Again, this article is going to consist out of two separate stories, because I’m covering two events that took place this weekend: The Gangrel Thing prior to the Hofhaltung, and the actual Hofhaltung itself.
Originally I wanted to leave out the Gangrel thing, but based on how the second part of the weekend played out, I decided to actually write about it, since some parts of it are no longer relevant, but can still shed an interesting light on how Clan Gangrel actually operates. Just be aware, that a lot of the internal politics and discussions are left out in order not to spoil anything.
As a small recap to cover the past events, Oliver is officially a Childe in Clan Gangrel München, 3 months old at the time of writing this article, trying to find his way in the Gangrel Pack, and learn the ways that define his clan. He’s been in several fights and situations by now, defining how he currently interacts with his inner beast, namely being scared of it. The events of this weekend however will shape his future to become one with his inner beast, and learn to embrace the power that comes with it.
The night before the actual “Hofhaltung” in München. The Elder of Clan Gangrel, Ludoviga; considered to be the mother of all Gangrel in Germany, called for a Thing, to gather all her children and bring them up to date on the workings of the world and the plans for Clan Gangrel.
Oliver, still spending his time with Klara, was also taken along to the Thing, not really knowing what to expect. He had heard the rumors about the Elder Ludoviga before, but he was unsure what to expect of the entire night. Also, Gangrel from all over Germany would be attending the actual evening, giving Oliver the chance to meet more of his Clan and perhaps gain new knowledge and insight about how the Clan operates in Germany.
Arriving at the location, a large medieval tent was set up where the Thing would be taken place. When entering the area, Marius and Salome were already present, making the initial part of the evening easier, since Oliver already knew these two Vampires. After the initial introduction, Oliver sat down next to Salome, he could not explain why, it just felt like the right thing to do. Without further ado, he also placed his Ghoul Gecko next to the burning candle in the middle to give the little creature some light and heat.
As the evening progressed, more Gangrel entered the vicinity, and introductions were made. Oliver was not introduced to everyone, and not all Gangrel seemed to care about the presence of Oliver. Although he knew most of them from seeing them at the Hofhaltung in Hamburg several months ago, the whole experienced felt strange and confusing, even intimidating.
At one point, Oliver was outside, admiring the moon in the sky, when he wanted to enter the tent again. At this point, Ludoviga was standing in the entrance. Slowly walking behind her, Oliver sneaked inside and took place next to Klara and Thomas, not really sure what was going on. The whole experience got interesting when Ludoviga discovered the Gecko sitting next to the fire.
Intrigued by the discovery, since these creatures do not normally live in the woods, Ludoviga and Spatz examined the actual Gecko, revealing that it was actually a Ghoul, and belonged to Oliver. At this point, Oliver was summoned before Ludoviga. With mixed, terrified feelings, Oliver stood up and walked to Ludoviga. When Spatz explained who she was, Oliver dropped as fast as lightning to his knee to pay his respects. At this point, he was invited to sit next to Ludoviga on the animal hides and start a conversation with her, about who Oliver is, his Sire and what he expects out of unlife.
Oliver explained that he actually fears his inner animal, and the reason behind his behavior. This however is not really the answer that Ludoviga wants to hear, nor her daughter, so they put Oliver before a test: he’s to go into the woods, and hunt a wild boar, bringing back the blood in order to give to Ludoviga. Oliver, been given the only hint that he should ask the other Gangrel, set’s out to start his test. The final advice given by Ludoviga after hearing Oliver’s explanation, is that he should also consider what he wants, and seek out a mentor of his choosing to learn the way of the Gangrel.
This leaves Oliver, walking outside tent, contemplating what he needs to be doing. Before setting of his adventure, he’s confronted by a furious Klara, who questions him whether he actually learned something from her, and whether she made the right decision in the first place by taking him. Left with this, Oliver gathers his courage and asks Tom for advice before actually setting off on his quest to slay a wild boar.
Hunting a boar is all good and well, but finding one proved to be more of a challenge. Using his Animalism discipline, Oliver actually tried to commune with several of the local animals he encountered in order to find a wild boar. It took him several conversations to get on track of one. Reminding the conversation between him and Ludoviga, Oliver tried to convince the boar first to come closer and actually calm down. This took quite some effort, as the boar was reluctant in doing so. After a few attempts, the boar was calmed down and in the perfect position for Oliver to actually drive he spear behind it’s head, piercing the heart of the animal. The spear was crafted by tying the knife he received from Tom unto a branch using some vines he found.
Returning to Ludoviga, he proudly presented the flask of blood, and was praised by Ludoviga, saying there’s at least some Gangrel hiding inside him. The evening however had another challenge in mind: It started to rain. Because Oliver has a fear of water, this made him extremely agitated; being confined into a tent, with water pouring on it, leaks and the ground getting wet made his area to be “free” extremely limited.
