Rites
Table of Contents

As the rituals and celebrations of the Garou, rites form and reinforce the spiritual and social ties that bind werewolves to each other and to Gaia herself. The common bond formed by rites resonates in the souls of all Garou. Many werewolves maintain that without the continuous practice of such rites, the Garou would lose their ties to the Earth Mother. Theurges warn that werewolves could become something less than their true selves, possibly reverting to simple wolves and humans instead of Gaia’s chosen — or ravening monsters lacking any higher purpose.

The special ties werewolves have with the spirit world allow rites to function. In the dawn of time, shapeshifters struck a great pact — the Pact — with the spirits of Gaia. In return for the shapeshifters’ fealty and service, the spirits would imbue the werebeasts’ rites with supernatural power. For this reason, no one but a shapeshifter can perform rites and expect them to work. The spirits will not answer the call if they are not bound by the Pact to do so. This relationship is unique to the Garou and certain other Fera, and it makes the performance of these rites their sacred right and privilege, and theirs alone.

Through rites, Garou weave the social, emotional and religious fabric that connects werewolf to werewolf, pack to pack and tribe to tribe. When Silver Fang meets Black Fury or Silent Strider meets Glass Walker, the rites of their ancestors give them common ground on which to tread. Even the simple Rite of Contrition has prevented many meetings between werewolves of different tribes and packs from erupting into violence.

Rites also allow tribes and packs the freedom to define themselves and to develop their unique roles in Gaia’s defense. Each of the tribes, and many individual septs, has their own rites and their own versions of common rites. The raucous, howling tumult of the Fianna’s Rite of Spirit Awakening has little external similarity to the Shadow Lords’ dark and brooding rite of the same name, yet the essence and purpose of the two rites are the same, and the Pact recognizes them as such.

Types of Rites

Rites have both religious and magical connotations, and they serve both social and mystical purposes. Most rites can be performed in either the Umbra or the physical world. When teaching rites, Garou may group them by the purpose each type of rite serves for the Garou and for Gaia: Rites of Accord, Caern Rites, Rites of Death, Mystic Rites, Rites of Punishment, Rites of Renown, Seasonal Rites, and Minor Rites are the most common types of rites that Garou practice. The basic requirements for each of these types of rites must be fulfilled to perform any of these rites successfully.

Descriptions and requirements for each type are listed here, along with common rites from each category, as well as some less-common rites of particular note or import.

A werewolf has the potential to learn any rite. All she must do is find a teacher. A Garou’s auspice usually determines the rites she is expected to learn (see Auspice Roles, below). Most elder Garou are more than willing to teach rites — in fact, the number of young werewolves who seem to discount rites as antiquated or cumbersome disturbs the elders. Many new packs fail to see the importance of rites, preferring to spend their time doing things that have a more “immediate” impact. However, these same elders compound their lack of communication by criticizing young wolves who insist on modernizing or individualizing rites to meet the needs of their packs.

Enacting a Rite

Ritemasters generally lead groups of Garou in the performance of rites. These rites are grand ceremonies, usually held at caerns, with much tradition and socializing going on around them. It is the nature of rites to be social affairs. Most rites require the presence of at least three Garou, although a lone werewolf may conduct certain minor rites and mystic rites. Many older septs frown on the practice of performing rites away from the group.

Rites require great concentration and skill on the part of the celebrant. Most rites take a minimum of 5 minutes to cast, though minor rites take from two minutes to enact. Rites almost always require some form of trinket or special material. The general requirements for particular categories of rites are detailed below.

It is the ritemaster’s responsibility to ensure that all the requirements are met and that all Garou present participate fully in the rite. The player or Storyteller should roll to determine the success of the rite. The exact nature and resistance to the roll will vary with each rite. Storytellers may decrease the resistance of a roll if the ritemaster and participating characters enact the rite particularly well (i.e., if the players roleplay it well).

For every five Garou beyond the base number required (again, usually three) who are present and helping perform the rite to the best of their ability, the resistance of the rite decreases by one (to a minimum resistance of 0).

Rites are considered to be a natural way of affecting the natural order. They’re part of how things work. Werewolves believe that if a rite is performed properly, the effect will occur naturally, just as a scientist would follow cause and effect. If you drop a rock, it will fall; if you perform a rite as it was handed down to you by your ancestor’s ancestors, then the desired effect will occur. However, some rites do require Gnosis. These rites are particularly powerful breaches of the natural order.

Based on the theme of the ritual, there are specific dice pools used to enact these rituals, as well as a specified casting time for them. Unless otherwise noted, the Dice Pools and Casting Time for the different rites are:

Theme Dice Pool Casting Time
Improvised Intelligence + Occult + Renown 30 minutes
Accord Manipulation + Socialize + Wisdom 15 minutes
Caern Resolve + Survival + Vigilance 15 minutes
Death Composure + Subterfuge + Honor 10 minutes
Mystic Wits + Occult + Wisdom 5 minutes
Punishment Presence + Intimidation + Glory 10 minutes
Renown Presence + Persuasion + Honor 5 minutes
Seasonal Stamina + Athletics + Vigilance 15 minutes
Minor N/A 2 minutes

Learning a Rite

The tribal elders who teach rites were themselves taught by their elders, who were taught by their elders, and so on back through the ages. In order to gain the knowledge (and tacit permission) to perform a rite, a young werewolf must approach an elder who possesses such knowledge. In the vast majority of cases, the elder will request payment (in the form of talens) from the young whelp in question. The number of talens required varies with the amount of teaching needed (level of the rite) and the elder’s opinion of the cub (based on comparative rank and roleplaying). Elders will often allow the young Garou to do a favor instead of (or in addition to) donating talens. Such favors may range from providing the elder with fresh rabbit meat and caviar for three full moons to tracking down a minor enemy of the elder’s and tearing out his throat. The favor asked is normally proportionate to the power and importance of the rite.

Learning a rite is an extended action. A Garou must have the Rituals Merit at least equal to the level of the rite she wishes to learn; a character with Rituals 3 cannot master a 4-dot rite. She must also spend time with the elder who knows the rite — at least one week per level of the rite she wishes to learn (three days for minor rites). The player must roll Intelligence + Occult + Rites - the difference in rank between the elder and the one learning. The number of successes required is equal to the level of the rite. The student may make one roll per period of teaching (one week for a 1-dot rite, three weeks for a 3-dot rite, etc.). If the student fails a roll, she must spend a Willpower point to continue her studies. If she suffers a Dramatic Failure on a roll, the elders decide that she is not yet ready to learn the knowledge she seeks. The character must wait at least three turnings of the moon, or until she has more life experience, to try again.

A character can begin the game with knowledge of rites by purchasing the Rites Merit. After character creation, however, rites can be learned only through roleplaying; they may not be purchased with experience points alone.

A character can attempt to enact a rite in which he has previously taken part, but which he does not know — though he has little chance of success. The resistance is three times higher than normal, and the player must spend double the amount of Gnosis points (if any are required, one Gnosis if none are required). In addition, elder Garou often see such an attempt as impertinent or even sacrilegious. Attempting an untutored rite in the presence of an elder may decrease the Garou’s Honor or Wisdom in the eyes of his sept.

Finally, it’s possible - but obscenely difficult - to create new rites. Such a task is no small matter, as it involves convincing a great portion of the spirit world both that a new rite is necessary and that they must empower it whenever called to do so.

Rites cost one experience per dot. Learning a rite from another PC allows the cost to be split in half (minimum of one experience).

