"The Ratkin who wandered into the photo shoot"

"Queen Elizabeth"

"The Elvis Impersonator"

"That guy with horns from the core book"

and

"General Martok" I mean "Sam Haight"

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Chapter Four or: How I learned to Lower My Standards and Love This Book

An essay by me

Hokay guys. Here we go. Krieg and Ana got all the fun chapters, so hey, I've gotta do what I can, right? So, Children of Gaia tribebook, Chapter Four; Flowers and Seeds.

First off... Flowers and Seeds? Okay okay, I understand the vibe we're going for with this, but c'mon, these are werewolves, not pikmin. You're discussing the up-and-coming heroes of the tribe, as well as the major historical figures, and you title it "flowers and seeds"? Black Furies got "Sisters, Mothers, and Grandmothers," which conveys the idea perfectly! Wendigo got "Winter's Teeth" which at least reminds you, hey, werewolf! "Flowers and Seeds?" Tribebook, if you're trying to be allegorical, I'm afraid you're just way too deep for me; I'm not much of a mage player, me am werewolf, me kinda dumm.

Alright alright. We enter the chapter with a rather nice illustration. I'm almost certain this is lifted from a classical painting (something about daffodils, I can't remember) of a haloed woman comforting a dying knight on the field of battle. It's a nice illustration, but... but it just doesn't fit the tribebook. Children of Gaia wander around on battlefields, washing the brows of doomed soldiers? Is she supposed to be a kinfolk? I'm going to assume she's a kinfolk, because that makes it work. Except for the halo. But hey, if we can rip off Ivan Bilibin wholesale for the 2nd edition Shadow Lord book, we can get away with this, I guess. Again, nice illustration, just incongruous.

The first line before the character templates is "The Children of Gaia, like most tribes, are united by a common ideology." Well, I'm glad they waited until the last chapter to present this notion to us, I'd gone three chapters thus far without it ever entering my head, even by accident. It also states that the Children of Gaia "fight the wyrm with claws, teeth, and whatever else it takes." Again, this is news to anyone who read the three previous chapters. "A spiral, I SIT ON HIM!" doesn't really convey "fighting the Wyrm" much less "with claws, teeth, and whatever else it takes." That last part, 'whatever else it takes' conveys desperation, acting out of need, with whatever slapdash tools may be in place. Instead, we get one of our boys utilizing his apparently generously-endowed ass to suppress a minion of the Wyrm.Wait, off-topic, I'm talking about another chapter, aren't I... Right, so, in two paragraphs, we've upended the entire rest of the book. And in the last line, "all of them, starting templates and legendary heroes alike, are representative of all interesting Children of Gaia everywhere - far from saints, but nevertheless still somehow tied to the ideals of unicorn whether they like it or not," we're going to upend the remainder of the book. since none of the templates are that interesting and all of them are pretty saintly (and the chapter opens with a ripoff depiction of either a female saint or the Virgin Mary, c'mon)

On to the templates! Remember how I said I liked the opening art? You're not going to hear a comment like that again.

Ragabash Template: Contrary

Long story short, metis kid, raised in a loving family until his first change, then handed over to "the sept's metis" to learn his auspice role and the "rites of the Mule." Wait. Rites of the... Oh no. Oh no no no... Bad touch, bad touch!. Okay... okay... his "schtick" is that he howls the Litany in reverse, you know, like an actual sept position, the moot fool. It's mentioned in the "roleplaying notes" that the character is intended as a devil's advocate sort, but, well, that's not conveyed too well. It's like someone wrote a "wacky goofy ragabash" and then tried to justify it to an unimpressed ST. Frankly between this and the clown from 2nd edition's tribebook, i prefer the clown. At least it's an honest writeup.

Oh. And this guy carries around a lunchbox full of trail mix and lunch meat. The mind boggles.

Theurge Template: Hedonist

Someone told the artist, "draw a lame hippy chick!" and he complied, in spades. You've got the two-foot diameter bell-bottoms, the headband, the joint.. .brother, a woman dressed like that, she's not smoking a joint, she's shotgunning an entire bong, alright? Sheesh. Anyway, okay... to be honest, I like the theme of this template. I actually like "hippy" children of gaia, because I've seen so very, very few of them over the years. But the concept is solid on its own; a party girl who destroyed another human being and pretends to not worry about it "because he was a bully," but uses extremes of hedonism to try to keep herself from dwelling on how she murdered him. It shows the potential drawbacks of someone who does not use the, ahem, tools of ritual in a sacred manner, and ending up being a pawn of the very forces she's trying to control.

