Werewolf: The Apocalypse House Rules


This page contains all of the house rules for playing Werewolf: The Apocalypse with Storytelling System mechanics.

Chapter Three: Laws of the Kill

No changes.

Characters in Werewolf: The Apocalypse have an additional “splat” to select from during character creation: their breed. See page 75 of Werewolf: The Apocalypse for descriptions of each breed.

A character’s breed determines their starting Skill dots, their starting Harmony score, and offers an additional number of Gifts to choose from. A character’s breed also determines their natural form—the form they can shapeshift back to most easily, and the one they automatically shapeshift back to when unconscious. See Shapeshifting for further information about forms.

Natural Form: Homid
Skills: Homid characters start with the normal 22 Skill dots.
Initial Harmony: 6
Beginning Gifts: Apecraft’s Blessings, City Running, Master of Fire, Persuasion, Smell of Man

Natural Form: Crinos
Skills: Metis characters start with 20 Skill dots.
Initial Harmony: 7
Beginning Gifts: Create Element, Primal Anger, Rat Head, Sense Wyrm, Shed
Deformities: Every metis character has at least one deformity Persistent Condition, chosen during character creation. Storytellers should encourage players to choose defects that complement their character concept. Some possibilities for metis deformities include: (To be posted)

Natural Form: Lupus
Skills: Lupus characters start with 18 Skill dots and cannot spend more than six in Mental Skills.
Initial Harmony: 8
Beginning Gifts: Hare’s Leap, Heightened Senses, Predator’s Arsenal, Prey Mind, Sense Prey

Auspices in Werewolf: The Forsaken are determined by what sign of the moon the character undergoes the First Change under. Auspices in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, however, are determined by what sign of the moon the character was born under. Apocalypse in general places greater emphasis on a character’s heredity: this is the same reason that wolf-blooded/kinfolk cannot spontaneously become Garou.

Auspice determines a character’s initial Rage and one of their starting Renown dots. Auspice also offers characters a free dot of one of three Skills (but cannot cause any one Skill to exceed five dots) and offers additional starting Gifts to choose from.

Renown: Cunning
Skills: Persuasion, Stealth, Subterfuge
Base Rage: 1
Beginning Gifts: Blur of the Milky Eye, Eviscerate, Infectious Laughter, Liar’s Face, Open Seal, Scent of Running Water

Renown: Wisdom
Skills: Animal Ken, Medicine, Occult
Base Rage: 2
Beginning Gifts: Mother’s Touch, Sense Wyrm, Shadow Gaze, Spirit Snare, Spirit Speech, Umbral Tether

Renown: Honor
Skills: Empathy, Investigation, Persuasion
Base Rage: 3
Beginning Gifts: Fangs of Judgment, Persuasion, Resist Pain, Scent Beneath the Surface, Scent of the True Form, Truth of Gaia

Renown: Glory
Skills: Crafts, Expression, Persuasion
Base Rage: 4
Beginning Gifts: Beast Speech, Call of the Wyld, Heightened Senses, Mindspeak, Perfect Recall, War Howl

Renown: Purity
Skills: Brawl, Intimidation, Survival
Base Rage: 5
Beginning Gifts: Falling Touch, Inspiration, Killer Instinct, Pack Tactics, Razor Claws, Spur Claws

Designer’s Note: Readers familiar with Werewolf: The Apocalypse’s mechanics may note that several of the above Gifts are drawn from Werewolf: The Forsaken. Apocalypse and Forsaken use different systems for organizing their Gifts (and not in the sense of game systems). Apocalypse has characters purchase every Gift separately, while Forsaken groups them into larger powers with five different levels. Basically, Forsaken Gifts are like vampiric Disciplines, and Apocalypse Gifts are like vampiric Devotions. I am opting to use Apocalypse’s system of individually purchased Gifts and while allowing Gifts introduced in Forsaken to still be purchased.

