Purity

Werewolves are not human. Even if a werewolf refuses to believe she’s a fundamentally different person than she was before the First Change, she must confront the fact that her soul is a mixture of human intellect and predatory instinct, all fueled by a blinding supernatural fury. A werewolf’s life is forever in balance between human and animal, mortal and spirit. The best chance she has of maintaining control over herself is to acknowledge her nature and walk the middle road. Therefore, the concept of Morality that applies to human characters is replaced by Purity, the internal balance that a werewolf must seek in order to avoid being ruled by her worst impulses, and ultimately fight against the touch of the Wyrm.

As an optional rule, Storytellers may allow those players applying the werewolf template during character creation to trade in points of Purity for experience points. This usually reflects in some horrible trauma on the part of the werewolf, usually during or directly after the First Change. The character’s lower Purity reflects mental or emotional, and sometimes even spiritual, scarring that makes it hard to control the monstrous, Wyrm-influenced instincts within, while the experience points gained represent the character learning something from the event. Players may not sacrifice points of Purity at character creation for additional Experiences.

Sample Breaking Points


Purity 10 (Five Dice)
Using human technology.
Lying in defense of the Veil.
Spending more than one Gnosis in a night.
Purity 5 (Three Dice)
Disrespecting those of higher station.
Allowing Wyrm-spawn to live.
Two weeks without human contact.
Reaching Rage 3.
Death of a Pillar or close, mortal family member.
Joining a Camp.
Purity 9 (Five Dice)
Witnessing humans enjoying a peaceful encounter.
Committing a superhuman feat of physical prowess.
Disrespecting the beasts of Gaia’s creation.
Influencing another’s behavior with a Gift.
Spending an hour in the Umbra.
Purity 4 (Two Dice)
Murdering a non-Wyrm werewolf.
Depraved indifference towards victims.
Impassioned violence towards a non-Wyrm creature.
Achieving status in a Camp.
Purity 8 (Five Dice)
Claiming a Kinfolk as your own.
Willingly entering frenzy.
Ingesting a toxin for your own pleasure.
Spending most of a day in the Umbra.
Purity 3 (Two Dice)
Eating the flesh of humans.
Breaching the Veil.
Reaching Rage 6.
Death of a mortal or Kinfolk spouse or child.
Accidentally killing a mortal.
Purity 7 (Four Dice)
Ignoring an opportunity to combat the Wyrm.
Disrespecting those of lower station.
Surviving something that would kill a human.
Injuring someone over territory.
Purity 2 (One Die)
Aiding spirits or minions of the Wyrm.
Premeditated killing of a mortal.
One month active without human contact.
Purity 6 (Three Dice)
Falling into Harano.
Refusing an honorable surrender.
Mating with Garou.
Experiencing an immense physical trauma (such as a car crash).
Purity 1 (One Die)
Violating a caern.
Betraying your Sept.
Killing a servant of Gaia.
Destroying your Pillar.

Breaking Points

Breaking points are moments and experiences in a werewolf’s Mythic that push her to risk degradation. Any time she experiences a breaking point, roll to resist degradation. For an event to constitute a breaking point, it must be applicable to her Purity level, or lower. For example, a Purity 5 character risks a breaking point if she commits manslaughter (Purity 3 breaking point), but not if she willingly enters frenzy (Purity 8 breaking point).

The listed breaking points are examples only. Add breaking points at Storyteller discretion, or shift these up or down to fit the situation. Typically, the more personal the event is, the lower level a breaking point it should be. If something is significantly distanced from the character, or she had no way to prevent it, it should be a Purity level higher. Many reflect experiences that serve as reminders of the werewolf’s state. For example, seeing a family having a peaceful picnic in the park is a harsh reminder that peace is not possible for a werewolf in the throes of a seemingly-eternal war against the Wyrm, and that it’s an experience forever withheld from the Garou.

Many breaking points reference tenants of the Litany. This refers to actions, usually physical or verbal, and normally involves violating the Litany in someway. Whether or not a Philodox has judged and found the character guilty of violating the Litany, any action that violates either the Letter of the Spirit of the Law, counts as a breaking point. Violating tenants of the Litany in action and suffering a Breaking Point does not come with it a normal loss of Renown; that is solely for the Philodox’s judgment to determine, but the act itself is against the Garou ways and risks a loss of Purity.

Degradation

If a character reaches a breaking point equal to or worse than his current Purity trait, the character faces potential degradation: the loss of a Purity dot. To resist degradation, roll a number of dice associated with the breaking point’s level. If the character has Pillars, she can draw on additional dice. Willpower may not be spent to improve this dice pool.

Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: Not only does the character lose sight of her Purity, she sees the breaking point as nothing of consequence whatsoever. In addition to losing a dot of Humanity, she immediately gains a Taint chosen by the Storyteller that fits the incepting act, and still must roll on the new Purity to determine if she gains a Persistent Condition.
Failure: Your character lets go of some of his mortal attachments and Garou responsibilities, and moves towards monstrosity. In addition to losing a dot of Purity, make another roll off your new Purity rating to determine if you gain a derangement in the form of a Persistent Condition.
Success: Your character holds onto a scrap of empathy, despite the urge to let go. She does not lose Purity, but gains the Persistent Condition: Fugue as her nature dwells on what she has done.
Exceptional Success: Not only does your character hold onto her concept of Purity, she steps away from the conflict with renewed vigor. She takes the Inspired Condition. The inspiration relates to her newfound affinity for morality.

As the character’s Purity slips every lower, she becomes more deranged and perhaps more of a monster, capable of virtually any depraved act. When a Purity point is lost because of a sin perpetrated, roll off of your character’s new Purity, using only the new rating’s dice pool. If the roll succeeds, she finds some kind of balance or existence at her new state of spiritual and ethical standing. If the roll fails, she manifests a derangement in the manner of a Persistent Condition, and are mental and emotional ailments, in this case brought on by your character’s stress, fried or even remorselessness over acts performed.

If your character develops such a Condition, you and the Storyteller can decide which is appropriate based on the circumstances. An avoidance condition might set in whenever your character enters a situation that reminds her of the sin she committed. If she decided to harm a child and paid the emotional price, being around children thereafter might cause her to escape. If you gain a Condition when failing a degradation roll, place a symbol below that new dot on the character sheet, then list the Condition gained under Background information.

Mortals and Mythics do not affect what actions cause need for degradation rolls. Even the most devout person can still commit immoral acts in pursuit of his defining Mortal, though the Storyteller may grant an additional bonus to any degradation rolls incurred by said act.

1-5 Purity

There are times when a Garou’s actions and mindset causes him to fall to a Purity of five or less. Once a character reaches this level, they begin to smell of the Wyrm, reeking to any sense that can detect the touch of the Wyrm. Rites of Cleansing cannot purge this stench, and only regaining Purity above 5 will remove the stain from the werewolf.

For every level of Purity below 5, the Garou automatically takes on a Taint, each one from a different category, from their Auspice first as their duties for Gaia begin to degrade first (see Taints for more information). These Taints do not disappear if the werewolf raises his Purity above 5, however; they are permanent reminders of the Garou’s stained past.

Zero Purity

Garou that fall to zero Purity have one of two options. The only Garou that live long in this state are those that walk the Black Spiral, becoming Black Spiral Dancers, and become Non-Player Characters (NPCs) immediately; Black Spiral Dancer PCs are not allowed, in any respect.

However, even though it takes the most atrocious of acts for a Garou to drop to zero Purity, Garou who no longer have any ranks of Purity are not always minions of the Wyrm. Such a Garou is locked in his breed form (metis take either Homid or Lupus form when they lose their last dot of Purity), and cannot change shape or heal from damage. He cannot use Gifts, Rites, or Fetishes, and cannot regain Gnosis - though he can spend any points he has left. Forever cut off from part of his soul, he falls into a deep and painful depression, Harano. Some such werewolves take their own lives. Others throw themselves into suicidal tasks in the hope of redemption. None have survived.

Regaining Purity

It’s possible to reverse your character’s slide into damnation and insanity through concerted effort and contrition. The road is long and difficult, though.

A character’s Purity trait can be increased primarily by spending experience points, but Purity can be increased by only one point at any given time. Storytellers are encouraged to require that characters demonstrate the desire to redeem themselves with concrete acts of contrition before Purity increase is warranted. A good rule of thumb is to encourage character actions that aspire to the highest level of Purity that the player wants his character to attain. A moral existence is much more about the journey than the destination, after all. Typically, the best time to allow experience points to be spent on increasing Purity is at the end of a story, but exceptions can always be made for significant character actions between chapters or even scenes.

When a derangement is assigned to a Purity point, that ailment is overcome when the next, higher point is gained. The experience spent to gain a Purity dot represents your character’s efforts to come to terms with her sin and thus free herself of her condition. She might also undergo treatment or simply forgive herself.