Author Topic: Triatic Lores and Taint.  (Read 144 times)

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Offline Constantino "By Infernos' Light" Di Orsini

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Triatic Lores and Taint.
« on: August 14, 2018, 07:36:56 pm »
While I am not opposed to Garou having repercussions to learning suspicious lores and forbidden knowledge, I find the threat of taint to be fairly drastic. There is nothing backing it in the book that taint is in, and the Wyrm Lore passage in the same book makes no mention of it. It does mention a chance of gaining derangements for learning wyrm lore (with a mechanic of gaining one when your level of wyrm lore exceeds your willpower), which I feel is a better representation of corruption that such information can inflict.

The Org also has instances where certain abilities are dangerous to learn and the higher rating you have the more you attract enemies in relation to what you are researching. Which can be lethal, but not as drastic as being banned from the Sept because you are learning more about your enemies and can't keep yourself cleansed in doing so. Which if you are a higher level Garou you would know how to do, but being targeted in a fight because your wyrm quarry knows who you are is something that not even the best garou could immediately expect.
Constantino di Orsini de Gravina "By Infernos' Light"
Silver Fang of House Wise Heart, Athro Theurge, born of humans.

Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver-glass.

Offline Nike 'Slays the Patriarchy' Strilakos

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Re: Triatic Lores and Taint.
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2018, 01:40:42 am »
the common thing i have seen in the org is a chop for taint at lore 3 4 and 5.  Rage and HF both do it starting at 1st dot.  HF has in the past made you chop for taint when you used your lores as well.
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Offline Camaron Carter

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Re: Triatic Lores and Taint.
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2018, 09:29:45 am »
Wyrm lore chops below 3 are ridiculous. I can get wyrm lore chops on 3 and above.  Knowing banes and such would be lore 1 you kill the thing. Seems strange to not have some passing knowledge of it. 

I support a chop for taint on 3 and above on any of the triat.
I support a chop for taint on pentex lore at 2 and above as well  chopping possible enemy flaw.

As a person that has these lores.


Offline Eira Defoe

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Re: Triatic Lores and Taint.
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2018, 02:08:47 pm »
I believe the Book of the Wyrm lays out the reprecussions for learning too much wyrm lore. The levels affected are 4 and 5. It doesn't make any sense to me to gain wyrm taint for learning the lore. Wyrm lore 4 and 5 can only be learned by actively studying wyrm creatures, so maybe that interaction could risk something that might taint a person, but it shouldn't be more severe than what happens when a person interacts with a wyrm creature in any other way, such as murdering it.

Gaining taint for lores doesn't seem to be supported by the books otherwise. I agree that it ought to be rethought.

Eira Lunet Defoe
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~Make up your mind this is clarity~

Offline Patience (ST)

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Re: Triatic Lores and Taint.
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2018, 08:39:42 pm »
We have made a change to the triatic lores in the house rules. There is no risk of taint at the 1-3rd levels, but rather at the 4th and 5th.

Offline Constantino "By Infernos' Light" Di Orsini

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Re: Triatic Lores and Taint.
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2018, 09:19:03 pm »
May I ask the rationale of the storytellers in deciding Lore and taint?
Constantino di Orsini de Gravina "By Infernos' Light"
Silver Fang of House Wise Heart, Athro Theurge, born of humans.

Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver-glass.

Offline Nike 'Slays the Patriarchy' Strilakos

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Re: Triatic Lores and Taint.
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2018, 09:37:56 pm »
For those of us who were unable to previously learn a lore due to taint chop can we learn it now?
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Offline Matt (HST)

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Re: Triatic Lores and Taint.
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2018, 09:05:10 am »
May I ask the rationale of the storytellers in deciding Lore and taint?

Sure. The Triat are powerful forces that underpin everything in the Werewolf setting. What the Triat actually is isn't necessarily entirely clear - they're spirits, kind of, but also beyond even the greatest Celestines. They might be greater than Gaia, or part of Gaia, or on the same scale as Gaia but different. They each operate with a purity of purpose and a "worldview," if it can even be called that, which is (at the end of the day) beyond mortal comprehension.

Almost anyone can get the broad strokes of what they do and what they're about. Those who encounter Triatic spirit minions often (as many Garou do) can begin to learn what the common ones are, what they do, how they do it, and how to deal with them. It seems reasonable that low-to-middling levels of Triatic Lore would be reasonably "safe" and known by Garou - they need this information to do their jobs effectively.

