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What does a Werewolf see in the suburban umbra?

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April 22, 2004 10:11:53 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

In a few weeks (finals week), I am going to be in my first actual
Werewolf game.

My character concept is basically complete and approved. However, I am
running into an unexpected mental roadblock.

What would the umbra of a suburban development look like to a werewolf?

I thought I knew, and then I remember that this isn't Mage. All the
werewolves actually see the same thing. So while "Hunts for Winter" is a
very unusual Werewolf Theurge, he still sees the same things all of his
cousins do. And werewolf religion would have the suburbs be a
spiritually barren place, wouldn't it? Or would there be any of the
fading, rotting remains of the forests and farms that used to be there?
A few of the oldest suburbs might be beginning to manifest in the Umbra
(Levittown, FI), but what about the new ones? An endless, treeless
wasteland?

William

More about : werewolf suburban umbra

Anonymous
April 22, 2004 11:28:11 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

In the borning days of the third millennium, William wrote:
>I thought I knew, and then I remember that this isn't Mage. All the
>werewolves actually see the same thing. So while "Hunts for Winter" is a
>very unusual Werewolf Theurge, he still sees the same things all of his
>cousins do. And werewolf religion would have the suburbs be a
>spiritually barren place, wouldn't it? Or would there be any of the
>fading, rotting remains of the forests and farms that used to be there?
>A few of the oldest suburbs might be beginning to manifest in the Umbra
>(Levittown, FI), but what about the new ones? An endless, treeless
>wasteland?

I don't know if this is White Wolf canon, but it's my take:

Suburbia is the Weaver's great playground. It is regimented and neatly
trimmed. All of the houses are the same (damn that Wyld for allowing
variations in color and landscaping!). The roads are dead straight or follow
precise curves. Dirt is frowned upon unless it is strictly controlled. People
are contained in developments so they won't go mixing willy nilly.

Physical decay is not allowed. Old houses are torn down and replaced with
gleaming condos. Trash is shipped elsewhere. The messy business of getting
electricity, gas, etc. is hidden safely underground. Compost piles are not
allowed to offend one's delicate nose.

The suburban Umbra is locked in webs of steel with Weaver spirits on constant
patrol to root out any sign of individuality. It is a fractal hell where each
region is precisely the same as it's neighbor. Grotesque parodies of nature
occupy the spaces where parks are in the material world, but each blade of
grass is precisely placed, exactly the same, and made of glass. Centers of
commerce are much larger than other areas and have an uncanny ability to make
you look at them. Your eyes can't seem to avoid that 5 story neon Pentex
logo.

But the Wyrm gets his shot in too. The Weaver has conquered the physical
representations in this place, but she neglected the spiritual (NPI). A
papable sense of despair hangs over the region as artistry is turned into
advertising slogans and dreams are molded into resume bullet points. Hope is
dead, all that is left is aquisition.

[Cue continuous loop of Rush's 'Subdivisions']

--
Brian Merchant (remove "example." to email me)

Reading Slashdot is like attending a meeting of Mensa in the same hall
where they're giving away WWF Smackdown tickets in exchange for chickens.
April 23, 2004 12:13:51 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

Brian Merchant wrote:
> In the borning days of the third millennium, William wrote:
>
>>I thought I knew, and then I remember that this isn't Mage. All the
>>werewolves actually see the same thing. So while "Hunts for Winter" is a
>>very unusual Werewolf Theurge, he still sees the same things all of his
>>cousins do. And werewolf religion would have the suburbs be a
>>spiritually barren place, wouldn't it? Or would there be any of the
>>fading, rotting remains of the forests and farms that used to be there?
>>A few of the oldest suburbs might be beginning to manifest in the Umbra
>>(Levittown, FI), but what about the new ones? An endless, treeless
>>wasteland?
>
>
> I don't know if this is White Wolf canon, but it's my take:
>
> Suburbia is the Weaver's great playground. It is regimented and neatly
> trimmed. All of the houses are the same (damn that Wyld for allowing
> variations in color and landscaping!). The roads are dead straight or follow
> precise curves. Dirt is frowned upon unless it is strictly controlled. People
> are contained in developments so they won't go mixing willy nilly.

Good so far.

>
> Physical decay is not allowed. Old houses are torn down and replaced with
> gleaming condos. Trash is shipped elsewhere. The messy business of getting
> electricity, gas, etc. is hidden safely underground. Compost piles are not
> allowed to offend one's delicate nose.