Auspice Roles

Not all Garou have a natural affinity for leading the Great Rites. Many are content to know some minor rites and a smattering of rites most significant in their own eyes. In fact, Garou traditionally view werewolves born under certain auspices as the rightful ritemasters of the tribes. In particular, Theurges and Philodox are groomed for such positions from the time that they first enter the sept as adolescent cubs. It is almost unheard of for a Garou of either auspice not to have at least some skill in the enactment of rites. In general, Theurges tend to learn Mystic Rites, Seasonal Rites, and Caern Rites, while Philodox traditionally learn Rites of Accord and Punishment.

This isn’t to say that Garou of all auspices don’t learn rites, or even lead rites occasionally. Galliards are likely to lead Rites of Death and Renown. Ragabash and Ahroun may also learn and enact rites, although the sept is unlikely to encourage such behavior unless a particular reason comes up for such a Garou to lead a rite. For example, an Ahroun might lead his war party in a Rite of Wounding after a cub’s first battle. It’s wise to remember that individual packs are often (but not always) more flexible when interpreting such traditions, being more concerned with which packmate will best carry out a rite than with following every musty tradition. Any Garou is allowed to learn a Mystic Rite, regardless of auspice.

Rites of Accord

Rites of accord restore a particular place or Garou to harmony and balance with Gaia. These rites purify and renew through a symbolic rebirth from Gaia’s womb.

System: Any Garou attempting to perform a Rite of Accord must possess a talen, fetish, or some piece of Gaia never touched by minions of the Wyrm or by human hands.

Rite of Cleansing (●)

This rite purifies a person, place or object, allowing it to be used without fear of Wyrm-taint. The most common form of this rite involves the ritemaster inscribing a circle on the earth, walking counterclockwise around the afflicted person(s) or object(s) while holding a smoldering branch or torch. She must use a branch (preferably willow or birch) dipped in pure water or snow to sprinkle the object or person cleansed. As the ritemaster does so, all Garou present release an eerie, otherworldly howl in an attempt to frighten away the corrupting influence. Ideally, this rite is performed at dawn, but may function at any time.

System: This rite can be cast upon more than one person or object, but the ritemaster must spend one Gnosis point on each extra thing in need of cleansing. Each success cleanses the target(s) of 3 dots of Wyrm Taint. If the rite is performed at dawn, the Rite cleanses 4 dots of Wyrm Taint per success instead of the normal 3. This rite cannot heal wounds or damage caused by Wyrm Taint — it only removes the spiritual contamination itself. This rite cannot cleanse taint of the most innate sort, either, instead inflicting agony when performed upon a fomor, vampires with a Humanity of 5 or lower, unrepentant Black Spiral Dancer or other similarly corrupt being.

Rite of Contrition (●)

This rite is a form of apology. The offending party uses it to prevent the enmity of spirits or Garou whom an individual has offended, or to prevent war between septs or tribes. The rite most often involves the enactor dropping to her belly and sliding forward. The ritemaster may also whine and lick his paws or hands. If performed well, however, a simple inclination of the head may suffice. To enact the rite successfully, the Garou must either give a small gift to the offended individual or, in the case of a spirit, possess some aspect of the spirit in question (for example, a clay falcon if the Garou is appealing to the totem spirit Falcon) that he pays homage to.

System: The resistance to the rite equals the Rage of the target werewolf or the rank of the target spirit. A single success suffices for a gracious apology, but may not be enough to mend friendships or undo grievous errors. The more successes rolled, the greater the wrong that can be forgiven. Werewolves who refuse to recognize a Rite of Contrition are looked upon poorly by elders. Most spirits will always accept a well-performed rite.

Rite of Renunciation (●●)

In this rare rite, a werewolf rejects the auspice under which he was born and chooses a new one. The Garou must perform this rite during the phase of the moon he wishes to adopt. Most commonly, water from a silver basin exposed to Luna’s radiance is poured over the naked supplicant, washing him clean of all he once was, including all rank. He is now free to start anew as a member of his adopted auspice. Many werewolves view such a “Shifting Moon” with suspicion, especially Shadow Lords and Silver Fangs — who is the Garou, after all, to decide he knows better than Luna?

System: A character who changes auspices must start anew at Rank 1 (Cliath). Although he keeps any Gifts he has already learned, he may never learn new Gifts from his old auspice no matter the instructor. However, Gifts of his adopted auspice now cost the standard cost in experience. Variants of this rite also exist to allow Garou to renounce their tribe and join a new one - but this is counted not only as a grave insult to the abandoned tribe, but also to the tribe’s totem. In no case can this rite be used to return a Garou to a renounced auspice or tribe.

Rite of the Loyal Pack (●●●)

A leader needs respect from those that follow him if he (and they) wish to succeed. Usually, only packs that have been working together for some time and who trust each other enough to further cement those bonds perform this rite.
The rite makes the whole pack’s focus and commitment dependent on the pack alpha. In effect, they submit completely to him, in the hope of gaining an advantage from his commitment to working for the benefit of all. Each member of the pack must take a small item of personal significance and a length of his or her own hair and give it to the ritemaster. She then binds together all the objects using the hairs and buries the bundle within the pack’s home caern.

System: If the ritual roll succeeds, the entire pack gains two extra points of Willpower at the beginning of each session as long as the pack alpha is acting in the best interests of the whole pack. (Note that this cannot put a character over their maximum Willpower.) However, if the alpha has not been acting in the pack’s interests, the entire pack loses two points of Willpower at the beginning of each session. The gain or loss is entirely at the Storyteller’s discretion. Should the pack alpha change, the rite’s effects immediately end.

Enchant the Forest (●●●●)

Everyone’s heard of enchanted forests in which the trees themselves seem aware, strange voices whisper, wicked witches roam, and goblins and fae of all manner plague the weary traveler. Though the Garou used to rule the wilds, humanity encroaches more and more on their ranges. Hundreds of years ago, Theurges developed a rite with which to frustrate such expansion. This rite, Enchant the Forest, awakens the spirits of the land and urges them to protect the Wyld. These spirits awaken and move to resist any human settlements in the area.

Springs dry out. The winter grows harsher than ever before, yet the trees are remarkably fast-growing and resilient. Food decays and rots in no time, and vermin and insects infest the area. Attempts to construct power lines fail inexplicably. On the rare occasions when cell phones are able to get any reception at all, their calls are interrupted by threatening screeches of static and disturbing whispers. Humans eventually either leave or die, and the wilderness reclaims its lost property.

The area seems haunted for years afterwards. The trees are dark and threatening, and strange sounds emanate from the woods at night. The spirits, once roused, don’t rest again for a very long time. Superstitious tales of haunted lands circulate, and many humans give the area wide berth. Unfortunately, many others may become interested — government agencies, paranormal investigators, and other supernatural beings.

The ritemaster must take a twig from a tree never seen by human eyes, make a container from the belly of an animal never hunted by humans, and fill the pouch with water from a pond never touched by mankind. He then stirs the water, pours it close to the borders of the wild woods, and calls on the spirits of nature to awaken and defend themselves. He sends messengers to the north, south, east and west, to call to the spirits there. The ritemaster must sing to the spirits for three days.

System: The immediate effects of this rite last for a full year, if they are not disrupted by some sort of supernatural intervention. The area so charmed cannot exceed the farthest distance the messengers have traveled by foot in the three days. If a caern is located within five miles (8 km) of the ritual location, the ritualist gains a +1 bonus to the roll.

