Rage Across Baltimore

Intro Story: Desperate Times
The pack-to-be's Rite of Passage

The Garou Nation is beset with crises: don’t think for a minute that Baltimore represents the only last stand for desperate skin-changers on the verge of losing territory. The situation in Baltimore is just one of many. But while wandering packs of combat-tested heroes might be tasked with saving other Garou protectorates, the best that could be done for Baltimore is a mixed pack of urrah, Metis and other cast-offs. And yet, even these few cubs are precious to the Garou; every Gaian werewolf lost in battle is nearly irreplaceable, especially in these last days before the prophesied Apocalypse.

In our introduction to Rage Across Baltimore, the PCs gather at their new sept to take on a serious problem — a power drain of lost Gnosis from the caern — and to do so under the shadows and watchful eyes of the sept’s enemies.

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Second Story: Nascence
The hunt for a Totem

Four Garou cubs have survived their first adventure together in Rage Across Baltimore, and together they struck a blow against the forces of the Wyrm. But before they can take action against the likes of the Black Spiral Loki’s Grin or the Wyrmish wildcard Sophia, the time has come for the pack to choose the totem that best represents them…or perhaps it’s more a case of hunting down a totem willing to adopt the urrah pack.

The choice of which totem the Garou decide to serve grants that totem and its Incarna the power of their devotion, and in return they gain the patronage of that totem spirit and some of its power. Most packs choose a totem of Respect, War, or Wisdom, corresponding with the types of Renown that the Garou Nation values. Although perhaps this pack will go the route of a totem of Cunning and take the less honorable, less respected — more unexpected — path.

The totem will help to define the pack and its goals, and all too soon it may give them their sacred journey to perform, as has been prophesied for the time of Apocalypse. But first, the pack will have to find a totem, and convince the spirit to join with them, perhaps by undertaking a quest on its behalf…

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Third Story: Cry of the Black Birds
Sometimes the Apocalypse comes calling early...

Baltimore’s newest Garou pack, Last Call, will regroup after a week or so of downtime, called back to duty by their needy sept. As the elders work on reinforcing the caern and the only other werewolves around are the caern’s Guardians, this leaves Last Call to handle what odd jobs come around.

This one, for example! A new pack of Garou invades the city, leaving bloodshed and wolf sightings in its wake. They could be lost and in need of aid, or they could be much needed reinforcements for the hard pressed Gaians of Baltimore. But first off, their activities are a threat; not since days of old have wolf packs run freely through cities. And so the sept calls on some unusual allies, and Last Call, to track down these foreign Garou that risk the Veil and resolve the problem, by any means necessary.

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Fourth Story: Keep It in the Family
Is blood thicker than water?

It’s a sad statistic: about 800,000 children are reported missing every year in America. And while 97% of them are recovered, consider the other 3 percent. Human trafficking, prostitution and sexual slavery, forced labor, even poverty-stricken parents selling their children to pay off their debts…all these things are alive and well. And in Baltimore, in the WoD, they’re positively thriving.

Even worse, Baltimore is home to a relatively new Black Spiral Hive, formerly a Glass Walker sept. Beyond the simple, brutal loss of Gaian holy ground to the forces of the Wyrm, information also fell into the hands of the enemy, including (for a brief time, you hope) access to the Glass Walkers’ computer network, GWNet.

The GWs’ network of contacts, allies, and Kinfolk have all been compromised, and few Glass Walkers — or any Garou — remain to send out the alarm or come to the aid of the more mundane allies of the Garou. The beleaguered Fianna sept can spare little time or effort beyond phone calls.

And so, when a lost Kinfolk child shows up on the Brewery doorstep with a tale to tell of kidnapping, it falls once again to the new blood of Last Call to re-establish ties with the city’s Gaian Kinfolk…and perhaps, to uncover another Black Spiral plot. The Spirals’ hands may not be idle, but they certainly do the devil’s work.

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Fifth story: Under Siege (Regnum Irae)
So, you wanted a fight, did you...

It’s been just a few days since Last Call’s triumph over a bunch of Black Spiral Dancer hill-folk, more cunning than clever, but clever enough to have spirited away who knows how many human captives and perhaps even some Kinfolk to an unknown fate in the Big Apple. It was a fight over Kinfolk, waged largely by and through Kinfolk, but in the end you put some points on the board, too. Those BSDs didn’t get away with their kidnapping and murder. Call it even, right?

No.

You might have hoped — though it would be so cliché — that the greater power and numbers of Black Spirals would be complacent, luxuriating in their dominion, permitting you to build your strength, your resources, until you were strong enough to face them in open war. From the start, you wondered, what are they waiting for?

Well, are you ready? Because the alert is going out, ready or not. The sept is calling, desperate for your aid. The caern is under siege. It may fall that very night, under a mere crescent of a moon. You’ve barely scratched the surface of the filth and rot infesting the city. Your allies are few and scattered and weak. You don’t have the benefit of Luna’s face — and Rage — waxing full. You’re still relatively untested whelps, still Cliath, not strong enough to challenge for rank. And now, maybe you never will…

Let’s see what you’ve got.

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First Confluence: Downtime!
Schemes, plots, and even some good ideas

Okay, so you guys have some actual, substantial downtime as the pack settles into its new duties as caern Guardians, watching with some measure of regret as the Grog Monsters get to go out and have fun and the Shadow Lords start scoping out the Desolation Hive for a hostile takeover.

Here’s some of what you’ve been telling me…some of your individual plans may mesh well together, while some of you may have ideas that the others do not. We may spend the next session discussing the downtime as well. You wanted it, you got it! Use it well.

Salmon Leap!!

