World of Darkness: Aeon

World of Darkness: Aeon / Games / Werewolf: the Apocalypse / Judgment Calls

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If Phaedra's not in love with half the PCs on site by the end of the month, it will be because she hasn't met them.

Judgment Calls


Werewolf: the Apocalypse will take its rules and mechanics almost exclusively from the 20th Anniversary edition core rulebook. Things from the supplementary books or from the older editions of the game will be considered and allowed, restricted, or banned on a case-by-case basis. Below is the list of items that have already been decided on.


Game Edition Exceptions

Sometimes things that were (or at least seemed) cool in previous versions of the game were removed from newer editions in the name of progress or change. I will allow merits, flaws, gifts, rites, or what have you from previous editions on a case by case basis. If you choose something from a previous edition of Werewolf, please let me know where it is. You will find anything that has been approved for the Werewolf game in its corresponding section below.


Backgrounds

Discouraged Backgrounds 

“[W]hile most Bone Gnawers start with no Resources, anyone who buys a ticket can win the lottery,” (Core rulebook, pg. 135).

Discouraged backgrounds are very rare and require ST approval prior to submission. They are, however, attainable through roleplay. See Journals and Advancement for XP costs.

Restricted Backgrounds

Restricted backgrounds are even rarer than discouraged backgrounds, and are explicitly not attainable without ST permission. 

No character will be approved with a discouraged background unless purchased with XP, and require ST approval prior to submission. It is possible to gain these backgrounds through play, usually through specific ST approved storylines. See Journals and Advancement for XP costs.

Fate

The Fate background will only be considered with approval from the Administrator. Any player wishing to submit a character with the Fate background will need to first pitch the concept to the Admin so that it can be discussed.

Social Backgrounds

The backgrounds of Allies, Contacts, Mentor, and Kinfolk apply to NPCs or characters played by the same player only. For example, PC Kinfolk can provide aid to a PC Garou played by a different character without the Garou needing to purchase the background.

Pure Breed

Take a moment to read the full description on pure breed in the core rulebook (pg. 138) as the notes and clarifications will affect how pure breed will be handled in this game. Of particular note:

“Pure Breed is a nebulous combination of bloodline and spiritual inheritance. A character with high Pure Breed looks and carries himself like an archetypal member of his tribe — however, if he does not join that tribe, any benefits of Pure Breed are removed by the tribe’s totem.”

Pure Breed on WoD: Aeon will be treated in two ways: as a standard background as described in the book, and as an adversarial background.

Pure Breed as an Adversarial Background

At creation, a player may choose to give a character pure breed of a tribe other than their chosen/claimed tribe. In this case, the background is considered adversarial, and will be treated like so:

  • In formal challenges or social interactions with Garou of the birth tribe, the character loses 1 die for every dot of the adversarial background. There are no mechanical benefits or detriments in dealings with other Garou, although for roleplaying purposes other characters may still treat the Garou with more respect (the blood of heroes still runs in their veins, after all).
  • Its points will be treated like flaws for the purposes of freebie allocation, and contribute to the 7pt max for flaw points.
  • Buying off the adversarial background will cost the same as buying up a standard background (current rating x 2), meaning depending on the pure breed level, the first dot bought off will cost more than the second, and so on.
    • The birth pure breed must be completely purchased off before pure breed in the claimed tribe can be bought up.
  • Gifts for the birth tribe will be considered "out of tribe" for the purposes of XP spending.

Increasing Pure Breed

Due to the spiritual aspect of PB, it is possible for a character to increase their PB level. This can only be done through roleplay, and only one of two ways:  1) Doing something incredibly heroic in the the presence of an Incarna or Celestine avatar of the Garou’s tribal totem, or 2) having a Galliard or Theurge with relevant pure breed at the Athro or higher level convince an Incarna or Celestine avatar, either by bargaining or regaling them with the tale respectively. An increase of PB can only be made with Administrator approval, and the level a character can increase their PB is at the Administrator’s discretion. The cost to raise the level is the same as other backgrounds. The cost is double for PCs with PB different from their tribe, due to the fact they are essentially overwriting the other PB, thus “buying it off” and “buying it up” again.

Pooled Backgrounds

“Some Backgrounds can relate to the pack, rather than the individual werewolves. Specifically, the members of a pack may choose to pool their individual Allies, Contacts, Fate, Kinfolk, and Resources. Totem as a Background already applies to the pack rather than an individual character, thus is not a candidate for pooling. A character can draw on a pooled Background even if that Background is normally restricted for her tribe,” (Core rulebook, pg. 140).

