Shadow Lords

The Shadow Lords cultivate an air of menace in the same way that a Child of Gaia cultivates her herb garden. Dark, looming, brooding – such traits personify these Garou of Eastern European descent. The Shadow Lords know with precise certainty that they are more qualified to lead the Garou Nation than the Silver Fangs; the Fangs’ leadership consists of doddering old fools, lost in yesterday’s glory, they say. They hold themselves to be the guardians of the Litany, well-versed in the “correct” interpretations of the tenets. Above all, they respect power and strength; the weak are worth only disdain or a swift death.

The Shadow Lords must watch their own flanks at all times: In addition to competing with Garou of other tribes for position and influence, a Lord dares not show weakness to another Lord lest she lose face and position within the tribe. Cubs revere their elders as dignified, cunning and proud, but often do so from fear. Elders are known for arrogance as much as ability. Add this to a steaming cauldron of political intrigues, tribal solidarity, conspiracies and spies, and the tribe is more likely to suffer from internal conflicts than outside interests.

The Shadow Lords are adept at manipulating others to do their bidding; some darkly joke that they learned that skill from the vampires that stalk the night in the tribe’s ancient homeland, the Carpathian and Balkan mountain ranges. It is certainly the case that the Shadow Lords are more willing to enter into dealings with such dark creatures than other tribes are. Some Lords end up on the wrong sides of such bargains – apparently some Leeches have a fondness for werewolf blood – but others can and do play games with the undead.

The Shadow Lords revere Grandfather Thunder as a spirit only slightly beneath Gaia in importance – most Garou believe that the Shadow Lords feel that Grandfather Thunder is Gaia’s equal, a sky god to the earth goddess. If the Shadow Lords really do consider the two to be equal, they keep that fact to themselves. By all indications, Mother Gaia is foremost in their hearts, but Grandfather Thunder is a capricious patron. He does not tolerate weakness, but sends his Stormcrows ahead to warn favored Shadow Lords of coming danger.

Tribal Totem: Grandfather Thunder

Advantage:
A Shadow Lord can socially outmaneuver his opponents with blinding skill. By spending one Gnosis Trait, the Lord can temporarily gain an amount of Social Traits equal to his Rank. This extra amount can be used for a single Social Challenge per session. This Advantage fails against a Garou with equal or greater Traits in the Pure Breed Background than the character has.

Drawback:
The Shadow Lords are arrogant to extremes, and this is reflected in the tribe’s attitude toward failure. A Lord who fails in her assigned tasks is scorned and reviled; she loses an additional Renown Trait when she fails at a task (or, if that failure would still earn positive Renown, she earns one fewer Renown Trait). If she would gain or lose Renown in more than one category, she loses it from the category which would have earned her the most Renown had she succeeded.

Backgrounds:
Shadow Lords are too proud to take the Allies or Mentor Backgrounds.

Beginning Tribal Gifts:
Aura of Confidence, Fatal Flaw, Seizing the Edge

Wolf Form:
A lupus-form Shadow Lord retains his hauteur and arrogance. The Lord is typically black-furred and broad-shouldered, with an air of smoldering menace about him. Most spend time as Lupus during bleak, rainy days.

Organization:
The Shadow Lords are organized along much the same lines as the Get of Fenris (though you would never hear members of either tribe suggest such a thing): The strongest leads alone. The primary difference between the two is that while Get of Fenris moots are rowdy, drunken debacles, Shadow Lord moots are quiet, almost solemn, as the sept’s leader sets out the plans for the next month’s activities. Shadow Lord leaders must be perfect – having the social skills necessary to manage the tribe’s activities, the strength to crush any opposition and the mystic knowledge to turn even the spirits to their will. Shadow Lord leaders are rarely challenged openly; only when the leader has shown obvious weakness is he considered to be a viable target for deposition.

Habitat/Protectorate:
Though the tribe’s true home lies in the Balkan and Carpathian mountain ranges, they now range across the Western Concordiat. The Lords’ preferred homes lie amid rocky mountains and spooky plateaus, with haunted coniferous forests all around. Other than their own Kinfolk - generally of Eastern European descent - and business interests, the Shadow Lords do not have a favored group of homids to defend, although powerful men like military dictators, crime lords or ruthless businessmen may find themselves pursued by female Shadow Lord lovers. Like the Get of Fenris, they ruthlessly seize undefended caerns, insisting that the Garou Nation must ensure that such holy places are in the hands of those best capable of protecting them.