Social Systems- Rank Indepth
Social Systems- Rank Indepth
“Madness is rare in individuals—but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche
As werewolves combine the features of both wolves and humans, Garou society exists as an amalgamation, combining primal forms of communication with tribal culture developed throughout the ages. Blending complex notions of leadership, hierarchy, and spiritual awareness, the Garou live, fight, and celebrate in ways uniquely their own. This chapter contains rules for established social constructs of Garou life, detailing how Rank, challenges, Renown, and moots function. These social systems help you to craft an immersive experience, giving a glimpse into how a society of sentient predators organizes and conducts its affairs.
“A wolf never doubts his rank in the pack.”
— Long Fang, Shadow Lord
Like that of the wolves they call kin, Garou society is hierarchical in nature. Every werewolf knows where she stands in the pecking order, having entered into a rigid system of rank from her ascension into adulthood. Rank provides a system by which spring wolves are demarcated from seasoned veterans and ultimately from the Elders of legend, separating all Garou into a series of five grades. However, Rank is not merely a social construct; werewolves who advance gain access to greater power, finding themselves imbued with spiritual strength, raising them beyond their own innate capabilities.
When Gaia first breathed life into the Garou, they quickly came to understand that they could not exist as perfect equals, as this would rip apart their burgeoning society and end their work before it really began. Thus, the concept of Rank was born as a means to delineate between Garou who have achieved much in their duty to Gaia, and those who have just started on their journey. In time, the spirits blessed this society’s social construct, allowing it to become more than just a means to divide the Garou based on their experience. From the beginning, Rank carried with it a certain amount of privilege and responsibility. Those who strive to become Elders of the Nation are expected to be leaders and teachers, paragons and sages. It is not an easy task, and many Garou discover that it is not for them.
Each werewolf begins her life as a Cub. Upon completing her Rite of Passage, she ascends to Rank 1: Cliath. Through grit, determination, and service to Gaia, she survives and grows into her new responsibilities. After spending a minimum of six months at her new Rank, she may issue a Rank challenge: a form of ritualized trial intended to test her work. Should she succeed, she may challenge again after another six months has passed—if she has earned sufficient
Advancement in Rank carries both additional privileges as well as additional responsibilities. While experience brings power; in some cases, youth has its advantages. For details on Rank mechanics, see Gamma Slice: Character Creation.
Advancing in Rank
A Garou advances in Rank by a successfully completing a Rank challenge. Upon succeeding, she must immediately spend XP to purchase an additional dot of the Rank background. If she does not have sufficient XP available, she goes into XP debt, and cannot make any other XP purchases until she has spent the XP to purchase her new dot of the Rank background.
The Rite of Passage
Any Garou who wishes to join society as an adult must first undergo her Rite of Passage. The Rite of Passage is the first Rank challenge that all werewolves undergo. Typically, it takes place a short time after the Cub has experienced her first change, but not before the she has had some measure of training in both the duties of her auspice, as well as the functions of Garou society as a whole. Garou seldom throw their Cubs to the wolves, so to speak, without some degree of preparation. The possibility of a Cub perishing on her Rite of Passage is a real one, albeit unlikely. Those who fall in the attempt are usually granted their Rank posthumously, having fought and died in Gaia’s service. For details on performing the rite itself, see Garou Nation: Rites, page 294. Those who manage to succeed receive a hero’s welcome, and earn a deed name—a short title describing their accomplishments—in honor of their triumph.
Unlike most Rank challenges where the challenger proclaims her readiness before the sept, Rites of Passage are typically initiated by the Cub’s caretakers. When a Den Parent feels the time has come for a Cub to take her place among adults, she approaches the Master of the Challenge. If they agree, the Cub will be sent on her Rite of Passage. In rare cases where a Den Parent may be acting too conservatively, a Cub may petition the Master of the Challenge directly, if the Cub feels she is worthy. The Master of the Challenge may then decide whether or not to grant the Cub’s request.
In most cases, the Cub will be sent along with other Cubs from her generation, which may very likely lead to the group forming a pack together. However, this is not always the case. Following the Age of Apocalypse, many septs have too few children born within a reasonable span of one another, and they cannot afford to hold older Cubs back to wait until a pack is ready to challenge at the same time. This makes solo Rites of Passage, once nearly unheard of, an increasingly common reality—a factor that any Master of the Challenge must consider. No sept, even the most traditionally minded, will send a Cub into a likely fatal situation.
Rites of Passage vary from sept to sept. Some septs have a standing Rite of Passage: a single challenge that all Cubs must overcome to prove their readiness for adulthood. Others may concentrate their challenges along a single theme, such as combat or travel, and others still may devise new trials for each generation of Cubs. In all cases, the trial is a serious one, and Cubs are expected to experience some degree of danger and adult responsibility during their challenges. Adulthood is very demanding in Garou society, after all, and hand-waving something so important may leave a Cliath unable to perform her duties when the sept has need of her. As part of the trial, she may receive advice or some sort of token for luck or protection, possibly from her family. She then sets out on her journey, charged with proving her worthiness as a Garou.
Upon completion of the task, she returns with proof of her accomplishment. A successful Cub’s return is always worthy of celebration; all of the sept comes together to congratulate the returning hero. The Cub is called upon to present her proof of accomplishment, or to give an account of her trial, if the nature of the task did not allow for physical proof to be obtained. The Rite of Passage concludes as the Garou ascends to the rank of Cliath, taking her place as an adult amidst great celebration.
At this time, the new Cliath formally chooses her tribe. Although many Garou are born into a tribe through their parents, some Garou feel a call to another tribe. This is an intensely intimate decision for each Cliath, her first choice as an adult Garou.
Following this rite, werewolves celebrate and warmly welcome the Cliath and her Cub-mates as full members of the Garou Nation. During the ensuing festivities, each new Cliath receives her first deed name. These names are often inspired by the actions performed while on their Rite of Passage or memorable moments during their time as a Cub. The Den Parent, other newly minted Cliath, and the rest of the sept ensure that the new deed name is appropriate.
