Black Spiral Dancers

Black Spiral Dancers are one of the tribes found in the World of Darkness. Also known as the Lost Tribe, the dreaded Black Spiral Dancers are the Garou who turned to the Wyrm.

Black Spiral Dancers are organized into septs called Hives. Caerns where they raise their young are called Pits. Black Spiral Dancers have lived underground among foul and cancerous children of the Wyrm for centuries.


The origins of this tribe can be traced back to the days of the Roman Empire, when legions of soldiers struggled to build a nation that would place Rome at the center of the known world. In distant lands, generals conducted campaigns against chaos and barbarism. After 80 CE, their most valiant enemies were the fierce tribes of Scotland and Northern Britain. While the southern tribes quickly fell before the Roman advance, the stalwart defenders of the north held off the assaults of the Romans for over two centuries.

Hadrian's Wall marked the furthest limit of this empire with a boundary of stone and mortar. The edifice was originally constructed to defend Roman settlements from the raids of the northern tribes. On the north side was Caledonia, where dozens of tribes warred incessantly against each other. To the south, the furthest outpost of the empire served as refuges for Roman civilization.

The last defense of the northern caerns depended on the White Howlers, a fanatic and dangerous tribe stalking in the Scottish highlands. Long after the Impergium, the Howlers remained isolated in Northern Britain. This desolate landscape was also home to the Picts. Legends tell of a hero named Cluid who led them on an epic journey to these lands - thus, their descendants referred to themselves as "The Children of Cluid" or "Cluithi." The greatest Pictish warriors became Kinfolk to the White Howler tribe.

Aided by Pictish Kinfolk, the Howlers were truly awesome in battle. They demonstrated courage and ferocity in action. Their greatest totem, Samladh (pronounced SAU-lah), represented these qualities. While Roman centurions hid behind armor and shields, the Picts often fought in the nude, proudly displaying warpaint and tribal tattoos. Invigorated by the chilly Scottish winds, they raced each other across Roman battlefields, screaming horrible war cries. Many warriors painted themselves a fierce shade of blue before battle to draw upon their deepest energies. This use of warpaint and tattoos inspired the Roman name for their tribe: the "Pictii" or "Painted Men."

The white-furred Howlers fought without restraint, reveling in savagery and brutality. Ancient rituals and violent Rites of Passage had made them incredibly vicious. The most arduous of these rituals involved spirit quests into the darkest reams of the Umbra. Cubs proved themselves not only by defeating physical foes, but also by descending into the dark heart of the underworld to prove their worth. The greatest arena for these ordeals was a Malfean realm known as the Spiral Labyrinth. Picts knew the spiritual tradition of confronting these spirits as "walking the spiral"; Howlers used Gaia's blessings to travel further into the spirit world than any human mystic ever could.

While the White Howlers were masters of shocking violence, the Wyrm's legions were more subtle. Many thought that continual assaults on the realm of Malfeas would strike at the heart of hell, weakening the Wyrm's strength and purifying the bawns of their caerns. Unfortunately, Banes from outside the Malfean labyrinth had already begun to seduce and possess their Pictish Kinfolk. Slowly, they tainted the Picts, stunting their growth and corrupting their minds. While the werewolf rulers of the tribe maintained the purity of their own blood, their Pictish Kinfolk became bestial and degenerate.

From this point on, legends differ. Some modern Galliards believe that the Wyrm's servitors spawned in the Scottish moors faster than the White Howlers could slay them. Others relate that a few enemy spies within the northern septs betrayed the Howlers to their undead enemies. Allegedly, vampires and the Garou they subjugated opened Moon Bridges to call down diabolical allies. In these tales, the loyal White Howlers were completely overwhelmed and the Wyrm's assault completely eradicated all traces of the tribe.

Though the original tribe is indeed extinct, these stories are not entirely correct. By completely abandoning themselves in combat, the White Howlers' Rage became utterly uncontrollable. Their beliefs also insisted on the tradition of descending into the Malfeas to improve their spiritual insight and martial prowess against the Wyrm, placing them at spiritual risk. By following these two practices, the White Howlers succumbed to the Wyrm's temptations.

As their heroes' journeys into darkness became more perilous, the warriors who returned understood many dark mysteries of the underworld. Blasphemous revelations tested their sanity. In glimpses of insight, some survivors argued that the Wyrm was not a force of corruption, but merely one of Balance. Those who rejected this idea responded with overwhelming Rage, but as the Howlers indulged in violence, forces unseen preyed upon their Kinfolk. The tribe was never destroyed from without. It was corrupted from within.

