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This page is an archive of House Rules for easy fact-checking and for the convenience of players, pulled directly from the GarouMUSH BBoards. Please do not alter any of the prose so as to prevent confusion. Thanks!

-- Hobbes (Wizard, 2/26/13)

Wyrm Taint Edit

This is liberally stolen from Lysander's original post on the Announce bboard.

It's important to realize that Wyrm taint is exactly that: the taint of what is, in Garou cosmology, the ultimate force of entropy and corruption. A Garou who becomes Wyrm-tainted has, in effect, become infected with the very essence of the Wyrm. This is not merely like getting splashed with bane ichor, or falling into a mud puddle, or even getting a touch of the flu: it is more like becoming infected with a cancer which, if left untreated, will continue to grow and eventually be fatal. Victims of Wyrm taint should exhibit symptoms of the corruption they bear: they ought to be reluctant to be checked for taint (let alone cleansed), and they should begin to show subtle signs of corruption (id est, a more nasty and even vicious temperament; a propensity to lie, cheat, and steal; taking pleasure in causing others' misery; et cetera).

As can hopefully be seen from this, the ability to taint creatures with its very essence is one of the more nasty weapons in the Wyrm's arsenal. Ergo, it is not something to be tossed out lightly. Probably a third or less of all the world's Wyrm creatures ought to be administering Wyrm taint, and these should be among the Wyrm's more powerful and capable servants. By the same token, removing Wyrm taint from someone is also not something to be done lightly. To go back to analogy, cleansing someone of Wyrm taint is not like giving them a bath to wash some mud off; it's like cutting out a stubborn cancer. The Rite of Cleansing is the Garou's surgical procedure. It should not be easy. It ought not be entirely pleasant. And, above all, it is not foolproof: Rites of Cleansing can and do (or, rather, can and should) fail. (They can be re-attempted, of course, but one might wish to re-group and gather more ritualists.)

I encourage players to approach Wyrm taint with all due seriousness. Remember, during the Last Days, the Garou have a hope of winning the physical battles. It's the spiritual battles that are significantly more important, and significantly more difficult. Please try to keep that in mind.

Wyrm Taint Past Death Edit

Liberally stolen from Lysander's original post:In general, when a Wyrm creature dies, its Wyrm taint goes with it: if I kill Joe-Bob Bane or Joe-Bob Fomori, there's (again in general) no explicit need to perform a Rite of Cleansing on the corpse and then burn the remains. Some purists might want to do this regardless, but for the most part it's a waste of effort.

In some particularly extreme and rare cases, Wyrm taint may stay with a body even after its death. In these cases, Rites of Cleansing are justifiable. However, like any Rite, the Rite of Cleansing requires concentration and work, and it is not something that Garou should be opting to perform at the drop of a hat; it's much easier to do a Sense Wyrm and make certain you need to Cleanse a body/object/place/whatever than it is to automatically perform a Cleansing every time you kill anything that's Wyrmy, looks like it might be Wyrmy, or once met something Wyrmy.

Cleansing Edit

I wanted to note, pursuant to the two recent posts on Wyrm Taint, two things. First of all, Cleansing is, per the books, a Rite of Accord. It's therefore arguably (I stress that word) more of a Philodox Rite than a Theurge Rite. (This is most definitely fertile ground for argument/discussion IC.) Keep that thought in mind while RPing the Cleansing and its purposes. (Say, bringing things back into... balance, for example.)

Second of all, I'll give you a cookie if you play the Cleansing as happening at dawn. Thank you.

Language Edit

The lupus tongue is, to some extent, instinctive. While certainly there are (many many) nuances lupus characters (and longer-term Garou) will know, cubs who first shift into lupus can both speak and understand the rudiments of wolf-speech, and their knowledge expands quickly. (Though again, it does take practice, and those who are particularly cut off from their instincts may be slower to access the rudiments.)

Mother's Tongue (what Revised calls High Speech), on the other hand, is a learned language, and should be treated that way. Pick it up slowly over cubhood; if you come in as cliath, perhaps you're not completely fluent yet, but can understand it well enough.

For more useful details, see 'news languages'. For an extensive discussion of the implications of growing up a wolf, and on what that implies for lupus-born language skills (and, therefore, their ability to speak human languages), see the Lupus Guide, as written by Tskilegwa.

Speaking With Spirits Edit

Spirit Speech isn't its own language. It's more of an empathic translator that lets a Theurge understand and be understood by spirits. Any Garou without the Gift listening to another Garou speak with spirits would understand the Garou's half of the conversation (assuming the speaker was using a language the listener can understand).