Not all cubs survive their Rite of Passage. Although it is rare, as Den Parents work to ensure their young students are fully prepared for these tasks, deaths do happen. Most often, fatal situations occur when a Cub panics while on her mission, or encounters a situation for which she is unprepared. Rarely, a Cub is killed by simple bad luck. Whatever the reason, when a Cub falls during her Rite of Passage, she is elevated to the rank of Cliath post-mortem. She is granted a deed name by her Den Parent and her fellow Cubs, and she is honored as any fallen werewolf would be. Den Parents often are hit the hardest by these losses, as a Cub is much like a child to them, and many a Den Parent has stepped down from her position after the loss of one of these students.
At times, a Cub will fail her Rite of Passage but return relatively unscathed. When this happens, she returns to the remaining Cubs, if there are any in the sept, and her education continues in earnest. Occasionally, Cubs who fail their Rite of Passage are sent to a different sept, in hopes that a new teacher will be able to assist them further. In modern times, with so few werewolves remaining, the Nation works to ensure every Cub survives and passes their Rites of Passage, as their claws are desperately needed in the fight against the Wyrm.
Mechanics of Rite of Passage
Working with the Storyteller, the Master of the Challenge should devise a task that falls under the parameters of the table below. The task should always be a Simple Quest, made slightly more difficult if more participants are involved (see Dramatic Systems: Quests, page 135). Storytellers should always feel free to create a scenario outside of the parameters of the Quest system, should they choose.
Types of Rites of Passage
Rites of Passage are very personal experiences, leaving an impression on the Cub that lasts for years to come. Most resemble an archetypal hero’s journey in structure, as the Cub is given her call to adventure and sent into the world to do good, returning to her people as a fully-fledged adult. The following list is by no means intended to be a complete list of Rites of Passage. Masters of the Challenge and Storytellers should feel free to elaborate upon or abandon the templates provided as suits the needs of their specific chronicles.
• Apprentice’s Errand: Septs very commonly have more work that needs doing than they have free hands. In this trial, the Cubs must perform some task of significance to the sept, such as helping an Elder gather materials for a fetish, or preparing items as chiminage for a patron spirit. For Uktena Cubs, this may involve running supplies to nearby Bane Tenders, while Glass Walker Cubs may be sent to intern at a local corporation.
• Exploration: The Cub must explore some uncharted region, possibly a remote area of the wilderness or an unexplored area of the Umbra. As part of the challenge, the Cub must bring back some new specimen as proof of their journey. Silent Striders, ever the explorers, are fond of this practice, as are the Red Talons.
• Journey to the Sacred Hallow: This Rite of Passage requires Cubs to make a pilgrimage to a predetermined location, such as the site of an ancient battle or the domain of a patron spirit, always set in a remote location. Once there, the Cubs earn some sort of token or blessing as proof of their arrival. Fianna are known to send their Cubs to mist-shrouded isles of historical significance, while Stargazers may send their Cubs in search of fabled mountain valleys.
• Kinfolk/Human Assistance: The evils of poverty and injustice are among the most insidious foes a Garou may face. In this Rite of Passage, a Cub provides some measure of assistance to a Kinfolk or human population, such as helping a troubled neighborhood or organizing a small village in an infrastructure project. Children of Gaia and Bone Gnawers are known to test their Cubs in this manner.
• Monster Hunt: Many cultures, used to send adolescents to hunt a particular animal to prove their courage and prowess. In this popular trial, Cubs are sent in search of a particular creature or spirit, possibly a powerful or elusive one. Though one of the Cubs may claim credit for the kill, success is awarded equally, provided the group has worked together. Get of Fenris and Black Furies commonly employ this method of trial.
• Package Delivery: What seems to be a simplistic trial can often unfold into a complicated series of events. In this Rite of Passage, Cubs must carry some piece of information or item of relevance between locations. This may be a trial given out of necessity, such as during a time of war when every warrior is needed. Silent Striders commonly give such trials during peaceful times, and until recent history, Fianna would send their young as envoys to the Fae. Glass Walkers are known to charge their Cubs with ferrying important documents between business interests.
• Paranormal Investigation: The coming of the Age of Apocalypse has left no shortage of mysterious phenomena. To prove their worth, Cubs are sent to investigate a spiritual oddity, and if possible, understand its cause. In these cases, Cubs usually receive strict instructions not to intervene, but to seek assistance should their target prove hostile. Tribes of all sorts employ this form of trial, though Shadow Lords and Get of Fenris routinely disregard instructions not to intervene.
• Rescue/Retrieval: As part of this trial, Cubs must recover some misplaced or stolen item of significance, likely of importance to a sept. Depending on whether the object has a new owner, some additional trials may be involved in its retrieval. Fianna are known to send Cubs in search of lost stories or lore, while Silver Fangs are keenly interested in recovering fetishes from lost septs.
• Spiritual Aid: As a sept becomes established, local spirits may come to it in search of aid. In this Rite of Passage, Cubs must assist one of them, working to support or protect it as necessary. The Uktena and the Silver Fangs view this as a very honorable way of demonstrating one’s worth.
• Survival: In this Rite of Passage, Cubs must survive on their own in difficult terrain for a fixed amount of time, often seven days, or sometimes a lunar month. In many septs’ traditions, they are only allowed a single tool, such as a knife or a hatchet. Cubs are typically left out alone and retrieved when the allotted time is up. Get of Fenris and Wendigo are fond of this trial, as are the Red Talons, who forbid tool use altogether.