I give her a 7/10, would play this character, with minor alteration.

Philodox Template: Gambler

Okay, this is basically a throwaway. Flip through your tribebooks. How many times do you see a Philodox with this very same template, or some variation, like flipping a coin or fiddling with a die or something? Even the Nuwisha book isn't immune. White Wolf... Stop giving us "gambler" templates! jeeeze, what does Gambling even have to do with the role of a Philodox? Give me a Ragabash Gambler, I'm cool with that, but this.. .this needs to stop. Alright, so, we have this gambler guy - and what a generic image he cuts, with a suit and a cigar. I'll bet they had nine or ten potential templates, "gambler," "businessman," "philanthropist," blah blah, and just told the artist, "give us a rich dude." Again we have a justified mass murder; "gang members!" this time... because hey, they wanted their money. can't blame them, killing someone you owe agambling debt to is bad form, gang members or no. Apparently, he's geared up to become a master of gamecraft challenges. Wow. Kind of short-sighted there, brah. I'm not sure the writer of this template "gets" gamecraft in Garou culture. We're not talking play a round of poker, we're talking "throw axes at each other, first to flinch loses". So Garou gamecraft is more like the shows at Vegas, than it's like the games at Vegas.

This guy just.. .doesn't make sense as a Garou. Not just as a CoG, but as a Garou. I would wonder if this were a spare template, ported over because the Euthanatos book didn't have room, but, nope. There's a "Gambler" template in the Euthanatos traditionbook. Books. Both of them.

God-damned gambler template, fuck off!

Gallaird Template: Science Educator

Yes, let's send a Rage 4 dude to kindergartens. Now, I know what this template is trying to do. heck, I remember a wildlife guy actually bringing a Himalayan bear cub to my kindergarten class (it was freakin adorable) but... Again. Rage 4. Remember that scene in Ice Age where Diego (the sabre-toothed cat) is trying to get the kid to stop crying by playing peekaboo with him? yeeeeah, it's kind of like that. I'll be honest, it's not a bad concept. Not like the Ragabash is a bad one. A Garou who teaches about nature and environmentalism, that's pretty solid. But it's very awkward. it'd be an excellent kinfolk concept, and I could even see it as the Philodox concept instead... Or maybe rather than him going to schools, maybe schools come to him; he works at a wilderness and ecology center or something. Instead we get Jack Hanna with anger issues.

5/10, would use concept for something else.

Ahroun Template: War-Dancer

You see the art and you're like, "holy shit, this guy is going to eat some faces!" and then.. then you read it and... no. Mary Sue background; probable Red Talon, stolen and raised by humans, abandoned (sniffle sniffle), chased by Spirals, who of course were utterly vanquished by the character... remember, wolf pup, raised by a human, probably hungry, has his change and totally roflstomps two Spirals. As in multiples. And then the CoG ride to the rescue because... where the fuck were they before all this? Alright so, your life has been terrible and tragic and frightening, what do you do with all that rage, that fury in your heart?

You DANCE!

Hoboy... yes, the lupus Ahroun "channels his rage" through dance. With a dance troupe "in a large city." And he "expresses his warrior's soul through the medium of merciful discipline."

Now, I can almost see where this template was supposed to go. Almost. I can't quite pick up where they left off, I can only tell that, once upon a time, there was potential here. Potential to document an Ahroun who isn't just smashing faces, or a CoG who is actually intense and physical... but it's like they took that and just dropped it halfway.

Out of the "representative of interesting Children of Gaia everywhere" claimed in the opening bit, there are only two interesting characters, and only one of them - the Gallaird - actually feels like it's especially a Child of Gaia (the Theurge could be any Theurge, basically) But maybe the tribe's heroes will pick up the slack?

Remember when I said that you would not hear any more compliments of the art? Yeah. Lief Jones looks like he studied portraiture using a combination of Cabbage patch dolls and carved potatoes. Not a fan.

