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Spoil Tribe 8 for me

Sam DZ015

New member
when Tribe 8 first came out I collected the supplements like crazy (despite them being rather overpriced), but I sort of abandoned the collection around the time 2nd ed came out.

So did the story/metaplot go anywhere interesting? Any big secrets to the game line?

The Unshaven

Registered User
Validated User
I'm unfamiliar with the metaplot, but the main thing I've been told was that DP9 lost cohesion regarding the metaplot, so that different people with different visions wrote different supplement books, and who were contracted in rather than DP9 core.

What I've been told is that it gets a little schizophrenic and it's hard to tell what's canon within the canon.

This may be Entirely Wrong.

- The Unshaven.
I think I saw a thread about this before, I'll see if I can find it.

Edit: I guess I was wrong, though here is the setting's "Big Secret".

The Big Secret for Tribe 8 is that the Z'Bri are actually human ghosts; after they die, they become pure spirits, but lose what it's like to actually have flesh.

The problem is that when they come back, they're suddenly reminded of what it's like to have flesh again, and so they wind up going berserk and essentially mass-haunting the entire human race, using their various ghostly powers to have wars, tie everybody together into the same body and so forth. They're pure emotion.

The Fatimas are the exact same thing as the Z'bri, but instead of possessing flesh and being primarily based around emotion, they possess machine parts and are emotionless - and more than a little self-righteous and inflexible.

When the setting ends, all of the remaining Z'bri, Fatimas and anybody else who isn't from the world proper get together in order to destroy the Fold separating the spirit world from the real world, thereby saving the planet.

-Darren Maclennan
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Validated User
I'm unfamiliar with the metaplot, but the main thing I've been told was that DP9 lost cohesion regarding the metaplot, so that different people with different visions wrote different supplement books, and who were contracted in rather than DP9 core.

What I've been told is that it gets a little schizophrenic and it's hard to tell what's canon within the canon.

This may be Entirely Wrong.

- The Unshaven.
You're conflating what happened with the Jovian Chronicles line vs. the development of Tribe 8. In a nutshell, all that happened with Tribe 8 is the original creative talent left. Those that stepped in to take their place were not "worse" or "better", they just took things in a slightly different direction. However, even then they were following the "canon" events that had been outlined when the game was first conceived.


Registered User
Validated User
Can anyone outline what books follow/present events in Tribe 8's Metaplot? Perhaps even showing where the details in certain books fall chronologically?

The Unshaven

Registered User
Validated User
You're conflating what happened with the Jovian Chronicles line vs. the development of Tribe 8. In a nutshell, all that happened with Tribe 8 is the original creative talent left. Those that stepped in to take their place were not "worse" or "better", they just took things in a slightly different direction. However, even then they were following the "canon" events that had been outlined when the game was first conceived.
Ahhh, interesting.

Considering that you are armed with Actual Information, whereas I was going from partly remembered threads around the place, I will entirely concede.

- The Unshaven.

Captain Deadpool

I'm an assassi... Horse Trainer
Validated User
Can anyone outline what books follow/present events in Tribe 8's Metaplot? Perhaps even showing where the details in certain books fall chronologically?
The metaplot plays out over the entire line (IIRC), sans three books: Book of Legends, Word from the North, and Harvest of Thorns don't have the core metaplot in tow.

The entire metaplot is outlined in the Player's Handbook, 2nd edition (and the "2nd" edition part is important. The 1E Player's Handbook is a different animal all together).
Tribe 8 Metaplot

So, for those interested here is a brief writeup of the structure of the Tribe 8 metaplot canon. I'm going to summarize and keep things as short as possible, but it will be long and full of spoilers and stuff. So...


Right then, lets go.

Way back in the way back there was stuff. The dead and the living were separated from each other. People lived here, the dead lived on the other side of the fold. Shit went wrong. People in this world became alienated from the spiritual side of their lives and the worlds went father and farther apart. Life for humanity became spiritually void, and life for those on the other side became void of any material connection or physical sensation. Shit was getting bad wrong. So some missionaries and gurus from the other side came through to earth to try to teach humanity to return to balance. However things did not hold, humanity didn’t learn and the things on the other side wouldn’t wait. The Z’bri, spirits of humanity who had lived in the other world for unknown years and ages, deprived of any physical sensation or input, void of many of the things that had once made them human, came flooding into the world after the teachers. The result was an orgy of blood and destruction that, combined with humanity’s attempts to fight the invasion, resulted in the end of the World Before. (Though there are plenty of signs that the World Before was on the way out anyway, global climatic change and nuclear disasters and the like.)