Merit Name Prerequisites Description
Calm Heart - Your character frenzies less easily than most.
Seldom Sleeps - You require far less rest than most.

Merit Name Prerequisites Description
Bad Taste - Your flesh tastes revolting.
Fair Glabro - Your Glabro form can easily pass for human.
Lack of Scent - You have no scent.
Metamorph - Shapeshifting is as easy as breathing for you.
Mixed Morph - Partial shapeshifting is especially easy for you.

Merit Name Prerequisites Description
Ancestors - Ancestral spirits who lend their knowledge and skills.
Kinfolk - Relatives who you are in touch with, human and wolf, who are immune to the Delirium.
Pure Breed - The renown of the character’s ancestry and purity of their bloodline.
Mentor - A werewolf of higher Rank who advises and supports the character.
Pack - Standing and respect among a pack.
Spirit Heritage - Special affinity for a type of spirit.
Totem - A pack’s totem is a unique spirit, and this Merit is pooled among the pack to create it.

Merit Name Prerequisites Description
Fetish - You have an item of some sort with a spirit bound within it, giving it supernatural powers.
Silver Tolerance - You are less hurt by silver.
Spirit Magnet - You naturally attract the attention of spirits.
Wyrm Emanation Immunity - Wyrm poisons affect you less easily than most.

Mental Merits

Physical Merits

Social Merits

Ancestors (• to •••••)

Prerequisites: Cannot be Ananasi, Ratkin, or Rokea. A Bastet cannot have this Merit unless it is of the Swara Tribe or a hengeyokai Khan. Cannot be Mokolé; see the Mnesis Merit.

Ancestral memory in humans is no more than pseudo-scientific nonsense. To the Garou, who can contact the spirits of their ancestors, it’s a fact of life. Many werewolves carry some of the memories of a distant ancestor; some even allow their forebears to take over their bodies. Once per chapter (game session), the werewolf can attempt to contact his predecessors.

Action: Instant

Dice Pool: Double the character’s Ancestors dots. The character takes a -2 penalty if he tries to contact the spirit of a specific ancestor.

Roll Results

Dramatic Failure: The character makes contact with an ancestor who is tainted or otherwise unstable. He might simply be overwhelmed by the memories of thousands of lives. Regardless, he gains an adverse mental Condition of the Storyteller’s choice. Alternatively, the ancestral spirit refuses to relinquish the werewolf’s body. How long the ancestor stays depends on the Storyteller.

Failure: The character is not able to make contact.

Success: The character makes contact with an ancestor who can help. The player can allocate a number of bonus Skill dots equal to the dots in the Ancestors Merit, up to a total of five dots in any Skill. These bonus dots last until the end of the scene.

If the character attempts to contact a specific ancestor, their spirit may provide useful advice or precognitive visions at the discretion of the Storyteller, providing one hint or piece of insight per success rolled. If the ancestor cannot be of help, the character’s use of this Merit is not expended.

Exceptional Success: The character is left with new insight after contacting an Ancestor. He takes a Beat that can only be spent towards increasing one of the affected Skills. If he already has five dots in all of the Skills, his use of this Merit is not expended.

If the character attempts to contact a specific ancestor, he instead regains a point of Willpower.

Merit Dots Description
x No ancestors watch over you.
You have brief, hazy visions from the distant past.
•• You remember faces and places from past lives just as you remember those of your early childhood.
••• You put names to faces among your ancestors.
•••• Ancestors converse with you on a regular basis.
••••• Your ancestors watch your adventures with interest, and they often come to counsel you.