Lore-Speaker Gron: No, really, Mr. Jones, what is that? If you were trying to portray an androgynous crinos... well, crinos don't really have sexual features. What is that? it looks like a rubbish of a Kitsune, if anything. Okay, okay. Lore-Speaker Gronn, argues for ending the impergium, ends up getting killed by Vampires in Catal Huyuk, with the throwaway line, "the pursuit of peace is neither easy nor safe." Here we have one of the major figures of not just Children of gaia history, but Garou history as a whole, and the character is reduced to what human settlements he/she lived in. It's not bad except that, well, Gron is that major player in history and there's next to no information about him/her.

(as a sidenote... the English language just isn't equipped to handle more than two genders, so no critique on the awkwardness of the pronoun use.)

Christine de Pisan: Oh boy. I hate when White Wolf does this... Christine de Pizan was a real person, who really did write The Book of the city of Ladies. In a vague sense, the Tribebook gets her correct; she was widowed (though whether 26 is "young" by the standards of 1390 AD could be debated) and she did take up writing to support herself. But then we have her being best buddies with the Black Furies, who take her into the umbra to meet a bunch of spirits, and tries to portray her living in some sort of danger for her writing... far from it, she in fact became acquainted with several royal families through her works. de pizan was a pretty interesting woman, with a lot of ideas that we might consider surprising... but the Tribebook takes a very interesting person and flattens them out into "and then a Garou gave her an idea and rammed spirit stuff through her head, ta daa!"

Raymond Love-Of-the-Goddess: So, what do you think would happen if you put a Garou on a shipload of convicts bound for Australia in the 1700's? Whatever it is, doesn't matter, that's not what happens. They land safe and happy and start preaching anticolonialism and justice for the natives as soon as they're off the gangplank. Then the eeeeeeevil Silver Fang condemns poor Raymond to Norfolk island, a "prison within a prison," because you know, this is how Garou work, right? So apparently he just stayed there, preaching homilies to the convicts on the island while other Garou were busy, y'know, slaughtering the Bunyip and Gumagan, the exact same thing ol' Raymond was so dead-set against them doing. Now, I'm admittedly no expert, but i have a hard time imagining that an island is a very effective prison for a Garou. I have a hard time believing that an idealistic Garou would allow himself to stay imprisoned while his brothers and sisters are essentially committing genocide. This guy is a tribal hero?

Elihu Steelwright: he was a kinfolk. He was a blacksmith. Yup, that's it. No, really. That's it. NEXT!

Garret Faithful: A kind of interesting character; He's attracted a following from his peace efforts, and now is in the Amazon., doing pretty well fighting the war there. But he's worried that fighting the Wyrm there is only making it stronger. Wait, did I call him interesting? No, no. The concept of a conflicted hero is interesting, so long as the conflict makes sense. Fighting the Wyrm is obviously making gains against the Wyrm in the Amazon, and he worries that it's making the Wyrm stronger in the Amazon? Doofus.

Edith looking-Glass: You knew there was going to be a "Great White Hope" character in the CoG book, right? here you go; Edith Looking-Glass goes to Southeast Asia to document human rights abuses. Which she then presents to the UN who of course, do nothing. And naturally the Hengeyokai being "natives" open the door gladly for the mighty whitey, allowing her to do these cinematic "truth to power" heroics while they just sit around and drink or, whatever those squint-eyed devils do, I guess. Thank goodness for Edith looking-Glass, without her hard work, even less would get done, and would be done without self-congratulating halfassed guilt-trips!

Seriously? The Hengeyokai are just letting this bullshit happen without lifting a finger, and here's this western garou who is basically also allowing the bullshit to happen without lifting a finger, and she's our hero? Must be related to Raymond Love-Of-the-Goddess.

Cries-Havoc: It's hard to write my take on Cries-Havoc in the tribebook, since it's not the same Cris-Havoc in the tribe novels (is he a Philodox or a Gallaird? I seem to remember him being an Ahroun somewhere, too.) He wants to make peace but is held back by being a metis. I would say he doesn't really bear mention, but... well, Elihu Steelwright gets a mention, and he just made pots and horseshoes and stuff. Cries-Havoc is a sort of bland but workable character, not too bad, not too interesting, like just the sort of guy you'd expect to see at a generally forgettable Child of Gaia moot.

