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.

The following are immune to the Delirium, though they may suffer frenzy or just regular fear:

  • Supernaturals (Race on +sheet is neither Mortal nor Mortal+)
  • Ghouls
  • Kinfolk
  • Many Possessed:
    • All Drones and Gorgons
    • Any possessed with "Immunity to the Delirium" or "Skinchanger Kinship" power
    • However, possessed with "Vulnerability to Delirium" taint are indeed not immune
  • Sorcerers/psychics with at least one numina at level 3+
  • Kinain
  • Hunters with Conviction defenses active

For typical reactions by Willpower, see WtA 192.

The Delirium and Fera

Reference: PGttCB 167

Seeing Fera in certain forms causes non-immune characters to suffer Delirium:

Breed Full Delirium Reduced Delirium
Ajaba Crinos
Ananasi Lilian, Pithus
Bastet Chatro Crinos
Corax Crinos
Gurahl Crinos
Mokole Archid
Nagah Azhi Dahaka
Nuwisha Manabozho
Ratkin Crinos
Rokea Gladius, Chasmus Glabrus

Kitsune do not cause Delirium at all.

"Reduced Delirium" means targets react (WtA 192) as if their Willpower was 2 higher.


See House_Rules/Fera

Frenzy (shifter)

See House_Rules/Shifter_Frenzy


  • Camp gifts cannot be learned outside that camp. (Ditto for house, lodge, etc.) This includes swiping.
    • If all shifters of a tribe are expected to pick one of these (e.g. Lodges, Silver Fangs 41), then kinfolk may also pick one.
  • Ronin gifts (Outcasts, WW3065) are disallowed for non-Ronin. Hide the Wolf is disallowed entirely (overpowered compared to e.g. Ubermensch, Domestic Seeming).
  • If a gift has different levels depending on splat, then you can only take it at the lower level if that splat applies to you.
    • This only checks your own race, except swiping which checks all races.
    • Example: For Garou, Name the Spirit is level 3 lupus / level 2 Theurge, so all non-Theurge Garou must wait till rank 3. (9 XP if lupus, 15 if homid/metis.)
    • Example: For Ratkin, Name the Spirit is level 2 Shadow Seer / level 2 Munchmausen, so any Ratkin may take it at rank 2.
    • Example: For Bastet, Name the Spirit is only available via swiping, so all Bastet must wait till rank 3.
  • BSD gifts include those from BotWyrm page 105: Resist Toxin (level 1), Shroud (level 1), Doppelganger (increased to level 4 by WtA 149).
  • PCs learning Grandmother's Touch who previously learned Mother's Touch may get an XP refund for the latter.


  • 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
      • 'Homid' and 'general' are in context of the breed you're kin to. If they can only get the gift by swiping, then it costs you 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 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 Pure Breed kinfolk 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.
    • To identify someone without Pure Breed and/or of a different race, see '+explain Scent of the True Form'.
  • Corax do have kinfolk (+rules fera).


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.)

Touched background:

  • Spending a Willpower for an auto-success does not negate the background; if the unmodified roll is a failure, Wyld Touched still turns it into a botch (but a less severe one).
  • Spending a Willpower to negate the background can be done either before or after the roll, but does not give an auto-success.
  • You can do both of these on a single roll.
  • 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).

Offspring and Pure Breed

Parents are... % chance that the
baby is a shifter
kinfolk neither Notes
Shifter and kinfolk, same breed and tribe 10 + (5 * KPB) 90 - (5 * KPB) 0
Shifter and kinfolk, same breed but different tribes 10 90 0
Two kinfolk, same breed and tribe 1 + (sum of KPB) 50 49 - (sum of KPB)
Two kinfolk, same breed but different tribes 1 50 49
Two shifters, same breed 100 0 0 Metis
  • Ananasi: only possible for Kumo, and kills the mother
  • Corax, Gurahl, Mokole, Nuwisha, Rokea: impossible
Two kinfolk, different breeds 2 + (sum of KPB) 50 49 - (sum of KPB)
Two shifters, different breeds, mother homid 20 80 0
Two shifters, different breeds, mother lupus/etc. 10 90 0 Baby's breed always matches mother

KPB = Kinfolk parent's Pure Breed (default 0). Note that the shifter parent's Pure Breed does not affect these probabilities.

  • Same breed and tribe: Baby's Pure Breed is at least as high as higher rating among parents.
  • Different tribes: Baby's Pure Breed is lower.
  • Different breeds: Flip a coin to determine which parent's breed the baby matches, except where otherwise stated.

A shifter of one breed is not considered 'kinfolk' to another breed, regardless of ancestry, merely 'related' in the ordinary-language sense.

For breeds without tribes (e.g. Ratkin), parents of that same breed are also considered 'same tribe' for this purpose.

For a single baby, this can be handwaved (but you're still encouraged to roll a couple dice). For multiple babies, or if you've had one before, please submit a +request and then roll to that job.

References: K:UH 13, 51; PGG 203-204; PGttCB 45, 191, 79, 88, 114, 134, 151; WPG 2nd ed 190


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.

Falling in rank due to a situation that is not just a renown loss (e.g. Satire Rite, Rite of Renunciation): Minimum time to regain rank previously held and then lost may be reduced by up to 75 percent at staff discretion.

Walking the Spiral post-chargen: All previous rank/renown is ignored. The new BSD gets rank 1 for surviving, but starts at zero renown and must earn their way to rank 2 from there.


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


  • Rites can be learned from a PC teacher who knows the rite, using rolls over time rather than costing XP. See XP_Chart#Shifter for full rules.
  • Tribe rites cannot be learned by a shifter not belonging to that tribe.
  • For the additional-assistants bonus (-1 diff per 5) (WtA 155):
    • Only PCs with Rituals at least as high as the rite level count toward the bonus.
    • This bonus alone can't lower difficulty below 3.
  • Tribal variation of Rite of Renunciation (WtA 157) removes the performer's Pure Breed if any. Completing a respectable renunciation (WtA 185) restores it.

Totem / Jamak / Nushi / Orisha Bond

See House_Rules/Totem

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'"