Werewolf tracks three types of damage. Bashing damage includes temporary injury delivered by punches, clubs, improvised weapons, and general blunt trauma. Werewolves suffer bashing damage, but regenerate so fast in most forms that most treat it as more of an annoyance than a threat. Lethal damage represents permanent wounds that can easily kill. Humans die easily from lethal injury, and it can pose a problem to a careless werewolf. Finally, aggravated damage includes grievous tissue damage, and is often supernatural in origin.
A werewolf’s teeth and claws in most forms inflict aggravated damage, as do fire, acid, and other sources of extreme trauma. All types of injuries are cumulative, and the combined injury determines your character’s current health level. Specifics on each type of damage are provided below. While bashing and lethal damage reflect different types of wounds, both injuries are often no match for a Garou’s regeneration.Bashing Damage
Bashing damage represents forms of injury that are unlikely to kill instantly, and that fade quickly — compared to gunshot wounds, at least. Most unarmed combat moves — punches, kicks, tackles, and clinches — deal bashing damage. Even humans heal bashing damage at a reasonable rate, recovering from such injuries in a matter of hours. Garou, by contrast, shrug off such injuries in seconds, though large amounts of bashing damage can be enough trauma to knock a werewolf out, or even kill her. Humans can soak bashing damage with their Stamina, as can Garou.
If your character falls to Incapacitated from bashing damage, she falls unconscious but remains in whatever form she was in. Any additional bashing damage “upgrades” an existing bashing wound to lethal damage. If this additional damage upgrades her Incapacitated health level to lethal damage, she reverts to breed form and may use Rage to remain active (see below). Once she’s Incapacitated with lethal damage, another level of bashing damage kills her.Lethal Damage
Lethal damage includes any form of trauma that would lead to a hospital stay for a human being — from
gunshot damage to knife-wounds. While a werewolf can regenerate lethal wounds just as easily as bashing damage, other creatures are not so lucky. At the Storyteller’s discretion, attacks that would otherwise cause bashing damage can cause lethal damage when aimed at a vital body part such as a kidney or an eye, though such areas are difficulty 8 or 9 to target. Humans cannot soak lethal damage at all. Garou and other shapeshifters can soak lethal damage with Stamina in any form except their breed form (exception of Metis; they may do that in their breed form which is Crinos). Some fomori may be able to soak lethal damage, as can vampires and other monsters that lurk in the night, though that varies depending on the twisted creature’s specific abilities.
If your character falls to Incapacitated from lethal damage, she can channel her Rage to remain active. If she doesn’t, she falls unconscious and reverts to her breed form. She remains unconscious and regenerates that health level after an eight-hour period. If she takes a level of lethal damage when at Incapacitated, she dies.Aggravated Damage
Aggravated damage comes from attacks that go against a werewolf’s nature. All silver weapons, not just
bullets, deal aggravated damage to werewolves, but not to humans. Fire, some Wyrm-tainted poisons, and the teeth and claws of werewolves and other supernatural creatures all deal aggravated damage. Humans can’t soak aggravated damage. Werewolves can soak aggravated damage with Stamina in any form except their breed form (exception of Metis; they may do that in their breed form which is Crinos), with the exception of damage from silver. Garou cannot regenerate aggravated damage.
If your character falls to Incapacitated from aggravated damage, she has one chance: she can channel her Rage to remain active. If she doesn’t succeed, she dies.
Werewolves heal at an incredible pace. A Garou regenerates her worst bashing or lethal health level every turn. Homid- and lupus-breed Garou can regenerate a health level each day while in their natural forms if they are in critical condition, but doing so doesn’t let them do much more than sleep. If they’re conscious and moving around in their breed form, they heal as humans do. Metis are blessed with full regeneration in every form. Garou cannot regenerate aggravated damage with anything like the same speed.
A character heals one health level of aggravated damage each day, as long as she spends her time resting in a form that normally regenerates. Regenerating damage when engaged in a stressful or physically intensive activity (like combat) is harder for a werewolf. The player must roll the Garou’s Stamina ( difficulty 8 ) each turn. This roll is reflexive, so does not involve splitting a dice pool or spending Rage for multiple actions. Success means that the werewolf heals as normal. Failure means that he heals no damage. A botch indicates that the werewolf cannot regenerate until she’s had a chance to rest. There are however, gifts and fetishes that may give you the capability to heal aggravated damage such as Mother's Touch
• Mother’s Touch (Level One) — The Theurge channels spiritual power through her hands, mending the wounds of any other living creature. This Gift may not heal the werewolf herself, spirits, or the undead. A bear- or unicorn-spirit teaches it.
