Tribes
BlackFuries.png

Avenging Claws

"Woman is woman’s natural ally” – Euripides

Overview

The Black Furies practice feminism with a vengeance. According to legend, Luna first Gathered this cult of warrior women in Ancient Greece. Incarnate as Artemis the Huntress, the Goddess appointed she-wolves as the defenders of the Wyld. Since then the tribe’s followers have inspired legends of female heroes. Elders claim that the tribe has been responsible for warrior Amazons, vengeful Maenads, Lysistrata’s political revolt, Queen Bodacea’s military prowess and even the Norse Valkyries. The tribe accepts only women into its ranks, often recruiting werewolf cubs infuriated by the chauvinism or sexism of other tribes. Their version of gender bias is often called hypocritical, but it is based on a culture that has developed for thousands of years. For most Furies, their driving belief is simply that women are worthy of respect and reverence.

Throughout history, rumor has it that Black Furies gave birth exclusively to female offspring. In truth ceremoniously killed their male children; the rest gave their cubs away. The only exceptions were the metis; for reasons unknown the Furies have several metis among their ranks. These days, though, the Furies give away male cubs to be raised by other werewolves, but in return, they demand the right to recruit cubs raised by tribes. The Furies have forced their rivals to treat female cubs with respect, not by intimidation or insults, but by offering an alternative. Contrary to stereotype, they do not demand that their cubs “hate all men.” Instead, they give women a chance to voice their beliefs openly… and act on them.

No two Furies interpret the tribe’s philosophies in quite the same way, but a few cultural standards are constant. The Furies are known for their mystical wisdom, fierce pride and political fervor. Honor is their most prized virtue; if a Black Fury gives her word, she’ll go through hell to keep it. The tribes Gifts and spirit allies demonstrate a primal connection to the Wyld, and they are often summoned up to defend the natural places in creation. In fact, many Furies see themselves as aspects of the Goddess herself, since they share a deeper bond with Gaia than any ordinary man.

In return for these Gifts from the Gaian Goddess, each Fury also has obligations to the tribe as a whole. First and foremost, they must attend private tribal moots regularly, at which wise women lead complex and beautiful rites. Kuklochoros are informal moots where human women are invited to attend, often to learn the ways of the Goddess. During the Burning Times of the Renaissance, many such gatherings were mistaken for witches’ sabbats. Ulaka magelis are for Black Furies alone, for only they have the strength and stamina to endure the lengthy and deeply emotional rituals involved. The tribe undeniably has its own version of discrimination, but this practice is often necessary to explore their deepest tribal mysteries and keeping them secret from the patriarchal societies surrounding them.

In Greek myth, Bellerophon, a hero whose mastery of animals allowed him to conquer a mythical beast and travel throughout the world, tamed Pegasus. In the Gaian version of this myth, Pegasus – the Furies’ totem- gained a great hatred for the man who had mastered her. Furies retell this legend in their own image, using it as an example of man’s need to rein in nature and exploit mystical power. Of course, the tribe reveres other totems as well, from Owl and Panther to the Muses and Medusae.

Tribalists who share similar beliefs gather in camps called kuklos or “circles.” Black Furies who have allied themselves with other werewolves from other tribes may still act on behalf of a kuklos periodically, often recruiting members from their pack to help them out. Each circle acts with a high degree of autonomy, although all must eventually report to the Inner and Outer Calyxes, the high councils of the tribe. The elders of the Outer Calyx are well known, as they are chosen with a great deal of pomp and ceremony. The Inner Calyx keeps its leadrs and activities secret, much to the annoyance of the tribe’s cubs and cliath.

The Furies also posses treasures and fetishes, which they see as only fit for members of their tribe. When these possessions fall into the wrong hands, women warriors rush out to retrieve them. Such extreme activities account for many stories of vengeful and misanthropic Furies. However, despite the preconceived notions of other werewolves, not all Furies are radical in their beliefs. A few camps often form their own packs composed entirely of their own followers. Many Furies run with packs that accept other tribes; unfortunately, they sometimes find themselves at odds with the most extreme and intolerant elders of their own culture.