Example Rite of Passage
Erica, Andre, and Lin are three Cubs of the same approximate age. Their sept possesses a shard caern along the banks of a mountain river. A suspicious number of fish have been turning up dead, which has the sept very concerned. Many werewolves from the sept fear the ecological and spiritual ramifications, if this issue persists. The three Cubs are summoned to a council that includes the Sept Alpha, the Master of the Challenge, and the Den Parent. The Den Parent and the Master of the Challenge have agreed that the time has come for the Cubs to take their place in Garou society. After explaining the seriousness of the issue, the three Cubs are tasked with investigating the dead fish as their Rite of Passage. Working with the player of the Master of the Challenge, the Storyteller has determined this will be a Simple Quest with a difficulty of 4.
The three characters select Erica as their leader, and they begin the quest. After some research, they find a number of facilities upriver from the sept, and begin investigating. They are eventually able to isolate the issue to a place called Hallahan Fishing Company, located several miles away, having eliminated a number of other locations. They confirm that the fish upriver are healthy and strong, and they speak to a spirit of the river, who confirms their suspicions. They report their findings back to the sept and share their story. The three characters pass their trial, and earn deed names, as is their sept’s custom. Each of them spends 2 XP on their first dot of the Rank background, and they are now considered adults within Garou society.
Upon attaining adulthood, Garou are expected to fend for themselves. They must prove themselves worthy to attain additional advancement, and can only progress further after successfully passing another trial. Unlike adolescence, no one will nominate a werewolf as a candidate for advancement. Rather, she must actively claim a higher position through a process called a Rank challenge.
To qualify for a Rank challenge, a Garou must first demonstrate her ability to meet the responsibilities of her current Rank for at least six months. Additionally, to make the challenge, she must spend 3 traits of Fleeting Renown of the types required by her auspice (see table below). If she has met these criteria, she may challenge for a higher Rank.
To do so, she must first contact the Master of Challenge from her sept. Together, should the Master of Challenge approve, they will seek out a werewolf capable of overseeing her Rank challenge. This Garou must be someone of higher Rank than the challenger, and who also is able to perform the Rite of Accomplishment (see Garou Nation: Rites, page 294). Werewolves prefer that the challenger and the Garou she challenges share the same auspice; however, particularly wise or famous Garou are sought by werewolves of all auspices. Having selected someone to challenge, the challenger boldly states her name and makes plain her intent to challenge for a higher Rank. Should the challenged werewolf accept, she determines the nature of the trial the challenger will undergo, as well as any additional rules that may apply, such as what sort of assistance the challenger may receive, or the means by which she will complete her trial.
Although each tribe and sept handles these challenges in their own manner, there is no doubt that the Rank challenge is held as one of the most sacred among the Garou Nation. It is the duty of the challenged Garou to ensure that the task set for the challenger is appropriate for her Rank and auspice, and that the task will push the young Garou, ensuring that she is ready to take the step towards her next Rank. Issuing a challenge that is deemed too easy or inappropriate for the challenger may result in scandal; the challenger may forever be known within the Nation as one who took part in a Rigged Challenge. (See Gamma Slice: Merits and Flaws: Flaws: Rigged Challenge).
Having received her challenge, the challenger sets out to complete it to the best of her ability, adhering to any conditions given as part of the trial. If she succeeds, she returns with proof of her accomplishment. If her proof is deemed satisfactory, she has passed her trial. The Rite of Accomplishment is enacted, and the Garou advances in Rank. If for any reason the werewolf fails her challenge, or is forced to abandon it, she may not challenge again for another three months.
Rank Challenge Mechanics
To begin a Rank challenge, the challenger approaches a Garou of higher Rank to make her challenge. Thereafter, that Garou is charged with overseeing the challenge. Working with the Storyteller, she creates an appropriate Quest according to the chart below. Once the challenger has completed the trial, if the Garou overseeing the challenge is satisfied, she performs the Rite of Accomplishment for the challenger. The challenger must immediately spend XP to purchase the next dot of the Rank background. If she does not have sufficient XP available, she goes into XP debt, and cannot make any other XP purchases until she has spent the XP to purchase her new dot of the Rank background.
Types of Rank Challenges
Rank challenges are one-of-a-kind experiences, trials intended to test the mettle of a challenging Garou, helping prepare her for the increased responsibility that comes with higher Rank. The following list is by no means intended to be a complete list of Rank challenges. Players and Storytellers should feel free to elaborate upon or abandon the templates provided.
• All Fall Down: Ahrouns favor this challenge, which requires a Garou to lead a raid on a hive or other enemy structure. She must take her pack or another group of Garou and destroy their enemy without suffering any casualties.
• Assassin Tag: In this challenge, a Garou receives a list of targets, and she must successfully “assassinate” them by marking them with something visible, such as paint. Often issued to Cliath or Fostern Ragabash, the goal of this challenge is to prove the challenger’s acumen with stealth and infiltration. The targets are aware that the challenging Garou is looking for them, and they will attempt to spot her and tag her back.
• Battle Cry: Garou rely on their Galliards for inspiration. In this challenge, a Garou must craft a rousing battle cry and inspire her comrades to wade into battle with their heads held high.
• Behind Enemy Lines: This challenge directs a Ragabash to infiltrate an enemy construct—be it a Wyrm-tainted medical facility or a hive—without being seen. She must gather intelligence about the enemy there and successfully bring it back to her sept.
• Big Business: In this challenge, a Garou must act as a mediator between two werewolves as they attempt to successfully merge two separately owned companies. Glass Walkers and Bone Gnawers favor this challenge.
• Change of Heart: Although many werewolves fall to the claws of the Wyrm, others are lost due to their failure to adhere to the Litany or a downward spiral into Harano. Philodox favor this challenge, which requires a Garou to find another who has fallen from grace within the Nation. She must teach the outcast why her actions were wrong and how she threatened Garou society, convincing her to willingly submit to punishment.
• Creation: In this challenge, a Garou designs and crafts a fetish. This may be a fetish she creates for herself or one intended as a gift for a packmate or a sept Elder.
