From WoD Gotham
Simply put, they are humans or wolves who somewhere in their family tree have had a werewolf or two and therefore carry that loveable werewolf gene.
This article provides an overview of kinfolk in World of Darkness: Gotham and their role in Garou society for prospective kinfolk player characters and the Garou that they assist.
Kinfolk: A Supporting Character for Werewolf
One thing that is constant with all kinfolk is that they are not Garou. They are supporting character types. This means that the kinfolk character is not ever on equal footing with a Garou. Kinfolk are side-kicks, assistants, helpers, supporters, aides, family members, lovers, significant others, etc. In WoDG, they are always human. No wolf kin are accepted.
How kinfolk are treated largely depends on the tribe to which the kinfolk is a member. Some tribes are very liberal in how they treat their kin. Some are extremely conservative and even stifling. However no matter the tribe kinfolk are not members of the Sept. They are not members of werewolf packs.
In WoDG we do not allow Kinfolk to have any supernatural benefits at all save for their inherent ability which is being immune to Delirium. They cannot have Gnosis, Gifts, Rites, Numina, Psi, Hedge Wizardry, True Faith, etc. They do not gain renown. If you want to have Gnosis, Gifts, Rites, Renown, etc. for your player character there’s a simple solution – make a werewolf.
Being kin to Garou is tough. You gain ton of disadvantages and few advantages. Sure Garou say that kin have it easy compared to their Curse, but that’s no small comfort when dealing with extremely dysfunctional family units.
It’s like being the kid from the cool family whose sibling got all the good looks or all the brains or all the potential and you’re just – ordinary. They get to go to the cool parties and secret meetings. They have the key to the club house and get to hang out with the cool kids. You get to sit and watch from the sidelines. Now and again they call you to go fetch them this or that. Run this errand or that errand. Talk to this person or that person. And you jump up and do it like an asshole. Why? Because they are blood, they are kin, they are family and you love them and you are obligated. Not only that but for some families (tribes), you have very little say in your future. The family needs you to be a lawyer and you have the mind for it – you’ll be a fucking lawyer. The spirits say you should be a vet tech, you’ll be a vet tech. The moon is aligned just right over your birth and the birth of someone you’ve never met before who also has kin blood across the country? Guess what? You’re going to marry that person no matter how you feel about it.
Some kin from some tribes get perks and other things in exchange for their help - little tokens of appreciation and thank you cards. A Bone Gnawer kin has it pretty good compared to others. Sure most of them don’t have a pot to piss in, but their Garou relatives are damned liberal and protective. Not a lot of dangerous street personalities will mess with a Bone Gnawer kin when they got big ol’ Wrecking Crew and his crazy buddies as family. That’s a pretty nice perk. Glass Walkers may toss a reliable kin some valuable inside information from the Weaver spirits on how stocks should perform over the next quarter – not too shabby.
However, those perks pale in comparison to the inescapable fact that kinfolk are just on the other side of Gaia’s velvet rope. And in the Sept of the Green, they are not allowed into the VIP room.
Why? Well some things are just too dangerous for kin to know. Some Garou activities are just inappropriate for kin. From the Garou perspective, it’s just not cool to have your kid brother or sister constantly at your heels making a pain of themselves. Perhaps most importantly, it’s about security. Having a bunch of kinfolk flock to the caern for a pow wow presents a lot of logistical problems and can cause unwanted attention on both sides of the Gauntlet. So it’s just not done.
Kin to members of Sept of the Green have support networks and Hidden social networking sites courtesy of the Glass Walkers so that they can stay connected with their Garou family members and each other.
Kinbook – The Ultimate Social Network
It’s not implausible for kinfolk players to form their own support groups and network together in WoDG. In fact we’d be delighted if kin players got together and formed their own Alliances.
Therefore, being kin is a role that isn’t for everyone. Any Kinfolk player must be disciplined enough to accept that his character will be excluded on a regular basis from scenes where his presence is just not appropriate. His character will be in the dark much of the time.
