The Wolves of Brandenburg
A wolf came upon a lamb straying from the flock, and felt some compunction about taking the life of so helpless a creature without some plausible excuse. So he cast about for a grievance and said at last, “Last year, sirrah, you grossly insulted me.” “That is impossible, sir,” bleated the lamb, “for I wasn’t born then.” “Well,” retorted the wolf, “you feed in my pastures.” “That cannot be,” replied the lamb, “for I have never yet tasted grass.” “You drink from my spring, then,” continued the wolf. “Indeed, sir,” said the poor lamb, “I have never yet drunk anything but my mother’s milk.” “Well, anyhow,” said the wolf, “I’m not going without my dinner.” And he sprang upon the lamb and devoured it without more ado.
- The Wolf and the Lamb, Aesop’s Fables
PROTECTORATES OF THE REICH
The Garou divide territory according to a system of protectorates, usually large natural regions using major urban areas as a dividing land. Most protectorates are based around Septs guarding a caern, but some protectorates lack a caern to serve as a focus for political leadership.
Sept of the Grunewald (Totem: Catfish)
Caern of Harmony 2 (Wisdom)
Most urban caerns are not seen as having a true protectorate since these lairs of the Weaver are essentially “lost” to Gaia. However, the actual area of the Nordmark protectorate are the rural agricultral and wilderness lands south of Berlin heading towards the Elbe. The lands immediately north of Berlin are part of the Lakeland Protectorate whose caern lies in Mecklenburg.
Sept of Fierce Counsel (Totem: Radegast)
Caern of Hospitality 3 (Wisdom)
The Lakeland Protectorate covers Mecklenburg and Western Pommerania and northern Brandenburg until it reaches Berlin. Most of this area is flat countryside that forms a morass, dominated by lakes, ponds, and marshes with small forests interspersed. North is the Baltic Sea. The area is the “land of a thousand lakes” which were formed by melting glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age.
This protectorate is an old one. Previously it housed a great caern on the Isle of Rugen, but it was lost to Mages during the Eighth Century to the Get of Fenris’s great shame. After several failed attempts to retake the caern, the Garou responded by performing a new Rite of Caern building that established a caern at Rethra which served as a center for pagan Wendish resistance to the Christian Germans in the centuries before and after the first millenium.
Sept of the Misty Mountain (Totem: Fog)
Caern of Mystery 5 (Wisdom)
The Harz Protectorate holds the most famous caern in Germany. The Brocken is world famous for its legends of witches’ sabbaths on Walpurgisnacht. Once its isolation and reputation served to protect it from the eyes of humanity, but increasingly the caern is under threat by repeated visits by curious tourists. So far, the best efforts of the Fenrir Theurges have kept the caern heart secret, but increasingly concern over the Veil has required the Garou to rely on kinfolk to maintain the sacred mysteries of the Harz. The Protectorate covers the Harz, the highest mountain range in northern Germany.
The Sept is theoretically open, but dominated by the Get of Fenris. Many Theurges from various Tribes visit the Sept extensively to study its mysteries.
BLACK FOREST PROTECTORATE
Sept of Donar’s Oak (Totem: Woodpecker)
Caern of Strength 3 (Glory)
The Black Forest Protectorate covers the area of Germany where the Wyld still flourishes and is widely seen as the place where the last redoubt of Gaia will happen in Germany. As such the Sept is closed. Only Get of Fenris are welcomed as well as select individuals by invitation only.
SAXON HILLS PROTECTORATE
Sept of the Blood Fist (Totem: Wild Boar)
Caern of Courage 4 (Glory)
This Protectorate is the region surrounding the Sept of the Blood Fist in the Teutoberg Forest, site of the destruction of three Roman legions by an alliance of Germanic tribes lead by Arminius. Dedicated to war, it one of the most important caerns to the Get of Fenris. The protectorate extends around the Saxon Hills and lower Saxon wetlands. The Get of Fenris claim the caern exclusively, and no other tribe is allowed to access it because of its cultural importance to the tribe.
CENTRAL HIGHLANDS PROTECTORATE
Sept of the Hidden Firelight (Totem: Bear)
Caern of Healing 2 (Wisdom)
The Protectorate covers the central uplands of the Thuringian Highlands and Forest, Fichtelberg, Franconian Jura, and Bavarian Forest in southern Thuriginia and eastern Bavaria north of the Danube. It also extends into Czechoslovakia to cover the Bohemian Forest. It consists mainly of a ridge of mountains up to just under 1,000 m high.
