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Engaged in generations of war for the fate of Gaia, the Garou take nothing more seriously than battle. Here's how to hold your own when the balefire hits the fan.


Related Pages: Crafting: Weapons and Armor List - Weapons & Armor Special Mechanics - Called Shots and Situational Modifiers - Specialized Combat Styles


Combat Rounds

When violence breaks out and everyone in the scene wants to take part, the players suspend the regular flow of the role-playing and enter "Combat Rounds". In combat rounds, every participant gets a turn to act on the events of the fight. A single round of combat has the following structure:


  • Players determine Initiative Order of turns.
  1. The Storyteller declares combat begins, often by saying "Top of Round", and follows initiative order to ask players to take their turn.
  2. Wait for your turn. When you are the target of an action, determine if you want to Actively or Passively Resist.
  3. On their turn, a player may take a Normal Action, a Movement Action, and a Personal Action.
  4.  After all players have taken a turn, the Storyteller calls for Rage Actions. Each player has the option to spend Rage to take an additional Action. If multiple players spent rage, the Storyteller follows the same initiative order of taking turns.
  5. Check if any players want to continue combat. If so, begin another combat Top of Round.


1. Determine Initiative

Initiative is determined by your total physical traits plus your form traits on your character sheet.


For example, "Roars for Battle" has 12 physical traits and is in Crinos form, which has 8 physical traits. Their initiative is 20.


2. Waiting & Resisting Challenges

Waiting your turn is crucial for a good combat scene. When everyone talks at once, nothing gets done. Pay attention to what others are doing so that you understand the combat situation when your turn comes.


If someone declares an action against your character, you may resist. You may choose to Actively Resist or Passively Resist. This is explained in more detail below. You may also choose to Relent which means you do nothing to prevent the action, for better or for worse.


3. Take your Turn

When your turn comes, you take a full set of actions. You may take a Movement Action, Normal Action, and Personal Action, once each, and in any order. You may also choose to hold your actions to a later time in the initiative order but before the Rage Actions would begin. This allows you to wait for others to take their turn before yours, even if you had a higher initiative.

4. Rage Actions

After all standard turns are resolved, there is an opportunity to take a Rage Action in initiative order. This starts at Rage Round 1 and continues through Rage Round 3. You may spend one rage for an extra action in each round if:

  • Spending additional Rage does not violate a hard cap (see below).
  • You are taking your rage rounds in successive order. If you decline a rage round, you drop out of initiative order until the next combat round begins (top of round).

A Rage Action, on your turn, is used to do one of the following: a movement, a normal, or a personal action.


5. Check for End of Combat

Do any of the players want to keep fighting? Is the situation still unresolved? If so, begin a new Combat Round.


Hard Caps in Combat

These rules restrict how many actions you can take in a combat round. Any exceptions to these hard caps will be specifically stated with the appropriate ability, such as Rage-Healing.

  • If you make a Gnostic Challenge or spend Gnosis during a combat round, you may not spend Rage for the remainder of that combat round.
  • If you used Rage during a combat round, you may not spend Gnosis or make Gnostic challenges for the remainder of the combat round.
  • You may not spend more than 5 Rage per combat round.


Actions and Resisting Actions

Characters in combat take actions against one another, and resist the actions of others. These actions often involve Challenges against other players. When it's your turn and you call for a Challenge, you are the Attacker. Any person who must respond to your Challenge is the Defender. Defenders have to choose to relent, passively resist, or actively resist.


These are the Basics of combat. When you're familiar with these rules, you can find additional combat rules on the Called Shots & Situational Modifiers page, including how to Grapple or the advantages of Surprise and using guns ballistics.


Movement Actions

When you choose to move during combat, you may take a number of steps based on the form you are in at the time.

  • Homid & Glabro forms get three steps.
  • Crinos form gets four steps.
  • Hispo form gets five steps.
  • Lupus form gets six steps.

Additionally, you can forfeit your Normal Action to take a second movement action.


Normal Actions

Normal actions encompass most of what you want to do in combat. These are the sort of things you can do without any benefit of supernatural speed. Striking a blow, firing a gun, taunting an opponent, healing an ally, diving for cover and activating a Talen are all examples of normal actions.


To generalize, a Normal Action is anything that requires a Challenge to be resolved.

  • Attacking an opponent.
  • Attempting to Grapple an opponent.
  • A difficult athletic maneuver such as diving for cover in an open field, climbing at full speed on a sheer wall, or using it as active resistance.
  • Activating most Gifts, such as those that attack or debuff an enemy.
  • Activating Fetish or Talen with a Gnostic Challenge
  • Stepping Sideways (Crossing the Gauntlet)


Normal Actions can also be something that takes notable time to complete.

  • Attacking an object to critically damage it.
  • Taking a second movement action.
  • Shapeshifting slowly to a close form.
  • Searching through an unfamiliar computer terminal or backpack
  • Activating Gifts that summon spiritual allies or challenge the Gauntlet rating.


Personal Actions

Personal actions are extremely quick things you can do, often by muscle memory, but not quite the realm of being instantaneous. This is often called the Personal Activation because it is frequently used to activate a second gift, fetish, or talen. It is also commonly used to pull out a weapon or item that is easily accessible.


