Prehistory: Myths & Legends
According to the Chumash peoples, the world began with a great flood. The world was wiped out to be started anew, with only one Acorn Woodpecker left alive, perched on top of a tree, calling out for help. The Woodpecker was the nephew of the Sun, and so the daughters of the Sun warned the Sun that his nephew was drowning. So he lowered his torch, plucked out the Woodpecker to warmth and safety, and gave him acorns to eat.
After the flood dried, Sun, Morning Star, Moon, Great Eagle gathered together to create a new people to live in the world. They decided to make those people in the image of Sky Coyote, but Lizard was able to sneak in and place his handprint into the mold ahead of Sky Coyote, causing human hands to be shaped differently from Coyote’s.
Three great tribes of Garou lived in the Pure Lands: Older Brother Uktena, Middle Brother Croatan, and Younger Brother Wendigo. The Uktena inhabited most of what is now known as the American Southwest (including California, and hence Los Angeles) and all the way down to Central America. The Wendigo lived to the north covering much of the Northwest, Alaska and Canada and the Croatan to the east of the mighty Mississippi River.
The aftermath of the War of Rage left the other Gaian breeds scattered and isolated across the Southwest. The Gurahl bore the brunt of the Garou’s fury, retreating into distant, mountainous holdfasts in the Sierra Nevada, and some say eventually dying out entirely. The Qualmi and Pumonca were driven from their homes, fated to become wanderers and far travelers. The ever elusive Nuwisha pulled off perhaps their greatest ‘trick’ in convincing the Garou that they were extinct – a farce that only the Uktena and Wendigo see through, and who for reasons of their own, maintain its pretense down to modern times. Some Changing Breeds, such as the bat-like Camazotz were driven into extinction for truth.
It is only the dark-feathered Corax, pragmatic ravens who bartered their services to the Garou as spies and messengers during the War of Rage and thus escaped their wrath who thrived. The same Corax managed to escape the eternal disdain of the other Changing Breeds by using their same privileged position to save countless many from destruction at the Garou’s claws.
1700-1895: How the Wyld West Was Won (and Lost)
Many indigenous human tribes spread out across the American Southwest for thousands of years. However it would be one unusually large village in particular, whose ancient site is now located beneath the shadow of the US 101 freeway near the Triforium, that would one day form the kernel of modern Downtown Los Angeles. Naturally, along with their ancient kinfolk, the Garou were in the Los Angeles area long before the arrival of most any other supernatural faction. When the first vampire arrived in Los Angeles in 1828, the Uktena had already inhabited the area for several thousand years, guarding their Caern of the Acorn Woodpecker.
After the coming of the Spanish, the Uktena retained their identification with the indigenous population. And thus, as the power of the natives waned over the 18th -> 19th centuries, so did the Uktena, who were gradually reduced to a shadow of their former strength. This did not happen overnight. Indeed, after fifty years of sustained Spanish attempts to settle the Los Angeles region from roughly the 1770s to the 1820s, Los Angeles remained a relatively tiny frontier outpost of barely a thousand permanent residents, dominated by local ranchero families. It was Spanish diseases and Spanish missionaries that did far more to reduce the indigenous populations than Spanish military might (whose ability to campaign at such a great distance was virtually non-existent).
It wasn’t until the California Gold Rush of the 1840s -> 1850s that the sudden, titanic surge of westward European-American immigration threatened to roll over and overwhelm the comparatively thinly populated Uktena. This triggered the most brutal and sustained chapter of the Second War of Rage, where the ‘Wyrmcomers’, with the Iron Riders in their vanguard (an earlier incarnation of the Glass Walkers who revered the power of the locomotive), crashed head on into a tenuous alliance of Uktena, Qualmi, Pumonca, and the few surviving Nuwisha and Gurahl who remained. By 1890, there was hardly a Caern to be found between the Great Plains and the Pacific Ocean which remained in native hands, and Los Angeles was no exception. The ancient Sept of the Acorn Woodpecker was re-named the Sept of the Setting Sun by the triumphant Iron Riders.
By 1890, the Los Angeles area held a ‘European’ population fifty times greater than it was in the 1820s (upwards of ~50,000). By 1900, that population doubled to 100,000. After another ten years, it would triple to over ~300,000 by 1910. It continued this explosive rate of growth through two World Wars (during which Los Angeles emerged as a major global port), the Dust Bowl, Great Depression and the Post-War Boom of the 1950s, as during each successive generation, hundreds of thousands (and soon millions) were drawn to the West Coast.