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Sixth story: Ghost Trail
You can't choose your family

Some months have passed since the Black Spiral Dancers’ failed attempt to take the Sept of Abundant Grain. Surviving the siege has been good for the Fianna, along with everyone else there, it would seem. The youngsters of Last Call are not the only ones to gain new respect and power. And the sept is building ties to surrounding caerns, after proving that for a bunch of beer-swilling party boys, they’re still a tough nut for the Wyrm to crack.

Naturally, Willow has been helping Moira with the rites establishing Moon Bridge paths to these neighboring caerns; the Ritemaster’s struggling a bit to keep up with just one arm.

The Sept of the Exiles’ Rest is one such caern in the general vicinity. A small, perhaps insignificant caern of Calm, it’s the place where Willow was raised — a safe haven for the rearing of metis cubs, like her. An unfortunate necessity, these days.

With the stories spreading out from Baltimore, of a bold, desperate pack that’s half metis — led by a metis — the little ones at Exiles’ Rest drink in these tales like the mothers’ milk they never had. For poor bastards like these, exceptions like Willow are their heroes. So, it might not come as a surprise when one of them, a cub of an Ahroun naturally called Social Justice convinced one of the tiny sept’s Kinfolk to drive them out to Baltimore to meet this renowned alumnus of the metis nursery.

…a story the Last Call pack learns some time later, when the cub and Kin never arrive.

The urrah pack is gaining a reputation for their skills, not just as warriors for Gaia but as investigators, wise Garou with unlikely allies and advisers, the sort who can solve mysteries as well as fight. And so, here’s a problem that the Guardian pack might be able to help fix, without interfering overmuch with their duties guarding the lone Gaian outpost in Baltimore.

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Second Confluence: Downtime! pt. 2
The winter of our discontent

Another season is passing in-game for the pack. Time for your characters to explore any longer-term projects or training as they endure the hardship of being the caern-guards while everyone else gets to venture out in search of battle and glory.

So, what does Willow do to pass the winter? Likely a quieter time for her urban farm — although they do have some greenhouse space. Or Razvan, has he taken the chance to hook up with his would-be Kinfolk paramour, Jessica Volk? How goes the work at the clinic, or their efforts to outfit a little Bat-cave of the pack’s own? What about Zero — does any of his treasure trove of purloined data from DNA find its way onto his blog, or would that just make him an easier target?

We’ll take some time for the characters to recuperate at the Sept of Exiles’ Rest, but soon enough the next story will begin. And as the pack is finding out, being the sept’s Guardians isn’t always as boring as the job is made out to be.

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Seventh Story: Desire
No one wins. One side just loses more slowly.

What’s my drug of choice?
Well, what have you got?
I don’t go broke
And I do it a lot

— Alice in Chains, “Junkhead”

Months have passed since the xmastime raid on DNA in downtown Baltimore, and the disastrous explosion that destroyed the facility — and put the humans in the city on high terror alert. Although the quiet time since has dulled their fears somewhat, the city itself is more on edge than ever. After all, it’s not really on the side of the Garou these days.

The Last Call pack remains the guardians of the Sept of Abundant Grain, weathering attacks from swarms of Banes and the occasional Black Spiral pack testing the caern’s defenses. Reinforcements to the Shattered Glass Hive have made it a formidable target; however, the Hive of Desolation in the nearby countryside seems to enjoy less support. Even so, if the Garou hope to take back the crippled Hive in the country, they know it will be incredibly difficult — as they always knew it would. The stuff of legend.

While the urrah pack endures this time, stuck as caern-guards while others fight for Glory, they dig for clues — on the enemies they’ve stumbled upon in their adventures, and for clues on what to do once they have the freedom to take action. Still some conflicts in the city land on their doorstep whether they want it or not.

Take Razvan’s low-cost, inner-city medical clinic, for example. Does he charge full price for pitifully few clients? Exploit what government programs he can to do some good? Barter service for service? Give it away as a charitable deduction? Who knows…

What could happen, though, if the pack’s Bone Gnawer allies drag one of their addled Kinfolk into Raz’s clinic? A Kinfolk suffering from withdrawal, begging for the latest drug that’s hit the streets of Baltimore? A drug that promises to ease their pain, even as it makes their flesh rot like they’re already dead? What’s changed in the city — what could force Baltimore’s users to resort to such obviously harmful narcotics?

This might be another problem for Last Call, a mystery better suited to their unique (if mistrusted) talents and investigation skills. While the other Garou packs brawl with the Spiral Dancers over the fate of Baltimore, it’s up to the guardian pack to cure a new plague that promises to further corrupt the city they hope to take back from the Wyrm.

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Eighth Story: Reoccurring Dreams
We ain't gotta dream no more, man.

Quiet
I am sleeping
In here
We need a little hope

— Smashing Pumpkins, “Quiet”

Have you ever had a lucid dream — one where you become aware that you’re dreaming, but you don’t wake up, and the dream just goes on?

What about a dream that seems more than a little familiar? Dreams can be variations on a theme, experts, scientists speak of archetypes, common to dreamers worldwide — always fitting everything into its place, categorizing, naming. But this is more than that.

Lately, the Garou of Last Call have been afflicted with a little of both. A familiar dream, that’s nothing worth bothering anyone with. But this is a pack of Wisdom, in service to a Dream Raven, part of the spirit brood of Chimera — mistress of Enigmas, caretaker of dreams. So when your dreams call to you, you might want to listen.

What do these nightmares portend for the pack? Could there be something sinister ahead for them — for the Garou of Baltimore, perhaps the entire city? Or is it just that they really have no true refuge from the Wyrm’s corruption, not even in their dreams. They’re about to find out.

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