The exact nature of what a Gift is is subject to philosophical debate by the Garou. It could be that it is a spirit teaching a Garou to use a secret magic known to certain types of spirits. It could be the Garou serving as a conduit for the spirit into the physical Realm. It could be the spirit empowering the Garou with magical energies or a special spiritual attunement.
On GarouMUSH, a Gift represents the ability to use a special power. Gifts are "one trick ponies." They do just one thing, but they tend to do so relatively well. For example: Sense of the Prey is described, "A Garou with this gift can track her prey (if she knows anything about it, and it is not actively hiding) as rapidly as she can travel." Thus this gift can be used to track someone down, but it cannot be used to backtrack to find out where the "prey" came from beforehand.
How do I learn a new gift?Edit
The vast majority of the time, gifts are taught to a garou by another garou. To learn a gift this way, you RP asking around IC who might have the gift, convince them to teach it to you, and then both you and the other player submit a +learn (or +teach) request.
On some rarer occasions, a spirit can be convinced to teach a garou a gift, but this method carries with it a significantly higher chance for failure. The process for learning a gift from a spirit is described below:
- (OOC) Find a GM to run a scene for you, particularly if an umbra quest is involved. The GM will need to get wiz-approval prior to running the ONS.
- Find a garou that knows Rite of Summoning, or go on an umbral quest (ONS) in order to locate the appropriate kind of spirit needed to teach the gift.
- (Optional) If you don't know Spirit Speech, you may want to find a theurge that does so that you can speak with the spirit through this translator. Although this is not absolutely required--there's something to be said for characterization by way of denying direct communication--the chances of doing something wrong or of being misunderstood/misunderstanding are very high.
- Prove to the spirit that you are a worthy candidate for learning a gift taught by the spirit in question.
- Ante up: What are you willing to do to reimburse the spirit for its time and effort?
- (OOC) Send a log to the wizards at this point. They will review it and determine whether or not the spirit has been convinced that the PC is worthy of learning a gift.
- RP out the attempt if the wizards deem that the spirit is willing to teach the gift.
- (OOC) Submit a +learn for the gift at this point.
- (OOC) Send the logged RP to the wizards for review and a final decision as to the succes or failure of the attempt.
If no one on the MUSH has the gift you want to learn and you have a Mentor or Ally background that is a Garou, you can apply that background towards your +learn attempt. Mentors are more effective than Allies.
Learning Gifts and the Mentor/Allies BackgroundEdit
If your Garou has the Mentor or Allies background, you can use that as a justification for learning a gift offscreen--faster, easier, and sometimes with a higher chance of success than using a spirit. Please note, Ally NPCs count for a lower Rank in terms of Gift teaching than Mentor NPCs do (because Allies are meant to be people who assist you, and Mentors are meant to be teachers). What Rank of a Gift you can learn from an Ally will have to be discussed with the Wizards. Garou with the Mentor background will also have a higher success rate in all their Rite and Gift +learn attempts in general.
How likely is a gift +learn to succeed?Edit
A gift +learn between two garou has about a 70% chance of success, provided it is a gift within the tribe, breed, or auspice for both garou.
A gift +learn from an offscreen garou via the Mentor background has a 30% chance of success at one dot, and a +10% for each additional dot above the first in the Mentor background.
A gift +learn from an offscreen garou via the Ally background has a 8% base chance of success per dot in the Allies background.
A gift +learn from a spirit has about a 25% base chance of success, modified up or down by the quality of the RP, the offerings made, the respect given the spirit, how impressed the spirit was, and how deserving the spirit feels the garou is.
Factors that further influence the success of the gift +learn attempt include the following:
- Did you RP the teaching? (Automatic failure if the teaching was not RPed out.)
- How recent was your last +learn?
- How recent was your last gift +learn?
- How many gifts do you already have? (The more you have of one rank, the harder it is to learn more--for game balance.)
- How many times have you done a +teach in comparison to how many times you've done a +learn from others?
- Do you have the Mentor background? (You always get a positive "fudge factor" with rite and gift +learns.)
Learning Gifts Outside of Your Tribe/Breed/AuspiceEdit
On average, these attempts take two to four times as long to learn as a regular tribe/breed/auspice gift, and are far more prone to failure than even attempting to learn it from a spirit. Only about 10% of these attempts ever succeed, and that's when a Garou is teaching it.
Learning a Tribe-exclusive gift (eg. Lambent Flame) when you are not a member of that tribe is all but impossible, and if a Garou teaches your PC that gift, they could be in a world of trouble depending on the Tribe and Gift in question. Many Tribes and their Totems hold Tribal Gifts to be secret knowledge, and so would see this as a direct betrayal. In an OOC sense, letting Gifts go outside of Tribe, Breed, and Auspice runs the risk of deprecating the group they're unique to. Yes, it's not always convenient to find a specific member of that Tribe/Breed/Auspice, but that's intentional, because it adds flavor to the game. This is not to say it's never allowed to happen, but that is why it is a very, very rare occurence.
Spirits will also be reluctant to give Gifts outside of Tribe, Breed, and Auspice. (But you're welcome to ask for RP's sake, just beware the consequences.)
One possible way to get an out of Tribe/Breed/Auspice Gift is to purchase it during character generation. You will have to provide a history/background that explains why the character merits this unusual boon, but this offers a chance for significant plot hooks and characterization.
Gifts Sometimes FailEdit
Just like we sometimes drop our coffee or burn dinner, Gifts do not always work. This is a fact of life, and is not something Garou are unused to. While a Gift failing is obvious with some gifts (Open Seal, Summon Talisman), it is not always obvious with detection gifts (Truth of Gaia, Sense Wyrm), which won't register anything out of the ordinary.
It is important for both the performer of the Gift and for those working with them and relying on the Gift's success to remember this. If you ask someone to sense for the Wyrm or detect the truth of someone's statements and they don't detect anything wrong, then later it turns out something was wrong, it doesn't automatically mean that character messed up ICly or OOCly. It could just mean the Gift failed. Beware holding to a policy of punishing people too harshly for these failures, because someday it could be your character whose Gift fails at a crucial moment.