We will follow the rules laid out in the book. Make sure that your pooled Backgrounds are listed on your pack’s thread.


Totem Boons

Part of the coolness of forming packs or aligning with a Sept totem is the gaining of boons. Many such boons take the form of increased stats (for example City Tree, the Sept totem of Seattle's Sept of the Concrete Wilds, grants +1 Stamina to Garou). In the event a player wishes to buy up a stat that is boosted by a Sept or pack totem, they pay for the new dot as though the bonus dot does not exist. That means that if Amelie has Stamina 1 and City Tree brings her to Stamina 2, to buy another dot her player would spend 4XP. This is so that if something happens to the totem boon (e.g. a pack breaks up, a Garou changes Sept allegiances, etc.), the player hasn't paid extra for their dots.


Equipment

Players must declare their character’s equipment at submission. These items must match the character’s resources level, or if they don’t (e.g. a Bone Gnawer with no resources owning a vehicle), you must briefly explain how they have what they shouldn’t have (something like, “Ranger won it in a bet,” is fine). After approval, new special equipment (weapons, fetishes, etc.) can only be gained through roleplay. Things that can be easily acquired from ordinary stores (art supply stores contain a plethora of things that can be used as makeshift, impromptu weapons) do not need to be declared and do not require special permission to obtain.


Gifts

Spirit Speech (Available to numerous Tribes and Fera breeds)

The gift Spirit Speech will be treated as a level 1 gift across the board. On the off chance it appears as a different level (for instance it's labeled a level 2 general Kitsune gift), ignore that and treat it as level 1.

Blending (Level 1 Uktena tribe gift) (Uktena tribebook, revised)

This gift is performed without a dice roll, and while the write-up says a searcher must make a perception + alertness roll at difficulty 9, it gives no threshold for successes needed to notice the blended Garou. To clarify this, on WoD: Aeon, the searcher needs only 1 success to notice the Garou is "something more interesting than a stump." Since this gift doesn't involve a roll, supernatural folk (mages, vampires, changelings) may follow the guidelines outlined in the Site Rules for countering the gift. Their threshold for success will be 1 or 4 successes, depending on whether the Garou PC spent a Gnosis point to negate three perception successes.

Everything else about the gift occurs as described in the revised Uktena tribebook.

Man’s Skin (Level 1 Black Fury tribe gift) - Banned

Why: “Distasteful though it may be, the Black Furies sometimes find it necessary to pass unnoticed through the world of men.” (Core rulebook, pg. 173)

Simply put, this gift doesn’t fit in with the tribe’s sensibilities with regard to gender equality, and frankly it doesn’t fit in with my sensibilities as a (albeit cis-gendered) feminist. Perhaps I would feel differently if there were also an all-male tribe that had a similar gift for gender-swapping to a woman, but there isn’t, so here we are.

Seduction (Level 1 Kitsune Kojin gift, Changing Breeds)

This gift is banned on WoD: Aeon.


Mechanics

Anything regarding game mechanics pertaining to rolls, duels, combat, etc. will be collected in this section.

Ambushes

W20 mentions ambushes several times and suggests Attribute and Talent specialties for detecting them, but strangely has no mechanics for setting one up. Since WoD: Aeon is a crossover site, Werewolf will use the mechanics written up in M20:
 
Attacking from surprise, an assailant can get the upper hand on her opponent. In game terms, the attacker rolls Dexterity + Stealth (+ the Arcane Background, if she has it) in a resisted roll against her target’s Perception + Alertness.
 
If the attacker wins, then she gets one attack roll against her opponent before any initiative rolls are made; if she’s got successes left over after canceling his successes out, then she can add one die to her attack dice pool for each success. Let’s say that Lee Ann surprises a rogue Acharne Cultist; if her player rolls four successes to the Cultist’s two, then she adds two more dice to her attack pool.
 
On a tie, the attacker goes first but the defender can take a defensive maneuver. And if the defender wins, then he spots the ambush before the trap springs, and both parties roll their normal initiative.
 
Certain situations and characters make ambush impossible. Sneaking up on someone when you’re wearing power armor isn’t feasible, and some people (especially Time Masters) seem impossible to surprise. Ultimately, the Storyteller gets the final call regarding the potential of an ambush… which doesn’t mean, of course, that the attacker knows in advance that her assault will fail (M20 core rulebook, pg. 416).
 
This has the potential to apply to non-combat uses of Stealth, at ST discretion. The free "attack" roll cannot be split.