Humanity then fractures. Some of them run into the wilds and go neo-primitive, some of them hide in holes in the ground survivalist style and over generations turn technology into a fetish whose deeper workings they only party understand anymore, and a vast number of them are herded into camps by the Z’bri, where they live and die at the pleasure of the depraved overlords. Eventually the gurus, the wise spirits, that remained decided things had gone to far and something desperate had to be done. So they closed “the fold” the bridge between the world of flesh and the world of spirit, right down the middle of the world of dream. This stranded the Z’bri in the physical world and made them vulnerable and dependant upon having access to bodies to inhabit. It also stranded the spirits of those who died in this world on this side of the fold, unable to go to the world of spirit beyond. This ritual killed the majority of the gurus (sometimes called Nomads) and their human disciples (those who survived would become the Guides). It is about this point that mysticism fractures. Those who follow the path of dream and spirit (the Fatimas, most humans who have magical powers) learn Synthesis. Those who follow the path of flesh and spirit (the Z’bri, some Mistresses) retain Sundering. Those who follow dreams of the ancient world (Keepers) gain Technosmithing. Those who remember, the Guides mostly, retain the “Old Arts”which have the power of all the other forms of mysticism, but in balance with each other.

At the same time groups of leader-spirits came across (it isn’t ever clear exactly when all these things happened in precise timing, it’s got a mythic age quality). In order to avoid the traps of madness that had chained their Z’bri sisters to the flesh, these spirit emissaries from the Mother inhabited bodies of inanimate material and became the Fatimas. In so doing they avoided the fleshy-madness of the Z’bri, but lost the empathy of the flesh and became cold, inflexible, and self-righteous. They came to the camps in various places around the world, and lead the humans trapped there in revolt. In Vimary (which was once Montreal) there was great success, but many other cities revolutions failed. And even in Vimary the presence of the Dread Lord T’bor made it unlikely that the humans had any chance of surviving the local war. And as the other wars failed around, the Fatimas realized they couldn’t win and needed to seek peace.

Joshua, the Ravager and only known male Fatima, would not stand for peace. It was victory or death, live free or die. So the other Fatimas betrayed him. They worked with the Baron, T’bors right hand man, to betray both T’bor and Joshua. Tera Sheba convinced Joan to help, and when she and the Baron turned their backs on T’bor and Joshua the two juggernauts killed each other. To seal the peace afterwards the Fatimas took T’bor’s heartstone and the Baron took Joshua’s. (A heartstone is the physical stone left behind when an individual of great spiritual power dies. It contains something of their essence and powers, and those who know how to wield them can turn that power to their own ends.) The humans of Vimary were allowed to take the southern islands as their own, and the rest of the land was left in the power of the Z’bri.

Meanwhile, the rebellions in most other cities failed. We only ever find out about a few others. Rhanto (Toronto) has the camps ended, but with humanity in a constant guerrilla war against the Z’bri who still wield the power. In Capal (Quebec City) the revolution is crushed and only one of the Fatimas born there escapes: Mary, the Forgiver, who makes her way to Vimary just as the war is ending. In Hattan the war goes very differently, and the fatimas and Z’bri lords alike are overthrown by a group of Mistresses who use the heartstones and souls of Z’bri, Fatimas, and humans alike to start a reign of blood and terror even more viscerally grotesque than that of the Z’bri. In defeating the enemy they became the enemy, and started to build an empire through what is now New York and New Jersey.

Mary, in Vimary, found out about Joshua’s betrayal and the fact that humanity in Vimary had turned their faces from the Mother and only looked to the Fatimas. She could not forgive either Joan or humanity for their weakness and blindness, and so could not give them absolution. Feeing this failure deeply she contacted the Guides, old servants of the guru nomads who knew the Old Arts, the true secrets of mysticism, and decided to die and be reborn so that she could learn the lessons of mortality, weakness and struggle so that eventually she could learn to truly forgive. She died and Agnes was born. For their role in this the Guides were considered Fatima murderers and were ever after the mortal enemies of the Tribes, hunted and killed at any opportunity.

