The image of the werewolf is inherently tied to that of a snarling, uncontrollable beast. Every Garou carries Rage in his heart. Unless he can control and channel that Rage, he can lose control and run amok.

Any Resolve + Composure roll can lead to a frenzy, even if it’s used to activate Gifts. All Resolve + Composure rolls represent an attempt to retain willpower while tapping into the primal beast that drives the Garou. If a Resolve + Composure roll scores 10 - Rage Rating or more successes, the character frenzies. The player can spend a Willpower point immediately to halt the frenzy, but her character can’t take any further actions that turn.

Garou who have permanent Rage ratings lower than four can still frenzy, but only under circumstances that touch on a particular psychological trigger: locking a claustrophobic werewolf in a confined space, or an arachnophobe coming face-to-mandible with one of the Ananasi werespiders. When a werewolf encounters that level of stress, his Rage can be temporarily raised by the Storyteller in regards to resisting frenzy or lashing out (stress does not always result in benefits to the Garou, so the benefits of a higher Rage, such as higher Gnosis Pool and the ability to spend more Gnosis per turn, are not awarded with a raised Rage due to stress). Use the higher of the two ratings when determining if a number of successes on a Resolve + Composure roll might result in the Garou’s frenzying.

Werewolves frenzy in two ways:

Berserk Frenzy: The werewolf can only see moving targets — targets she wants to reduce to bloody lumps of mangled meat. A berserk Garou shifts immediately to either Crinos or Hispo form (the player decides which), and attacks something.

Whom she attacks depends on the circumstances. If the Garou’s Rage does not exceed those of her packmates around her, she will not tear into them - unless she’s in the Thrall of the Wyrm. Anything else is fair game, including other were-creatures who are not members of her pack.

A Garou whose Rage exceeds the Rage of others in her pack, he attacks anything that moves. He can’t distinguish between targets unless his player spends a Willpower point, in which case he can select his victim. If he doesn’t have the Willpower to spare, the Storyteller chooses who he attacks. Werewolves in this state don’t remember what happens to them during frenzy. Many collapse once the frenzy is over.

Fox Frenzy: The werewolf does everything in his power to escape. He takes his Lupus form and runs. The only time he attacks is when something gets in his way, and only for long enough to get past his opponent. The character runs until he can find a safe hiding place, where he will remain until the frenzy passes.

Whether in berserk or fox frenzy, combat maneuvers and pack tactics require a level of thought and control that a frenzying werewolf does not have. He has three options: bite, claw, or run. He can spend Gnosis for extra actions, but can’t use Gifts, most Merits and Fighting Styles, or step side-ways. A frenzied werewolf does not feel pain, and ignores all wound penalties.

A werewolf can only come out of frenzy once the triggering situation is over. Once he’s escaped, the player rolls Resolve + Composure - the penalty levied by their Rage (see p. XX) to escape the frenzy. If the roll fails, the player can try again next turn with no decrease in penalty.

There are situations where an external source, such as a higher a werewolf with a higher Rage decides to exact his will on someone lower than himself, that might spurn an undesired frenzy, or a supernatural effect taunts the feral wolf inside into trying to lash out of control. In these cases, the Garou rolls Resolve + Composure - the penalty levied by their Rage (see p. XX), and must achieve a number of successes equal to their Rage or else fall into Frenzy.

Frenzy Rolls

At the Storyteller’s discretion, any of the following conditions may call for a Frenzy roll.

  • Embarrassment or humiliation (e.g. suffering a dramatic failure on an important roll)
  • Any strong emotion (lust, rage, envy)
  • Extreme hunger
  • Confinement
  • Helplessness
  • Being taunted by a superior enemy
  • Large quantities of silver in the area
  • Suffering an aggravated wound
  • Seeing a packmate or loved one wounded

The penalty for a Frenzy roll depends on the werewolf’s current Rage. Reduce the penalty by one if the moon phase matches the character’s auspice moon. A Garou in Crinos form also subtracts one from her penalty, though this isn’t cumulative with the modifier for her auspice moon.

Rage Rolls

Garou can, in the heat of the moment, tap into their Rage to bolster any die roll not already requiring Rage to activate. This can be to harness their Rage to strengthen an attack, invoke a primal rite, or even intimidate a foe or another member of the Sept into standing down. However, such is done at a risk. Any roll where Rage is used as a bonus has a possibility of throwing the Garou into frenzy. This is done one of two ways. If a Garou suffers a failure on any roll where Rage is used as a bonus, they will immediately test for frenzy, as noted above. If a Garou achieves more successes on the roll than she has Purity, she not only will test for frenzy, but given the strength invoked from the feral beast inside, she also tests for degradation as if she suffered a Purity 3 breaking point.

Wyrm Thrall

A werewolf’s Rage is not just the supernatural anger of Gaia, caught in the webs of a mad Weaver. It’s also a gate that the Wyrm can use to seize control of a Garou when she loses control.

When a player first enters frenzy, whether from rolling over 10 - Rage successes on a Resolve + Composure roll, or failing the achieve their Rage in successes on a Resolve + Composure roll to resist Frenzy, she immediately makes a roll as if to resist degradation, using the modifier dictated by her current Rage. If she fails, the character enters a berserk frenzy. All the Willpower in the world won’t give her a second’s control. The character is in the Thrall of the Wyrm. In addition to attacking anything that she can see, with the Storyteller picking her targets, the Thrall brings an even more horrific twist.

Each breed of Garou has an affinity to one of the heads of the Triatic Wyrm, and it is that facet that works through them in their worst frenzy.

Homid: Eater-of-Souls holds humans as its special children. This twisted favor extends to homid-breed Garou. This Wyrm drives its minions to eat humans, wolves, and even other Garou. A werewolf in this Thrall must roll Wits whenever she kills or incapacitates an opponent. If the roll is a failure, she must stop for a turn and eat her kill.

Metis: The Defiler Wyrm reserves special attention for those Garou who cannot breed themselves. It drives metis Garou to perform unspeakable sexual acts on their fallen opponents, regardless of their respective genders. If a werewolf kills or incapacitates an opponent, his player must roll Wits. If the roll fails, the werewolf stops for a turn and slakes his unholy lusts on his opponent’s corpse.

Lupus: Beast-of-War lays claim to the savage lupus Garou. It forces them to tear into their victims until nothing is left but bloody chunks of meat and bone. The Garou loses all sense of mercy, and exists only to destroy. When a lupus werewolf kills or incapacitates a foe when in the Thrall, her player must roll Wits. If the roll fails, the werewolf savages his opponent’s corpse until it is torn limb from limb.

The Thrall of the Wyrm is terrifying for any werewolf. While hardly glorious, falling to frenzy is a defense mechanism against pain, a brutal yet pure method of survival. A Wyrm-touched frenzy is nothing of the kind. It brings to light just how close the Garou come to the Wyrm. That’s an ugly truth that most Garou are entirely unprepared to face. Unable to live with what they’ve done, a number of werewolves end their lives after such a frenzy.