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Offline Matthews

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4b: Beginner's Guide: Werewolves
« on: January 19, 2020, 11:09:58 AM »


Welcome to the Beginner's Guide to Werewolves. This will serve as a very brief introductory to the race. If it peaks your interest, you can then apply for it. Note that this does not serve as a replacement for the books. You should probably still read those if you have the time. This covers only the basics, without diving too much into mechanics or the terminology. If there is something that you don't understand, feel welcome to ask on Discord. Additional resources such as WhiteWolf Wiki and Werewolf the Apocalypse 20th books that can be found here

What are Werewolves ?

- Werewolves are creatures caught between worlds. They are both human and wolf, yet not truly either one. They're modern monsters with primal souls, each one a beast of flesh with a heart of spirit. Werewolves are sufficiently like us that in their human forms, they seem as mortal as the rest of us , no stronger, no faster, no more invulnerable. When the change comes over them, however, they become true monsters: strong enough to smash down doors and claw apart metal, swift enough to run down any human and even able to shrug off bullets.

  • Werewolves need nutrition like normal humanbeings, they eat and drink just the same as them.
  • Werewolves are NOT the victims of a curse, most werewolves consider their nature to be a blessing.
  • Werewolves are NOT immortals. However, they have a longer lifespan compared to a mortal human and are immune to many diseases.
  • A werewolf's bite does NOT infect its victim with lycan-thropy. Werewolves have some spiritual powers that allow them to pass on curse-like ill effects with a bite, but they don't create more of their kind in that way. A werewolf is born, not infected.
  • Werewolves do not change forms only under the light of a full moon. Werewolves can change whenever they want, though some circumstances can force them to change against their will.
  • Werewolves can become savage, mindless beasts during any time not only under the full moon. The sight of the full moon does not force a werewolf to become frenzied.
  • Werewolves do not die instantly from silver bullets. Silver is their weakness, however; wounds inflicted by silver weapons do not heal as quickly.
  • Werewolf packs work like wolf packs, with alphas, betas, and omegas.

Mythic History and beliefs

Some time ago, before human beings recorded the rise and fall of empires and civilizations and called it all history, werewolves held dominance over the natural world. Created by Gaia to be the world's protectors, they passed along their gifts to their children. Some chose to mate with humanity, favoring their intelligence and adaptability. Others chose to take mates from wolves, embracing their pack mentality and tenacity. The Garou acted as a check on the growth of the human population, but protected humanity as well. They tried to teach humanity to live in harmony with the world, and to find balance. What happened, then, to make humanity so...wrong? Every tribe of werewolves has its own explanation for that, but what they do agree on is that the Garou became extremely aggressive in policing humanity. This time, called the Impergium, was one of violence and terror. Humanity became terrified of the wilderness and of wolves in particular; that horror follows them even today, much to the Garou's chagrin. Humans gathered together in settlements to keep each other safe at night. Those settlements became farming communities, and then cities. And all along the way, the Garou would steal into the communities and take the weakest (or the most brazen, or the least reverent , the criteria for who died under the moon were never set in stone).

The Garou are defined as a people by their great struggle. Gaia, the soul of the world, is dying. She is wounded by the talons of a cosmological force of corruption known as the Wyrm. This colossal spirit lurks far beyond the reach of the Garou, but its influence is felt everywhere. Its minions are myriad twisted spirits of corruption and the mortals and even werewolves that have fallen under their sway.The corruption endemic in human society , avaricious corporations, vicious murderers, zealous cults , is a symptom of the oncoming end. The Garou believe in the Apocalypse: a time in which the Wyrm's legions will break forth in order to finally remake the blasted world fully in its image. The Apocalypse may be the end of all things. But the werewolves were created to fight against it, until the last Garou breathes one last breath.

OPTIONAL: Read The Concord, The Wars of Rage.

What defines a Werewolf ?

Simply put, three factors define the Garou: breed, auspice, and tribe.

Breed: Breed is the birth form of the werewolf. Some are born to a human parent and a Garou parent; others to a wolf and a Garou. Still others are born to bloodlines of Kinfolk , people who possess werewolf blood but are not shapechangers themselves , and may not even know of their strange heritage. And some werewolves are born to Garou-Garou matings, though theirs is a difficult lot.

Auspice: Auspice is the moon phase of a werewolf 's birth. The light of Luna affects them, granting them specific blessings that will govern their path in life. The brighter the birth moon, the more Rage the werewolf will feel. Those born under the full moon are the most furious of all , the warriors among a warrior people.

Tribe: Tribe is a social unit as well as a family. A werewolf may come to a tribe for ideological reasons, but most are descended from a tribe's bloodlines. A tribe defines itself by its Kin, its territory, its ideology and its tribal totem.

But while these three things can define a werewolf, a fourth bond exists , the bond of the pack. A werewolf 's packmates are like immediate family, best friends, and brothers-in-arms all at once.