BWAHAHAHAH!

>
> The suburban Umbra is locked in webs of steel with Weaver spirits on constant
> patrol to root out any sign of individuality. It is a fractal hell where each
> region is precisely the same as it's neighbor. Grotesque parodies of nature
> occupy the spaces where parks are in the material world, but each blade of
> grass is precisely placed, exactly the same, and made of glass. Centers of
> commerce are much larger than other areas and have an uncanny ability to make
> you look at them. Your eyes can't seem to avoid that 5 story neon Pentex
> logo.

That's... dramatic. Impressive Umbral presence for someplace that's only
50 years old and really shouldn't register on the Umbra much at all. I
mean, suburban parks have the spiritual weight of... of something really
light.

>
> But the Wyrm gets his shot in too. The Weaver has conquered the physical
> representations in this place, but she neglected the spiritual (NPI). A
> papable sense of despair hangs over the region as artistry is turned into
> advertising slogans and dreams are molded into resume bullet points. Hope is
> dead, all that is left is aquisition.

How is that the Wyrm? Also, in the umbra any Wyrm taint should have a
clear, 'physical' manifestation.

>
> [Cue continuous loop of Rush's 'Subdivisions']
>


Inspired me to refine my own view a bit more.

Vast, dust blown plains stretche in all directions as far as you can
see. Nothing grows tall here, wood or steel. The earth is barren, though
when the sun is clear you can see the wavering ghosts of forests past
still clinging to the rare hill or gully.

Where major roads run, you can see the earth has been trampled down
under the wear of a thousand feet, while weaver spirits raise steel
fences to channel the invisible multitude. Parodies of houses, made of
spiderwebs and never more than one story tall, dot the landscape.
Occasionally a brief light, a ray of hope and health, shines through
their cobweb shutters, but more often than not nothing leaves, and from
them you can hear faint sounds as if something was choking.

The ground itself is crisscrossed by thin strands of webbing, far
sparser than in a city, but clean and ordered in geometric precision. In
the gaps between you can sometimes see scattered blades of grass, or
the stunted form of a gnarled and ancient tree. More often the dry earth
changes to a noisome, green-tinted mud that boils slowly, reaking of the
worm. Around these holes nothing grows, and all webs are streaked with
rust and black oil.

William
Related resources
Anonymous
April 23, 2004 12:13:52 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

William wrote:

> Inspired me to refine my own view a bit more.

> Vast, dust blown plains stretche in all directions as far as you can
> see. Nothing grows tall here, wood or steel. The earth is barren, though
> when the sun is clear you can see the wavering ghosts of forests past
> still clinging to the rare hill or gully.

By "sun" you mean "moon," of course. The Middle Umbra, including the
Near Middle Umbra, is illuminated only by the moon; during the day it's
pitch black.
--
Stephenls
Geek
"I'm as impure as the driven yellow snow." -Spike
Anonymous
April 23, 2004 1:15:01 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

William <wilit0613@postoffice.uri.edu> wrote in message news:<c69fu4$9n08b$1@ID-200600.news.uni-berlin.de>...
> In a few weeks (finals week), I am going to be in my first actual
> Werewolf game.
>
> My character concept is basically complete and approved. However, I am
> running into an unexpected mental roadblock.
>
> What would the umbra of a suburban development look like to a werewolf?
>
>

I'm not up on my WW lore but it would look like idealized versions of
what it is and what it was. Newer developments would still retain some
vestiges of the rural life they built on top of. Between the houses
would still be spiritual flora and fauna. However the trees would all
be in autumn and later the process of dieing. The normal animal
spirits would be scared and departing the area and being replaced with
roach, rat, cat and dog spirits. The houses would be shaped the most
by those who live in them. A happy newly wed couple who has just moved
in and is fullfilling the American dream might have a big bright new
house in perfect condition while a family with an abusive father
figure who sells drugs may have an umbral house that is a rotted out
shack, even if the real world conditions are reversed. Of course, most
garou will see either as a blight upon the umbra. Banes will suround
the bad spots.