At this point, Ludoviga gave Sammie the assignment to teach Oliver that rain was not something to be feared. To drive this point home, Sammie took Oliver outside as it stopped raining, and they walked around the buildings and trees together. However, every time rain drop fell on Oliver, he rushed ahead towards the next dry spot. Eventually this behavior started to disappear as it became clear that the water caused no harm.
The other parts of the Thing however are political driven. Because I do not wish to actually spoil anything that has been planned/organized on the Gangrel Thing for upcoming plays, I will end this section here, and jump to the actual Hofhaltung. The following important facts however should be known:
- The Gecko is named “Otto” by Ludoviga, after learning from Oliver it had no name.
- Oliver has been given the following assignments:
- Learn his Ghoul to use blood points for moving.
- Find a mentor to his liking and learn the Gangrel Ways (Klara)
- Abandon his fear of the Animal and learn to embrace it.
Actually in this section, I want to stay to some funny or remember-able scenes, rather than actually describing the entire evening again. The reasoning behind this, is that a large part of the evening revolves around internal politics of the domain München, which are irrelevant unless you’re actually living in the Domain. The scenes are in random order, and not the order they appeared during the evening.
- Oliver was outside alone, and was ordered by Marius as he walked by to actually follow him back inside. Once inside the ballroom again, Marius explained that he could not just wander off alone. As soon as his back was turned, Oliver dashed off again towards Sammie, to be held back by Marius again. Reprimanded about what he just explained, Marius warned Oliver again, only to see him dashing off again with Sammie as soon as he turned his back again. This time however Marius followed them outside, to smack Oliver on the head for not listening.
- Oliver wanted to talk to someone he had not seen before, only to be interrupted by Stein, a Brujah from the Domain München. Same scenario as every other gathering, questions about being a Caitiff. Oliver, not being in the mood for this, made it clear to Stein to leave him alone as he did not care at all what Stein thought of him. However Oliver went to Marius explaining what happened. Later on the evening, Oliver received a poker chip from Stein, with the explanation to accept it as apology and “debt”. Oliver is now bent on figuring out what exactly Marius did to make this work.
- Oliver’s little bell also is still a center point for trouble. We have the nice Chaaron from the Domain Nürnberg who finds it enjoyable for some reason to make it “tingle” every time he runs by, by touching it. Marius and Klara are bent on keeping it as a lesson. Ludoviga understands it to be a punishment, but wants Oliver to actively work on getting it removed by asking Klara daily what it stands for until he gets it right. Sammie insists that it’s an insult to all Gangrel and wants to keep removing it.#
- Oliver’s Ghoul also seems to be well accepted inside Clan Gangrel. Either the various members are keeping an eye out for it, or actually take it with them into various conversation with other people, resulting in sometimes hilarious actions. The question here however remains: Do they do it cause they find it amusing to see a Childe with his Ghoul, or do they actually respect it? (Perhaps we should start a separate blog for “Otto” here and make him run for President….)
- Oliver was standing outside with Sammie and Jones actually ran past them. Oliver actually bowed as Jones ran by, resulting in Jones abruptly stopping and returning the following kind words: “If you ever bow for me again, I will turn you into a Ventrue by shoving a stick up your ass”. (Clan racism detected!)
- Oliver seems to be developing a new (bad) habit of pacing around the room as time progresses. The only way so far to suppress this is by either drinking blood or by actually going outside for a few minutes to cool down. Sammie was so kind to actually join him every time this happened, making sure he didn’t flip out.
- Because Ludoviga got tired of waiting, she actually sat down on the stage in front of the table where the Elders normally sit. The Elder sitting in the middle, with Sammie on her left side, spinning and resting her head on Ludoviga’s side, and Oliver sitting on the right side, doing the exact same thing. As time progressed more Gangrel were gathering and were asked to join. As the Fürst came back eventually, pretty much every Gangrel had gathered around Ludoviga, having the entire Stage claimed by Clan Gangrel.
The political consequences of the Hofhaltung are at the moment of no major importance yet to Oliver. However his entire experience with Ludoviga, has started to change his take on the beast that’s living inside of him. Given the clear assignment, and his chose mentor Klara, Oliver will now start to deal with his inner Animal, and actually learn to properly embrace it, and be proud of what he is: A Gangrel.
The way I currently have this in mind is to actually become a bit more……”rude” or “Frech” as they call it in German. Not that I will start running around and directly insulting people all around me, but what I have in mind at the moment is that Oliver will actually growl more at people if they annoy him, and try to find his boundaries more both in the World of Darkness as well as with his inner animal.
All by all, I was extremely pleased with the weekend, and the people I played with closely this weekend deserve a big thank you 🙂 I’m also looking forward now to actually attend some of the plays in Berlin and further develop my character with the “bad” influence from Sammie 😛
Just to be clear about Disciplines, I’m going to aim a bit on the traditional Gangrel and try to steer my discipline points into Protean first. At the moment, little Oliver is the weakest of the pack, but in time this will hopefully change.