“A bane can only kill you. Harano hollows your soul, leaving you a fading ghost, begging for oblivion. The only cure is life.”
— Strength of Wisdom, Ahroun, Silver Fang
Poetic tales sung by Galliards from the Age of Heroes referred to Harano with a euphemism, “the inexplicable gloom that attacks the mind and soul.” Harano is a spiritual and psychological condition triggered by the traumatic events that Garou suffer during their war to preserve Gaia from the Wyrm’s corruption. Old legends also suggest Harano occurs when a werewolf’s heart opens to truths normally ignored to preserve her sanity. Such realizations might include the weight of ages that werewolves have battled the Wyrm without making headway, or the Garou Nation’s contributions to Gaia’s endless suffering, as her body burns and twists, ravaged by humans and the Wyrm.
Once, merely accusing a leader of being struck low by Harano would cause scandal, giving opportunities for challenges and Staredowns. Countless generations of bold warriors and stalwart protectors hid their sorrows, fearful their maladies would be seen as weakness by their rivals. Few spoke of Harano besides Galliards; the Nation entrusted its tale-singers with lifting the spirits of their fellow Garou. Harano provided yet another reason for werewolves to come together at moots and rage against afflictions of the soul.
In recent years, however, the destruction and splintering of the world’s caerns and old septs has devastated the Garou Nation, sparking an epidemic of Harano more potent and crippling than ever seen before. Theurges believe the very soul of the Garou Nation is now at stake, as more werewolves succumb to despair in the Age of Apocalypse. The spiritualists argue that the recent malaise comes from lack of communication with Gaia. As inexplicable gloom settles into werewolves’ minds, some wonder aloud if the world has indeed died and if all of the Garou’s efforts are merely akin to blowing on the embers of a fire long extinguished.
Harano in the Modern World
Modern psychiatric medicine has prioritized the exploration of the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, anxiety disorders, and related conditions. Physicians have only recently begun to recognize the full range of symptoms of these conditions and how they affect those suffering from them. Among the members of the Garou Nation, some believe that Harano might be a similar condition occurring in shapeshifters. Afflicted Garou may express symptoms resembling the above disorders, as the collective suffering of a millennia-long war presses heavily upon them.
Those suffering from Harano may not see themselves as ill — the veil it lays over their emotions mutes shapeshifter’s feelings of rage and suppresses their ability to find joy, feel anger, or find motivation to act. Those afflicted may feel they are finally seeing the world and their struggles through sharpened eyes, their minds finally clear enough to see their lives and battles as useless fallacies.
Mind’s Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse focuses on stories about raging against the dying of the light in the face of sorrow and fading hope. Harano is the mechanic by which players can measure these horrors and contextualize the emotions in order to create meaningful, immersive stories in the World of Darkness.
A werewolf gains points of Harano by enduring torments and witnessing the despair prevalent in the World of Darkness. Storytellers should avoid interrupting an ongoing scene to give a character a point of Harano. Instead, let players know they have become infected with Harano when the action comes to a close, then allow them the opportunity to roleplay through the effects of this spiritual condition. If a Garou suffers from a point of Harano for 30 days, she gains a second point as the condition worsens.
It is recommended that Storytellers only assign a single point of Harano per scenario, unless a character experiences a truly extreme and unusual moment of horror or despair.
Common ways to gain a point of Harano:
• Grieving the loss of a packmate or loved one
• Surviving a near-death experience
• Witnessing the destruction of a caern
• Suffering a major defeat against the Wyrm
• Losing Rank
• Witnessing or failing to stop ecological devastation of the land
Stages of Harano
There are five stages of Harano, each representing a graduation of this condition, with debilitating effects. Each point of Harano gained pushes the character into the next stage of Harano, and she suffers cumulatively from all of the effects of her current stage of Harano, as well as the previous stages. For example, if you are suffering from the third stage of Harano, you experience all of the symptoms and penalties from the first and second stages, as well as the third stage.
• First Stage: Nagging doubts and inexplicable sorrow plague your heart over trivial matters. Motivation and attention to detail is difficult. You suffer from all of the penalties of the Flaw: Careless (see Gamma Slice: Merits and Flaws).
• Second Stage: Rest or concentration feels impossible as you experience an adrenaline-soaked sense of potent hyperawareness, always preparing for yet-another battle or ambush that might occur at any moment. You suffer from insomnia, and you appear tired, irritable, and withdrawn to others. When testing for frenzy, you test as though you have 2 additional points of Rage.
• Third Stage: Anxiety and flashes of traumatic memories alter your perception of the world, transforming life into a series of disappointments and derogations. When presented with a reminder of one of the traumatic experiences that led you to Harano, you suffer from the Flaw: Derangement: Incapacitated: Traumatic Event. You also have hallucinations of a future in ruins, which you believe is the only possible end for your war.
• Fourth Stage: You know in your heart that Gaia is gone and the world is lost, because you and your kin failed. Food and drink lose their taste. There is no joy in this life, only regret. You cannot regain Willpower until you have recovered from this stage of Harano.
• Fifth Stage: Your spirit has completely dissociated from your body. You have no joy, nor anger—only the comfort of nothingness. You are unable to take any action, even feeding yourself, unless forced by another.
Fighting Harano: Treatment and Recovery
“What glory is there to slay the beasts of the Wyrm, if there are no Galliards to soothe the soul when we return to the hearth?”
— Strength of Wisdom, Ahroun, Silver Fang
The diaspora of the septs scattered the Nation, sparking an epidemic of Harano that inflicted werewolves of every type, from the eldest of the tribes to young cubs eager for a taste of adventure. This disaster might have wiped out the remains of the Garou Nation, if the leadership of the Sanctum of Gaia had not encouraged a staunch return to tradition and celebration of the old ways. This political maneuver turned into a brilliant stroke of luck, as moots and rites became the backbone of the fight against Harano.
Speaking openly of Harano is still considered taboo in many septs, yet several offer silent kindness to those inflicted. A good portion of sept life has evolved to defend against and recover from Harano, from moots to lift the spirits of those returning from the battlefield to rites to commune with the spirits and renew hope.
Participation in the following moots and rites may eliminate 1 or more points of Harano:
• Moot: Slap Dance Feast – Revelry (Rules for Social Systems: Moots are not included in this Delta Slice.)
• Rite: Rite of Lunar Celebration (see The Garou Nation, Rites, page 309)