Auspices

Gaia is the Mother, but werewolves also feel a powerful spiritual bond to her sister Luna. Whatever else happens, when the moon is in the sky, the Garou feel stronger. The influence of Luna provides a blessing at birth that guides each werewolf’s spiritual path. This path, this blessing, is called the auspice.

An auspice is many things. It may influence the werewolf’s general personality traits, attitudes and interests; it strongly influences his duties in the pack. All auspices are important, for no werewolf can be all things to his people. Each specialty strengthens the pack as a whole when they focus as one. Auspice also determines the inner Rage of the werewolf. Some Garou mothers try to use herbs or other methods to induce labor under a specific moon, which is one of the reasons that Ragabash and Ahroun are roughly as common as the other three auspices, even though the full moon and new moon appear only half as often as any other phase.

Each young werewolf studies with an elder of the same auspice, learning particular Gifts and the role Luna has decreed for him in werewolf society. Many werewolves introduce themselves by auspice and tribe to one another: “Kolvar Irontongue, Ahroun to the Shadow Lords” says volumes. Whether the werewolf was born under a waxing or waning moon also shows some influence on his auspice and temperament. The waxing moon is a sign of rising Rage, while the waning moon hints at a cooler, more somber personality. Players might take this aspect of a character’s auspice into account when considering some of the character’s minor personality quirks.

Auspice is an influence, not a law. Some werewolves discover they’re badly suited for the blessing of their birth moon. Even though doing so is a direct insult to Luna, they may change auspices by renouncing their former auspice and identity through a Rite of Renunciation. This rite is a grave thing for any werewolf to consider. In addition to losing any former rank and Gifts to begin in his new auspice at Rank 1, he’s sure to face the deep mistrust of others until he has proven his decision more than justified, if not for the rest of his life.

Ragabash

The Ragabash is the mythic trickster, the fool who is alternately foolish and wise. He plays the role of the contrary, questioning tradition in order to find the wisest path. Although the New Moon may seem disrespectful, his wry humor and incisive insights are meant to serve the greater good of the Garou. The clever Ragabash doesn’t question every decision — only those that need it. In the field, the New Moon is a cunning scout and unconventional tactician, leading the enemy into ambushes and striking at their soft underbellies when they least expect it.

While other auspices have fairly set roles within their sept and tribe, the Ragabash is usually left to his own devises. He has the gift of flexibility: the opportunity to explore options usually off-limits to other Garou. His insights are sometimes unwelcome, but frequently worthy. When there’s tension in the air, the Ragabash is usually the one to lift it, even if it means putting himself at risk of violence at the hands of a humorless Ahroun. But the New Moon frequently risks it anyway — what sort of trickster would he be if he was afraid to do something unpopular?

Beginning Renown: Cunning

Auspicial Gift Lists: Hasten, Covert, Deception

Auspice Ability: “Trickster’s Luck.” A Ragabash can survive all manner of harebrained schemes that would see another werewolf dead. Her luck only saves her when she’s pushing the very edge, though, and it will come back to bite her later. Whenever a Ragabash is reduced to a chance die, she rolls two dice instead of one. Each die that shows a 10 counts as a success. If she rolls 1 on both dice, the action is a dramatic failure. If she rolls a 1 on one of the two dice, even if she succeeds, the Storyteller can later reduce one of the character’s actions to a chance die. If he doesn’t do so by the end of the session, that chance is lost. Trickster’s Luck does apply to any action forced to a chance die as a result of this ability.

MET: Whenever a Ragabash is reduced to a chance draw, she makes two draws instead of one. Each one that shows a 10 counts as a success. If she draws a 1 on both draws, the action is a dramatic failure. If she draws a 1 on one of the two draws, even if she succeeds, the Storyteller can later reduce any normal action to a chance draw. If he doesn’t do so by the end of the session, the chance is lost. Trickster’s Luck does apply to any action forced to a chance die as a result of this ability.

Stereotype: The Ragabash born under the waxing new moon is usually light-hearted and capricious, while one born under the waning new moon has a slightly more wicked and ruthless streak. It’s a rare Ragabash indeed that lacks a keen wit and the capacity to find some humor in any situation, no matter how bleak. Many other werewolves are slow to take the Ragabash seriously, though, as it’s difficult to tell the difference between a New Moon’s mockery that points out a grievous flaw in a plan and similar mockery that simply amuses him. Sometimes a Ragabash points out that the emperor has no clothes - but sometimes they’re the first to cry wolf, so to speak.