Rite of the Opened Sky (●●●●)

By sacrificing something of personal value and dancing a complex rain dance, the ritemaster can beckon great, purifying showers of rain to fall from the skies. This rain cleanses all Wyrm impurities, and can even heal wounds.

System: This rite works in much the same way as the Rite of Cleansing, but can encompass an entire caern and those within it. The ritemaster expends only one point of Gnosis to cleanse an area, but for every two additional points he spends, every character within the caern heals one level of damage - even aggravated damage. The resistance to this rite depends on the level of taint, such as a tainted spirit’s rank. Similar to the Rite of Cleansing, the ritualist gains a +1 bonus to this rite if performed at dawn. Beings of the Wyrm and vampires suffer excruciating pain if exposed to this rite, though they are not cleansed or genuinely damaged. To use this rite outside a caern, the ritemaster must spend five points of Gnosis - a feat only the most potent ritemasters of the Garou are capable of.

Caern Rites

These rites are of vital importance to Gaia, for they aid in the opening, protection, and renewal of her most sacred spaces. Without such rites, the mystical flow of Gaia’s spiritual essence might cease, bringing spiritual barrenness and eventually death to even the most ferocious of werewolves.

System: These rites can be performed only within a caern.

Moot Rite (●)

A moot cannot open until this rite is completed, recharging the caern with Gnosis. The rite always includes a prolonged howl led by a werewolf known as the Master of the Howl. This howl varies by tribe and sept, but always expresses the unique nature of the sept. All werewolves present must form a circle within the caern itself before they commence howling. Numerous variations on the basic requirements exist: The Red Talons often bite their paws and scratch blood into the earth, while Uktena pass their most powerful fetish from one to another as each in turn adds her voice to the howl. However it is done, the howl must echo forth and the eternal circle must form.

System: The rite must be performed at least once per month to keep the caern consecrated. During the course of a moot, the participants must empower the caern with a combined total of five Gnosis points per caern level in order to replenish it fully.

Rite of the Opened Caern (●)

Each caern has a specific power associated with it, generally of a beneficial nature. Thus, there are caerns of Rage, caerns of Gnosis, Strength, Enigmas, and so on. If a character is knowledgeable enough, she may tap into the caern’s power and use it herself. Doing so is commonly known as “opening” a caern. Such a feat shouldn’t be attempted lightly — Gaia’s sacred places don’t give up their power easily, and failure to harness such power can seriously harm the Garou.

Each caern has its own requirements of the ritemaster. In order to open a caern of Enigmas, a Garou might walk a spiral path while calling out the Greek myth of Persephone; to open a caern of Rage, the Garou might change into Crinos and chant the litany of his ancestors who have fallen in battle against the Wyrm. The key is forging a connection to the particular spirit of the caern.

System: Standard roll as an extended action, contested by the caern spirit’s Resistance + Caern Level. The number of rolls made during this extended action is equal to the caern level. The party that has more successes after the last roll triumphs.

If the character wins the test, she can add the caern’s rating to her dice pool when performing actions appropriate to the caern’s focus. If she loses, she takes Lethal damage equal to the number of successes by which the caern beat her; a Dramatic Failure makes this damage Aggravated.

Rite of the Glorious Past (●●●)

A caern has its own history and heritage, regardless of the Garou that currently inhabit it. Learning the history of a caern is a fascinating undertaking that can take years. However, this rite allows the Garou to experience the nuances of the caern’s development as a fever dream, causing those years to seem to pass in a few short moments.

To enact this rite, the ritemaster must draw up a map of the caern as it was when it was first founded (which may require some research). This map is then burnt at the center of the caern. As the map burns, all Garou present growl quietly as the ritemaster recites the history of the caern. All werewolves present see the caern’s formation and any other important details in its history as though in a dream.

System: The number of successes necessary on the Standard roll is equal to the level of the caern. If performed successfully, each participant receives an additional dot of Ancestors until the next dawn; this occurs even if the character is normally incapable of possessing this Merit (as the ancestors thus contacted are former guardians of the caern rather than a given character’s personal forebears). This ritual also “primes” the caern; the next caern rite performed therein receives a +1 bonus.

The Badger’s Burrow (●●●●)

The guardians of the caerns become so connected to their bawn that they can sense all that goes on within its boundaries. The ritemaster enacting this rite gazes intently into a bowl of water, pool of ink, mirror, or some similar focus. At the same time, the werewolf pours a small amount of witch hazel or other strongly scented astringent (even urine) on the ground in front of her. Any other Garou watching or participating encircle the ritemaster and growl softly in the backs of their throats. Some of the younger Garou (Glass Walkers and Wendigo in particular) enhance the ritual through the use of mild psychotropic drugs, although many werewolves frown upon this practice.

System: Resistance on the Standard roll is based on the size of the area the ritemaster is intent on learning information about. Each success on the Standard roll enables the ritemaster (or the caern Warder) to ask one question regarding a defined area. Failure indicates that the Garou sees nothing.

Area Resistance
Small room -0
Ballroom -1
House -2
Acre of land -3
Small forest -4
Large forest -5

Rite of the Opened Bridge (●●●●)

This rite creates a moon bridge, a shimmering portal serving as a mystical means of transportation between two caerns. Such moon bridges are vital links among the sacred spaces of Gaia. Once per year, a caern must renew its connection with other caerns to which it wishes to maintain moon bridges. This rite is always held during a moot, and it must be enacted simultaneously by both participating caerns.

The primary requirement to open a moon bridge is a pathstone. Pathstones are found in the Umbra, and they are often the objects of quests. These extraordinarily rare stones resemble flat pearls with the imprint of a wolf’s paw on one side. It is possible to steal a pathstone from a caern, but such a theft is considered blasphemous, and it may well result in war between two septs.

The rite establishes (or reestablishes) a spiritual connection between the pathstones of two separate caerns by way of the caerns’ totem spirits. At the rite’s culmination, a moon bridge opens between the two participating caerns. During this time, Garou from both septs can travel between the caerns to join in a wild revel. Moon bridges allow Garou to traverse distances in 1/1000th the normal time required. This rite must be renewed once every 13 moons (roughly a year).

System: The Standard roll is resisted by the caern’s level; if the ritemaster’s pack totem is the same as the totem of the caern, she receives a +3 bonus to the roll. If the rite was unsuccessful previously, the resistance to the roll is doubled. The ritemaster needs to obtain a number of successes equal to the target caern’s level to complete the rite.

If the rite succeeds, the moon bridge opens immediately, and the spirit-bond between the two pathstones is established. Moon bridges may now be opened at any time between the two caerns. The bridges may be opened with the Rite of the Opened Caern or the Gift: Open Moon Bridge (if performed at the caern). If the rite fails, no moon bridge opens, and the rite must be tried again next year. Moon bridges to the caern may still be opened, but they aren’t as safe as they might otherwise be.

Rite of the Shrouded Glen (●●●●)

This rite causes an area within the Umbra to become invisible, so that it cannot be seen from any other part of the spirit world. At least five people must participate in this ritual, and they must fast for at least three days to purify themselves. The Uktena, who are particularly adept at this rite, maintain that all participants must come to the rite with their bodies clad only in painted symbols representing earth, air, water, fire, and (for the ritemaster) the spirit world.