Garou Destiny

The world of werewolves is harsh, yet this harshness provides contrast to great acts of sacrifice and heroism. Quite simply, werewolves fight and die for their beliefs. Warriors fight horrific abominations with tooth and claw, while mystics hunt evil with supernatural insight. Some wise warriors employ even stranger methods, like street-savvy trickery, political activism, and cunning intrigue. No matter what tactics they choose, werewolves walk between two worlds: the reality of the violent physical world and the mystery of the enigmatic spirit world. Wherever they run , in the cities, in the wilderness, or even in the spirit world , werewolves face the same overwhelming fate. Their world is dying, and their destiny is ultimately tragic. In fact, many of their mystics proclaim that these are the Final Days. The End Times, when all of creation will finally unravel, are here. As the light dies, werewolf heroes are willing to sacrifice everything to hold back the darkness. We live in the age of the Apocalypse. If this is to be the last battle, then the Warriors of Gaia aim to win it or die with a curse on their lips and blood on their teeth.

Spirits and the Penumbra

Werewolves are aware of a hidden side of the World of Darkness. They interact with the spirit world, which they call the Umbra. Much of their powers are derived from this world. Garou call on spirits to teach them supernatural tricks, bind them into fetishes, or invoke them in complicated rites. But not all spirits are their allies...The spirit world and the material world are inextricably linked. What affects one affects the other. Pollution in the physical world spreads spiritual blight in the Umbra, which in turn brings down psychic corruption on the mortals influenced by the unseen world. This dynamic is critical to both worlds, and it is the focus of the Garou's war for the soul of Gaia.

Beyond the physical world , the world of blood, asphalt, wood, and life , lies a world of spirits and ephemera. This world, which werewolves call the Umbra, is accessible to any werewolf, but that doesn't mean that they understand it. Everything has a spirit, and in the Umbra, spirits of wind and water mingle with the spirits of plastic and oil while spirits of anger and innovation watch from the sidelines (or, perhaps, the spirits of side-lines). The immediate Umbra is a bizarre reflection of the physical world, but one can wander deeper into this spirit landscape. The depths of the Umbra can be explored and learned, but never mapped or mastered. Woe to the werewolf pack that grows too confident.

Useful Terminology

This is a list of certain terminology that will be useful to understand easier and better the following explanations:
  • Caern is a sacred place to the Garou where they can meet and contact the spirit realms. A desecrated caern is called a "Pit", and Black Spiral Dancers caerns are referred to as "hives".
  • The group of Garou who live near and tend an individual caernis called a Sept. This community of werewolves defend the caern from the forces of the Weaver and Wyrm, other supernatural threats, and the incursions of humanity in general.
    For more information...
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    Septs are the societies that form around caerns, usually for the purpose of defending these sacred sites.The oldest septs are dominated by one or two tribes, usually not far from their tribal homelands. These days, most septs are increasingly multi-tribal. Only with the strength of diversity can the Garou hope to overcome the peril of their dwindling numbers.The primary task of a sept is guarding its caern. Through powerful mystic rites, a sept can help heroes travel great distances to aid them. Drawing upon Luna's power, mystics form powerful moon bridges between the largest caerns. Because of this ability, septs are also gathering places for travelers. The elders of a sept may welcome a wandering pack, allowing them a place to rest and perhaps granting some resources for their errand. This honor usually demands that the visitors pay some form of chiminage in return. This payment may be a simple as reciting a story of their journey, as esoteric as bringing back something valuable from the nearby spirit world, or as onerous as performing a brief task for the sept's benefit.Older Garou settle down eventually into one sept that they particularly favor, usually assuming a politi-cal position there. An old wolf grows fond of his den, and eventually plans to die there. For this reason, elders commonly offer younger Garou the chance to perform missions on behalf of their sept as a dangerous but clear path to honor and glory.Every sept has a sept leader, the overall master (or as some would put it, the true alpha) who organizes the sept and directs the local packs. The highest-ranking Theurge becomes the Master of the Rite. She performs many of the day-to-day rituals that maintain the sept, and cares for the spiritual center of the caern where werewolves meditate. The caern Warder protects the area surrounding the caern, known as the bawn, and keeps an eye out for trouble. Many young metis are enlisted to help him in this task. Septs often have a wealth of other positions, from the den mother or den father who watches over cubs to the Talesinger who chronicles its history. Every werewolf has a place in Garou society, and most are eager to speak to young heroes in need of advice.
  • Gifts are special powers granted to Garou (werewolves) and other fera (shapeshifters) by the spirits.
  • Rage is a mystical wellspring of primal anger granted to the Garou by Luna. It allows them to move at great speed, shrug off mighty wounds, and change forms quickly. It can also power some Gifts.
  • Gnosis Gnosis is similar to the Polynesian concept of mana or the Eastern concept of chi. While all creatures have some spiritual component, Garou can consciously control and use it. Garou are quite literally half-spirit already, and Gnosis reflects how connected they are to their other half.
  • Delirium - If a human sees a werewolf in the Crinos form, she is struck with overwhelming fear and madness. The human might panic and run, faint dead away, become catatonic or, in rare instances, blindly attack the werewolf. Garou call this phenomenon the Delirium.
    For more information...
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Delirium comes from suppressed racial memories of the distant past rising in the human subconscious. Because werewolves culled human herds systematically for thousands of years, they have permanently scarred the collective psyche of the human race. The Delirium may be seen as a sort of supernatural blessing, for it prevents the horror of the primeval world from returning. Humans never see Crinos Garou as they really are. Instead, they rationalize such sightings away in-stinctively, concocting elaborate and horrific stories about what they thought they saw. They may not see anything at all, simply reacting to something they will never remember. Because of the terror of Delirium, most humans refuse to accept that werewolves are real, even when confronted with very direct evidence. The racial memories run so deep that it's a rare and strong-willed human who can see so much as a photograph of a Crinos-form Garou and not subconsciously dismiss it as some sort of hoax.Despite the protection this fear affords, the Garou cannot afford to take chances. Werewolves who unleash the panic of the Delirium without good cause are punished severely or exiled. Their survival depends on staying hidden and acting discreetly; indiscretion has its consequences. Werewolves hunting in human cities are loath to force the Delirium without a very good reason. Since the Concord, they have kept their existence secret, maintaining the Veil, the illusion that the primitive supernatural world no longer exists. If even the slightest chance exists that a werewolf 'sshapeshifting was caught on film, for instance, the were-wolves and their human kin will move heaven and earth to make sure that footage isn't brought to daylight. Even if one human in a thousand believes what he sees, that's far, far too many. This occasionally results in bloody purges of people who have seen too much, although some tribes (the Glass Walkers and the Children of Gaia, notably) refuse to allow innocent people to die for Garou carelessness.
  • Renown is a measure of a Garou's place in society. The more Renown he has, the more weight his words carry. Renown governs how quickly a Garou can gain in rank.
  • Rank is a fundamental part of Garou society, and the fullest manifestation of the hierarchical nature of werewolves (See hierarchy below..)
  • Litany is the code of laws kept by the Garou. It was codified at the end of the Impergium. (See Litany below..)
  • Impergium was the culling of the human population practiced by the Garou in prehistoric times.
  • Camp A camp is a political faction among a Garou tribe; several camps combined together form a tribe.
  • Black Spiral Dancers are the Lost Tribe, the dreaded Black Spiral Dancers are the Garou who turned to the Wyrm.
  • The Triat are three of the greatest entities in the spiritual hierarchy: the Wyld, the Weaver, and the Wyrm.
  • Wyrm is a Manifestation and symbol of evil, entropy, and decay in Garou belief. Vampires are often considered manifestations of the Wyrm, as are toxic waste and pollution.
  • Weaver is a Manifestation and symbol of order and pattern. Computers, science, logic, and mathemat-ics are examples of the Weaver's influence on the material plane.
  • Wyld is a Manifestation and symbol of pure change; the chaos of transmutation and elemental force.