The fourth and fifth dots of these Lores go beyond that sort of working knowledge. At these levels, the Garou must really undertake the exercise of trying to comprehend these incomprehensible entities in earnest. The Garou's ongoing inquiries are less frequently concerned with the what and how of the Triat, and more concerned with the why. These higher levels and more than simply "monster Lore;" they represent an attempt to synchronize one's own thought patterns and understanding of the world with outlooks that are fundamentally alien to Garou experience. Ideas, thoughts, and beliefs have power in the World of Darkness - this is a fundamental conceptual and thematic underpinning of several genres, including Werewolf, Mage, and Changeling. Learning the fourth and fifth dots of Triatic Lore, at least in my opinion, forces a werewolf to really confront and break down some of the dogmatic and conceptual "barriers" in their own minds that have been placed there by their culture and their subconscious.

"Taint" is not just some sort of goo that gets on you when you physically rub against or spend time around powerfully-aligned Triatic entities or forces. "Taint" is spiritual, an influence on a Garou's very being, and learning these high levels of Triatic Lore may fundamentally alter the way a Garou regards their own place in the cosmos. At the end of the day, the Triat are ideas, and Taint represents the hold that those ideas have over the Tainted individual. The strong-willed and careful can separate what they understand about the Triat from what they understand about themselves, but as one immerses oneself in a monolithic philosophy that has some kind of actual singular willful intelligence behind it, one risks unwittingly (or perhaps willingly) trading some small part of themselves for a tiny piece of that thing. This is compounded by the fact that gaining the highest levels of Triatic Lore almost certainly involves spending time in dedicated thought and study in places like Flux, The Cyber Realm, or Malfeas, or else opening one's mind to direct spiritual conduits of knowledge about the Triat, as one might if one made a deal with a knowledge-spirit or similar.

That said, in the end, I recognize that this is a call I'm making about genre, and not some kind of irrefutable fact that I can point to in a published source. I think that Derangements are not necessarily an unreasonable way to model a similar effect, but I am choosing not to go that route in this chronicle. I don't necessarily like the way Derangements are handled by White Wolf roleplaying games; there is an uncomfortable sort of simplification of serious pathologies and weird statements about mental health that get made when one starts handing out Derangements as a "cost" or, even worse, a "punishment." Real traumatic events can definitely cause mental illness and I'm not suggesting we ignore that, but I've seen a fair number of OWbN sheets with four or more Derangements and those Derangements are too-often either not roleplayed or roleplayed in ways that are, at best, grossly insensitive to the realities of living with mental illness. I'm not opposed to characters gaining Derangements, but I think that such cases need always be accompanied by a serious discussion between ST's and players about what that Derangement means for the character and how it can be portrayed in a meaningful manner. There's a reason you all haven't fought Malkavians throwing around Total Insanity or similar Dementation effects during my time as HST; frankly, it's because I find that corner of genre to be particularly problematic in the way that it tries to deal with themes of mental illness. I'm fine with RAtC characters having Derangements (you may note that new Silver Fang characters at RAtC tend to get a lot of scrutiny during character creation, and that isn't just because we need to make sure their heritage is sufficiently documented) and I'm fine with characters gaining Derangements in play, but I am really profoundly uninterested in mandating Derangements under most circumstances. There are other options - the Nightmares Flaw, for example - for acknowledging the effects of trauma on a character's mind.

Taint isn't...trauma, exactly. It's a fundamental change in a character's spiritual nature. Such changes might be traumatic, but they also might not be. I should also end by noting that the "levels" of Triatic Taint gained from these Lores aren't intended to render characters unplayable or unable to enter caerns. They are intended to flag the Garou as someone to be watched, and someone who may have looked a bit too far into certain Abysses that looked back also into them. We're committed to working with you and with other Staffs to make sure your character can participate in our game and also travel without being denied access to caerns.

Is that helpful?

Also, Anna, if you have previously attempted to learn a Triatic Lore of Level 3 or below (with Staff approval) and then abandoned the effort to avoid Taint under the old rules, you may buy the level you were trying to buy now with no risk of Taint.
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Offline Eira Defoe

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Re: Triatic Lores and Taint.
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2018, 07:30:19 am »
Hi Matt! I really appreciate the answer you gave and your take on derangements. I agree that they often are misused and misplayed. The only thing I want to push back on, however, is the idea of taint. What does this mean exactly? Does that mean that learning the fourth level of wyrm lore gives you the 7 point flaw Taint of Corruption? Or do you just have a bit of taint that can be cleansed with a rite of cleansing?