Because of this often the only tie available to kinfolk players are the Garou that their characters are associated with. So it’s required of players seeking to play kinfolk to have a Garou player character acting as a family member. This can be a sibling, child, spouse, cousin, uncle, aunt, prospective spouse, etc.
There just needs to be some sort of tie. This tie will serve to bind the kinfolk player character to the rest of the Werewolf venue. If you don't have a Garou PC with whom to play, you can advertise your need for one in the OOC Werewolf Forum.
Both the player of the Kinfolk and the player of the Garou must understand and accept the status of kinfolk in Sept of the Green and in WoDG in general.
For more information on Kinfolk see: Kinfolk: The Unsung Heroes and the Player's Guide to the Garou pp. 200-206
We understand that it’s a hard sell, but consider resisting the temptation of making a kinfolk cyber-toy mate side-kick to get off on and play house with. Ok maybe that’s not fair. Maybe it’s cool to have PC mates and cyber-squeezes around for PC or NPC baddies to use and abuse in an effort to trip up Garou anti-heroes. Hey! It’s a great dramatic plot device.
However, that kind of plot device can just as easily be provided by a sibling, mom, pops, daughter, son, aunt, uncle. There are other directions that players can take with their kinfolk and Garou storylines. Remember Peter Parker’s Auntie Mae? Well there ya go! Case closed!
For the Kinfolk: So You Still Want In?
Well if all that stuff didn’t scare you off, fine. Playing a kin can be fun. You’re still human and can serve as a connection to humanity on behalf of your Garou family. You can be their eyes and ears. Since WoDG is a crossover friendly Chronicle, there’s no reason a kin can’t get in on some of the cool nibblets going on in the Mortal venue and even in the other venues.
However, we’ll just harp on this point again. You have to understand and be totally ok and clear with the fact that your character will be a supporting character and will ALWAYS be a supporting character. He will not end up being the one and only exception to the rule. He will not be SUPAH KIN! He will not be allowed to attend certain sessions and you should never ever expect it.
Most importantly you need to understand that as kinfolk your character is tied to his Garou family member. As players you have made a commitment to one another to play this storyline. The player of the Garou only has 2 slots to give to PC kinfolk. You are taking up one of them. That means that you need to keep your Garou’s player in the loop. If you’re going to be absent from the chat for a while be respectful and send a quick notification to your ST and to your Garou buddy. Try and work out together the reasons for the IC absence if possible. Failure to do so will result in the ST having to follow Inactivity Policy.
For the Garou: So You Want Family Around You?
Garou players also have to consider their responsibilities both IC and OOC to this new storyline that they are embarking upon. Understand that the Sept has rules for good reason. Don’t be the one idiot in the Sept or pack that is campaigning for “Kinfolk Access” or some jerkoff thing like that. Failure to play your character’s role in the relationship and keep the boundaries set will have IC consequences. Garou and kinfolk brats aren’t looked on well by the Sept and the Garou will definitely find himself in some trouble and likely lose renown if it gets out of hand. Remember with urban Garou it’s not where you come from or what your ancestors did a long time ago that matter, it’s about your words and deeds now.
Kinfolk that are not just general extended family – Kinfolk that are close to your Garou are not represented by the Kinfolk background. They are closer and are counted as Retainers. You can only take 5 dots in Retainers. Of those, remember that you only have 2 PC slots to fill out of your 5 total Retainer dots. So make sure that you have a partner in this storyline that you can count on and that you like collaborating with. It’s on you to use good judgment in this area.
Because the player of the Kinfolk is completely dependent on you to RP your character in order to effectively RP out the relationship and what the kinfolk knows or doesn’t know about being a kinfolk and Garou society, you have responsibilities to them. You need to be present and able to function as his tie to Garou society. If you’re going to be absent you should also be able to send a quick notification to your ST and to your kin. Work the IC reasons for the absence in together if possible. Failure to do so will result in the ST having to follow the Inactivity Policy.
You’re Ready to Create Your Kinfolk
Now that you’ve read through our outline of expectations and policies regarding kinfolk, you can get on with making one.
Please see Kinfolk Character Creation for specific character creation rules.