Becoming a Cub

The child of a werewolf more commonly only carries the werewolf gene. Such carriers are called Kinfolk. They can be either human or wolf, but in either case they enjoy a special (if not always pleasant) status in werewolf society. Some tribes look at their Kinfolk as revered children, since they might Change at any time (it's most common during puberty, but it's not unknown for a Garou to experience the First Change during adulthood). Such werewolves look after their Kinfolk, keeping them safe from supernatural enemies and close to the family so that if they do Change, they can join Garou Society with a minimum of disruptions. Other tribes view their Kinfolk as breeding stock.

The term cub refers, in Garou society, to a werewolf who either has not yet Changed, or has not yet accepted her place as a Garou. The first application of the term is usually only used in retrospective, obviously, since it isn't typically possible to tell a pre-Change werewolf from a Kinfolk. Rumor has it that certain divinatory rites once allowed certain knowledge of whether a child would eventually Change, but if these rites ever existed, they are lost to modern Garou. The best the People can do is keep tabs on their children and wait.

In any event, it all comes to a head on the night of the First Change. The character shapeshifts for the first time, usually in response to a threat or some other intense stimulus. Changing into the dreadful Crinos form, the werewolf takes out a lifetime of frustration, rage, and barely-repressed feelings of being wrong at whatever is in her immediate area. If the cub is lucky, a werewolf or a pack is nearby and can subdue her before she wreaks too much havoc. If she is unlucky, she Changes alone and must find a way to calm herself down before she descends into irrevocable madness. If she is truly unlucky, the werewolves that find her are Black Spiral Dancers. In this case, she is taken away and forced to walk the Black Spiral: pressed into service for the Wyrm before she ever has a chance to know what that means.

Entering the Garou Society

Once a cub has been found, the rescuing Garou take her to a sept. Once a cub has been found, the rescuing Garou take her to a sept. There, she prepares for the Rite of Passage. Part of this preparation is learning the ways of the Garou common to all the tribes , the Litany, stepping sideways, controlling the Change, and even learning a Gift from a spirit. The cub must also learn about the tribes (a process always colored by the biases of the Garou that found her) and decide which of them she wishes to join. In some cases, membership in a given tribe is expected. A cub might be Pure Bred into one tribe or another, and several tribes are meticulous about maintaining their lineages. In these cases, membership in a tribe isn't really optional. Every tribe has its own traditions for marking a cub's passage into adulthood. The Garou signal a cub's coming of age with a Rite of Passage, a deadly and dangerous quest that tests a werewolf 's strength and wisdom to its very limits. The rite is more than a transition into adulthood. It also shows elders that a cub is worthy of membership in one of the tribes. Until this quest is complete, she does not belong to any of them, for she has not proven herself worthy.