The protectorate is home to several low ranking caerns, one of which is the Caern of the Sleeping Bear in a well hidden cave covered in cave art. It was once used by cave bears, and was perhaps a caern seized from the Gurahl during the War of Rage.
Sept of the Golden Sail (Totem: Heliades – daughters of Helios)
Caern of Plenty 1 (Glory)
Lubeck was once home to one of the strongest Glass Walkers septs during the Medieval era. Lubeck was the Queen of the Baltic and homebase of the Hanseatic League. It was the port where thousands of German priests, merchants, knights, and crusaders left to civilize the lands of the Baltic Sea. Tremendous wealth flowed into Lubeck greatly increasing the Caern of Plenty there, but the city’s long decline relative to other cities started in the 16th century, and the caern’s power correspondingly declined. Now mere a remnant of past glories, only a few Glass Walkers remain to tend the caern’s heart near the port of Lubeck. As a city caern, most Garou do not consider the territory around Lubeck to be a true protectorate, as it is lost to the Weaver.
No Caern, formerly the Sept of the Stormflood
This protectorate is based around the North German Plain around the Elbe River marshes and geests. Its caern was originally located on Heligoland Island where the Garou appeased the storm god of the North Sea. However, the caern was lost to humans centuries ago shortly after the Christianization of the Viking kingdoms. As a result the Garou of the protectorate are without a sept of their own. In fact, few Garou bother to patrol and protect the shores along the North Sea having given up responsibility to the urrah Garou of Hamburg.
Sept of the Burgers (Totem: Swan) & Sept of the Wharfs (Totem: Goose)
Caern of Dignity 3 (Honor) & Caern of Streetwise 2 (Wisdom)
Hamburg is the second city of Germany, and one of the most important. It’s population numbers above one million. Only Berlin is larger. It is home to the world’s largest shipping line, Hamburg-America Line. The many streams, rivers and canals are crossed by over 2400 bridges, more than London, Amsterdam and Venice put together. Hamburg has more bridges inside its city limits than any other city in the world and more canals than Amsterdam and Venice combined. Besides being an important commercial port, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg was an import ecclesiastical center that was the home of the Medieval Church’s evangelization of the north. It is an important industrial and financial center of Germany. Hamburg has been governed as a civic republic since Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, granted them their constitutional privileges in 1189.
Hamburg is unusual in that there are two urban caerns within the city, one controlled by the Glass Walkers and the other by the Bone Gnawers. The Glass Walker caern is based in one of the oldest banks of the city, Kuhlmann Nordeutscher Bank, an investment and private bank established in 1614. The building itself is a classic example of Brick Renaissance architecture. The Glass Walkers are descended from several kinfolk families listed among the Hanseaten, the elite families of prestigious rank who constituted the ruling class of the free imperial city of Hamburg. The caern is dedicated to bourgeosie dignity, as the Hanseaten are stern republicans, abhorring titles, refusing to accord any deference to the Prussian nobility, and determinedly loyal to their urban background and mercantile heritage. Along with their tribal mates in Lubeck, the city boasts the greatest power of the Glass Walkers in northern Europe.
The Bone Gnawers possess a caern located in local bar near the city’s wharfs in the St Pauli District. The bar is the brewery of one of Hamburg’s oldest beers, Schloesser. It is a lively rough and tumble bar that caters to locals and various shipping crews that call the port home.
Hamburg is home to a breed of particularly ancient vampires, and Garou other than the Glass Walkers and Bone Gnawers avoid the city.
THE WASGEN PROTECTORATE
Sept of the Falling Water (Totem: Vosegus the Hunter – a forest spirit)
Caern of Vigilance 3 (Wisdom)
Structure: Get of Fenris and Fianna (closed)
Sept of the Burning Barn (Totem: The Swarm)
Caern of Vengeance 4 (Honor)
Structure: Bone Gnawers (closed)
The Wasgen Protectorate holds the land between the left-bank of the Rhine and right-bank of the Moselle Rivers. It straddles the border of France and Germany to include the Vosges Mountains and the Palatinate Forest. The ancient Celts and the Romans – like the Garou – held this to be a single mountain range unlike the French and Germans of today.
