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Ability Traits are Traits that characters can spend to gain additional traits during a challenge (Examples of Common Challenges ), retests on Challenges, to cancel other people's retests, and to achieve various other minor special effects. You may only use an Ability Trait for a retest or cancel once per Challenge. Abilities measure a character's skill, knowledge and training in the areas they describe. You may not even be able to attempt some Challenges without the relevant Ability: hacking a website, for example, requires that your character possess at least some Computer Ability.


You may possess a maximum of five Traits in any given Ability unless added by a totem. The totem abilities are counted on the amount you can add to the stack. There are a few ways to surpass this maximum by supernatural means, such as through the benefits of a Totem.


Focused Abilities

Some Abilities can be focused -- rather than be a generalist in an area, you master a specific discipline within the Ability. The Academics Ability can be focused on Literature, History or Theology, for example; Science can be focused on Biology, Chemistry or Physics. You can come up with your own areas of focus, although some are particularly common. Common focuses are listed below with the Ability description.


Ability Specialization

A specialization represents specific excellence within a particular subset of an Ability's use. You can specialize your Firearms Ability to reflect your advanced training with Rifles, for example, or specialize your Leadership Ability to reflect an emphasis on Battle Tactics. If you have a specialization, you are one Trait up in Challenges involving that specific use of the Ability.


If you have at least three Traits in an Ability, you may purchase a specialization for it at a cost of one Experience Point. If you have five Traits in the Ability, you may purchase a second specialization at the same cost. These Trait minimums can not include Traits gained through supernatural means such as Totem bonuses. Multiple applicable specializations do not stack: only one applies.


Specializations must be narrow -- you cannot design them so that the bonus Trait applies to almost all uses of the Ability. Taking a Brawl specialization in Claws is permissible since it excludes fist fighting, biting and grappling; taking a Brawl specialization in "Hand-to-Hand Combat" is not permissible, being overly broad.


List of Standard Abilities

These are the key Abilities common to most characters in the game.



Any study of the humanities or soft sciences that would be found in a college or professional setting. This is a broad stroke skill that shows you have a wide variety of study and understand how to learn as to retain knowledge.

  • Focused: This Ability is commonly focused on a specific discipline, such as Archaeology, Literature, History, Sociology, or Theology.


Animal Ken

You understand how animals communicate non-verbally, you can train eligible animals, and you know how to put animals at some ease or manipulate their fear of your rage.



Skill with bows and arrows.

  • Combat Ability: Archery is commonly used in combat scenes.
  • Special: If you possess Archery, you may base your ranged attacks with bow on your Physical Traits. 



Skill at running, leaping, climbing, swimming, and sports. Useful for keeping one's balance and performing acrobatic maneuvers.

  • Combat Ability: Athletics is commonly used in combat scenes.



(or Alertness, synonym)

A sixth sense into the influence of the supernatural.

  • Special: If you have Awareness, you may call for a Mental Challenge to confirm that something supernatural is at work in an otherwise ordinary scene. Make the Challenge against the Storyteller or against a person using such powers in the area. Success detects that Gifts, Rites or other supernatural powers are active nearby, although not necessarily any other information about them.



The ability to fight hand-to-hand or tooth and claw, with no weapons beyond what your body provides.

  • Combat Ability: Brawl is commonly used in combat scenes.



The discipline of fighting without sight to guide you.

  • Special: Expend a level of Blindfighting to cancel a single Darkness retest (this ability must be expended each time the Darkness retest is called, meaning it can be consumed very quickly).
  • Combat Ability: Blindfighting is commonly used in combat scenes.



Skill at using computers: installing software, navigating databases and networks, writing code, hacking through security, and editing wiki pages.



Skill at creating new things with your hands. See Crafting Weapons and Armor for using the Crafts skill.

  • Requires Focused: This Ability must be focused on a specific type of handiwork such as: Metalworking, Bodycrafting, Gunsmithing, Explosives, and more. You can purchase multiple focus types of Crafts.



The training required to handle, set up and defuse explosives without blowing yourself to bits. This includes placement to control the demolition aftermath (implosion vs wonton collapse).



Practice at anticipating others' attacks so as to better get out of their way.

  • Combat Ability: Dodge is commonly used in combat scenes.



The ability to operate cars and trucks. Most human-born Garou can drive without this skill, but having it means you can drive defensively, use a stick shift, ride a motorcycle and hold your own in a car chase.



A sense into others' emotional state.

  • Special: Spend a level of Empathy and defeat someone in a Social Challenge to determine whether their last statement was a lie, or to learn their Demeanor.



A knack for understanding riddles, puzzles, mazes and mysteries.



