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W20 Fetish questions

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  • W20 Fetish questions


    I recently got access to Hammer and Klaive and to Rage Against the Heavens, and some questions arise for W20:
    1. Can a character start with more than 5 dots of the Fetish background?
    2. Are Claw Fetishes still valid as written?
    3. If valid, can a Garou have multiple Claw Fetishes (Fire Claws + Umbra Claws)? As those are minute carving in the Claws, it seems that certain limit should be imposed, but Hammer & Klaive does not mention any.
    4. Are Scar Fetishes still valid as written?
    5. Is the Favor of Fenris fetish still valid as written?
    6. Is the Hunter’s Talons fetish still valid as written?
    7. If valid, can a character use the Fetish background to start with Hunter’s Talons?
    8. Do vampires count as Wyrm creatures for the purpose of the Hunter’s Talons fetish?

    Last edited by lbeaumanior; 02-28-2021, 09:18 PM.

  • #2
    Ask your Storyteller. He'll be the final arbiter and he is the one that chooses what books and what content can or cannot be used and why.
    W20 is pretty much built on the same framework as revised, so they should be mostly compatible.

    1. By default no. But why would they? What kind of special snowflake has that much magical power at their fingertips in their young days? These are sacred items handed down through families and from mentors and guardians, each of them worthy of a tale. You don't get a bucket of them for being Garou. You can always earn or make more through the story.
    2. Why not?
    3. Sounds like cheese. I'd say one Claw Fetish is all you get, you won't get spirits to share places in your body just like that
    4. Why not?
    5. Why not? But do note that it's something that is suggested to be blocked for starting characters.
    6. Why not?
    7. In theory yes. In practice not very likely. Do note that they are supposed to be a big thing and made from pieces of the asteroid God, this is neither common nor easy to get. You would need one hell of a story and a kindly ST to approve that
    8. All vampires are creatures of the Wyrm by their nature, even if some of them don't register on Sense Wyrm. Again, ask your Storyteller.

    What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.


    • #3
      Asmodai thanks for the answers.

      For the Scar Fetishes, would you apply the same logic that you exposed for Claw Fetishes and only allow one?

      Originally posted by Asmodai View Post
      I'd say one Claw Fetish is all you get, you won't get spirits to share places in your body just like that


      • #4
        It should be noted that fetishes seem to be considered to be the property of the Garou Nation as a whole. Individuals who possess them do so as a custodian on behalf of the nation, not as an owner in their own right. So Garou can legally challenge their "owners" for possession if they can rightfully argue they could make better use of it for Gaia and the Nation. If they win, they take them away. That is not considered theft. It's appropriate because they can make better use of them on behalf of the nation. And because as a challenge, it's somewhat regulated by the sept so they can prevent abuses of that process.

        So any Cliath character owning any powerful fetish or lots of them will likely quickly be targeted by older, more experienced, and more powerful Garou. Even relatively friendly members of their tribe and sept may do so simply in order to prevent the loss of those fetishes into the hands of other tribes and other septs. 'I know this klaive was created by your father and he intended you to have it, but his sudden death changed things. You're simply not ready for the responsibility yet. I'll be taking it from you, lest some other Garou take it, like those jerks from that tribe in the other sept. I'll use it in the meantime until you become worthy to handle it. It's what he would have wanted. In a decade or two, I know you'll be ready."

        Cliaths and even Fosterns typically do not have fetishes. If they do, it's usually a single fetish of low rank. Only at Adren and above do we tend to see NPCs with multiple fetishes and those of higher rank. This does not mean that Cliaths can't hold any fetish. Some routine fetishes, like the level one Fang of the Wyrm listed in the second edition Player's Guide, are even said to be given out to returning packs from their Rite of Passage. Ranks one fetishes are probably safe, as are rank twos provided they aren't rare, ultra useful or prestigious. But anything of high value or prestige likely will be taken away at a challenge once word gets out a low ranked Garou has a fetish he "shouldn't."

        Likewise, any fetishes that are placed on the body of a Garou, like a scar fetish, would certainly never be done on a low ranked Garou. They'd be reserve for more experienced Garou who have demonstrated that they "earned" it. And it is unlikely Cliaths and such could pay the chiminage to the experienced fetish maker who could create such a fetish.

