What is a Moot?Edit
A Moot is a meeting of a group of Garou held in accordance with Garou tradition and ritual. For the purposes of this FAQ, that group will be a Sept (the group of Garou who gather around and defend an individual Caern), though other varieties of Moots are often held as well (eg. Tribe, Auspice).
What does a Moot involve?Edit
A Sept Moot is broken into five parts: the Opening Howl, the Inner Sky, the Cracking of the Bone, the Stories and Songs, and the Revel. One or more Garou leads each particular section of the Moot. Fulfilling the duties of a Moot "office" is Renown-worthy and Garou are encouraged to seek these positions.
How often do Moots happen?Edit
Moots generally happen as frequently or infrequently as the Garou wish, however they are crucial to the health of Caerns. If they are not held at a Caern on a regular basis, the Caern can weaken and go dormant. As a result Garou generally hold a Moot at their Caern once every lunar month, normally on or near the full moon.
On GarouMUSH, we generally roleplay a Moot every other month, and assume that Moots happen "off camera" during the off months. Players are encouraged to organize off-month Moots; consult the wizards if you're interested in doing this.
Who is responsible for organizing Moots?Edit
In the in-character universe, the Sept Alpha and the Caern Warder are responsible for organizing Moots. They consult with the Ritesmaster to determine an opportune time to conduct the Moot Rite, and select the various Garou who will perform the duties of the Moot offices. In reality, any player willing to shoulder the logistical burden of organizing the Moot can do so. The job does require some familiarity with things, however, so interested players must obtain the approval of the wizards before starting to organize things.
What happens when?Edit
Moots commence with the Opening Howl, followed in order by the Opening of the Inner Sky, the Cracking of the Bone, Stories and Songs, and finally the Revel. This is the traditional order in which things happen, and is generally not deviated from.
What happens during the Opening Howl?Edit
Every Moot begins with the Howl, and it is typically led by the Galliards of the Sept. One Galliard serves as the Master of the Howl for the Moot, and he or she leads the songs and chants that begin the Moot. It is the responsibility of the Master of the Howl to summon the other Garou of the Sept to the Moot, and then to perform the Moot Rite that officially opens the Moot. It is also the duty of the Master of the Howl to see to it that there is a smooth transition from one section of the Moot to the next. No two Septs have the same Opening Howl; each is distinct. Opening Howls can also vary in tone depending on a Moot's purpose: a howl marking a Sept's recent triumph in battle might be martial in tone, while a howl calling Garou to a Moot during which criminals will be judged might be more menacing. However, it is the role of the Fool -- normally the province of one of the Ragabash auspice -- to question each assertion made during the Opening Howl. In turn, the Garou unite in affirmation of their heritage by refuting the Fool's claims.
What happens during the Inner Sky?Edit
During the Inner Sky, one of the Theurge Auspice takes on the role of Caller of the Wyld. The Caller of the Wyld is responsible for conducting the rites that reach into the Umbra and contact the spirits, and bring their presence to the Moot. The Inner Sky is crucial to the health of the Caern, for if the spirits are not contacted and honored by the Sept, they will begin to lose their connection to the Caern, and the Caern in turn will weaken and eventually grow dormant.
Appeals during the Inner Sky are typically made to the Caern's totem spirit, but can include other spirits as well at the Caller of the Wyld's whim.
What happens during the Cracking of the Bone?Edit
A member of the Philodox auspice takes on the role of Truthcatcher for the Cracking of the Bone. This is the part of the Moot during which the Sept's business is conducted. Disputes may be settled, policies made, grievances aired, and judgements handed down, all presided over by the Truthcatcher. Most often any Garou who wishes to speak at the Cracking of the Bone will be permitted to do so, though higher ranked Garou are usually deferred to by lower ranking ones.
For the duration of the Cracking, any Garou who speaks out of turn inappropriately may lose renown (or be otherwise punished by their Septmates). Respect the Bones!
What happens during the Stories and Songs?Edit
During this section of a Moot, presided over by a member of the Galliard auspice called the Talesinger, tales are told of past and present Garou exploits. The old stories of the Sept are remembered, and the newest heroes are honored with howls of recognition and rites of praise. The Talesinger or another Galliard may use the Gift of Shadows by the Fire Light, giving young Garou an opportunity to gain renown by acting out the parts of past heroes. Regardless, it is considered a high honor to have one's deeds praised by the Talesinger.
What happens during the Revel?Edit
The Moot finally culminates in the Revel, when the passions of the Garou are fully released and the Caern is recharged with their energy. The stories and songs grow more and more impassioned as the Moot continues until finally, at a signal given by the Master of the Howl, a member of the Ahroun auspice called the Wyrm Foe changes into the lupine shape and, with a mighty howl, leads the Garou in mock-battles or displays of strength. When the Wyrm Foe decides that the Sept has worked itself up into a proper state of passion, he leads the Garou on a wild run to clear the area around the Caern of all enemies.
Are there any Moot traditions peculiar to GarouMUSH?Edit
The GarouMUSH interpretation of Moots differs somewhat from what is presented in standard White Wolf source material because of the nuances of on-line versus face-to-face gaming, and because of taste (it also predates much of the White Wolf material).
On GarouMUSH the Opening Howl always includes the Master of the Howl reciting the Litany. The Fool challenges the tenets recited by the Master of the Howl, and the Sept then reaffirms its conviction to the Litany by shouting down the Fool.