Knowledge of the correct behavior for a variety of social situations.

  • Special: If you make a social faux pas, you may immediately expend a level of Etiquette to negate the gaffe -- your character knew better than to make that mistake.



Skill with the written word, be it poetry or prose. This Ability is for authoring such works; Performance is for bringing them before an audience.



Knowhow for managing money, accounting and investing.

  • Special: As a Downtime Action, inform the Storytellers that you are spending a level of Finance between games to earn $250 for your character. Collect an item card representing the cash at the beginning of the next game.



Marksmanship with all manner of modern firearms -- rifles, pistols, shotguns and machine guns.

  • Special: If you possess Firearms, you may base your ranged attacks with guns on your Mental Traits instead of on your Physical Traits.
  • Combat Ability: Firearms is commonly used in combat scenes.



The ability to frighten or force others to bend to your will, be it through physical threats or a cold and deadly gaze.



Reconstructing crime scenes, tailing suspects, collecting clues, tracking prey, and discovering hidden secrets.



Navigating the intricacies of the law, be it human tax codes or competing traditions within the interpretation of the Garou Litany. This is a broad stroke skill that shows you have a good concept of how law works, terminology, and comprehending legalese for reading and writing.

  • Focused: Law may be focused on a specific area of interest: Garou, Criminal, Civil, Tax, Regulatory, etc.



The confidence to take charge and set an example, the charisma to inspire others to give their all, and the guile to make the most of your tactical situation.



Fluency with languages other than English.

  • Special: Each level of Linguistics you possess represents a different language you know, chosen at the time you purchase the Ability.
  • Special: This ability is not limited to 5 levels as normal abilities.  Players may purchase any number of the Linguistics ability, as long as they pay the standard cost.
  • Teacher Required: To learn a new language you must confirm with Storytellers how you receive tutelage. Dead languages or archaic languages may require downtime actions or a scene.



Lore is secret knowledge of the mysteries in the world. It is not casual acquaintance with trivia, or a few fun facts: it is in-depth familiarity with a subject, knowing its culture, background, names, practices, myths, legends and more. Nobody learns a level of Lore from one casual evening of conversation with an expert: it is gained from deep study and hands-on practical experience.

  • Special: Almost always, you must learn Lore from a knowledgeable teacher who possesses at least the same level of Lore as what you are learning.
    • One exception is for Garou Lore, Spirit Lore and your own Tribe Lore: you can learn up to half your rank (round up) with no more teaching than your experience.
    • Another exception to Lore's requirement for a teacher is when a character can perform intense, detailed hands-on research over a long period of time: going undercover to live as a Vampire for a few months, for example. A Storyteller will confirm when a character has done enough research to learn their next level of Lore.
  • Requires Focused: Lore is always focused on a specific area of interest. The most common are these:     
    • Garou Lore: Knowledge of the history, traditions and practices of the Garou Nation.
    • Tribe Lore: Knowledge of the secret histories, rituals, beliefs and practices of an individual Garou Tribe. Tribe Lore is rarely taught to high levels outside the Tribe itself; for more secretive Tribes, it may not be taught to outsiders at all.
    • Spirit Lore: An understanding of the denizens of the spirit world: their types, broods, bans, habits, charms, and secrets.
    • Umbra Lore: Knowledge of the spirit world itself: its geography, dangers, Realms, and laws.
    • Vampire Lore: Study of the "Leeches," a common foe for werewolves: knowing their habits, powers, clans, politics, culture and history.

          Other Lores than these exist, but fewer Garou study them. Speak with the Storytellers about the more unusual Lores or learn from other characters in play.



Knowledge of the living body -- particularly, of repairing it: first aid, combat medicine, pharmaceuticals, and surgery.



The discipline to still your mind, find inner peace, and connect with the transcendent spirit of Gaia.

  • Special: Spend ten minutes out of play without interruption to convert one level of Meditation into three Gnosis.
    • The regained gnosis cannot take you over your maximum. 
  • Special: Spend ten minutes out of play without interruption and spend one level of meditation to regain all spent abilities in one ability category.
    • This does not apply to Specialized Combat Style abilities.
    • You may not use a dot in Meditation to refresh spent dots in Meditation.
    • Ability Aptitude: Meditation does not augment this mechanic in any way.
    • This may not be used on spent backgrounds. 



Expertise in the use of hand-to-hand weaponry: swords, knives, clubs, axes, staffs and the like. 

  • Combat Ability: Melee is commonly used in combat scenes.



Less specific than the Lore ability, Occult covers a wide familiarity with secret magical practices and superstitions of the world.



Your flair for performing in front of an audience. This is a broad stroke skill that shows you have studied many styles of the performing arts and may be comfortable doing an impromptu display of your skills.

