Character Creation

The act of character creation has two main parts — creating the narrative gist of a persona and defining his capabilities in a rules sense — both of which fuel one another. You might find that a character concept leads you to select some interesting traits that you hadn’t previously considered, making your character more fleshed out as an individual. A number of dots in a trait may lead you to consider something about his personality, thus developing the narrative side of your character.

Don’t be too concerned about creating a character who can “win” in various situations, be it combat, social situations or stealth — that isn’t the object of the game. Your character is a werewolf, so he’s fully capable of taking care of himself. If you worry that he doesn’t seem like a brawler, don’t worry about rationalizing a way to add dots of Brawl to your character sheet. There’s plenty of time in the chronicle for him to learn self-defense, and it could turn out to be more fun to roleplay the experience.

Ideally, you should work with both your Storyteller and your fellow players during character creation to make sure your creation gets along reasonably well with the others and that everyone has plenty to do in the chronicle. One of Werewolf’s strengths is the sheer rush of enjoyment that comes from playing a pack rather than a collection of individuals. When you know that you can count on your friends to pull together when a threat arises, and to share entertaining roleplaying, you enjoy the game all the more.

Step One: Character Concept

At this first stage, come up with a rough idea of who you want to play. Who was she before her First Change? What kind of werewolf is she? Don’t worry too much about things like tribe or auspice at this step. Instead, try to filter down the idea of your character into a single statement. “Scorned police officer with a grudge” is a concept. “Performance artist” could be another. It doesn’t need to be complex, just a solid, archetypical idea. Think of how you’d describe your favorite character from a book or movie to a friend if you only had a couple of seconds to do it. That’s a concept.

As you go through the process of character creation, if ever you run into hurdles or hard choices, you can always go back to your concept, and take the path that fits closer. For our example above, if you’re hard-pressed for Merit choices, you might take Professional Training (Cop), Police Tactics, Quick Draw or Trained Observer. Those all evoke the feeling set forth by the concept.

As well, choose three Aspirations. When choosing your character’s Aspirations, choose one or two that reflect her Garou existence. Does she want to become the alpha of the Sept? Does he want to find a fetish of legend? As well, choose at least one Aspiration pertaining to his associations within the mortal world. Does he have a mortal child he’s trying to keep safe and away? Does she have a career that she desires above all else to improve and rise in?

Aspirations are one of the most important ways you can earn Beats and Experience, which advance your character. More importantly, they’re clear statements to your Storyteller about the types of things you wish to see happen to your character. It’s important the Storyteller takes note of all the troupe’s Aspirations. This way, she can add hooks in the chronicle to touch on something for everyone.

Also, starting Aspirations are a great way to establish pack relationships. For example, if a pack consists of two Silver Fangs, one may have the Aspiration, “Become a member of the Ivory Priesthood,” and another might have “Root out and punish members of the Renewalists.” This helps put your pack dynamics into a loose perspective, and can help chronicle momentum start strong.

Lastly, Aspirations make for great fodder for quick and easy goals. Don’t be afraid to take at least one Aspiration without immense challenge or risk. For example, “Declare your personal territory” isn’t an unreasonable goal, and it gives you something to do during the first session if you’re struggling to find a place for your character. Look at easy Aspirations as story hooks. In play, try to involve the other players’ characters in accomplishing them.

If you’re struggling with Aspirations, revisit this stage once you’ve fleshed out the character some more. Often, one part of the character creation process will stand out for a given character. These stand-out parts will help you determine goals.

Step Two: Select Attributes

Now, we step into the most basic traits that define your character’s capability. Attributes tell us how strong, how smart, how charismatic she is. Look to the three categories (Mental, Physical, Social), and prioritize which you think is most important for your character. Then, determine which is second most. When selecting Attributes, consider your character’s life before the First Change. What did she do for a living? What hobbies did he have that he thoroughly enjoyed? For characters beginning at Cliath rank or higher, how did his Den Mother treat him and train him when going through his training as a cub? What was a defining moment during her Rite of Passage?

In your primary category, place five dots and split them between the Attributes. In your secondary, place four. In your tertiary, place three.

As you’ll see on the character sheet, your character gets one free dot in each Attribute. A single dot represents a deficient Attribute, something below average. Two dots represents the average human ability. Three dots is above average, highly competent. Four dots is a remarkable specimen, a rarity. Five dots is the pinnacle of human capability.

Step Three: Select Skills

Next, you’ll select your character’s Skills. These have the same categories: Mental, Physical, and Social. Similarly, you’ll priorities these three categories. Skills do not receive free dots. Your primary category gets eleven dots, your secondary seven, and your tertiary gets four.

When choosing skills, think about your character’s background. Does your police officer have three dots of Socialize because he’s been frequently invited to events such as a Policeman’s Ball? Does your philanthropist have two dots in Empathy because she’s regularly spent time working with under-privileged children?