Crossing the Gauntlet

Per W20, crossing the Gauntlet requires a highly reflective surface. This can be anything that creates a clear reflection, such as mirrors, polished silver, a pool of still water, or darkened windows. However, since Garou are half-spirit, crossing without the use of a reflective surface is not impossible. A Garou wishing to cross without the use of a reflective surface increases the difficulty of the Gnosis roll by +1.

If the roll is botched, the character becomes "caught" in the Gauntlet. While trapped, the Garou may be subjected to soul-shattering visions at ST discretion, but cannot be seen or attacked by physical enemies. Another werewolf can attempt to free the traveler with a successful roll to step sideways, or wait an hour to try again. If the second roll also botches, the Garou is stuck until someone can free them.

Garou with the Theurge Gift Pulse of the Invisible can cross the Gauntlet without the use of a reflective surface with no penalty.

Peeking

A Garou in the Penumbra can peer back into the physical world with a Gnosis roll equal to the local Gauntlet. This is more difficult when a werewolf wants to peek from Earth into the Penumbra. Unless the Garou has the Gift Pulse of the Invisible, peeking with the aid of a reflective surface is done against the local Gauntlet rating. Peeking without either Gift or reflective surface increases the difficulty by +3 up to a difficulty of 9.

However a Garou chooses to peek, while they are peeking they are oblivious to their surroundings and vulnerable to attack.

More information can be found in W20 Chapter Seven: The Spirit World.

Multiple Actions

In attempting to simplify splitting actions, I feel W20 made it much more complicated than it needs to be. Therefore, due to the possibility of crossover on WoD: Aeon, Werewolf will use the same mechanics as Mage and Vampire:

Characters may choose to split their turn into multiple actions. When splitting actions, take the lowest dice pool and divide it between all actions in whatever way you choose.

If activating a gift requires an action but does not specify "For one full turn" a player can include another action as though it were a split. The rolled action is at -1 die.

In combat, Rage actions will still take place after the initial round of normal actions. Rage actions cannot be split.

Contested Rolls

Many times, determining who the Defender and the Attacker in a contested roll is really easy. If character 1 attacks character 2, obviously character 2 is the defender, so in the event of a tie character 2 wins. This gets trickier when it comes to social and perception rolls. When it comes to these rolls, whoever is trying to avoid the roll is the defender. So, someone trying to avoid their lies being detected, or someone trying to avoid following a command is the "defender." The "attacker" must gain at least 1 success over the "defenders" roll to succeed.

Thrall of the Wyrm: Defiler Wyrm

Thrall of the Wyrm frenzy is a gnarly game mechanic for a reason. It exists to show how the line between a Garou’s spiritual sanctity and corruption by the Wyrm is razor thin. That said, the Metis head of the Wyrm triad goes too far. There are other ways to desecrate a corpse. In this game, if a Metis character falls into Thrall of the Wyrm, they will instead find other ways to disrespect the dead. Some examples would be defecation or urination. Feel free to be creative.

Identifying Others

In Werewolf, the rolls for identifying other supernaturals are Perception + Primal-Urge or Intuition. The standard difficulty is 6, though a ST may raise or lower the diff as appropriate. This will give an instinctive or intuitive impression of the character as "other" or "something other than human, maybe" depending on the number of successes. In order to accurately identify other supernaturals, the below conditions must be met.

Garou and Kinfolk

In order to accurately identify Garou or Kinfolk as such, a Garou must succeed at the above roll or have the Philodox Gift, Scent of the True Form.

Fera

A successful detection roll will only give a PC the impression that the Fera is a non-Garou shapeshifter. In order to accurately detect a Fera for what they are, a Garou must have the Philodox Gift, Scent of the True Form, and have had prior experience with the Fera type. A Philodox that has never encountered any Rokea might not immediately recognize the scent she detects as “wereshark.”

Mages, Vampires, and Changelings

As with Fera, a successful detection roll will only give a PC the impression that a Mage, Vampire, or Changeling character is "other." In order to accurately identify a playable supernatural from the other systems on WoD: Aeon, a character must have a relevant Occult specialty, at least one dot in a relevant Lore, or the Philodox Gift, Scent of the True Form.

Detecting Pure Breed

Detecting the presence of Pure Breed is instinctive for Garou and does not require a roll. This innate understanding does not automatically grant knowledge of Tribe, or whether the character is Garou or Kinfolk, however. Unless a character announces their Tribal affiliation, other characters may have an impression of possible heritage or even Tribal connection, but may not know with certainty without a successful Rite of Heritage.