Quote: Oh, what you’ve described is technically a plan, I suppose. The sort of plan a drooling, brain-dead savage might create, but still a plan. Hey, easy! I wasn’t talking about you — I was talking about the drooling, brain-dead savages massing on our border. I’ve overheard their plans, and they were largely the same as yours. Perhaps you might like to rethink your approach?

Theurge

The sickle-shaped crescent moon grants the gift of insight. The Theurges are the mystics of the Garou, closer than any to the Umbra and its denizens. They peer deep into the shadowed recesses of the spirit world, and are tasked with dealing with the secrets they find there — one way or another.

Some call these seers the daydreamers of the werewolves, and many do seem to be a bit detached from their brethren. They can see and hear things that others cannot, as if they live half in the world of the physical and half in the world of the spirit. For all her alien solitude, though, the Theurge holds an important place in any pack. Without her, the werewolves would forget the spiritual side of their nature. They might wander lost and blind if they did not have her visions and dreams to guide them.

Beginning Renown: Wisdom

Auspicial Gift Lists: Healer’s Touch, Spirit Nature, Umbra

Auspice Ability: “Ritual Master.” Theurges purchase the Rituals Merit and rites at reduced experience cost. At creation, Theurges begin with Rituals 1 automatically. A Theurge who buys rites with experience points need only spend a one experience per rite (instead of the normal two).

Stereotype: The Crescent Moons can be strange and enigmatic, prone to falling into the convoluted symbolic logic of the spirits they truck with rather than the more familiar logic of humanity. Those Theurges born under the waning moon frequently have a harsher, more adversarial relationship with the spirit world — they tend to excel at binding and forcing spirits to their will, and are more vicious when battling spirits. Theurges born under the waxing moon tend to be more generous and open with the spirits, charming and cajoling rather than intimidating and threatening.

Quote: I hear their voices. The earth grows hot with anger. The wind is cold with scorn. They are all around us, awaiting my call.

Philodox

The half moon is balance and duality, standing between two worlds. The Garou is both wolf and human, flesh and spirit, fury and wisdom, savage and savant. The Philodox embraces this duality, attempting to harness it with balance. The Half Moon acts as counselor, mediator and law-keeper to his pack. Where the Ragabash must question the laws, the Philodox must interpret them, finding the wisest answer out of many.

Half Moons are called to judge, for better or for worse. Theirs is the task to set punishment when the Garou stray from the path, and to determine when a werewolf’s actions are particularly meritorious. They are frequently leaders in times of peace, but often cede command to Ahroun or Galliards when war breaks out.

Beginning Renown: Honor

Auspicial Gift Lists: Eyes of Gaia, Feral Wolf, Shapeshift

Auspice Ability: “Judge’s Eye.” A Philodox has an instinctive aptitude for solving problems between werewolves. When another werewolf asks his help, a Philodox automatically gains two dice to any Empathy, Investigation, Persuasion, or Politics rolls made in the course of solving the problem. These bonuses only apply when dealing with other werewolves—humans or spirits don’t have an inborn understanding of the Philodox’ role.

Stereotype: Buried so heavily in his role as impartial judge and jury, the Philodox may seem aloof, even surprisingly cold-blooded for a werewolf. Those born under the waxing Half Moon may seem unusually serene and disaffected, their emotions only emerging when their Rage comes to a boil. The waning-moon Philodox is more incisive and judgmental, his all-seeing eye always carefully watching his packmates and colleagues for any departure from the expected. The Half Moons’ opinions are somewhat feared, yet highly respected - a word of praise or condemnation means much coming from those born to see both sides of every struggle.

Quote: You abandoned your post to aid a packmate. To save another Garou’s life is commendable; to think of your packmate before yourself is proper. But to put the sept in danger is foolish and disregards the lives of your fellows. You must pay the price for that. I levy the punishment of ordeal. Perhaps your love of your pack will encourage you to excel here and wipe the stain from your honor.//

Galliard

The Galliard sings the soul of the Garou to the near-full moon, howling of their joys and sorrows, their triumphs and losses. She is the voice of the People, calling them to battle and inspiring them to greatness in life and in death. She is also a keeper of traditions, carrying the lore of tribes all the way back to the beginning.