Garou politics is dominated by the Sept of Falling Water, a sept divided between its German and French homids of the Get of Fenris as well as many French Fianna. The caern was originally held by the Fianna until the Germanic invasions of the Fifth Century when the Get of Fenris seized control. Even as the French and German nations slowly formed, there was little disunity among the homids of the Get of Fenris until the French Revolutionary Wars. Afterwards, the cultural distinctions of their human neighbors affected the homids in the past century leading to disunity within the clan. As a result, the remaining Fianna have recently assumed key leadership roles. The caern itself lies at a place of beautiful waterfalls in the Vosges – well within France currently, but which was historically part of the Holy Roman Empire until the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Sept of the Burning Barn is located far away to the protectorate’s north in Germany, practically ignored at the extreme edge of the protectorate. Hidden in the Rhine Valley between the town of Bingen and city of Mainz is a rural sept of the Bone Gnawers, and one of the tribe’s most important caerns. Time has left no trace of the remains of a barn used to trap the innocent and burn them alive, and so the tribe has kept it secret from humanity. Rare among Bone Gnawer septs, it is closed to all other tribes.
There legend holds the greedy Archbishop of Mainz lured, trapped and burned alive people begging for him to share food in a time of bad famine. This cruel act did not go unpunished, as hordes of mice mysteriously appeared soon thereafter who tracked down the bishop and devoured him alive. Ever since, the area has been sacred to the Bone Gnawers as a caern of vengeance. Garou did not live in Bingen at the time, but the spirits lead the Bone Gnawers to where the swarm of materialized spirits first appeared in the ashes of the barn and the innocent who died there. Now the tribal elders congregate and wait.
Nestled at the edge of the Wasgem and Saxon Hills Protectorates, the Bone Gnawers are able to avoid interference by the other tribes. As particularly fierce and combatitive Bone Gnawers, the local Get of Fenris seem to respect their privacy.
UPPER RHINE PROTECTORATE
Sept of the Fat Valley (Totem: Hare)
Caern of Sanctuary 2 (Wisdom)
Structure: Bone Gnawers (closed)
The Upper Rhine Protectorate covers the alpine foreland region just north of the Rhine River between Basel and Lake Constance and then extends south along the Alpine Rhine as its western border. While it includes some mountains, the actual ranges of the Alps are considered to be separate protectorates, It thus includes parts of southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.
There is an isolated valley along the Alpine Rhine, easily hidden and ignored by most people, just inside the German border. Protected by thick trees and mountain fog, peasant families still farm. It is hard work, but the farms are bountiful. In the village, an ancient wooden church still stands. It has a design of three hares chasing each other in a circle. It is there that kinfolk of the Bone Gnawer tribe have resided for many centuries.
It is not located on any map, and the people here are unknown to even the closest villages. Only occasionally do trespassers stumble upon it. The valley was even miraculously spared any harm during the Thirty Years War, no marauding army ever pillaged it or harmed its people. The people here are old fashioned, still wearing the traditional tracht, lederhosen, and dirndl. Their other eccentricity is complete avoidance of hassenpfeffer or any meal containing hare or rabbit among their diet.
The caern itself is on uncultivated land behind some rocky outcroppings surrounded by pine trees. Along the bawn, there are many forms, shallow flattened nests of grass where hares live and give birth to their young. It is a small sept, and the last remaining one of rural Bone Gnawers in Germany. The valley’s population, enitrely kinfolk, is barely sufficient to produce enough Garou for the caern. Nevertheless, adventurous young Bone Gnawers leave to explore the world. Sometimes they come back.
PROTECTORATES OF THE OUTLAND
The lands outside Germany also contain several protectorates that may be of interest during the chronicle. The Garou’s relationship of the land after all, do not coincide with the boundaries decided by men.
Sept of the Sleeping Stone (Totem: Honeybee )
Caern of Kingship 2 (Honor)
Controlled by the Silver Fangs of House Gleaming Eye. The Silver Fangs keep a pretty tight reign on their kinfolk in Denmark, descended from Halga, legendary king of Denmark of the ancient house of Scylding. The Silver Fangs do not allow access to the Caern except by their own tribe, those Get who have sworn loyalty to the Silver Fang king, and packs of other Garou who have Falcon as their totem. To go there requires an invitation if not already a permanent member of the sept in good standing.
POMERANIAN LAKES PROTECTORATE
Sept of the Rushing Water (Totem: Otter)
Caern of Joy 1 (Wisdom)
The Protectorate is very similar to the Lakeland Protectorate except that it lies east, not west, of the River Oder. The Protectorate used to lie almost entirely in Germany, but is now mostly in Poland due to territorial changes included in the Treaty of Versailles. It includes much of the lands of Pommerania and Posen. The caern is in Germany, but most Garou of the sept are in Poland. The near to the caern is the German town of Neuwedell (Drawno). It is part of the Neumark in Germany although the rest of the protectorate is now in Poland.
