General Garou Merits

Ancestors (● - ●●●●●)

Prerequisites: Occult ●●

Ancestral memory in humans is no more than pseudoscientific nonsense. To the Garou, who can contact the spirits of their ancestors, it’s a fact of life. Many werewolves carry some of the memories of a distant ancestor; some even allow their forebears to take over their bodies.

Effect: Once per game session, the player of a Garou with this Merit may roll his Wits + Ancestors. Each success allows the character to increase any Skill by one for the purposes of a single dice pool, even if he has no dots in the Skill - and he doesn’t suffer the penalty for not having the Skill. For example, young Michel, a pure flatlander, must scale an immense cliff to come to the aid of his embattled pack. Michel has an Ancestors rating of 4 and Athletics 0. He calls on his forebears to guide him, and Michel’s player rolls his Wits + Ancestors. He scores three successes. Michel contacts his great-great-great granduncle Cragtamer, who guides him over the sheer face and over the top. Now the player has an effective Athletics rating of 3 to make his climbing roll. If the Garou had an Athletics rating of 2, then his effective dice pool would be 5. All effects last for the rest of the scene.

While it is more difficult to contact a specific ancestor, successful contact provides either useful advice or precognitive visions at the discretion of the Storyteller.

Suffering a Dramatic Failure on an Ancestors roll may indicate that the character becomes catatonic for the remainder of the scene as he’s overwhelmed by the memories of thousands of lives. Alternatively, the ancestral spirit refuses to relinquish the body. How long the ancestor stays depends on the Storyteller.

Berserker (●●)

Prerequisites: Auspice: Ahroun, Rage 2+

Effect: You are in total control of your Rage. You may enter frenzy at will, during which time you do not suffer any wound penalties; however, you must still make frenzy tests when the need arises, though you can add the ranks in this Merit when resisting frenzy.

Fetish (● - ●●●●●)

Effect: You possess a fetish - a physical object into which a werewolf has bound a spirit. The spirit grants a number of powers to a fetish, so they are very significant to the Garou. Such things are valuable, and other Garou (or other supernatural beings) may covet them. A number of sample fetishes are presented on p. XX.

Your character may begin play with a number of fetishes whose total Level is equal to the number of dots you possess in this Merit. This Merit also adds to any rolls used to activate a fetish.

Mixed-Morph (● or ●●●●●)

Prerequisite: Rage 3+

You find the art of partial transformation (see p. XX) relatively easy, and when you make the required Dexterity + Survival, it is no longer resisted by your Rage, and you do not have to spend the Willpower point in order to attempt partial transformation. The five-point version of this Merit allows the player to achieve an Exceptional Success at 3 successes instead of 5 successes.

Numen (● - ●●●●)

To offer a child protection in a harsh and unforgiving world, many native peoples bind a spirit to a newborn child, so that the two may both protect each other. Whether or not this works for humans, it certainly works for the Garou who adopt the practice. At birth, the Garou parent of the child (the Black Furies have a Crone enact the ritual instead) calls a spirit to the newborn and offers it the security of a Garou’s protection in exchange for its service. Usually, this spirit also acts as the Kin-Fetch. Since a parent’s love is not necessarily limited to Garou alone, Kinfolk may also possess this Background.

When taking this background, players should specify what type of spirit accompanies them, both as a specific type (such as Pattern Spider or fire elemental) and if it qualifies as a spirit of Glory, Honor or Wisdom. By spending one point of Gnosis, the Garou can draw upon his friend’s strength, adding his Numen rating to a single Physical (Glory), Social (Honor), or Mental (Wisdom), roll. Alternatively, the spirit may lend the Garou the use of a Numen it possesses for a single use.

In addition to this, the spirit may act as a straightforward ally and aide, and a Garou with a Numen of the same type may instinctively feel a kinship. Maltreatment or neglect may weaken the bond between a Garou and their Numen. Storytellers can represent this by denying the player the ability to obtain extra dice. In addition, the spirit is a real, living spirit that can be hurt and killed. The Merit rating determines how large the bound spirit is.

Lesser Gaffling
•• Greater Gaffling
••• Lesser Jaggling
•••• Greater Jaggling

Pack Totem (●+)

Effect: Pack Totem is a Merit that applies directly to the character’s pack, rather than the individual. Unlike other pooled Merits, the pack spends all of the points that members have invested in this Merit to determine their totem’s power.