Two choices follow. First, a werewolf may approach her chosen tribe alone. Once she does, the tribal elders may send her out on a test particularly suited to their kind. Solitary vision quests are based on ancient tribal traditions. Usually, however, the elders send the cub to a place where many werewolves gather. There, the child must wait until several cubs are ready to embark on a quest together. In this case, the ritual is also a test of the cubs' ability to work together and resolve their differences. They may later decide to join the same pack. In all cases, the elders send spirits to watch over the petitioners, if only to verify the greatness of their deeds. Once these cubs return, they become cliath, join their respective tribes formally, and learn their first tribal Gifts.

The Litany

The laws of the People are ancient. Their traditions vary from tribe to tribe, but all Garou must remember and hold to the central code of law called the Litany. In its full form, it is as much an epic poem as a legal code. Chanting it in its entirety can take hours. Four times a year, the werewolves of the Fianna tribe gather in their tribal homelands to recite it in its entirety.While it takes the greatest scholars to master the en-tirety of the Litany, most werewolves learn it in the form of 13 basic precepts. Each precept has a practical basis, but not all of them are universally upheld as unquestionably moral. Each tribe has its own views on right and wrong. In fact, many perceive a hypocritical gap between what Garou elders preach and what werewolves actually do. Masters of Garou law can cite dozens of examples of precedent, but as fewer cubs learn to chant the details, more argue ways to bend the rules in their favor.

  • First tenet of the Litany:
    Garou Shall Not Mate With Garou

    The Law: Werewolves should mate only with humans or wolves. The law forbids the creation of metis because of the deformities and insanity that settles on the wretched children of Garou-Garou pairings.  This stricture forms the basis for some of the greatest tragedies of Garou culture. Many ancient songs tell of werewolves who loved deeply and carelessly, only to be undone by their passion.
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Reality: Every year, more metis are born. Mod-ern  Garou  often  claim  that  prejudice  against  the  metis  is a primitive and foolish mindset. Homids are increas-ingly prone to conceive metis as well, as modern ideals frequently stress romance in a relationship, rather than the old custom of arranged marriages for political gain.

  • Second tenet of the Litany:
    Combat the Wyrm Wherever It Dwells and Whenever It Breeds

    The Law: The Wyrm is a source of evil in the world. Gaia created the werewolves to protect the world, and the Wyrm is the greatest enemy the world has. The fastest way for a werewolf to become respected is to prove himself in battle against the servants of the Wyrm. If any Garou neglects this duty, the Apocalypse draws that much nearer to eruption.
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Reality: These are the Final Days. So say all the elders. The Wyrm is too strong to kill, and even if it were possible, many suspect it would only delay the inevitable. Jaded elders are distracted by other tasks, such as secur-ing territory, contesting for political power, and crippling their rivals. Few want to accept that the Apocalypse has begun, for it would mean sacrificing personal ambition to accept a painful truth.As straightforward as this tenet seems, it also raises ques-tions. What happens to a Garou that is possessed, but not fully in the thrall of the Wyrm? Should he be destroyed? Is a Wyrm-spirit really destroyed if it is killed, or will it just re-form somewhere else? Can werewolves expect to change the course of history by destroying all of the Wyrm's servants, or should they choose their battles more carefully? Should the Weaver be challenged as well? Many questions arise in the course of debating this law, in an age where there's little time to spend finding the correct answer.

  • Third tenet of the Litany:
    Respect the Territory of Another

    The Law: When one werewolf approaches another's territory, he must announce herself first and ask permission to enter. The traditional method involves the Howl of Introduction, reciting one's name, sept, totem, tribe, and home sept. Many Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords also insist on a visitor reciting her lineage. In addition to these precautions, a werewolf should mark her territory, whether with scent or clawed sigils, to keep peace with other Garou.
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Reality: As the population of humans in the world keeps growing, A Garou's howling and urinating on trees to mark territory becomes impractical. In urban caerns, some technologically proficient werewolves (like the Glass Walkers) prefer emails, telephone calls, and texting, and some set up apps to work with GPS systems to keep track of territories electronically. As pressure mounts from outside, many young Garou argue that the territories that remain should be more communally man-aged , though progressive human-influenced thought has a difficult time winning over a wolf 's territorial urge.

  • Fourth tenet of the Litany:
    Accept an Honorable Surrender

    The Law: A warrior people typically settles its griev-ances with bloodshed. The Garou have a long dueling tradition, stressing trial by ordeal and single combat. Many werewolves have lost their lives to overzealous practices such as these; they may have died honorably, but their losses are keenly felt all the same. A werewolf being attacked by another Garou can traditionally end a duel peacefully by exposing his throat. The loser shouldn't suffer a loss of reputation or renown for doing so, but a victorious Garou should be praised for his mercy. Theoretically, any dueling Garou is honor-bound to accept a surrender.
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Reality: In practice, peaceful werewolves invoke this law freely, but some are far more selective. After all, in the heat of battle, anything can happen. Even the most feral and violent werewolf struggles to obey this law, but when blood begins to flow, instincts overcome reason. Some warriors are infamous for accidentally overlooking a surrender and sinking their teeth into an exposed throat.

