Punishment Rites

Punishment rites levy the sanction of the tribe or sept against a transgressing werewolf. Such rites strengthen the Garou by establishing clear limits of acceptable behavior. By joining in the punishment, each Garou strengthens her commitment to the pack over the individual, and to the Nation over the pack.

System: Punishment rites are performed only for major transgressions or after less structured punishments fail to cause a werewolf to mend her ways. A failed rite is considered a sign from Gaia that the offending werewolf’s crimes aren’t significant to warrant such a punishment. Because these rites are enforced and empowered by the spirit world, truly unjust punishment rites may fail automatically, leading to a sure loss of Honor for the one who ordered them.

Rite of the Jackdaw (●)

The Rite of the Jackdaw is used to punish those Garou who have broken a promise of secrecy. It causes the subject to uncontrollably tell everyone he meets about the most private and trivial matters of his life. This ritual won’t cause the subject to reveal other secrets he’s been sworn to keep — and cannot force him to break the Litany by revealing his nature to humans — but it will almost certainly cause him to reveal personal information that embarrasses only him.

This rite can be rather humiliating, and many Garou who are subject to it find themselves overcome by Rage at their embarrassment. It is considered the height of dishonor to take retribution against a Garou who has used this ritual in a just fashion. Subjects who wish to avoid the rite’s effects simply abandon all contact with others for a few days, which is considered to be an acceptable response.

System: The ritemaster symbolically carves a number of open-mouth sigils into bits of wood and distributes them ritualistically around the subject of the rite (who must remain more or less still during the rite, though he doesn’t necessarily have to be willing). The ritemaster then rolls the Standard roll. For each success, the target suffers from the effects described above for one day. The target can expend Willpower to avoid stating some particularly odious personal secret.

Rite of Ostracism (●●)

This rite is a fairly common punishment for lesser crimes, yet its effects can be devastating during wartime. This rite estranges the punished Garou from her tribe, sept, and sometimes even her pack. The tribe will thereafter treat the individual as a nonentity. She is ignored as much as possible and forced to fend for herself for even basic needs, although no hostile actions are taken against the non-wolf (in theory at least, although some Garou have been known to injure ostracized werewolves “accidentally”). In a life-or-death situation, the tribe (friends and packmates in particular) might aid the offender, but even then only grudgingly. Otherwise, the punished Garou is ignored utterly. Garou present at this rite form a circle around the chastised werewolf (if present), and each participant calls out once to Gaia, then to her brethren the name of the offender, followed by the words: “Of all Gaia’s children, I have no such brother/sister.” The speaker then turns counterclockwise to face away from the circle. Once all present have spoken, they drift away into the night.

System: This punishment normally lasts from one phase of the moon to the next. It can, however, last as long as the sept or tribe leaders desire. For serious crimes, the punishment may even be decreed permanent, essentially exiling the offender from her sept or tribe. The ostracized Garou loses all of their Legend Beats (if none are currently possessed, they lose one dot of Honor instead).

Stone of Scorn (●●)

The Stone of Scorn is a rock imbued with malicious spirit-personifications of shame, sorrow and the like. Some septs have a permanent Stone of Scorn to which an offender is dragged, although most merely imbue a small stone with such energies. Starting with the ritemaster, this stone passes to each Garou present at the rite. The scorned werewolf is forced by his septmates to sit and watch. As each Garou receives the stone, he carves or paints a symbol of derision or shame onto it while telling a mocking or embarrassing tale about the offending behavior and other flaws of the scorned Garou. Moon Dancers are particularly creative in their verbal portrayals of the miscreant. This rite often lasts all night, with successive stories becoming more and more outrageous and derogatory. Once the night ends, so does the punishment, although the best stories are often whispered behind the offender’s back for some time to come. Such behavior causes the Garou to lose Renown for a time.

System: The punished Garou usually all Legend Beats, as well as one dot of Honor.

Voice of the Jackal (●●)

When a werewolf’s behavior has shamed not just herself, but her entire sept or tribe, then this rite may be called. When the ritemaster performs this rite, he blows a handful of dust or ashes onto the offender and speaks the following: “Because thy (cowardice/gluttony/selfishness/etc.) has proved thee to be of jackal blood, let thy voice proclaim thy true breed!” As the dust and words envelop the punished Garou, her voice changes. Thereafter, she will speak in an annoyingly shrill and piercing nasal whine until the ritemaster repeals the punishment.

System: Jackal-hounds, as such punished Garou are known, subtract two dice from all Social rolls. They also all current Legend Beats they have, as well as one dot of Honor. The ritemaster can repeal this punishment at any time, although it may be made permanent for particularly serious crimes (and the Renown loss always remains). Certain jackal-hounds have reclaimed their true voices by completing a quest of great benefit to Gaia.