Sam Haight: Yeah, you know what? It's Sam Haight. I really have nothing to add to that. What more can you add to that? Except that the CoG tribebook decided to keep Chaos Factor in its reality. No surprises.

Okay, if the templates and heroes section of a tribebook issupposed to jazz you up with all these exciting possibilities and examples of the tribe... the CoG tribebook fails spectacularly. Maybe it's not the only one to do so (the Ananasi book is equally miserable, at least) but... but... it showcases a kinfolk whose claim to fame is being a blacksmith! Arrrrgh! Gambler template, rrrrghlerblerrr!

*Breathe in, breathe out*

And then, we move on to another IC section. We open with the pack (?) celebrating the adjournment of the WTO meeting. I have to say, I just flat-out hate the tribebook's portrayal of the WTO protests. Maybe it's because I live in Seattle, maybe it's because this sort of thing interests me, but... wow. No, just... no. The CoG book was written a mere three years afterwards, you'd figure they could have, like... read a damned newspaper instead of this "just throw shit out there" thing they did. For instance... a Choctaw dance troupe. You're fucking kidding me, right? What, couldn't spell Suquamish? it's fucking Seattle.

*breathe in, breathe out*

Okay so here we're basically leading up to the events in the opening fiction. Ringer nearly loses his shit on the cops - shifting to crinos right goddamn there, then shifts back and has a moment. "I won't hurt you, dude." yeeeeah.

Cut to California, where a chick is eating wafers off of Ringer's oh-so-repentant Spiral Daddy. Yup, the rite of Sin-Eating. And the high drama? She has trouble swallowing (she persevered; that girl's a keeper!). Cut again to Ringer and Hack's apartment where they live in happy legs-entwined mutt-trimonial bliss... And a bamboo flower falls out of somewhere.

Well! That was a... a thing I guess. So there you have it, the fourth chapter of... oh, wait.. .wait, here's more? *Flips page* Dammit I mean ooooh heeeeey

Afterword: Peace as a theme in Werewolf: While this is a largely rhetorical philosophical discussion on the nature of peace, rather than a solid exploration of how to use the theme in a Werewolf chronicle, it's still probably the best part of this book, in that it actually expresses thought and consideration of the notion it presents, where the rest of the book is just falling over itself to look "hip" and "with it." Still, if I were a teacher grading this little essay, I'd give it a C-, it's meandering and doesn't really strike any points. Still, it's worth a read, as a palate-cleanser if nothing else, and it pretty much the only place you'll find the subject touched at all in Werewolf.

Okay so, that's it? I'm done? God, I need a drink.

And yes, the title was just a gimmick. Fuck this book.

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So, to chew on the material some more, what did you guys think of the pack?

For me, one thing stood out. Why these guys? In Strider revised, Samir the Jackal recorded his tribe's culture because otherwise it would be lost forever due to their Curse. In Red Talons Revised, Malcom is making up for his mistake that got his packmate killed, by studying her tribe and trying to make his fellow homid see the value of Talons. Others focus on teaching new cubs about their tribe. All of these have garou who are experienced and know their shit.

This, this has a pack of teenagers who barely function as a pack. They are biased, stupid, focus too much on partying and break the Litany a lot. There isn't an elder in sight to teach them. Now, I don't think they are all bad, but they would have needed more rank or just elders lecturing them. Their auspices are also confusing, Rich acts much more like an ahroun than Ringer does. And Hack would make a better ragabash than a philodox. Rich's past is also really...bad. Had he been an actual ronin, his anger would have made much more sense. As well as his denial.

Hack, well, he isn't really that terrible of a lupus character. He is just acting upon what others had taught him, and because this book is stupid, he is stupid.

Other issue I noticed is the 'wilting flower' type of CoG. A lot has been said about the true purpose of the tribe, being peacemakers and all. But the Around the World section treats them pretty much avoiding conflict that isn't something the basic suburban white kid would know.

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Donor

On my point:

I counted "Kewl" being used in the book no less than 4 times.

At one point being used by a Navy longshoreman

From Louisiana.

No.

And the WTO Riots?

There was no decision on globalization at the conference to my knowlege, because the protests shut down the talks.