The population is a mix of Germans and Poles among the Flock, and divided between the Get of Fenris and Shadow Lords among Garou. Because of historical population moves, the ethnicity of the homid stock does not always equal the stereotypical Garou tribe. The Get of Fenris and Shadow Lords have both German and Polish kinfolk.
The caern itself lies in the Drawsko Forest outside of Neuwedell. The area is covered large, primeval forest through which the River Drage flows to the River Netze, a tributary to the Oder. Some oak trees are older than 400 years. The River Draga was the traditional border between Germany and Poland until the First Polish Partition of 1772. Although the area is located on a plain, its river valleys are deep and picturesque with numerous lakes and peat-bogs. In some places the height can vary by 30 meters within 500 meters distance. This is quite remarkable for a plain. The river flows at a quite fast pace, which makes it similar to rivers located in mountains The soil is of poor quality consisting mainly of sand. The limited agricultural potential means the wilderness has been preserved for the Garou.
Sept of the Black Forge (Totem: Arduinna the Huntress – a forest spirit)
Caern of Craftsmanship 3 (Wisdom)
The Ardennes Protectorate is famous throughout the Garou Nation as the stedding of Silver Fang House Gleaming Eye and home to King Heinrich of Luxembourg. The Silver Fang king maintains a secluded, but magnificent ancestral estate in the deep woods of the Ardennes. His bloodline contains the lines of those who once ruled the Holy Roman Empire. The Ardennes is a region of extensive forests, rough terrain, rolling hills and ridges formed by the geophysical features of the Ardennes mountain range and the Moselle and Meuse River basins. The trees and rivers of the Ardenne provided the underlying charcoal that has made it a center of industry for ages. In Roman times, it was part of the Silva Carbonaria whose iron products were famous before the first Roman soldier entered the land, and which fueled the great industrial period of Wallonia in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was arguably the second great industrial region of the world, after England. It is no wonder then that the caern is dedicated to craftsmanship and that throughout its history important klaives and fetishes have been created here.
The Sept of the Black Forge is open to all tribes, but Silver Fang, Fenrir, and Fianna are dominant. Because of the presence of King Heinrich, it can be seen as the capital of the Garou of northern Europe.
Sept of the Mountain Storm (Totem: Rubezahl, a Mountain Spirit)
Caern of Healing 2 (Wisdom)
The Sudeten Protectorate is a mix of tribes as both the Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords rule here. While the rest of German Garou owe ostensible fealty to the Silver Fangs of House Gleaming Eye, the Silver Fangs of this protectorate and those farther east belong to Clan Crescent Moon. The caern is located in the portion of the Sudeten Mountains known as the Krkonose, famous for its legend of Rubezahl, the Lord of the Mountains and master of the storms and rains that fall there. The source of the River Elbe lies in these mountains. The Fenrir and Shadow Lords have battled each other for control of the caern since the time of Attila the Hun.
Sept of the Golden Apples (Totem: Lion)
Caern of Ancestors 1 (Wisdom)
The Sept of Apples is the ancient home of the Norman Silver Fangs whose kinfolk came to England with William the Conqueror. Formerly possessed by House Winter Snow, the sept was taken over by House Austere Howl in the seventeenth century. The Caern is located at Chateau de Vielles, a castle of one of the old barons of the Duke of Normandy, between the towns of Caen and Bayeux, the heart of old Norman nobility. The caern heart is at the estate cemetary. The chateau itself is marvelously preserved, more like a museum than a house, and meticulously honors many generations of the baron’s line even though that kinfolk family now lives elsewhere. The sept is named after the magnificent orchards on the estate whose apples are the prime ingredient of the family’s calvados brandy which is now well known. The caern was first created during the early Middle Ages soon after the Norse Rollo took possession of Normandy; some of his followers were Silver Fang kinfolk.