• Dear Diary: In this challenge, a Garou must spend a significant amount of time—usually any period from a week to a month—discovering what secrets or buried issues her sept-mates may be hiding. This challenge is often issued to Ragabash or Galliards.
• Dogfight: Ahroun often receive this challenge, which is well-liked among Get of Fenris and Black Furies. A young Garou must fight—sometimes, she will fight one foe at her sept, or she may be required to travel to septs around the world to challenge as many Elder Ahroun as she is able. Win or lose, the goal is to carry herself with grace and humility.
• The Faces of our Fathers: This challenge sets a Garou to find an ancestor spirit from each tribe and convince them to share a tale of their people with her. She must memorize these tales and learn the wisdom within them, and then bring them to share with her sept.
• Field Trip: Entering and navigating the Umbra is difficult. This challenge requires a Garou to bring a pack of Cubs or Cliath Garou into the Umbra and successfully navigate there with them in tow, teaching them along the way.
• Hostage Situation: This challenge directs a Garou to rescue someone or something important—be it a fetish or a kinfolk— from capture by agents of the Wyrm. She must lead a group on a successful rescue mission, usually into a hive.
• Friends on the Other Side: In this challenge, a Garou must find a spirit from each tribal totem’s brood and convince them to vouch for her. Such support may come in the form of a token or a spiritual mark.
• The Hunt for Knowledge: During the onset of the Age of Apocalypse, the Garou lost much of their precious knowledge. This challenge directs a Garou to find a rare occult book that is needed by an Elder of the sept. Theurges are very commonly tasked with recovering these works.
• Into the Pit: This challenge requires a Garou to travel to a dangerous location, often Malfeas or the deep Umbra, and reclaim a lost or cursed Klaive. Once the item has been found, she must successfully destroy the weapon or redeem it to be used by the Nation.
• Iron Will: Young Ahroun often receive this challenge, which requires them to stand vigil outside a caern for a set period of time without sleeping or being distracted. Temptation may be sent in the form of Ragabash attempting to infiltrate or Galliards singing a comforting song.
• The Good Student: A Garou’s relationship with the spirits will often dictate her success or failure within the Nation. In this challenge, a young Garou—often a Theurge—must convince a spirit to teach her a gift that they would normally refuse to teach.
• Mapping the Darkness: Hives are some of the darkest and vilest places that a Garou will ever experience. This challenge sets a Garou to infiltrate a hive in order to map out the entirety of the location, without being seen.
• On the Dark Side: In this challenge, a werewolf must enter the Umbra on her own and seek out a place or an item that has been hidden or lost. This challenge is often issued to Theurges, or Ahrouns if the area is believed to be dangerous.
• Oral History: Garou have no written history and depend on oral renditions to carry their history to future generations. This challenge charges a Garou with memorizing the nation’s epics and performing them for the sept, while discerning the riddles or morals hidden within them. Galliards favor this challenge, though Philodox and Ahroun have been tasked with learning stories relevant to their auspices.
• Preparation: The Garou Nation is at war, as it always has been and always will be. This challenge is often issued to Cliath Theurges, tasking them with crafting a great deal of talens. Such armaments help ensure that an entire pack will successfully survive an encounter against an enemy.
• Riddle me This: Ragabash often issue this challenge, which tasks a Garou with discovering a riddle that has no answer. This may culminate in a riddle contest, where the challenged Garou attempts to stump all the werewolves in her sept.
• Separate Sides: In a society of apex predators, tempers often flare and conflicts arise. For this challenge, a Garou—most often a Philodox—must successfully mediate a dispute between two Garou parties. This trial may also include travel to a different sept.
• Sing the Songs: This challenge requires a Garou to craft a compelling tale espousing the glories—or defeats—of her pack and share it at a moot. Success is judged by the quality of the performance, as well as the audience’s reception. Galliards take such challenges very seriously.
• Songs of the People: It is not enough for a Galliard to know the songs of her sept and pack; she must also learn the tales of the Nation as a whole. This challenge requires a werewolf, often a Galliard, to travel to different septs, learning the tales of their greatest warriors and their most shameful moments. She must memorize these stories and carry them to other areas, sharing them with as many Garou as she is able.
• Teacher’s Pet: Ensuring that young Garou are prepared for the war is of the utmost importance to the Nation. In this challenge, a werewolf takes a group of Cubs under her tutelage and ensures they understand some facet of Garou society. Their failure is her failure.
• Weapon for the Ages: This challenge requires a Garou to create a weapon that will carry its own tales throughout the Nation, often taking the form of a Grand Klaive or another highly sought-after fetish. Once the item is completed, she must gift it to another.
Example Rank Challenge
Ciara “Silent Paws” is a Cliath Ragabash Bone Gnawer who feels she is ready to challenge for Fostern. She has been a Cliath for six months, and in that time, she has gained 3 traits of Fleeting Renown: 2 Honor and 1 Glory. She approaches “Passion Play,” an Adren Bone Gnawer Ragabash who lives in her sept. Silent Paws howls out her name and issues her challenge to Passion Play, declaring her intent to challenge for her Fostern Rank. Passion Play responds in kind, assuring Silent Paws that she will soon have her challenge. Working with the players of Silent Paws, Passion Play, and the Master of the Challenge, the Storyteller has determined that this will be a Complex Quest with a difficulty of 1.
Passion Play soon returns to Ciara to inform her that there is a medical facility in the nearby city that the Elders believe has been corrupted by the Wyrm. Her task is to make her way into the medical facility and confirm or deny their suspicions. If the location is corrupted, she is to map it out to the best of her ability, returning with intelligence that will allow the sept to deal with the issue.
Silent Paws is aptly named, and she is able to make her way into the facility without being seen. There, she finds evidence that the patients held in the facility are being treated by agents of the Wyrm; once released, corruption dwells in their souls. She wastes no time mapping out the entirety of the facility and gathering what information she is able, before quickly returning to Passion Play.
