OverviewAccording to their own mythology, the Garou were designed to be Gaia's fangs and claws against what they call the Wyrm, and they are quite adept at this task. Today, after the War of Rage, they are among the most numerous Changing Breeds that still exist.
Three important characteristics shape the werewolf: Breed is their birth form and heritage whether they are born to human, wolf or Garou alone, Auspice is the moon phase under which they are born which most see as a spiritual guide towards their future potential role, and Tribe is the specific Garou societal unit to which they belong.
Garou BreedingThere are three ways for a Garou to be born: Homid, Lupus, and Metis. Their birth form is dependent upon their mother's form, which must be maintained from conception to birth. Homid Garou are born to a human mother and Lupus to a wolf. Metis are an exception to this, as they are the child of two Garou parents. In this case, the mother will remain in whatever form she was in upon becoming pregnant, but will shift to Crinos to give birth, if for no other reason than to increase the odds of her own survival. Metis are born already in frenzy and their birth usually results in the death of both the mother and child. If the child does survive, they are both sterile and have some sort of deformity. The Homid and Lupus children of Garou are considered Kinfolk, and remain in their breed form until puberty. Once old enough, there is a small chance they may have their first change. The "Firsting" is always violent and uncontrolled rage usually brought on by strong emotion. Unless someone is able to calm them down to end their frenzy early, this will usally result in the death and destruction of everyone around them as they work the rage out of their system for the first time. This is one of many reasons that the Garou keep such a close eye on their Kinfolk, as while most Firsting happens around puberty, it has been known to happen even later in life given enough pressure. Metis children, because they are born in Crinos are considered garou from day one. However they are stuck in Crinos form until puberty when they will naturally be able to shift between forms. Because of this they tend to have a stronger understanding of Garou culture and a greater tie to their Tribe or Sept spirits as they have grown up around them. They tend to lag behind on "normal" human day to day things, since they cannot really leave the Sept during their formative years. (As a note for those choosing to play pregnant Shifters, after the first couple of months, the mother is "locked" into whatever form they which plan to give birth. While still possible to shift, there is an incredibly high risk of losing the child to do so. It is in part for this reason that the mother gains renown for successfully giving birth as a Shifter of any kind due to the risk to their own personal safety and ability to fight in exchange for bringing another warrior for Gaia into the world.)
Garou have access to five forms:
- Homid: Indistinguishable from a normal human (except for the Curse).
- Glabro: Roughly resembles a human, but has too many bestial features to be one.
- Crinos: The "War-Form", a terrifying hybrid of human and wolf with superior strength. Resembles the typical "Hollywood werewolf".
- Hispo: A prehistoric dire wolf.
- Lupus: Indistinguishable from a normal wolf.
AuspiceThe influence of Luna provides a blessing at birth that guides each werewolf's spiritual path. This path or blessing is called an Auspice. An Auspice is many things. It may influence a werewolf's general personality, attitude, and even interests. It strongly influences their duties to their pack. All Auspices are important, for no werewolf can be all things to their people. However, an Auspice is an influence, not a law. Some werewolves find they are badly suited to their moon. Even though doing so is considered a direct insult to Luna, they may renounce their former Auspice and identity with a Rite of Renunciation. It is a grave thing for any werewolf to consider, and they are sure to face the deep distrust of others until they have proven their choice was more than justified, if not for the rest of their life.
The Five Auspices
- Ragabash: The New Moon, The Trickster
- Theurge: The Crescent Moon, The Seer
- Philodox: The Half Moon, The Mediator
- Galliard: The Gibbous Moon, The Moon Dancer
- Ahroun: The Full Moon, The Warrior
Garou SocietyGarou adhere to the Garou Litany, a code which depicts the laws of the Garou Nation. The Tribes of the Garou Nation represent a broad swathe of global culture bound together by the spiritual influence of the area. The Garou and these spirits live together in a symbiotic relationship: the spirits gaining power and protection in exchange for the Garou learning more of the spirits' ways and how to better harness their own half spiritual nature. Each Tribe has one Incarna spirit above all others that acts as a spiritual Patron to all members of a given Tribe. These Patrons have their own values and traditions which shape the Tribe as a whole. While Tribe is not the sole determiner of a Garou's personality, the two often coincide. (For more information, see Hierarchy of Spirits) For most nations on Earth, the single human being is the smallest building block of society. That's not true of the Garou Nation. Amongst the werewolves, the Pack is the smallest social unit that actually matters except in case of a few rare individuals, and usually they have a pack behind them. The pack is a collection of three to five (and rarely ever more) Garou bound together by a Totem spirit and formed with a purpose in mind. The Garou, like many societies which must fight for their very survival, hold to a strict system of Ranks. Among the Garou, Rank determines status and how much respect they deserve. As their Rank increases, a Garou demonstrates to both their Sept and Tribe that they are committed and trustworthy in the fight against the Wyrm. They will learn more secrets of their Tribe with each new rank, but other Garou will have higher expectations of their behavior. Septs are the societies that form around Caern, usually for the purpose of defending these sacred sites. Every Sept has a leader known as the Sept Alpha, and various other roles often filled by the eldest ranking Garou of the Sept. Those of the Sept gather regularly in Moots, events that serve a variety of social, political and religious functions. See Sept for more information on Sept positions.
RanksRank 0 - Cub
Rank 1 - Cliath
Rank 2 - Fostern
Rank 3 - Adren
Rank 4 - Athro
Rank 5 - Elder
Rank 6 - Legend
CampsCamps represent special interests within the Tribe, for the most part. Some camps are badges of honor, epitomizing the tenets of Honor, Glory or Wisdom that the Nation prizes so highly. Others are forbidden, secret sects and societies practicing Gifts and Rites that border on blasphemy taught to them by forgotten and often horrific spirits that hide deep in the Umbra.