Caerns

The Gauntlet is strongest in areas where civilization prospers and science is on the cutting edge, places where the rules of reality are at the most quantifiable and predictable, and locales where the landscape has been reshaped for the benefit of human beings. In places where the Gauntlet is weak, spiritual energy freely enters the mundane world. Magic is capricious and unpredictable, and spirits often defy what would be convenient or comfortable for humanity. Wondrous and mystical phenomena are possible. Garou revere these places where the Wyld is prevalent, seek them out for their greatest rituals, and sanctify them as caerns.

In the modern world, caerns are few and far between. In fact, they’re so valuable that other supernatural creatures may covet the spiritual energy contained within them. Mages and marauding spirits sometimes want to feast on (or despoil) these pure and powerful places. Garou vigilantly guard caerns, not only to preserve the undiluted essence of the Wyld, but also to sustain the Garou Nation. Unfortunately, werewolves are losing that fight. Precious few Garou caerns remain. Their cause is so desperate that some packs attempt to create urban caerns. Establishing an urban caern isn’t simply a matter of convenience; it’s perilously difficulty to do without spiritual might, and it yields only limited results. Close to the watchful eyes of vigilant humans and the urban resources of the Wyrm’s minions, urban caerns are perpetually in danger.

Some caerns are established for a specific purpose, such as healing or war. These sacred sites are inhabited by spirits attuned to the caern’s purpose, and rituals of that type are slightly easier to enact there. All powers invoked are aligned to the caern’s purpose. The most powerful caerns are also used for travel. Garou can open pathways called moon bridges that allow them to pass unseen through the Garou Nation’s network of caerns and sacred places. Though a caern’s moon bridge can be opened in the physical world, it’s usually far more discreet to open it from the spirit world on the other side of the caern’s Gauntlet.

Because the secrecy of the Veil is important to the survival of the Garou Nation, many werewolves working together at a caern can help hide (or at least cover up) spiritual activity in the physical world. Ideally, several Theurges are on hand in each sept to control and manage the spirits around a caern, and cubs and cliath find it easier to learn these same practices when elders are nearby. When important rituals or powerful rites are enacted, all the participating Garou can cross over to the spirit world there. If the local Master of the Rite wishes to conduct these ceremonies in the physical world, their ritual tasks are easier because the Gauntlet is low. This benefit is especially important in the world’s few urban caerns. Bone Gnawers and Glass Walkers specialize in variant rites for urban areas, although more traditional or old-fashioned Garou may prefer the purity and power of the wilderness instead.

System: Each caern has a Caern Rating between 1 and 5 that reflects the potency of effects that can be enacted there. For example, a Level One healing caern might refresh and heal minor wounds, while a Level Five one could miraculously heal the most grievous wounds. The higher a caern’s rating is, the farther its moon bridges can reach. Thus, the greatest heroes of the Garou Nation have opportunities to travel to sacred places in the most distant corners of the Earth. Caerns with higher ratings tend to attract a greater diversity of tribes, travelers, and heroes.

The higher a caern’s rating is, the lower the rating of its Gauntlet will be. Level One and Level Two caerns have a Gauntlet of 4, Level Three and Level Four caerns have a Gauntlet of 3, and at Level Five, the most power-ful caerns have a Gauntlet of 2. The presence of many Garou becomes essential in the most powerful caerns, since the veil between worlds is thin, allowing spirits to enter the world more freely. Level One through Three caerns can create a moon bridge reaching for 1000 miles (1600 km) per caern level. A Level Four caern’s moon bridge reaches for up to 6000 miles (9,700 km); at Level Five, up to 10,000 miles (16,000 km).

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