Passion Play and the Master of the Challenge declare that Silent Paws has passed her challenge. She spends 2 XP on her second dot of the Rank background, and the sept rejoices with her as she is elevated in station.
Ronin and Rank
While Garou do, on rare occasion, oversee a Rank challenge from a werewolf of a neighboring sept, a Garou will not accept a Rank challenge from another Garou she does not know at all, unless a Master of the Challenge who is of good standing and higher in Rank specifically requests her to do so. As Rank advancement requires the Rite of Accomplishment, this barrier means a Ronin Garou is unable to advance in Rank until her honor is restored. (For more information, see Monikers, page 189.)
Rank within the Garou Nation is more than just the opportunity to lead others and hold sway over younger Garou; it undeniably states that one has proven herself to her fellow Garou. The progression in Rank carries great responsibility and power. More than just ability to fight or sing the songs of the Garou, Garou gladly carry the burden of Rank as a symbol that the Garou Nation will continue. Although there are some werewolves who are satisfied with remaining a low Rank, the vast majority are always looking to improve themselves. Some feel that those Garou who refuse to challenge for their next Rank are derelict in their duty to Gaia—they are intentionally resting on their laurels, rather than claiming power that could assist their fellows.
Each auspice carries its own duties and expectations, based on the Rank a Garou currently holds. A Cliath Ahroun will never be expected to shoulder the burden of an Athro; an Athro Ragabash will find her lessons and pranks are held to a higher standard than those of her Cliath counterparts. Below you will find examples of what each Rank holds for the various auspices.
When a Garou undergoes her First Change, she is considered a Cub, no matter her age or previous experience with the Nation. The Den Parent of the nearest sept brings these new warriors under her wing, thrusting them into an alien world. During a new werewolf’s time as a Cub, she must learn what it means to be Garou and what her function within the Nation will be.
Each sept treats their Cubs in a different manner, based on each individual Den Parent and the function of that specific sept. While each Cub is trained differently, all are taught the basic functions of Garou society and the role each tribe plays in Garou society. Perhaps one of the most important things taught during these months are a Cub’s roles among werewolves. Often, a Den Parent will assign a Cub to an older Garou of her auspice to help teach and guide her.
During her time as a Cub, a young Ragabash must begin to learn the boundaries of her auspice. She is expected to explore what it means to be a Ragabash and what her duties to the Nation are. For many young Ragabash, this time feels more like play than work, as they attempt to play pranks on their fellow Cubs and Den Parents. Ragabash spend much of this time watching how those around her interact with one another as they begin to grasp the intricacies of Garou societal structure. By the time a Ragabash reaches her Rite of Passage, her Den Parent expects her to understand the basic concepts of scouting and stealth, and have some understanding of just how far she can push her pranks with higher-ranked Garou. Perhaps most importantly, a young Ragabash is expected to step out of the Cub Rank with an ability to question and investigate any situation, while keeping her hide intact.
A young Theurge spends the majority of her time as a Cub learning the basic functions of spirits. She begins to grasp the delicate nuances required to interact with these alien creatures, as well as learning the purpose of rites. Many young Theurges find themselves working closely with others of their auspice as they explore interactions with the spirits. Here, they learn theories behind fetish creation, spend their time focusing on how to care for fetishes, and understand how to best appease a spirit inhabiting an item. A Theurge is expected to be able to enter the Umbra under supervision and take her first steps at exploration. By the time a young Theurge reaches her Rite of Passage, should feel comfortable interacting with spirits. Her Den Parent also expects her to understand the sacred rites and rituals performed by the Garou, including
when to employ this knowledge.
A young Philodox will often find herself the sole voice of reason among a group of Cubs struggling to find their way in a new and frequently terrifying world. She spends much of her time as a Cub mediating disputes between the other Cubs around her, helping to forge relationships, as she practices reason and mediation. As she takes on this mantle, she begins to learn the nuances of Garou society and how werewolves cooperate. Typically, she will find herself spending a great deal of time deep in study, as she is inundated by centuries’ worth of Garou tradition and philosophy. By the time a young Philodox enters her Rite of Passage, her Den Parent expects her to know and understand the tenants of the Litany and how these laws help Garou society function.
A Galliard Cub often acts as entertainment and comic relief for her fellow Cubs, easing tensions among the group with her gregarious nature. She spends her time as a Cub improving her craft and talent: learning a new instrument or exploring the intricacies of writing poetry and music. During times of leisure, a Galliard Cub is hard at work, learning how to entertain those around her as well as how to captivate and entrance a crowd. She will learn how to craft a compelling tale to sing the glories of her pack-mates and how to better inspire her fellow werewolves. By the time a young Galliard enters her Rite of Passage, her Den Parent expects her to be well on the path to mastering her craft. She is also expected to have memorized at least one of the great ballads of the Garou Nation.
An Ahroun Cub, new to her power and rage, uses her time exploring all of the physical aspects of her newly discovered abilities. Spending her days in physical training, she learns basic hand-to-hand combat and wrestling maneuvers. Although this practice is often done in a playful manner, she learns how the Garou body functions through this process, including where her own strengths lie. When she isn’t exercising her body, she trains her mind, learning the intricacies of battle, and exploring various tactics and techniques she can employ to protect her allies. By the time she is prepared for her Rite of Passage, her Den Parent expects her to understand the basics of werewolf combat tactics and be capable while hunting in her Lupus form and while with her pack.
After a Cliath has successfully navigated her Rite of Passage, her sept lauds her as a veritable hero when she returns. Although a Cliath Garou is no longer considered a child in the eyes of the Nation, she is still a young student. Her main task is to continue to build on the education from her time as a Cub, as she integrates herself into Garou society. She should still remain quiet during moots and other important events, and Cliath are forbidden from holding positions of leadership. Oftentimes, new Cliath Garou form packs known as Young Bloods, deepening the connections first forged during their time as Cubs.
