Wolves in Wolf's Clothing
Wolves are social creatures that instinctively require hierarchy among their packs, and werewolves inherit a portion of that instinct. The spirits of the Shadow recognize an order of rank and power, and werewolves are connected to that structure. A werewolf might find himself compelled to increase their personal standing among werewolves and spirits alike, earning the right to control more territory and learn greater Gifts. The measure of the recognition they crave is Renown.
Renown represents a werewolf’s reputation among the People and among the denizens of the spirit world, but it isn’t merely a measurement of social standing. The trait is attained through acknowledgement of one’s deeds, and it’s as visible as a brand to spirits. In fact, when a werewolf enters the spirit world, their Renown becomes clearly visible to any observer as a series of bright, silvery brands. The patterns and designs the brands take detail the type of Renown the character has earned, while the extent of the branding quantifies the amount. Indeed, a werewolf with high Renown outranks many spirits, as if they were an Incarna.
A werewolf need not take any additional action to affirm their Renown. When the character takes consistent or exemplary action in line with the tenants of a Renown, they manifest further bands, granted to them by the Lunes.
Renown does not imply any other sort of fame or status, like the Merits of the same names. A powerful werewolf might be a hermit whose name is known to no human, but he could be widely known among spirits and Uratha for a lifetime of sacrifice and courage.
There are five Forsaken categories of Renown, each of which is tracked separately. Each type of Renown is tightly associated with an auspice and tribe, representing the ideals to which those affiliations aspire. The Renown categories associated with your character’s auspice and tribe are their primary Renown types. At no point may a character have more dots in another Renown than they does in their highest primary Renown. An Elodoth Hunter in Darkness with Honor 3 and Purity 2 can have up to three dots in any other Renown category, but cannot raise any other to 4 without first increasing Honor or Purity to 4.
Cunning (Irraka and Iron Masters)
Glory (Cahalith and Blood Talons)
Honour (Elodoth and Storm Lords)
Purity (Rahu, Hunters In Darkness)
Wisdom (Ithaeur and Bone Shadows)
Gaining And Losing Renown
A character begins with three dots of Renown at creation, of which one must be assigned to the category associated with her auspice and one to the category associated with their tribe. A Bone Shadow Elodoth must begin with at least one dot in Honor and one in Wisdom. The remaining point is assigned as you please. Your character might begin with Honor 1, Wisdom 1 and, say, Purity 1 (or another third trait). They might begin with Honor 2 and Wisdom 1. Or they might begin with Honor 1 and Wisdom 2.
When Renown of any kind is increased through experience points, your character gains use of a free new Gift at that same level. This Gift must be chosen from one of the lists for which your character has a tribe or auspice affinity. For example, if the Honor Renown of a Hunter in Darkness Cahalith increases from 1 to 2, they get a new two-dot Gift from one of the following lists: Gibbous Moon, Inspiration or Knowledge (from his Cahalith affinity), or Elemental, Nature or Stealth (from his Hunter in Darkness affinity). Or a two-dot Gift could be chosen from the Father Wolf or Mother Luna lists since all Forsaken have affinity with them.
Renown may be purchased with experience points during the course of the game, but the social aspect of gaining Renown should be roleplayed. Players may allocate the experience they earn to increase their characters’ Renown traits. The process of increasing Renown isn’t merely an act of assigning points and filling in dots, though. A werewolf must behave in a manner that justifies such an increase and exemplifies the Renown for which a status increase is sought (or won). The “base expectations” discussed previously address the kinds of behavior for which the Lunes look. It can be performed publicly before other werewolves or in private where no one else can see. The Lunes see, however, and they know when a character has done something credible toward a werewolf’s status.
In short, the acquisition of Renown dots can be equated to gaining them in any trait. If a player wants to spend experience points for his character to gain a dot of Drive, but the character never got behind the wheel in the last story, the Storyteller may rule against the increase. So it goes with Renown. If a werewolf hasn’t exhibited the behaviour expected of an increase, a new dot isn’t warranted. This is more of a role-playing guide, as the storytellers will only vary rarely deny someone renown. If you want to buy up to high levels of a renown and are considering that you may not have ‘earned it,’ you are likely okay. If you can’t ask with a straight face, you might want to hold off for a bit.
The Lunes formalize an increase in Renown by expanding the appropriate brands upon the werewolf’s skin. This are visible to spirits, and werewolves in the Hisil. The Lunes will also send a spirit to reward the newly advanced werewolf with a new affinity Gift.
