Shadow Lords
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At last it has came to this: that mercy has finally proven itself a weakness and compassion is revealed as a failing. With our, numbers fewer than ever before any fool can see that methods are a luxury. Results are all that matter now.

- Margrave Yuri Konietzko

Overview


The Shadow Lords' patience has been strained to its limits of late. The tribe has carefully monitored the atrocities of humanity, but for rather different reasons than the Children of Gaia or the Glass Walkers. Rather, the tribe has been cataloguing the incidence of slaughter, rape, torture, incest, genocide and the sundry crimes of humankind - all to serve as evidence. As far as the Shadow Lords are concerned, humanity's dark deeds have far outshone the Impergium, the War of Rage or any of the stains on Garou history - and even the Garou's crimes, they reason, were not prevented by the "Gaia-ordained kings of the Garou."

Many Garou are becoming very wary of the Shadow Lords. These others worry that, with the End Times at hand, the Lords may make their bid for power soon. Of course, few realize what staunch proponents of patience the Shadow Lords have always been. Garou who know the Lords' ways well realize that the tribe will not make a play for power until it is quite, quite ready - which is small comfort.

But Margrave Yuri Konietzko, a Shadow Lord strong enough to keep his domain even in the vampire-infested Carpathian mountains, has grown tired of biding his time. He has sent Stormcrows to all Shadow Lord septs of late, demanding their support in a yet-unspecified endeavor to come. And although most Silent Striders would give an eye to know the tribe's answer to him, it remains a mystery.

Appearance
Shadow Lords cultivate an intimidating appearance, just as they develop a respect for fear. The archetypal Lord is dark and brooding, with a commanding bearing. Some are genial and openly charismatic, even empathetic, while others cringe and skulk as only a consummate caern advisor can. In Lupus form, Lords are large and stocky, often resembling the lupine version of massive pit bulls; they usually have coats as dark as their name would imply. Many homids are eager to shift to Lupus on the bleakest and rainiest days of the year.

Kinfolk
The oldest Kinfolk families are of Eastern European stock, but the tribe has built up "flocks" of breeding stock in other parts of the world. Intelligence is a highly prized trait. Kinfolk who breed with Shadow Lords usually do so after long years of tempestuous and dysfunctional romance. Female Shadow Lords are sometimes drawn away from the flock toward men with power. A ruthless businessman, a brilliant crime lord or even a military dictator may find himself overpowered by a stalking suitor. Kinfolk don't receive much coddling, however. Weaklings and victims don't deserve to breed.

Organization


Only one Garou has the right to rule a Shadow Lord sept: the strongest. This leader brooks no disrespect from underlings; the Lords have a clear system of dominance and submission, and woe to all who will not or cannot learn their place. Might does not make right, in the tribe's view: Rather, might gets results. Few of the Lords concern themselves with questions of what is "more right" or "less wrong"- all that matters is what is necessary.

Of course, the Shadow Lords would be fools to assume that physical strength alone confers the right to rule. Cunning, charisma and spiritual power have all led great Lords to stations above their fellows - and kept them there, for the Lords in no way tolerate incompetence among their leaders. Garou who lead the tribe wisely and firmly shall rule. Garou who are incapable shall be dragged down.

Peculiarly, the Lords find that by merely attaining the position of leader, a Lord has proved himself "perfect," worthy to rule - unless he is proved otherwise. Until that proof comes, Shadow Lords defer to his wishes as though he were the chosen son of Gaia Herself.

It's rumored that the Shadow Lords normally hold moots of two varieties: the commonly known moots where policy is decided and revels held, and darker "shadow moots," - forbidden even to young Lords - where the tribe's true plans are discussed and enacted. If the Shadow Lords truly hold such moots, it's guaranteed that only Lords of the highest status are allowed to attend, and the Lords have multiple means of enforcing their privacy.

Tribal Weakness


Failure’s Dagger: -1 Renown for failure.
Shadow Lords do not tolerate failure. Whenever a Shadow Lord fails to carry out a task that would normally gain him Glory, Honor or Wisdom, he instead loses one point of temporary Renown in that category. (If he would have gained Renown in more than one category, subtract only from the category that would have been awarded the most.) This is in addition to any Renown normally lost for his actions. This does not affect the normal Renown process in any other way; if the Shadow Lord succeeds in the action, then he gains the normal amount of Renown.

Camps


Bringers of Light
Distrusted even by their own tribe, the Bringers of Light place themselves in daily temptation for the good of the Shadow Lords. They are known to consort with mages, vampires and worse, to make lengthy undercover stays in Black Spiral Hives or even to visit hideous Umbral realms such as Atrocity. Many Bringers have fallen into full darkness, but ones who survive show a tempered purity of spirit that even the Wendigo might envy.

Judges of Doom
Perhaps the most infamous of Shadow Lord camps - or even of all camps - the Judges of Doom are a fearsome force for Litany law throughout the Garou Nation. Although a quasi-secret society, tales of this grim band of pitiless executioners spread quickly from sept to sept. Some have compared the Judges of Doom to the human Inquisition in terms of fanaticism and ruthless methods. More than one seemingly upstanding sept leader has been dragged into the night to face punishment for his "well-hidden Wyrm-taint."

Most Garou are of two minds concerning the true motivations of this all-Philodox camp. The more popular theory is that the Judges strike at "corruption" in other tribes in order to shock and weaken rivals, thus granting the Lords another advantage in their quest for dominance. The second is that the Judges are atoning for some great secret in the Shadow Lords' past. None can say for certain.

Society of Nidhogg
Secretive in the extreme, this camp focuses more on the mystical than on the political. The group's fanaticism would revile even other Shadow Lords, were it made public. To the Society, even sunlight itself is an affront to the power of Thunder. Many other Lords feel that the Society may be going too far in its devotion to darkness; if the Lords see a genuine threat to their infrastructure in the next decade, it may be due to machinations by the followers of Nidhogg.

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