A Cliath Ragabash often has a difficult time adjusting to her new lot in life. Without the wide berth typically afforded Cubs, she will often discover—sometimes quite painfully—that not all werewolves enjoy being mocked. Cliath Ragabash continue exploring their skills in stealth and misdirection, and they are often sent on routine scouting missions. Working in the field, they quickly gain experience essential to their continued survival within the Garou Nation. At this Rank, many young Ragabash begin to learn which pranks and tricks are acceptable within their packs and septs, and which are not. Some septs welcome the humor of childish pranks, while others will see them as a nuisance and a distraction. Luckily for the Ragabash in question, she is still a young Garou, and any punishments stemming from perceived infractions are often little more than a slap on the wrist.
Once a Theurge has attained the rank of Cliath, her education begins in earnest. She immerses herself in the knowledge and inner workings of the Umbra and spirits, learning how to best interact with these alien creatures and how to appease them. A Cliath Theurge may assist the sept in creating talens, helping to ensure that a sept is fully prepared for any emergent situation that may arise. These Garou are rarely allowed to traverse the Umbra alone, though they often accompany an Elder Theurge on their travels as they gain experience.
A Cliath Philodox learns much from spending her time observing Fostern and Adren Philodox. She will often find herself called upon to mediate disputes between her fellow Cliath before a problematic situation gets out of hand. This training provides her first introduction to the feral judicial system of the Garou Nation, and young Philodox often unpleasantly realize how delicate the relationships are between some werewolves. As they become adults, these Garou must put aside their personal feelings in order to adequately judge any given situation. While they will often maintain their packs from their time as Cubs or join new packs, the neutrality of their role may lead to a certain amount of distance from their packmates.
A Cliath Galliard spends her time learning additional songs of her people, both those of her tribe and of the greater Nation. She continues her education with instruments and words alike, exploring her talents and finding those to which she is best suited. These Garou tend to be motivators and cheerleaders for other Cliath and younger Cubs, ensuring the heavy weight of the Age of Apocalypse doesn’t drag her fellow young Garou down. These young Galliards must learn how to best inspire their fellows, both in battle and out of it.
Life for a Cliath Ahroun can be challenging. These Garou emerge from their Cub training ready to tackle their enemies, without fully comprehending what that entails. Cliath Ahroun immerse themselves in combat training, working diligently to better themselves for the war in which they have found themselves. One of the most important responsibilities of these young Ahroun is to learn how to temper their rage—finding that fine balance between harnessing their raw power and losing themselves to frenzy. Older Ahroun will often bring them along on dangerous missions to gauge their reaction to stress. These teaching opportunities impress upon the young warriors of Gaia how delicate life can be, and how quickly the tides of battle can turn against them.
When a Garou reaches the rank of Fostern, her fellow werewolves consider her a fully-capable member of the Garou Nation, and as such, afford her more freedom while demanding that she carry more responsibilities. Elders expect that a Garou at this Rank will fully understand her role as well as the Litany and how it pertains to her duties. Although Fostern cannot hold sept positions unless a dire situation arises, they do take on larger duties to their packs and the sept.
They are often called upon to help train Cubs, and they are expected to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of Garou. Often, Cub and Cliath werewolves are forbidden from traveling from their home septs alone; septs lift this restriction once a Garou reaches the Rank of Fostern. Their Elders no longer keep track of their movements, which can be both a burden and a blessing.
Once a Ragabash has attained the Rank of Fostern, she has fully grown into her place among her fellow werewolves. She understands the nuances of adding a lesson to any prank that she may wish to pull on her comrades. She has also learned just how far she can push the envelope before others enact reprisals—often a difficult lesson for a Ragabash to learn. Fostern Ragabash challenge Cliath and Cubs, encouraging their growth and education with the flair that only a Ragabash can add to any situation. Often these Garou will find themselves shadowing Adren and Athro Ragabash when infiltration is needed, in order to better understand the benefits of stealth and information-gathering.
By the time a Theurge reaches the Rank of Fostern, she has spent a great deal of time fully exploring the rites and rituals sacred to the Nation. She now understands the purposes behind these traditions, and is capable of performing many of them unassisted. These Garou are also expected to be able to explore the Umbra on their own, and are often tasked with leading packs into the Umbra for routine missions. Additionally, Fostern Theurges begin to learn the secrets of constructing fetishes. Such a Theurge may have the opportunity to see a Klaive being created, though she will not craft one of her own.
Once a Philodox has attained the Rank of Fostern, she is a veritable expert on the Litany and understands how the laws of Garou society function in modern times. Other werewolves often call upon her to adjudicate trivial matters between members of their packs or lower-ranked members of the sept. She also sits in on trials that take place within the sept in order to better understand Garou justice, though she may not be called upon to contribute in these formal proceedings. These Philodox spend a great deal of time learning various punishments that may be levied against a criminal offender.
When a Galliard elevates to the Rank of Fostern, she begins to delve into the songs and tales of tribes and septs beyond her own. She starts to memorize the ancient epics of the Nation, imprinting the wisdom of these tales into her mind. Capable of evoking great emotion, these Garou are often seen as the heart and soul of any sept or pack. Once they have fully adjusted to life among werewolves, they become fonts of inspiration and entertainment. Unlike more-established Galliards, they are often more than willing to sing the tales of Cliath and Cub Garou, sharing their triumphs as readily as those of higher-ranked Garou.
When an Ahroun reaches the Rank of Fostern, she finds that her betters give her more ability to act independently. Although the Elders still watch these Garou carefully to ensure that they are able to handle the task at hand, the Fostern Ahroun often receive leave to take their packs into battle. These werewolves understand the intricacies of pack tactics, and they are able to lead secure in the knowledge of what each Garou in her pack can bring to the fight. While a Fostern Ahroun may not always be the pack leader, her packmates expect that she will be willing and able to take charge in a combat situation.
