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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 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:


  1. Players determine the Initiative Order of actions.
  2. Wait your turn. When you are the target of an action, determine whether to Actively or Passively Resist.
  3. In turn, each player takes a Normal Action, and may also perform a Personal Activation.
  4. Each player has the option to spend Rage for additional actions. Those who do take a Rage Action, in initiative order, and then they have the option to spend again. Repeat until there are no more Rage Actions to resolve.
  5. Check whether any players want to continue combat. If so, begin another Combat Round.


1. Top of Round and determine order of initiative

Initiative is determined by base physical plus form traits.


2. Wait Your Turn and Resist Challenges

Waiting your turn is a very important part of the combat round. When everyone tries to talk at once, nothing gets done. Pay attention to what others are doing, so that you understand the combat situation when your turn comes.


When someone acts against you while you are waiting, you may resist their action. If you are waiting to take an action yourself, you may forfeit that action to make Active Resistance against that person. Otherwise, you may respond with Passive Resistance to the challenge. (Or, you could choose to Relent).


3. Take a Normal Action

When your turn comes -- if you have not given up your action Actively Resisting someone -- you can take a Normal Action. On a Normal Action you may move, act, and perform a Personal Activation, in any order. (Movement, Normal Actions and Personal Activations are described in more detail below.)


You may also choose to hold your action and act at a later time of your choice in the Initiative Order. A held action must take place before rage actions occur.


4. Take Rage Actions

After everyone has taken Normal Actions, we then go through Rage actions. Resolve each player's Rage Actions in Initiative Order. This is called Rage Round 1 and continues up to Rage Round 3.

You may spend up to three Rage for extra actions, unless:

  • If you spent or bid Gnosis for a challenge previously in the round for any purpose, you cannot take Rage actions
  • If taking a Rage Action would cause you to spend more than 5 cumulative rage in this combat round.


5. Check for the End of Combat

Do any players in the scene want to keep fighting? Is the situation still unresolved? If so, begin a new Combat Round. Return to step 1.



These rules require a gift, fetish, or other power to explicitly state they ignore these limitations. Otherwise, these are strict limitations for all combat scenes:

  • You may not spend Rage during any turn during which you Make a Gnostic Challenge or use Gnosis. You may spend up to five Rage per combat round, three of which can be for extra actions.
  • You may not spend Gnosis or make Gnosis Challenges during any round in which you use Rage.


Actions and Resisting Actions

Characters in combat take action against one another, and resist the action 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. The defender can respond with Passive Resistance, doing little more than refusing you through strength of mind and body, or they can respond with Active Resistance, trying to turn the tables on the attacker. These concepts are described below.


Surprise Actions/Surprise Retest

When you have been scouting an enemy and attack them before they notice you, this would be considered a Surprise! action. Surprise actions can sometimes be a round without rage that allows one side to attack without the other party being able to defend (just soaking damage), you would also get a surprise retest as the attacker. If you are hidden (Blur or the like) while the rest of your group are in combat and you attack someone you may use a surprise retest but do not get a surprise round.


There is only 1 surprise round per combat. Surprise retests can be done if you are constantly attacking from the shadows and they can't see where you are. The rules apply for enemies who may get the drop on your group as well.


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 any of the following:

  • attacking an opponent (normally, or by making a called shot)
  • taking an athletic action like dodging, diving for cover, climbing or throwing
  • activating a Gift (unless the Gift specifically states that it's innate or automatic)
  • Activating Fetish or Talen with a Gnosis Challenge (choosing up-front to spend Gnosis makes it automatic instead)
  • shapeshifting slowly to a close form
  • stepping sideways 


Personal Activations

Immediately before or after your Normal action, you may choose also to perform one Personal Activation. You may attempt to activate an additional Gift, Fetish, or Talen as long as it does not involve an effect or Challenge against an opponent or an opposing force (like the Gauntlet).


Rage Actions

Rage actions are performed with supernatural speed and ferocity. They do not lend themselves to subtlety, careful expression or detailed work. Rage actions tend to be more about tearing an opponent to pieces.


Rage Actions include the following:

  • attacking an opponent (normally, or by making a called shot)
  • taking an athletic action like climbing, throwing or any other movement based action.
  • activating Gifts that don't require Gnosis


Passive Resistance

When someone takes an action against you, the most common response is Passive Resistance. You bid a trait that describes holding your ground -- something like "I'm too Rugged to be damaged", "I'm too Determined to give in" or "I'm Quick enough to evade your blow." -- and participate in the challenge. If you win, you simply preserve the status quo: your attacker doesn't achieve their desired effect, but you don't affect them in any special way.