System: The resistance to the Standard roll is the caern’s Gauntlet + 4. Any participating Garou can contribute Gnosis to this rite. The participants must spend a total of 20 Gnosis points to make the effect permanent. Otherwise, the number of successes achieved equals the number of hours the Umbral Glen remains hidden. If the area the Garou attempt to hide is larger than the caern itself, the amount of Gnosis required increases by four for each mile (1.6 km) radius the participants attempt to enshroud.

Rite of Caern Building (●●●●●)

This powerful rite creates a new caern by drawing the spirit world and the physical world closer together. Simply reciting the rite draws the attention of the Wyrm’s servants, and actually performing the rite has been known to prove fatal. Only the most powerful and wise mystics dare lead such an undertaking.

A powerful Theurge is almost always selected to perform this most sacred of rites. Many Garou must channel their energy through a powerful leader to have even a hope of success. Whole packs have been known to die in the agony of failed attempts.

Once the physical focus for the heart of the caern is chosen, the area must be cleansed of all taints in preparation for its transformation. All Garou participating in the rite must undergo a Rite of Cleansing, at minimum. The ritemaster performs a series of minor rituals, meditations, and other physical preliminaries to prepare for her awesome task.

The sept must post sentries, for servants of the Wyrm almost invariably attempt to disrupt such a great rite. Only the mightiest warriors are chosen for such an assignment, and their protection is critical to the success of the rite. The leader of the rite is helpless while he chants a long litany of verses designed to draw a great spirit into the prepared caern. Although it is possible to create a specific type of caern, most leaders leave this choice to Gaia and accept whatever caern she grants the sept.

The rite must be performed between the hours of sunset and sunrise during the waxing of the moon. Only the Black Spiral Dancers create caerns during the moon’s waning.

System: The rite lasts from dusk until dawn. As the sun breaks over the horizon, the ritemaster makes the Standard roll, receiving a +1 bonus for every five Garou participating in the rite above the requisite 13 participants (maximum of +5). The number of successes gained determines the level of the resulting caern:

Successes Level
1-3 Level one
4-6 Level two
7-8 Level three
9+ Level four

Because an enormous amount of Gnosis is needed to break through the Gauntlet and empower the new caern, a minimum of 13 Garou, one for each moon of the year, must participate in the rite. At the end of the rite, the participating Garou channel Gnosis into the nascent caern — a total of 200 points of Gnosis is necessary to awaken the sacred site. If an insufficient amount of Gnosis is offered, the rite’s participants begin to suffer aggravated wounds as their life-force is sacrificed to create the caern. Each wound counts as five more Gnosis points toward the total. The complete the ritual, each of the 13 core participants must sacrifice a dot of permanent Gnosis.

Such is the damaged state of the world that the Rite of Caern Building can no longer naturally awaken a level five caern — only an additional offering of Gnosis can bring that sort of purity and power back to the dying earth. Offering an additional 200 points of Gnosis — 400 Gnosis in total — empowers the rite, creating a caern one level higher than the ritemaster’s successes would otherwise indicate.

The dangers of the rite are many. Failure scours the bodies and spirits of all Garou involved in the rite, both those donating Gnosis and those protecting them, inflicting four levels of Lethal damage from spiritual backlash. A Dramatic Failure inflicts seven levels of Lethal damage; those driven below Incapacitated by this damage suffer severe Battle Scars.

Minions of the Wyrm ultimately pose the greatest threat to the rite. As soon as it begins, all Wyrm-corrupted beings (Banes, fomori, Black Spiral Dancers, even particularly degenerate vampires or depraved ghosts) for miles around become aware of the rite; many will stop at nothing to prevent its completion. The Garou can expect a siege lasting at least until dawn, and likely longer.

If a player’s character should somehow assume the role of ritemaster and succeed, she receives 1 Legend Experience and 2 Legend Beats. Anyone else participating in the rite receives 4 Legend Beats. This task is a legendary one that deserves a suitable reward.

Rites of Death

Garou perform rites of death both to honor the departed and to reaffirm their connection to the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. In facing and acknowledging death as a necessary part of the dance of life, the pack and sept escape the burdens of grief and fear.

System: Rites of Death must be performed on a corpse within a number of days equal to the level of Rite being performed.

Gathering for the Departed (●)

This rite is enacted in honor of the newly dead. A Galliard or a packmate of the departed werewolf usually performs the rite. The specifics of the rite vary dramatically from tribe to tribe. For example, a Fianna ritemaster leads the sept in the telling of tales, both raucous and heroic, about the fallen Garou. In contrast stands the Wendigo’s solemn rite in which the ritemaster and all the fallen one’s packmates stand on the highest peak available, tails to the wind, and howl out their pride and grief to speed their companion onward to her next life. The exact form of the rite is less important than the acknowledgment it represents.

System: The ritemaster leads the release of the Garou’s combined emotions into the spirit world. At the Storyteller’s discretion, this rite may make the deceased’s spirit easier to contact through the Ancestors Merit.

Last Blessing (●)

The mere existence of metis threatens the Veil, as they are born and die in Crinos form. This blessing is given to a dying or just-deceased metis by the ritemaster. It ensures that the corpse will assume the natural form which the metis most preferred — human or wolf — arousing no suspicion. Many metis have received this rite with joy, seeing it as a sign of Gaia’s forgiveness.

System: The ritemaster lays hands on the metis and chants the Song of the True Form, then spends one Gnosis point after making the Standard roll. The metis’s body changes to Homid or Lupus form, and the change is permanent. This rite must be performed within an hour of death, and has no effect on a live metis.

Rite of the Winter Wolf (●●●)

Once a werewolf becomes too wounded or aged to fight with his tribe, he performs this bleak and solemn rite. Upon announcing that he will undergo the rite, the werewolf sits at the center of a gathering of his pack- and sept-mates. The meeting is an onerous, solemn affair during which the Moon Dancers sing hymns of the celebrant’s life and deeds and invoke the spirits for glory in the next world or life. The celebrant then slowly and proudly walks through the closed ranks of the tribe. As he passes his people, they begin howling a dirge similar to that sung during the Gathering for the Departed. Some Garou beat heavy drums or play mournful pipes as the celebrant drags himself to a secluded site where he ends his life, usually with a klaive. Rarely, two werewolves, usually packmates, will perform this rite together, sometimes killing each other simultaneously, although Ahroun may give each other a last fight to finish, with the victor ending his life beside his fallen opponent. Immediately after the suicide, the sept performs the Gathering for the Departed.

Red Talons and Get of Fenris are the staunchest supporters of this rite. It is almost unheard of among the Children of Gaia and Bone Gnawers, who value the knowledge and experience of their aged and wounded.

System: The rite is always performed at night, typically under the auspice moon of the departing werewolf. Three other Garou must be present to acknowledge the character’s life and departure. Failure to perform the rite properly is considered an omen that Gaia still needs some final service from the Garou.

Mystic Rites

These rites bring the Garou into direct contact with the Umbra and its denizens. Unlike most other rites, mystic rites are generally performed alone.

Baptism of Fire (●)

Most tribes attempt to track down all children born to their Kinfolk within one a month of the child’s birth to see if they “share the blood.” (Most commonly, this inquiry involves the Gift: Scent of the True Form.) Those who are Garou are “baptized” in the light of their auspice moon, beside a ritual fire. Such a baptism most commonly involves mingling ashes with a few drops of Garou blood; the mixture is then touched to the child’s ears, nose, eyelids and tongue.