The battle lines between cliath and elders are clear. While many of the oldest Furies are quite set in their beliefs, young cubs entertain very revolutionary concepts of gender, warfare and Garou society. Not every Black Fury believes in “stomping man’s face firmly into the mud,” but all members of the tribe are known for their tendency to speak their minds, directly and forcefully, no matter how unpopular or dangerous their ideas may be. In doing so, they risk alienating others within their own tribe and invoking the wrath of the tribal elders. While a “woman who runs with the wolves” may choose to ally herself with anyone she pleases, the elders of her tribe still encourage her to take up Gaian causes sharedby her sisters. Thus, the struggle between the old and young continues. In her name, the Furies will avenge any crime against women, insult toward the Goddess or defilement of her creation.

Traits

  • Appearance: Although the tribe originated in Ancient Greece, the Furies have since spread throughout the world, adapting to (and changing) a wide array of cultures. In Crinos, Hispo and Lupus forms, their fur is unusually dark, often with white, gray or silver highlights. By ancient law, the only males among the tribe are the metis sons of other Furies. Ancient Greek art depicts homid Furies as graceful, lithe warriors, but 21st century Furies resent being portrayed under any one stereotype. There is no universal standard of beauty or grace within the tribe, just as there is no opne approach to feminism. Despite endless debates over politics and practice, no other group of werewolves can gather together urban punks, modern Amazons, feminist intellectuals and aging grande dames so efvfectively.
  • Kinfolk: Most Furies appoint themselves as the protectors of women, taking crimes against their gender with deadly gravity. Female Kinfolk often find themselves in hostile or dangerous lives before they’re discovered (and sometimes rescued) by their Garou relations. Male Kinfolk are numerous, as they are essential to the tribe’s survival. Their contact with the tribe is usually mundane, and relations are usually held outside sept grounds. Male Fury Kin are most often set to work cultivating influence in the human world, and some are treated as little more than breeding stock. Nonetheless, while many Furies demonstrate open impatience with men in general, this impatience does not preclude them from developing deep and soulful ties with individual males, some of which last throughout their entire lives.
  • Territory: Throughout most of the tribe’s history, the Furies have been exceedingly reclusive. They consider it their religious duty to protect the last places sacred to the Wyld. As the Final Days approach, however, they have fewer places left to hide. Mystical wards once protected tribal lands from intrusion, but such barriers have been fading steadily. Warrior women still defend sacred groves and islands staunchly, but an increasing number of Furies are migrating to human cities, drawn to political action, protest and resistance. If their hidden glens and groves have been seized, then perhaps it’s time to take the battle to the front lines. The time for hiding is over.
  • Tribal Totem: Pegasus
  • Initial Willpower: 3
  • Background Restrictions: None. You got a problem with that?
  • Beginning Gifts: Breath of theWyld, Heightened Senses, Sense Wyrm
  • Quote: "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…"

Traditions

Hierarchy and Camps

The Calyxes

  • The Outer Calyx:

Thirteen Furies comprise the Outer Calyx. They are chosen from a much larger pool, and chosen by lot, to represent the influence of the Wyld and Moirai Clotho in the tribe. The Garou of the Outer Calyx come from all over the world when it comes to vhoose new members; this happens every three years. If a member of the Calyx dies during the intrem, her position is typically taken by her protégé. If she has one. If not, her seat is left vacant until a new Calyx is chosen.
Rank is not a determinant for who may comprise the Outer Calyx – in theory. However, the festivities that precede the moot that decides the Outer Calyx are marked by games that serve to test the would-be leaders, and a great deal of politicking goes on. Of course, regardless of which Garou makes herself look good, the final choices are still made by lot – or so most believe. I can’t help but notice, however, that Iona Kinslayer has sat on the Outer Calyx for a number of years now, despite the fact that the members are chosen “randomly.” Also, it seems strange that although metis of both genders attempt to join the Calyx, fate never seems to smile upon them.