Each totem has a Totem Point rating; the pack must spend that amount to ally with that totem. Some totems are willing to lend great powers to their adherents; their point costs are correspondingly greater. See Totems (p. XX) for a list of possible totems. In addition to their Totem bonuses, all beginning totems have a base of ten points to divide among Power, Finesse, and Resistance. Apart from bestowing power, totems start out somewhat aloof from the pack, and they have little influence among spirits, unless the players buy a closer connection with Background points. With time, roleplaying, and experience points, pack totems can grow in power as their pack grows in Rank and influence. Some totems can even become the totems of whole septs or — in legendary circumstances — even tribes.

Most of the powers that totems bestow are available to only one pack member at a time. At the end of each turn, the Garou with the power declares who the power may be given to next turn (assuming that she doesn’t keep it). After spending the initial cost of the totem, the players can spend any remaining Merit points to add to the totem’s strength and abilities.

Personal Totem (●+)

Unlike the Pack Totem Merit, which focuses solely on a character’s pack, the Personal Totem Merit applies directly to the individual, not the pack. Because of the rough and tenuous relationship the Garou needs to maintain with her patron spirit, this Merit is the only Garou Merit that is purchased at 2 Experiences per dot.

The Personal Totem Merit, other than a difference in Experience cost, operates the exact same way as Pack Totem, including pulling from the same list of Totems (see p. XX)

Personal Totems

Some werewolves seek out a personal totem, pledging themselves to service of their totem above all others. This is certainly possible, though not common among the Garou — to take a personal totem indicates that a werewolf values his relationship with the spirit as greater than the relationship he could get with a pack.

An individual werewolf can have a personal totem by taking the Personal Totem Merit at a level enough to pay the Totem Point cost of the totem. The character can have more than five dots in either rof the Totem Merits at character creation (through spending experience points) to achieve this. If she increases her level in the Personal Totem Merit above the Totem Point cost with experience points, her personal totem increases in power as noted below.

Taking a personal totem has downsides. If the character joins another pack, he doesn’t get any benefits of that pack’s totem unless he relinquishes his connection to his personal totem. Until then, he’s never really part of the pack in a way that the other members are: any Gifts or rites that affect the pack do not include the character, and he cannot be a part of any pack tactics. For many werewolves who take a personal totem, that doesn’t matter — whether eking out a solitary existence on the streets or teaming up with other denizens of the World of Darkness, a personal totem allows them to feel a little bit more like part of a pack.

Pillar (● - ●●●●●)

Effect: Your character has multiple Pillars. Each dot in the Pillar Merit allows for an additional Pillar. Look to the Pillar chart for which Purity dot each new Pillar is applied to. For more on Pillars, see. P. XX.

Drawback: Losing attachment with Pillars will speed the loss of Purity. As well, if your character’s last Pillar dies or is destroyed, your character will feel the touch of the Wyrm rise, increasing the chance of Wyrm Thrall when tempted into frenzy.

Multiple Pillars
Pillar Merit Associated Purity
0 dots 6
•• 4
••• 3
•••• 2
••••• 1

Pure Breed (● - ●●●●●)

Effect: Garou take great stock in ancestry, and the werewolf who is descended from renowned forbears has a definite advantage in Garou society. This Background represents your lineage, markings, bearing and other features of birth. Other Garou revere werewolves with high ranks in Pure Breed as heroes of yore come to life — and such werewolves are expected to act the part. The higher your Pure Breed score is, the more likely you are to impress elder councils or receive hospitality from foreign tribes. Each point of Pure Breed adds an extra die to formal challenges (such as Rank challenges) and to Social rolls involving other Garou (even Ronin or Black Spiral Dancers).

Pure Breed is a nebulous combination of bloodline and spiritual inheritance. A character with high Pure Breed looks and carries himself like an archetypal member of his tribe — however, if he does not join that tribe, any benefits of Pure Breed are removed by the tribe’s totem. Many werewolves with Pure Breed can trace their ancestry directly, while others resemble distant ancestors who cannot be connected without a degree of genealogical exactitude that is lost to the Garou.

Some tribes place more value on good breeding than others, but Pure Breed is almost universally respected. It’s a mystical trait, and werewolves can tell instinctively whose blood is particularly pure. Of course, Garou expect those of pure blood to live up to the standards set by their noble ancestors. They frown on those who can’t or won’t accept the challenge.