With regard to Pure Breed as an adversarial background, other Garou characters can sense something is "off" and are therefore harder to impress, command, or intimidate.

At player or ST discretion, characters with shared Pure Breed may recognize it in each other.

Kinfolk the Background vs. the Family Support merit

In W20, Garou characters now have two options for background support: the Background "Kinfolk" and/or the 1 pt. merit "Family Support". According to the book, the Family Support merit can apply to either Kin or non-Kin supportive family members, creating possible overlap with the Kinfolk background.

To clarify these options, on WoD: Aeon they will be treated like so:

  • NPCs under either the Kinfolk background or the Family Support merit know what the Garou is and offer their support. This could be financial, emotional, or more.
  • NPCs under the Kinfolk background are local characters that reside within the same setting as the Garou character. Through them the Garou has access to the local Kinfolk network for support, information, and so on.
  • NPCs under the Family Support merit do not reside within the same setting as the Garou character. They may or may not be Kinfolk (the player does not need to take the Kinfolk background to denote Kinfolk family support). The Garou will receive support from a single family only, and do not have access to the local Kinfolk network except through play.

The only time that a player would need to take both the background and the merit is if they will be receiving aid and support from both the local Kinfolk network and a single non-local family.

Animal Attraction

The Social Feat "Animal Attraction" (W20 core rulebook pg. 276) is banned on WoD: Aeon.


Merits & Flaws

Aptitudes (1pt. Mental merits)

The Merits Computer Aptitude, Expert Driver, Mechanical Aptitude, and similar can be purchased without a dot in the corresponding ability, however a character still cannot roll an unlearned knowledge. Corresponding abilities can be learned with 1 less XP than normal.

One Eye (2pt. Physical flaw)

The 20th Anniversary edition mechanics of this flaw are pretty harsh, and also kind of silly. All perception rolls receive a penalty? A person doesn’t need two good eyes to be able to see something standing in the road ahead. Werewolf will instead use the mechanics as described in the Players Guide to the Garou:

“You lack depth perception and have limited vision due to the fact you only have one eye. Your blind side has no peripheral vision. When depth perception is involved (such as during ranged combat), you suffer a two dice penalty to your rolls,” (Players Guide to the Garou, pg. 160).

With regard to combat, any attack coming from the blind side will be considered From Behind.

Supernatural Companion (3pt. Social merit) - Restricted

Because of the potential for cross-over on WoD: Aeon, there will likely be venues where this merit does not apply. There may also be venues where other supernatural beings simply aren’t in a great enough abundance for it to apply.

Ward (3pt. Social flaw)

This flaw only applies to NPCs. A PC Garou can feel an obligation to protect a PC Mortal friend without claiming the flaw.

Hunted (4pt Social flaw) - Restricted

The introduction of a Hunter NPC into a Werewolf game could cause an unwanted ruckus. As such, this flaw will only be allowed with Administrator approval. Players wanting to submit a character with this flaw will need to pitch the concept to the Admin so that it can be discussed.

Lucky (3pt. Supernatural merit) - Banned

Bad dice days happen. Players are free to Mulligan rolls provided it is universally agreed upon by everyone involved in the scene. Storytellers and the Administrator have final say.

Dark Fate (5pt. Supernatural flaw) - Restricted

As with the Fate background, this flaw will only be considered with approval from the Administrator. Any player wishing to submit a character with the Fate background will need to first pitch the concept to the Admin so that it can be discussed.


Renown

Kinfolk

Kinfolk will have the option to earn renown, however, it will be much harder to earn than it is for Garou. Only acts of extreme glory, honor, or wisdom will net temporary renown points, and even those will be stingy. Kinfolk will only earn renown if a respected Galliard tells a tale about their exploits during a moot, or if I see evidence of Garou characters talking amongst each other about the exploits of a kinfolk. If it’s only the Garou close to the Kinfolk spreading stories (i.e. their Guardian, Garou family, or members of either’s pack), there is a low chance of the Kinfolk earning renown. As such, kinfolk characters cannot enter play with renown points, it can only be earned through play.

Ragabashes

Folks who have played with me through the years know that few World of Darkness mechanics grind my gears like how renown is treated for Ragabashes. The Auspices start off on the same page with all Cliaths beginning with three points of renown. However, to earn a Fostern rank a Ragabash needs 1 point more than any other Auspice, 3 points more than other Adrens, 4 points more than other Athros, and then inexplicably they’re given a break and need just 2 points more than other Elders. Add to this the fact that they’re the Auspice most likely to lose renown, and the game is stacked against the New Moons ever ranking up with their peers.