1895-1969: The Sun Sets On the Wise Guys
By the 1950s, the Glass Walkers (who changed their name from Iron Riders in 1895, after the ‘discovery’ of the City Father of London brought with it a new found resolution on the Tribe’s part to seek out urban Incarna spirits), could look back on nearly ~75 years of unquestioned dominance. This was the heyday of the ‘Wise Guys’ Camp who ruled the City of Angels with its shadowed streets, mysterious starlets, ruthless water wars, fedora-wearing gumshoes and swinging speakeasies with an iron paw beneath a velvet glove. It was the pack of Glass Walkers lead by Don Leandro (who had arrived in L.A. all the way back in 1917) who played a major rule in making Los Angeles one of the key global production hubs through World War II. It was also Don Leandro who kept the Bone Gnawers in their place, who began to flood into Los Angeles during the early 1930s after the twin economic catastrophes of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression uprooted many of their Midwestern and Appalachian kinfolk.
However, the Wise Guys of the 1950s did not realize they were enjoying their last decade of untrammeled dominance. In one of the more profound ironies of the history of the Garou in Los Angeles, they would fall prey to the same demographic juggernaut that overwhelmed the Uktena. When Don Leandro and his Pack arrived in Los Angeles, the city’s population had stood at just over ~500,000. By the end of the 1960s, it will have swollen to nearly ~3 million, bringing with it a tidal rush of poor transplanted laborers from across America, increasingly disgruntled minorities realizing that they’ll need to fight for their place in the sun, homeless Vietnam veterans, the nation’s first recognized housing and mental health crisis, and of course…a seemingly endless parade of hippies. In an attempt to restore the Sunset Strip to its 1950s somnolence, stringent curfews set the stage for one of the first culture wars of the 1960s, as enraged longhairs fought a series of bloody battles with police up and down Sunset Boulevard.
All the while, as Los Angeles grew, it became clearer and clearer to the few Garou willing to read the writing on the wall that the Wyrm had a major ‘newfound’ interest in the city. The stink of corruption rode ever more strongly on the winds that blew out of the L.A. basin. Little did the Garou realize that Los Angeles had always harbored the Wyrm in her bosom. Here lies the entrance to one of the largest caerns of the Wyrm in North America, whose vileness, leeching up through the soil, is at least partially responsible for Los Angeles’ long history of corruption and moral turpitude. The Black Spiral Dancers had long been gathering in force beneath the cancerous hills of abandoned, derelict oil wells, some extending into the heart of Central L.A. It is perversely tragic in hindsight, that just as the forces of the Defiler were preparing their death stroke, Don Leandro’s greatest concerns were with mortal law enforcement agencies becoming increasingly troublesome and with transplanted, dirty long-haired Garou and their kinfolk squatting on ‘his turf’.
The Wise Guys found themselves increasingly out of step with a rapidly changing Los Angeles in the throes of its ‘Youth Quake’ – such that Don Leandro would see his people become an anachronism in his own lifetime. Don Leandro’s death in 1965, which coincided with the Watts Rebellion (the first of many ‘Race Riots’ that would rock the Southlands), and the discovery of a gigantic Hive of Black Spiral Dancers beneath the toxic mounds of Temple-Beaudry would witness the utter demolishing of the Glass Walkers’ power structure in Los Angeles seemingly overnight.
No other American city was so utterly remade by the 1960s as Los Angeles, famously cavalier about torpedoing its past to make way for a fuzzily conceived future. The moment peaked and passed in 1969, as the twin shocks of the Rolling Stones’ disastrous Altamont concert and the Manson murders in Los Angeles shook the flowers out of everyone’s hair.
1969-1979: The Age of Aquarius
By the summer of 1969, Los Angeles was a city on the brink of spiritual destruction. The Wise Guys had been utterly routed, and the Sept of the Setting Sun was in retreat, its leadership either dead or discredited. It seemed that it would be a mere handful of nights at best before the Wyrm could claim dominion over the City of Angels.
And then the tide turned.
It began with a single pack of intrepid Children of Gaia lead by the young Adren Philodox known as Mason King and his beloved brother-in-arms, the Galliard known as Andrew Goodman. Handsome, charismatic, with intelligent blue eyes and sun-streaked, dirty blonde hair, Mason was the Alpha of a large pack of Children who had been picking up followers over the last five years, having begun a mystical journey that took them across the entire continent, and even to San Francisco before arriving in Los Angeles during the Summer of Love. It was Mason, who with seemingly endless energy, optimism and confidence managed to reach out to virtually every surviving Gaian (or at least anti-Wyrm) faction in the city, bringing them together in a single alliance. It was Mason who instilled in his fellow Children of Gaia the resolve to stand and fight. It was Mason who forged an accord with the untamable Bone Gnawer known as Johnny Walker, and who was able to convince a pack of militant Black Furies lead by Athena Beauregard to come storming down from San Francisco to join the fray. It was Mason who convinced the single remaining Wise Guy holdout, the former Warder known as Ronald ‘Dutch’ Holland to reluctantly put his infamous, Fetish Thompson Submachine Gun at the new alliance’s disposal.
However, Mason’s greatest victory was his ‘re-discovery’ of the Uktena of Los Angeles. He found them clinging on, entirely neglected and forgotten by the Wise Guys, in the Puente and San Jose Hills, east of Los Angeles, where a large number of Hispanic and Indian families had lived and intermixed. Although the Uktena were initially suspicious, they were convinced to join in the struggle after Mason King, Andrew Goodman, Johnny Walker, Athena Beauregard and Ronald ‘Dutch’ Holland committed themselves, through a solemn spirit quest to bind their fates with Isabel Moon, the Uktena Theurge.