Rituals (● - ●●●●●)

Presumably your character’s early days after the First Change are spent near or with a ritemaster, or he spends time learning how to strike pacts with spirits through rote performances and services. Through such circumstances, this Merit indicates the level of connection your character has with the spirits, both through connection as well as through sheer spiritual power.

Each level of this Merit allows the Garou access to certain rituals that can be performed, though it is not the only prerequisite; some spirits require more than just simple spiritual power and social finesse to gain access to some of the more powerful rituals that tap into a spirit’s power.

However, each level of Rituals does not grant the character an automatic ritual; knowing the basics of how to cast rituals does not a ritemaster make. Each Rite must be purchased independently from the levels of Rituals, but do not have to be purchased in any specific order; the only other requirement for these rituals are the levels of specific Renown you must have, or in some cases, be of the specific auspice or rank required. Your character can know as many rites as you like, provided you have the required experience to spend. He cannot, however, know rites with a dot rating that exceeds his Rituals rating. So, with Rituals •, he cannot know any two-dot through five-dot rites.

If your character does not acquire the Rituals Merit at character creation, it can be purchased during the course of the chronicle. With more dots in the Rituals Merit, your character can learn rites of increasing power. However, a character may only begin play with a maximum of one dot of Rituals.

Spirit Heritage (● - ●●●●●)

Effect: The Garou are creatures of duality - torn between man and wolf, and between flesh and spirit. The Garou share a kinship with inhabitants of the spirit world, but some have a stronger connection than others. For some reason, perhaps an ancestral tie to a household of spirits, certain types of spirits react more positively to you than others. This doesn’t need to be a friendly relationship - spirits may be fearful and respectful of you, in awe of you, or feel a sense of duty to you. No matter what the relationship, one group of spirits is more likely to cooperate with you.

When you select this background, choose one type of spirit. Examples of possible groups are animal spirits, plant spirits, elementals, urban spirits, and even Banes. When dealing with spirits of this type, the player may add his Spirit Heritage rating to any Social rolls, or rolls involved in challenges. Spirits whom you are attuned to view you, to some degree, as one of their own - a daunting prospect for those attuned to Banes, when other Garou discover their heritage. If you act against such spirits or ignore their plights, you may be seen as betraying them.

Territory (●● or ●●●●)

Effect: The Garou has established a territory for himself (or possibly in conjunction with other Talons or wolves). The territory is defined by scent marks recognized by other creatures (though not humans). With the two-dot Merit, the character knows the area intimately and can tell, upon traveling there, whether any others have crossed the boundaries. Inside the territory the Garou can hunt more easily and has an intimate knowledge of all the prey there. Other Garou will not willingly enter the Garou’s territory unless they seek to provoke him. With the four-dot Merit, the Garou’s connection to the territory is mystical, allowing them to supernaturally sense when intruders pass into the territory, even when the Garou is not physically there.

Touched (● - ●●●●●)

Each living creature possesses a touch of each of the Triat to varying degrees, but those with this Merit (or rather, one of these three Merits) possess more than their fair share of one. Perhaps some spirit took a particular interest in them sometime in life, maybe they were born where one force was very strong, or maybe it’s simply inexplicable. Never are these situations entirely healthy; Gaia orders creation wisely and those that break her rules suffer.

Weaver-Touched: Those touched by the Weaver tend toward very small successes or failures. For each point in this Merit a werewolf has, he must deduct one success from every roll he makes, down to a minimum of one success (resulting in a simple success). However, he may ignore a number of Dramatic Failures equal to the number of points in this Merit that he possesses.

Wyld-Touched: A Wyld Touched, conversely, tends to extremes. Should she roll a success, she may add one success for every point in this Merit, but should she fail, it is automatically a Dramatic Failure. In these two cases, a Willpower point will negate all effects of the Merit . The Willpower point may be spent after the roll is made to either restore lost successes or negate a Dramatic Failure.

Wyrm-Touched: A Garou touched by the Wyrm gains a figurative devil on his shoulder, with no angel to balance it. Once per chapter, he may make a Resolve + Composure + Rage roll; each success will add one success to his next roll. However, for every Failure rolled, he loses two points of Gnosis, and his Gnosis Pool is reduced by two. Should his permanent Gnosis ever reach zero, the character is lost to the Wyrm and becomes an NPC controlled by the Storyteller immediately. Those dealing with the devil risk the fires of Hell.