By the time Roman legions finally broke through the Picts' defenses, the vampires who came with them were unprepared for what they found. The White Howlers had descended further into corruption than their Cainite invaders. To secure the freedom of their homelands, many within the tribe had made dark pacts with infernal forces. After witnessing the true nature of the Wyrm, they willingly opened gates and portals leading to infernal depths. These spiritual visionaries destroyed those who questioned their desperate defense of their homeland. By the time the Romans arrived at the first corrupted caern, hellspawn waited to shatter their minds and consume their souls.

The last caern to fall was the Sept of the Mile-Deep Loch, an island where the purest members of the tribe ruled over the White Howler werewolves. Elders looked out over the bleak moors of Scotland from a high peak at the center of the lake. When they learned of their brethren's treachery, they tried to summon reinforcements from distant septs, but by then, it was too late. Outsiders could do little but watch as wave after wave of Wyrmish forces assaulted the sept's defenses.

When the sept was finally defiled, black tendrils reached out from the depths of the lake and dragged the tribal elders into the underworld. Destiny awaited them in the greatest gateway to the Spiral Labyrinth, a Malfean fortress known as the Temple Obscura. There, the last heroes of the White Howlers prepared for spiritual corruption.

In the weeks that followed, the Romans were driven back past Hadrian's Wall, but at a perilous cost. The Picts had secured their Scottish homelands again, but their Garou guardians had fallen prey to the conqueror Wyrm. The caerns of the north became breeding grounds for Banes, which werewolves immediately bound into Wyrm-tainted fetishes. Eventually, the elders of the tribe returned from their final journey into the depths of Malfeas, but when they did so, they emerged as werewolves of the Black Spiral tribe.

Dark Ages

In their early struggle, the Black Spiral Dancers were mostly confined to their Scottish territories. The arrival of Caledon the White from the Silver Fangs started several campaigns against them, in joint ventures with the Fianna, who had learned of the fate of the Howlers through one of its last Tribe members, Coruroc; and with the Get of Fenris. Unfortunately, these three parties squabble as much against each other as they fought the Wyrm-tainted Spirals. Garou and Kinfolk bred with the tainted lines of the White Howlers and amassed enough Wyrm taint that they deserted their former tribes to join the Black Spirals in their tunnels.

The Tribe itself mostly expanded its underground network, digging tunnels that connected them with the mainland and by 1230, they had come as far as Eastern Europe. The Black Spirals mostly consorted with lepers during this period, taking them under their wing and instructing them in the way of the Wyrm as a means to get revenge at the people that had shunned them. Many were also used for experiments to create fomori or breed special Banes to carry the disease on.

The Black Spiral Dancers were hit hard by the Inquisition and mostly forced back into their underground tunnels. Most took this as a lesson and dedicated themselves to the preservation of the Veil, if only to protect their own interests. During the Age of Exploration, quite a few Hives emigrated to the New World, to find new places of corruption to nurture away from the eyes of the Garou Nation.

Victorian Age

The Black Spiral Dancers thrived in the colonization of America, mainly in the conflict between the Pure Tribes and the Europeans. Black Spiral cultists practiced foul rituals in the woods, stalked the unprotected colonies, and sought foolish mortals to abduct and suborn. By infesting carefully chosen Europeans with Wyrm-taint, they brought fresh blood into the sinister black covens of their Kinfolk. Men and women of weak virtue were also offered places of honor in the tribe's orgiastic procreation rites.

One of the greatest legends of the tribe's unholy activities concerns the village of Roanoke. There, Black Spirals harried and hunted the isolated colonists for months, summoning Banes to spread madness and hatred. The demented werewolves performed the bidding of the Eater-of-Souls, an aspect of the Wyrm that physically manifested itself in the fields outside the colony. Its efforts continued until the members of one Garou tribe — the Croatan — overcame the local Black Spirals and sacrificed themselves into the very maw of the Wyrm. Despite this, the entire village was destroyed. Though human history does not offer an account of this tragedy, the bloodshed that resulted is recorded in the Garou epic known as the Croatan Song. Others made careful alliances with other creatures of corruption, namely Sabbat vampires on the Path of Evil Revelations.

Final Nights

After the dawn of the 20th century, the Black Spiral tribe found another method of spreading the Wyrm's influence. Wherever the Earth is poisoned, Banes thrive. By spreading toxic waste, radiation, and filth, these warriors' "ecoterrorist" activities despoiled and corrupted the Wyld. In recent years, Black Spirals have begun infiltrating extreme environmentalist organizations as part of this crusade, exploiting the hatred of truly fanatic activists. The advent of Pentex and its associated subsidiaries also aided their cause, especially when Walks-in-Sewage managed to organize several biohazard strikes across the American East Coast. During the mid-1980s, the first Black Spiral Dancers climbed the corporate ladder and begun to insert themselves into Pentex in ways beyond simple skirmishes.