In the presence of a lesser tribal spirit known as a Kin-Fetch, the babe is then held up to the moonlight while the baptizing Garou howls Gaia’s greeting to the newborn. The ritemaster then has the Kin-Fetch kiss the infant. The spirit’s fiery kiss inscribes a spiritual brand upon the babe in the form of the newborn’s tribal glyph. This mark is invisible — a thing of pure spirit — and impossible to remove. It can be traced and recognized by all Garou (including Black Spiral Dancers, who target such cubs and capture them in order to swell their own vile ranks).

The participating Kin-Fetch spirit is assigned to watch over the young Garou as she grows to maturity, so that the tribe may always know the child’s location and whether she is endangered. When the First Change is imminent, the spirit alerts the tribe. Unfortunately, such minor spirits are notoriously weak-willed and easily distracted.

System: Only one success is required on the Standard roll, but additional successes improve the chance that the Kin-Fetch will keep track of the child. The rite must be performed at night under the child’s auspice moon. Although generally performed within a month of birth, it remains effective at any time before the First Change. The brand vanishes after the cub’s Rite of Passage.

Rite of Binding (●)

This rite binds a spirit to a werewolf, making it his servant. The more powerful the spirit is, the more difficult the process is. Although any encountered spirit is subject to binding, the Garou generally feel that spirits should be bound only when needed. Binding spirits for excessive lengths of time is generally viewed as callous abuse of those who should be the allies of the Garou. This point doesn’t go uncontested, however, particularly by the mystics of the Uktena tribe.

Spirits trapped through this rite may be bound into temporary service or into objects to create talens. No spirit allows itself to be bound unless it is friendly to the binding character’s totem. Spirits can be bound into objects, places, and people, although the Garou generally don’t perform the last feat unless the need is great. Failing this rite can be dangerous, for the spirit is very likely to become hostile and attempt to harm the mystic.

System: A Garou can attempt this rite only in the presence of a spirit, and it is usually performed in the Umbra. When attempting to bind a spirit, a Garou must first spend a number of Gnosis points (minimum of one). Each point of Gnosis spent reduces the spirit’s effective Resistance trait by one. The Garou’s player must then roll Resolve + Composure - the spirit’s adjusted Resistance. The number of successes indicates how long the spirit may be forced into service, with each success binding the spirit for one week. In the case of a talen, the spirit is bound until the object is used.

Rite of Growth (●)

This favorite of urban Garou, particularly Glass Walkers, allows plants to grow in strange locations. The plants don’t grow unusually quickly, but can grow in plastic, concrete, or other unusual places, drawing nutrients from the source. Three Garou are needed to make this rite work.

The ritemaster makes an indentation in the surface using a claw, and plants the seed of the plant into it. The three then hold hands in a triangle around it, kneeling, and request the spirit of the material that it nurture and care for the plant. If the spirit agrees, a small green shoot will appear immediately.

System: The resistance to the Standard roll depends on the surface and area; an abandoned lot is -1, a typical city building is -3, and an oil spill would be -5. Each success guarantees the plant’s survival for one month. After that, as much regular watering and care as for any other plant is required.

Rite of Heritage (●)

Galliards and Philodox alike favor this genealogical rite, albeit for slightly different reasons. Some Garou use it to verify the identity of a hero’s descendants before passing on an inheritance; others use it to identify the father of a metis cub if none is forthcoming. The ritemaster draws the blood of the subject with a silver knife and sings a long paean to the ancestor-spirits of his tribe and any others that might be watching over the subject. As he completes the song, the ancestor-spirits whisper the subject’s heritage into his ears.

System: Success on the Standard roll reveals the subject’s true heritage for one generation back per success (for example, two successes would reveal the subject’s heritage as far back as his grandparents). In addition, the ritemaster receives the answer to one specific question about the subject’s heritage per success; e.g., “What was this cub’s paternal grandfather’s profession?” or “Does the blood of any other tribe run in this cub’s veins?” The answer will be accurate, as long as the answer can be found within the number of generations revealed; if the ritemaster gained four successes, for example, he could not ask “Is this child descended from Frode,” but he could accurately tell if the child’s great-great-grandfather claimed descent from Frode or not.

The Rite of Heritage works just as well with humans or wolves (although wolves, lacking names, are harder to accurately identify), even non-Kin or mages. It does not, however, work on the undead or on fae.

Rite of the Cardboard Palace (●)

A Bone Gnawer favorite, this rite allows the Garou to transform any flimsy structure into a decent place to sleep. This often involves a lot of cardboard and newspaper, but this rite can be invoked just about anywhere a werewolf needs to call home for the night — a few torndown branches arranged into a messy lean-to in the woods functions as well as a pile of converted trash in an alley. The “walls” of the dwelling become water-resistant and insulated, keeping everyone inside warm and dry. The rite can even be performed in full view of humans without breaking the Veil.

For powerful Theurges, the cardboard palace is even a place of healing, as well.

System: One success on the Standard roll is all that’s needed to create a comfortable place to sleep. If a point of Gnosis is spent before making the roll, the shelter is more than just comfortable — the Garou (and any other Fera) living inside the cardboard palace can roll Stamina after a full day of rest within; three successes heals one aggravated health level. A cardboard palace lasts for one full day per success on the activation roll.

Rite of the Questing Stone (●)

This rite allows the werewolf to find a person or object (but not a location). She must know the name of the object or individual, and must dangle a stone or needle from a thread while concentrating on the item or person sought. Glass Walkers often use maps and substitute a compass for the traditional stone and thread.

System: If the Garou has a piece of the item or individual (a clipping of hair, a piece of cloth), the ritualist receives a +1 bonus to the Standard roll. The werewolf gains only a sense of the object’s general location, not its exact position.

Rite of Talisman Dedication (●)

This common rite allows a werewolf to bind objects to her body, allowing them to fit her various forms (jeans will grow to accommodate the Crinos form rather than splitting at the seams, for example) and accompany the Garou into the Umbra. Such talismans are most commonly mundane items, for spiritual items such as fetishes and talens remain with the werewolf in all forms and in the Umbra automatically. A werewolf most often performs this rite during the phase of the moon under which she was born. Each auspice has its own peculiar ritual.

System: The cost is one Gnosis point per object dedicated, and a character may never have more objects bound to himself than his Gnosis pool. Conceptually linked groups of objects may count as a single object as the Storyteller’s discretion. For example, as a set of clothing would be considered one object rather than one shirt, one pair of pants, two socks, and so on; or a box of ammunition might be dedicated to the character, rather than requiring one dedication per bullet.

Objects will generally resize themselves to accommodate the character’s various forms (such as a backpack’s straps lengthening to accommodate Crinos form), but may simply meld with the character in forms where they can be of no use — for example, a knife may become a knife-shaped tattoo in Hispo. Others must spend a point of Willpower to attempt to steal dedicated objects from the werewolf.

Rite of Becoming (●●)

Werewolves must perform this rite at an Anchorhead Domain. Once completed, it enables them to travel into the Deep Umbra. The most common version of this rite requires the Garou to make a braid from three of her hairs, three pieces of fine copper wire, and three tendrils of ivy or other vine. Lengths of silk thread are sometimes substituted for the hair or wire. When the braid has been constructed, the Garou ties it around his own wrist and howls three words of power.

System: If the braid is destroyed while the Garou is in the Deep Umbra, the werewolf takes one level of Aggravated damage and risks becoming lost forever if she doesn’t return quickly to the Near Umbra.