  • Fifth tenet of the Litany:
    Submission to Those of Higher Station

    The Law: Like the wolves with whom they breed, werewolves maintain a strictly hierarchical society. When one's pack or sept is not pure family, the hierarchy of alpha and lord becomes necessary. The concepts of Renown and Rank are integral to Garou society. A werewolf must always honor reasonable requests from higher-ranking Garou.
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Reality: The weakening bonds of Garou society have done little to reinforce this tenet among the young. Too many elders don't understand or can't cope with the human world. Each tribe has its own culture, and not all of them believe in kowtowing to tyrants or humoring egotisti-cal alphas just because they have long lineages. A werewolf will honor the elders of his tribe generally, but opinions vary when it comes to the highly ranked of other tribes.Bone Gnawers are highly egalitarian, and although they'll show their bellies if the need is there, they tend to make a note of it and plot a later payback. Children of Gaia and Silent Striders respect personal choice, and therefore, they prefer to earn obedience rather than demanding it. The Get of Fenris respect only those elders who can best them in combat. Red Talons prefer not to hear monkey babble about complicated hierarchies; you should know your place instinctively. Shadow Lords and Silver Fangs, on the other hand, enforce this law with iron fists and sharpened claws.

  • Sixth tenet of the Litany:
    The First Share of the Kill  for the Greatest in Station

    The Law: This kill clause originally applied to hunting, but has also had a long tradition of being invoked regarding spoils of war. In theory, the most renowned Garou has a right to the most powerful fetishes or other valuable goods found by her packmates. Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords demand what they see as their due; other tribes accept grudgingly.
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Reality: Pack mentality may be a strong instinct, but not everyone thinks the same way. Again, modern concepts of egalitarian or democratic philosophy tend to get in the way. Only the strongest or the most trusted Garou are able to repeatedly invoke this tenet for their own benefit, and even then it can strain the bonds of a pack.

  • Seventh tenet of the Litany:
    Ye Shall Not Eat the Flesh of Humans

    The Law: Grotesquely, thistenet arose not from com-passion, but from practicality. Not long after the Concord, Stargazer mystics noticed that many werewolves took a bit too much pleasure in devouring human flesh. Such cannibals found themselves vulnerable to the corruption of the Wyrm. Elders grown fat off human stock also became weak at stalking and killing more challenging prey, like the Wyrm-spirits they should have been hunting. In the 21st century, this law is more than a simple spiritual matter. Human beings now consume a frightening amount of preservatives. Their chemical-laden diet makes their flesh unwholesome.
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Reality: Werewolves can still lose control of themselves in a frenzy, and some still feel a certain hunger even when fully lucid. Most man-eating Garou act alone, concealing it as best as they can from any packmates, or run-ning without a pack in order to keep up their appetites. Some gather in groups to take part in forbidden feasts, though , the Bone Gnawers, Silent Striders, and Red Talons are all said to have secretive camps that ritually devour human flesh.

  • Eighth tenet of the Litany:
    Respect Those Beneath Ye ,All Are of Gaia

    The Law: The Garou ancestors of legend pledged to become the world's protectors, so they must respect every creature's place in the natural world. Every werewolf is likewise worthy of respect. The Garou believe in an ani-mistic and warrior version of noblesse oblige, and chivalrous behavior is a respectable way to gain Renown.
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Reality: Many cubs, cliath, and metis Garou have learned the hard way that this tenet isn't always enthusiasti-cally enforced. Shadow Lords and Get of Fenris quantify respect, and give those beneath them only what they believe is fairly earned. Bone Gnawers just laugh at this precept. They sure as hell don't get respect, and who could be lower in station than them?The lupus are often stronger at respecting this tenet. Particularly noble Garou have even been known to mourn the passing of their foes, earning the respect of others in the process.

  • Nineth tenet of the Litany:
    The Veil Shall Not Be Lifted

    The existence of the Garou must remain secret. Here, the law and reality are the same. Werewolves must be discreet when acting among humans. This practice is far more than simple respect for the Concord or humanity's right to its own civilization. The world is a dangerous place. Humans have more powerful weapons every year. Ancient vampires and far more sinister supernatural creatures are capable of acting on what humans learn. And, of course, the servants of the Wyrm are lurking everywhere, exploit-ing the weak. If werewolves choose to act like monsters, other creatures will hunt them like the beasts they are.Garou also have an obligation to protect humanity. When human see werewolves lumbering about in Crinos form, insanity grips them, and they concoct all sorts of outrageous rationales for what they've seen. Fear mounts, panic results, and the populace resorts to drastic measures of defense. Rampaging werewolves can cause almost as much damage as the Wyrm-creatures they hunt.