The evolution of the Black Spiral Dancers continues. Only a century ago, the Black Spirals only formed about one-fourteenth of the world's werewolf population. Now they're equal to one-tenth of the Garou population, easily outnumbering any other tribe. The Black Spirals are the only tribal society that is growing instead of decreasing, thanks to their uninhibited breeding practices, recruitment of discontent and outcast Garou, alliances with other supernatural factions, and higher birth rates.


Black Spiral Dancers are organized into septs called Hives. Caerns where they raise their young are called Pits. Black Spiral Dancers have lived underground among foul and cancerous children of the Wyrm for centuries. Their Hives are nestled amidst labyrinthine cave systems, most of which are filled with industrial waste and monstrous things.

Tribal Culture

The Dancers are quite insane, and usually sadistic; however, the Wyrm has given its slaves terrible powers of their own, as well as a violent hatred for the Gaian Garou. The average Black Spiral Dancer has a short and violent life, their goals bringing them into direct conflict with the remaining Garou tribes.

Black Spiral Dancers roughly resemble other Garou; however, many of them are malformed, either through metis birth or close proximity to the radioactive balefires of the Wyrm. The heads of their Crinos forms are often huge and slaver-jawed, resembling a hyena's, while their ears are frequently hairless and pointed like a bat's. Their eyes are huge and round, glowing with red or green luminescence, while their fur is patchy and usually either albino-white, grayish-green, or jet-black. Black Spirals' human forms are usually twisted and deformed, but some are quite beautiful.

Political Culture

As a group, the Black Spiral Dancers blame all other Garou tribes for abandoning the White Howlers when they descended into the depths of the Earth and refusing to save them when it became clear that the future Black Spirals Dancers would find only madness there. While it is a rare Spiral that actually survives from those days, this belief does translate into who the dark tribe targets for recruitment; they will happily offer revenge to any werewolf who joins them.

The Black Spiral Dancers may revel in their uninhibited passions, but they are not without guidelines. The Dark Litany stands as a means of unifying the disparate Hives and spiritual allegiances into one consecutive Tribe.

In their arrogance, the Gaian Garou have written the Spirals off as puppets and handmaidens of the Wyrm, monsters more vicious and personal than Banes, but monsters nonetheless. The Spirals, however, are creatures born of two parents, an unholy union of blessed Mother and dark Father. Even if the Wyrm should fall silent under the Weaver’s webs, the Black Spiral Dancers will exist as the living seed of his acrimony. The insidious truth is that the Black Spiral Dancers owe much of their existence to Gaia. It is through their connection to her that they may carry on the Wyrm’s war and the Wyrm’s mission even if the Wyrm ceases to matter. Through their connection with Gaia, the Spirals have discovered a breed of spirits that precede the natural world, superseded by the course of nature. These spirits are rare, vast, and immensely powerful; they dwell in darkness and are older than biological life. The Spirals venerate these beings and seek to rouse them, much to the chagrin of the Garou.

Religious Culture

The Dancers' totem is Whippoorwill, whose mad call the Dancers emit during their hunts. They name themselves after a mysterious Labyrinth that exists in the realm of the Wyrm; they are said to "dance" this Black Spiral to gain dark powers and wisdom. Indeed, to dance the Black Spiral and survive is considered by the Black Spiral Dancers to be the most sacred of feats.

The practice of "dancing the Spiral" to find communion with spirits can be traced back to many ancient spiritual traditions, including those of the Picts. Led by the guidance of their spirit totems, those who walked the spiral could commune with the elemental forces of the world. As part of this, saner Black Spirals profess that the Wyrm originally represented a force of Balance, not only between the Weaver and the Wyld, but between light and shadow. The Wyrm's servitors prevented either force from growing too powerful and upsetting the balance of creation. When the Weaver trapped the Wyrm, this balance was shattered. To being anew, the Pattern Web has to be torn down and the world be reduced into its basic components.

The Chronicle of the Black Labyrinth presents a complex theology. The ultimate goal of all Black Spiral Dancers is to enter the Black Labyrinth and confront their 'Urge', a negative emotion that binds them to the physical world. Confronting, acknowledging, and transcending one's Urge frees one of material constraints, and allows union with the 'Soul of All', the Dancers' name for the Wyrm.

W20 presents an additional perspective: To the Black Spiral Dancers, the Apocalypse has already happened. They believe Gaia is in Her last throes and that the Garou merely protect a corpse. Nothing they can do will avert this. The Black Spirals believe this utterly and live accordingly, without restraint and wild self-aggrandizement. In the past, the Black Spiral Dancers defined themselves through continual guerrilla war against their Garou counterparts. However, this more recent stance has proved a thousand times more potent. Though they still plot, plan, and attempt to destroy the Gaian Garou, they outwardly profess the pointlessness of the struggle, because the battle has already been decided. This has the twofold effect of rendering the Garou’s courageous piety moot, as well as sapping the resolve of the most exhausted, battle-weary werewolves. That some of them choose to fight on regardless is a source of constant frustration for the Black Spiral Dancers.