There would be years of fighting ahead – glorious battles won and lost, unexpected victories and the occasional demoralizing betrayal or setback. It was the last ‘Heroic Age’ of Los Angeles, an era that would cast an ever-lengthening shadow over the decades that followed. By ~1976, the new coalition of Garou had decisively proven that the Wyrm’s greatest offensive on the West Coast in half a century had utterly failed. It had exacted a high price – with few of those who had begun the struggle alongside Mason King and his ragged alliance living to see its conclusion. It is only unfortunate that the Black Spiral Dancers were never completely routed out of their toxic tunnels beneath Temple-Beaudry. Because of this, it would take only a single generation before they challenged the Gaians for dominance of the Southlands again.
1980-1997: Everything New is Old Again
It is commonly agreed by those that knew him that Mason King was prematurely aged by the hard fought struggles and spiritual sacrifices of the 1970s, including the death of several close friends, such as Andrew Goodman and Athena Beauregard. Although he was still only in his early 30s as of 1980, he had already begun to gray. It is said that he only retained his stamina in one area: the surprising number of Kinfolk women he had affairs with, who were drawn to his rock star-like reputation. It was in 1980 when his first wife gave birth to the only son of his that would breed true – Liam Andrew King.
The 1980s and early 1990s were a period of retrenchment for the Garou of Los Angeles. The Sept of the Setting Sun was re-branded as the Sept of the Smiling Angel, with a new Guardian Totem known as the Concrete Coyote, who had been famously tracked down by the Uktena Theurge known as Isabel Moon. It was difficult to hide the fact that the once powerful Caern had ebbed greatly in strength since the 19th century, which might have influenced the decision to re-dedicate it as a Sept of Stealth. This had been opposed by Mason, who had preferred a focus on Unity, though in this event, the weight of Johnny Walker and Isabel Moon’s opinion carried the day. Ronald ‘Dutch’ Holland finally left Los Angeles, taking with him the last, tenuous thread of living history connecting the Garou to the Wise Guy’s heyday of the 1950s.
There are some who remember the 1980s as a golden age for the Garou in Los Angeles – an era of nearly unheard of peace. Then there are those who whisper that the peace was only ever an illusion, bought from resting on the laurels of previous, hard fought victories. Most agree that Mason King resembled an increasingly spent force, grown weary from the constant infighting and the demands of mediation. He saw the idealism that fueled and sustained his Children of Gaia begin to wither in the era dedicated to the maxim of ‘Greed is Good’ ironically during the same decade when Los Angeles became crowned the ‘Homeless Capital of America’. During the same period, Isabel Moon began an ambitious project to help relocate many Uktena and Uktena kinfolk to L.A. from all across the American Southwest down to Central America. It is a project that would eventually out-live her, and would over the next couple decades prove the genesis for the shocking rebound of the Uktena’s overall population, vis a vis the other Tribes.
It was becoming clear to Mason by the early 1990s that the situation in Los Angeles was steadily deteriorating. This was disputed by some, especially Johnny Walker, the famously aggressive Bone Gnawer Elder, who saw his Tribe as stronger than ever before. In fact, at one point during the early 1990s, the Bone Gnawers could be said to easily account for half of all werewolves in Los Angeles! There were some who looked upon the racial unrest, crime, corruption and painful societal evolutions that Los Angeles endured during the first half of the 1990s as a necessary evolution – a chrysalis that promised a more equitable society, even if an aging ‘hippy’ like Mason King was poorly placed to appreciate it. To these Garou, events such as the Los Angeles Riots or the OJ Simpson Trial, however polarizing they might have been to mortal society, would have an ultimately positive effect. There is perhaps some truth to the notion that in the heart of every romantic (and Mason King was that if nothing else) resides a weakness for the nostalgic. The counter-cultural warriors of the 60s and 70s were as loathe to give up the hard-won reins of power as any generation that came before. Mason King wanted peace, love and harmony – not an awkward, brutal reckoning with systematic inequality.
What is now known to be the case however, was that through the majority of the 1980s and the early 1990s, Pentex had begun an unprecedented commercial sweep across the Southlands. Where the Black Spiral Dancers had failed by claw and klaive to wrest control of the city streets, Pentex had funneled billions of dollars into taking over one strip mall, aging refinery, warehouse facility or industrial complex at a time across South and East Los Angeles. By the middle 1990s, the Pentex Corporation was incredibly well-represented in Los Angeles. Rainbow Inc., a major plastics and rubber manufacturer and a wholly owned subsidiary of Pentex was the first corporate tentacle to establish its international headquarters in the ‘city’ of Vernon (population 8), just across the Los Angeles River, southeast of DTLA. The notoriously corrupt and heavily industrial zoned city (whose thousands of employees live in surrounding, unincorporated territories which prohibits them a democratic say in the city’s management) eventually grew to include both major research and manufacturing facilities, all uninhibited by petty bureaucratic regulations. Other Pentex Branches such as Sunburst International (data & logistics), Tellus Enterprises (electronics), Nastrom Enterprises (aerospace), Autumn Health (health services) and Falcon Motors (auto industry) established themselves from West L.A. to Long Beach, and particularly in cities such as Gardena, Carson and Rancho Dominguez.