Other System Rules For Renown
Your character cannot purchase a Gift whose level exceeds his dots in his highest primary Renown. If your Bone Shadow Rahu has 3 Purity and 1 Wisdom, they can have Gifts up to three dots, but no four-dot Gifts. If their highest primary Renown is increased, higher level Gifts of any kind can be acquired thereafter.
Renown also acts as a bonus to dice pools when Gifts are used. Each Gift that requires a roll calls for a dice pool of Attribute + Skill + a Renown type. There is no penalty for using a Gift if your character doesn’t possess any dots in the appropriate Renown category; you simply don’t gain the benefit of those extra dice.
Also, your total Renown determines your character’s honorary Rank among spirits. The mere status of being a werewolf is considered roughly equal to being a Rank 2 spirit — thus, even a new cub “outranks” a lesser Gaffling. A werewolf gains another honorary “level of Rank” for every eight dots of Renown she possesses, to a maximum Rank of 5. Therefore, a character with Glory 3, Honor 2, Wisdom 2 and Purity 1 would have an effective Rank of 3 (for her total Renown of 8). Spirits of a Rank equal to or lower than that of the werewolf ‘s honorary level will defer to the werewolf, or at least treat them with respect as long as they’re well-disposed toward the werewolf, or at least not actively hostile. Whatever the werewolf race’s crimes, each individual still represents a necessary part of the spiritual order.
|Werewolf Renown||Honorary Spirit Rank|
|0 – 7||Two|
|8 – 15||Three|
|16 – 23||Four|
It doesn’t happen often, but werewolves sometimes change tribes. Perhaps their ideologies stray too far from the mainstream, or members of the tribe perform acts or uphold values that defy ones the character cherishes. Though a werewolf might find himself unable to live with their former tribe, few of the People look kindly on the prospect — it implies a certain unfavourable transience. It’s important to know that changing tribes costs a character a dot of Renown (and possibly more) affiliated with their old tribe. So, if they were an Iron Master, they lose a dot of Cunning Renown. If they intend to regain that dot, experience points must be earned and spent, and they must impress spirits or other Forsaken with acts of guile.
Also, a character doesn’t forget or lose Gifts via losing Renown; a character who drops from Glory 2, Honor 1, and Wisdom 1, to Glory 1, Honor 1, and Wisdom 1 still retains use of any two-dot Gifts they learned. Requisite Renown dots are vital for learning Gifts, not for using the powers. Spirits demand esteem or respect for their students before imparting Gifts (measured in Renown dots when the power is granted), but once those Gifts are taught, they remain a werewolf’s to use.
In order for a character to join a new tribe, they must have at least one dot in the tribe’s primary Renown — for instance, Glory to join the Blood Talons. A character who lacks any Renown to join their intended tribe is considered a Ghost Wolf in the interim, and is treated as such. One who never joins another tribe remains a Ghost Wolf. (A character who goes tribeless does not lose the Gifts they’ve already learned. Higher rated Gifts in those same lists are now simply more expensive to acquire, because the character no longer has a tribal affinity for them.)
Since the Pure do not revere Luna and do not wish to partake of the patronage of her spirit-servants, the methods of recording Renown differ greatly. Pure Renown takes the form of brands, scars or other mutilation. This Renown never resembles a tattoo, though the scarring is often done in intricate patterns, particularly among the Ivory Claws. When a Forsaken werewolf converts to the Pure, any Renown tattoos they had are scoured off. They loses that Renown (as well as the dots on the character sheet), though of course they retains any Gifts they knew. During the initiation processes of their new tribe, they gain Renown as appropriate, and the marks where their silver brands once blazed to life take on a bloody red cast in the Shadow. An observant werewolf might be able to recognize the former auspice or tribe of a Pure Uratha from the scarring patterns. This requires an Intelligence + Occult roll with a negative modifier reflecting the skill and care with which the old tattoos were scoured (generally at least -3). The scarring where Forsaken Renown once was may be seen, even in the physical world, provided the flesh is exposed and the viewer succeeds in a Wits + Composure roll (and, of course, knows what they’re looking for).
The Pure do not have an equivalent to Lunes in their culture. That is, no spirits watch over the Pure and judge their deeds worthy or unworthy of Renown. An individual werewolf’s pack, and any other Pure who happen to be in the area, must therefore be the judge. The pack’s totem can also lend its opinion, and ritemasters often ask other spirits to help gauge whether a Pure Uratha deserves the accolades. Then a ritualist tears the werewolf’s flesh with fang, claw, blade or hot metal. When the rite is over, the werewolf knows that they earned this recognition.