Version Differences

Early material, like the Chronicle of the Black Labyrinth, implied that one cannot enter the Black Labyrinth unless one consciously wishes to. If one truly refuses to confront their Urge, it is impossible to enter the Labyrinth. This information seems to contradict material presented elsewhere, like the Book of the Wyrm Second Edition, where Garou and even Bastet can be forcibly hurled into the Labyrinth, and are driven mad by what they encounter there. It is possible that later authors felt the Chronicle of the Black Labyrinth presented the Black Spiral Dancers as too sympathetic, and perhaps even justified in their desire to escape from a material realm filled with pain and suffering, and undergo a cosmic union with the Soul of All/The Wyrm. Later material most frequently presents the Black Spiral Dancers as universally insane, adhering to misguided, objectively evil beliefs. The complex, nuanced philosophy presented in the Chronicle of the Black Labyrinth is rarely revisited.



I remember reading somewhere that the BSDs name their members after the first sound they make upon completing their rite of passage. Names like Zzyhak and Grrral are along the lines of what happens. Here are my suggestions:

The blind metis is called Screech. Similar to how he likely makes a sound to echo locate, but more violent.

The shaman is Acraough. Mostly as a cough, likely after messing with some banes.

The throwback could be named most anything, if you have a personal history for the character. I'd go with something like Agrah or something similar to a violent shout, battle cry, or maybe even a cry of agony.

Yep, it's in Book of the Wyrm "the first few syllables the adopted bastard mutters after leaving the labyrinth becomes his new name within the tribe" (2nd Ed. p. 92)

It also says that some of them gain deed names which reflect their character after gaining some repute.

So, indeed, their names would all be transliterations of ecstatic delirious utterances or unintelligible sounds of a psychotic beast.



Snows from past moons

Their initial name will just be some tangled syllables, whatever their tortured mind mutters after emerging from the terrible glory of the Black Spiral. Zhyzak, Nhaukh, Nuntisiwas.

BSD deed names include "The Scream", "No Soul", "Kills the Weak", "Hunts at Night".

Deed names:

For the Blind Metis: "Stalking Bat", "Screams in the Dark", "Howls in the Abyss".

For the drug dealer shaman: "Toxin Dreams", "Dr. Feelgood", "Pushes Poison"

For the Pure Breed throw-back: "Songs of Lost Times", "First to Frenzy", "True Son of the Spiral".





Stalks-in-the-Void, Devil-you-Know, and Wolf-in-Sheep's-Clothes,

A black spiral dancer has never been redeemed. That isn't to say it is completely impossible, and it would make for an excellent chronicle focus, but the canon does not have it occur. Your best bet would be to dump one off into the river of Erebus, to be cleansed, but there is a canon black spiral that has been burning in that river for over ten years, and is still tainted, so… I wouldn't hold your breath. The exact mechanics for this vary by edition. If you use the Corruption rules from the Outcasts book, you have to hope that this BSD doesn't have 10 corruption (which, since they are BSDs, they likely do), because then the river will result in them dying, but at least their spirit is freed as a pure one.

What you have to remember is that by dancing the spiral, they are literally having their soul twisted by the Wyrm, corruption at its darkest level. They are not, by default, redeemable, so physical coercion and arguments aren't going to suffice. Can you make a black spiral hesitate? Remind them of their humanity for a few moments? Sure. Heck, there is a Rank 5 Gift (Balance of Wormwood) which would allow you to give them one whole scene of clarity and freedom from the Wyrm's influence. But redeem them and turn them good again? No. That would take an epic quest, and almost certainly require powerful magic. I mean, I'm talking Celestine-gets-directly-involved level effects such as Cleansing Flame (from Rage Across the Heavens). But at that point you're directly involving Helios… so… you can do pretty much anything at that power level, up to, and including, burning the face of the earth clean of all living things. (I'm looking at you Rorg…)


Like the Silverfang/Black Spirals have a Pseudo House/Camp of the Silver Spiral, basically ex Silverfangs who danced the Spiral.

Sounds like The Genetic Irregulars, who are mostly hillbilly ex-Bone Gnawers who got sick of always being the omegas of Garou society.

The only two BSD "camps" which I find to be pertinent are those who would support the champion of the Balance Wyrm, and all the other BSDs.