Meanwhile, per our news files (news languages3), "spirits rarely understand any of the languages of creatures of the flesh; those wishing comprehensible communication with spirits are advised to learn the gift Spirit Speech." For one thing, it's more respectful (This is Important). This is not to say some spirits can't speak to Garou; some are able to, with varying degrees of fluency. On the other hand, some of those who understand the Garou tongue aren't able to speak it, and some simply choose not to, for ineffable reasons of their own. (They're spirits, they get to be ineffable.) And when many spirits speak to the Garou, they'll do a good deal of it inside the Garou's mind, with very little spoken speech, in their own empathically enhanced language. So the point being is, if you want to guarantee the ability to speak with any given spirit, take a Theurge along. (And this does indicate that often, a Garou without Spirit Speech is not understanding the complete conversation.) One can, however, have entirely fruitful interactions with a spirit with only minimal language exchange. (For more on this, see the bottom of this page.)

Silver and Garou Edit

I'm pretty sure this is all canonical, but I figure being clear about it is good. Some of this is liberally stolen from a couple of posts by Tskilegwa.

Silver, oddly enough, is Bad News for the Garou. For one thing, it disrupts their connection to their spirits and the spiritual world. Translated, mechanics-wise, this means it reduces their effective Gnosis score. A Garou loses at least one temporary point of gnosis for every silver item they have in their immediate possession. Large silver items may account for more than one point. (Ask your friendly neighborhood GM and/or wizard.)

Also, and you will probably want to be aware of this, reduced temporary gnosis means the affected Garou can not use as many Gifts, or can't use any Gifts if gnosis is reduced to zero. Nor, of course, can they step sideways into the Umbra. Gnosis points lost to possessing silver can be regained one or two days after a Garou rids himself or herself of these possessions.

And, of course, silver harms Garou. Homid garou take unsoakable aggravated damage from silver in every form except homid, and homid garou receive one level of aggravated damage if they even touch silver in any form but homid. The same is true for lupus Garou and their breed form. Metis, however, cannot soak silver in any form, and get an agg of damage from touching it in any form. Sucks to be them.

Large quantities of silver in the area is one of the (many) conditions that can call for a frenzy check, and this is true even if it's in friendly hands. (That stuff's terrifying, after all.) Culturally, it can be argued that, given silver's lethality, just visibly carrying silver around, let alone aiming it at someone, is the real life equivalent of someone carrying around a loaded gun with no safety on it. That ain't smart.

On a side note, unless a characters has the Gift Sense Silver, they can't detect silver in the area. It does not give Garou an uncomfortable feeling in any portion of their body, they do not somehow mystically feel it, and it is, therefore, not grounds for a frenzy check unless they actually see it.

Regaining Gnosis Edit

Much of this is stolen from a post by Tersa. It's pretty much all book-canon, I just want it in one place.

According to 'news Gnosis', our specific rules say that in practice, it's OK to assume that Gnosis returns (and allows full Gift usage again) after each scene. However, since Gnosis is a rare and precious thing and should be treated as such, I definitely think of it as a role play add and definite story fodder to use any of the book-specified means for regaining Gnosis, which I note below. (And in some cases, as an extension of the plot being focused on at that time, wizards may require such means to be used.)

  1. Sacred Hunt - That is to say, a Revel where an Engling is hunted. For moots where there is no RPed Revel, it may be safe to assume that this is done.
    • Result: Full Gnosis replenished.
  2. Bargaining with Spirits: "Characters can attempt to find a spirit, such as an Engling, on their own and convince it to give them some of its Gnosis." In order to do this, it might need to be approved by the wizards beforehand, and would certainly require a GM, as it requires bargaining with the spirit using Spirit Speech and will require a favor be done for the spirit in return.
    • Results: Variable (dependent on wizards/GM)
  3. Mugging Spirits: Basically, if you whomp on a spirit enough to send it into slumber (that is, reduce its Power to zero), you can mug it for some of its Gnosis. The spirit will likely remember this upon waking up again, and be not so happy, so use this sparingly. Also, if you regularly mug Wyrm spirits, do involve a GM/the wizards, as unpleasant consequences may ensue. (Including your own possible mild Wyrm taint.)
    • Result: Up to 5 Gnosis regained.
    • A note on this - if you mug the spirit for all of its Gnosis, it is then dead, by which I mean, dead forever. Gone to the choir invisible. (This is useful to do with Wyrm spirits, therefore, despite the potential long-term risk.) So it won't go after you, in that case, but its friends might.
  4. Meditation: The character may regain Gnosis by meditating for at least one hour in a 24 hour period (one day) on spiritual matters. It is however, extremely difficult (mechanics: Wits+Enigmas diff 8), and only one point of Gnosis can be gained per hour of meditation, so regaining more than one point of Gnosis in a day requires multiple hours of meditation. This may only be done once a day, and it very quickly becomes extremely difficult if done repeatedly in a short amount of time (if done three or more times a week, it becomes diff:10).
    • Result: Not much, aka, max of 2 Gnosis a week.

