The following backgrounds are available to your character. In general, having multiple dots in a background allows for more effective or more frequent use of that background’s benefit. Some backgrounds change your character during character creation, while others affect the character only after she enters game. Read each background carefully to determine which are appropriate for your character’s story.
Garou who are in a pack and share a totem spirit may pool certain backgrounds together. Shared backgrounds should be noted specifically on your character’s sheet, listing your individual contribution, as well as the total among the pack.
The following backgrounds may be shared:
The Allies background represents humans who support and help you. These humans may be family, friends, or even a loyal corporation or criminal organization. Allies may represent friends who work as park rangers, write for a prominent blog, or circulate in the high society of local celebrities. With Allies, you can make a few calls, cut a few deals, and get trustworthy assistance in a wide range of activities.
Remember that Allies are human, and are not aware of the supernatural world. They genuinely believe you are a friend, and they may ask you for a favor in the future. If your Allies ask for a favor in return, and you are unable to assist them, you may lose dots in the Allies background until you “make good” on the deal.
For each dot of Allies that you purchase, you must define one group of people with whom your character is allied. For example, a character with 3 dots of Allies may choose to define those Allies as civil rights attorneys, park rangers at a nearby forest reserve, and a local professional wrestling circuit known as the Hardcore Combat Federation. When you have your character call in favors, you must tell the Storyteller which group (or groups) she is contacting and explain how that group is capable of assisting your character with the specific problem.
Allies can perform reasonable tasks and may be more capable if the task is something appropriate to their profession. For example, Allies who work as civil rights attorneys could do something mundane, such as research a local business. They would be very good at something in line with their profession, like filing a court motion. However, it would be outside their area of expertise to dispose of a body. The character’s second Ally, the park rangers, would be more appropriate for that task.
If the situation requires character sheets for your Allies, the Storyteller can generate up to three Stock NPCs, one of rating 3 and two at rating 1. All of these NPCs are human, and none have any supernatural abilities. Note that Allies are capable of fighting, but they are not designed to be a character’s personal army. If a character’s Allies are killed, the character loses access to the Allies background for the next two games or one month (whichever is longer).
You may choose to use this background once per game session for each dot of Allies your character possesses.
You maintain a second Alternate Identity, complete with papers, birth certificates, or any other necessary documentation. This identity is normally applicable to the human populace, although it may be used to infiltrate supernatural groups if you possess 4 or more dots of the background. You may buy this background multiple times, with each instance representing an entirely
separate cover identity. Lineage merits may hinder any ability to successfully infiltrate other tribes or supernatural groups, at the Storyteller’s discretion.
In order to determine if a character is using an Alternate Identity, you may choose to spend a number of downtime actions investigating a character you suspect of having an Alternate Identity, researching your target’s bona fides. After you have spent your chosen number of actions, make a challenge using your Mental attribute + Investigation skill versus the target’s Mental attribute + Subterfuge skill. If you succeed in this challenge, and you have spent a number of downtime actions equal to or greater than your target’s dots of Alternate Identity, you discover the true identity of the target character.
If you fail the test, if you have not spent a number of downtime actions that equal or exceed your target’s dots of Alternate Identity, or if your target is not using an Alternate Identity, the identity appears legitimate. Storytellers should conduct the test in secret so as to avoid indicating whether or not someone is using an Alternate Identity. Additionally, a Storyteller should not tell a player in advance how many downtime actions are needed to thoroughly investigate someone, or if such an investigation is even warranted.
• Your identity is very shallow. You have a driver’s license or other minor documentation, and it can survive a perfunctory internet search.
•• You have a well-grounded identity that could withstand the scrutiny of a minor criminal investigation. This identity might include birth certificates and social security numbers.
••• Your identity is very well established and stands up to all but the toughest scrutiny. This persona has a long and believable history, including friends, family, and character witnesses.
•••• Your identity is designed to infiltrate another tribe or supernatural organization. At this level you’ve established a rudimentary identity as a new (or fairly new) member of the chosen organization.
••••• Your identity is a respected member of society; it holds powerful office in the human world or among your chosen supernatural group. You have a long and in-depth history, and your cover is solid enough to pass even supernatural means of verification. Note that this veracity doesn’t prevent your character from being “found out” if you make a mistake, and other players catch on. Even the strongest Alternate Identity will fail if you can’t keep a secret, display proper etiquette for the identity, or if you are directly observed breaking your cover. While your cover story and paperwork can withstand inspection, some supernatural powers that directly examine you may lead to your alternate persona becoming compromised, at the Storyteller’s discretion.
You can sense the presence of your ancestors and occasionally allow them to guide your actions.
Once per game session, for each dot you possess of the Ancestors background, you can call on your ancestors’ experience. This ability may be used at any time, even before your turn in the initiative order. When you activate this ability, an ancestor partially controls your actions. Choose one skill and increase its value to 5 dots until the end of the turn.