Step Four: Skill Specialties

Skill dots represent training and experience with a broad range of techniques and procedures. Skill Specialties allow you to refine a few Skills, and show where your character truly shines. You define your own Skill Specialties. They reflect a narrow focus and expertise in a given Skill. for example, your character may have an Empathy Specialty in Body Language, or a Science Specialty in Genetics.

Choose three Specialties. Again, use this as an opportunity to better understand who your character is, and who she was prior to her First Change. A character with Intimidation: Interrogation is wildly different than one with Intimidation: Physical. Academics: History says something completely different from Academics: Medical Protocols.

In play, players will tend to solve problems with the Skills their characters are Specialized in. The Storyteller should expect this and work with it.

Step Five: Add Garou Template

We have the mortal shell. Now, we add the tooth and claw.

Breed

A character’s breed is the “form” of her birth. This cannot change once play starts, but your character may begin to delve into learning more about the nature and forms of other breeds. Look over the three breeds; the Homid, Metis, and Lupus, starting on p. XX.

Breed is more archetype than personality. While the advantages and drawbacks of the three breeds may influence behavior, the type of Garou your character ends up being can be molded by many different things. There’s something to be said for playing into stereotypes, but challenging established norms can be very fulfilling.

Your choice of breed determines your beginning Purity, and grants advantages and disadvantages based on their upbringing. Homids begin with a lower Purity based on their upbringing, and naivety of the world corrupted by the Wyrm, while Lupus, normally living life within the unsullied forests, untouched by the corruption of the Wyrm or organization of the Weaver.

Breed Beginning Purity
Homid 6
Metis 7
Lupus 8
Auspice

Auspices are the roles that the Garou take within the Nation. While your character’s Den Mother can influence her behavior and personality within the Nation, the phase of the moon under which you were born will ultimately determine her role, or Auspice. All characters begin play with an Auspice, though this may change, such as through Rite of Renunciation, if their behavior far overpowers the role they were given by Luna.

Your choice of auspice not only determines the role you play in the Nation, but also some of the Gifts with which the spirits have given you affinity to. As well, every auspice has a type of Renown with which their role is naturally in tune with.

Ragabash: The tricksters, born under the new moon, are aligned with Cunning.
Theurge: The shamans, born to the crescent moon, are in touch with Wisdom.
Philodox: The judges, born in the light of the half moon, have an affinity to Honor.
Galliard: The talesingers, born under the gibbous moon, have a connection with Vigilance.
Ahroun: The warriors, burn under the full moon, have a strong affinity to Glory.

Tribe

The character’s tribe provides the Garou “family” that your character has to raise and mentor her. But the tribe also, in some ways, sets the part in social hierarchy your character works from within. Once indoctrinated, during the Rite of Passage, you are thrown into a deep and complicated political structure, with some tribes viewed as higher and more grand than others. A character of the Bone Gnawer tribe is viewed as the lowest of all, while the Silver Fangs are regarded as the leaders of the Nation as a whole.

A characters tribe determines not only the other Gifts the spirits have granted your tribe, but also another potential Renown with which you have affinity for. However, despite the Gifts the spirits have granted your tribe, there’s a drawback; your tribe is each afflicted with a weakness, a sore spot that has passed down through the blood of your lineage. To offset this, each tribe has a set of Merits with which exemplify the traditional upbringing of a member of your tribe.

Tribe Renown Favored Merits
Black Furies Vigilance Retainers (in the form of Kinfolk), Pack Totem, Mentor
Bone Gnawers Cunning Barfly, Common Sense, Territory
Children of Gaia Vigilance Sympathetic, Holistic Awareness, Ancestors
Fianna Honor Fetish, Ancestors, Area of Expertise (in an Expression or Brawl Skill Specialty)
Get of Fenris Glory Any Fighting style Merit
Glass Walkers Wisdom Resources, Professional Training, Allies
Red Talons Glory Territory, Demolisher, Hardy
Shadow Lords Cunning Fixer, Pusher, Pure Breed
Silent Striders Wisdom Fleet of Foot, Fast Reflexes, Rituals
Silver Fangs Honor Ancestors, Status, Pure Breed
Stargazers Wisdom Meditative Mind, Personal Totem, Parkour
Uktena Cunning Anonymity, Fetish, Rituals
Wendigo Vigilance Iron Stamina, Territory, Berserker
Mortal and Mythic

Choose a Mortal and Mythic for your character. Whereas a mortal character has a Virtue and a Vice, Garou characters have Mortals and Mythics.

Garou wear Mortals in public. A Mortal is the persona she shows the flock. The Mortal is the human face, the identity that keeps her walking among those she protects as an insider, even though she’s much more than that. It reflects how she deals with and lives in human society.

