Shapechanging

Beneath the skin lie many beasts. For the Garou, those beasts externalize themselves as the five forms of wolf-kind: the human guise, the primal beast-man, the war-wolf, the dire form, and the true wolf. Any Garou, regardless of her breed, can assume these five forms. In game terms, it merely takes a roll of the unmodified Stamina + Survival + Rage (meaning, no bonuses or negatives to Stamina from the current form, use the “Homid” stats) and a few successes in order to make physics and biology run screaming into the night.

Transforming from one shape to another requires one success for each form your character goes through in the process. Going from Homid to Crinos, for example, takes two successes (one for Glabro, one for Crinos), while going from full human to full wolf takes four successes. Each form your character goes through is an Instant Action, so going from Homid to Crinos would take 2 turns in combat (2 successive Instant Actions), where going from Homid to Lupus forms requires 4 turns (4 Instant actions); nothing else can happen in these turns except for the effort of Shapeshifting. If an Exceptional Success is achieved on the shifting roll, the shift to the desired form is done as a Reflexive action. You can also spend a point of Gnosis to change as a Reflexive action automatically, and any Garou can shift back to her breed form as a Reflexive action as well. In neither case do you need to make a roll - your werewolf taps into the deepest reserves of her nature to transform.

Unless they’ve been protected with the Rite of Talisman Dedication, clothes tend to be shredded and possessions, discarded in the course of transformation. A Glabro or Crinos werewolf can certainly hang onto hand-held goodies as she shifts, but jewelry, wallets, and so forth have a nasty habit of getting left behind.

While certain forms inflict Partial or Full Delirium on mortals, the act of shapeshifting when in the presence of them always inflicts Full Delirium, even if going from one form that does not inflict Delirium to another.

Forms

Homid: The Human

Statistics Adjustment: None

Size: 5’ - 6 ½’ tall, 100 - 250 lbs. (Size 5)

Delirium: None

Form Description: Essentially a human being, the Homid form allows Garou to move through man’s world more or less unseen. Metis and lupus Garou still possess their regenerative abilities and their vulnerability to silver in this form, while homid Garou do not; for them, silver feels uncomfortable, and wounds heal with surprising quickness, but the obviously uncanny effects remain absent. Aside from possible scars or body art, a Homid-form werewolf appears to be a typical person. Even so, this thin disguise still betrays the predatory Beast underneath if you dare to look close enough (see The Curse, p. XX).

Glabro: The Near-Human

Statistics Adjustment: Strength +2, Stamina +2, Manipulation –2, Presence –1 (does not affect Intimidation rolls)

Size: 5 ½’ - 7 ½’ tall, 200 - 400 lbs. (Size 6)

Damage: 2B Damage (fists), 1B (teeth)

Delirium: Partial

Form Description: In this bestial throwback form, the werewolf looks like an unusually tall, feral, muscular person. A Garou shifting into Glabro essentially doubles (or perhaps triples) his body weight and adds between six inches to a foot onto his normal height. Clothes strain and tear, but do not shred… yet. His teeth and nails thicken and sharpen, and while they’re not especially powerful, they add to the werewolf’s intimidating presence. Hair grows; brows slope; the werewolf’s posture hunches with predatory intent. A Glabro werewolf can speak, but not well. Even soft words sound guttural and harsh.

The dice-pool penalties to Presence and Manipulation do not affect spirits or other Garou, just humans and similar entities (vampires, mages, changelings, etc.), and does not affect rolls for Intimidation with any creature.

Crinos: The War-Wolf

Statistics Adjustment: Strength +4, Dexterity + 1, Stamina +3, Manipulation –3, Presence 0 (does not affect Intimidation rolls)

Size: 8’ - 10’ tall, 400 - 850 lbs. (Size 7)

Damage: 1L with Armor Piercing 1 (claws), 1L (teeth)

Armor: 1/0 (natural)

Delirium: Full

Form Description: This living embodiment of Rage combines the most terrible elements of man and wolf. Towering roughly nine feet tall, the slavering Crinos monster features a wolf-like head gigantic fangs and horrific claws; long, powerful arms; thick skin and bones; heavy fur; and a large wolf-tail for balance and body language. Its awful mouth can barely speak human words, though it can bay and howl with deafening eloquence. Though a Crinos werewolf can speak the Garou tongue, its surging Rage reduces most sentiments to kill, Kill, and KILL!