        Talens are probably fine to be possessed by Cliaths safely. They are easier to make, and there's a lot more of them.


        • #5
          I think every sept and individual garou might have different ideas about fetishes and whether they are their possession or the septs, or the Garou Nations, or the tribes. Certainly the fetish in question will play a role in how it is regarded.

          Some fetishes might be tied to certain bloodlines and not be used if there is currently no true born garou of the blood line around. Certain fetishes are tools for certain sept office holders to use, so it seems clear, that they are given back if one doesn't hold the sept office any more.

          Just by the rules a garou with certain skills, even a PC can create a fetish with relative ease. Relative, because the process is supposed to be something that needs time and effort, and 'Hammer & Klaive' does give inspiration and rules to build a whole sub-plot around this. But, just like 'Axis Mundi' gives inspiration to make getting a new Gift a sub-plot, the ST and other players might not want to go into so much detail - and therefore it might come down to a dice roll....

          So, while I agree that fetishes should be unlikely with Cliath and Fostern and scar fetishes might not be on the table at all, there is a certain truth: Players will come up with all sorts of background story ideas to justify some aspect of their PC they want.

          As a side note: Hammer&Klaive mentions in passing, that the Pact for a fetish by the Fianna is usually limited to 99 years. So really old heirloom fetishes shouldn't exist within the tribe. Which means that the mystical horn that can teleport Fianna from all over the world to Silver Tara to defend it has to be re-created every 99 years...

          That said, I agree with Asmondai's answers. On the first however, there is the question what kind of special snowflake would have more than one fetish. Well, with the number of garou declining, of the four garou of my grandparents generation that owned fetishes, I'm currently the only heir. It can be as simply as this, if the fetishes are tied to the bloodline of their possesors...


          • #6
            Originally posted by heinrich View Post
            That said, I agree with Asmondai's answers. On the first however, there is the question what kind of special snowflake would have more than one fetish. Well, with the number of garou declining, of the four garou of my grandparents generation that owned fetishes, I'm currently the only heir. It can be as simply as this, if the fetishes are tied to the bloodline of their possesors...
            Note that I didn't say one fetish, I said more than 5 dots of fetishes

            What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.


            • #7
              Originally posted by lbeaumanior View Post
              Asmodai thanks for the answers.

              For the Scar Fetishes, would you apply the same logic that you exposed for Claw Fetishes and only allow one?
              It really depends. Black Fox has pointed out really well that a fetish like this would not be done for a young Garou, and that the body binding fetishes are really rare and special. After all, you make a pact with a Spirit to join you in your body and to become one with you until the point you die. Another consideration is that this should be a truly epic scar to turn into a fetish - something noone else would survive, or that was inflicted by a vastly poweful enemy you managed to beat. I would say that one is reasonable, but if you truly were so amazing two might work. I'd also say that if you want to combine scars and claw fetishes you'd be limited to one of each.

              What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.


              • #8
                On a balance note, if you have multiple scar fetishes, you are probably suffering the effects of multiple severe battle scars. If necessary, just keep escalating the extent required to qualify as a potential scar fetish; it'll end up being a pretty hefty trade-off at the higher end.


                • #9

                  Spirits don't like sharing. While there's nothing specific in the books, there's a very simple way to justify saying no to having lots of Claw and Scar Fetishes: the Garou body counts as one "object" as far as spirits go. Like normal Fetishes, it's possible to have more than one spirit bound, but each massively increases the difficulty in doing so. Which is why grand klaives with their two spirits are such rare and highly regarded items: getting two spirits to share on sword is a difficult feat. Apply the same logic here. Each attempt to add a spirit to a bodily Fetish in increasingly difficult, and failing pisses all of them off.

                  So, generally, Garou wouldn't risk it. One, maybe two, is already a lot. More is far more likely to result in three pissed of spirits and no Fetishes than three Fetishes. So if there's ever a story reason to have more, your bases are covered as the one in a million success, but it's not something for players to see as viable normal stuff to aim for.


                  • #10
                    Thanks to everyone for the answers!

                    A final question on this topic, what Spheres, and at what level would a mage need to make a Garou fetish?

