Were the Garou armed only with claw, fang, and Rage, they would have lost the war for Gaia long ago. The arsenal of the Mother’s warriors is varied and miraculous. In accordance with sacred pacts made at the dawn of time, spirits grant mystical blessings and powers — known as Gifts — to worthy Garou who know how to ask, and to those who impress the spirits. These Gifts attune werewolves to the spiritual power flowing throughout the Tellurian, and allow them to express that power in much the same fashion as spirits. Different tribes, auspices and even breeds are the inheritors of different mystical legacies, and so the Gifts normally granted to them differ. Gifts are divided into levels: Level One Gifts are the weakest, taught to cubs and cliaths, while Level Five Gifts are reserved for the wisest, most honorable, and most glorious heroes of the Garou Nation. As a character gains more experience, she may purchase more Gifts. However, the character must be of a rank equal to or higher than the level of the Gift desired, or she cannot possess it —the blessings of the spirits won’t settle on the shoulders of the unworthy. During play, a werewolf may learn the Gifts of other breeds, auspices or tribes, provided she can find a spirit (or other Garou) to teach her. However, these Gifts cost more than those normally associated with her own tribe, auspice and breed (see the Experience Point
chart under 'Spending Experience Points
Most often, a werewolf must either petition a particular spirit to teach her its powers or ask an elder to summon that spirit on her behalf (see below for the ritual of summoning). Traditionally, the Garou first travels to a caern with a power level equal to or greater than that of the desired Gift to petition the spirit personally — to do otherwise is to defy tradition, which risks incurring the wrath of the spirit. But as more caerns fall to the talons of the Wyrm, many Garou are forced to make do with whatever places of power they can find, or even to summon spirits outside of caerns completely. Such slighted spirits often demand recompense or service before consenting to share their blessings. Other Garou, lacking access to a ritemaster capable of summoning spirits at all, must track down potential mentors and petition them directly in the Umbra. The manifold dangers of such ventures include offending the spirit in its home or mistaking a hostile spirit for a friendly one. Although werewolves speak of “learning” and “teaching” Gifts, the process is more akin to a blessing than a period of instruction. The spirit infuses some of its nature into the Garou, imbuing her with a portion of its mystical talents. Young Wendigo don’t struggle to bend the wind to their will under a spirit’s stern gaze until they get it right — an air elemental blows into the werewolf’s soul until bending the wind to his will becomes an essential feature of what the Garou is, just as it is for the spirit. Because of the mystic nature of this communion, learning Gifts is normally fast and simple, taking an hour on average, and no more than a night in even the most complex cases. Werewolves are also capable of teaching Gifts to one another, but this process is neither fast nor easy. Learning a Gift from another Garou is a long process of trial and error, of attempting to achieve communion with another werewolf and emulate the shape of his soul. At best, the process takes a full lunar month. Most elders strongly discourage this practice, viewing it as unacceptably risky on a number of levels. Wielding incomplete mastery of Gifts such as Silver Claws, for example, can be not only painful, but dangerous to the Garou and to others in his pack or sept. Moreover, the level and depth of sustained intimacy necessary for werewolves to teach Gifts to one another can strain the bounds of the Litany, and more than a few metis have resulted from tutoring sessions gone too far. Once learned, Gifts cannot be forgotten; they become as much a part of the werewolf as her ability to speak or walk. Some Galliards recount tales of Incarnae or Celestines revoking the Gifts of their servants from Garou who terribly offend them; but other tales speak of arrogant and haughty werewolves abusing the Gifts of the spirit world with impunity. In the Final Days, few Garou consider it prudent to trust to the spirit world to deliver justice to those who would misuse its blessings, preferring to take matters into their own claws.
Rite of Summoning
Garou mystics are adept at calling spirits, be they minor Gafflings, totem spirits, or even Incarna. Summoning spirits involves complex rituals, long periods of meditation, and tribal mantra chanting. Within the Umbra, this process is far easier. This rite compels spirits to seek those who call them. Furthermore, the spirit cannot escape its caller once the summoning is completed successfully, and it must at tend the mystic. Many spirits, particularly minor ones, are too weak to resist a powerful summoning. Powerful ones come out of curiosity. The chance of a successful summoning depends upon the skill of the mystic, the power of the spirit, and the strength of the area’s Gauntlet.
System: The ritemaster must pierce the Gauntlet just as if he were entering the Umbra (Gnosis roll against the local Gauntlet level). A mystic already within the Umbra is not required to pierce the Gauntlet. The power level of the spirit determines the difficulty level of a successful summoning. The Storyteller can determine difficulty from the following chart:
Spirit Type - Difficulty
Gaffling - 4
Jaggling - 5
Totem avatar - 7
Incarna - 8–9
Celestine avatar - 10
For each hour the Garou spends invoking the spirit, his difficulty drops by one. No difficulty may fall below 3. The player must then make a Gnosis roll and achieve as many successes as possible, with the following results:
Successes - Effect
1 - Spirit comes eventually and is initially hostile
2 - Spirit manifests quickly, but it is still initially hostile
3 - Spirit comes immediately and is neutral
4 - Spirit comes immediately and is passively benign
5 - Spirit comes immediately and is friendly
A botched roll is likely to have disastrous results. Often a botch summons the wrong type of spirit — or even Banes — in great numbers or with great hostility. The Storyteller should feel free to adjust the previous tables as she wishes, particularly as appropriate to totems. In certain cases, a Garou who attempts to summon a specific spirit will have no chance of success. At other times, he will have almost no chance of failure. The Storyteller is advised to treat each use of this rite individually and to use common sense in her decisions. A Garou who summons an Incarna or Celestine avatar successfully gains two points of Wisdom Renown, unless the summons is done frivolously.
Source: Werewolf Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition.