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The "lost" Rites of the Players Guide

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  • The "lost" Rites of the Players Guide

    The Players Guides of first and second edition had common rites for the game. Most of them, except for the Rite of the Opened Sky, were not included in Revised which I found very strange. I was glad to see W20 included both the Opened Sky and Rite of Praise from these earlier Player Guides. But some of the older rites were still missing.

    The Rite of the Hunting Grounds allowed Garou to mark their territory. The Rite of Lasting Glory was a Death rite reserved for the greatest heroes that granted them some extra Honor (and some for the ritemaster). They also had the Punishment Rites to create Ronin (Rite of the Lone Wolf) and to strip a Garou of his Rage (Rite of the Stolen Wolf). 1st edition (though not 2nd) also had the Rite of the Shattered Soul which was reserved for the greatest of traitors.

    I thought all of these Rites were essential for the setting and distinguished enough from others that they merited inclusion. Their exclusion from Revised and W20 seemed strange to me (I admit they may have been buried in some obscure sourcebook and I just missed them).

    The 2nd edition also had several Mystic Rites unique to it. I somewhat understand it because the four rites had real benefits that someone might have thought unbalanced the game. The Rite of Blood Kin allowed a Garou to find an unknown Kinfolk to him (not necessarily a lost Kinfolk, just one he didn't know of). The Rite of Silence made the Garou perfectly silent. Rite of Spirit Brew allowed a Garou to create a "potion" of 3 Gnosis, and crafting almost always unbalanced games. The Rite of Weeping Vision simply sent the Garou's spirit (but not body) into the Umbra (actually Dream Zone, but that this is not specifically stated). That last one likely would not be unbalanced as it would merely allow someone to do some Dream Interpretation if they wanted. But part of me thinks it'd be easy to slightly revise all of them to eliminate any potential issues.

    Wondering if anyone ever used these Rites in their game? What do you think of them? Do you think they have any issues?
    Last edited by Black Fox; 04-15-2021, 02:48 PM. Reason: bolded the rites

  • #2
    Our LARP Game is using all things pre-W20 with only a few exceptions.

    Rite of the Huntinggrounds is relatively popular. Each Alpha of a pack learns it, although those who dwell in human settlements usually don't enact it. It lead to a dicussion how pack territories should be spread around in the protectorate. They used to be all clustered around the caern (and the Warder pack's territory) basically dening anyone passage to the cearn without passing though one pack's territory. Kind of impractical when one is escpecting guests. So, now the pack territories are more evenly spread and don't border at each other anymore. Packs could increase or decrease pack territory as new pack members join or die. "Respect the territory of another" is often tied to areas marked by this rite.

    Rite of Lasting Glory is not enacted as of now, but it is considered an honour to learn the Rite. Usually this is reserved for the Talesinger of the sept and apprentices.

    Rite of the Lone Wolf was once enacted. The other punishment rites weren't. But the Truthcater and his apprentices usually learn them anyway, just to be save.

    Rite of Blood Kin is in our rules but it is just a nightmare to come up with new NPCs and stuff, so it is usually not used.

    The Rite of Silence is well liked by Ragabash. Although the most comon tale was from a war party that used the Rite. All members failed to remain non-speaking except of the Wyrmfow and his beta. They were furious about that fact, but couldn't non-verbally make their displeasure known. After twenty minutes of hunting silently they were within reach of their prey when they to failed to remain silent due to a sneeze and an reflexive "Bless you". Still, the Rite is quite often resticted to Ragabash who only rarely teach them to other auspices, and ususally don't allow their students to share the Rite further.

    Spirit Brew is quite common. Before I became ST there was a habit of having bonbons that restored Willpower and Rage aswell. Once I asked the STs to rewrite the LARP rules, this was abandoned and only this Rite remains. Each garou may only posses one bottle to be used for that Rite, although this bottle may be loaned to other garou once charged with Gnosis. During a Great Hunt Rite my character was selected a hunter and several garou gave him their spirit Brew bottles. When the Con ended I came to character checkout and the ST there told me my charackter had five Spirit Brew bottles in addition to his own, his permanent Gnosis, the Heart of the Spirit Fetish and the ability to sore Gnosis in the connection to his spirit familiar - adding up to 40 points of Gnosis. Also, I failed to keep track of the bottles during the hunt, accidentally drinking Clear Water talens instead of spirit brew.

    Weeping Vision is popular among Theurges. It is used as the garden variety divination Rite. It takes a night, so it is also popular to get theurge players of scene, so they can take the role of an NPC. The need of interpreting the vision is kinda depending on how much the story lasts on the vision. Often, adequate missions for a Rite of Passge come from Visions had by the Ritemaster. Since, we agree with the Tribe Novel Bonegnawer, that having Kinfolk with silver ammunition hunting a cub is a bullshit Rite of Passage.


    • #3
      This is great feedback. Thanks.

      I really like the non-Mystic rites - listed in both 1st and 2nd edition - and believe they contribute to the proper feel of Garou culture. I'm disappointed these weren't all included in the W20 corebook.

      I am concerned about the possible imbalance or impact to the setting for the Mystic Rites that only appear in the 2nd edition Players Guide. But I do think there are ways to prevent any negatives.