On WoD: Aeon, Ragabashes rank up when they reach the same cumulative points of renown as the other Auspices for the same rank. They can still gain renown in any combination, however, they cannot rank up on a single renown type alone. In order to challenge for an increased rank, a Ragabash must have a point spread similar to the other Auspices, but in a way that makes sense for the character.

Starting Renown

It occurred to me pretty much as I hit "go" on the first character that while I made character creation rules that allow for more advanced characters, I didn't include a rule for extra starting renown. In the past, sites have had character creation rules for "experienced Cliaths" that included a few extra points of renown for players to distribute as they saw fit. I've given it a lot of thought, and I've decided to leave renown at creation on WoD: Aeon as is. The reason is pretty simple: I intend to be a lot more generous with renown than you've probably seen on past sites, and give out slightly greater renown rewards than you might be used to getting online. I'm also going to implement some rules so that players who aren't able to play as often aren't left in the dust in terms of character advancement. These are below.

- Due to the difficulty for Kinfolk to earn renown, these rules do not apply to them.

Automatic Renown

Each month, Garou characters will automatically earn:

  • .1 renown while the character is active on the roster. However, new characters will not begin to earn auto-renown until they've completed a scene.
  • .2 renown for being active in their system
  • .1 Honor and .1 Wisdom for any sept leadership position they may hold (excluding pack leader)

Automatic renown, like automatic XP, has a limit. Per site rules, each month a journal containing activity isn't submitted for a character, that character will be marked as "inactive". After three months of inactivity the character will be automatically retired and will no longer receive the free renown and XP.

These aren't the only ways to earn renown, of course. Players who are able to be more involved or do more will still earn on top of these rewards (except for that low scene count renown obviously). This is just so that there's a steady baseline so that everyone can move their character forward.

I reserve the right to nerf these bonuses if it seems like characters are advancing too fast. I want players to have a chance of advancing to the higher ranks they might not have been able to get to in the past, but not if it means they overwhelm the characters in other systems.

Downtime Renown

This system allows characters to earn renown even if players aren't able to play for a while. This system is similar to the site's downtime XP system. Characters on hiatus will continue to earn .1 renown for each month that they are inactive. Downtime renown will last for only so many months as a character was active. In order to be considered on hiatus, a character cannot be active on the site in any way.

Renown for Multiple Characters

On WoD: Aeon it's possible for a player to play multiple characters in the same scene. Per site rules, players should choose only one character for whom to claim credit. Werewolf has one further restriction:

  • Characters played by the same person cannot earn renown for each other.

For example, say a Theurge uses a healing talen on another Garou. If the two are played by two players, the Theurge could earn a bit of renown for "healing a fellow Garou (non-pack member) unselfishly." If the characters are played by the same person, they don't. If they purchase each other as allies they may teach or aid each other as normal.


Optional Items

Hobby Talents, Professional Skills, and Expert Knowledges 

Use of these traits is not required. The usual standard and secondary traits should be able to encompass any kind of skill or knowledge you'd like to buy. That said, if you would prefer to use one of these, you're welcome to do so.

The Well-Skilled Craftsman

Players may purchase additional specializations for their characters once they achieve 4 dots in a given trait. Additional specializations cost 4xp or 2 freebies each.

Minimum Driving Skill

This is not being used officially in our system. That said, characters are expected to have at least Drive 1 if they want to be able to safely operate a vehicle. Yes, you CAN drive without the Drive skill – the same way you could roll any untrained skill (at +1 diff) - but it isn’t recommended.

Moots

In Garou society, sept moots happen every full moon. Although these will be available every month, they’re in this optional portion because participation is not required and is intended to be usually fairly casual. Unless the Storyteller has something in mind, every month I’ll open up a section in the forums for moot things for five days, the two days before, two days after, and day of the moot. During a moot, threads will be opened for the Master of the Howl to oversee moot howls, Sept Alphas to lead the Cracking of the Bone, the Talesinger to open the floor for storytelling, and the Wyrmfoe to lead the Revel, and maybe a thread for the Caller of the Would depending on the setting, or a challenge thread depending on the situation. Moot posts are an opportunity for characters to earn renown, both for themselves and for other characters, as well as get an easy, ST-started meeting with setting NPCs. If no one posts anything, it will be assumed that moot things happened as usual, nothing important to report.

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