Mentor (• to •••••)

A Garou of higher Rank has taken keen interest in your character, and will look after him—to a point. The dot rating of your character’s Mentor quantifies how powerful his mentor is within the tribe and what rank he or she has achieved. A mentor can teach your character skills, advise him, or speak on his behalf at a council fire. She has a pack of her own, and her own duties, so she won’t be present to save your character whenever he bites off more than he can chew. Of course, his mentor will expect something in return for her assistance, be it good company, an occasional gofer, a champion, or perhaps a supporter in sept politics. Her demands can make an excellent source of story hooks. In general, however, the character will receive more than he gives. Other werewolves may wonder what the character’s mentor sees in him—the two of them deal as individual werewolves, rather than as members of their respective packs. A powerful mentor doesn’t have to be a single person; a pack or council of elders might be considered a collective mentor. The latter would almost certainly have a rating of four or five dots, even if no one on the council is above Rank 5.

Corax rarely stick with any single Mentor for an appreciable length of time.

This Merit is very rare for Nagah to possess.

Merit Dots Description
x No mentor worth mentioning.
Mentor is Rank 2.
•• Mentor is Rank 3.
••• Mentor is Rank 4.
•••• Mentor is Rank 5.
••••• Mentor is Rank 6.

Pure Breed (• to •••••)

Prerequisites: Cannot be Ananasi, Corax, Kitsune, Ratkin, or Rokea.

Garou take great stock in ancestry, and the werewolf who is descended from renowned forbears has a definite advantage in Garou society. This Merit represents your character’s lineage, markings, bearing and other features of birth. Other Garou revere werewolves with high ranks in Pure Breed as heroes of yore come to life—and such werewolves are expected to act the part. The higher a Garou’s Pure Breed score is, the more likely he is to impress elder councils or receive hospitality from foreign tribes. Add the character’s Pure Breed dots to any Social Skill rolls made with other werewolves, including Black Spiral Dancers and Ronin.

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. Many werewolves with Pure Breed can trace their ancestry directly, while others resemble distant ancestors who cannot be connected without a degree of genealogical exactitude that is lost to the Garou. Some tribes place more value on good breeding than others, but Pure Breed is almost universally respected. It’s a mystical trait, and werewolves can tell instinctively whose blood is particularly pure.

Merit Dots Description
x Undistinguished pedigree.
You have your father’s eyes.
•• Your grandfather made a name for himself at the Battle of Bloody Ford, and you carry that name with pride.
••• Your pedigree is blessed with pillars of the Garou Nation, and the blood tells.
•••• You could be dressed as a beggar and still command respect.
••••• The greatest of heroes live on in you.

Drawback: Garou expect those of pure blood to live up to the standards set by their noble ancestors. They frown on those who can’t or won’t accept the challenge. Subtract half the character’s Pure Breed dots (rounding up) from the Harmony pool to resist Renown loss.

This Merit is rare for the Ajaba.

Spirit Heritage (• to •••••)

The Garou are creatures of duality—torn between man and wolf, and between flesh and spirit. The Garou share a kinship with inhabitants of the spirit world, but some have a stronger connection than others. For some reason, perhaps an ancestral tie to a household of spirits, certain types of spirits react more positively to your character than others. This doesn’t need to be a friendly relationship—spirits may be fearful and respectful of him, in awe of him, or feel a sense of duty to him. No matter what the relationship, one group of spirits is more likely to cooperate with him. When you select this Merit for your character, choose one type of spirit. Examples of possible groups are animal spirits, plant spirits, elementals, urban spirits, and even Banes. When dealing with spirits of this type, the character may add his Spirit Heritage dots to all dice rolls with Rites and Social Skills.

Merit Dots Description
x You are no more in tune with one type of spirit than any other.
Spirits can smell their scent on you, though no one else can.
•• The spirits note your arrival. You bring your chosen spirits to mind in others when they look at you, though few understand why.
••• In the Umbra, you emanate an intangible, though noticeable, sense of your aligned spirit type.
•••• In the Umbra, you have visible hints of your aligned spirit type. Those attuned to nature spirits may have tiny twigs emerge from their fur, for example.
••••• Some question if you really are only half spirit.

Supernatural Merits

Werewolf: The Apocalypse House Rules

Witiko Falls: Disillusion Parasomniac Calder_R