                    Not an spirit item to be used by mages, a regular Garou fetish: so only beings with Gnosis can activate it, attune to it, etc; to make a Fire Claw fetish, or a Soul of Lighting.


                    • #11
                      A Mage can never make a Garou fetish because he is not a Garou and doesn't use the same way of interacting as spirits as Garou do. This is entirely a cultural thing, and Werewolves usually don't look kindly towards Mages who use and make fetishes.

                      Mages can imbue items with spirits through Spirit 4, and how you treat that mechanically is down to what your Storyteller tells you. Take a look into Forged by Dragon's Fire if you're curious about the more nitty gritty of that system and some examples.

                      What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.


                      • #12
                        I disagree. However my argument is based in revised and 1st edition material, not W20.

                        There are fetishes in Mage Books. 'Spirit Ways' is the sourcebook, it's revised edition, and it's specialised for shamans, meaning traditions/paradigms that are close to garou/fera believe/mysticism (in case of awoken kinfolk maybe even identical). An euthanatos mage with the same spheres might not be able to use the rotes presented, depending on the ST.

                        Page 90: Create Talen Rote (••• Spirit, or ••• Spirit, •• Prime)
                        Page 97: As stated in Mage: The Ascension, creating a fetish requires both a willing spirit and Spirit 4 magic. Mages can also force an unwilling spirit into a fetish, but doing so is considered a vile act unless the spirit is otherwise too dangerous to let loose.
                        Page 97 (too): Many of the fetishes listed in Werewolf: The Apocalypse and its supplements may be both created and used by Dreamspeakers, at the discretion of the Storyteller. Obviously, some are too “werewolf-oriented” to be useful to a mage, while others depend on ancestral werewolf-spirits or specific shapeshifter rituals.

                        While the book (or Mage core for that matter) doesn't explicitly state that garou/fera can use these fetishes it also doesn't state that they can't. The fetishes have Gnosis ratings and level, so all the game rules can be used as normal.

                        Also, there are magic items from other game lines that are within the werewolf rules fetishes or talens - for simplicities sake.
                        Faerie Weapons are an example, stemming possibly from an age before Fae retreated to Arcadia or became changelings (but in publication history pre-date Dark Ages:Fae). Another example are Mummy amulets from the Silent Strider book. When garou can benefit from magic items of other supernaturals there shouldn't be an issue if game balance isn't disturbed (but, granted, it is a 1st Edition thing).
                        However, in revised (and in my opinion W20) context, mage-crafted fetishes should not be any different to a garou than Bastet-crafted fetishes, especially if the paradigm is compatible.


                        • #13
                          Mechanically you're absolutely correct. As Spirit 4 and all the nitty gritty in Forged by Dragon's Fire clearly say. However, looking at the sidebars in Forged by Dragon's Fire and all the opinions Tribes have on Mages, there is clearly a bias from the Garou towards anyone else using Fetishes and Talens.

                          What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.


                          • #14
                            It could be that functionally they are all the same and could be used interchangeably. But that such fetishes don't "feel" right as they are not part of the specific spirit Pact agreed upon by the spirits and Garou. Garou might still be violating a taboo and angering the spirits in general if they use those. As such only heretical or criminal Garou would use those other fetishes. And they would consider others using their fetishes to be a violation.

                            That would be an ST call as well as whether all fetishes created by any of the Changing Breeds count as the "same", or if each of the Breeds have their own version of the Pact. I can see different STs reaching different conclusions.


                            • #15
                              That seems rather extreme. Garou might not like mages making and using Talens and Fetishes, but there's not a lot to support that they'd see the spirit-imbued objects themselves as inherently "wrong." Depending on the Garou in question, and the design/magical styles in question, they might be fine with "liberating" the object to put towards Garou use. Fetish crafting isn't easy, and a spirit that's happy with its situation could easily be offended by Garou deciding what's best for the spirit without asking it. It seems far more likely that if Garou can take a Fetish from a mage, that they'd do so and bring it back to their Sept to see what to do with it rather than treat it like it's pure Wyrm taint.

                              If the Garou manage to capture a Node from some mages, they're going to want to dedicate it as a Caern, not destroy it, if they can. There's no real difference I can see here.