To generalize, a Personal Action does not invoke a challenge against or that impacts an enemy (nor an unwilling target).

  • Activating a Talen or Fetish by spending a Gnosis for an automatic success.
  • Drawing a weapon, such as from a holster.
  • Picking up a small or two-hand object that is easily lifted.
  • Throwing or dispersing items on the ground.
  • Activating a Gift that only target yourself.


Rage Actions

Rage actions are performed with supernatural speed and ferocity. They do not lend themselves to subtlety, careful expressions, or detailed work. Rage actions tend to be for tearing an opponent to pieces before they can do the same to you. 


In order to take a Rage Action you must spend 1 Rage. When you take a Rage action, you get to do one of the other actions; either a Movement, Normal, or Personal action.


Special rules:

  • On your rage action, you can move 1 step in addition to a normal or personal activation. If you take a movement action, instead move at full steps.
  • You must take Rage Actions in succession or you lose the momentum of your supernatural speed, dropping out of the rage rounds entirely.
  • If you have made a Gnosis challenge or spent a point of Gnosis, you cannot take any Rage Actions in the same combat round.
  • You cannot spend Gnosis or make a Gnostic challenge during a Rage Action.


Defending Yourself

When it comes to defending yourself, the most common response is Passive Resistance. Alternatively you may attempt to foil their action and use your own action in Active Resistance. In special circumstances, you may not want to prevent the action of an attacker, so you may Relent and let the action automatically succeed against you.


Passive Resistance

You can protect yourself from injury by being quick or being tough. You can choose to Dodge to avoid being hit at all. Or you may Soak when you know the attack is hard to evade so you reduce how much it will hurt.



Dodging is a series of feints, bobs, and weaves to avoid a blow from any attack. You bid a physical Quick trait or synonym when you take the dodge action. The applicable retest is the Ability: Dodge. If you succeed your challenge, you take no damage or ill effects from the action against you as you managed to completely get out of the way. For example, "I'm Quick enough to dodge your attack."



The other option, when an attack is inevitable or you're running out of dodge retests, is to Soak the incoming damage. This is knowing how to roll with a punch or daring to grab a knife by hand to prevent it from piercing between your ribs. You bid a Tough trait or synonym when you take the soak action. The applicable retest is Ability: Survival.  For example, "I'm Tough enough to shrug off your punches."


How Soaking works:

  • When successful, reduce incoming damage by three-quarters, rounded down.
  • Lethal and Aggravated damage types always do at least 1 damage after a successful soak.
  • Bashing damage can be reduced to no damage on a successful soak.
  • Soaking has no effect against Silver damage.
  • Always soak the least-harmful type of damage first.

For example, "Laughs at Pain" declares they will soak against spirit that is attacking with many claws and teeth. The spirit claws for 2 Lethal and bites for 1 Aggravated damage. "Laughs at Pain" succeeds at soaking, so they only take 1 Aggravated damage after reducing all total damage, ignoring the Lethal first.


Active Resistance

Performing active resistance causes you to take a normal action outside of your initiative order. To do this, you forfeit your normal action in the current combat round. If you already took a normal action, you must spend 1 Rage and count as having acted on the next rage round to perform Active Resistance. You cannot use Active Resistance if you have used your Normal Action and all Rage Actions, or would exceed a Hard Cap.


Your active resistance must be focused against the attacker you are trying to foil. Make an appropriate trait bid and explain how your challenge can counter the attacker's action. For example, an opponent is trying to push you off a cliff by being Brawny. You bid that you are Nimble enough to dance around their push and kick them over the cliff instead. The winner of the challenge gets their desired effect.


Note that you can use active resistance to contest an attacker who is trying to hurt an ally, if you can justify how you interfere.



Athletics is considered Active Resistance. You cannot retest a dodge with athletics. In a situation where traditional dodging is impossible, you must spend 1 Rage to make an athletics based evasion. This could happen while climbing a ladder and you don't want to fall off. The applicable retest is the Ability: Athletics.



Defining Turns

Every initiative order of actions in a Round is called a Turn. Although every player waits to take their action, they are all acting within the same Turn. This is important to defining gifts or abilities that last for a number of Turns. Effectively, each Round can be 1-to-4 Turns in length for the purpose of duration based gifts and effects. In a Combat Round that goes from Top of Round through Rage Round 3, there will be 4 Turns that happen. If a Combat Round has nobody act on Rage Rounds, the only 1 Turn has happened.

Pro-Tip: "Rage Rounds" is a common misnomer that actually describes the Rage Turns portion of combat when players get to take rage actions.


Doubling Your Movement

There are many ways to double your movement, but the phrase is misleading when stacking movement boosting effects. When you use your Normal Action to instead take a second Movement Action, you may call it "doubling your movement".


Increasing your movement by "doubling" is additive, not multiplicative. Each time something would let you double your movement, you are only adding your base number of steps.


In example: "Fast and Ferocious" loves to race across the battlefield in lupus form (move 6 steps). They follow Unicorn, which allows them to double their movement in the umbra. "Fast and Ferocious" doubles their movement again by using their normal action to take additional steps. They take 6 steps, three times, for 18 steps (6+6+6).

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