Werewolf: The Enraged Merits

Ancestors (● - ●●●●●)

Ancestral memory in humans is no more than pseudoscientific nonsense. To the Garou, who can contact the spirits of their ancestors, it’s a fact of life. Many werewolves carry some of the memories of a distant ancestor; some even allow their forebears to take over their bodies.
Effect: Once per game session, the player of a Garou with this Merit may roll his Wits + Ancestors. Each success allows the character to increase any Skill by one for the purposes of a single dice pool, even if he has no dots in the Skill - and he doesn’t suffer the penalty for not having the Skill. For example, young Michel, a pure flatlander, must scale an immense cliff to come to the aid of his embattled pack. Michel has an Ancestors rating of 4 and Athletics 0. He calls on his forebears to guide him, and Michel’s player rolls his Wits + Ancestors. He scores three successes. Michel contacts his great-great-great granduncle Cragtamer, who guides him over the sheer face and over the top. Now the player has an effective Athletics rating of 3 to make his climbing roll. If the Garou had an Athletics rating of 2, then his effective dice pool would be 5. All effects last for the rest of the scene.

While it is more difficult to contact a specific ancestor, successful contact provides either useful advice or precognitive visions at the discretion of the Storyteller.

Suffering a Dramatic Failure on an Ancestors roll may indicate that the character becomes catatonic for the remainder of the scene as he’s overwhelmed by the memories of thousands of lives. Alternatively, the ancestral spirit refuses to relinquish the body. How long the ancestor stays depends on the Storyteller.

Berserker (●●)

Effect: You are in total control of your Rage. You may enter frenzy at will, during which time you do not suffer any wound penalties; however, you must still make frenzy tests when the need arises, though you can add the ranks in this Merit when resisting frenzy.

Fetish (● - ●●●●●)

Effect: You possess a fetish — a physical object into which a werewolf has bound a spirit. The spirit grants a number of powers to a fetish, so they are very significant to the Garou. Such things are valuable, and other Garou (or other supernatural beings) may covet them. A number of sample fetishes can be found here.

Your character may begin play with a number of fetishes whose total Level is equal to the number of dots you possess in this Merit. This Merit also adds to any rolls used to activate a fetish.

Pure Breed (● - ●●●●●)

Effect: Garou take great stock in ancestry, and the werewolf who is descended from renowned forbears has a definite advantage in Garou society. This Background represents your lineage, markings, bearing and other features of birth. Other Garou revere werewolves with high ranks in Pure Breed as heroes of yore come to life — and such werewolves are expected to act the part. The higher your Pure Breed score is, the more likely you are to impress elder councils or receive hospitality from foreign tribes. Each point of Pure Breed adds an extra die to formal challenges (such as Rank challenges) and to Social rolls involving other Garou (even Ronin or Black Spiral Dancers).

Pure Breed is a nebulous combination of bloodline and spiritual inheritance. A character with high Pure Breed looks and carries himself like an archetypal member of his tribe — however, if he does not join that tribe, any benefits of Pure Breed are removed by the tribe’s totem. Many werewolves with Pure Breed can trace their ancestry directly, while others resemble distant ancestors who cannot be connected without a degree of genealogical exactitude that is lost to the Garou.

Some tribes place more value on good breeding than others, but Pure Breed is almost universally respected. It’s a mystical trait, and werewolves can tell instinctively whose blood is particularly pure. Of course, Garou expect those of pure blood to live up to the standards set by their noble ancestors. They frown on those who can’t or won’t accept the challenge.

Rituals (● - ●●●●●)

Presumably your character’s early days after the First Change are spent near or with a ritemaster, or he spends time learning how to strike pacts with spirits through rote performances and services. Through such circumstances, this Merit indicates the level of connection your character has with the spirits, both through connection as well as through sheer spiritual power.

Each level of this Merit allows the Garou access to certain rituals that can be performed, though it is not the only prerequisite; some spirits require more than just simple spiritual power and social finesse to gain access to some of the more powerful rituals that tap into a spirit’s power.