The Calyx has a function, however, and does perform it well. It is meant to dictate tribal policy the world over. Every Fury on the Calyx watches over a certain region in the world, usually taking a position in a sept in the area (Mistress of the Rite is a favourite). Between them, the members decide what the tribe should focus on, plan gatherings of Furies (rarely) and arbritrate serious disputes. Coming to the attention of the Outer Calyx is often a way to garner Renown, as the 13 of them keep in close contact via spirits and other, more mundane means. Of course, if a misdeed comes to their attention, expect Furies the world over to recognize your name…

  • The Inner Calyx

The Story goes that Atremis granted five powerful Black Furies powerful fetishes, one apiece. She gave them her Cloak (to the Ragabash), her Salve (the Theurge), her Bridle (the Philodox), her Loom (the Galliard) and her Bow (the Ahroun). The five Garou were the first Inner Calyx.

Since then, the membership of the Inner Calyx has remained a mystery. Those of us who pay attention to the tribe as a whole (often by residing at the same sept as a member of the Outer Calyx) often hear rumors that a new Inner Calyx has been chosen, but there isn’t any way to know. Artemis herself chooses the members, and her movements have always been mysterious.

What we do know is that there are five Furies in the inner Calyx, one for each auspice. Each one is supposed to be a sterling example of her auspice. However, rank has nothing to do with being chosen for the Inner Calyx, and I have heard tales of Garou being chosen after reaching the rank of Fostern.

The Kuklos

Different ideological breaks within the tribes are measured by kuklos. While members of different kuklos might not see eye to eye, they don’t fight. We don’t need that kind of infighting in our tribe; we’ve already got enough.

  • The Amazons of Diana

Unlike many other kuklos, the Amazons of Diana are rarely seen as a formal group, and in fact many of their members neither think of themselves as being part of a group nor refer to themselves as such. The Amazons of Diana is often a catchall term for those Black Furies who consider their primary role as Garou to be unstoppable warrior-women. These Amazons are less concerned with the Furies traditional roles as Gaia’s avengers than they are with proving their prowess in battle by comparison to males of tribes like the Get of Fenris or the Shadow Lords.

The difference between these Furies and the rest of the tribe is a subtle one; all Furies revere the Wyld, and hate (or at least distrust) the Weaver and the Wyrm. But given a choice between investigating and enacting justice on a batterer or a rapist, or fighting gloriously at the teeth of some Wyrm-creature, the Amazons will take the open battle every time. The Amazons of Diana are warrioirs first, avengers second.

Although many of the more conservative members of the trib look down on them, Amazons are valiant and forthright, and by far compromise the largest faction among young Black Furies. They are the first to defend the Furies’ honor when the tribe is denigrated by outsiders, and are the tribe’s vanguard in assaults against Wyrm holdings.

  • The Bacchantes

Any one of the Bacchantes will tell you that they uphold the oldest, truest traditions of the Black Furies; the Bacchantes are the Vengeance of Gaia. A Bacchante fulfills her destiny by destroying the holdings and livelihoods of the worst violators of Gaia’s laws. Not every Fury is cut out to avenge the Mother, the Bacchantes tell you, but those who join the camp are vicious whirlwinds of destruction.

Most outsiders do not distinguish between the Bacchantes and the more numerous Amazons of Diana, and in so doing ignore the greatest rift in the modern Black Fury tribe. The Bacchantes see the Amazons as deluded glory-hounds and third-generation feminists who want to be seen as “women who can kick ass as well as men.” They believe the Amazons want nothing more than to throw themselves onto the fangs of the Wyrm alongside the Get and the Shadow Lords – the Bacchantes know that the war has to be fought closer to the Wyrm’s grasp on humanity.

That grasp is best displayed in the worst violators of Gaia’s law: rapists, serial murderers, matricides, vast polluters, those performing human cloning experiments, and so on. Rather than waste their energy fighting the most obvious manifestations of the Wyrm’s power, the Bacchantes bring a personal, overwhelmingly violent to the criminals they discover. These assaults take place far from the eyes of humanity, and the large-scale ones are most frequently mistaken for natural disasters.