A Galliard can rouse the pack from self-pity and suffering when their claws are needed for battle. She can speak caution to a Ragabash, draw a Theurge from his reverie, soften the heart of a Philodox, and soothe the anger of an Ahroun. The Galliard’s art and performance may take many forms - she might be a dancer, a storyteller, a musician or a bit of everything rolled into one. She may even be a leader in times of war. When the battle is done, hers is the voice first raised to praise the sacrifices made by the fallen, and the triumphs of those who still live to fight again.

Beginning Renown: Vigilance

Auspicial Gift Lists: Pulse of the Pack, Mind’s Eye, Summoning

Auspice Ability: “Prophetic Dreams.” Once per story (3 sessions), the player may ask the Storyteller for a dream of prophecy, providing some clue about the challenges facing the Galliard. The Galliard must sleep for at least four hours in order to dream of the future. The dream is always veiled in symbolism that the character must interpret. In addition, the Galliard automatically gains one die to any Occult rolls made to interpret omens or to solve occult riddles.

Stereotype: Where the Philodox is stoic, the Galliard is a creature of unbridled passion. The Gibbous Moon is a fiery muse, and stirs its children into great heights and depths of emotion. While all Galliards are prone to immense mirth and immense melancholy, those born under a waning moon fall more readily into dark, consuming passions; they are the tragedians of the Garou, mastering tales of doom, ruin, sacrifice and loss. Conversely, their waxing-moon cousins sing of triumph and conquest, of the pounding heart and the love of life. They tend to be the soul of their pack’s morale — when the Galliard is willing to go on, so too are all the others.

Quote: You should be afraid, brothers and sisters. This is Kyrrth’takla, Beast of a Thousand Mouths, they have awoken. The stories of its strength are terrifying. But I know you. I’ve been honored to fight alongside you, and I know you will not be afraid. What you want is the glory of tearing this abomination apart — and my brothers and sisters, we will have it!

Ahroun

The Garou’s connection to the moon is much more extensive than human legends state. Every phase has its secret, but human myth comes close to understanding the truth in one aspect: the full moon floods the Warrior with Rage. The Ahroun is the living weapon of Gaia, the lord of bloodshed. He is the warrior among a race of warriors, the champion of a martial people. He is ever ready to kill, and to die if need be.

The Ahroun are respected, but also treated with some level of dread. Their killing instinct is inborn; even a Full Moon just past his First Change is more lethal than many veterans of other auspices. Their elders are few — it’s a rare Ahroun that survives the countless battles that are his birthright — but all the more terrifying for their experience. Like the Galliard, the Ahroun is an inspiring leader in time of war, but he leads with deeds and action. He is first into battle and last to retreat — if he ever retreats at all. In times of peace, he relinquishes command to others, but remains ever vigilant, knowing his talent for war will be needed again all too soon.

Beginning Renown: Glory

Auspicial Gift Lists: Control the Battlefield, Essence of Luna, Leadership

Auspice Ability: “Warrior’s Eye.” Once per session, an Ahroun can attempt to “read” a foe, determining who is the superior warrior. The player rolls Wits + Rage; success indicates that the werewolf can roughly tell whether the threat is stronger or weaker than he is, while an exceptional success grants more understanding of the gap between the two (“He’s much more powerful than me.”). A dramatic failure indicates that the character greatly misjudges his target. The warrior’s eye takes into account only those abilities that might affect a direct fight. A werewolf might read a skilled vampire assassin as “weaker,” even though the vampire is much more deadly when it can choose the time of engagement.

Stereotype: The Ahroun is the archetype of the werewolf as murderous beast, though they range from unapologetic berserkers to hardened veterans tempering their Rage with discipline. Their high levels of Rage put them on the edge at all times — the Full Moon’s blessing is a hair trigger, among other things. Those closer to the waxing moon tend to exult in the glory of the war, while those closer to the waning moon are more viciously pragmatic, ruthless in their bloodthirst. Every Ahroun is a dangerous individual to be around, but when the forces of the Wyrm attack, their packmates are glad to have a Full Moon warrior at the front of the charge.

Quote: No more running. No more surrender. Here we stand and here we fight. We do not walk to Gaia’s arms tonight - we will swim there, in a river of our enemy’s blood! Let them hear your howls and know true fear!

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