The Garou of Los Angeles had suddenly found themselves on the back foot – and it was a struggle that could not be met by ferocity, courage or inspired leadership. It was a battle of ledgers and mortal influence, of corrupt police forces and bribed politicians. It was in short, a struggle that the aging Children of Gaia, Bone Gnawer vagrants and slowly rebuilding Uktena were uniquely ill-equipped to contest. Combative packs of Bone Gnawers, loyal to Johnny Walker, found themselves increasingly isolated – cut off by Pentex’s acquisition of territory on all sides of them, and then forced to choose between the Veil and their own fight for survival, when the Pentex shock troops moved in behind a column of the city’s ‘finest’ boys in blue. Often, the Bone Gnawers chose to flee, only to find themselves driven into the open where specially selected and equipped packs of Black Spirals would be waiting for them.
By 1997, virtually the entire Garou population of Los Angeles had fallen back to DTLA, where they still held sway over Skid Row, and where the Los Angeles River and the encircling freeway system would form natural barriers for defense. It would have been even worse, if the Ratkin of the Harbor Region, especially the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach had not been causing far more trouble for Pentex than the wolves would ever know.
1997-2010: The Glass House That Gideon Rebuilt
Despite the pivotal role that he has played in Los Angeles over the last twenty years, there isn’t much known about the mysterious Glass Walker Elder known as Gideon Wu. It is rumored that he wasn’t even born a ‘true’ Glass Walker at all – but rather a Boli Zouhisze of Hong Kong. The Boli Zouhisze are an extremely poorly understood splinter group of Eastern Garou (who also happen to revere the same tribal Totem of Cockroach), who are said to have allied themselves with the British East India Company in 1813, after a long period of suffering at the hands of Wyrmish forces that had taken power during the rise of the Manchus in China. Supposedly, the Boli Zouhisze ended up smuggling opium for the company, most of whom subsequently moved to Hong Kong when it was ‘sold’ to the British by the Chinese in 1842. The story goes that they suffered hideously from the handover of Hong Kong to the Communist Chinese government in 1997.
It is claimed that Gideon Wu was able to somehow acquire (or potentially inherit or embezzle?) a large amount of starting capital and used his network of international contacts to form Wu Sun Pacific – a soon to be tech giant with an initial focus of exporting cheap electronics to North America as early as the late 1980s. By 1996, he was perfectly positioned to move his entire extended family and associates to Los Angeles, shortly before the PLA entered Hong Kong.
Gideon Wu was quick to claim the mantle of ‘Glass Walker’ upon arrival, and whatever past loyalties he might have harbored (if there had ever been such) were swiftly buried. He was just as quickly accepted by the Garou of Los Angeles because they had little choice. Even Johnny Walker and the most viciously stubborn of the Bone Gnawer street sweepers had to admit that Gideon brought with him the financial resources and expertise that the Sept of the Smiling Angel badly required.
Gideon had the knowledge, contacts and allies of every Garou in Los Angeles placed temporarily at his disposal during the Spring of 1997 (an occurrence that some would later regret, and would never be repeated) – while simultaneously managing to contract the services of several Corax, who had hitherto been leery of involving themselves in such a one-sided shellacking. He immediately began to pour resources into everything from Asian-American organizations, to Business Advocacy associations, residential neighborhood councils, real estate development boards, environmental groups, and political campaigns. He helped get Mayor Riordan re-elected, and to then push through an ambitious agenda that would reform the real estate zoning laws governing much of Central Los Angeles.
By himself, whatever his resources and brilliance, Gideon Wu would not have been remotely sufficient to halt Pentex’s takeover of the Southlands. His greatest achievement was putting the Glass Walkers back on the map in Los Angeles after a nearly thirty year hiatus from leadership. There were many Glass Walker Garou, especially of Asian-American stock who were inspired by his example, and who realized that they had more opportunity to carve out a home – and take the fight to Pentex – in Los Angeles than anywhere else in America. Glass Walkers of every stripe, especially of the Corporate Wolves (who enthusiastically adopted Gideon Wu) and the Random Interrupts came flocking back to Los Angeles.
In the years that followed, the Glass Walkers of Los Angeles perfected the art of corporate sabotage – bringing Pentex’s subsidiaries to their knees through carefully managed financial attacks that sought to simultaneously cripple its stock price, hack its servers, paralyze it with litigation and then then hit it with one monkeywrenching operation after another until it began to hemorrhage money for Pentex. In this way, Rainbow Inc, was eviscerated in Vernon, eventually forcing it to shutter for good. The city of Vernon remains a Pentex puppet, yet only at great cost owing to the intense lobbying efforts required to fend off disincorporation (the result of several troves of incriminating data being leaked by anonymous whistleblowers to the DA’s office).