That isn’t to say that the Bacchantes don’t cooperate with the rest of the tribe when the time is right. Then a nexus Crawler or a vampire pack endangers a sept’s territory, the Bacchantes stand right beside the Amazons to destroy the menace. It is simply that the Bacchantes would prefer to come down like a hammer from orbit on the planners and perpetrators of Wyrmlike crimes before the danger escalates to such an obvious level.

  • The Freebooters

The Freeboot camp may not be the smallest camp among the modern Black Furies - that distinction belongs to the Temple of Artemis – but their numbers are shrinking faster than any other camp’s. The freebooters’ collective mission is to find new Wyld places that can be consecrated to Gaia and made into Caerns. The camp is shrinking rapidly because there are so damned few Wyld places left in the world. For example, did you know that there is nowhere in the United States of America where a human can not find a road within one day’s walk? The Canadian government has turned over a quarter of British Columbia to logging interests, thereby privatizing nearly every hectare of old-growth forest to be found in the province. There is nowhere new left for the freebooters to explore.

The modern Freebooter show signs of an impending split. A small faction of the camp, led by a Ragabash Mother named Erin “Walks-Through-Darkness,” believes that the Freebooters need to find a new body for Gaia elsewhere in the Umbra, in a safe place that the Wyrm has not yet found; her followers are allied with the Wagnerian camp within the Garou nation at large. “Walks-Through-Darkness” won’t come out and say that she feels that the defense of Gaia, of the physical plane, is a lost cause, but I have it on good authority that she quietly believes this to be true.

  • The Moon-Daughters

The Moon-Daughters camp is one of the fastest- growing groups of the Black Furies. The Moon-Daughters’ rituals and doctrine echo modern New Age paganism – their beliefs and practices are likely very similar those of the strega who live on th mainland – though the Garou rites have their origins in Gaia and can more directly trace a continuous line into antiquity. However, the Moon-Daughters push themselves to keep Gaia’s spirit alive through change; in this they try to embody the force of the Wyld as best they can. They feel that the hidebound traditionalism of the Temple of Artemis is nothing more than the reach of the Weaver toward the heart of their tribe.

Moon-Daughters embrace change; they recognize that no institution can stand the test of time, and that establishments created in the dawning days after Gaia’s birth may have no place here on the cusp of the Apocalypse. While the Moon-Daughters’ rites can trace their roots back thousands of years in time, no ancient Black Fury ancestor-spirit would recognize the rituals in their modern form. The Moon-Daughters effortlessly adapt the trappings of the modern world to fit their magics – inscriptions once traced on rock were sketched with a quill pen in the 1700s and might be drawn on a laptop computer screen today. Admittedly, the Moon-Daughters are no Glass Walkers – their spirituality isn’t tied to the Weaver nor wrapped up in technology – but they are unafraid of the modern world. A sister unable to attend a sacred meeting or ritual in person might telecommute or view a website log of the thing.

  • The Order of Our Merciful Mother

The Order of Our Merciful mother – or simply the Order, according to many Black Furies – is probably the most often-derided kuklos in existence. When the Catholic Church and its splinters and offshoots began to spread throughout Europe in the wake of the Roman Empire, the Order chose not to fight this Patriachal tool directly, but rather to infiltrate and subvert it. They stepped into supporting roles as best they could, and became nuns when the opportunity presented itself. The “nuns,” as other Furies sometimes mockingly call members of this camp, pride themselves on their subtlety in comparison to other Garou.

The Order is somewhat loosely organized, as each Fury pack tends to the Gaian needs of its immediate community without regard to the tribe’s larger plans. In times of great need – there have been only a few in the last century – The Order convenes in a great Council at an isolated Caern in northern Italy and agrees on a common plan of action. The last Great Council of the Order was called during the Second World War; its leader, Madre Teresa Escondido of Columbia, died during a ritual just a few years ago. Reports have already arisen that Escondido resides among the honored ancestor spirits, and dotes on no few of her descendants among the Furies.

The Order of the Merciful Mother works to reform human society using society’s tools – politics, the arts and popular culture, and most especially religion. Garou of the Order of the Merciful Mother sometimes join a religious order as they join the Order (when the Curse doesn’t interfere too badly), and most genuinely agree with the stated mission of the religious group they join. This can be the cause of some internal conflict for the Garou, who take a solemn oath to serve God and the Church (or the group they join – Furies of the Order of the Merciful Mother do not merely join Catholic groups) and also has to uphold her primary responsibility to Gaia.