However, each level of Rituals does not grant the character an automatic ritual; knowing the basics of how to cast rituals does not a ritemaster make. Each Rite must be purchased independently from the levels of Rituals, but do not have to be purchased in any specific order; the only other requirement for these rituals are the levels of specific Renown you must have, or in some cases, be of the specific auspice or rank required. Your character can know as many rites as you like, provided you have the required experience to spend. He cannot, however, know rites with a dot rating that exceeds his Rituals rating. So, with Rituals •, he cannot know any two-dot through five-dot rites.

If your character does not acquire the Rituals Merit at character creation, it can be purchased during the course of the chronicle. With more dots in the Rituals Merit, your character can learn rites of increasing power. However, a character may only begin play with a maximum of one dot of Rituals.

Spirit Heritage (● - ●●●●●)

Effect: The Garou are creatures of duality — torn between man and wolf, and between flesh and spirit. The Garou share a kinship with inhabitants of the spirit world, but some have a stronger connection than others. For some reason, perhaps an ancestral tie to a household of spirits, certain types of spirits react more positively to you than others. This doesn’t need to be a friendly relationship — spirits may be fearful and respectful of you, in awe of you, or feel a sense of duty to you. No matter what the relationship, one group of spirits is more likely to cooperate with you.

When you select this background, choose one type of spirit. Examples of possible groups are animal spirits, plant spirits, elementals, urban spirits, and even Banes. When dealing with spirits of this type, the player may add his Spirit Heritage rating to any Social rolls, or rolls involved in challenges. Spirits whom you are attuned to view you, to some degree, as one of their own — a daunting prospect for those attuned to Banes, when other Garou discover their heritage. If you act against such spirits or ignore their plights, you may be seen as betraying them.

Territory (●● or ●●●●)

Effect: The Garou has established a territory for himself (or possibly in conjunction with other Talons or wolves). The territory is defined by scent marks recognized by other creatures (though not humans). With the two-dot Merit, the character knows the area intimately and can tell, upon traveling there, whether any others have crossed the boundaries. Inside the territory the Garou can hunt more easily and has an intimate knowledge of all the prey there. Other Garou will not willingly enter the Garou’s territory unless they seek to provoke him. With the four-dot Merit, the Garou’s connection to the territory is mystical, allowing them to supernaturally sense when intruders pass into the territory, even when the Garou is not physically there.

Totem (● - ●●●●●)

Effect: Totem is a Merit that applies directly to the character’s pack, rather than the individual. Unlike other pooled Merits, the pack spends all of the points that members have invested in this Merit to determine their totem’s power.

Each totem has a Totem rating; the pack must spend that amount to ally with that totem. Some totems are willing to lend great powers to their adherents; their point costs are correspondingly greater. See Pack Totems (p. XX) for a list of possible totems. In addition to their Totem bonuses, all beginning totems have a base of ten points to divide among Power, Finesse, and Resistance. Apart from bestowing power, totems start out somewhat aloof from the pack, and they have little influence among spirits, unless the players buy a closer connection with Background points. With time, roleplaying, and experience points, pack totems can grow in power as their pack grows in Rank and influence. Some totems can even become the totems of whole septs or — in legendary circumstances — even tribes.

Most of the powers that totems bestow are available to only one pack member at a time. At the end of each turn, the Garou with the power declares who the power may be given to next turn (assuming that she doesn’t keep it). After spending the initial cost of the totem, the players can spend any remaining Merit points to add to the totem’s strength and abilities.

Personal Totems

Some werewolves seek out a personal totem, pledging themselves to service of their totem above all others. This is certainly possible, though not common among the Garou — to take a personal totem indicates that a werewolf values his relationship with the spirit as greater than the relationship he could get with a pack.

An individual werewolf can have a personal totem by taking the Totem Merit at a level enough to pay the cost of the totem. The character can have more than five dots in Totem at character creation (through spending experience points) to achieve this. If she increases her Totem Merit with experience points, her personal totem increases in power as noted above.

Taking a personal totem has downsides. If the character joins another pack, he doesn’t get any benefits of that pack’s totem unless he relinquishes his connection to his personal totem. Until then, he’s never really part of the pack in a way that the other members are: any Gifts or rites that affect the pack do not include the character, and he cannot be a part of any pack tactics. For many werewolves who take a personal totem, that doesn’t matter — whether eking out a solitary existence on the streets or teaming up with other denizens of the World of Darkness, a personal totem allows them to feel a little bit more like part of a pack.