You cannot call on your ancestors more than once per turn, and the background doesn’t benefit actions that take longer than a single turn to perform. Skills increased via this background do not gain specialties or areas of focus. For example, you might use this background to temporarily increase your Lore skill to 5, but doing so would not grant you Lore specializations.
You have established close personal relationships with people all over the city. When you start making phone calls and asking for gossip or inside tips, the amount of information you can dig up is impressive. You know who to bribe, manipulate, or coerce into offering information, and the favorites list on your cellphone looks like a who’s who of the city’s most important people.
Your Contacts help you keep an ear out for rumors and gather information. When you call on your Contacts, the character makes a few phone calls, checks in on her snitches, and listens to the local gossip mongers. The character very quickly gets rumors and information appropriate to the network she’s established with this background.
For each dot of Contacts that you possess, you must define one individual with whom your character has a close relationship. This individual is considered to be very well connected in their field or area of expertise; she knows a great deal and actively remains aware of current events within her sphere of influence. For example, a character with 3 dots of Contacts may choose to define those individuals as Bethany, the wealthy socialite; Carlos, the head of Accounting at a local financial conglomerate; and Jane Anne, the owner of one of the most popular nightclubs in the city. When the player has her character call these Contacts, she must tell the Storyteller which individual (or individuals) she is contacting and explain how that individual might know information of use to her character in the specific situation.
When you use your Contacts, you may ask the Storyteller for one piece of information about an ongoing plot, or you may ask for information about one Influence transaction that occurred within the city in the last month. If used to investigate plot, these Contacts provide information that the Storyteller considers appropriate. If the Contacts are used to investigate Influences, the character gains a full description of the influence result and information that can be used to discover who controls that Influence (if anyone).
You can use this background once for each dot of Contacts the character possesses, per game session.
When purchasing Fame, decide why your character is famous. The number of dots purchased in this background determines the range of the character’s human acclaim. For example, a painter with 1 dot of Fame might be known only within artistic circles, while an actor with 5 dots of Fame would be a nationally known celebrity.
When you interact with humans who recognize your character’s Fame, you can add +5 to any non-supernatural Social challenges. Additionally, NPCs often give you favors, assist you without question, and grant you the benefit of the doubt. For example, a famous celebrity will not have difficulty getting a private room, borrowing someone’s car, or convincing people in a hotel that the strange things they saw were just scenes being filmed for a new horror movie. Note that when you call on your Fame to help you, the circumstances quickly become common knowledge among your sphere of acclaim. If a famous painter asks for a free ride home from the airport, it will make the news and people will speculate about her reasons for needing the ride.
• Local scene
•••• Adjoining states/region
••••• Entire country
High levels of Fame can be disruptive to a chronicle. Storytellers should regulate the Fame background as they feel appropriate for their setting.
Fetishes are potent magical items created with the help of spirits. To wield a fetish, you must become attuned to it, represented by purchasing this background. System Each dot of this background allows you to attune yourself to a single level of a fetish. You can attune higher-level fetishes by devoting additional dots of this background towards that fetish. For example, attuning a level 3 fetish requires 3 dots of the Fetish background. No character can attune themselves to more than 5 levels of fetishes without some sort of merit or special power, but she can divide those fetish levels as she wishes. Dots of this background are not lost if a fetish you have attuned is lost, stolen, or abandoned. Instead, you can reallocate your dots of this background to attune yourself to new or different fetishes.
Note this background does not provide you with a fetish. Rather, it is a measure of your ability to correctly use and care for one.
For the complete rules on fetishes, see Chapter Fifteen: Influences and Equipment, Fetishes, page (376 of Gamma Slice).
The Influence background is a mechanical means to express the series of social connections, business transactions, and personal favors that make up your character’s influence over the human world. You can purchase up to 5 dots of either influence category as listed below:
•Elite: You have influence over the upper crust, those who are wealthy, hold legitimate power, own corporations, or control noteworthy institutions. These individuals live in a world of wealth and affluence.
•Underworld: You have influence over those who work outside of the law, whether they represent working classes looking the other way, or those who live on the street ruling gangs and drug cartels, running networks of thieves or controlling intricate cultural bureaucracy. These individuals live in a world of rumors, whispers, and lies.
System Information about utilizing Influence is detailed in Chapter Fifteen: Influences and Equipment, page (not included in this Omega Slice).
Kinfolk- Equivalent of VTM Retainers
While humans find the company of werewolves uncomfortable, kinfolk suffer from no such limitation. For that reason, many Garou rely upon their kinfolk to assist when a softer touch is needed. A werewolf’s Kinfolk background may represent humans or wolves, likely family members, fiercely dedicated to helping your cause. Unlike the Allies background, your kinfolk are always available when you need them. They can be trusted to oversee your personal effects, defend your property, and further your goals.
A kinfolk does not have the specialized knowledge of a Contact, nor the broad capacity to perform favors like Allies do, but she is more loyal and resilient than either of the other two. A kinfolk fights if necessary, though Garou who needlessly place kinfolk in the line of fire are likely to find themselves punished.
To create a kinfolk representing this background, use the Stock NPC rules found in Chapter Fourteen: Allies and Antagonists: Stock NPCs, page (not included in this Omega Slice). The Stock NPC’s rating is equal to the number of dots you possess of the Kinfolk background. It can take any action that an NPC can perform, but the Storyteller should remember that kinfolk are not perfect. For example, a Kinfolk spying on an enemy gathering would certainly report back, but could not be able to quote the things she’s observed verbatim. If there is ever a question about what a kinfolk can accomplish, the Storyteller makes the final determination.
You can purchase the Kinfolk background multiple times, representing multiple kinfolk, but you must purchase dots separately for each individual. You cannot allot more than 5 dots to a single kinfolk. If your kinfolk is released or killed, you lose access to the corresponding background for one game session or two weeks, whichever is longer, for every dot you allotted to that specific kinfolk. This time represents your search for a suitable replacement. You should work with your Storyteller to determine how your character is securing the aid of additional kinfolk.
Garou are extremely social beings, and werewolf society is based largely on Rank. The mechanics of the Rank background give a character bonuses, but also take into account the fact that Garou are required to train younger werewolves and donate their time to assist their sept. The greater Rank a Garou has, the more responsibility she’s given, and the more that responsibility weighs on her.
There are five ranks in Garou society: Cliath, Fostern, Adren, Athro, and Elder. When you purchase a dot of the Rank background, you gain the bonuses and drawbacks associated with your new Rank. If you do not have at least 1 dot of the Rank background, your character is a human, a kinfolk, or an uninitiated Garou (a rank-0 Cub).
Rank 0 Cub
You are considered an adolescent among Garou, still learning the basics of functioning in society. You may be relatively young or a recent victim of the Bite. As you may lack the skills of hunting and socialization, your primary responsibility is to learn so that you can take your place among adults. You are free to ask questions, but not to the extent that it bothers those of higher Rank or interferes with their responsibilities. You cannot hold positions, and you are often granted leeway in the event they make mistakes.
Rank • Cliath
You are a student, the lowest rung of Garou society (other than a Cub). At this Rank, you are no longer kept from dangers as a Cub is, but you are not viewed as a full member of the sept either. You don’t get the right to vote or speak out during important events unless you are participating in a rite or moot that specifically exempts you from this ban. Cliath cannot hold positions of leadership.
Rank •• Fostern
You are a general member of Garou society. Werewolves who wish to contribute, but don’t aspire to leadership (or greatness), often do not advance beyond the Rank of Fostern. As a Fostern, you can hold pack positions, but Fostern don’t hold leadership positions within a sept unless something extreme has happened.
Rank ••• Adren
You have distinguished yourself from the pack. Elders and Athro often assign you temporary leadership roles, such as leading an attack or putting you in charge of acquiring specific objectives. You probably have a pack position, and you may hold a permanent leadership position in your sept if there are no Athro werewolves to fill it.
Rank •••• Athro
You are a true leader. You hold (or aspire) to a leadership position within your sept, tribe, or auspice.
Rank ••••• Elder
As the most experienced Garou, Elders seldom lead directly, but they oversee (and occasionally approve or disapprove of) the decisions of Athro and Adren. Elders are expected to spend most of their time seeing after the sept and advising lower-Rank Garou.
Each dot of Rank gives a shapeshifter character one bonus potential attribute point. A player can use these points to increase her character’s potential attribute maximums. Each bonus point increases a single attribute category’s maximum number by 1; a character must still purchase the attribute up to this maximum using XP, as normal.
When you use a gift with a level that is equal to or lower than your Rank background, you can activate it without paying any costs beyond those listed in the power’s description. If your Rank background is lower than the gift’s level, you must spend an additional Gnosis paying homage to the spirits to activate the gift, in addition to the gift’s other costs.
For example, a Rank 3 character can use level 1, 2, and 3 gifts normally. To use level 4 or 5 gifts, a Rank 3 character must spend an extra Gnosis in addition to the listed cost. Cubs, who have no rank, must always pay an additional Gnosis when activating a gift (see Chapter Five: Gifts, Using Gifts, Using High-Level Gifts, page 254).
As a Garou grows in stature, knowledge of her accomplishments spreads further, and her name is capable of carrying more weight. For each dot of the Rank background a Garou possesses, she gains a measure of Innate Renown at the start of each game session (see Chapter Nine: Social Systems, Renown, page (not included in this Omega Slice)).
Garou of lower Ranks have little in the way of responsibilities and find themselves full of the boundless energy of youth. As a Garou’s rank increases, so does the amount of time she is expected to train, teach others, lead, and perform the day-to-day tasks that keep a sept going. For that reason, higher-Rank Garou often turn to Cubs and Cliath for help with various matters of sept upkeep. The number in the Downtime Bonus column of the chart above reflects the amount of free time enjoyed by younger Garou.
