Forms of the Triat

Although the Triat is the personification of three primal, cosmic forces, they never really manifest as fully actualized entities. You’ll never shake hands with the Wyrm; you’ll only meet one of its insidious local representatives. Because these primal forces are nearly omnipresent, combining to create the entirety of the Tellurian, no natural or supernatural creature can ever see them in their true forms: instead, werewolves and other shapechangers witness different avatars, fragments, or reflections of them in the spirit world.

In the physical world, their presence is even harder to detect. You may notice patterns to suggest their minions are present, but at best, that’s an educated guess. Garou can only prove they’ve sensed a part of the Triat through spiritual abilities (like the Gift: Sense Wyrm.) Within the Penumbra, the Garou interact with them through a legion of lesser spirits that perform the bidding of the Triat. The farther one travels into the depths of the Umbra, the more powerful those manifestations become.

Sensing the Triat

When a Garou senses a portion of the Triat, the impression can be anything from a vague instinct to a specific sensory impression. Psychics and spiritual mediums often experience events on the more cryptic end of that scale: the presence of an active spirit in the real world might manifest as a shiver down the spine, goosebumps, or a vague feeling of premonition, but shapechangers feel stronger impressions. After all, they’re creatures of both flesh and spirit. They not only sense a sympathy (or antipathy) to each portion of the Triat, but can also identify it for what it really is. Here are some typical sensory impressions one might experience using one Gifts like Sense Wyrm.

Wyld: ozone, euphoria, flowers, an unseen breeze, the calm after a thunderstorm, the sound of crashing waves, the smell of a primal ocean, the anticipation of limitless possibility

Weaver: patterns of sound, the smell of cleansers or sanitizers, a brief touch of a web or silken thread, a metallic taste, a sudden draining of energy, flashing lights, alarms and sirens

Wyrm: stench, decay, rot, fear, the taste of an animal who died in fear, a wave of depression, hopelessness, twinges of pain, lengthening shadows

Farther from the physical world, flashes of synesthesia become more common, substituting one sensory impression from another. When sensory Gifts are insufficient (or inactive) this sensory information can be incredibly confusing. “Smelling” the color blue or “tasting” ozone may feel like a psychedelic episode or bout of madness, but it does alert the Garou that something powerful is occurring. Deeper in the Umbra, a sensory impression normally bestowed by part of the Triat may be experienced by an entirely inappropriate or unusual sense. Consider pain and ecstasy, regret and triumph, nostalgia and fulfillment to all be part of that spectrum.

Of course, since the most immediate impression of a spirit is its appearance, and the spirit world excels at showing facets of reality for what they truly are, Garou encountering a spirit for the first time may attempt to identify what it is purely by how it looks. Veteran travelers develop skills and abilities for interpreting these impressions.

Based on skill descriptions and situations, Storytellers can choose to call for Wits + Investigation, Wits + Occult, even straight-up Purity rolls. Investigation works best with the obvious or physical; Occult works well with the unseen, hidden, and metaphysical; Purity serves as a measure of enlightenment and spiritual sympathy. A sensory Gift tends to cut through all this interpretation and cut straight to a direct answer. If something carries the corruption of the Wyrm, the Deal: Sense Wyrm definitively identifies it, justifying the need to hunt it where it lives and breeds.

The Wyld

Creation begins with the Wyld, the prime agent of change in the cosmos. In fact, the Wyld is more than chaos: it’s a perpetual process of transmutation. The Wyld drives evolution and adaptation, as endless variations of the creative process result in the advancement of living things. The Wyld is possibility and random chance incarnate, responsible for everything from hopes and dreams to the fear that everything we possess will be lost by sudden catastrophe. It’s equally liberating and terrifying.

Its spirits’ capricious actions can be attributed to deliberate fate, meaningless coincidence, or just plain dumb luck, but no pattern can ever fully contain it, and no ritual can fully predict it. Every living thing, from amoebas to ants to antelopes to arctic whales, contains a fragment of the Wyld. We invoke its essence every time we proclaim “where there’s life, there’s hope.” The Wyld is the origin of revelations. It’s the impetus for every spark of creativity, yet it also dwells beyond the limitless horizons of madness. Some Garou blindly insist that Gaia Herself came from the Wyld, for she could never exist without it. Nothing could.

The Wyld is complete unto itself, but without the Weaver, it would lose the vast multitude of manifestations it spawns. Most of its creations return to their primal forge at the moment of inception. The Weaver allows them to persist through time (since time, as Douglas Adams says, “prevents everything from happening all at once”). Wrap your mind around this: Being everything at all times is as indefinable and indefinite as being without any form or substance at all. That way lies madness.

Of the three aspects of the Triat, the Wyld is unquestionably the least personified. Mutability precludes any “true form,” for the Wyld is formless madness. Of course, the Wyrm is then essential to the Wyld, since it destroys the weakest and least plausible creations within the Weaver’s web, returning their essential ephemera to the forges of creation. Thus, the creative process comes full circle.

In the Deep Umbra, the Wyld should arguably (though unverifiably) be the most powerful aspect of the Trait: unbounded by Gaia’s laws, he/she/it/everything is almost as powerful as Gaia herself. Fortunately for creation, the Wyld is never powerful enough to overcome the boundary that separates the Near Umbra from the terrifying, alien possibilities of the Deep Umbra. By contrast, the Wyld in the physical world is actually the weakest aspect of the Triat’s trinity.

Fortunately, there are a few scattered sites of pure Wyld energy still left in the physical world. They’re contained within caerns the Garou and their offspring endlessly fight to protect. The Wyld is only truly unassailable within the deepest depths of the Deep Umbra. Far beyond the Membrane surrounding the Near Umbra, any enemy is dissolved into its purest primal protoplasm upon contact with the undiluted Wyld.

The Wyld serves as a symbol of the Garou’s never-ending struggle to forestall an inevitable Apocalypse. Its realms teem with life, and in a world that grows out of the Wyld, anything can happen. The Wyld is the embodiment of hope: the promise of change in a wicked world of malefic matter and entropic annihilation. Although the Garou can never anticipate direct aid from the forces of the Wyld, it’s a powerful ally indeed.

Forms of the Wyld

Wyld-spirits are full of energy and possibility. Since the Wyld is most commonly associated with nature, many of these spirits appear as natural forces, but with a brilliance and vibrancy rarely seen in the natural world. Animate shafts of sunlight, energy that ripples like water, ephemeral essences only detectable as the scent of petrichor after a rainstorm — Wyld-spirits personify life-giving energy. As forces of chaos, they’re likely to appear continually in flux, cycling through impossible geometric forms, the faces of a thousand strangers, or multicolored, pulsing wisps of formless energy. Whether as easily identified as the animal spirit of a deer or as impossible as the scent of the color blue, the spirits of the Wyld become more recognizable the farther one travels from the so-called logic and reason of Earth.