By 2010, the Glass Walkers had regained a powerful sense of pride and purpose in Los Angeles, increasingly confident in going on the offensive against the hydra-like network of Pentex shell companies that still controlled major interests across much of the Southlands.
2010-2016: Twilight of the Legends
The second decade of the 21st century was a greatly transitional one for the Sept of the Smiling Angel. It witnessed several tragedies and major losses, as the remnants of the Sept’s ‘Old Guard’ eventually slipped away, to be replaced by a new generation who had grown up in the shadow of earlier savage struggles. Throughout these ten years, the Sept would lose high ranking veterans at an alarming rate to a combination of age, misfortune and the demands of battle.
The infamous Bone Gnawer Ragabash, Johnny Walker – easily among the most renowned Elders of his tribe – died in early 2010. He had exercised a great sway over the Bone Gnawers of the ‘deep’ Southlands (beginning around Compton and Watts), while maintaining an alliance with the Ratkin ‘Ramblers’ of the Harbor Region. He is rumored to have been struck down by the poisoned dagger of a Ratkin assassin, sent from the hostile Nest of Splintered Teeth. The ‘King of the Ramblers’, a Ratkin Tunnel Runner known as Dallas Reyes de la Cruz would go on to avenge Johnny Walker by tracking down and skinning the Knife Skulker responsible. Although the Bone Gnawers and Ratkin Ramblers would continue to cooperate closely for as long as Dallas lived (right up until the siege of Skid Row in late 2020), the savage Bone Gnawers of the deep Southlands would lose interest in the Sept, increasingly resembling territorial gangs of Ronin.
The Sept Leader, Mason ‘Light-Lifts-Him’ King, the Elder Children of Gaia Philodox of the Sept of the Smiling Angel was an exhausted force by 2011. It had been many long years since the Sept had seen the old fire in Mason’s eyes that he had shown in the great struggles and battles of the 1970s. Indeed, as already noted by the early 1980s, Mason was never quite the same after his beloved packmate, Andrew ‘Bleeding-Heart’s-Solace’ Goodman’s death and that of his closest ally and rival Athena ‘Sunder-Chain’ Beauregard. The Galliard, Andrew, had reminded Mason of why he fought. Athena, the Black Fury Ahroun, had kept him sharp. Although Mason was still only in his sixties, he resembled a much older creature. Johnny Walker’s assassination was the last tragedy he could bear.
Finally, after taking counsel with Gideon Wu and Isabel Moon, Mason stepped down as Sept Leader and was replaced by his son, Liam Andrew King. It was said at the time that the 30-year old Adren Philodox resembled Mason in his prime in both stature and deed. He also enjoyed the close friendship of Gideon Wu’s son, the Adren Ahroun known as James ‘Things-Break’ Wu. mentored since cubs by the long-time Uktena Warder of the Sept, Only-Ghosts-Behind-Him.
The Sept Mistress of Rites, Isabel ‘Star-Eyes’ Moon, the Elder Uktena Theurge is one of the most mysterious werewolves to have ever prowled Los Angeles. It is said that her eyes, once the deep brown of her Chicano-Chumash heritage, had changed hue to a pale, unnatural silvery gray after her First Change. It was said that she could see both past, present and future and walked always with Gaia. She had dedicated her life to rebuilding the Uktena tribe and to searching for and gathering the lost secrets of an earlier age. She had been involved in countless restoration and preservation ventures, including mentoring the young Glass Walker pack known as the ‘Fountainhead’ who she helped establish in Culver City along with Gideon Wu. There were many who thought that Isabel should have been Sept Leader after Mason retired. Instead, Isabel Moon helped Mason’s heir, Liam King, establish himself as Sept Leader, and then departed on a spirit quest. She is said to have been troubled by visions of the Sept’s future, and that the only way to achieve clarity on them was to embark on a lengthy and dangerous pilgrimage. She hasn’t been seen since.
Roughly a year after Isabel Moon’s departure (and long since she had been expected back), her fierce grand-daughter, Morena ‘Worlds-Within-Her’ Moon had a truly epic disagreement with the new Sept Leader, Liam King. It has never been entirely revealed what passed between them, except that they had very different ideas as to the nature of the Sept’s future direction and what has been described by witnesses as a ‘long, intensely angry string of cursing in Spanish as to Liam’s intelligence or lack thereof’ as Morena departed. Morena claimed that there was a forgotten caern in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles, and that she would find it. She took with her two packs of Uktena werewolves along with their families when she departed.