Conversely, as a Garou’s Rank increases, so does the amount of time she is expected to train, teach others, lead, and perform the day-to-day tasks that keep a sept going. Garou of Rank 4 and Rank 5 receive one fewer downtime action than the default. However, they can offset this penalty if they can enlist younger Garou to help with various duties around their sept. For more information, see Chapter Nine: Social Systems: Rank, Rank Progression, page (not included in this Omega Slice).
Ronin, werewolves who do not belong to a sept, are not required to perform sept-focused activities, but spirits still expect them to spend a certain amount of time performing actions to combat the Wyrm and/or help the Wyld. Ronin who have 2 or more dots of the Rank background do not benefit from bonus downtime actions, and they experience the same downtime action penalties at Ranks 4 and 5.
For more information on downtime actions see Chapter Eight: Dramatic Systems, Downtime Actions, page (not included in this Omega Slice).
Like children of all species, younger werewolves learn at an exceptional rate, mastering difficult concepts much easier than Garou who are more advanced in age. Some attribute this phenomenon to an advantage of biology, while others believe younger werewolves lack the intellectual baggage that plagues adults. When purchasing skills, Cub (Rank 0), Cliath (Rank 1), and Fostern (Rank 2) Garou spend XP equal to the skill’s new level, rather than the standard rate of new skill level x2 XP.
When creating a new character, you cannot purchase the Rank background after you spend XP to increase your dots of skills. You cannot use the Rank background’s XP bonus to purchase skills, and then later purchase additional dots of the Rank background during your initial character creation process. After you complete the character creation process and your character has entered play, you can purchase dots of the Rank background normally, without having to expend additional XP to retain the dots of skills purchased using the Skill Cost bonus.
Dots of the Rank background purchased during character creation should be justified in your character’s background. Increasing your Rank background after character creation requires significant roleplay in addition to the required expenditure of XP and a Rank challenge. For more information on Rank advancement, see Chapter Nine: Social Systems: Rank, Advancing in Rank, page (not included in this Omega Slice).
There are many ways to acquire goods, services, property, and luxuries in the World of Darkness, but ready access to money is one of the oldest and most reliable. Garou occasionally maintain some kind of cash flow and some even hold down normal jobs. The Resources background measures your character’s purchasing power, available credit, accumulated assets, and liquid cash reserves. Resources may be actual cash, but as you purchase additional dots of this background, it is more likely that your character has significant investments in stocks and bonds, real estate, or hedge funds, rather than piles of cash sitting around. At the upper end of the background, she may gain money by exerting control over a corporation, criminal syndicate, or religious institution; or she may own a large amount of land, live off a trust fund, smuggle precious objects, or control a massive criminal infrastructure.
A character with no dots of the Resources background is impoverished. She has enough clothing and supplies to survive, and she may live in a cheap motel, a cave, or a small apartment (or something similar). Characters without Resources have little or no liquid cash and cannot afford luxury items. They rarely, if ever, pay their debts.
The Resources background provides a guideline for a general standard of living. It shows wealth and buying power in human equivalents. The gulf between each dot of Resources widens considerably the higher up the scale you go, but the exact amount of cash your character has on hand is decided by the Storyteller. You must also work with your Storyteller to detail exactly where your character’s money comes from and how it can be accessed. The Storyteller also adjusts the details of this background so that it is appropriate for her setting and chronicle. Standards of living can vary markedly between geographic areas, and what’s acknowledged as Comfortable in one community might be considered Sufficient in another.
• Sufficient: You can maintain a typical working-class residence: a small house or condo. You can afford an economical car, you pay your bills on time, and you can purchase simple luxuries like good-quality electronics or occasional vacations to other countries. Through careful management of your finances, you can spend up to $1,000 in liquid cash per month.
•• Moderate: You can support an upper-middle-class lifestyle and home with the occasional lavish gift or conspicuous indulgences such as multiple vehicles or a timeshare condominium in addition to your comfortable home. You can employ a servant or personal assistant, or hire temporary help as necessary. You can spend up to $2,500 in liquid cash per month.
••• Comfortable: You are a prominent and established member of your community with land investments; a large, luxurious home; and at least one second home in a fashionable vacation destination. You likely have more money tied up in investments and property than you do in ready cash. You can spend up to $20,000 in liquid cash per month without much concern.
•••• Wealthy: You rarely touch cash, as most of your assets exist in tangible forms that are themselves more valuable and stable than paper money, such as gold, diamonds, and gems, or in massive credit reserves based on these holdings. You hold more wealth than many who would claim to be your peers, but it’s likely they underestimate your true total net worth. At this level of wealth, banks and government institutions closely monitor how you convert your money to cash. You can easily spend up to $100,000 in liquid cash per month without attracting the wrong kind of attention.