The Hunt (●●)

The Hunt is called against a werewolf who has committed a capital crime such as unwarranted murder, yet who still retains a vestige of honor. All Garou participating in a Hunt streak their bodies with ancient symbols in paint or clay. These symbols mark the werewolves as part of a Hunting Pack, and all other Garou will make way for Hunters so marked. It is an honor to be chosen for inclusion in a Hunt. The ritemaster, or Master of the Hunt, leads the pack. The Hunt is just that; the criminal is hunted down and killed by the pack. There is no quarter given, although (for what it’s worth) death exculpates the condemned Garou. Many tragic stories tell of a werewolf forced to choose between violating his word and committing a grave crime. Such Garou, so the stories go, chose to honor their word and were Hunted, but displayed such valor during their last stand that they gained much posthumous renown.

Rite of the Omega Wolf (●●●)

Some tribes and septs takes the failure of a pack alpha very seriously indeed. If all the members of a pack agree that their alpha has failed them catastrophically, then they may enact this rite to formally reject his leadership and punish his incompetence. The pack takes their fallen alpha and sits him on a rock. They then crown him with a mock crown and bow down in pretend obeisance to him. They then stand up and commence mocking him one by one, before tearing the crown from his head and casting him to the ground. When each member of the pack has spat or urinated on the fallen alpha, the rite is done.

System: The fallen alpha loses all current Legend Beats, as well as a dot of Honor. If he ever becomes a pack alpha again, he suffers a –3 penalty to all Persuasion actions related to Leadership until he either relinquishes the position or wins some great victory for his pack through his leadership.

Satire Rite (●●●)

A more serious version of the Stone of Scorn, a Satire Rite is a special song, dance and/or drama crafted by the Half Moons and Moon Dancers for the sole purpose of ridiculing the offender. This rite is always performed at a moot while the offender sits in full view of the sept. Because the Garou keep careful oral histories, the Satire will be remembered and passed down through the ages. Any werewolf so “honored” loses much renown. Cubs snicker as they sing lewd verses from the rite, and adults will forever use some of the wittier quotes and embarrassing movements from the rite when referring to the offender. While such stories are usually confined to members of the offender’s own sept, Tricksters and Moon Dancers are all too happy to spread the new Satire to any Garou they encounter.

System: The resistance of the Standard roll for this rite is the offender’s current Rank + 4. If successful, the offender loses one permanent Rank level (reduce his Renown to the beginning amounts for the next lowest rank). The Garou can earn new renown and rank normally. If this rite fails, the Garou loses nothing, while a Dramatic Failure causes the ritemaster to lose one dot of Wisdom as she becomes the object of the rite.

The Rending of the Veil (●●●●)

Sometimes known as Actaeon’s Folly, this rite is used to punish a human who offends the Garou greatly. The offense doesn’t have to be against the Garou per se, but it may be any act against Gaia or Her children. This rite drops the Veil, forcing a human to see and remember the Garou for the duration of an all-night hunt. The ritemaster leaves a small bag of burning dung and herbs near the sleeping victim. When the victim awakens, the Veil has been burned away from his mind. The following hunt may or may not end in the human’s death. Those humans left alive are often rendered insane, as their unprepared minds are unable to accept the truth revealed by the rite. Some few, however, overcome their fear and heal. This rite is not considered a breach of the Litany.

System: The ritemaster must place the specially prepared bag of dung and herbs within 10 feet of where the victim sleeps. The bag smolders when the ritemaster performs the rite. The ritemaster doesn’t need to be near the bag to enact the rite. Failure leaves the Veil intact. A Dramatic Failure causes the Garou herself to fall under the Delirium for one night.

Gaia's Vengeful Teeth (●●●●●)

As one of the greatest punishments among the Garou, this rite is reserved for traitors, those who consort with the Wyrm or cowards whose actions (or lack thereof) cause the deaths of many others. At least five werewolves drag the traitor to a spot of hard, cracked earth and stones. The ritemaster then stabs a sharpened twig or stone into her own hand as she recites the traitor’s sins against Gaia. Smearing her blood over the traitor’s eyes, ears and forehead, the ritemaster cries in grief and rage. As the blood and tears drip to the hard ground, the rite takes effect. From that moment on, whatever of Gaia touches the traitor transforms into razor-sharp silver so long as it touches his flesh. Crinos hunters then chase the traitor like a dog. The ground beneath the traitor chews into his feet, and his death becomes an agonizing ordeal. The offender’s name is then stricken from all histories, and it will be spoken only as a curse from that moment forward.

System: As long as the ritemaster’s blood touches the traitor’s body, the traitor cannot step sideways into the Umbra. No one survives being subject to this rite.