Morena Moon never did find the lost caern which she had been certain of finding. Almost immediately after, the Uktena werewolves found themselves confronted by an unexpected surge of Wyrm activity, seemingly fueled by leech marauders surging in from the Inland Empire who were bringing a wave of drugs and gang violence to the Uktena’s Kinfolk communities in the San Gabriel Valley. The Uktena have been waging guerilla war against the leeches ever since, their thoughts now far from Skid Row. As for Morena Moon? It would not be long before she left the Uktena who had followed her, embarking on a string of lone, arcane adventures across the American Southwest, growing powerful and feared, if not particularly liked.
Mason King would eventually die quietly and with little fanfare in the Winter of 2013. He had grown increasingly reclusive since stepping down (often going many months without making a single appearance), although a merciful shroud of discretion has been drawn over the details of Mason’s final years. He turned his face to the wall and passed away at a surprisingly young age for a werewolf (having not even turned 70, yet.)
As for Gideon Wu? He had long since returned to the shadows – conducting his affairs in such an opaque and mysterious fashion, that even many of the new generation of Glass Walkers forget it had ever been otherwise. As far as they’re concerned Gideon Wu has always been in L.A., and always will be. All that is known for sure is that Gideon Wu seems to have closely advised Liam King in the first few years of his reign, a close relationship which seems to have been facilitated by his own son, James Wu, loving Liam like a brother.
Unfortunately, relations between Gideon and Liam would grow more frosty in 2015 when Liam, as Sept Leader, decisively rejected Gideon Wu’s plan of turning Skid Row into a new ‘Grand Park of the West’. Gideon’s vision would have married the Wyld with the Weaver in the heart of Los Angeles, a cutting edge eco-tech park that would serve as a model for the future. Unfortunately for Gideon, this dream ran headfirst into the vehement opposition of every Bone Gnawer in Los Angeles, given it would require them being cleaned out of Skid Row (along with hundreds of their Kinfolk) to reach fruition. It is said that James Wu and the leading Bone Gnawer Ahroun known as Ripley Tenor almost fought a duel to the death over the issue. In the end, however, Liam sided against Gideon, prioritizing mercy in the present over a dream of the future. He has never been entirely forgiven.
2016: Annus Horribilis
2016 would witness several great tragedies for the increasingly bruised Sept of the Smiling Angel.
It began with successfully repelling what appeared to be a large Black Spiral Dancer assault on the Bawn in 2016. It was chiefly fought across the umbral landscape of Bunker Hill and in a section of tunnels below it. It was a near thing for a little while (especially underground where the Black Spirals were at their most fearsome), yet with assistance from the Sept, the tide was turned, and the Spirals chased back into Temple-Beaudry across the 110 Freeway.
There were numerous voices raised in support of taking the fight into the tunnels beneath Temple-Beaudry to finally end the constant threat of Black Spiral Dancer war parties emerging from there once and for all. The Wyrm Foe, James ‘Things Break’ Wu, an Adren Ahroun and pack leader, speaking for the Glass Walkers of Bunker Hill (and his father), advocated taking the offensive. There are some how claim that James’ zeal in this regard was influenced his recent challenge for the Rank of Athro which demanded a great deed of war, worthy of an Ahroun. The Sept Officers were equally divided. Eventually, the Warder, Only-Ghosts-Behind-Him, despite his caution and reservations, helped convince the Sept Leader. Liam King to sanction the assault.
Unfortunately for the future of cooperation between Gideon Wu’s Glass Walkers and the Sept, it was a disaster. The offensive beneath Temple-Beaudry ran into trouble almost immediately, with James Wu being ambushed and slain. His father, Gideon Wu, pulled his loyal Glass Walkers from the campaign and since it was largely being launched from underneath his Bunker Hill territory, this had the de facto result of ending the whole affair. In the chaos of the disengagement, a couple more young Sept warriors and a dozen Kinfolk were slain.
Not long afterwards, Only-Ghosts-Behind-Him was challenged for the position of Warder by the Bone Gnawer Ripley Tenor. The old Warder was defeated, and went into a self-imposed exile among his relations in the San Gabriel Valley. Not long thereafter, the Black Fury Adren Ahroun known as Basilia Aurelia ‘Nike’ Galanis would arrive in Los Angeles from the Sept of the Western Eye, and would claim the position of Wyrm Foe. Both Basilia and Ripley would hold these positions until the far worse tragedy of the Siege of Skid Row nearly five years later.
2020: The Battle For L.A. Continues
The following paragraphs will summarize where the major Tribes stand on the eve of the game’s starting narrative:
The Children of Gaia have been gradually diminishing in numbers and importance since the 1980s. There is still a sizeable group of them, but the old heroes are long since dead and gone by 2020. The only true relic of the Children of Gaia’s once outstanding contribution to the Sept of the Smiling Angel (besides its very name) is the fact that they still possess a disproportionate number of leadership roles. The current Sept Alpha is Liam Andrew King, the son of the famous Mason King who received a permanently blinding injury in 2008 and stepped down from his position. His exact fate is unknown, as many Garou – even among the Children of Gaia – are quite embarrassed by the notion of dying of old age. Most maintain that he died in battle shortly after his blinding – living just long enough to help ensure his son, Liam Andrew King, was elected and accepted as Sept Alpha as a compromise candidate between the increasingly arrogant Glass Walkers and the belligerent Bone Gnawers.