Totem Quests Edit

This is less a houserule than it is general policy, but since this is a recurring question, I figured I'd put it up. Thus, herein lie the current steps in getting a Totem Quest done with.

  1. Form a pack ICly. This can be a Pack Of Family, or a Mission Pack, whichever. Or anything in between, really. It's perfectly OK to say to fellow players, "We should pack," and then work ICly toward packing, although I personally like letting it happen slightly more organically, ICly.
  2. Get an IC idea of what Totems you want. OOCly, we encourage people to use Totems from the list in 'news totems', but since it is a wide and wonderful world out there, we're open to people +mailing us with descriptions & powers of other Totems from the books. There's no guarantee we'll approve them as-is, and there's a definite possibility we may well reject them outright, or, depending on the Totem, approve the idea in concept but tweak its powers. Still, though, there's nothing that says you can't try!
  3. Get a GM for the TQ. Have them page and/or @mail the wizards about it, in case any of the Totems the pack wants are something the wizards would reject, or in case any of the wizards have some suggestion for the plot involved in the TQ.
    (There's actually what I would characterize as 3 different kinds of TQ.
    1. Just calling the Totem to you and bonding right then and there, which is discouraged in general both IC and OOC, but sometimes workable if you have urgent necessity
    2. having a 2-3 session ONS wherein the pack chooses between and proves itself to its potential Totem(s)
    3. a mini-plot where you can spend months going after one specific Totem. (This latter can be a whole lot of fun, but can get really lengthy-- we haven't had one in awhile.)
  4. Have a fun TQ!

Kinfetches & Cubs Edit

Since this is a recurring theme that comes up when brainstorming characters, I will note several things. For the uninitiated, a Kinfetch is a spirit put on a Garou as a baby (via the Rite Baptism of Fire) that will wake up when they're ready to first change, and alert the Garou that this is about to happen. This may be as simple as 'some Garou your parents knew vaguely does it on your character without telling your character's parents.' It doesn't have to be elaborately planned out, in other words.

Detail 1
Kinfetches are gafflings and thus kinda dumb, and can well wander off to anyone of any tribe (including Dancers). However, they tend to be shaped like the tribal Totem, and the cub, while the Kinfetch is active, has a spiritual mark on 'em in the Umbra.
Detail 2
After a certain point, a Kinfetch, being as it's kind of dumb and not entirely reliable, can wake up and go seeking the Garou at any time. The cub may be weeks from first change, or they may be ready to frenzy right then and there. The choice is really up to you, the player, and your OOC sense of the drama called for. Want a tense cubnapping? Go for it. Want a relatively easy one? Ditto.
Detail 3
If you don't have a Kinfetch, your character will be claimed by whatever tribe it ICly works best to be claimed by. (Or, in some cases, your character will gravitate toward whatever tribe they best work with, philosophically.) You OOCly will probably have some say in this, and many people enjoy the RP surrounding this. I have, however, known cubs who fall through the cracks and get lost, so fair warning, there.

Kinfolk & The Curse Edit

Kinfolk. Let me sum up, here, since there've been some questions in recent times. (Some wording stolen from an earlier bboard post by Tskilegwa.)

Kinfolk are immune to the Delirium, that is, they can see a Garou in Crinos and not rationalize it away.

Kinfolk are also immune to the Curse, that is, they don't go insane and freak out with sustained Garou contact.

They are not immune to a Garou's Rage. Kinfolk (and humans) who have a WP lower than the highest rage score of a Garou in the room will feel distinctly and definitely uncomfortable--like walking down a dark alleyway, unarmed, in a bad part of town, with no backup.

(The distinction between Curse and Rage effect might seem rather thin, but believe you me, unease and disquiet are far, far different than eventual insanity and gibbering death.)

Even given this WP:Rage factor, Kinfolk who might otherwise be able to tolerate being around higher-rage Garou are likely to be aware that they need to be really really really cautious around any Galliard or Ahroun or similarly high-rage (4 and up) Garou at any time at all, but especially as the moon gets fuller. Frenzies are truly not an entertaining experience, and most Kin are fully aware of this.

Please see +bbread human/1 for more energetically phrased cautions about this. See also for more discussion about Rage and its effects. 'news curse' and 'news delirium' are, also, applicable.

(Given the effect most Garou have on humans, they really can't interact in normal human society, hence, why Kinfolk are a precious resource for some tribes.)