System: The player spends one Gnosis point and rolls Intelligence + Empathy (difficulty is the target’s current Rage, or 5 for those with no Rage). Each success heals one level of lethal, bashing, or aggravated damage. The healer may even heal fresh Battle Scars (see p. 259) in this manner, if the Gift is applied during the same scene in which the scar is received and an extra Gnosis point is spent.
A critically injured werewolf can channel her Rage to save her life. It’s a risky proposition — if it succeeds, the werewolf is thrown into a wild frenzy. It’s sometimes the only way for a character to save her life, though. To remain active, the player rolls his character’s permanent Rage ( difficulty 8 ). Each success heals one health level of any kind of damage. No matter how much damage is healed, the character enters a berserk frenzy.Example
: Windsinger’s on the wrong end of some werewolf hunters with military equipment. She killed the hunter who got close with a silver knife, but couldn’t get away from a grenade that fell right at her feet. The
explosive was packed with silver shrapnel, and she’s taken enough aggravated damage to fill her Incapacitated health level. There’s nothing for it. She has to channel her Rage. Her player rolls Windsinger’s Rage rating — 5 dice — at difficulty 8, and manages three successes (taking her to Wounded). She enters her next turn in a brutal frenzy. The hunters thought she was down, but they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.
A character can only channel her Rage in this way once per scene. If she’s reduced to Incapacitated more
than once in a single fight, she takes the worst effects of the damage. Although her Rage can remove an awful lot of damage, supercharging a werewolf’s incredible regeneration comes with some side effects. A werewolf gains a Battle Scar (see below) whenever she successfully remains active.
Normal humans take damage from much the same things that werewolves do, but humans are much less resilient. Garou can attempt to soak any injury not caused by silver, but humans can only soak bashing damage. What Garou heal in seconds can take weeks for a human to heal.Sources of Injury
For all that they heal quickly, werewolves encounter a lot of things that can hurt them. Some of the most common are listed here.Combat
Born to be Gaia’s warriors, the Garou engage in far more combat than most other creatures, and it’s the source of more injuries than anything else in the game. Disease
Werewolves aren’t immune to most diseases, but they recover far faster than humans do. Diseases inflict a number of health levels of damage to the patient, either bashing or lethal depending on the severity of the disease. With proper rest and care, the disease runs its course, and the health levels
heal slowly. A werewolf’s healing abilities protect her from relatively minor ailments including the common cold and the flu — diseases that normally inflict bashing damage. Even truly debilitating or autoimmune diseases can’t inflict lasting harm, though the werewolf can still serve as a carrier after the illness as run its course. In order for a werewolf to notice a disease, it would have to be supernatural in origin — and thus deal aggravated damage.Falling
Gravity doesn’t play favorites. Falling causes damage, even to creatures as hardy as werewolves. The Storyteller rolls one die of bashing damage for every 10 feet or 3 meters that your character falls before hitting something solid. This damage can be soaked normally. Landing on sharp objects may change the damage to lethal at the Storyteller’s discretion. A character who falls more than 100 feet (30 meters)
reaches terminal velocity. At that point, the character takes 10 dice of lethal damage upon impact. Armor only provides half its normal protection against a fall of that distance, as it’s not designed to aid in soft landings.Fire
Fire is primal and dangerous, but also a protector. It can burn away corruption or destroy everything around it — in many ways, much like a Garou. Damage from fire is always aggravated, and ignores armor. A werewolf can soak damage from fire as normal, but the difficulty varies depending on the intensity of the fire. The amount of damage inflicted by the fire varies depending on the size of the blaze. A character suffers the full amount of damage for each turn that she’s in contact with the fire; she only stops taking damage once she leaves the area and/or extinguishes the flames on her. Fire damage is automatically
successful unless soaked — a character trapped in a bonfire takes two health levels of aggravated damage per turn, not two dice of aggravated damage per turn.