They didn't want them to listen to their views, THEY DIDN'T WANT THEM TALKING AT ALL. And the violent protestors were there from the beginning. There was no "Peaceful victory followed immediately by Plot Spiral Coppers", the cops were there from the beginning, they needed to make a blue line through the crowd so that the WTO members could GET TO THEIR HOTELS.

There was no "YA BASTA!"

and there definitely weren't any patchooli bands.

And Woodstock? It was a poorly thought out idea from the beginning, RHCP didn't start the rioting, people started the bonfires while they were holding a candlelight vigil during a playing of "Under the Bridge"

Before that, Limp Bizket had driven the crowds into Riots the night before. And if you want a general idea of the tone of Woodstock 99

Look at the picture that wikipedia sues for it.

RATM_-_Burningamp.jpg

Rage Against the Machine burning the American flag onstage while playing "Killing in the Name" during Woodstock 1999.

Yup, Good job policing your own people Children of Gaia.

Oh wait

I forgot

HOLDING A MOOT IN THE SPIRITUAL REFLECTION OF AN AREA WHERE THERE ARE LITERALLY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IS AN INCREDIBLY STUPID IDEA

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Curator

I, uhm, have to defend parts of this book.

Like, the fact that they think all Garou are Children of Gaia? That's some awesome scary shit, and I totally support some of them at least believing that. And I think it would be wrong if a strong proportion of the CoG didn't have massive problems with the Get, and some total misrepresentations about them.

The issue is that this is that we've got a mono-opinion, and a mono-opinion coming from some immature and inexperienced voices at that. And if you take that as the whole and all, you get a very immature, whiney, inconsistent and useless tribe. I like that the flaws of the CoG were woven into this book - but there's rarely a counter-balance.

Maybe the author didn't feel they needed one. Maybe the author is happy with them like this, and if so, more fool him. But I am generally happy that the CoG think a lot of stupid shit mixed in with their sane stuff.

Oh yeah. And the idea that fighting the Wyrm feeds it spiritually even as you beat it physically? Solid gold and really should have been given more attention in a somewhat less flaky book.

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I, uhm, have to defend parts of this book.

Like, the fact that they think all Garou are Children of Gaia? That's some awesome scary shit, and I totally support some of them at least believing that. And I think it would be wrong if a strong proportion of the CoG didn't have massive problems with the Get, and some total misrepresentations about them.

Yeah, I like the fucked up idea that they are on the spiritual top of this mono-tribe.

The reason I object so much to the overly negative tribal opinions, is because this is the tribe that's shtick has been being the meditator, the peacekeeper. The guy who jumps in front of a dagger to avoid a war. So, one would assume they would have much more to say about a tribe than just 'they are too violent'. Hell, the Get Tribebook has a MUCH better opinion on the Children of Gaia than these kids have on the tribe of Fenris. I would be worried if tribebook Bone Gnawer did not focus on survival or that the Strider book would have no mention of ghosts.

Plus, even outside tribal opinions, there is a huge lack of actual work done to unite the tribes. They even go as far as say that Magrave did all of his uniting alone while CoGs were shivering from the -scary- fighting going on. Just from the W20 preview, you get much more the feeling that the Children would be the ones to sit on the fireline, trying to solve disputes between warring tribes. Not run away when things get too violent for them, as the revised book suggests.

The issue is that this is that we've got a mono-opinion, and a mono-opinion coming from some immature and inexperienced voices at that. And if you take that as the whole and all, you get a very immature, whiney, inconsistent and useless tribe. I like that the flaws of the CoG were woven into this book - but there's rarely a counter-balance.

What could have worked better, would have been if the challenge of True Silverheels would have been the 'elder' story that would run pararel to the story of the kids. And they would unite in the tribal, auspice etc. opinion parts. Get the cliath view from the kids, and a more expert view from an elder.

This way, there would be a clear sign how the tribe has become fractured. While the elders fight and argue about the need for camps, the war and their work uniting the tribes, the cliath party away and have no idea how their tribe is supposed to work beyond fractured ideals. The elders are just too busy to teach them, too busy with the politics to show an example, and the kids now suffer for their mistake. And it is possible none of the elders even notice the kids having sex with each other, because there are just so many things to handle.

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