The Garou Nation expects its Adren to be leaders, or at least willing to step into leadership positions if needed. Many Adren will hold some position of power or authority, whether within a pack or a lesser position in a sept. Often, Adren occupy the roles of Den Parent, Keeper of the Land, Guardian, or Gatekeeper. Their betters expect Adren to be proficient in their auspice roles and understand the purpose of each tribe. Adren Garou continue their own training, while taking an active hand assisting in the education of younger werewolves: a transitionary role that is sometimes difficult to balance. Athro and Elder Garou carefully scrutinize Adren werewolves to determine if they have the qualities required to continue to rise in Rank. Ragabash in particular enjoy watching the actions of Adren, waiting for a moment when they can catch one in some misstep, providing an opportunity for education or ridicule.
Adren Ragabash often find themselves in an odd place within the Nation; other werewolves have come to expect that these Garou will challenge Ragabash of lower ranks with their tricks and antics, while advising those of higher Rank on the wisdom of their actions. More often than not, the Elders gladly welcome the questioning and freethinking attitudes of Adren Ragabash. Many werewolves who attain this Rank devote time to travel, exploring new places and learning new things, and as always, imparting their special brand of wisdom to those they encounter.
Adren Theurges are often responsible for creating the bulk of fetishes and talens for the Nation. By the time a Theurge has reached this Rank, she understands the intricacies involved in creating these sacred items and is well-versed in how to handle them. Many Adren Theurges also find themselves spending a good deal of time in the Umbra, exploring new areas and expanding their knowledge of the spirits. It is not uncommon for these werewolves to disappear for days or weeks at a time, as they travel through the Umbra in search of new knowledge. Elder Theurges often caution their younger counterparts on the importance of maintaining a close pack and the duty of their packmates to help these Garou stay centered. Adren Theurges often spend a great deal of time training under Athro and Elder Theurges, taking a more active involvement in performing rites.
Adren Philodox oversee the bulk of the conflicts between individual werewolves. Minor transgressions—and even some major ones—often fall to these Garou to judge, though with an Athro or Elder Philodox supervising. Such a Philodox has begun to distinguish herself as a subject-matter expert in one area of Garou law, and may find herself requested at another nearby sept to act as a neutral party in her area of expertise. These werewolves teach Cliath and Fostern Garou, often assisting the Den Parent in educating Cubs on the Litany.
When a Galliard reaches the Rank of Adren, she becomes a featured performer for her sept. Calling on her innate ability with language or performance, she shares tales of her fellow werewolves—their heartache and triumph alike. She spends her days mastering obscure tales and songs, and polishing her craft with her Elders. Some Adren Galliards take time to travel away from their septs, seeking out lost legends and songs. When a new tale is discovered or created by these Garou, its unveiling is often a highly anticipated portion of the next moot. By this time, an Adren Galliard has likely distinguished herself as a specialist in a particular genre or style, such as sorrowful cautionary songs.
Adren Ahroun believe that it is their duty to ensure that Cliath and Fostern Ahroun are well prepared to face the minions of the Wyrm. They often test these younger werewolves, accompanying them during smaller skirmishes and ensuring they return alive. Adren Ahroun handle the majority of the combat situations that arise in a sept, as they have proven themselves capable in combat and are well-equipped to handle most situations they might encounter. An Ahroun who has achieved this Rank should be well-versed in tactical maneuvers as well as sheer brawn—she understands that the war is a long one, and that it is essential to keep as many of her people alive as possible.
Athro Garou hold the majority of leadership positions within a sept. In many ways, these werewolves hold the greatest responsibility in the Nation, as it expects them to be its leaders, warriors, and teachers of future generations. Few Garou survive to achieve this Rank, and those who do have earned it through blood and tears. They are highly respected, and those who look up to them have carefully noted their deeds—and misdeeds. Perhaps the most important duty of Athro Garou is grooming their eventual replacements. Athro understand just how quickly life is lost in war, and they strive to ensure that septs and the Nation will remain standing.
Athro Ragabash play a vital and vocal role in Garou society. Others heavily depend on them for their talents in scouting and stealth operations, and it is not unknown for packs of Ragabash to form in order to infiltrate a major target. Whenever the Nation faces a great threat, the Ragabash face the first wave of danger, as they stalk the target, seeking out any information that could benefit their allies. More importantly, the Nation relies on its Athro Ragabash for their contrasting views and their penchant for playing Devil’s Advocates. They view it as their duty to Gaia to poke as many holes in as possible in any given plan, in hopes of strengthening their forces on the field of battle. Despite this heavy burden, these Ragabash retain their sense of humor in the face of the Age of Apocalypse. They are known for their tendency to practice some of their favorite pranks and teaching tools on younger Ragabash, instilling their successors with both wisdom and knowledge of all the best tricks.
By the time a Theurge has reached the Rank of Athro, she has mastered nearly all of the rites held sacred by the Garou. Additionally, Elders expect her to be well-acquainted with the local Umbra and aware of the hazards it holds. A Theurge of this Rank will almost certainly be part of a well-established pack, and she frequently depends on her packmates to keep her grounded in reality. Often considered eccentric or impractical in many areas, an Athro Theurge remains an ever-flowing font of wisdom, knowledge, and guidance. Many of these werewolves are excellent healers, ensuring that all Garou beneath them return from any mission they undertake. The construction of powerful fetishes and talens, particularly Klaives, are left to these Garou.
Athro Philodox play an important role in sept politics, acting as judge and jury during major situations that arise among werewolves. While they may allow lower-ranked Philodox to handle minor issues, Athro Philodox oversee any serious breach of the Litany. They are also the ones tasked with making serious decisions on the fate of errant Garou, up to and including a sentence of death for such transgressions. Most importantly, other werewolves rely on them as experts on the Litany. Even if these Garou are not the Alphas of any given sept, an Athro Philodox is a natural leader and will take charge of a situation is necessary.