Rite of Spirit Awakening (●●)

This rite is used to awaken a sleeping (inactive) spirit. To perform this rite, a Garou must play a rhythm on some form of instrument (drums are the most common). While the Garou plays, any other participating werewolves pace around the ritemaster, howling and growling in counterpoint to the beat.

When performed on a mundane item, this rite enlivens the object’s spirit, causing it to awaken and appear in the Umbra. For example, if the rite is performed on a VW bus, any Garou stepping sideways could see the bus as a true part of the landscape. However, it would appear as a stationary object in the Penumbra unless someone on the physical plane began to drive it, in which case it would appear as a driverless vehicle to anyone in the Umbra.

When performed on plants, this rite is known as sanctification. Plant-spirits are generally benevolent, and an awakened plant spirit will lend its powers as though it were a talen (one use). Different plants grant different abilities when sanctified. For example, sanctified foxglove protects against faerie magic (adding two to the difficulty of any faerie spell).

System: The ritemaster must play a musical instrument or sing a song (talent doesn’t matter); the resistance to the Standard roll is the spirit’s Power trait. Failure means that the spirit remains dormant. The Storyteller must decide whether the spirit is hostile or friendly to its awakener. Awakening a spirit doesn’t allow any control over it. Commanding an awakened spirit requires either a Rite of Binding or a Gift. This rite doesn’t work on sentient beings such as humans. Such individuals are already as “awakened” as they’re going to get.

Rite of Summoning (●●)

Garou mystics are adept at calling spirits, be they minor Gafflings, totem spirits, or even Incarna. Summoning spirits involves complex rituals, long periods of meditation, and tribal mantra chanting. Within the Umbra, this process is far easier. This rite compels spirits to seek those who call them. Furthermore, the spirit cannot escape its caller once the summoning is completed successfully, and it must attend the mystic. Many spirits, particularly minor ones, are too weak to resist a powerful summoning. Powerful ones come out of curiosity. The chance of a successful summoning depends upon the skill of the mystic, the power of the spirit, and the strength of the area’s Gauntlet.

System: The ritemaster must first pierce the Gauntlet just as if he were entering the Umbra (Purity roll against the local Gauntlet level). A mystic already within the Umbra is not required to pierce the Gauntlet. The power level of the spirit determines the resistance to the Standard roll. The Storyteller can determine difficulty from the following chart:

Spirit Type Resistance
Gaffling -0
Jaggling -1
Totem avatar -3
Incarna -5
Celestine avatar -10

For each hour the Garou spends invoking the spirit, he gains a +1 bonus to the Rite’s roll (maximum of +3). The player must then make a Purity roll and achieve as many successes as possible, with the following results:

Successes Effect
1 Spirit comes eventually and is initially hostile
2 Spirit manifests quickly, but it is still initially hostile
3 Spirit comes immediately and is neutral
4 Spirit comes immediately and is passively benign
5 Spirit comes immediately and is friendly

A Dramatic Failure on the roll is likely to have disastrous results. Often a Dramatic Failure summons the wrong type of spirit - or even Banes - in great numbers or with great hostility.

The Storyteller should feel free to adjust the previous tables as she wishes, particularly as appropriate to totems. In certain cases, a Garou who attempts to summon a specific spirit will have no chance of success. At other times, he will have almost no chance of failure. The Storyteller is advised to treat each use of this rite individually and to use common sense in her decisions.

A Garou who summons an Incarna or Celestine avatar successfully gains two Legend Beats, unless the summons is done frivolously.

Descent Into the Underworld (●●●)

Most Garou think of the Umbra, the Gaian spirit world, as the only spirit realm that sits close to the physical world. Most Garou are wrong. The Underworld — the Land of the Dead, the Dark Umbra — sits astride the physical realm just as the Umbra does. Within it are trapped the ghosts of countless humans who died unable to let go of their lives and pass on into the cycle of souls, as Gaia intended.

The Underworld is a bleak landscape mirroring all that is decayed or departed in the living world, as the Penumbra is a reflection expressing the world’s spiritual nature. Terrible, unstable portals lead deeper yet into the Underworld, a land of spirit-storms and nightmare mazes where few Garou have ever ventured and from which fewer still have ever returned.

This rite is primarily known and used by the Silent Striders, but a few other tribes and camps make use of it as well (most notably the Black Furies and Uktena).

System: The ritemaster must sacrifice a living mammal and touch every character to be affected by the rite with at least a fingerprint of its blood. He then draws sigils on the ground nearby with the remaining blood. The player then rolls the Standard roll, resisted by the local Gaultlet rating. Success on this roll takes the ritemaster to the Underworld; each additional success takes one of the other characters marked (if there aren’t enough successes to go around, those with the highest Rage are transported first).

Rite of the Fetish (●●●)

This rite allows a werewolf to create a fetish (an object with a spirit bound into it). To do so, the Garou must first cleanse the potential fetish by placing it under running water (sufficiently drinkable flowing tap water counts), burying it in pure earth, exposing the object to constant breezes, or suspending it above flame for three consecutive nights. The Garou must then force or persuade a spirit to enter the prepared object. The Fianna claim that cajoling or flattering a spirit produces the best results, while the Bone Gnawers and Silent Striders claim that bribery (expending Gnosis) works best.

System: Each point of permanent Gnosis that the character spends during the rite grants the ritualist a +2 bonus to the Standard roll. Other bonuses may be granted by the Storyteller if the ritemaster does a good job persuading the spirit to enter the fetish (by providing chiminage, undergoing a quest to prove her sincerity or worthiness, flattery, etc). If the Garou attempts to force a spirit into the fetish, she must first attack the spirit and reduce it to zero Corpus before attempting to bind it into the fetish.

Rite of the Totem (●●●)

This rite binds a totem to a group of Garou, joining them together as a pack. During the rite, all werewolves who wish to bind their destinies to a particular totem spirit must coat their eyes with an infusion of saliva and mugwort, tobacco, or a similar substance holy to Gaia and step sideways into the Umbra. In the spirit world, the ritemaster leads the Garou in a hunt for the spiritual spoor left by a totem spirit. Such evidence varies with the spirit, but Garou worthy of the totem’s attention can always find it. Even tracking down the spirit doesn’t guarantee success, for the totem must decide whether the Garou are worthy to become its fosterlings. An undecided totem may require a quest of the supplicants, although one is almost never required if the pack has just completed a Rite of Passage successfully.

System: Characters must purchase the Totem Merit to benefit from this rite. Otherwise, the rite is simply not performed.

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.

Rites of Renown

These rites celebrate both the specific accomplishments of an individual werewolf and his achievement of a new station in the pack or sept. Garou long to receive such rites as much as they fear facing a rite of punishment.

Rite of Boasting (●)

Boasting and bragging have always been a vital aspect of warrior cultures. Boasts serve to work up a fighter’s courage while putting fear into the opponent. But to truly impress, the boaster must back up his claims. This rite is more than formalized bragging, for it forces the Garou to “put up or shut up.” Before a battle or mission, the Garou boasts before all assembled that he will perform a particularly impressive feat (for example, “I will kill three Black Spirals with only my claws,” “I will scale the electrified razorwire of the refinery” or “I will be the first to reach the shield wall, there to wrest the enemy’s standard from his dead hand.”). The boast is performed in a ritual fashion, with a short recitation of lineage and a summary of glorious deeds performed to date. If he makes good on his boast, he magnifies the Glory of the act. If he fails, the resulting derision of his peers costs him Glory; boasting is only respected if you can back it up. This rite is most commonly used among the Fianna, Get of Fenris, and Wendigo, but most tribes have some version of it.