      The Rite of Silence is obviously extremely useful. And other than the 10 minute time required to cast, is essentially free. Most players won't even need to pay XP for it as rites can be learned without that. So I think there's a legitimate concern for overuse. However, as written the Rite requires the ritemaster to reveal their "darkest secret" to Raven spirits. There is no reason to believe these Raven spirits would keep that secret - it's now out in the open. First, it'd be spread to other Raven spirits, and then possibly to other spirits. And it might eventually reach Corax and Garou. Is there any reason why Garou wanting to know something about that particular Garou may not try to summon or speak to Raven spirits to see if they learn anything? I can see Shadow Lords doing that. So in a tabletop setting, I think this can be easily policed. Many Garou won't want to use it at all, and most Garou would want to restrict how many times they use it. There's also the issue the rite's benefit only happens when Raven spirits arrive - so there should be a time delay before they do (although one could argue this is essentially a targeted summoning rite) and that these spirits follow the Garou in the umbra - which may be relevant in some scenarios. LARP is a different environment, so this aspect probably gets overlooked in favor of utility. I do like the idea that in LARP, the difficulty of truly staying silent comes into play. Hard to emulate that in tabletop, but if wanted it's probably a Willpower roll against an assigned difficulty, and these rolls might be done for some term of time interval.

      Rite of the Spirit Brew is another incredibly useful rite. It allows Garou to stockpile 3 Gnosis every time the rite is performed, and it only takes several hours (I assume this is because the Garou must meditate to gain the Gnosis). I think any RPG with "crafting" rules tend to create balance problems because while in real life people don't grind things out, PCs will do that all the time. But I think this can be fixed. I would add that the Garou can only use the rite again after all three Gnosis are used up. And if a Garou ever gives away one of those Gnosis flasks, they better hope their buddy uses it up quick as opposed to him putting it aside and waiting until he needs it. So at most a Garou can only ever stockpile 3 additional Gnosis.

      You brought up a good point about the Rite of Blood Kin. It requires a new NPC to be invented on the spot. And the ST needs to determine a lot of things about it. But I think that could potentially be overcome with a few random tables to help the ST, and a lot of flavor details can be put on the PC using the rite (if the PC doesn't want to do that, then his PC doesn't perform the rite - the ST can just say he automatically failed his roll). And simply finding another kinfolk unknown to the ritemaster does not necessarily mean any benefit (nor does it mean unknown to the Garou as a whole, he may just "find" his packmate's cousin Larry). So I think in a tabletop environment, this won't be something a PC just slams out. It's more of a storytelling tool. I don't think it's any more imbalancing than Scent of True Form. The 100 mile radius is a lot, but that can work to someone's advantage or disadvantage. The rite doesn't say where that person lives or provides any details. If you perform the rite in the middle of Chicago, that radius reaches southwestern Michigan, north up to Milwaukee, west up to Rockford, South Bend, IN where Notre Dame college is, and a significant chunk to IL and IN south of it. Well over 30,000 sq miles. That can cover a lot of kinfolk. If I was going to create actual random tables, it would cover things like callow/kenning, tribal association, what kind of community (kinfolk only, integrated with humans, mostly human, lost), general personality, distance away, etc. Just enough to help the ST come up with the most relevant points.

      I don't see any issue with Rite of the Weeping Vision, though personally I'd eliminate the flavor text description saying the Pure Ones adapted it from the Sioux. I firmly believe Garou should be their own thing, and the game too frequently acts as if Uktena and Wendigo are tied to human traditions instead of being separate from them, and that human culture of their kinfolk is really a separate thing. It's really just an excuse for the PC to have a vision that is either for roleplay or for a plot hook, and resolved with Enigmas roll or roleplay. I like the idea that NPCs can use this to justify all sorts of things needed for the setting - like an appropriate idea for the Rite of Passage.


      • #4
        For generating Kinfolk, there are Storyteller Vault products each providing 100 Kinfolk of some particular tribe. I don't know if all Garou tribes are covered, nor how well-written they are.

        She/Her. I am very literal-minded and write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
        My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
        Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.


        • #5
          In our LARP the spirit brew is limited to one specially prepared bottle per Garou (if it is lost, it can be replaced, essentially leaving the old container's contents powerless). Also, we assume the Rite takes three days the container needs to be burrowed before the content is imbued with Gnosis. The 10 minutes per Rite level that the tabletop suggests for Rites are considerable less in LARP, for filling this amount of time with proclamations for the spirits, singing and stuff like that becomes awkward real fast. Children of Gaia and Stargazers can sing mantras, that could go on for a long time without sounding dumb, but for other cultures it is more difficult....

          The Rite of Silence, iirc, has the problem that all noise suppressed by it will violently explode if the Rite ends. Meaning that it might lead to a cacophony that to mundane observers might seem supernatural in nature. So, with concerns to the Veil it is not without problems, and also will be a problem if the Rite is broken during a stealth operation. I mean, even if each character has spend a linguistic dot on sign language there might just be reasons to speak - warning an ally about an approaching guard or just cursing reflexively when something goes wrong....


          • #6
            Not to toot my own horn, but my favourite use of Stolen Wolf was when an Ahroun was too on the edge and ragey, this was my character's judgement. It worked VERY well for them, giving the ahroun time to breathe.

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