Pacific Northwest


i recall there being the Trinity Hive a BSD hive located where the first america's first Nuclear blast took place

Oh, I know! Let me introduce you to the rather appropriately named Berkey Pit. This was the location of an open-pit copper mine until it was shut down in the 80's. It's filled with FOURTY BILLION GALLONS OF TOXIC WASTE. Let me make sure this is clear, the water is so acidic it will burn your skin. The heavy metals so toxic that WHEN A BIRD LANDS IN THE LAKE, IT DIES. (and thousands of them do). The most common cause of death? They drink the water and it BURNS A HOLE THROUGH THEIR THROAT. Decades of cleanup have made so little of a dent that Butte has just gone and accepted it and turned it into a tourist attraction

If that isn't a BSD Pit, I don't know what is.

But lets move on. Let me introduce you to the home of this fabulous BSD - David Hahn. You probably know him by his deedname, though, around the hive he's just called the Radioactive-Boyscout. The shack behind his house is one of the smallest EPA superfund sites due to the extensive radioactive contamination of the immediate area.

But lets go someplace more populated, why don't we? Bridgeport, NJ specifically. Throughout the 60's and the 70's this was a location where waste oil was stored and 'processed'. Think about the most nasty, disgusting, awful motor oil you've ever seen drained out during an oil change. Now, imagine millions of gallons of that. Now, imagine a facility that takes all of that, and removes all the still useful stuff, leaving just a super-concentrated sludge of pure toxic filth. Now imagine TWO AND A HALF MILLION GALLONS of that PCB contaminated oil accumulated over 20 years. Where would you store that? Well, if you said "just dig a lagoon and dump it right in the ground", you might be a BSD. And that's exactly what Bridgeport Rental & Oil Services did. Oh, and in the 70's the lagoon's dyke broke, spilling toxic waste into the entire wetland ecosystem. Bonus.

New Mexico is clearly a BSD stronghold - what with the Trinity hive there, but that needn't be the only location, this was a complete industry! I think the United Nuclear Corp headquarters certainly qualifies. This was our friendly, local, uranium mine. Radioactive rocks ripped out from deep in Gaia's body in the 70's and 80's, crushed up and mixed with acid into a rich slurry where the uranium could be leeched off, and - the slurry dumped into a pond. Which then, of course spilled everywhere.

And we cannot neglect to mention California's own little blight - the Salton Sea. I cannot do this location as much justice as Slate already did I recommend the read.

But really, now a days, you can find a Pit nearly anywhere. Tell me where your campaign is, and I'll give you a hyper-local location for a Pit. Probably within 50 miles or less.

Since this is your kind of thread, you may want to add the cancer dump known as Baotou to your list. More BSD than anything I else I could think of.

That entire area of China is basically Malfeas, it's almost cheating to look in that area.

Visually that Baogang refinery is so perfectly Wymish with the refining complex surrounded by a lake of toxic sludge; the sulfurous stench completes its hellishness.

Like Omaha or Lincoln NE

At the intersection of I480 & Abbott Drive you'll find the ASARCO plant. ASARCO was a lead-refining plant running continuously since the late 1800's up until nearly the turn of the century. In those years the toxic metal permeated everything. From the land to the air, to the water. The plant was on the bank of the Missouri river, so their run off spread the poison far downstream, but as the cast-off spewed forth, nothing in the area was spared. The blight goes on, with toxic lead covering over 17,000 acres of land, making it toxic to humans, according to a Nebraska estimate. Lead poisoning is the perfect instrument for spreading the wyrm's corruption. Not only has the plant poisoned the land, and any food grown in it, but it poisons the people. Not just their bodies, but their minds. Increasing the suffering and corruption of the residents, opening them up for hungry banes to feed, and eventually possess. In the area affected by this plants poisoning there currently live over 100,000 people, including at least 15,000 children.


The Dico Company's center of operations in DesMoines was always attractive to the Wyrm's minions, though it was built with a care only for profit, it soon became a temple to the corruptor. The very building materials used in the variety of haphazardly constructed buildings on the 38 acre complex were toxic, with asbestos in the walls and lead paint on them, but the work done within truly spread the defiler's reach into mother earth's flesh. At the various facilities on this campus everything from refrigerators and ice cream makers to tires and tracks were made. Good paying jobs luring in the people of the town to work, profit, and raise their families. They never knew that in each of these facilities poison was being spread. You see, the simplest of actions, de-greasing, was done with Trichloroethylene. This was also used as a refrigerant. But most importantly, it was used up. The discarded waste was simply dumped into the ground, so that new work could be done. No one even realized the cause when the cancers started showing up. The children were born with birth defects, the adults grew weak and died, and yet the plant continued to operate, churning out ever-more of the toxic spew to poison the area. To this day it sits, waiting and drawing in more victims. Squatters have taken over. Black Spiral Kinfolk. (Seriously, read that one. It's an excellent write up).

or Sioux city IA or Sioux Falls SD?