Sense Weaver and Sense Wyrm will detect those with the Weaver-Touched or Wyld-Touched Merits respectively. You may only ever be Touched by one member of the Triat.

In addition to the above effects, you exhibit some personality quirks associated with the Wyld, Weaver or Wyrm, such as excitability, cool detachment or morbid humor.
•• Your personality is warped by your exposure, occasionally to the point of incoherence. Wyld touched may insert inexplicable words into their sentences, Weaver touched sometimes boil down their sentences into the minimal possible words, and Wyrm touched commit acts of cruelty (verbal or physical,) for reasons even they do not understand. Depending on the circumstances, the Storyteller may impose Social penalties.
••• Your attachment has begun to impose itself physically on you, creating lopsided features (Wyld), perfectly symmetrical features (Weaver), or a slightly unnatural physical malformation (Wyrm). In most circumstances, you suffer a -1 penalty in social situations.
•••• You have been physically shaped by a member of the Triat, Wyld-Touched suffer visible spasms, joints occasionally lock up among those of the Weaver, the Wyrm’s suffer constant, low pain throughout their body. You suffer a -1 penalty to both social and physical rolls.
••••• One member of the Triat has practically made you their avatar. You suffer all the effects above, and radiate the effect of the Triat around you. For example, plants you touch grow uncontrollably (Wyld), never grow again (Weaver), or rot instantly (Wyrm). Storytellers are encouraged to create other effects.

Wolf Sight (●)

In all your forms, you see colors and intensities of light as a wolf does. Your color vision is slightly less distinct than that of humans, though you embrace the full spectrum of colors. Your night vision, however, far surpasses human nocturnal vision. You also notice movement more readily. You gain your Rage as a bonus to all visually-based perception rolls that involve movement or take place at night.

Fair Glabro (●●)

You have a Glabro form that can pass for human, though it’s still larger than normal people. You have no penalties to Social Attributes in Glabro form, and your Glabro form does not induce Partial Delirium.

Lack of Scent (●●)

You either have no scent at all or only a very faint odor. Any humans, animals, or Garou who attempt to track you by scent suffer a -2 penalty to do so. You may find it difficult to deal with lupus Garou or wolves, as they tend to mistrust your lack of a “natural” scent.

Metamorph (●●●●● ●●)

Shapechanging for you is as easy as breathing. You do not need to roll to change forms, nor is it necessary to spend a Gnosis point for an instantaneous shift. You make your changes as if you scored five successes on your roll to shift forms. If you lose consciousness from wounds or for some other reason, you may roll Wits + Survival to choose which form you assume rather than reverting to breed form. Available only at character creation.

Jack-Of-All-Trades (●●●)

You have a little knowledge about a lot of things. If making a roll on a Skill you do not possess dots in, you do not suffer the usual Untrained penalty to the roll. Only homid or metis characters may take this Merit.

Spirit Magnet (●●)

You naturally attract the attention of the spirits whenever you cross the Gauntlet into the Umbra. Most of the time, the Umbral inhabitants are simply curious, gathering around you to see who you are and what you’re doing in their “neck of the woods.” Occasionally you attract more than you bargained for - Banes are also likely to come calling. None of the spirits who collect in your vicinity are under your command unless you use a Gift that allows you to command them or influence them in some way.

Immune to Wyrm Emanations (●●●●● ●)

Gaia has blessed you with a powerful resistance to the poisons of the Wyrm. Although you still take damage from balefire, supernaturally-caused radiation, Wyrm elementals, or other forms of Wyrm toxins, you do not suffer any dice pool penalties from them. Banes cannot possess you, and you cannot take on any Taints from external sources; you may still manifest Taints due to degradation, however (see p. XX). Available only at character creation.

Silver Tolerance (●●●●● ●●)

You are blessed with an extremely unusual tolerance toward silver. You retain any Armor Rating you may have when attacked by silver, and damage from silver weapons is no longer aggravated. Available only at character creation.

Physically Impressive (●●)

You appear dangerous both in outward demeanor and in physical bearing, and exude a confidence that impresses opponents. Add two die to all Social rolls that involve intimidation.