The book of the wyrm talks about what happens when one learns wyrm lore and I think their system is pretty good and pretty damning. It's on pages 20 and 21 of the Book of the Wyrm:

"Wyrm Lore is one of those skills that should serve as a double-edged sword for characters. On one hand, the Garou are desperate to learn about their enemy; on the other, such knowledge may prove to be too much for the Garou to bear. A Garou should always be wary of learning too much, lest he succumb to the Wyrm’s wiles. The Wyrm has been known to take as much interest in those who study it, as those who seek the knowledge take interest in it. This occasion is truly one in which a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

As a rule of thumb, one to three levels of Wym Lore should not be dangerous. A Garou should be able to pick up the first level of Wym Lore just
by fighting the Wyrm and listening to his elders. However, the character is just as likely to have incorrect information, and guessing should be hazardous. Levels two and three are harder to acquire, but a Garou shouldn’t have to do more than listen to the Galliards to find out the different tales of the Wyrm and to get a sense of its powers, and have a few encounters with Wyrm-spirits under his belt. This level of  knowledge lets a Garou know about the powers and basic motives of most Wyrm-spirits, but it conveys nothing about the greater spirits of the Wyrm, nor does it reveal any information about the Far Umbral realms of the Wyrm. Still, he knows enough not to make foolish errors about basic material, and may be able to form hypotheses based on what he knows.

Level four requires that the Garou study a Wyrm spirit actively. He needs to summon one and question it, or observe it in the wild. An extended interview with a fomor may be helpful, although many fomori are ignorant regarding some of the intricacies that may be uppermost in the character’s mind. A few conversations to wring the information from a Black Spiral Dancer somehow is another possibility. (Prof. W. Richard MacLish, also known as Writlish of the Black Spirals, teaches at the University of Edinburgh and is usually available for discussions on “scholarly matters.”) Such contact is extremely hazardous, and it violates the Litany in any number of ways. At the very least, the Garou is no longer fighting the Wyrm wherever it lives and wherever it breeds. At worst, the Garou may have to pay his source for the information somehow, and is thereby actively aiding the Wyrm. Many tribes will overlook such behavior- the Uktena practically expect their tribemates to attempt such things. Other tribes, such as the Get of Fenris or Red Talons, will call out anyone who consorts with the Wyrm in such a fashion. No matter what an individual Garou thinks of such a student’s quest, he is never fully trusted by the Garou Nation again. The Garou seeking knowledge has shown that he’s willing to compromise Gaia to further his knowledge. Such an act may be forgiven, it cannot be forgotten.

A Garou with Wym Lore x 4 is always down two Traits in any Social Challenges with Garou who know of his reputation as a scholar of the Wyrm. Agents of the Wyrm are also likely to know of a character with such knowledge, and they will seek to kill him or convert him above all others. On the other hand, a Garou with this level of Lore knows the names of the Umbral Realms that belong to the Wyrm. He also has a rough idea of what Anchorheads and Wyrm caerns are capable of, and he may attempt to take apart an Anchorhead without too much difficulty. As the Garou gathers knowledge, he may find that his further studies allow him to throw out mistaken beliefs and ideas. It should be as much about knowing what’s incorrect as well as correct.

Wym Lore x 5 will shatter most Garou. Such knowledge can only come by visiting one of the Realms of the Wyrm. The answers to the darkest questions that a Garou might ask are written on the wall of the Abyss, or muttered endlessly by a worker within the Scar, or played out in terrible splendor deep within the Atrocity Realm. It’s only with this level of knowledge that a Garou can determine where an Anchorhead goes without entering it, discern the powers of any given Bane on sight, or safely disassemble a Wyrm caern.

 Garou with five levels of Wym Lore is a prime candidate for a derangement of the Storyteller’s choice, plus the other hindrances described with level four. Paranoia, obviously, is ideal, but other options exist. Feel free to select whatever you feel is appropriate. Such a well-versed student should always be fending off petitions and temptations by the Wyrm. She might also have other little problems, like other scholars (such as Writlish) leaving messages on her answering machine when the sept leader comes by, or being recognized by Wyrm-creatures during a fight."


The system seems to set up enough pitfalls for the learning of wyrm lore that adding taint to that list seems a bit much. It should be possible for characters with that high level of wyrm lore to hide that they are scholars and that they have gotten it, because of course if it gets out, then they aren't trusted.

So I mostly wonder about wyrm taint and what the process is for getting rid of wyrm taint if one gets it from learning a lore. How does that show up on a sheet and travel? How does it interact with things that give you instant levels of lore for a scene?

I have so many questions! I appreciate you taking the time to chat about this!

Eira Lunet Defoe
Deeded Breath-Taker
Silver Fang Kinfolk
Pure breed x5
Alluring x 5
~Make up your mind this is clarity~