Soak Difficulty: 3; Type of Fire: Heat of a candle.
Soak Difficulty: 5; Type of Fire: Heat of a torch.
Soak Difficulty: 7; Type of Fire: Heat of a Bunsen burner. (third degree burns)
Soak Difficulty: 8; Type of Fire: Heat of an electrical fire.
Soak Difficulty: 9; Type of Fire: Heat of a chemical fire.
Soak Difficulty: 10; Type of Fire: Molten metal.
Health Levels : One; Size of Fire: Torch; Part of the body is exposed to flame.
Health Levels: Two; Size of Fire: Bonfire; half of the body is exposed to flame.
Health Levels: 3; Inferno; all of the body is exposed to flame.
If your character falls to Maimed, she suffers temporary scarring from the flames. Reduce her Appearance by one until her wounds recover to Bruised. If she is reduced to Crippled or Incapacitated by the fire, the burns cover the majority of her body, reducing Appearance by two. Scarring may become permanent if the character is Incapacitated and gains a Battle Scar from remaining active.Poison and Drugs
Like diseases, few poisons or drugs have a noticeable effect on the Garou. Werewolves who wish to become intoxicated or to use drugs for recreational purposes must do so in their breed form, where their regenerative systems are less effective, or awaken the spirit of the drug using the Rite of Spirit Awakening, which increases the substance’s potency. The following examples cover the effects of various drugs on werewolves, either in their breed form, or once the drug has been awakened. It’s very hard for a werewolf to become addicted to any substance; her healing gifts prevent it happening in any but the most extreme circumstances.
• Alcohol: Subtract one from Dexterity and Intelligence dice pools for every two drinks’ worth of alcohol.
Reduce the penalty by one for every hour that passes after she stops drinking.
• Cocaine/meth/speed: The werewolf immediately gains a point of temporary Rage. For the rest of the scene, the character only needs three successes on a Rage roll to frenzy.
• Hallucinogens: All dice pools are reduced by 1–3 dice, as the character is unable to concentrate. The
character’s perceptions of the world are altered, and his reactions will depend on what he believes to be happening. A character who takes hallucinogens before meditating to regain Gnosis can regain up to two points per hour of meditation, rather than one. The effects last for (8 minus Stamina) hours.
• Heroin/morphine/barbiturates: Subtract two from Dexterity and all Ability dice pools for (10 minus Stamina) minutes. The character experiences a dreamlike state for (12 minus Stamina) hours, during which the difficulties of Rage rolls are increased by one.
• Marijuana: Subtract one from Perception-based dice pools and increase the difficulties of all Rage rolls by
one. The effects last for about half an hour.
• Weak Poison: The character takes between one and three levels of lethal damage per scene. Poisons have a maximum amount of damage that they can apply, usually between five and ten levels of damage. If the character doesn’t regenerate this damage (due to being in breed form, or being human) subtract one from all dice pools until the damage is healed. A werewolf in a regenerating form burns through the poison’s effects in seconds and suffers no ill effects.
• Strong Poison: The character takes between one and three levels of lethal damage per turn. Poisons have
a maximum amount of damage they can apply, usually between five and ten levels of damage. A werewolf can regenerate this damage normally, but until the poison has run its course and all the damage has been healed, subtract one from all dice pools. The only toxins to have a significant effect on werewolves are supernaturally enhanced, and as such deal lethal damage.Radiation and Toxic Waste
Many of the Wyrm’s sacred locations on Earth are located on or near irradiated landscapes and toxic waste
dumps. Also, some minions of the Wyrm use radiation based attacks. Damage from these sources is resolved the same as damage from fire, but takes twice as long to heal.Silver
Silver, the lunar metal, is a werewolf’s great weakness. Most humans know from Hollywood movies or horror novels that a silver weapon can kill a werewolf. It’s difficult to fashion a weapon out of silver, but a skilled blacksmith or gunsmith can make such a weapon. Those who know of the Garou’s existence know to keep silver weaponry close.
In addition to turning normal attacks into unsoakable aggravated damage silver causes other problems for the Garou. Just touching silver causes one level of aggravated damage per turn of contact, unless the werewolf is a homid or lupus who is in her breed form. Some Garou carry silver, usually in the form of weaponry such as klaives. Doing so, however, comes with a price. The Garou’s natural allergy to silver causes a reduction in his effective Gnosis. This loss remains in effect in all forms, including the character’s breed form. If the Garou discards or stores the silver object(s), the effect fades after a day.