The big noticable things would be if the development had something
about it. Built on top of a landfill, you're going to get all the wyrm
taint from the garbage that rots underneath. An old toxic waste dump
may be too dangerous of a place to go in the umbra without thought.
Buried on top of an indian burial ground; you're going to have to deal
with lots of angry indian ancestor spirits who might be willing to
talk to garou but will otherwise want the developement razed.
April 23, 2004 1:50:07 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

Stephenls wrote:
> William wrote:
>
>> Inspired me to refine my own view a bit more.
>
>
>> Vast, dust blown plains stretche in all directions as far as you can
>> see. Nothing grows tall here, wood or steel. The earth is barren,
>> though when the sun is clear you can see the wavering ghosts of
>> forests past still clinging to the rare hill or gully.
>
>
> By "sun" you mean "moon," of course. The Middle Umbra, including the
> Near Middle Umbra, is illuminated only by the moon; during the day it's
> pitch black.


Oh. That's right.

The imagery still works, though.

William

werewolves and their moon fetish...
Anonymous
April 23, 2004 2:24:25 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

In the borning days of the third millennium, William wrote:
>> The suburban Umbra is locked in webs of steel with Weaver spirits on constant
>> patrol to root out any sign of individuality. It is a fractal hell where each
>> region is precisely the same as it's neighbor. Grotesque parodies of nature
>> occupy the spaces where parks are in the material world, but each blade of
>> grass is precisely placed, exactly the same, and made of glass. Centers of
>> commerce are much larger than other areas and have an uncanny ability to make
>> you look at them. Your eyes can't seem to avoid that 5 story neon Pentex
>> logo.
>
>That's... dramatic. Impressive Umbral presence for someplace that's only
>50 years old and really shouldn't register on the Umbra much at all. I
>mean, suburban parks have the spiritual weight of... of something really
>light.

It's not suburbia doing it. It's the fact that a member of the Triat is
paying specific attention to the area. Suburbia is a wonderful example of
stasis and repression of nature.

>>
>> But the Wyrm gets his shot in too. The Weaver has conquered the physical
>> representations in this place, but she neglected the spiritual (NPI). A
>> papable sense of despair hangs over the region as artistry is turned into
>> advertising slogans and dreams are molded into resume bullet points. Hope is
>> dead, all that is left is aquisition.
>
>How is that the Wyrm? Also, in the umbra any Wyrm taint should have a
>clear, 'physical' manifestation.

Why? The physical is only one part of the embodiment of entropy/decay. The
death of dreams and the slow decay of hope are also of the Wyrm. The Weaver
had the physical all tied up, so the Wyrm slipped in another way.

>Where major roads run, you can see the earth has been trampled down
>under the wear of a thousand feet, while weaver spirits raise steel
>fences to channel the invisible multitude. Parodies of houses, made of
>spiderwebs and never more than one story tall, dot the landscape.
>Occasionally a brief light, a ray of hope and health, shines through
>their cobweb shutters, but more often than not nothing leaves, and from
>them you can hear faint sounds as if something was choking.

To me, this is what the Umbra looks like *before* a development springs up.
The Weaver is preparing the Umbra for her next conquest. After nature has
been destroyed, her webs are more prominent.

But my vision is no more legitimate than yours. Infinitely less so in your
game.

--
Brian Merchant (remove "example." to email me)

Reading Slashdot is like attending a meeting of Mensa in the same hall
where they're giving away WWF Smackdown tickets in exchange for chickens.
Anonymous
April 23, 2004 2:58:01 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

Stephenls wrote:

> William wrote:
>
>> Inspired me to refine my own view a bit more.
>
>
>> Vast, dust blown plains stretche in all directions as far as you can
>> see. Nothing grows tall here, wood or steel. The earth is barren,
>> though when the sun is clear you can see the wavering ghosts of
>> forests past still clinging to the rare hill or gully.
>
>
> By "sun" you mean "moon," of course. The Middle Umbra, including the
> Near Middle Umbra, is illuminated only by the moon; during the day it's
> pitch black.

What about times when the Moon is out during the day? Fifty per cent of
the time the Moon is visible is during daylight.
--
[The address listed is a spam trap. To reply, take off every zig.]

"I wasn't aware the Tokyo police employed uneducated, paranoid,
delusional foreign delinquents."
"In my case, they made an exception."
-- MegaTokyo
Anonymous
April 23, 2004 2:58:02 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

Richard Clayton wrote:

> What about times when the Moon is out during the day? Fifty per cent
> of the time the Moon is visible is during daylight.

I suspect the person writing it didn't take that into account, as there
are passages that say "By day, it's pitch black, and by night, you can
see by the light of the moon."