The Inner Sky involves its own specialized ritual (Open the Inner Sky) which would-be Callers of the Wyld must know. The Caller of the Wyld performs this ritual, often with the assistance of one or more other Garou and the general participation of the Sept. Once the spirit or spirits that the Caller of the Wyld has contacted make their presence felt, the Inner Sky concludes.
The line between the Cracking of the Bone and the Stories and Songs has often been blurred in the past; while business is discussed and judgments handed down, announcements of successful Challenges and other deeds are also made. During the Cracking of the Bone, it is tradition for the Truthcatcher to actually break in half the legbone of some animal.
The Revel may be as described above, or may be an actual participatory hunt of some sort that will take the bulk of the Sept away from the Caern. If the latter, additional packs will often volunteer to remain behind to safeguard the sanctity of the Caern.
Tradition holds that during a Moot, the general populace usually remains at the center of the Caern, while the Moot officers usually take position at one of the corners of the Caern's Heart.
Characters who fail to stay in the proper physical place may lose renown. If you're not the Fool, no hopping around on the Fool's position, etc.
Audible side conversations, clowning around, or not seeming to take the Moot seriously can cost a character renown.
Significant deviations from the traditional form of the Moot (for instance, if the Master of the Howl recites a non-standard version of the Litany, or if the Fool tries to use his position as a pulpit) can also cost a character renown.
The common language used by Garou during Moot is Mother's Tongue, though some Garou may stay in their lupus form and communicate that way. Garou who speak in Homid languages without proper reason (eg. a very new cub who doesn't know Mother's Tongue) are looked upon as rude and disrespectful, especially if they don't make apologies or otherwise mitigate their rudeness. Beware the consequences of speaking in a Homid language at the Moot. Remember, most human names can't be properly pronounced in Mother's Tongue. Use your Garou name when identifying yourself.
Characters may lose renown for making ad hominem attacks against or threatening the Fool personally; by the same token, the Fool may lose renown for making his challenges to the Litany personal in nature. This includes mentioning Sept-wide events and problems as well as individuals' mistakes. Characters may also lose renown for agreeing with the Fool. The Fool is intended to be an allegory for the doubts and fears that the Garou may have, and the Opening Howl is a time for reaffirming convictions, not for ethical debate.
What do I have to know if I want to plan a Moot?Edit
In order to plan a Moot, a player should be familiar with what a Moot involves. They should have participated in at least one, and preferably more than one. They should also know the general sort of schedule facing the MUSH player base -- for instance, if the full moon happens to fall around the Christmas holidays.
What do I have to do if I want to plan a Moot?Edit
The first step that a player must take if he wants to try planning a Moot is contacting the wizards. This is purely for the purposes of administrative oversight: other players may have already volunteered, the wizards may have something special involved, or what have you.
Next, a date must be chosen. This should preferably fall around the time of the full moon, and should be chosen in consultation with the wizards and the players of the tribal and Caern elders. Obviously, no date is ever perfect, but accomodations should be made wherever possible.
Once a date has been chosen, characters must be recruited for the various Moot offices (this is discussed further in question 3.3, below).
If you plan on doing anything special for the Moot (such as arranging a large GM'ed combat as the Revel, or having an interactive story be told, or what have you), you must run the idea past the wizards as well as the players of the Sept Alpha and Caern Warder.
It's crucial to plan the Moot with time in mind. Most Moots will need to be started around 6:00 or 6:30 pm Pacific Time -- that's early enough that East Coast players won't have to miss the festivities, but late enough so that West Coast players can get home from work. Because of this, things need to move at a brisk pace so that the East Coast players don't have to start logging off in the middle of the Moot; you might have the Master of the Howl allot a certain amount of time for each Moot segment, and ask the Master of the Howl, the Fool, the Caller of the Wyld, and anyone with business at the Cracking of the Bone to try to pre-compose and macro their poses, if possible. Other things may be done to shorten a Moot as well; these are discussed further in question 3.5, below.
Who should I recruit to fill various Moot positions?Edit
Recruiting for Moot positions should be done in consultation with the players of the Sept Alpha and the Caern Warder. Moot positions are normally given to either established elder-types, or to individuals who the Sept Alpha and Caern Warder feel have distinguished themselves, and should be rewarded. While the preferences of those players cannot always be observed, accomodations should be made wherever possible.
If the wizards, Alpha and Warder don't have specific opinions, and the Moot organizer doesn't have specific people in mind, then generally the organizer should @mail the various auspices involved and give people a chance to volunteer. (Posting on the Sept bboard and the LJ are good back-up plans, as well.)
What if I can't fill all the Moot positions?Edit
If for some reason you're unable to find a viable in-auspice character to perform a particular Moot office, or the individual you have lined up cancels at the last minute, ask the players of the Sept Alpha and Caern Warder what to do. In general they may suggest a character of an alternate auspice, or, in a real emergency, a newcomer or cub.
Do I have to do all the parts of the Moot?Edit
It is not always necessary to do all the parts of the Moot. The Opening Howl and the Inner Sky can be abbreviated to a few poses, or even just one apiece -- so long as the poses convey the gist of who's done what and what's happened as a result. It's usually not a good idea to try to omit the Cracking of the Bone or the Revel, as these tend to be the most interactive parts of the Moot. Stories and Songs can be abbreviated so that real stories are not told, though it's generally a good idea to, if nothing else, allow for challenge announcements and the laying of other appropriate laurels.