  • The Sisterhood

The Black Furies of the Sisterhood are never bored or lonely. These Garou manage networks of contacts and information that might rival those of the Bone Gnawers or Glass Walkers. When another Fury needs a tidbit of information - a corporate executive’s address, the localation of the nearest Kinfolk physician, of the name of a good club to relax at – she contacts a Sister. The Sisters earn a lot of favors through this kind of information peddling, but they don’t dangle such debts over their tribemates heads. Many cheerfully admit to being natural information networks anyway – they just tend to collects minutae and trivia about people and places over the course of an average day – and if this information proves useful in the fight against the Wyrm, hey, at least it’s good for something.

Many Ragabash Sisters also work as procurers. Nearly any of them can get easy things (fireworks in upstate new York on the 3rd of July)’ some can get difficult things (a security key for a high-tech corporation’s headquarters); crones can get impossible things (a liter of Giants Blood). They aren’t thieves, mind you; they just seem to know where to find things.

The Sisterhood came about during the Inquisition; the Furies who came to form this camp spent their years spiriting Garou, Kinfolk and wise women out of the path of the Church and from there to safety. As they learned byways, roads, and Moon Bridges around most of Europe, they discovered that the information they brought with them was at least as valued to allied septs as another set of claws and teeth. The centuries refined the Sisterhood’s role to that which we see today; they do less traveling now, but they still perform the activity that brought their ancestors together.

The Furies of the Order of the Merciful Mother and those of the Sisterhood do not get along particularly well. The Sisterhood see the Furies of the Order as having been co-opted by the Church centuries ago, when the Sisterhood was trying to fight the Church – or at least get out of its way. Few Sisters believe the nuns could have spent as long as they have in the Patriarch’s embrace without having been at least slightly tainted.

  • The Temple of Artemis

No cubs are permitted to enter the ranks of the Temple of Artemis, and perhaps one Fostern in a hundred meets the Temple’s strict requirements for entry. The Temple of Artemis is by far the most conservative camp of the Black Furies; they are firm allies of the Bacchantes camp, serving as the wisdom to that group’s rage.

The Temple of Artemis urges all Black Furies to pull away from the other tribes, as those Garou ignore the race’s imperative to strike down criminals against Gaia’s law in favor of a quixotic hundred front war thay cannot hope to win. The Crones of the Temple know that their tribemates must strike at the Wyrm, but not in a disordered frenzy, as they do now. The Furies must work as a cohesive whole, and allow each of the other tribes to work on its own, as well; cross tribe packs are a travesty and may even violate Gaia’s laws. Certainly they violate Gaia’s a apparent intentions in separating the Garou nation up into thirteen (all right, sixteen) tribes in the first days.

The Temple of Artemis influences the Outer Calyx to a degree out of proportion to its size. This is primarily due to demographics; the Outer Calyx chooses its membership from the eldest and most experienced Furies, and the Temple of Artemis has more Crones in it than any other camp does. Furies drift into the Temple of Artemis as they get older and see the importance of young Furies’ rage in the face of the Wym’s might. Accordingly, those selected from the Temple of Artemis into the Outer Calyx have a fairly cynical and conservative attitude toward the frontal assault against the Wyrm’s forces.

Members of the Temple of Artemis have been known to stand in judgement of Fury lawbreakers without the knowledge or consent of the either Calyx or the elders of the accusedFuries home sept. This sort of thing happens most often when Fury lawbreakers reside in a multi-tribal Caern and the Crones of the Temple do not feel that the lawbreakers will meet with appropriate justice at that sept leader’s hands.

