House Rules/Shifter

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House Rules - Shifter

"If you live among wolves you have to act like a wolf."

-Nikita Khrushchev


The Curse

There seems to be some misunderstanding of who/what is exactly immune to various forms of supernatural innate powers. The following is a list of what's what for the races that have such:

The Curse - Other animals, especially humans, can sense the predator in a werewolf, and they shy from him. Whenever a Garou's Rage exceeds a human's willpower, the human will avoid contact with the Garou as much as possible. Since the average human's willpower is usually 2 to 4, the Curse is no laughing matter. Wolves are also subject to this dread, and most natural wolves will avoid Garou whenever possible. Garou call this phenomenon the Curse, for it makes normal relationships with humans or wolves all but impossible. (pg. 191-192 WtA Revised)

  • Staff ruling for what is considered 'human' and 'animals' are plain, simple, vanilla, everyday mortals/animals with no supernatural powers at all.
  • Most PCs are not plain vanilla mortals. Most NPCs are, and they greatly outnumber PCs. (+rules in public)
  • Reaction is based on their Willpower compared to your permanent Rage. For NPCs, see '+rules npc willpower'.
  • Even if their Willpower is greater than or equal to your Rage, that doesn't mean they feel nothing. Rather, they're able to control that primal feeling and ignore its influence. You still make them instinctively think of a serial axe murderer, but they just chalk it up to a bad fashion choice on your part, or you reminding them of someone they don't like.
  • This should be roleplayed as a serious pain in the ass. Going to college is hard. Holding down a 9-to-5 job is hard. You scare people. When you say something like "Don't use my stapler" or "Where's the TPS cover sheet?", they see it as a threat. They may not confront you directly, but they'll complain to the boss, or do little things to hinder you or try to drive you away.
    • Exception: When you have kinfolk acting as a buffer between you and normal people.
    • Exception: When everything is handled online or over the phone.

The Delirium

There seems to be some misunderstanding of who/what is exactly immune to various forms of supernatural innate powers. The following is a list of what's what for the races that have such:

The Delirium - Werewolves (and many other shifters) preyed on humans for over 3,000 years, and while most humans have no idea that werewolves truly exist, a part of them remembers. The horrible wolf-man the Crinos form (Or battle form for other shifters), incites a kind of madness in humans that Garou call the Delirium.

  • Staff ruling for what is considered 'human' and 'animals' are plain, simple, vanilla, everyday mortals/animals with no supernatural powers at all. The following are immune to the Delirium:
    • Wraiths/Risen
    • All Shifters (Obviously)
    • All Mages
    • All Vampires
    • All Changelings
    • All Demons
    • All Mummies
    • All Bygones
    • All Ghouls
    • Sorcerers with at least level 3 in any numina.
    • Psychics with at least level 3 in any numina.
    • Possessed with the power: Immunity to the Delirium
    • Gorgons
    • Drones
    • All Kinfolk
    • All Kinain


For Fera, we prefer "Players Guide To The Changing Breeds" (WW3807). The individual breed books are used for things WW3807 does not specify.

Fera learning gifts from Garou or other breeds:

  • Gifts explicitly repeated in PGttCB or the breed book are allowed as normal.
  • "Swiping" gifts is done at out-of-group costs (5 XP per dot). Others are at in-group costs (3 XP per dot) except as noted.
  • Bastet can swipe gifts, except for auspice/aspect gifts. (PGttCB 67)
  • Corax can swipe gifts. (PGttCB 80)
  • Kitsune are interpreted as able to swipe gifts. (PGttCB 100)
  • Nuwisha can learn Garou homid/lupus/Ragabash gifts at the same cost as a Garou Ragabash of their breed. (PGttCB 135)
  • Ratkin can learn Bone Gnawer gifts that are taught by rat spirits. (PGttCB 144)
  • Other cases are disallowed. If we missed something above, please inform staff.

Ananasi/Corax/Gurahl may spend points on a personal or pack totem appropriate to their breed (staff discretion).


All Ananasi are assumed to know Rite of Spinning (level 1) and Tapping Ananasa's Wisdom (level 2) for free, but must still have an equal/greater level of the Rituals knowledge to actually perform them.


Yava: See '+rules yava'.