System: Standard roll, though a resistance or bonus may be added based on the difficulty and glory of the proposed feat - modest goals are harder to boast about than impressive lunacy. For every two successes, the boast earns a potential extra Legend Beat, up to a total of five; if five Legend Beats are obtained this way, they automatically transfer into one dot of Glory upon successful completion of the boast. If the boast is carried through, the Garou earns the Legend Beats. If he fails and lives, he loses that amount. If he dies while carrying out his deed, there is neither loss nor gain of extra Renown.

A single pack may boast of a deed, but only the pack leader can perform the rite. In this case, the a bonus of +1 is given to the roll, and the entire pack gains or loses the Glory award.

Rite of Wounding (●)

This rite celebrates a Garou’s first battle wound. Each tribe marks this moment differently, but all honor this sign of courage. Many tribes rub ash into at least part of the wound to form a scar of remembrance. The Get of Fenris always end this rite with a fierce all-night revel filled with drinking and fighting. By contrast, the Children of Gaia end their Rites of Wounding with prayers for peace and understanding among all creatures.

System: Only the wounded character and the ritemaster must be present for this rite, although the werewolf’s pack and sept are normally present. The wounded character receives two Legend Beats if this rite succeeds.

Rite of Accomplishment (●●)

This rite is used to honor a werewolf and recognize the trials he has endured to attain his current standing. An elder will call the honored Garou forward, much as the Garou might be called forward should the elders want to punish or criticize her. As the Garou advances, the elder begins listing all of the things the Garou did to gain the acclaim. The Rite of Accomplishment then takes place, and anyone who wishes to speak on behalf of the Garou being honored may do so. In conclusion, the elder says something along the lines of, “She is made greater in her tribe, her sept and greater among the People everywhere. Let this be known.”

System: This rite is performed when a character has 5 Legend Beats and wishes to gain a point of permanent Renown. Only one success is necessary, unless someone disputes the rite, in such an instance, the roll is contested by the disputer’s Manipulation + Persuasion.

A failure on the roll is considered indicative of a failing in the applicant. The ritemaster often receives a portent from Gaia showing the unworthiness of the applicant. If the roll suffers a Dramatic Failure, the applicant must undergo a penance before anyone will again give him the Rite of Accomplishment. Such is the injustice of Garou society.

It is possible, although rare, that someone will dispute the rite. In this case, the disputer stands and heckles the ritemaster as he performs the rite, making bold assertions about the negative qualities of the applicant. The applicant so insulted must make a Resolve + Composure roll not to frenzy; if he frenzies, the rite is over. If he keeps his cool, and the rite is successful, no one can rightfully question his worthiness for at least three moons (i.e., no one can dispute any Rites of Accomplishment performed on him during the next month and a half), and the heckler may lose a Legend Beat.

Rite of Passage (●●)

After a cub undergoes his First Change and becomes aware that he is a werewolf, he must undergo his Rite of Passage. Werewolves are not accorded adulthood or respect until they pass this seminal rite; they are mere cubs until that time. They are not even considered true Garou, and Shadow Lords do not refer to them as such until this rite is completed. Similarly, a cub is not a member of any tribe until his Rite of Passage. A male cub born to the Black Furies, for example, becomes a member of whatever tribe will offer him a place among them by use of this rite.

During a Rite of Passage, the cubs must complete a dangerous quest meant to prove that they have the courage, honor, and wisdom befitting a werewolf. However, few cubs undergo this rite alone. They are often joined by their pack-to-be, other cubs who are also coming of age. The ritemaster commands the would-be pack to go out into the world with a definite goal to achieve, and he forbids it to return until it has tried its best to accomplish this goal. Different tribes impose different goals, although multi-tribal septs usually reach a compromise. A Wendigo rite often takes the form of a vision quest, while the Get of Fenris commonly send their cubs into combat with Wyrm-spawn. Invisible spirits sometimes accompany the cubs in order to watch over them and report their doings to the elders.

If the cubs succeed in their quest, a ritemaster performs this rite upon them, marking them with a pictogram that brands them as full-fledged Garou. These pictograms are usually painted, but the Red Talons carve them into the flesh of the young heroes.

If the cubs fail, however, they are considered second-class citizens until they are granted another opportunity to prove themselves.

System: A cub is not considered a Cliath, and thus a full member of the Garou Nation, until the Rite of Passage is successfully cast upon them.

Rite of Praise (●●)

This rite honors a werewolf who has given more, risked more, and sacrificed more than necessary for the good of other Garou, Gaia, or anything related. The entire sept is gathered as the ritemaster presents the commendation, often with a token worthy of the honoree, such as a fetish, as a final reward. This rite is not used lightly, or to reward expected behavior — it honors only the greatest.

System: The ritemaster presents to the sept the deeds and actions of the chosen Garou warranting such praise. For each success on the Standard roll, the praised Garou gains an extra die to use for Social dice pools within the sept over the next three months.

Seasonal Rites

Seasonal rites vary from tribe to tribe and sept to sept. Each has its own means of celebrating the turning of the seasons. Some septs celebrate only the major rites of the solstices and equinoxes; others perform a rite at least once per moon.
These rites renew the People’s connection to Gaia as the Earth Mother. Some Garou even believe that were such rites to cease entirely, the balance of the world would tumble out into chaos.

System: Seasonal rites must, obviously, occur at the proper time of year, and at least five Garou must attend.

Rite of the Winter Winds (●●)

On the longest night of the year, Garou enact this rite as a salute to Helios and an encouragement for him to begin lengthening the days again. Some werewolves believe that if this rite is not performed, the nights will continue to lengthen until Gaia has fallen into a terrible twilight state of perpetual pain. Most modern werewolves consider this mere superstition, but even such skeptics participate enthusiastically in the rite.

The Rite of the Winter Winds is rarely the same from sept to sept. European Garou practice a common version that begins with the ritemaster gathering the Garou in a circle around a small bonfire. She then leads the group in an extended howl that begins as a low, rumbling growl and eventually rises to an ululating crescendo. When the ritemaster feels that the tension is at its height, she leaps forward, snatches up a burning branch and runs into the woods. The other Garou follow her, grabbing branches as they go. Running as swiftly as they can, the werewolves make as many frightening and strange noises as possible. This rite is performed both to encourage Gaia’s labor in giving birth to the sun, and to frighten off any minions of the Wyrm that might be lurking about, ready to snatch the newborn sun or harm Gaia as she turns her attention away from the surface world.

The ritemaster finally leads the howling pack back to the bonfire, where they hurl their branches into the conflagration. Once the fire is raging, the Garou celebrate with a revel that lasts until dawn, at which time they greet the newborn sun with one last, triumphant howl.

Rite of Reawakening (●●)

This rite celebrates the vernal equinox, the time of rebirth. The ritemaster begins the rite at sundown by leading the gathered Garou on a quest into the Umbra. Such a quest is sometimes symbolic, but more and more often as the time of the Apocalypse draws near, the questors seek true danger in the Umbral Realms — or it finds them on its own.

The quest always involves seven trials. These trials represent the seven gates that bar the way to the Underworld. Such trials vary dramatically from tribe to tribe, but there are always a variety of challenges presented to the members. One test might involve facing a Bane in combat, while another challenge might consist of finding a fetish lost within the Deep Umbra. Each test requires the participants to relinquish something of themselves, be it a cherished personal fetish, an old grudge or false pride. If the Garou can win their way past these challenge gates, they can renew the Earth, banishing the winter-spirits and paving the way for the green, growing season.