I'll give you a two for one deal. Lets head out and go right in the middle of Sioux City and Sioux Falls, about two miles north of Strumble if you want to be specific. You'll find a nondescript piece of land, about 80 acres in total, but you're looking for the 2 acre pit in the middle. You see, official records say it was just chosen because of its remote location - but those in the know understand this used to be a Gaian Caern. Used to be, before it was defiled. According to the official account from 1971 to 1979 the Vogel Paint and Wax company used this site as a dumping ground for the worst of their toxic waste from their industrial facility in Orange City. Those in the known understand that this was just the efforts to ensure the caern totem's corruption after the Black Spirals conquered the site from the locals. Trenches were dug throughout the bawn, from 8 to 12 feed deep, in an area just south of a gravel pit. Paint sludge, resins, solvents, heck, even drums, paint cans, pallets, and packing materials were dumped into the trenches and left as an open pit to let as much toxin evaporate as possible before covering the pit with 1 to 2 feet of dirt. Of course, corruption loves to spread, so ground water and soils were contaminated with all manner of toxins, staining the land permanently. Source

The more you pay attention to the climate in the real world, the more you realize the prophecy of the phoenix is a best case interpretation. We're already beyond fucked. Gaia is dying. It's already too late to "avoid the worst effects of climate change". What we're trying to avoid is a real Apocalypse. Nothing less.

Everything in the media is beyond optimistic, the truth is far worse. That's why actual climate change scientists keep killing themselves.

The answer is to do something about it. I cannot tell you how much playing WtA has changed my behavior.

I mostly play Bone Gnawers, and I started learning about the challenges faced by the housing insecure, so I started making backpacks for the local homeless population.

I learned about my carbon footprint and changed my power supplier to a green producer. I've pushed for a carbon tax locally with activist groups. As soon as I buy a house (I'm in between housing situations at the moment) I'm going to be composting my trash and growing my vegetables and herbs.

Largely, prior to WtA I couldn't have cared less about climate issues.

I always start out the same way - google. It's amazing what you can learn. The key is to try to balance your media intake to find the truth. Most editorial places have an agenda, so what you want to look for is the source papers. I always try to read the actual source material where possible. You wouldn't believe how many popular media articles misrepresent what the scientists are actually saying (making it better or worse according to their bias).

Evoking those feelings is much harder, but it comes with practice. I have spent the majority of the last 30 years RPing over text only mediums (MUDs, MUSHs, IRC, Talkers, Palace, etc). Honestly, what I toss up here on Reddit is really just sort of off of the cuff comments here and there based on nothing but the inspiration of the moment. When I'm running a game I tend to focus more on creating a living world, with characters that lead full lives, that are interesting in their own right, so that regardless of where the players choose to drive their interest they will find something engrossing. (Don't even bother trying to predict it, you'll fail. No, it won't be the embattled king, it won't be the alluring princess, no, it will be some random bus boy they decide to focus on. Players…)

That takes time and preparation. And some tools don't hurt either. I tend to use mind mapping software for plotting out my settings. Currently I use a proprietary system that is designed for law enforcement use, and it's expensive, but there are lots of free alternatives out there.

As for making a killing as a writer - I sort of do write professionally. I do a lot of things, professionally. Thankfully I'm in a job position that allows me that flexibility. I do game design, world building, video production, editing, programming, teaching, and a whole host of other things, I very much appreciate the flexibility I am afforded in doing so.

The first question really depends on what I'm looking for. Often I'll vaguely remember something that sends me on the path.

For example, I'm currently in the middle of drafting a reply to /u/LBroil (damn him for baiting me again so soon). As a part of that reply I'm going to talk about current events affecting the housing insecure. I know NPR had some great coverage this year, so I'll probably source some material from that, some from local Caerns I've already planned in my setting, and some based on what I saw in california a few years back.

I don't know what u/notawerewolfreally searches (and they definitely seem to have a very in-depth world) but I've personally found a lot of success starting with a key idea (geographic region, time period, or specific keyword like "uranium") and checking out some results. I usually look at the first few results in depth, then jump to page 3 and then to an even later page.

If something shows up on all three (meaning it is relevant enough or has enough research behind it to pop up even outside of the top results that pay for their spot in one way or another) then I'll go with that and really focus in my search on that result. If not, I look at the results that drew my eye and use them to locate new search terms that might get me closer to what I need. Or, if a single result really seems to be what I need but doesn't have enough info, I will try to find the sources for that.

A good news article, journal, or blog will cite their sources. Lacking a convenient footnote, names are handy. And lacking even those, copying anything quoted in the search result and searching for that will usually bring up the original source because a lot of people will be referencing the same event or data.