The Mythic is the beast that dwells within, and when dealing with other Garou. A Mythic is the feral, snarling beast, the spiritual side to which she clings to. It’s the grounding point to which she always returns. When she walks through the heart of a caern, and works within her tribe or auspice, she presents her Mythic.

For each of these traits, choose an archetype. This is a simple statement of identity. Below, we’ve provided a sample list you can choose from, or you may craft your own. As well, you can mine the sample Professions on p. 164 of The God-Machine Chronicle for potential archetypes.

You can find more on Mortals and Mythics on p. XX.

Mortal and Mythic Archetypes

  • Architect
  • Benefactor
  • Bon Vivant
  • Bureaucrat
  • Caregiver
  • Cavalier
  • Confidant
  • Deviant
  • Follower
  • Gallant
  • Guardian
  • Jester
  • Judge
  • Lone Wolf
  • Manipulator
  • Martyr
  • Optimist
  • Penitent
  • Praise-Seeker
  • Predator
  • Rebel
  • Recognition Seeker
  • Renunciate
  • Survivor
  • Traditionalist
  • Visionary
  • Poltroon
  • Soldier
Pillar

Your character’s Pillar is a person, place, or thing that reminds her of her origins, and helps keep her grounded. You’ll need to name a Pillar, and write it next to your sixth Purity dot. See p. XX for more on Pillars. If you choose to take the Pillar Merit, you may start with additional Pillars at lower levels of Purity.

Gifts

After a werewolf’s First Change, and through their training prior to their Rite of Passage, other werewolves summon up spirits and coerce them into teaching the new Cub Gifts, supernatural tools to take care of himself and his pack.

A character begins play with three dots of Gifts. One of them is chosen from the lists associated with his Auspice (listed in the Auspice section), one from the lists associated with his Tribe (listed in the Tribe section), and one chosen from either of the Auspice or Tribe Gifts. For example, a Metis Get of Fenris Philodox has a choice of beginning play with a dot in Eyes of Gaia, Feral World, or Shapeshift Lists (due to Auspice), one dot in Control the Battlefield, Savagery, or Pulse of the Pack Gift Lists (due to Tribe), and one dot in any of the Lists (at the player’s choice). This third dot can be added to any Gift List that already has a dot in it.

Rage

Your character’s connection to his ancestral roots, to the world around him and to the spirit world, is measured by his Rage. It suggests how far he is able to transcend a mundane understanding of reality and perceive other possibilities and realms. Characters with high Rage are in touch with the spirit world and the ephemeral, perceiving things that other werewolves cannot. They master their Gnosis, are able to invoke various Gifts and perform impressive supernatural feats. Characters with low Rage have little connection to other worlds and senses, or have yet to hone that awareness, focusing primarily on the material. They have little facility with Gnosis, are able to perform only limited Gifts and must rely on the capabilities of their bodies.

All starting werewolf characters receive the Rage advantage at one dot for free. Rage can be increased with Merit-dot expenditure at a rate of five to one at character creation. That is, a player may spend five of his character’s seven Merit dots for Rage 2 or spend ten of his character’s ten Merit dots for Rage 3. Rage is described on p. XX.

Renown

After undergoing the First Change, a werewolf transcends his former, mundane life as his true birthright manifests. As a rare and blessed being, a werewolf automatically gains a degree of recognition among fellow werewolves and the spirits they venerate. As a Cub, this grants the Garou the ability to begin earning Renown, and as they reach the first full rank, Cliath, they receive 3 dots of Renown among the five traits – Cunning, Glory, Honor, Vigilance and Wisdom. One of these traits is determined by your character’s auspice (see p. XX). Another is determined by his tribe (see p. XX).

Your third dot can be allocated to any of the five Renown types as you please.

Note that it is possible to choose an auspice and tribe for your character that both have the same beginning Renown, such as a Child of Gaia Galliard (both of which allocate one dot to the Vigilance Renown). As a result, your character starts play with two dots in a single trait.

The various kinds of Renown are explained on p. XX.

Step Six: Merits

Choose ten dots’ worth of Merits. Garou may also possess any of the Merits from The God-Machine Chronicle, except for those on the Supernatural Merits list, and both Vice-Ridden and Virtuous (since Garou do not have Virtue and Vice traits). As well, we’ve provided a list of Garou-specific Merits on p. XX.

Step Seven: Determine Advantages

Use the following rules to generate Advantages.

Willpower

Willpower is essential to survival for the Garou. It keeps the werewolf in control of their Rage, and can fuel certain Rites or Gifts. A werewolf’s Willpower score is equal to her Resolve + Composure dots.

Purity

A Garou’s Purity score represents his cleanliness, his attachment to the Wyld and to Gaia. Purity begins at seven dots.

Others

A werewolf’s Defense score is equal to the least of her Wits or Dexterity Attributes, with her Athletics Skill added. Size is 5. Health is equal to your character’s Size + Stamina. Speed is Size + Strength + Dexterity.

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