••••• Extremely Wealthy: You are the model others wish to emulate, at least in popular opinion. You have vast and widely distributed assets, perhaps tied to the fates of nations, each managed by large, specialized staffs and supported with connections to every level of society through a region. Corporations and governments sometimes come to you to buy into stocks or bond programs. If there is something you want, and it is possible to buy, you can purchase it without the cost affecting your bottom line. At this level of wealth, the banks, the IRS, and other agencies closely monitor how you convert your money to cash. You can easily spend up to $250,000 in liquid cash per month without attracting the wrong kind of attention.
A rite is a ceremony or ritual performed by a knowledgeable Garou or Fera; this ritual creates an open communion with a spirit, allowing them to exert their power over the world. Shapeshifters are partly comprised of spiritual energy, even if it is bound by flesh, and this duality allows rites to function. Unlike gifts, which are taught by spirits and usually provide instantaneous effects, rituals are elaborate ceremonies that draw on a shapeshifter’s spiritual aspect. She creates a channel between the spiritual world and reality, manifesting an effect.
For more information, see Chapter Eleven: The Garou Nation, Rites, page (not included in this Omega Slice).
When purchasing the Rites background, each dot determines both the strength of the rites you can cast, as well as the type of rites you can access. Choose one option from the following categories for each dot of the Rites background you possess. Once you have learned a category of rites, you may choose to perform all of the rites listed within that category.
Many Rites of the Caern must be performed regularly to keep a caern or shard caern healthy. Shard caerns, weaker than full caerns, are particularly vulnerable and may suffer if they go extended periods of time without benefiting from Rites of the Caern.
• Rite of Furrowed Earth: This recently developed ritual was designed for planting a shard seed. It prepares and opens the land to receive the new shard caern and summons a totem spirit to bond with it.
• Rite of Badger’s Burrow: Primarily a defensive or investigative ritual, Badger’s Burrow allows its caster to gain knowledge of events occurring on a sept’s territory. It also serves as a way to offer chiminage to the totem of the caern, helping it grow and flourish.
• Rite of the Opened Sky: The Rite of the Opened Sky is required in order to open a Moon Bridge to quickly and safely reach the prime caern from which a caern seed was taken. It can also be used at a prime caern site to open a Moon Bridge to any seed that was originally grown from that caern.
• Rite of the Shrouded Glen: The Rite of the Shrouded Glen is one of the primary defenses set and maintained around a caern. This ritual renders the sept’s territory invisible in the Umbra, protecting it from discovery through the spirit world.
• Rite of the Questing Stone: This rite has two purposes: it can lead any sept member who casts it back to the sept to which they are bound. It can also be used to track a lost or stolen shard seed.
Rites of Mysticism are performed to beseech spirits to undertake a task for Garou. Most often, these are formal requests, often used for binding a pack to a totem or begging forgiveness for offending the spirits. Mystic Rites are designed for formal interactions on a spiritual level and confer a measure of shared respect for the bond between Garou and spirits.
• Rite of the Totem: This ritual formally beseeches a totem spirit to bond with a pack. The Rite of the Totem can also be used at the end of a pack’s journey to thank the spirit for joining them and freeing both groups to find other connections.
• Baptism of Fire: This ritual requests a spirit to mystically mark a kinfolk. If the target is not destined to undergo the First Change, this rite confers a blessing of health. If the target is born to become a werewolf, this rite requests a spirit to watch over the child and alert the sept if she becomes Garou. The kin-fetch spirit associated with the rite serves as a guardian and protects the new addition to the tribe, be they kin or Garou.
• Rite of Awakening: The Broken Lands are a massive danger to both the Garou and Fera. This ritual heals those shattered areas, restoring the Gauntlet and cleansing the area of any accumulated taint. Dangerous in the extreme, minions of the Wyrm are drawn to the massive influx of life energy that occurs when this rite is cast, and they eagerly attack anyone seeking to heal these wounded areas.
• Rite of Contrition: The Rite of Contrition extends formal apologies to spirits, Garou, Fera, and others. It serves both a proof of the apology’s sincerity and demonstrates a willingness to admit to wrongdoing.
• Rite of Accord: The Rite of Accord was originally created to allow a Garou to share Gnosis with her spiritual allies, but in recent times it has also come to serve another purpose. This ritual now also allows Garou of a sept to energize a shard seed.
Punishment rites are performed when a Garou has been found guilty of a crime. Each ritual imposes a specific punishment and duration. After the duration ends, the target Garou has atoned for the crime she committed. She is then free to resume her regular activities without stain on her honor.
• Ostracism: The Ostracism rite rends its target from the community of her pack, sept, or tribe for a set duration. This punishment reminds Garou of the loneliness and danger present when there is no one watching your back.
• Stone of Scorn: The Stone of Scorn burdens its target with the physical weight of her shame in addition to the emotional one. It serves as a visible reminder of the wrongs she committed.
