|Nicknames:||Xingguan (in the Middle Kingdom)|
The Stargazers are one of the tribes found in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Loners by nature, they are the calmest and most introverted of the Garou, as well as the smallest of the remaining tribes. Their shrinking numbers and power, a result of the destruction of their homelands by the Wyrm, caused a number of changes to the tribe, most importantly in their alliances.
The original Stargazers are said to have come from India, specifically the Himalayas. During the Wars of Rage and the War of Shame, the great tragedies among the early Fera, the Stargazers chose the way of inaction, providing counsel to both sides of the conflict, but not (as a Tribe, however, individual packs and Garou might choose otherwise) intervening in the favour of either side.
During this time, the Stargazers usually kept their own counsel, staying in their established territories and bothering not with the other ten tribes of the nation. It was only after a great Wyrm Beast was stirred within the Middle East and all tribes of Gaia's warriors came to fight it, that the other tribes saw a Stargazer with their own eyes since the One Tribe split. After that, many Stargazers affiliated themselves formally with the Garou Nation but preferred to keep their own ways and traditions of enlightenment alive.
During the exploration of the Pure Lands, few Stargazers made their way into them. Those that did usually followed their own Kinfolk that had traveled into the Amercias in search for work. These Stargazers tended to have ameniable relations with the Uktena, not bothering them and not actively trying to seize their Caerns.
Most Stargazers stayed behind and fought against the rise of Bane activity that the spread of western industrialization, as well as the import of opium, brought with it. The Stargazers clashed with more expansionistic tribes like the Silver Fangs or the Shadow Lords, but in the end, they largely failed and were either driven farther into the Himalayas or forced to make concessions to either the Beast Courts or the Nation. This widened the chasm between the Tribe and its occidental brethren.
By the new millenium, the numbers of the Stargazers had dwindled to less than 500 across the world. Combined with the loss of many of their major caerns, the elders of the tribe realized drastic measures would have to be taken in order to ensure the survival of the Stargazers against the Wyrm. In addition, the Stargazers had, in 1999, received an invitation from the Beast Courts of Asia to join forces with the Hengeyokai, who promised to help the Stargazers regain control over their ancestral homelands.
The offer was too good to pass up, and in 2000, the Stargazer elders announced, to the shock of the other tribes, that the Stargazers were withdrawing from the Garou Nation and would be returning to Asia to join with the Beast Courts. Many tribes protested their withdraw, but came to realize it was better to let the Stargazers leave peacefully and regain their power overseas so that they could stand and fight against the Wyrm.
The Stargazers are overseen by a number of elders, who work together to make decisions on behalf of the tribe. Although they command respect and loyalty, most of the elders are willing to compromise with lesser members of the tribe, a trait that was revealed most powerfully when the Stargazers changed their alliances.
- The Heavenly Successors Of The Demon-Eater: Heirs to Zhong Kuei, the Heavenly Successors have sworn themselves to the destruction of vampires and other creatures that leech Gaia's soul off.
- The Inner Path: The Inner Path are a secret society that believe that the Stargazers should become the Alphas of the Garou Nation, since they are most spiritually advanced. Rather than challenging the Silver Fangs openly, the Inner Path works with other malcontents within the Nation to achieve their goal.
- The Klaital Puk: The Klaital Puk serve a Garou they see as the reincarnation of Klaital Star-catcher. When the current Klaital dies, they seek omens and portents to learn where his soul has been reborn. Since the last Klaital died during the Week of Nightmares and has not yet resurfaced, the Klaital Puk have lost much of their influence.
- The Sacred Thread: The Sacred Thread seek to spread education and spiritual counsel among humans to combat the tendrils of the Wyrm before they take root in a human mind.
- Trance Runners: The Trance Runners have dedicated themselves to a meditative state during physical exercise. Lung-gompa - wind meditation - grants them physical prowess to fulfill their duties: transmitting messages, items, and secrets from caern to caern or court to court.
- The World Tree: Members of the World Tree seek enlightenment not only among their own kind or humanity, but also from the spirits and even other Changing Breeds. They often undertake extended Umbral quest in search of their answers.
- The Zephyr: The Zephyr are dedicated to master Kailindo, and, like the wind-spirits that mentor them, are constantly on the road, joining packs as they travel, seeking visions that will grant them enlightenment
Other Camps are seen as dangerous
- Ana-gamin: The Ana-gamin are a near mythical group that are rumored to kidnap and indoctrinate promising Stargazers. They are said to roam the Umbra, searching for a way to sever the earthly connections of all Stargazers to allow their Tribe to wander the Umbra in its entirety.