By the way, I really recommend trying to find primary sources if you can as many news articles and research papers have some sort of agenda. This is especially useful for setting but it's just a good practice to get into any time you need to do research (unless the primary source is in a language you don't understand, then look for secondary sources that offer different opinions).

About an hour south of Colfax in Rancho Cordova you'll find the Aerojet General Corporation campus. A wholly owned subsidiary of Nastrum Enterprises, it should come as no surprise that many Black Spiral Dancers have found employment at this site.

Ever since the 1950's this location has been a hub for the development and manufacture of rocket motors. All manner of toxic substances are used in this process (especially for monoproellants. A common joke in the industry is "If you can smell it, you've already got cancer.")

As a site 'critical to national security and the space program' it is heavily secured with military fortifications. Barbed wire, guard towers, you can't even get close enough to see anything from the nearest roads. Far away from the view of the public, all manner of operations can take place.

It was a local Black Spiral named Rahhhtaz, (formerly Earth-Mover of the Glass Walkers) who first came up with their waste disposal program. To keep the horrible waste products out of the public eye, he helped to build two massive injection wells, digging deep into Gaia's flesh to inject their poison directly into her veins. During the course of the program over 85 million gallons of polluted waste water was injected deep into the ground beneath the complex, spreading the corruption and poisoning the local water table.

While not technically this site not a Pit, it serves as a center of operations for both BSD and Pentex work in the area. The local BSD population has for years had the goal of capturing and corrupting a local Caern to serve as a more permanent base of operations, as they chafe at having Pentex weighing in on what can and cannot happen at the Aerojet site. Thankfully, thus far, they have been unsuccessful. However, lately, rumors have been heard of increased activity, howls heard in the night, and other, more unnervingly unnatural sounds…

Hellfire Caves- Wycombe, UK- Bunch of caves and catacombs where the Hell Fire Club used to hang out.
Islas de Munecas- Xochimilco, Mexico- It's an island full of mutilated dolls. Sounds crazy enough.
Centralia, PA- Perpetually on fire, this evacuated coal town is the inspiration for Silent Hill.
St. James, New York- Another incredibly polluted place in Long Island.
Necropolis, Glasgow, Scotland- a giant Scottish city of the dead.
Edinburgh Vaults- Edinburgh, Scotland- Huge sprawling underground passages in Edinburgh.
Eilean Mor, Scotland
Helltown, OH- Long said to be a center of Occult activity.
Fyvie Castle, Turiff, Scotland- Scottish castle with a long history of atrocities and sorrows.
Birkwood Castle, Lesmahagow Scotland
Culzean Castle, Maybow Scotland
Eilean Donan Castle- Aberdeen Scotland
Dzershinsk, Russia- Aka the most contaminated city in the world.
Hanford, Washington
Lake Karachay, Russia- Widely considered the most polluted place in the world, this lake is both highly radioactive and completely toxic.
Norilsk, Russia
Love Canal, NY
Three Mile Island, NY
Whittier, CA
Camden Shipyards, Camden NJ

For my Los Angeles-based game, I had the BSDs trying very hard to set up a secondary Hive under the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a former rocket propulsion lab that is just a gigantic toxic waste dump. Their primary Hive was in one of the massive tar seas under the city.

Just for reference, here is a canonical list of every Hive that's been given a geographic location:

Hive of the Glowing Sea- Novaya Zemlya Island, Russia
Hell’s Hand Hive- Amazon Jungle, Brazil
Hive of the Thrashing Serpent- Giza, Egypt
Trinity Hive- Trinity, New Mexico
Hive of the Unleashed Atom- Chernobyl Ukraine
St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans LA
Hive of the Boiling Sands- Port Said, Egypt
Vrozhdeniye- Rebirth Island, Kazakhstan
Hive of the Melted Sands- Maralinga, Australia
Hive of the Corrupted Flesh- King’s Cross, Sydney Australia
Hive of the Poisoned Lungs- Wittenoom, Australia
La Bete Noire- Bayou Chantilly, Louisiana
The Swallowing Caves- Silverton, CO
The Nameless Tower- New York City
Mile Deep Loch- Loch Ness, Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland
Gloom and Sorrow Hive- Dollar, Scotland
The Underbelly of the Wyrm Hive- Mexico City, Mexico
Griffith Park, LA

Small town upstate NY. IBM dumped TONS of ink and waste.

South Works in South Chicago.

The site of a former US Steel plant. Opened in 1857 and permanently closed in 1992. They've managed to turn a few small spaces into parks and some events have been hosted there. They've tried to turn it into housing several times but the rumor is that soil contamination has halted that possibility.

It would be easy to spin this into a little Wyrm thorn in the side of a Weaver stronghold.