Corax do have kinfolk. The Spirit Egg thing is in addition to breeding with them, not instead of. (PGttCB 79)


  • Gurahl can advance to a new auspice once for each time they achieve a new Shifter Rank above 1, either at the same time or later.
  • Rip Van Winkle lets you buy gifts from your past auspice(s) at the in-auspice XP cost. This does not apply to Early Maturation, as you skipped auspices rather than going through them in backstory.


3-dot Umbral Affinity gives -3 difficulty. (Reflective surface stuff was from 2nd ed, when Garou absolutely needed one.)


Dredge the Spirit World (Ratkin 121):

  • Gnosis vs Gauntlet to pierce it, then Gnosis vs 6-8 (similar to Rite of Summoning).
  • Wraiths: Gnosis vs Shroud, then Gnosis vs 9. Success summons a specific PC wraith only if they want to be, otherwise it summons a NPC wraith.

Wyrm-corrupting a Plague Lord (e.g. having them Dance the Spiral) only lasts one month, though side effects (e.g. derangements) remain. (Ratkin 89-90)

Frenzy (shifter)

Primary reference: WtA 190-191


Here are some things that may trigger a Frenzy roll, at ST discretion. In the absence of a ST, this depends on player consensus.

  • Embarrassment or humiliation (such as botching an important roll)
  • Any strong emotion (such as lust, rage, envy)
  • Extreme hunger
  • Confinement, helplessness
  • Being taunted by an enemy
  • Large quantities of silver in the area
  • Being wounded or seeing a packmate wounded

This can happen multiple times per scene. If you really want to bed this one person, but you smack your shin on something hard and they make fun of you in front of a crowd, that's three rolls.

Highly emotional and personal circumstances require rolling more dice. Examples:

  • Black Fury encounters a rapist
  • Silent Strider with claustrophobia is threatened with imprisonment


Difficulty of the Rage roll depends on the moon phase, see '+moon'.

  • Rank 3: +1 diff. Rank 4: +2 diff. Rank 5: +2 diff, only 5+ successes results in a Frenzy. (WtA 125)
  • Calm Heart merit: +2 diff. (WPG 2nd 12)
Roll result Interpretation
0 successes You keep it together.
1 to 3 successes Angry reaction (e.g. snarl, lunge, glare).
4+ successes You enter Frenzy, either Berserk (fight) or Fox (flight) as appropriate.
  • You can spend a Willpower to end it immediately.
  • Otherwise, it lasts until the trigger goes away and you succeed at a Willpower roll (difficulty = your Rage).
6+ successes You enter Thrall of the Wyrm Frenzy.
  • Always a Berserk Frenzy.
  • You cannot spend a Willpower to end it immediately.

Any Rage roll may trigger Frenzy, including activating a gift.

You roll your permanent Rage, not temporary. '+roll Rage' accounts for this.


All types

  • You can't use special maneuvers or pack tactics. You can bite, claw, or run.
  • You can spend Rage for extra actions, but you can't use split actions.
  • You normally can't use Gifts or step sideways.
  • You do not lose dice due to wound penalties.

Berserk frenzy

  • Immediately shift to Crinos or Hispo (your choice) and attack anything that moves.
    • You won't attack your packmates.
    • You will attack allies outside your pack.
    • Exception: If you're in the Thrall of the Wyrm, you attack indiscriminately.
    • Exception: If your permanent Rage exceeds your permanent Gnosis, you must spend a Willpower to figure out which moving shapes are your packmates. Also, after the frenzy, you forget what happened during it, and often collapse.

Fox frenzy

  • Immediately shift to Lupus and flee in terror for your life.
  • You attack anything that gets in your way (to get past it, not to kill it).
  • Once you reach a safe hiding place, you stay there until the frenzy ends.

Thrall of the Wyrm frenzy

  • Always Berserk.
  • Attack indiscriminately, even packmates.
  • When you kill or incapacitate someone, roll Wits vs 7. On a botch, act according to your breed:
    • Homid - spend a turn eating their flesh
    • Metis - spend a turn performing unspeakable acts of perversion on their bodies
    • Lupus - keep attacking them until their body is torn limb from limb


