Luna and the Garou
My Italian pal Raffaele Litto asked the question:
> Nooooo, again, my player (the SS) asked me why on
> hell silver harms Garou and strips him of Gnosis...
> And I hadn't still got any workable answer!!! Do you
> know any reason? Or at least a feasible magical law
> on which I could work a really feasible explanation?
And I responded:
The Real Answer (as I see it):
Traditionally, the moon is a symbol of change. It is therefore appropriate that she be connected with werewolves, creatures capable of changing their shapes. The moon is also a symbol of mystery, mysticism and magic, and the night; all of these traits are consistent with werewolves, and make for a fine traditional association.
Tradition and horror movie precedent also dictate that the werewolf is not an ally or friend of the moon, but her servant. The moon dictates the change, over which the werewolf has no control, and the werewolf is vulnerable to silver, the moon's metal. The moon is not a helper, but a harsh mistress, who inspires madness and lunacy when she is full, and drags the werewolf into a monthly night of horror.
The old ideas, forced transformation on the full moon and vulnerability to silver, make sense together; there is a consistent symbolic relationship between werewolves and the moon. When White Wolf established rules for Werewolf: the Apocalypse, they tampered with this. They were motivated by two factors: first, to capture the flavor of the traditional werewolf, despite the very non-traditional figure W:tA presents; and, second, to make the game rules balance with each other and with the other World of Darkness games. Rules about Auspice, moon bridges, Rage, and other blessings granted by Luna and her lunes therefore clash with curses from Luna, such as frenzy, silver vulnerability, and silver's effect on Gnosis.
What is the relationship between Luna and werewolves based on this pattern of rules?
The Rationalizing Answer (as I see it):
Because White Wolf did not put the rules together with a coherent picture in mind, trying to recreate the werewolves' relationship with Luna is a little like trying to glue together a pitcher with the shards of three bowls. Any attempt is going to be awkward and artificial. White Wolf created their rules based on at least two different motives, and trying to figure out a good in-game story to account for the rules will be inevitably awkward. But here goes.
The W:tA rulebook alludes several times to Luna as Gaia's sister, and as the werewolves' "crazy aunt." This is in keeping with the ever-changing nature of Luna, and implies that her decisions are arbitrary, and are meant to hurt the Garou as much as they are to help them.
This doesn't quite capture the whole story. Each of Luna's blessings and curses has a certain benefit for the Garou, if considered from a certain point of view. Luna granted them Auspices in order to help them carry out their responsibilities to Gaia. She allows them to use moon bridges to travel throughout Gaia to fight for Her. She grants Rage to make them warriors and to enable the transformation; with it comes the weakness of frenzy, an unfortunate side effect. She granted them a weakness to silver, her metal, to enable them to more easily destroy dissenters in their own ranks. But seeing that the weakness caused infighting, she made silver a burden to them, to discourage the Garou from carrying it into battle against one another thoughtlessly, by causing silver to dampen their spiritual awareness.
This picture is not quite one of madness, but of a power motivated by a fickle and ever-changing perspective, not considering the consequences of her blessings, and granting more in an effort to undo her missteps.
An odd aspect of Luna is that she blesses Gaia's Garou equally with the Black Spiral Dancers. No other spirit of the level of Incarna or higher blesses both equally. The BSDs receive Auspice and Rage from Luna, suffer under the burden of silver and are damaged by its touch, and frenzy more easily under the full moon. While Gaia and Lion both retracted their power when the White Howlers turned to the Wyrm, Luna's fickleness prevented her from doing the same.
Lastly, who has the right to question the Celestines? Luna is, above all, wise and mysterious. Her blessings may come from infinitely wise and complex motives that may never be revealed until the end days, if they ever are. Any who question Luna are sure to receive cool silence in answer.
Then some guy calling himself Julian Mensch, whom I have never met but who makes a good point, wrote:
> Hi. I read your article on your Werewolf page about Luna's relationship
> with the Garou and why silver harms them. I just wanted to offer my
> opinion. I've always thought that the silver weakness was a trade-off
> for Rage, Auspices, Moon Bridges, Luna's Armour and everything else.
> In Axis Mundi, it talks about how Theurges take on taboos in exhange
> for favours from the spirits; I see this as much the same thing. Luna
> asks that the Garou fear the power of her metal as a sign of her power,
> in exchange for the Gifts she has given them.
|by McRey "Mac" Moyer|