JURA MOUNTAINS PROTECTORATE
Sept of the Earthmother’s Womb (Totem: Bear)
Caern of Visions 2 (Wisdom)
Structure: Fianna (Open)
The Jurassic Protectorate is named after the Jura Moutnains and its surrounding territory in western Switzerland and eastern France in the Franche-Comte, part of historical Burgundy. The Jura mountains are a subalpine range covered by dense forests. This mountain range is north of the Alps and is also separate from the Swiss Plateau. It lies south of the Vosges and Black Forest Protectorates. Its western border is the Saone River and its southern the Rhone River. Its eastern border are the Lakes of Neuchatel and Biel and the Aare River. Within the mountains, villages are found in abundance, especially in the valleys, but larger cities are almost entirely on its margins.
The area is forested with oak groves and beech forests at lower elevations interspersed with firs at higher elevations. In the southern Jura, the firs are replaced by sycamore maple. The crests above the tree line are covered with Alpine grasses. There are isolated moors in spots where there are marl and clay deposits. Large wildlife is practically extinct. The prevalence of limestone, alternating as it does with softer layers of marl, results in great permeability and consequent deficiency of surface water. Traditionally, each Jura farmstead collected its own cistern water.
The caern is located in one of the extensive limstone karst caves in the region. It is the source of a karst spring that feeds a tributary to the River Doubs. Although the cave system is occassionally visited by humans, all easily get lost thanks to the magic of the caern. While usually the Garou are content with intruders leaving, particularly intent trespassers simply disappear and are never found again.
Within the cave system is a subterranean waterfall formed by surface water going through the limestone. At the caern heart itself is a spectacular system of cave paintings from the earliest days of the Garou. At the caern’s haunts, Theurges report various visions during their dreamquests which they then paint on the cavern walls.
The sept is exclusively Fianna although they allow temporary visits by packs containing members of other tribes, especially those that seek to use the caern for guidance or knowledge of the past.
FRENCH ALPS PROTECTORATE
Sept of the Sun’s Glory (Totem: Helios)
Caern of Gnosis 4 (Honor)
Structure: Open (all tribes)
The Protectorate covers the French Alps with borders to the River Rhone in the west. The Alps east of the mountain ridge in Italy is considered its own protectorate due to the difficulty in crossing the mountains.
The caern was founded by the great Silver Fang vampire hunter Guillaume Sun’s Glory around 1160. It has been the largest multi-tribal sept in Europe for centuries. The caern is located in the Mont Black Massif of the Alps on the watershed of the Rhone and Po Rivers.
The caern is located on a perpetually frozen lake in an old glacial valley of the Alps near the French city of Annecy. The caern heart or center is located under the frozen lake itself with Gnosis revealing itself as a warm spring that slightly melts the lake ice at the eastern edge. The lake is fed by a small stream fed by a cold mountain spring with no outlet. The valley is right at the tree line and is covered by an ancient deciduous forest. The sept’s gatherings occur in cave complexes in the valley. At the valley’s western end where it is accessible, there is only a field of alpine grass and a few miserable huts. The lake is kept preternaturally cold and permanently frozen by the blessings of Helios, and the valley has somehow been kept secret all this time. The valley is obstensibly owned by one of the kinfolk families along with all approaches to it, descendants of the old House of Geneva who ruled the area when the sept was first founded.
The area is populated by French speakers, but the largest tribes are the Silver Fangs and Children of Gaia followed by the Get of Fenris and Fianna, but as a multi-tribal sept there are Garou of many tribes in the Protectorate. Even the Glass Walkers of the city of Geneva are welcome here. The local Silver Fangs are in decline, and real power is held by alternating multitribal coalitions dependant on the most dominent and appealing personalities of the sept at that time.
The sept is the largest multi-tribal sept in Europe and has a reputation for tribal neutrality. It is also the center for Leech lore and tactics to combat them. Garou Leech-hunters from all over the world come here to learn.
The Dwarves tell no tale; but even as mithril was the foundation of their wealth, so also it was their destruction: they delved too greedily and too deep, and disturbed that from which they fled, Durin’s Bane.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Once, the lairs of the Wyrm were hidden deep beneath the earth. They were known by tales of dragon’s dens, imprisoned titans, and gates to the underworld. Once the horrors were hidden, and the surface was clean of the cancer. No more. Now huge scars gouge the land in industrial wasteland, and the horrors are free. These are the sacred places of the Wyrm.
HIVE OF THE BLACK FIRE
No area of Germany is more touched by the Wyrm than the great coal mines, ironworks, and industries of the Ruhr. It is here that the Wyrm is marshalling its forces. The Garou of Germany have had their pyrrhic victories, but since the scale of the Wyrm’s power has become apparent, even the Get of Fenris plan their attacks carefully.