I would also add places of strong pollution to that list personally. For example sites where E-trash is burned (sending insane amounts of carcinogens in the air) in Asia or Africa or large chemical complexes dumping toxic waste straight up into nature. Such places would be great for smaller Hives.

Another option would be all sorts of nuclear test sites - implying that they were less testing bombs and more preparing their Hive.

Then you have all sorts of 'former' (who knows what dancers do there in the world of darkness) labor camps that could make good Hives (and not just the german ones, there were quite a few regimes that used them).

Places with large (unused) underground transportation structures would also make for a great place for small hidden Hives. Though they might be contested by Gnawers and Walkers, which could introduce an interesting conflict (I am thinking of old Metro tunnels).

On a much smaller scale you could argue old Sanatoriums could house Hives. Treatment was historically very much questionable at certain places and a WoD spin on it could leat to a lot of wyrmtaint with 'closed off' and 'forgotten' underground cells and labs.

I'm sorry to be contrarian, but our forests actually thrive on forest fire. Australian trees are evolved to use fire as a way to spread themselves and grow. Some have seeds that fall, but only open under the extreme heat of fire, and most of the trees themselves have a layer of bark on the outside which is intended to burn up in a fire, then spring back to life with newer growth shortly afterwards.

Fire is just a part of being in Australia. It's more like the original purpose of the Wyrm than the tainted, Black Spiral version - The Wyrm consumes the old growth and, from it, new, fresh, green life bursts forth. It takes very little time for our burnt areas to come back. Certainly they don't remain burnt and withered long enough for Spirals to make a Hive.

Imagine a previously well-kept ecoregion that has been severely ransacked by a ruthless company.

Suburban small towns surrounding a big and "friendly" factory where all jobs depend on that. (Like a company town.)

Those would be the places I'd pick for Dancer hives. It would look like a normal place to live… if you dont look too carefully. Take Silent Hill, for example.

Hives, like caerns, have an umbral aspect so feel free to come up with any weird things you'd like that may only work with "dream logic" or "magical thinking" as opposed to physical reality restrictions or logic.

What kind of Hive is it? What is its Wyrm spirit purpose? That would help people think of appropriate weirdness for it.

In my experience the keys to this kind of thing are:

evocative description
choices that matter (their decisions affect gameplay/outcome)
interesting villains

A theme like "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" is either a) despite their good intentions, they engage in ethically wrong behavior, or b) despite their good intentions, their ignorance of what they are doing causes more problems than it solves. So which one best fits your game? Those are two different kinds of feel.

Stats of the Hive as of planning stage: Hive Level 2, The Hive of Burning Flesh. Type Stamina, Totem Green Dragon, Packs 4.
Physical Description: A desolate area swept by periodic floods, the entrance to the forgotten Silver Mine lies behind a grove of sickly looking pine trees, the waste pile of the mine blocks off a series of ruined buildings that house a few kinfolk of the BSD and living quarters for the BSD packs. The buildings being used as living quarters are in far better shape than the outside looks.
The mine houses the Caern the heart of which lies at the base of the shaft. Silver and iron pyrite veins still shine on the surface of the mine tunnels the tunnels lead downward. The central shaft must be reached by traveling through the winding upper level to the central shaft. The central shaft goes 1500 feet down no light is visible. In the Umbra toxic banes swarm the waste pile, the mine tunnels blaze with balefire torches and when opened the roars of Green Dragon can be heard echoing through the mine. The only way to access the Heart is to climb down the central shaft and is in a way a pilgramage, each level of the mine can only be accessed from a different side. Example: The second level is 25 feet down from the surface to reach the third level the Central Shaft must be reentered by circling through the tunnels and coming out the opposite side of the entrance. The only clue as to where the shaft can be entered is to follow the veins of silver when the vein vanishes the next tunnel leads to the proper entrance to the Central Shaft. The floor of the mine is laced with raw silver and burns all who walk upon it when the Heart of the Caern is opened.

In my mind's eye, the "Heart" of a Black Spiral Dancer Hive bears a striking resemblance to the heart of the Atmosphere Processing Reactor of Hadley's Hope, designed by HR-Giger: A bio-mechanical nightmare of resin, slime, chitin and mucous wrought by a mad sculptor in the fashion of the bones and entrails of a giant, the walls themselves more flesh-than-stone, as if it is congealed corruption vomited forth from the ground itself by a dying God.

Would that be an appropriate way to describe what a Black Spiral Dancer Hive's interior looks like to a First Time Werewolf Player? With James Horner's slow and eerily quiet-and-menacing musical score playing in the background meanwhile?

I have no problem with anyone using anything I post. The Mine I mentioned is an actual combination of the Pequea Silver Mine and the mine still open in Centralia. The coal mines of Centralia are the basis for Silent Hill. It is a depressing story, but an interesting place to visit.

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