  • Characters that wish to be kinfolk in addition to something else must take the Kinfolk merit (4 points, based on Kinfolk: Unsung Heroes page 65). This merit is available to the following races:
    • Vampire / ghoul, including Kuei-jin (5 points for non-BSD)
    • Mage / sorcerer-psychic
    • Changeling / kinain, including Nunnehi but not Inanimae
    • Demon
    • Wraith, including Risen
    • Mummy
    • Possessed characters who were ICly kinfolk prior to possession should take Skinchanger Kinship instead
  • House rule: Kinfolk with Gnosis may roll their Gnosis vs the Gauntlet to sidestep into the penumbra. This carries the same risk of getting stuck in the Gauntlet. Kinfolk are also usually woefully unprepared to defend themselves in the umbra. Sidestep at your own peril. (Umbra: the Velvet Shadow page 13. Think "Joe Average wanders through downtown gangland".)
    • Kinfolk with Gnosis may also Peek into the Gauntlet (WtA 233-234).
  • Kinfolk gifts:
    • Kinfolk-specific gifts: 3 XP
    • Level 1 homid, tribe, or general (for Fera) gifts: 7 XP
    • Other level 1 gifts: 10 XP
    • Gifts requiring Gnosis: Must have the Gnosis merit.
    • Gifts requiring Rage: Not available.
  • Shifters and kinfolk with Pure Breed can automatically be identified by shifters of their race, including what tribe they're kin to.
    • Shifters of other races must use Scent of the True Form and get 2+ successes.
    • Shifters with Pure Breed cannot automatically be identified by kinfolk. Recognize Garou (K:UH 52) works as usual, but only within your race, and Pure Breed doesn't affect the roll.
    • Your character can start play unaware of their kinfolk-ness, this simply means that (up to that point) no shifter of their race has met them and told them about it.
  • Corax do have kinfolk (+rules fera).


  • Camp gifts cannot be learned by a shifter not belonging to that camp. (Ditto for house, lodge, etc.) This includes swiping.
  • Tribe rites cannot be learned by a shifter not belonging to that tribe.
  • Gifts from another tribe's tribebook may be limited at staff discretion.
    • Ronin gifts (Outcasts, WW3065) are disallowed for non-Ronin. Hide the Wolf is disallowed entirely (overpowered compared to e.g. Ubermensch, Domestic Seeming).

Your Rage is screaming at the world that you're a dangerous alpha predator animal. You will not be mistaken for a dog, cat, or other domestic animal of any sort. (WtA 32: "When in [Lupus] form, he is quite obviously a wolf. A werewolf trying to pass himself off as a 'wild dog' is either demented, a disgrace or a buffoon.")

  • Exception: When a relevant supernatural power is used.
  • Exception: When it's dark and you're at a distance.
  • Exception: When the person looking at you is dumb (Intelligence 1 or less). They'll still mistake you for a scary dog, cat, etc.
  • Not an exception: Youthful Appearance. This is a flaw, not a merit. You will not be mistaken for a puppy, kitten, etc.

Voluntary sleep does not force you to revert to breed form. (Metamorph merit mentions "lose consciousness", but this is interpreted as limited to involuntary loss of consciousness.)

Tribal variation of Rite of Renunciation (WtA 157) removes the performer's Pure Breed if any. Completing a respectable renunciation (WtA 185) restores it.

Touched background:

  • Spending a Willpower for an auto-success negates the background.
  • Spending a Willpower after the roll also negates the background, but does not give an auto-success.
  • Wyld Touched (if not negated) turns failures into botches, regardless of specific dice values (i.e. even if "adding a 1" would otherwise be insufficient to make it a botch).


For a shifter to advance in rank, we impose a minimum amount of time in the current rank in addition to the renown requirement:

Rank Minimum time
0 (cub) to 1 None
1 to 2 1 month
2 to 3 3 months
3 to 4 6 months
4 to 5 8 months

By this chart, the fastest any shifter can advance from Rank 1 to Rank 5 is 18 months.

Falling in rank due to renown loss:

  • One-month grace period to regain renown before falling in rank.
  • Minimum time is waived to regain rank previously held and then lost.


In the books, spirits witness your deeds when no one else is around, Galliards sing your praises, and you gain Renown as a direct result of your bravery, and general awesomeness. In tabletop, the Storyteller manages this. On a MU it's generally left to one's peers and those peers don't always give credit where credit is due.

Renown requests can be submitted with +renownreq.