That was over ten years ago, and even Liam is now getting into his 40s. What’s worse, the rivalry between the Glass Walkers and the Bone Gnawers have only sharpened and grown more bitter in the last decade rather than abated. The Children of Gaia were recently startled to discover they were merely the fourth most numerous Tribe in L.A., and had no short or medium term prospects to catch up – or even to maintain their current numbers. They are widely thought to not possess the numbers, ferocity or respect to retain their outsized influence in the years to come. The majority of new Children of Gaia werewolves are not natives of Los Angeles, but rather young and idealistic transplants.
The Bone Gnawers are more numerous than ever. The 1980s and onwards is when Los Angeles earned its sobriquet as the ‘homeless capital of America’ and when Skid Row became a household term. There are many advantages to being homeless in LA. It’s the only major city where you can ‘comfortably’ sleep out doors most of the year. Its numerous overpasses create makeshift shelters wherever they crisscross the landscape. L.A. has been drawing vagabonds, rootless wanderers, hopeful opportunists and the like since the first hobo jumped on a train in the 1920s, to ride to where the streets were paved with gold (or found a boulevard of broken dreams instead). Massive crime epidemics, social turmoil, a staggering cost of living increasing beyond the rate of inflation and an ongoing mental health crisis have resulted in miniature tent cities springing up on almost every other sidewalk in Los Angeles.
The Bone Gnawers of Los Angeles have a reputation for savagery and hard-nosed combat tactics to rival any Old World Shadow Lord or Get of Fenris brawler. During the last few decade of bitterness and desperation, and especially since Johnny Walker’s death in 1999, the Bone Gnawers have drawn ever closer to their occasional Ratkin allies. There is nothing about the (partially Glass Walker instigated) gentrification of DTLA from ~2001 onwards that have soothed their tempers. They do however enjoy by far, the largest number of native or transplant kinfolk.
If the Bone Gnawers are so numerous and fierce, why do they not completely dominate the Sept? Because Bone Gnawers often have a hard time getting other Tribes to follow them. The Children of Gaia, Uktena, Glass Walkers and the other ‘Miscellaneous Tribes’, all have reasons to not wholeheartedly fall in with the current Bone Gnawer agenda. Many don’t believe that the Bone Gnawers have the resources or the legal, financial and political influence to effectively combat the Wyrm in Los Angeles on every level besides a street fight. Even some Garou who are sympathetic to the Bone Gnawers and recognize their great strengths, privately doubt that even if such assets were made available, that the Bone Gnawers would effectively direct them.
Still, the Bone Gnawers tend to be well informed about everything street level in LA, as the combination of numerous kinfolk and Ratkin allies allows for superb information gathering. Although a subtle edge of paranoia or victim complex is creeping into their evaluations, along with the ever-present siege mentality embodied by Skid Row.
The Uktena are one of modern Los Angeles’ unqualified success stories. Over the last 50 years, they have grown in numbers, helped by the fact that Los Angeles hosts the largest population of urban indigenous peoples in America. None of the County’s Native Americans are recognized or acknowledged as such by the Federal Government, placing them outside various treaties or rights, although they have begun to make progress in securing state-wide recognition in the last few decades. Many L.A. Uktena belong to indigenous communities from Mexico or Central America, and some of these have contacts or kinfolk among criminal gangs such as the notorious MS-13. They have been the third most numerous Tribe in L.A. for a decade now, and with the disappearance of the Elder known as Isabel Moon, have begun to drift towards a more radical mindset. They don’t have the time for Children of Gaia idealism or diplomacy anymore. An increasing number of them have come to see the other Tribes as trespassers, a point of view held even by Uktena who are themselves relatively recent arrivals.
Generally speaking, the Uktena do not feel as if they are as appreciated and represented in the current ranks of the Sept as they should be. In addition to their disenchantment with the Children of Gaia, the Uktena tend to be very suspicious of the Glass Walkers (though lack the outright hostility to them that many Bone Gnawers possess). Although they are sometimes at odds with the Bone Gnawers, the Tribes (whose members tend to come from similarly marginalized socio-economic castes) tend to pull together more often than not. The Southlands are known for its several large packs of mixed Bone Gnawer and Uktena werewolves.
The Uktena of Los Angeles have a history of providing strong Theurges to the Sept, who themselves have a reputation among other Uktena for being particularly adept at dealing with urban spirits. They continue to actively assist in and encourage (the often illicit) emigration of Uktena and their kinfolk from cartel-plagued areas of Mexico and Central America to Los Angeles.