At the end of the rite, the werewolves return to their bodies. At this time many tribes seek out Garou Kinfolk, or other humans and wolves, and reacquaint themselves with the joys of the flesh, celebrating the incredible beauty of life and the necessity of its continuation in future generations. Not surprisingly, this is the night when a large percentage of metis cubs are conceived. Although such couplings are always taboo, the intense drama of the rite sometimes overrides such concerns.

The Great Hunt (●●)

This rite falls on the eve of the summer solstice, or Midsummer, when Helios stays longest in the sky and is thus at the zenith of his influence. The short hours of darkness offer the creatures of the Wyrm little place to hide, and the werewolves respond by holding a sacred hunt.

Exactly at midnight, just at Midsummer begins, the ritemaster calls upon Gaia to bring to the attention of the sept a creature or creatures worthy of the Great Hunt. In preparation, the Garou chant, howl, and tell tales of bravery. Also common is a ritual bloodletting, wherein each Garou cuts herself and sheds some of her blood into a large bowl. The mingled blood is then used to paint pictograms on the forehead or breastbone of each of the hunters. At dawn, Gaia sends the waiting sept a sign proclaiming the target of the Great Hunt. This sign may come in any form, from a vision seen by an entranced Wendigo ritemaster to a news story flashing on the screen of an old television in a Bone Gnawer caern. Although the person or creature chosen by Gaia is almost always associated with the Wyrm, Gaia demands on rare occasions that one of her own be sacrificed in the Great Hunt. Only the greatest warriors are ever chosen as the targets of a Great Hunt, and Gaia demands such a sacrifice from her children only in times of great need, for the freed spirit of such a warrior is said to transform immediately into an avenging angel for Gaia.

The Garou have only until midnight to complete the Great Hunt. If successful, the blood of the fallen creature is spilled onto Gaia’s soil (or into the ether if the Great Hunt takes place on the Umbra) as a sacrifice to Gaia. If the hunters fail to slay their quarry, it is considered a terrible omen for the coming year. Some Theurges say that no sept will succeed at the Great Hunt during the year of the Apocalypse. At the least, a failed Great Hunt means poor luck for the sept in the year to come. Anyone participating in a successful Great Hunt gains Glory. The danger of the particular Great Hunt determines the amount of Glory gained.

Systems: Characters participating in a successful Great Hunt gain -presuming the target is of average threat level - two Legend Beats. If the Great Hunt is unsuccessful, each participating character two Legend Beats, or one Glory if they do not have enough Legend Beats to lose. In addition, the resistance of all rites performed by the sept increase by one until the next Midsummer.

The Long Vigil (●●●)

This rite marks the autumnal equinox, when the season of long days gives way to the season of long nights. Although summer is the traditional season of war among many human cultures, the Garou know that their shadow war will be all the more difficult during the lengthening hours of darkness. To prepare themselves, they hold the Long Vigil, a rite designed to sharpen their appetite for the battles ahead.

The Long Vigil begins at sundown, around a raging bonfire (some urban caerns make substitutions). The sept spends the day before the Vigil bedecking the caern with trophies of war collected during the previous year. From bent rifles and shredded flak jackets to broken Wyrm-fetishes and strings of teeth, to the skulls of Wyrmish monsters, to smeared blood mixed with the dust of vampires, all manner of mementos adorn the heart of the caern. As the sun slips below the horizon, the ritemaster begins to chant praise to Helios, thanking him for his blessings during the summer, and praying for his safety in the coming winter. The ritemaster then praises Luna and beseeches her aid in the long nights to come.

To aid in the ritemaster’s plea for aid, the Galliards of the sept come forward and begin to recite tales of the most glorious battles of the last year and the deeds done in her name. They point to each trophy in turn to tell the story of how it was won from its owner. Particularly eloquent members of other auspices who distinguished themselves in the previous year are sometimes allowed the honor of being the first to tell their own tales. Once the Galliards have finished, the other members of the sept begin to recount their own versions of the great deeds of the previous year. The tale-telling lasts all night; as dawn approaches, the ritemaster invokes Luna one final time. He dedicates all the deeds of the previous year to Luna, her brother Helios, and her sister Gaia, and he promises that the year to come will be just as glorious with Luna’s blessing. As the rite concludes, the Garou hurl as many trophies as possible into the bonfire, destroying their hard-earned mementos as a sign of faith that they will take many more in the year to come.

Minor Rites

Minor rites are the rituals that the Garou incorporate into daily living. Almost all Garou know and use at least a few such minor rites. Many werewolves develop their own unique minor rites to help them reaffirm their connection to Gaia, or to meet the Final Days with bravery and grace.

System: They can be purchased for two for one Experience.

Bone Rhythms

A werewolf performs this rite to honor her totem spirit. Each spirit has a different rhythm connected to it, and the Garou taps out her spirit’s rhythm with special sticks to honor it. Such “sticks” are traditionally made of bone, but they can be fashioned from any material.

System: Any werewolf who performs this rite three times per day for at least three consecutive days gains an additional die to any one roll while in the Umbra. Once this die is used, the Garou must rebuild the energies for an additional three days before regaining the extra die.

Breath of Gaia

During this rite the werewolf breathes deeply of the Mother’s breath — clean air — 13 times. While so breathing, she clears her mind of all things save her love of Gaia.

System: The character must perform this rite at least once per day for one full cycle of the moon. Doing so enables her to gain a +2 bonus on any one healing or detection roll.

Greet the Moon

This rite is an exuberant paean to Luna. During this rite, the werewolf howls an elaborate greeting at moonrise; the howl varies with the phase of the moon.

System: Performing this rite each night at moonrise for a full phase of the moon enables the character to add one die to all rolls involving social interactions with Garou of that phase’s auspice the next night the moon is in the phase in question.

Greet the Sun

Certain Children of Gaia and a few Uktena and Wendigo practice this rite. It is similar to Greet the Moon, but is performed at sunrise.

System: The werewolf must sing Helios’s praises for nine consecutive sunrises. If the Garou does so, Helios grants his devotee an additional die when attempting to sense Wyrm creatures or Wyrm-taint, provided the werewolf continues to sing his praises daily. If even one sunrise is missed, the rite must be begun anew to restore its benefits.

Hunting Prayer

This common rite takes many forms, but always involves pausing before the start of a hunt to praise Gaia and all her creatures. In addition, the Garou selects some item to hold her prayers. The item could be anything from an old belt to a shark-tooth necklace, but the werewolf must have it with her when she hunts. If she loses the item, she must choose a new one and begin her devotions anew.

System: If the Garou performs this rite before every hunt for three lunar months, she receives an additional die to all tracking rolls as long as she continues her pre-hunt prayers. If she neglects the prayer before even one hunt, she must begin the cycle again before she regains the bonus.

Prayer for the Prey

A specific form of the Rite of Contrition, this rite involves the werewolf stepping sideways into the Umbra just after making a kill, in order to thank her prey’s spirit for giving its life that she might survive.

System: The character must perform this rite upon every beast of Gaia (not including Wyrm-spawn) she slays for one full turning of the moon. Should she do so, she receives a +1 bonus when dealing with nature spirits. This bonus lasts until she kills an animal without taking time to thank the creature’s spirit.