  • Tenth tenet of the Litany:
    Do Not Suffer Thy People  to Tend Thy Sickness

    The Law: The warrior who cannot fight or hunt also weakens those who must care for him. Long ago, an infirm, aged, or mortally wounded Garou would be torn to pieces by his septmates. Such a pitiable hero should not suffer further. These days the merciful and dignified practice is to let such an elder choose how to end his own life. In Garou legends, many of the greatest heroes simply set out on one last journey, never to return.
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Reality: The Children of Gaia despise this law. They believe in a natural death, caring for their elderly through the most prolonged and horrifying illnesses. A few older Garou, especially those crippled by depression and remorse, simply return to human or lupine society to die, making peace with the life they left behind.

  • Eleventh tenet of the Litany:
    The Leader May Be Challenged at Any Time During Peace

    The Law: A werewolf 's pack mentality may be strong, but he should not tolerate a weak alpha. If no immediate threat is nearby, any Garou of sufficient rank may challenge the pack leader for his position. In a pack, the challenge takes the form of a quick and decisive duel, test of wits, or snarling display of intimidation. In a sept, the assembled werewolves watch the challenge play out as high ritual.
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Reality: Many tyrannical leaders resist challenge by simply being too strong to defeat. Some mutinous packs challenge their leader one at a time, wearing him down until he must relent. It's also an uncommon tactic for werewolf leaders to declare a state of constant war, denying any peace in which a challenge would be appropriate. Cun-ning werewolves insist on choosing the type of duel that should result, playing off their rivals' known weaknesses.

  • Twelvth tenet of the Litany:
    The Leader May Not Be Challenged During Wartime

    The Law: Every military relies on a clear and deci-sive chain of command, and the Garou are no different. Obedience in a pack is essential. Once a fight begins, the alpha's word is law. A packmate who disobeys may be punished or assaulted by his companions, or possibly even by his sept, after the danger has passed.
    Spoiler for Hiden:
    The Reality: As previously mentioned, some alphas declare a constant state of wartime to abuse this tenet. Those who disobey usually have some chance to defend their actions, standing before a Philodox in a form of court martial. If a werewolf was under magical control, corrupted, or possessed by the Wyrm , or if the alpha was just startlingly incompetent , such disobedience may be excused, especially if the action saved a pack or the sept. Unfortunately, any renown the wolf would have received for her valor may be canceled out by her insubordination.

  • Thirteenth tenet of the Litany:
    Ye Shall Take No Action That Causes a Caern to Be Violated

    No Garou argues against this tenet. Caerns surge with mystical energy and the lifeblood of the Earth. If one is destroyed or corrupted, part of the Earth dies, and so does the power of the Garou. A werewolf who leads a proven or potential enemy to a hidden caern is punished severely, even if the act was unintentional

« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 17:38:31 PM by OldBen »

Offline Matthews

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Re: Beginner's Guide: Werewolves
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2020, 16:48:25 PM »


Homid: Your mother was human, Kin or not, or a homid Garou. You grew up among humans and learned how to live in their society. Yet something always set you apart. Other kids reacted unconsciously to the predator within you, and to the vicious temper that you couldn't always keep under control. Strange dreams marked your child-hood, and as you grew you remembered more and more of them , dreams of the moon, of the taste of blood, of the smell of war. Maybe they found you before your Change, maybe after, but now there's no going back. You are what you are , you're as much wolf as human now.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Homid characters have no limits on what Abilities they may purchase during character creation. They have plenty of experience with the abstract thought that's newer to their lupus cousins, and they usually grow up surrounded by human technology. No werewolf is better able to deal with the many peculiarities of human society. In their breed form, homids can also handle silver with no Gnosis penalty.The human-born advantages at navigating human society are balanced against weaker connections with the wolf and spirit portions of their nature. Homids are generally less intuitive and perceptive than lupus or metis. They're likely to rely on what they see and hear, rather than what they feel. Moreover, their innate spiritual connections are weaker, as represented by their low starting Gnosis. Humanity has simply grown apart from the spirit world.

Nicknames: Apes, Two-Legs, Monkeys
Initial Gnosis: 1
Beginning Gifts: Apecraft's Blessings, City Running, Master of Fire, Persuasion, Smell of Man

Metis: Born to two werewolves who broke the Litany for love or lust, you were a child that shouldn't have been , but one raised among the Garou anyway. You endured a hard, thankless life, stemming both from the deformity that is your birthright and your place at the bottom of the social ladder. Many other Garou pointed to your deformity as a sign that you, like all other metis, are a living affront to Gaia , others said it's a likely side effect of the over-concentration of already powerful werewolf blood.Whatever the case, you've survived from a hard birth, through years of living only in your Crinos body (the natural form of a metis), to finally undergo your First Change. Whether your parents raised you , as an outcast among the sept , or long-suffering but devoted Kinfolk did, you're now ready to take your place in the sept. Unlike homids, you have a lot of knowledge about werewolf society already , the nobility, the brutality, the wisdom, the spite.