For every five silver objects a pack carries, all its members suffer this reduction. In addition, carrying too many silver objects, especially bullets, may cause a loss of Honor or Wisdom for the pack (not to mention being rather difficult to obtain).
Object: Silver bullets; 1 point/5 bullets.
Object: Klaive; 1 point.
Object: Grand Klaive; 2 points.
Not everything called “silver” by humans contains enough actual silver to be spiritually pure enough to harm a werewolf. Sterling silver (over 90% silver) is certainly pure enough to be spiritually active. At the Storyteller’s discretion, “Jewelry Silver” (80% pure) may be enough to affect werewolves. Argentite and Horn Silver are compounds of silver and certainly not spiritually pure, nor are compounds with “silver” in the name, including silver nitrate, silver chloride, or silver iodide. Some items can be plated with silver, rather than being made entirely of silver. These items deal damage as though they were silver weapons, but the plating is ruined after a couple of blows.Suffocation and Drowning
Werewolves are living creatures, and need to breathe just like people and animals do. When immersed in water, or some other non-breathable medium, a character can hold her breath for a length of time determined by her Stamina. Changing forms once immersed doesn’t alter this length of time — the character’s lung capacity changes, but the amount of air in her lungs does not. Once her time runs out, the character can spend Willpower to keep holding her breath. Each point of Willpower spent in this fashion allows her to hold her breath for another 30 seconds.
Stamina 1: 30 seconds.
Stamina 2: One minute.
Stamina 3: Two minutes.
Stamina 4: Four minutes.
Stamina 5: Eight minutes.
Stamina 6: Twelve minutes.
Stamina 7: Twenty minutes.
Stamina 8: Thirty minutes.
During strenuous physical activity like combat, the character can hold her breath for a number of turns equal to twice her Stamina rating. Each point of Willpower spent in this fashion gives her one more turn of action. Once a character has run out of breath, she begins to drown. She takes one health level of lethal damage each turn. A werewolf cannot regenerate this damage until she can breathe again. When she reaches Incapacitated, she reverts to her breed form, and will die in a number of turns equal to her Stamina.Temperature Extremes
Werewolves can withstand temperatures far in excess of human norms, but still have their limits. Extreme heat (above 200 °F or 100 °C) causes damage in much the same way as fire, at the Storyteller’s discretion. At −40 and below, subtract one from all Dexterity dice pools due to frostbite. For every 10 °F (6 °C) lower, subtract another die.
Garou can heal from most wounds without ill effect. A human whose fingers are bitten off by a wolf will need surgery, and will lose some function in those fingers (if she doesn’t lose the fingers entirely). A werewolf can grow the missing tissue and nerve connections back, even re-growing his fingers if they cannot be reattached. Some injuries, especially those caused by other Garou, can cause a werewolf lasting damage. These wounds occur when a character channels her Rage to remain active in the face of death. A werewolf can also acquire a battle scar as a result of a particularly brutal attack, or from torture.Example: Red-Green-Blue, a Lupus Glass Walker, has suffered at the hands of a group of Cyber Dogs. He’s had experimental fetish technology implanted into his body to try to make him something better. Though he escaped has had the devices spliced into his body removed, Red-Green-Blue has been through two complex operations that needed silver surgical tools. The Storyteller rules that even though he’s never been as far as Crippled, his body is covered with ugly scars that will not heal, granting him a Battle Scar.
Battle Scars range in effect from cosmetic effects, like Red-Green-Blue’s web of scar tissue, to missing limbs and brain damage. Any Battle Scar gives an award of temporary Glory Renown noted with each scar; healing a Battle Scar through Gifts or other means causes a loss of one temporary Glory. Some tribes, especially the Children of Gaia and the Glass Walkers, may recognize the Wisdom in healing a Battle Scar.
This section includes a list of sample Battle Scars, along with the Glory awarded for each one. When assigning a Battle Scar, the Storyteller should work with the player to choose one that makes sense. A character who suffers repeated blows to the head won’t end up gelded, but could suffer brain damage.
