Rites of Death

Garou perform rites of death both to honor the departed and to reaffirm their connection to the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. In facing and acknowledging death as a necessary part of the dance of life, the pack and sept escape the burdens of grief and fear.

System: Rites of Death must be performed on a corpse within a number of days equal to the level of Rite being performed.

Gathering for the Departed (●)

This rite is enacted in honor of the newly dead. A Galliard or a packmate of the departed werewolf usually performs the rite. The specifics of the rite vary dramatically from tribe to tribe. For example, a Fianna ritemaster leads the sept in the telling of tales, both raucous and heroic, about the fallen Garou. In contrast stands the Wendigo’s solemn rite in which the ritemaster and all the fallen one’s packmates stand on the highest peak available, tails to the wind, and howl out their pride and grief to speed their companion onward to her next life. The exact form of the rite is less important than the acknowledgment it represents.

System: The ritemaster leads the release of the Garou’s combined emotions into the spirit world. At the Storyteller’s discretion, this rite may make the deceased’s spirit easier to contact through the Ancestors Merit.

Last Blessing (●)

The mere existence of metis threatens the Veil, as they are born and die in Crinos form. This blessing is given to a dying or just-deceased metis by the ritemaster. It ensures that the corpse will assume the natural form which the metis most preferred — human or wolf — arousing no suspicion. Many metis have received this rite with joy, seeing it as a sign of Gaia’s forgiveness.

System: The ritemaster lays hands on the metis and chants the Song of the True Form, then spends one Gnosis point after making the Standard roll. The metis’s body changes to Homid or Lupus form, and the change is permanent. This rite must be performed within an hour of death, and has no effect on a live metis.

Rite of the Winter Wolf (●●●)

Once a werewolf becomes too wounded or aged to fight with his tribe, he performs this bleak and solemn rite. Upon announcing that he will undergo the rite, the werewolf sits at the center of a gathering of his pack- and sept-mates. The meeting is an onerous, solemn affair during which the Moon Dancers sing hymns of the celebrant’s life and deeds and invoke the spirits for glory in the next world or life. The celebrant then slowly and proudly walks through the closed ranks of the tribe. As he passes his people, they begin howling a dirge similar to that sung during the Gathering for the Departed. Some Garou beat heavy drums or play mournful pipes as the celebrant drags himself to a secluded site where he ends his life, usually with a klaive. Rarely, two werewolves, usually packmates, will perform this rite together, sometimes killing each other simultaneously, although Ahroun may give each other a last fight to finish, with the victor ending his life beside his fallen opponent. Immediately after the suicide, the sept performs the Gathering for the Departed.

Red Talons and Get of Fenris are the staunchest supporters of this rite. It is almost unheard of among the Children of Gaia and Bone Gnawers, who value the knowledge and experience of their aged and wounded.

System: The rite is always performed at night, typically under the auspice moon of the departing werewolf. Three other Garou must be present to acknowledge the character’s life and departure. Failure to perform the rite properly is considered an omen that Gaia still needs some final service from the Garou.