Werewolf fur usually favors the striped or mottled markings of normal wolves, combined with the hair color (and sometimes even style) of a Garou’s Homid form. Tribal identity is most obvious in Crinos form, where the features, fur color and body language often reveal the differences between a Bone Gnawer, a Silver Fang, a Black Fury, and a Wendigo. Many Garou decorate themselves with dedicated jewelry and other markings that symbolize their tribal pride. Like the Glabro form, penalties to Presence and Manipulation do not affect spirits or other Garou, just humans and similar entities, and does not affect rolls for Intimidation against any creature. Crinos is not a form for casual contact. Even the metis, who are born in this shape, bristle with murderous fury when this war-wolf manifests.

Hispo: The Dire Wolf

Statistics Adjustment: Strength +3, Dexterity +2, Stamina+3, Manipulation –3

Size: 4’ - 6’ at the shoulder, 350 - 800 lbs. (Size 6)

Damage: 1L with Armor Piercing 1 (teeth), 1L (claws)

Delirium: Partial

Form Description: The primal nightmare of ancient man, a Hispo werewolf recalls the titanic dire wolves that ran wild in the Impergium. Only slightly smaller than Crinos-form Garou, the Hispo shape boasts extra-large teeth for additional biting damage. While it can stand briefly on two legs, this form is essentially a four-legged beast. Although it has no hands and cannot speak (save a few words in the Garou tongue), the primal wolf has keen senses and amazing speed. In game terms, a Hispo Garou gains a +1 bonus on perception rolls (normally Wits + Composure), and requires the character to spend a Willpower point to speak a word or two of vaguely-comprehendible human speech. Tribal identity may still be obvious in this form, if only from facial features, stance, and the color-patterns of the werewolf’s fur.

Lupus: The Wolf

Statistics Adjustment: Strength +1, Dexterity +2, Stamina +2, Manipulation –3

Size: 2’ - 3’ at the shoulder, 60 - 150 lbs. (Size 4)

Damage: 1L (teeth and claws)

Delirium: None

Form Description: To all appearances a large normal wolf, the Lupus form enjoys sharp senses, great speed and endurance, and the ability to slip through the wilderness more or less unseen. Some Garou (especially among the Bone Gnawer tribe) appear more dog-like than wolf-like in this form — a trait other werewolves despise, although it comes in handy when blending in with man’s world.

In game terms, a Lupus-form Garou can bite with teeth and swipe with claws for lethal damage. Lupus-breed werewolves inflict only lethal damage with either attack in this shape, and cannot employ their mystic healing powers in Lupus form. Perception-based difficulties, though, are reduced by two, and the wolf-form can run at twice the character’s normal human speed. Although it can speak a garbled form of the Garou tongue, this form communicates almost totally through body language and typical wolf vocalizations. The werewolf’s tribal identity might seem obvious in the wolf’s facial features, posture and fur; all other decorations, however, disappear unless they’ve been strapped, pierced, or tattooed on the wolf itself.

Partial Shifting

With sufficient control over shapeshifting, a Garou can even transform only part of her body: grow Crinos talons in human form, or turn forepaws into hands. Partial transformation requires the expenditure of a Willpower point and success on an unmodified Dexterity + Survival – Rage roll (again, no penalty or negative to Dexterity from current form, use “Homid” stats for the roll); the more rage innate to the character, the more penalties it takes to resist the urge of full transformation.

Despite the presence of claws in Homid form, however, they do not do the same damage. They still have the Armor Piercing 1 quality, as well as deal lethal damage, but they do so with a 0L Damage. Any other effects are up to Storyteller discretion as to the mechanics, but most will be roleplay beneficial through only, with no mechanical benefits. Partially shifted features always inflict Full Delirium on witnesses subject to it.

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