Maybe it's supposed to be pitch black during the day. Something about
how while during the day the moon is visible, it's only at night that
the moon illuminates?
--
Stephenls
Geek
"I'm as impure as the driven yellow snow." -Spike
April 23, 2004 4:57:12 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

Now that I've gotten some raw opinions, I think I should explain a bit
more why I'm looking for them. Keep them coming, please!

I am planning to play a Bone Gnawer Theurge with the totem of Squirrel.

That is, the most prominent mammalian totem that cares little if it
lives in Woods or Suburbs. It seems to fit (the Theurge is a lupus,
spent his whole life hunting and scavenging for foods in the suburbs and
state parks). Not like rat, who really only thrives with humans, and yet
still willing and able to take or force survival from human hands.

I planned to have one of his "Vision realms" be the Umbral Realm of
Suburbs, where he would learn to see and understand humanity through
viewing their forest, from birth to corruption. I plan the character to
be something of a spirit world social activist, with the "Driving Goal"
flaw of creating a healthy "human forest" for himself and his kinfolk
(feral dogs) to live in. He'll fail, of course, but this is werewolf.
Ultimate failure due to your flaws (in this case, lack of real
comprehension of humans) is expected.

William
Anonymous
April 23, 2004 11:22:53 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

"Stephenls"
> Richard Clayton wrote:

> > What about times when the Moon is out during the day? Fifty per cent
> > of the time the Moon is visible is during daylight.

> I suspect the person writing it didn't take that into account, as there
> are passages that say "By day, it's pitch black, and by night, you can
> see by the light of the moon."

> Maybe it's supposed to be pitch black during the day. Something about
> how while during the day the moon is visible, it's only at night that
> the moon illuminates?

I always got the whole "It doesn't matter what phase the moon really is in,
in the Umbra it's full" thing. So that'd work.
Anonymous
April 23, 2004 11:22:54 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

Shane Graves wrote:

> I always got the whole "It doesn't matter what phase the moon really is in,
> in the Umbra it's full" thing. So that'd work.

That can't be right, though, because the rules for Lunes talk about the
different Rage scores they have during the moon's different phases.
Also, The Infinite Tapestry talks a lot about how, given that time in
the Umbra is fluid, the best way to tell when your three months are up
is to watch the moon -- it's always visible from the sky somewhere, and
it's always doing its phases thing according to Earth time, so you can
always tell how much time you have left just by keeping track of it from
night to night.
--
Stephenls
Geek
"I'm as impure as the driven yellow snow." -Spike
Anonymous
April 23, 2004 12:25:07 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

"Stephenls"
> Shane Graves wrote:

> > I always got the whole "It doesn't matter what phase the moon really is
in,
> > in the Umbra it's full" thing. So that'd work.

> That can't be right, though, because the rules for Lunes talk about the
> different Rage scores they have during the moon's different phases.
> Also, The Infinite Tapestry talks a lot about how, given that time in
> the Umbra is fluid, the best way to tell when your three months are up
> is to watch the moon -- it's always visible from the sky somewhere, and
> it's always doing its phases thing according to Earth time, so you can
> always tell how much time you have left just by keeping track of it from
> night to night.

Doing crack does that to me.

Either that, or I have to find the book where it's mentioned. I recall
seeing it somewhere.
Anonymous
April 23, 2004 11:57:30 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

In article <hv3ic.5997$eZ5.5528@newsread1.news.pas.earthlink.net>, Shane
Graves <lobsterhut@earthlink.net> writes
>"Stephenls"
>> Richard Clayton wrote:
>
>> > What about times when the Moon is out during the day? Fifty per cent
>> > of the time the Moon is visible is during daylight.
>
>> I suspect the person writing it didn't take that into account, as there
>> are passages that say "By day, it's pitch black, and by night, you can
>> see by the light of the moon."
>
>> Maybe it's supposed to be pitch black during the day. Something about
>> how while during the day the moon is visible, it's only at night that
>> the moon illuminates?
>
>I always got the whole "It doesn't matter what phase the moon really is in,
>in the Umbra it's full" thing. So that'd work.
>
>
I was flicking through the Umbra book for Werewolf the other day and I
think it says that the phase of the moon in the Umbra is the same as it
is outside the Umbra, as well as being pitch black during the day.