This list is not exhaustive. The Storyteller should feel free to come up with her own interpretations of massive trauma. When assigning Glory awards, remember that more visible scars tend to carry larger rewards.
• Superficial Scars: Large, ugly masses of scar tissue mar your character’s body and remain hairless in all forms. These scars may reduce a character’s Appearance dice pools by one, depending on the situation. 1 temporary Glory
• Deep Scar: Much the same as a superficial scar, except that muscles are affected as well, and the scar aches when the humidity changes. 1 temporary Glory.
• Improper Bone Setting: One of your character’s bones snapped and did not heal properly. If that area of your body receives two or more health levels of damage at once in the future (at the Storyteller’s discretion, depending on the description of the attack), the bone snaps again, causing an additional level of lethal damage. 1 temporary Glory.
• Cosmetic Damage: A readily visible injury that doesn’t have a significant debilitating effect, such as a missing ear, a hare lip, or an exposed part of the skull. It looks grotesque to humans and impressive to Garou. Reduce Appearance by one dot when dealing with humans, unless you cover or conceal the damage. 2 temporary Glory.
• Broken Jaw: Similar to Improper Bone Setting, your jaw was shattered, and it is now out of alignment with your tongue. All difficulties for actions involving talking increase by 2, and the difficulty of bite attacks increases by one. Your character’s speech is slurred and should be roleplayed appropriately. 1 temporary Glory.
• Missing Eye: One of your eyes was gouged out and hasn’t grown back. The difficulties on all rolls involving depth perception or weapon firing (including using thrown weapons) increase by three. Any Perception rolls based on sight take a +2 difficulty penalty. 2 temporary Glory.
• Gelded: Your reproductive system has been damaged. You are incapable of siring or bearing children. Males with this wound are not necessarily impotent, but gelded characters of any gender increase the difficulties of seduction and using Animal Attraction by two. 1 temporary Glory.
• Collapsed Lung: One of your lungs was punctured during battle. You find it difficult to breathe and to exert yourself. You lose one die on any Stamina roll involving exertion and an additional die after five turns of physical activity. In addition, you may hold your breath for only half the listed time (see p. 259). 1 temporary Glory.
• Missing Fingers: You have lost at least three fingers on one hand. Dexterity rolls involving that hand suffer a +3 difficulty penalty. Your damage dice pool for claw attacks with that hand is halved (rounding down). 2 temporary Glory.
• Maimed Limb: One of your limbs has been mauled to the point of uselessness. If you lost a leg, you move at half speed in all forms. If you lost an arm, your Hispo and Lupus speed is reduced to three-quarters. You are not able to use the damaged limb for any purpose. 3 temporary Glory.
• Spinal Damage: Your spine was fractured, and you have trouble keeping your balance. Your Dexterity is reduced by one, you subtract two from your initiative rating, and you must spend Willpower on any roll involving balance, precision, or remaining still. 2 temporary Glory.
• Brain Damage: Severe damage to the head, or perhaps lack of oxygen for a long period of time, has reduced your mental faculties. You lose one dot from one Mental Attribute (Storyteller’s choice). Additionally, you must roll one die and subtract that number of dots from your Gnosis, Willpower or Knowledges (player’s choice of where these points are lost). You are most likely partially amnesiac as well. 2 temporary Glory.
As a rule, werewolves do not die natural deaths. Thanks to his regenerative powers, a werewolf could conceivably live to 120 or even older before his body finally gives out, but precious few elders have ever reached that age. Most werewolves die in battle, and those that don’t often choose to die when their age affects their abilities. After all, the Litany says “Do not suffer thy people to tend thy sickness.” “Old age,” of course, is relative. Some Garou continue to be useful members of their septs as advisors and ritemasters long after they’ve ceased to be warriors. As a character ages, he may suffer from mental problems including senility, Alzheimers, or dementia (decreased Mental Attributes), physical frailty or infirmity (decreased Physical Attributes), and loss of Rage. As they age, many old Garou lose the wolf permanently. Each character ages differently, so the specific effects are up to the Storyteller, should it ever become necessary. Some Garou choose to retire and live out their remaining years among humans or wolves. Some disappear into the Umbra to find their Tribal Homeland. Some simply wander off into the woods to die at peace with themselves and Gaia.