Deformities: Every metis character has at least one deformity, chosen during character creation. While some deformities may have minor benefits, the bad always out-weighs the good. Storytellers should encourage players to choose defects that complement their character concept. Some possibilities for metis deformities can be found: here.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Metis characters have no restrictions on Abilities. Like homids, they have early experience with abstract thought, and are often introduced to technology, education, and other human creations early on as part of being raised at the sept. But like their wolf relatives, the metis also have a strong connection to their animal nature. They have the strengths of both sides to some degree.On the other hand, all metis bear the mark of deformity. To attempt to hide this shame is considered dishonorable; to wear it openly is to attract the contempt of many other werewolves. Another flaw of this breed is that all metis are sterile; none can sire or bear children. It's faintly ironic that Garou/Garou pairings are the only matings that invariably produce werewolf offspring , and yet they are no way to ensure the future of the People.

Nicknames: Mules, Bastards, Obscenities
Initial Gnosis: 3
Beginning Gifts: Create Element, Primal Anger, Rat Head, Sense Wyrm, Shed

Lupus: None are closer to nature and the hidden face of Gaia than you are. You were born a precocious pup, already showing remarkable intelligence above that of your siblings. When the Change overcame you, and you discovered your true nature, the world itself became something you had never expected.Lupus are quite capable of abstract thought, but much of their experience with the concepts governed by such thought comes after the First Change. They pick up the basics of Garou speech very quickly, and the basics of human languages with surprising speed, but the small nuances and connotations frequently elude them. They are accustomed to the socialization of a pack, not of a greater society , which can be particularly problematic if they were raised in a traditional wolf pack, which is more of a nuclear family than anything else.

Spoiler for Hiden:
The advantages of the lupus are several , many of them spiritual. The wolf-born lack the spiritual disconnection that the homids have gradually developed, and they are also free of the spiritual static that comes with the blood of the metis. They have a knack for mastering the animistic rituals of the Garou, as they are closer to The advantages of the lupus are several , many of them spiritual. The wolf-born lack the spiritual disconnection that the homids have gradually developed, and they are also free of the spiritual static that comes with the blood of the metis. They have a knack for mastering the animistic rituals of the Garou, as they are closer to spirit logic than the more educated reasoning of humankind. Some of this is reflected in their high starting Gnosis. However, lupus characters have little opportunity to learn many useful skills before their First Change, and are therefore limited during character creation regarding the Abilities they can purchase.

Nicknames: Ferals, Four-Legs, Fleabiters
Initial Gnosis: 5
Beginning Gifts: Hare's Leap, Heightened Senses, Predator's Arsenal, Prey Mind, Sense Prey
Restricted Abilities: Beginning lupus characters cannot take the following Skills and Knowledges with their initial dots. You may, however, use freebie points to purchase them, perhaps as a result of your character's prelude. Similarly, you can use experience points to add these Abilities as a result of training or life experience in the course of the chronicle.
  • Skills: Crafts, Drive, Etiquette, Firearms, Larceny
  • Knowledges: Academics, Computer, Law, Science, Technology


Beneath the skin lie many beasts. For the Garou, those beasts externalize themselves as the five forms of wolf-kind: the human guise, the primal beast-man, the war-wolf, the dire form, and the true wolf. Any Garou, regardless of her breed, can assume these five forms:-

Human guise: Homid

The natural form for Homid breed Garou and the form in which they feel most comfortable, Homid form is essentially a human being, the Homid form allows Garou to move through man's world more or less unseen. Metis and lupus Garou still possess their regenerative abilities and their vulnerability to silver in this form, while Homid Garou do not; for them, silver feels uncomfortable, and wounds heal with surprising quickness, but the obviously uncanny effects remain absent. Aside from possible scars or body art, a Homid form werewolf appears to be a typical person. Even so, this thin disguise still betrays the predatory Beast underneath if you dare to look close enough; as Homid-form werewolves still trigger the Curse in normal humans.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Strength +0
Dexterity +0.
Stamina +0.
Shift Difficulty: 6

The Near-Man: Glabro

The Glabro form is bipedal, and it doesn't possess obvious fangs or claws, but the resemblance to a human being ends there. A Garou shifting from Homid to Glabro gains from 100% to 200% in body weight (all muscle) and six inches to a foot in height. Body hair becomes much more profuse, the teeth and nails elongate (although not enough to inflict any special damage), the brow slopes, the werewolf's posture hunches with predatory intent, and the character looks huge and menacing. They become stronger and more resilient than Homid, but the Glabro form is still just a shadow of the werewolf's true killing power.

Werewolves in Glabro can speak the Garou tongue and manage human language without too much trouble. Human speech, however, has a guttural rasp to it; any human speech in the Glabro form is usually spoken in primal and minimalistic grunts (ex. "There are two people over there" would likely translate to roughly "Two people there." in a very harsh tone, of course). While Garou can use this form to interact with human society, they typically don't. The Glabro form is too crude and too easy to remember.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Strength +2.
Dexterity +0.
Stamina +2.
Manipulation -2.
Appearance -1.
Shift Difficulty: 7

The War-Wolf: Crinos

Affectionately known as the "nine-foot snarling death-beast" form, a werewolf in Crinos wants to do only one thing , kill. The natural form of all Metis breed Garou, the Crinos is not a form for deliberation, even with other werewolves.