It’s about here that we come into the starting age of Tribe 8 1st edition. “Humanity” in the eyes of the Tribes is the Tribes. They know that there are squats and Keepers about, but they are fallen and dejected beings. The power of the Fatimas and Synthesis and the protection of the Pact between Fatima and Z’bri (which humanity knows nothing about) has made the Tribes the rulers of their domain, richer, wealthier, more comfortable and more powerful than anyone else in their region. Joan is being devoured by her guilt, Agnes is a spoiled brat baby who shows no signs of growing up into what Mary wanted her to be, and Tera Sheba -- who made the final call to betray Joshua -- has become self-righteous and judgmental to shield herself from doubts about her own actions. The Z’bri still rule much of the world, but some Keeper and Squat groups have fought their own way free and are building their own cultures. The Tribes know little about these, however, for they live in self-imposed ignorance. The disposed who cannot fit into Tribal life become the Fallen. Then the MRB starts.

Children of Prophecy

In the first arc of the metaplot the Fallen are tested and tried and learn that they have a great destiny, but will have to pay for it with blood and sacrifice. This arc was fully published as Enemy of My Enemy, Children of Lilith, and Trial by Fire. In those books the PCs, and the other Fallen through them, learn that there are still members of Joshua’s tribe alive and well in the outlands. Seeking the prophecy of Joshua the PCs go into the outlands and end up finding Lilith, a fake Fatima built by Dahlia the Trickster to teach the Fallen a lesson. In the end, however, she becomes something like a real Fatima and is killed by Joan at the order of Tera Sheba. Doing so ruptures the relationship between Joan and Tera Sheba, however, leaving the two most influential Fatimas at odds. Then the Fates (Baba Yaga, Eva, Magdalin) take advantage of this to allow the Z’bri to kidnap Agnes in a plot to force Agnes to start growing up. The Fallen take the blame for the abduction and face the full fury of the Tribes, and are hunted and burnt to the edge of life before the PCs lead a daring rescue to reclaim Agnes from the Z’bri. As a result the Fallen are allowed to return to their lands and Agnes does begin to grow into the Fatima she must become. The Prophecy of Joshua also becomes public knowledge when Veruka the Wraith is executed at public trial and dies with the words on her lips. The attacks between Z’bri and Tribes also weaken the Pact, and both sides start to think of war.


In the second cycle the Fallen become the Eighth Tribe and rise to lead the Nation in a great war against the Z’bri. The Z’bri of the H’lkar and Capal are destroyed and cast out, and the Eighth Tribe begins to learn of the world beyond Vimary, making alliances with Keepers and several powerful Squat federations, including that of Luther Boarhead. This cycle was fully published as Warrior Unbound, Broken Pact, Vimary Burns, Revanche, and Liberation.

The main events in this cycle start with Joan searching for absolution for her crime of betraying her brother Joshua. With the help of the PCs she ventures deep into the River of Dream and returns triumphant after nearly being destroyed. She then sides with the Fallen, in direct defiance of Tera Sheba, shattering the image of Fatimal unity and changing the Fallen into the Eighth Tribe. After that Agnes too sides with the 8th, and starts leading raids deep into the heart of Z’bri lands. Soon the pact between Fatima and Z’bri shatters and wars rage across Vimary. The Tribes are nearly destroyed and have to seek shelter with the 8th, who end up leading the wars that destroy the Z’bri in Vimary. With that done and a sense of power and destiny behind them the 8th then forms a coalition of Fallen, Keepers, Squats, Tribals, and former Serfs and marches to Capal and after several brutal wars ends up destroying the Prince of the Z’bri and freeing the Saint Lawrence Seaway of Z’bri once and for all. In so doing, however, so many die that the flood of souls into the blocked up River of Dream starts massive hauntings, rising of Zoms, and the general disintegration of the Great Architecture. In fighting to make things better some things do get better, but many get worse.

Capal, the last book published for 1st edition, happens right at the cusp between this cycle and the next. The 2nd edition players guide starts the next cycle, which I’ll post about next. At this point we’re done with 2 of 5 cycles, and after this no new books have been published.