- The Metastic Birth: The followers of the Metastic Birth believe that the Wyrm is not imprisoned. Rather, it has cocooned itself and awaits its metamorphosis. Followers of the Camp believe that the Garou should prepare to survive the Apocalypse to experience the new world once the Wyrm has finally been transformed, not try to fight the process.
- Ouroboroans: The Ouroboroans seek the free the ancient Wyrm of Balance from the Pattern Web. To do this, they strike at concentrations of Weaver power, search out forgotten Wyrm entities and seek ways into Malfeas. Only by following the Wyrm to its cave, rather than fighting its minions, do they feel they may truly influence the outcome of the Final War.
The Stargazers, like many of the less-battle minded tribes, prize wisdom over all else. On the whole, they are extremely centered and less prone to Rage than other Garou, and are masters of riddles and problem solving. However, they are also loners in the extreme, although more willing to offer help and less mistrusted than their fellow nomadic Garou, the Silent Striders.
Challenges for Rank often involve complicated riddles, tests of patience, and peculiar vision quests. There is frequently no right answer to be found in these questions: It's the act of contemplation that's important, and the realization that one will always be presented with questions that have no proper answer. When commanded by Garou of other tribes, the Stargazers are more prone to obey than to challenge, even if the decisions are poor. Most will instead reinterpret the order more to their liking without violating its wording.
Stargazer human Kinfolk are generally found in China and India. Despite the dwindling numbers of Garou in the tribe, the number of human Kin has remained remarkably steady, forming a widespread network. The number of wolf Kinfolk is disturbingly low, a consequence of the global drop in the wolf population, but some can be found in Mongolia and Tibet.
Political Culture Edit
After accepting the invitation of the Beast Courts, many of the Stargazers in North America and Europe left for the Asian continent to join with the active part of the tribe and work with the Beast Courts. However, a fair number of young Stargazers elected to remain behind, thinking of themselves as Westerners and members of the Garou Nation. These Stargazers were allowed to remain behind with their old ties, ranks, and relationships. In exchange, any new Stargazer cubs the Western Stargazers come upon are to be sent overseas to the main tribe, and if the elders call on them to come and fight, they must drop what they are doing and answer the call.
Modern Stargazer culture is divided into three lines of thought: The Traditionalists believe that the Stargazers are first and foremost Garou, and that they should act like Garou instead of trying to behave like something they are not. Many members of this faction remained within the Garou Nation. The Transcendents, instead, supress everything within them that is part of the Garou condition, but is detrimetal to them, like Rage and the Curse. They maintain that if everyone controlled their own souls, the Wyrm would have no place to crawl inside. The Trappists, however, have taken up the war against the Weaver. Believing themselves "trapped", they seek to even the odds by striking against the greatest incursions of the Weaver in the material world, cities.
Religious Culture Edit
One of the more unique aspects of the Stargazer culture is their martial art, Kailindo, which they use to not only fight, but channel their energies and make their mind, body, and soul act in a unified manner.
The Stargazers have two main precepts: All life is suffering and The only Way to escape suffering is the Middle Way. Behind that, the Stargazers reckognize five states of mind and five truths. The five states of mind are Earth (Meditation), Wind (the practice of Kailindo), Water (Compassion), Fire (Instinct) and Moon (Enigmas). The Five Truths are Duty, Restraint, Wisdom, Tranquility and Vigor. They are opposed by the impure distractions of lethargy, desire, doubt, worry and overconfidence. Together, they form the Gaiadharma, the duty of the Stargazer tribe to their Mother. By mastering every part of the Gaiadharma, a Stargazer could theoretically transcend this world. For this reason, the Tribe actively denies itself this enlightenment. No Stargazer will accept individual salvation until Gaia has been healed. No Garou will leave the cycle of suffering behind, for their very existence as the Fangs of Gaia is a formal accord that binds them to this world until their duty is either done or they have failed.
The Stargazers describe the Triat as the forces of Passion (the Wyld), Reality (the Weaver) and Darkness (the Wyrm). All three forces continously tear at Gaia in their titanic struggle and threaten to crush her. The Stargazers understand that the Wyrm is not to blame for the things it does, since it has been trapped and denied its original purpose, but they also see that the reason the Wyrm was trapped was because the Triat developed self-awareness and therefore the capability of selfishness. Balance will be returned when the Triat is returned into their original state.
Version Differences Edit
In the original and second editions, the Stargazers were considered members of the Garou Nation. Revised Edition, where their allegiance to the Beast Courts begins, removes them from the main line of tribes entirely, although notes on them can be found in the appendix of the revised corebook and in the Storytellers' Companion. In the 20th anniversary edition, they are once again members of the Garou Nation, though they have links to the Courts (the precise nature of which varies).
- , pp. 46-47, 100-101
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