• Voice of the Jackal: Public shame and ridicule are powerful teaching tools. The Voice of the Jackal punishes the offender by shifting her voice to high pitched whines and barks. While the cause of the punishment may not be known, the moment the offender opens her mouth, she cannot hide the fact she has done something wrong.
• Satire Rite: Some offenses are so heinous they prove the offender is unqualified to hold the responsibilities of the Rank she possesses. The Satire rite solves this problem, stripping the offender of her Rank until she proves herself worthy once more.
• The Hunt: The Rite of the Hunt, also known as the Final Rite, is an opportunity to grant an offender an honorable death. Hunted down in an elaborate ritual by members of her pack and sept, her death through this ritual allows her to be honorably buried and mourned.
Renown rituals serve to give praise to actions worthy of it, celebrate memorable moments in life, and bring the participants together to enforce the sense of community that keeps a Sept healthy.
• Rite of Passage: The Rite of Passage celebrates a Cub’s entrance into Garou society. This ritual marks the attainment of the Cliath Rank and confers all the responsibilities and privileges that entails.
• Rite of Wounding: Visible proof of the prowess of Gaia’s warriors, the Rite of Wounding ensures a battle scar gained during her service never fades. This ritual bestows Renown on its recipient for her sacrifice and accomplishments.
• Gathering for the Departed: This ritual grants the community an opportunity to mourn a fallen warrior and praise her accomplishments in life. A combination of mourning and celebration, it sends the spirit of the fallen to be reborn again or join the other ancestor spirits in their tribal homelands.
• Rite of Accomplishment: The Rite of Accomplishment is cast after the successful completion of
a Rank challenge to inform the Garou Nation of the target’s success. It is also used to send spiritual messengers to inform those bound to a sept of any change in the positions of leadership within it.
• Rite of Acceptance: This ritual formally binds a new sept member to the sept and its totem. It grants the participant the knowledge of who holds the positions of authority in the sept and also introduces them to the sept totem. Once complete, it confers permission to remain at the caern.
Seasonal Rites are deeply rooted in the wellbeing of a sept and its members. They echo the turning of the earth and the changing of Gaia’s seasons, drawing power and returning it to her in a never-ending cycle.
• Rite of the Winter Wind: The Rite of the Winter Wind is performed on or near the winter solstice. It helps werewolves endure the harsh winter and long nights until Helios returns to lengthen the days once more.
• Rite of Reawakening: The Rite of Reawakening is performed on or near the spring equinox. It awakens the land in preparation for the growth and renewal of spring.
•The Great Hunt: The Great Hunt (not to be confused with Rite of theHunt) is performed on or near the summer solstice. It imbues the sept andits caern seed with the strength and vitality of summer.
•The Long Vigil: The Long Vigil is performed on or near the autumnal equinox. This ritual thanks Helios for his blessings of long days and bountiful harvests, while imploring Luna for aid as the nights grow longer.
•Lunar Celebration: The Lunar Celebration ritual calls on Luna to help temporarily halt the ravages of Harano. Used as a stopgap measure until amoot activity can be accomplished, this ritual can buy the time needed to prevent spirit-sorrow from taking hold.
For more information on rites, see Chapter Eleven: The Garou Nation: Rites, page (not included in this Omega Slice).
You have entered into a spirit pact with a powerful Jaggling spirit through an exchange of service and ritualistic chiminage. This patron spirit sends gnostic substance to you anywhere within the Material Realm at the Storyteller’s discretion. However, this Jaggling will not fight your battles, nor will it manifest or perform any other task for you unless commanded to via a gift, such as Awaken Major Spirit (see Chapter Five: Gifts, Awaken Major Spirit, page 395).
During a game session, you may choose to spend five minutes out-of-game communing with this Jaggling, allowing you to regain a number of Gnosis points equal to the number of dots you possess of the Spirit Pact background. You cannot grant other characters access to this advantage. You cannot purchase more than one progression of the Spirit Pact background, as spirits are jealous creatures and do not offer their patronage to someone who has already formed a pact with another spirit.
Not every werewolf has a place she can call her own, but many have someplace where they can take shelter. A Lupus werewolf might live and hunt in a secluded cave or a park, while a Glass Walker may reside in a penthouse apartment.
Every time you purchase a dot of the Territory background, choose one of the following advantages. You may purchase this background multiple times. Each iteration of this background details a separate Territory. You cannot select the same advantage more than once for a single Territory location.
•Guards: Perhaps you’ve befriended local animals or hired security guards. In either case, guardians regularly patrol your territory. Anyone who tries to infiltrate your territory must contend with 5 ratings of Stock NPCs who guard your territory. You may choose to make five rating 1 Stock NPCs, one rating 5 Stock NPC, or any other combination that adds up to 5. Your guards only function in your territory and cannot travel with you. They are not supernatural NPCs, and you cannot use kinfolk as your guards. If you want underlings who can leave your territory, consider purchasing the Kinfolk background instead. For more information on creating Stock NPCs, please see Chapter Fourteen: Allies and Antagonists, Stock Non-Player Character Generation, page (not included in this Omega Slice).