  • Focused: Performance is very often focused on the specific kind of show you're good at: singing, storytelling, acting, dancing, playing a specific instrument, etc.



An understanding of social standing, duties and obligations, as well as hidden motivations and quid pro quo -- be that in human society or in the Garou Nation.



Your closeness to your feral instincts and spiritual essence. Primal Urge covers both your wolf instincts (hunting prey, staring down a rival) and your Garou nature (activating fetishes, stepping sideways, shapeshifting). Kinfolk characters may not possess Primal Urge.

  • Special: Spend one level of Primal Urge to instantly shapeshift to any form.



A handyman's knack for fixing broken things, even jury-rigging solutions without proper tools.



Knowledge and practice of Garou Rites in all their intricacy and ceremony.



Expertise in an area of scientific inquiry. This is a broad stroke skill that shows you have completed a wide variety of science introduction level courses. You're much more likely to comprehend the basics when reading a scientific paper or providing input on how the rules of reality behave.

  • Focused: Science is usually focused on specific fields of scientific knowledge: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Astrophysics, Metallurgy, etc.



Familiarity with all manner of security systems, from the simplest locks to the most complex networked electronic systems. This applies for recognizing & breaking of locks or systems.



Knowing where to look to dig up just what you need in the moment; the trade of street people, prison procurers and antiques hunters.



The ability to move unseen and unheard, to find good hiding places, and to engage in illicit activity unobserved.



Area knowledge and survival skills for the city: knowing the good and the bad parts of town, reading graffiti, being familiar with local police and criminal elements, and operating confidently in the life of the streets.



Trickery, misdirection, disguise, and lying with a straight face; misleading your rivals into revealing more than they intend.

  • Special: After guiding a conversation onto a sensitive topic, spend a Subterfuge and defeat your conversation partner in a Social Challenge to determine one of their Negative Traits related to the topic.



Keeping yourself alive in the most trying situations. You know how to take a blow so as to mitigate the worst of the damage; you also know how to find food and shelter in an unforgiving wilderness.

  • Combat Ability: Survival is commonly used in combat scenes.



Skill at thrown weapons: knives, shuriken, spears, axes, and occasionally baseballs.

  • Combat Ability: Throwing is commonly used in combat scenes.



Tactics allows hunters to use good planning and teamwork to help level the playing field a bit against the monsters they’re after. To use this Ability, the hunters must actually draw up and discuss a detailed plan of action, assigning responsibilities to different team members and ensuring that everyone involved knows at least their role and their objective. Team members who aren’t present during the planning, who don’t pay attention to the discussion, who disagree strongly or who otherwise choose not to participate in the plan cannot receive the benefit of this Ability (be honest). It should be noted that Tactics is not limited to just combat situations - rescue missions, infiltration efforts, shadowing a target and other such activities can all receive the benefits of Tactics, with the Storyteller’s approval. At the same time, a Narrator should ensure that the hunters truly have a plan, not just an intuitive command for everybody “to do what works for them” or a variation on the ever-popular “Get ‘em!”


  • Once a plan has been finalized, the character with the highest Tactics rating in the group makes a Mental Challenge against a difficulty of the number of people involved in the plan plus three. (Each additional character in the plan who has Tactics adds one Trait to the testing character’s total for the purposes of resolving ties.) Success means that the group receives a pool of retests equal to twice the testing character’s Tactics rating, plus an additional retest for each member who spends either a Tactics level or Willpower Trait at the end of the planning session. Each character can only add one retest to the pool in this fashion. These retests are then distributed to the team members by the testing character, whether that means distributing them evenly among the group to keep the whole team an edge, or perhaps concentrating them on a few members with harder tasks (or to make up for some members with less ability).


  • Once assigned, retests gained in this fashion can be used on any challenge made during the execution on the plan, provided the hunter is acting smartly according to the orders she was given. Only one Tactics retest may be used on any particular challenge, and it cannot be used in combination with other Ability retests on the same challenge. Hunting teams may make multiple plans with this Ability at once, but a character can only receive the benefits of one Tactics session each scene, regardless of how many plans they might execute during that time. Thus, a team cannot make redundant or overlapping plans in order to gain a large number of retests. Additionally, a hunter who deliberately goes against their orders, no matter what the reason, immediately loses all benefits of this Ability for the rest of the scene.


Custom Abilities

You can make up your own Abilities, but they cannot duplicate the meaning of the Standard abilities listed here. You cannot invent new Combat-related Abilities to give you more retests in typical combat situations. Lip-Reading, Piloting, and Whale Hunting are three examples of Custom Abilities that characters have purchased in the past.

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