The Temple of Artemis holds the Moon-Daughter camp in particular contempt; the Crones find the younger sisters and little daughters of this group cloying and too inclined to see their ideas as revolutionary, when infact they are merely rehashing of thrice-digested Gaian wisdom blended with a little human New Agery. The moon-Daughters obviously have honest faith in their belief system, and the most patient of the Crones of the Temple just wait for the Daughters to outgrow this phase and join the rest of the tribe

Totems

Totems of Respect

  • The Muses
    • Traits: Muse pack members each gain one permanent point to a social attribute of their choice and one point in Performance, Expression, or Enigmas.
    • Ban: Muse packs must devote their lives to the art and learning. They also must work to defend free speech and freedom of expression.
    • Background Cost: 5

Totems of War

  • The Gorgon,” Euryale”
    • Traits: Packs devoted to Euryale receive the Gifts: Fatal Flaw and Leap of the Kangaroo, and +3 dice when using Intimidation on males.
    • Ban: Packs of Euryale can never contain male members and will only subject themselves to a male sept member if he defeats the pack alpha in an open challenge
    • Background Cost: 4
  • The Gorgon, “Helena”
    • Traits: Helena’s packs receive the Gift: Name the Spirit, +1 to Charisma and +3 dice to Investigatrion dice pools. Each pack member gains one temporary Wisdom Renown.
    • Ban: Helena’s packs must contain an equal number of male and female Garou. If there is an odd number in the pack, the odd Garou can be of either gender. The males can be Fury metis or members of other tribes if Helena accepts them.
    • Background Cost: 4
  • The Gorgon, “Isthmene”
    • Traits: Each member of one of Isthmene’s packs receive one Glory Renown, +2 dice to their melee dice pools when wielding a labrys (a symmetrical, double-sided axe), and +1 Rage. They cannot enter Fox frenzies; when they do frenzy it is always a frenzy of bloodlust.
    • Ban: Isthmene’s daughters will not tolerate any abuse from a male of any species, and they pay back such abuse in disproportionate fashion: insults are repaid with bruises; bruises with claw and tooth.
    • Background Cost: 5
  • The Gorgon, “Medusa”
    • Traits: Medusa’s daughters receive the Gift: Inspiration, +3 to dice pool involving Crafts, and +1 Honor Renown.
    • Ban: Medusa’s pack may contain neither members of tribes other than Black Furies, nor even male Fury metis; they even refuse to consort with such creatures at Caerns when possible.
    • Background Cost: 4
  • The Gorgon, “Stheno”
    • Traits: Members of packs devoted to Stheno receive one temporary Wisdom enown, and the Gift: Strength of Purpose. The pack also gains an additional point of Strength and Stamina to be appropriated in the usual way.
    • Ban: Daughters of Stheno must accede to any request to stand as arbiters, particularly in conflicts between men and women. They must endeavor to learn the truth of these conflicts before rendering Judgement.
    • Background Cost: 4
  • Panther
    • Traits: Panther gives her children the Gift: yes of the Cat, and reduces the difficulty of all rolls involving stealth, grace or balance by two. Many Red Talons and Get of Fenris despise followers of Panther, primarily due to their distrust of the Bastet. The Bastet consider Panther packs kindred spirits and may call on their sisters in times of need; in particularly rare circumstances they may come to a Panther pack’s assistance.
    • Ban: Panther Packs must aid felines in distress – be they housecats stuck in trees or Bastet beset by Wyrm creatures. Panther packs must also spend at least one month a year in the Amazon, despite the great risk; things have gotten dire there. Panther no longer asks her packs to gather gossip for her, having more important things to worry about.
    • Background Cost: 5

Totems of Wisdom

  • Themis, the Dream-Weaver
    • Traits: Children of Themis gain a permanent point of Wisdom Renown, and add one to their Enigmas and Gnosis traits. Galliards of Themis gain the Gift: Dreamspeak, and all of her children receive prophetic visions of the Storytellers Devising from time to time – the meaning of which will not be obvious. Players should interpret the dreams through role-playing, rather than making an Enigmas roll.
    • Ban: Themis will never choose Glass Walkers nor allow her children to learn a Glass Walker-only tribal Gift (for instance, a child of Themis could learn Attunement, since the Gift is shared with the Bone Gnawers, but could not learn Control Simple Machines). Too much of the weaver exists in these things.
    • Background Cost: 6