•Inaccessible: Your territory is located far from the human populace, and approaching it requires either specialized equipment or a four-legged form. It’s possible that for humans with climbing gear to assault your territory, but no one ever accidentally wanders into it. This advantage cannot be combined with the Location advantage.
•Location: Your territory is located in a prestigious neighborhood. Anyone who wishes to use downtime actions to negatively affect you must spend twice as many downtime actions, as long as you regularly stay in your territory. Additionally, you receive a number of story benefits (police respond quickly when you call, your roads get cleared first when the weather is bad, etc.) This advantage cannot be combined with the Inaccessible advantage.
•Luxury: You’ve filled your territory with comfortable and expensive extras, such as televisions, automatic chairs, computers, or works of art. You receive a +3 wild card bonus to Social skill test pools versus humans when they are in your territory.
•Security: Any challenges made to break into your territory or to bypass detection suffer a-3 penalty. Additionally, you always receive at least one turn of warning when someone attempts to break into your territory, no matter how well your attacker tests to gain entry. Characters with the Security skill gain this advantage for free.
•Size: Your territory is enormous with dozens of rooms. You can comfortably house up to 10 additional characters within it.
•Staff: Your territory includes several servants who see to the needs of yourself and your guests. Staff don’t normally fight, but if forced to engage, treat them as rating 1 Stock NPCs with no specialties applicable to combat. For more information on creating Stock NPCs, please see Chapter Fourteen: Allies and Antagonists, Stock Non-Player Character Generation, page (not included in this Omega Slice).
•Occult: Your territory contains a number of simple wards and rites to keep out unwanted guests. You may have runes carved into the window sills or a line of salt at the door. Regardless of the wards used, supernatural Stock NPCs cannot enter your territory without being invited. This advantage has no effect on player-characters or NPCs with full character sheets. You cannot purchase this bonus unless you have the Occult skill.
Pack totems are powerful spirits willing to make bargains with Garou in order to help them defend Gaia and her interests. Most packs approach a totem within the first few months of the pack’s existence and beseech it to act as their patron. Many werewolves do not consider a pack truly formed until it has bonded with a totem.
While willing to aid Garou packs with potent spiritual blessings, totems do not physically involve themselves in day-to-day events. They provide a unifying goal and direction to the Garou with which they bond, and they act as both spiritual symbols as well as allies. For more information on creating totems, see Chapter Fourteen: Allies and Antagonists, Totems, page (not included in this Omega Slice).
Bonding with a pack totem requires an Umbral Quest. The difficulty of the Quest is determined by the Storyteller and depends on the rarity, location, and willingness of the chosen totem.
Building a Pack Totem
Once a pack bonds with a totem by performing the Rite of the Totem (see Chapter Eleven: The Garou Nation, Rites, Rite of the Totem, page (not included in this Omega Slice)) it provides up to five bonuses to pack members; select these advantages from the list below. The available bonuses depend on the nature of the totem and the diversity of the pack. Gaia and her servants have already given advantages and gifts to each auspice; totem spirits recognize the importance of using these gifts in concert and lend more support to more diverse packs.
Changing your pack’s totem or changing the bonuses it offers requires the members of your pack to go on another Umbral Quest. The Storyteller determines the difficulty of the Quest, depending on the location and temperament of your totem.
By default, a pack totem offers two bonuses, chosen from the list below, to members of the pack who follow it. If your pack contains members of at least two different auspices, your totem will make a third bonus available to your pack. If you have at least three different auspices, a fourth bonus will be available, and if you have at least four different auspices, a fifth will be made available.
It is important to note that your character doesn’t automatically gain access to all of your pack totem’s available bonuses. The number of bonuses from which your character can benefit depends on the number of dots she personally possesses of the Totem background.
When building a pack totem, the Storyteller and players should work together to choose two to five bonuses, depending on pack diversity, representing the nature of the chosen totem.
When creating this totem, choose a type of animal. Individuals benefiting from this bonus can communicate with the chosen animal type without using a gift to do so. Additionally, once per game session, characters with this bonus can summon animals of this type, which will do their bidding for the next hour as long as said commands do not place the animals in danger. Use of this power summons either one rating 2 Stock NPC or three rating 1 Stock NPCs, depending on the type of animal.
Individuals benefiting from this bonus are always considered to be wearing armor with the Hardened quality. This armor is part of the character’s natural defense and is not visible. It doesn’t combine its benefits with other sources of armor that provide the same quality, though it may increase potency when combined with certain gifts, if those gifts state they can stack with armor.
Individuals benefiting from this bonus are always considered to be wearing armor with the Ballistic quality. It doesn’t combine its benefits with other sources of armor that provide the same quality, though it may increase potency when combined with certain gifts, if those gifts state they can stack with armor.