Athro Galliards spend much of their time performing. Sharing tales of glory and dirges of defeat, they pass along ancient wisdom that they have learned through their years, drawing on this past experience inspire their septs during the desperate times of the Age of Apocalypse. The Garou are a people with a long and varied history, and these Galliards often hold much of that legacy inside them. Many younger werewolves will seek out Athro Galliards, looking for wisdom and advice when it comes to an unusual situation, looking for a story or a piece of history to guide them. While their performances may be in great demand, many Athro Galliards still spend a significant time passing on their wisdom and teaching their tales to the younger generation, in hopes that they will be remembered.
As veteran tacticians and elite combatants, Athro Ahroun command a great deal of respect within a sept and the Nation as a whole. These Garou tend to focus on the larger fight—how the conflicts of their septs will interact with the greater battles fought by the Nation. Those werewolves who survive to this Rank are experienced and intelligent warriors who understand the nature of valor, along with the need for retreat when overwhelmed. While these Garou will always be willing to go to the front lines, they often step aside to allow younger Ahroun to distinguish themselves in battle; smaller skirmishes are often best left to those of lower Rank.
Although many Garou strive to reach the Rank of Elder, few ever make it. These Garou have lived lifetimes battling the Wyrm and have come out the other side only mostly intact. Strong and unmoving, the Elders of the Nation hold the seams of its society together. They know better than any other the cost of war and the sacrifices that must be made in Gaia’s name. These werewolves have well-earned the respect the Litany affords them.
Many Elders find themselves in support roles, acting as advisors and oversight to the Athro and Adren who lead the bulk of the Nation. Although such a life ill-suits some Elders, many of them spend their days patrolling the sept to ensure its safety, making themselves available to lower-ranked Garou in need. Of course, the Elders of the Nation are not ignored or useless. On the contrary, when major battles rage across the lands, they are the first to take up arms to defend the Nation. Shoulder-to-shoulder with those below them, they will fight to destroy the Wyrm wherever it dwells. Young Garou do well to remember that with age comes experience, and in a fight such as this, an Elder’s experience is invaluable.
An Elder Ragabash never stops questioning those around her, though her pranks change over the years. She always uses her wisdom and knowledge to challenge other Garou and push them towards their full potential, including sharp barbs at fellow Elders who need to be prodded in one direction or another. These Ragabash frequently wander, moving between septs at their leisure. They have a knack for being where they are needed, , but if one of these werewolves doesn’t want to be found, she will disappear entirely. Masters of cunning and deceit, an Elder Ragabash always looks for new ways to create problems for the Wyrm.
Theurge Elders maintain a great deal of responsibility for the spiritual needs of their communities, and these Garou rarely leave their home septs. As renowned experts in all things mystical, wandering Garou often seek them out, eager to learn wisdom at the feet of a master. The most important rites and ceremonies are always performed by these werewolves. When precision is required, the Nation calls for its Elder Theurges. When a ritual requires a certain amount of flair, such a Garou lends her hand. Septs—and sometimes even entire tribes—often call upon these Garou to speak on their behalf when interacting with spirits. Delicate negotiations are sometimes required, and the most experienced Theurges must ensure continued relations with powerful spirits. When a particularly important fetish is created, an Elder Theurge imparts her wisdom in its crafting and care.
Philodox Elders occupy an important role. Chief among mediators and diplomats, these Garou adjudicate the most important situations within the Nation. An Elder Philodox is treasured for her ability to remain completely neutral and fair, even in an emotionally charged situation. When a conflict arises between two Elders or issues erupt between multiple tribes, an Elder Philodox must intervene in order to maintain peace among werewolves. Masters of the Litany, they understand all of the complicated nuances that come with governing Garou. When an issue arises before one of these Garou, she judges swiftly and with little mercy. Often, long-shot defendants or werewolves desperately seeking an appeal will beg an Elder Philodox to represent her, knowing that this assistance might provide her only chance to win her freedom.
A Galliard who survives to the Rank of Elder has seen her share of battles and knows the names of many werewolves who have died in service to Gaia. These Galliards spend their time recounting tales of glorious and honorable Garou who have fallen to the Nation as a whole. They are masters of their craft, able to inspire a crowd with a few choice words, spurring them to war or bringing them to tears with a moving funeral dirge. They hold ancient tales of the Nation stretching back generations: stories they have gathered through their travels and wanderings.
When the Age of Apocalypse first hit, Elder Galliards found themselves quite busy, traveling from sept to sept, singing tales of battles and losses. Even now, they are able to recount tales of the 13 remaining Great Caerns, using these places of power—and the hope that they signify—to inspire and encourage all Garou, particularly the Athro and Elders who have begun to lose hope.
Boasting scars from a thousand battles and a lifetime spent in devotion to the warrior arts, few Ahrouns live to earn the Rank of Elder. Those who ascend to this Rank serve as walking inspirations, having survived either due to impossible skill or impossible luck. Garou from distant septs travel far to seek the instruction of these warriors or seek their aid against unearthly forces. Warriors of this caliber fully embrace their roles, and they can be found coordinating worldwide campaigns to combat the Wyrm or spending time in solitude honing their skills to an impossible degree.
Once in a great while, a Garou goes above and beyond all expectations. Many of these werewolves die while battling the Wyrm—such an epic death generates a tale that will be sung through the ages. In rare circumstances, a Garou elevates to the Rank of Legend, declaring her a Garou above all others—Gaia’s ultimate warrior and trusted child. There is no Renown that can be earned to achieve this status, no guideline for young Garou to know what they should attempt to achieve such a Rank. Legends are only created through great sacrifice and dedication to the Nation. (Rules about Allies and Antagonists: Legends are not included in this Delta Slice.)