Skill Levels & Numbers Edit

Just a reminder about "levels" with respect to talents/skills/knowledges: please be sensible about these things. They operate on a sliding scale, if you have to quantify them at all. (Medicine 1: Girl Scout training. Medicine 2: Paramedic. Medicine 3: MD. Medicine 4: Specialist. Medicine 5: Medical sooper genius.)

It's far better to describe the level of knowledge that your character has than to try to fit it into White Wolf's framework. Saying, "I'm about as skilled as an EMT," is better than saying, "I've got Medicine one-and-a-half." Certainly, you can use the number, but use it as a mild highlight to the description.

Although we've evolved toward somewhat more of a numbers focus over the years, the general theory is that using Abilities just reinforces dice-heavy RP. We feel the lack of them highlights the general intent of cooperative RP aspect of the game, and encourages more collaboration between players. And we trust the playerbase not to have their characters become expert jacks of all trades

Past Lives Edit

Past Lives (called Ancestors in Revised) are somewhat murky in definition.

One thing which is not murky: Possession is vanishingly rare. Mechanically, it happens on a botch, and only rarely even then. (More often, the person in question goes catatonic or unconscious.) In the vast majority of cases, your character doesn't remember the possession. While certainly it is entertaining to play someone manifestly Not Your Character, do so sparingly. Mechanically, given that those with higher PL have more dice they're using, it is in fact easier for those with a higher PL score to be possessed. (But still rare.)

Otherwise, the way we prefer you play it is a progression. PL 1-2, you can get hints of emotions, scraps of memory, the ghost of opinions. (Mechanically, of course, you can perform some actions slightly more easily.)

PL 3, you have more scraps of memory, more coherent impressions of actual people back there, but not full memory of them, not full histories.

PL 4-5, the former lives are more in there with you, in your mind than with the lower scores; often, folks with PL 4-5 will be somewhat spacy, or talk to themselves a little, since they're so clearly with their ancestors. There are solid personalities who occasionally make themselves clear, and the character may well see life through a filter of the past. Though unless your character is actually possessed, these former lives are just plain not speaking through your character; they're not that fully formed.

If you've been playing them as far more defined, which is entirely reasonable given our lack of guidelines, one good option in the future is to just have them become fuzzier and less distinct. This can, depending on your character, be seen as a blessing, or a curse.

Claw GiftsEdit

Only one "Claw" Gift can be active at any time. So, no stacking Razor Claws, Silver Claws, and Wind Claws (a WW20 Ahroun Gift) all at once.

Frenzying ChangesEdit

The Wyrm's tribe rampages across North America, and as Gaia screams in pain, Her children feel her suffering, and the fires of their Rage grow hotter. As the End Days draw ever closer, even Garou who have never tasted frenzy may find themselves in danger of it, and those who do succumb become even more dangerous.

New Rules for Frenzy Edit

1) Successes on a frenzy check remain for the duration of a scene. So even a Rage 1 Garou who sticks around in a situation that's provoking frenzy checks will, eventually, stack up enough successes to go Beserker or Fox. Burn a willpower to stave off that frenzy? Sure. But the successes are still there. Even the most calm Garou will lose it if pushed too far.

2) Garou in a frenzy are Rage Incarnate. For the first round, the frenzied Garou automatically spends their full permanent Rage pool in extra actions. Second round, Rage pool minus one. And so on, until the frenzied Garou reaches zero, at which point they can spend willpower to regain their senses, presuming they're not dead or unconscious.

3) More a reminder than a new rule: Garou in a Berserker or Thrall of the Wyrm frenzy will only take basic attack type actions -- claw, bite, rip, tear, shred, maybe kick. Nothing fancy, no Gifts (apart from those activated before the frenzy), no weapons but what Gaia gave 'em, no finesse, no feinting, no dodging. Attack target, move to next target, rinse, repeat. (And for Thrall, there's that Wits vs 7 check that means Nasty Things (tm) if the character botches.) Garou gripped by the Fox seek to run away with all due haste and will tear up people in their way only so far as to continue to escape. Again, nothing fancy, nothing requiring higher thought processes.

4) Gifts like Berserkers Song which invoke a controlled frenzy /do/ allow the Rage Incarnate type of rage spending as mentioned in #2, but a Garou using this Gift who performs any action not in keeping with that of a Garou in Berserker frenzy will find that the Gift's powers end as though he or she had chosen to stop the frenzy.

A few clarificationsEdit

1) We're following WW20 rules in that rage actions take place at the /end/ of the round, after initiative.

2) Reasons to check for frenzy (as per WW20, page 261-2):

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

3) I think Hobbes has mentioned this to some of you, but I'll restate it officially -- if the new rules turn out to be unworkable, we'll fix it. For now, though, the new rules stand.

Learning and ExperienceEdit

See +help learn.

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