Characters benefiting from this bonus can spend 1 point of Gnosis to speak to a familiar target who is currently asleep or unconscious. The user must meditate for the duration of the conversation. The target perceives the user as appearing in her dream. This bonus works regardless of distance, but does not allow physical interaction or the use of other supernatural powers while conversing with the dreamer.
When creating this totem, choose a type of terrain, such as desert, open water, jungle, tundra, etc. Individuals benefiting from this bonus can exist in this environment without risk from normal environmental conditions, and they can move through or over the terrain without penalty. This bonus doesn’t provide any defense against living creatures or damage that doesn’t result from the environment. For example, a character with an affinity for open water could breathe underwater and swim as fast as she can run, but does not have any added defense against being bitten by a shark or sucked under by a whirlpool. Characters benefiting from Environment Affinity may choose to make themselves untraceable by mundane means, such as scent tracking, when moving through their chosen environment. Powers that track supernaturally continue to function normally.
When creating this totem, choose an attribute focus (Strength, Dexterity, Stamina, Charisma, Manipulation, Appearance, Wits, Intelligence, or Perception). Once per game session, an individual benefiting from this bonus can activate it, gaining access to the chosen focus for three turns.
When creating this totem, choose a level 1 or 2 general gift. A character benefiting from this bonus can use the chosen gift once per game session as though she’d purchased it. If the chosen gift is always active, the Garou can use it for the next five minutes. If the character has purchased the gift with experience points, once per game session, she may activate it without paying the gift’s Gnosis cost. The gift chosen when this bonus is selected must be a general gift. This bonus can be chosen multiple times, each time applying to a separate level 1 or 2 gift.
Once per game session, a character benefiting from this bonus can ask her totem for a small mundane item. The item finds its way into the character’s hands within the next few minutes. Items produced with this power may be weapons, but they must be commonly found in the area. The Storyteller selects the item’s equipment qualities.
Once per game session, when spending Willpower to retest, a character benefitting from this bonus immediately regains the spent point of Willpower.
Characters in the pack can communicate mentally, as long as they are in the same plane of existence and within five miles of one another. For example, characters in the Umbra cannot hear pack members in the Material Realm. Messages sent over a pack link are broadcast to every member of the pack eligible to receive them. Private conversations are not possible via a pack link.
Characters benefiting from this bonus can go a number of weeks equal to their dots of the Survival skill (minimum 1) without sleep, rest, food, and water.
After a battle that results in your character gaining Wyrm Taint, you can immediately make a simple test, with no test pool required. If you win or tie, you do not gain Wyrm Taint. This bonus can prevent you from becoming tainted, but doesn’t prevent existing taint from growing worse over time.
When creating this totem, choose a skill. Individuals benefiting from this bonus raise their potential maximum number of dots by 1 for the chosen skill. The extra dot of skill must be purchased with XP as normal. Individuals who lose access to this bonus must reduce the skill to its new maximum. If lost, the experience spent to increase a skill above its maximum is refunded, and you can set it aside to immediately repurchase the skill, if you regain access to this bonus. This bonus may be chosen multiple times; each time it is chosen, it applies to a different skill.
The totem directly lends power to its followers. Characters benefiting from this bonus have their maximum and starting Gnosis raised by 2 points.
Characters benefiting from this bonus gain an advantage in the Umbra that allows them to more easily complete Umbral Quests. The totem may grant increased speed, flight, or active protection. In any case, the character receives one free retest when making a challenge to complete an Umbral Quest.
Selecting Your Character’s Bonuses
Each totem offers two to five available bonuses to members of a pack that follows it, but each individual doesn’t automatically gain all available bonuses. The bonuses that you gain from your pack’s totem are determined by your personal relationship with the totem, represented by the number of dots you possess of the Totem background.
When you join a pack, or when your pack successfully bonds with a new totem spirit, start by listing all of the bonuses that your totem has made available (see Building a Pack Totem, above). Once you or someone in your pack has performed the Rite of the Totem to receive the totem’s blessing (see Chapter Eleven: The Garou Nation, Rites, Rite of the Totem, page (not included in this Omega Slice)), select one available bonus for each dot you have in the Totem background. Selected bonuses are usable by your character personally and should be recorded on your character sheet. You are not required to select the same bonuses as other members of your pack.
If there are more available bonuses than you have dots in the Totem background, you cannot use any bonuses that you did not select. If you have more dots in the Totem background then there are available bonuses, you can use all of the totem’s available bonuses.
If you wish to change your selected bonuses, or if you wish to take advantage of a new bonus that your totem has made available, you must spend a downtime action communing with the spirits.
Should a member of your pack leave the pack, either voluntarily or by dying, the pack’s number of available bonuses may decrease, depending on the diversity of the remaining pack members. This adjustment occurs at the beginning of the next day after the pack member leaves or dies. When this event occurs, the group must collectively select which bonus to remove.