Every initiative order of actions in a round is called a turn. In a round with no rage/celerity/other actions there is only one turn. The main action is the turn 1, the first rage/celerity/other action is turn 2, then turn 3 and turn 4. This is especially important for the wording of many gifts.



The most common Passive Resistance to taking damage is called "soaking" that damage. This simply means you bid a Stamina-related Physical Trait in response to the challenge. When you soak you are able to soak up to three quarters of the damage rounded down. So for example if an attack deals 3 damage you soak 2 and take 1. If an attack only does one damage you will always take one damage if you choose to soak. The exception to the soak rule is bashing damage, on a successful soak Garou take no damage due to their hardiness. You may retest with survival to soak. This isn't always wise, however: werewolves cannot soak silver based damage from silver treated weapons. In the case of varied damage dealt on a attack, the least lethal is soaked first. So if an attack does 3 lethal and 1 Agg you would soak the lethal first but the Agg would stay.



Dodging is a series of feints, bobs and weaves to avoid a blow from any attack. You may choose to dodge or soak against any physical attack, but you can not do both in the same action. You may retest with dodge.



In order to establish a grapple, an attacker must bid two additional Physical Traits, as with a normal Called Shot. They may elect to not deal their usual damage, even if grappling with claws or teeth, to represent establishing the grapple. In order to escape being grappled, a character must succeed in a subsequent Physical Challenge (retest Brawl) in order to break free. This attempt may be made on Rage actions.


Once grappled, a character is subject to the following restrictions: 

  • They may not move away from the character holding them without breaking the grapple. This means that characters capable of Stepping Sideways cannot do so without first escaping their attacker's grasp.
  • They may not attempt to dodge attacks from the character holding them, and any attempts to dodge a Brawl or Melee attack from a character not involved in the grapple suffers a two-Trait penalty, due to restricted movement.


The grappling character may move with their target, though attempting to move and maintain the grapple provokes a contested Physical Challenge in order to maintain their hold. Failure means that the grappling character loses their hold on their target, and the formerly-grappled character is free to act on subsequent actions.


Active Resistance

When someone takes an action against you or close by, you may attempt to foil their action with your own efforts, possibly turning the tables on them. To do so, you must forfeit your next upcoming action. If you have already taken a Normal Action and all your Rage Actions this round, you cannot Actively Resist.


Once you give up your next action, you Actively Resist by bidding a Trait in their Challenge that effectively counters their attack, perhaps even damaging or disadvantaging them. For example, perhaps an opponent is trying to push you off a cliff with their Brawny strength. You might respond by Nimbly using that momentum to toss them off the cliff instead. The winner of this challenge gets their effect; the loser gets nothing but pain.



Athletics is considered active resistance. You cannot retest a dodge with athletics and it requires a rage action to use athletics to evade. Some examples would be the use of tumbling or jumping on a ladder to evade an attack.


Gun Retest

When you are using a gun to attack a target that is not within arms reach, and is attempting to dodge your attack, you gain a free Ballistic retest.  This retest may not be cancelled, and may not be used to cancel ability retests.  You do not gain this retest against people that are attempting to soak or actively resist your attack. You may not use your Firearms ability to retest or cancel during a challenge if you have already use the Ballistic retest.


Movement in Combat

When your turn comes to take a Normal Action, you can also move a small distance. This is based on the form you're in at the time:

  • In Homid or Glabro form, you can take up to three steps.
  • In Crinos form, you can take up to four steps.
  • In Hispo form, you can take up to five steps.
  • In Lupus form, you can take up to six steps.


On a Rage action you may take 1 step in addition to an attack, activation, or the like. If movement is all you're doing on your Rage action, you may instead take your full allotment of steps.


Doubling your Movement

If you do nothing on your Normal Action except move, you can double your usual movement.


If you have multiple means of doubling your movement -- Gifts, Fetishes, Totem benefits, etc. -- each additional "double" only adds your base number of steps. So if you were in Lupus form (six steps), doing nothing but moving on your Normal Action (doubling your movement for another six steps), and you also had an Elk's Tooth Necklace Fetish that doubled your movement again, the Necklace would only add another six steps from your base movement rate -- not twelve. So with both the full movement and the fetish active, you would move 18 steps in one round (rather than 24).

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