This unpublished cycle starts with the next generation taking over. The heroes and PCs of the first two cycles are assumed to retire or be dead, (which considering how Liberation ends is quite likely) and now their children and the children of their legacy must step up to fix the problems that their parents generation has left behind. Much of the cycle is dominated by the struggle of the youth of the nation to make the elders, now entrenched and established in their power, about the real and growing problems the Great Architecture faces. Zoms, ghosts, renegade Z’bri and spirits storms and falling plagues start to rip across the world, and result in war against Rhanto, more massacres, and witch hunts through the nation.

The young PCs must join forces with Agnes and the Guides (as the elder Guides go insane) in order to find the deeper causes of the spirit storms, stop the disaster of the war with Rhanto, and search out the deeper mysteries of the River of Dream. Then, just as progress is starting to be made, the Mistresses of Hattan come into direct contact with the Nation. The PCs get a chance to go to Hattan to see the depraved bloodsports and orgies, the towers of monstrosity that the Mistresses have built, things worse than the Z’bri ever did -- but also see that the Mistresses have rediscoverd the Old Arts, which the Nation has never been able to do. War starts between Hattan and the Nation, and the Eighth is left facing an enemy that looks like the end of the path they had felt themselves starting upon.

Spirit Dance

This cycle deals with the turn from violence and conflict on the outer stage towards themes of inner growth and healing, as humanity as a whole tries to learn to find a way to balance their desires with the needs of the world and each other. Much of the action of this cycle has to do with personal sacrifice not to conquer, but to learn.

As the Nation and the Hattani start what is the Tribe 8 equivalent of a World War, everything very suddenly goes to complete and utter shit. In the midst of this nightmare the PCs work with Agnes again, as she finally becomes an adult and moves into her own mature power. Together they find the remains of the last Nomads and learn the truth about the Fatimas, the Z’bri, the Guides and the Nomads. Agnes gains the ability to take a body of human flesh to learn of humanity and to repair the rift between humanity, z’bri, and Fatima with the help of the PCs.

When Agnes and the PCs return they are denounced as heretics by the leaders of the Nation, who will not turn their attention from the war with Hattan. A spirit storm of massive and horrible dimensions strikes the whole world. Legions of angry ghosts, dispossessed Z’bri, nightmares and twisted things born from the crumbling of the world hit every side like a sledgehammer. The PCs are the only ones who can help the Nation survive, and only at great personal cost. Hattan is destroyed utterly, scourged to the ground, and Capal only survives as well as the PCs manage to protect it. The Fatimas and the Nation have to finally admit their failings, and join behind the PCs to look to heal the world.


The final arc of the game focuses on healing the world and finding balance between all the different groups of humanity and para-humanity. The Z’bri, Fatimas, Keepers, and Squats all act sometimes as allies and sometimes as enemies to the PCs, as they seek to unite all of humanity in all its forms to do the great work of fixing the Great Architecture.

The external world is in the worst state it’s ever been in. The Great Storm has left most of the world outside the enclaves as a wasteland full of walking dead and worse horrors. Brave souls go forth to bring back knowledge and artifacts of lost fatimas, the world before, and the Z’bri. The Gudies, Agnes, and the PCs work to stop further plagues and storms which continue to wrack the world. Eventually a rupture happens between Keepers and Dreamers, as each blames the other for the disbalance. Joan and Tera Sheba are killed in the following war, and the PCs and Agnes become desperate to find a solution. In the end the PCs must work with Agnes, recover the heartstones of the great fallen leaders both Z’bri, Fatimal, and other, and work with the Z’bri of Rhanto to take a massive chance on an unknown ritual that could save the world or destroy it. With plagues and storms and self-appointed champions of the Goddess and the Seed seeking to destroy the PCs, they must lead the ritual joining all of humanity together and reopening the fold. The fold opens, and the healing begins as much of the “pressure” of the River of Dreams drains away. The storms stop and a chance is left open for healing. The emergency is over, but generation of work will be needed to fix everything. Luckily the PCs that survived are treated as prophets and leaders and have a real chance to help humanity fix itself.

And that’s where the cycles end.


Pinko that rides bicycles
Validated User
God damn, I loved Tribe 8.
Me too :(

I've been reading some my T8 books recently, and damn, it is a rich setting.

It takes me back. I ran a game years ago spanning from my own plots to through Children of Lilith and Trial by Fire. It was fantastic.

I've considered trying to run through the rest of the Vimary-era metaplot, but I've heard mixed things about the later books.
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