By 1980, the Glass Walkers were at their lowest ebb. The Wise Guy camp, although it continued to hold influence on the East Coast for another ten years, was basically done on the West Coast. The 1980s witnessed the rise to dominance of the Corporate Wolves camp within the Glass Walkers. This was the era of ‘Greed is Good’, after all. Several such packs eventually found their way to Los Angeles over the next couple decades, though they kept a low profile given the lingering hostility to them felt by many native Garou. There are thought to be more than a few Boli Zouhisze (including their descendants), who like Gideon Wu, made their way to Los Angeles in the wake of Hong Kong’s handover to the Chinese government. Their true numbers are unknown, and none would ever identify as anything but a lifelong Glass Walker.
This has all changed over the last twenty years, during which Los Angeles has experienced a sustained boom in development even as South and especially East Asian nations began to play a far more important role in the city’s increasingly Pacific-oriented economy. The Glass Walkers of Los Angeles are known for the successful fusion of Corporate Wolf venture capital with Random Interrupt creativity and genius, paralleling the monolithic success of Big Tech since the early 2000’s. The first decade of the third millennium witnessed such phenomena as Hollywood increasingly ‘panda-ring’ to China, and big tech companies moving their smartphone factories overseas. Korean MNCs have invested billions of dollars into L.A., since they can expect a greater return on their investment than investing it back home in Korea (a calculus aided by generous tax incentives from the Korean government keen on building influence abroad). Los Angeles received the metric ton of investment, since it was the only city in America to have a big Korean population. A Korean immigrant can live comfortably in Koreatown without ever speaking a word of English.
Although the vast majority of Asian-American Glass Walkers in Los Angeles are not of Korean ancestry (most are Chinese-American), they’re still better placed to take advantage of certain geopolitical and economic trends in L.A., than they would be in virtually any other city. It has made Los Angeles an attractive destination for ambitious types – and Gideon Wu, whose extended family dominates the Bunker Hill area, is excellent at finding and funding young, raw Glass Walker talent. They need it, since the aptly named Bunker Hill is the first line of defense against the nearby Temple-Beaudry Hive.
In addition to possessing unparalleled material resources and mortal influence, the Glass Walkers are famously adaptable when it comes to dealing with Weaver spirits and new technology. In many ways, the Glass Walkers would be ideal stewards of the Sept.
However. The very fact that many are often foreign transplants, and they’re wealthy, and they’re more attuned to the Weaver – makes them despised by the Ratkin and their closest and most aggressive Bone Gnawer allies. Not helping matters is the intensely bitter, ongoing feud between the Skid Row cooperatives and the rest of Downtown, which is often described as a glazed donut, with all of the money and investment going around the edges, and Skid Row being the hole in the middle. Many of the districts surrounding Skid Row, like the Seafood District or Toy District have tried to ‘block’ Skid Row in, by setting up construction fences for projects that are never completed. Little Tokyo is often presented as especially hostile to Skid Row’s existence. The Bone Gnawers often perceive the Glass Walkers as siding with the business groups controlling Little Tokyo, even against their fellow Garou.
Today, the Glass Walkers chiefly consist of two recognizable groups: The group with 90% of the power are the fusion of primarily Asian-American Corporate Wolves/Random Interrupts who with the union of big tech with big money in the last twenty years (symbolized by Silicon Valley and various social media giants), have grown increasingly alike. It would be very difficult to find a strand of meaningful disagreement between these Camps as they currently exist: The suspenders-sporting ‘Wolves of Wall Street’ of the 80s, and the rollerskating hackers of the 90s are equally obsolete if not yet entirely extinct. Technological innovation requires venture capital which brings vast profits, dwarfing the wettest dreams of the greediest Wall Street stockbroker, which in turn allows for more money to be sunk into R&D.
The other ‘group’ of Glass Walkers is something of an anomaly. It mainly consists of a small number of City Farmers who are more sympathetic philosophically with the Children of Gaia, Bone Gnawers and Uktena, and one or two oddities such as the occasional Cyberdog fugitive who would be rejected anywhere else.
The Black Furies are not particularly numerous in Los Angeles, and have not had a well known alpha or much of a say in the leadership of the Caern since the early 1980s, most of their influence rapidly evaporating in the few years following the death of Athena Beauregard. Another significant reason for the absence of determined Black Fury leadership is that the closest, moon bridge connected caern to the Sept of the Smiling Angel, just happens to be the Sept of the Western Eye, maintained by a strong coalition of Children of Gaia and Black Furies in the heart of the Muir Woods National Monument near San Francisco, California.
The Sept of the Western Eye has been a historically more attractive destination than the brutal, urban hellscape of Skid Row and South L.A, especially when an influx of Furies would likely be met with open suspicion by Tribes such as the Bone Gnawers and the Uktena whose faith in Children of Gaian leadership is already severely brittle.
There does remain a strong tradition of Black Fury packs venturing down into the Southlands to test their mettle, and to often provide timely reinforcements in the battles against the legions of the Wyrm. Although many of these heroic young women never return to the Bay Area, the accomplishments of the survivors rarely fail to achieve their due recognition…provided they don’t overstay their welcome.