Shifting from Glabro to Crinos, the Garou grows in height by half and gains another 100% to 200% in weight. The head changes to a wolfs maw, and the fangs and claws are now fully grown. The arms become long and apelike, and the werewolf can move either on two legs or all fours. The Garou also grows a tail, which helps with balance.

Werewolf fur usually favors the striped or mottled markings of normal wolves, combined with the hair color (and sometimes even style) of a Garou's Homid form, though this is not always the case. Tribal identity is most obvious in Crinos form, where the features, fur color and body language often reveal the differences between a Bone Gnawer, a Silver Fang, a Black Fury, and a Wendigo.

Many Garou decorate themselves with dedicated jewelry and other markings that symbolize their tribal pride. Crinos is not a form for casual contact. Even the Metis, who are born in this shape, bristle with murderous fury when this war-wolf manifests.

A werewolf in the war form may speak the Garou tongue perfectly well, and he may converse with wolves crudely. Human speech is reduced to one or two words at a time (favorite phrases include "Wyrm!" and "Kill them!"). Expressing anything more complex requires the expenditure of a Willpower point.

It is also worth noting that this form induces Delirium within mortals.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Stats: Strength +4.
Dexterity +1.
Stamina +3.
Manipulation -3.
Appearance 0. (No matter how high your appearance stat is, it is dropped to 0 in this form)
Shift Difficulty: 6

The Dire-Wolf: Hispo

The Hispo resembles a normal wolf in the same way that the Glabro resembles a common human. It can be described as a massive wolf of nightmare, a throwback to prehistoric days when the dire wolves were the size of ponies. The head and jaws are massive, even more so than the Crinos, and the bite of a Hispo inflicts an extra die of damage. The Hispo can stand on its hind legs, if necessary, but it is much more comfortable on all fours.

The Hispo form weighs nearly as much as the Crinos form, but its four-legged stance allows it to run faster. Perception difficulties decrease by one in this form. The senses are sharp, although not so keen as the Lupus. A werewolf in Hispo has no hands, so he cannot grasp objects, except in his mouth.

A werewolf in the Hispo form cannot speak, save a few words in the Garou tongue, and requires the character to spend a Willpower point to speak a word or two of vaguely-comprehendible human speech.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Strength +3.
Dexterity +2.
Stamina +3.
Manipulation -3.

+1 die to bite damage.
Perception difficulties are at -1 in this form.
It does not take a full action to get up from a fall in this form.
Shift Difficulty:7

The Wolf: Lupus

The natural state of lupus Garou, the pure wolf form is feral and driven by instinct. Used primarily for tracking and travel, the change from Hispo to Lupus causes the Garou to shed a great deal of muscle and body size. The jaws and claws shrink considerably , a homid or metis in Lupus can cause aggravated wounds with only a bite, and lupus in their breed form cause lethal damage. The Lupus form runs at twice human speed and it is far more perceptive. All Perception difficulties for Garou in Lupus form drop by two.

Although it can speak a garbled form of the Garou tongue, this form communicates almost totally through body language and typical wolf vocalizations. The werewolf's tribal identity might seem obvious in the wolf's facial features, posture and fur; all other decorations, however, disappear unless they've been strapped, pierced, or tattooed on the wolf itself. Apart from this, the Lupus form resembles a large normal wolf for all intents and purposes.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Strength +1.
Dexterity +2.
Stamina +2.
Manipulation -3.
Shift Difficulty: 6

Perception difficulties are at -2 in this form.
Running distance is doubled in this form.


In game terms, it merely takes a Stamina + Primal-Urge roll and a few successes in order to make physics and biology run screaming into the night. Transforming from one shape to another requires one success for each form your character goes through in the process. Going from Homid to Crinos, for example, takes two successes (one for Glabro, one for Crinos), while going from full human to full wolf takes four successes. The Shift Difficulty given for each form reflects the difficulty of that roll: changing to a different form from Homid, Crinos or Lupus is difficulty 6, while shifting from Hispo or Glabro is difficulty 7. You can spend a point of Rage to change immediately otherwise a full turn is required to shift, and any Garou can shift back to her breed form instantly too. In neither case do you need to make a roll , your werewolf taps into the deepest reserves of her nature to transform. Unless they've been protected with the Rite of Talisman Dedication, clothes tend to be shredded, and possessions, discarded in the course of transformation. A Glabro or Crinos werewolf can certainly hang onto hand-held goodies as she shifts, but jewelry, wallets, and so forth have a nasty habit of getting left behind. With sufficient control over shapeshifting, a Garou can even transform only part of her body: grow Crinos talons in human form, or turn forepaws into hands. Partial transformation requires the expenditure of a Willpower point and success on a Dexterity + Primal-Urge roll (difficulty 9).

The five forms are in this order, for the case of calculating successes:

1. Homid: The Human
2. Glabro: The Near-Human
3. Crinos: The War-Wolf
4. Hispo: The Dire Wolf
5. Lupus: The Wolf

For Auspices go to -
« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 17:39:23 PM by OldBen »