Interestingly, when I was playing Werewolf years ago, our GM said we
couldn't go onto the Umbra during the day because it was blindingly
bright. Presumably, the spiritual light of the sun was far more intense.
I don't know where he took that idea from, but I rather like it.

Regards

Robin
--
Robin Low
Anonymous
April 25, 2004 1:51:29 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

William squarked:
> What would the umbra of a suburban development look like to a
> werewolf?
The penumbra of a 50 year old suburb will mostly remain what it was before
it was that.

In Britain, many suburbs were built up from old villages or hamlets where
urban spread slowly absorbed them; these often had lots of history and
emotion behind them [Type 1]. Another classic suburb is the perfect street
as seen in The Truman Show (for instance) [Type 2]. This latter case is
built not by need and emotion, but by planning and was probably a
green-field site. Most suburbs will fall somewhere between these two,
between the higgildy-piggildy and the perfectly symetrical.

The closer the area is to type 1, the more familial emotions will be
attached to the place, and the more likely you are to find old buildings
there; the more like type 2, the stronger the influence of the Weaver.
Depending on the feel of your game, the Weaver may have (partially)
sterilised the penumbra during the building process.

So now you have your background, add your houses for 50 years. Chances are
the houses are the same as they were 50 years ago, so you will at the very
least have a framework of the houses and roads (as someone else described).
Older building in the middle of the suburb will be largely covered with
webbing unless someone has done something to remove it. In areas where
there are lots of computers and the internet, sparks will flow underground
and across the space where telephone wires hang.

Now mix in the history of the area. Any large battles, graves etc. Any
house loved by its owner will be made stronger, coloured by the strong
emotions (for instance, a house cleaned daily for the last 40 years will
have very clean lines of thick, strong webs). Violence, abuse or discontent
might colour the area black, coating the webbing into thick viscous
threads - weak but that cling to the umbral traveller. Areas with low
tolerance to anything outside the norm may even have Guardian Spiders or
Attack Geomids patrolling.

Finally add the denizens of the Umbra. Former grassland may have emaciated
deer running around, often getting caught in the weaver's webs (and similar
for other land-types). Add a balance of Banes/Weaver spirits according to
personal taste and the history of the area. The basic gafflings feed off
emotion and concepts rather than causing them (although long-term exposure
may change an area). My vision of Pattern Spiders is that they work very
slowly to render areas unchangeable; while they may move quickly, they
require a lot of thread to hold something still.

Now all this applies to earthbound suburbs. A suburb realm will include any
and all of the above, but in a purer form. Presumably one character will
only see one part of this realm, and so you have to decide which aspects of
suburbia does it represent. Some examples:
the boundary between city and the country
the forgotten part of the city, housing the
homeless/addicts/unemployed/former students who fall into one or more
categories
the home of the elite/snobs/middle class
commuterville
sameness
a bit of green in the city

I apologise for the ramble. I have to admit to using this as an exercise to
help me think about the next Werewolf game I am due to run. Have fun,
--
Picks-at-Flies
Beware acronyms.
http://www.werepenguin.co.uk
Anonymous
April 25, 2004 6:22:46 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.whitewolf (More info?)

Stephenls <stephenls@shaw.ca> wrote:
> Richard Clayton wrote:

> > What about times when the Moon is out during the day? Fifty per cent
> > of the time the Moon is visible is during daylight.
>
> I suspect the person writing it didn't take that into account, as there
> are passages that say "By day, it's pitch black, and by night, you can
> see by the light of the moon."
>
> Maybe it's supposed to be pitch black during the day. Something about
> how while during the day the moon is visible, it's only at night that
> the moon illuminates?

The original bit reads:

"The moon shines in the spirit world at night, and is often the
only light. Thus the night on Earth is day in the spirit world.
When there is no moon in the real sky, there is no moon in the
spirit sky."
-p149, Werewolf: the Apocalypse (first edition)

I think you are taking that a little too literally. Try it as:

"The moon and is often the only light in the spirit world. When
it is night on Earth, it may be as day in the Umbra. When there
is no moon in the real sky, there is no moon in the spirit sky."

The moon in the Umbra is a spirit as well as a place (Selene, if
I recall correctly from the first edition copy of U:tVS). It is
much closer geographically and much more spiritually potent to
Garou. While Mokole and Corax may see things differently, Luna
is a bigger factor in the spirit world (at least as perceived by
the Garou).


Vis Sierra
!