See Also: +help +renownreq

Totem / Jamak / Nushi / Orisha Bond

  • Totem is limited to 5 dots per PC during chargen, 10 dots (total) per PC afterward
    • If you want to start with a 6+ Totem, you need at least one packmate
  • Allowing more than 5 PCs per pack is limited at staff discretion
  • PCs may join a pack without buying Totem background
  • Buying Totem / Jamak / Nushi / Orisha Bond with XP costs 2 per dot, regardless of level (WW3801/123)
  • Totem powers come from any combination of the following:
    • A specific totem named in a book (e.g. WtA Revised pages 294-298)
    • Construction kit (WtA Revised page 123, Nushi uses KotE page 87 instead)
    • House rules (for packs, this section is limited to 10 points):
      • 1 point for +1 dice or -1 difficulty to an ability
      • 3 points for +1 dice or -1 difficulty to an attribute (may be reduced if the bonus only applies in a limited context)
      • 1 point for a miscellaneous improvement (e.g. faster running speed)
      • These only apply to one pack member at a time, unless points are also spent to allow multiple pack members to get bonuses in the same turn
    • Note: The totem's Rage/Gnosis/Willpower are only usable by the totem itself, not the pack members, unless something explicitly says otherwise
  • Totem, Numen, and Familiar Spirit may all be bought by individual PCs
  • PCs may swap out a personal totem to join a pack, but cannot have both
  • PCs will generally not face IC penalties for switching totems for purely OOC reasons (e.g. personal to pack, leave pack due to other members being inactive)
  • Fera may contribute to a pack totem (WW3807/163)
    • Ananasi/Corax/Gurahl may spend points on a personal or pack totem appropriate to their breed (staff discretion, including re-skinning)
    • Queen Ananasa will favor packs (overrides WW3807/45) but base is 10 points unless they're all Ananasi

Wyrm Taint

  • Sense Wyrm targets the 'nearby area' (WtA 135), not one individual at a time
    • '+rules in public' and '+rules sniping' still apply
    • Pinpoint accuracy is limited to people within a couple yards
    • WtA 135: "Sensing a single fomor in the next room would be difficulty 6, while detecting the stench of a Bane that was in the room an hour ago would be difficulty 8."
  • Demons with Torment < 6 do not smell of the Wyrm just for being demons
  • Vampires with Humanity 7 or higher do not smell of the Wyrm just for being vampires
    • Vampires with a Path of Enlightenment do smell of the Wyrm, regardless of path rating
    • Kuei-jin: See '+rules kuei-jin'
Players who rely too heavily on the Sense Wyrm Gift to discern between "evil and needs to be killed" and "not evil and should be protected" are SOL in the city. Wyrm-taint is a pervasive spiritual force, and it clings to victims as well as abusers, the violated as well as the violator. Although certainly not everyone in a city is going to smell of the Wyrm, using Sense Wyrm in any crowded area will probably register multiple instances of taint. In a nightclub, that taint might belong to a few frat boy date rapists, the bouncer who augments his bulk with Magadon "nutritional supplements", the young lady who unintentionally sipped a little vampire blood during her "hot date" last night, the drunk who's attracted the attention of a tiny Bane of despair, the habitual drug user on the dance floor, the "special" bottle of King spirits behind the bar, and yes-- any fomori that might be present. How does the Garou discern which instances of taint are a direct threat, which need slightly less immediate attention, and which are probably beneath his notice?
He uses his head, like any werewolf who wants to survive in the city does.
... [Garou] need to pay attention to their surroundings, the better to recognize and prioritize the threats facing them. ... the city is the ideal environment for the spread of Wyrm-taint, and ... they can't rely on Sense Wyrm alone for that very reason. The Garou didn't survive two Wars of Rage and millennia of battle against the Wyrm because they attacked everything that smelled funny-- they survived because they're wolves, and wolves know how to /hunt/.
--Werewolf Storytellers Handbook page 85, "The Customary 'Of the Wyrm' Warning"
... Sense Wyrm is a /sense/ ... If the players are in a nightclub, don't tell them that the guy in the Sesame Street T-shirt over there smells of the Wyrm. Tell them "There's a faint, stale smell of rot pervading the dance floor. It's a warm, familiarly sickly-sweet smell - but wait, there's a distant whiff of something stronger, something putrid - no, wait, it's gone." Now they have to work the room, getting closer to something that they don't recognize yet, and they /know/ they'll have to come within arm's reach of it to pick it out.
--Book of the Wyrm (2nd ed) page 12, "On 'Sense Wyrm'"