The Five Forms of the Garou
Many legends speak of werewolves assuming only two forms, human and wolf. In truth, the Garou wear five different forms, each suited to different tasks and situations.
Changing form requires a Stamina + Primal-Urge roll. The difficulty varies based on the character's starting form. However, the number of successes needed also varies based on which form the character is attempting to reach. She must cross over all intermediate forms before reaching the one she desires. Therefore, the player must roll one success to begin the change and then one for each form the character must "pass through" to get to the desired form.
Example: As the quiet cluster of men in the corner suddenly begin to foam at the mouth, Stone Beast decides that Homid form might be a bit weak for what lies ahead. Stone Beast wishes to assume Crinos form. His player must therefore roll Stamina + Primal-Urge at difficulty 6 (for starting in Homid) and score at least three successes (one to start the change, one for Glabro and one for Crinos). If the player scores only two successes, Stone Beast reaches only Glabro form, and he must wait until next turn to try again (unless his player wishes to spend a Rage point for him).
If a character is shifting to her Breed form, the change is automatic and instantaneous, no matter how many forms must be passed through. The same is true if the player spends a Rage point to enact the change. Any clothes the character is wearing when she shifts will probably be shredded unless they are dedicated (see the Rite of Talisman Dedication) in which case, they meld with the character's body and reappear when she takes Homid form again.
Homid: The Human
Statistic Adjustments: None
Shift Difficulty: 6
Form Description: The natural form for homid breed Garou and the form in which they feel most comfortable. Homid form is in all ways identical to a normal human being (save for lupus and metis werewolves, who are allergic to silver and possess regenerative powers in this form). Homid form werewolves still trigger the Curse in normal humans, however.
Example: In Homid form, the Silver Fang Theurge Longing Glance is just shy of six feet tall and is strongly built -- close to 185 pounds. His hair is dusky blond and cut short.
Glabro: The Near-Man
Statistic Adjustments: Strength +2, Stamina +2, Manipulation -2, Appearance -1
Shift Difficulty: 7
Form Description: The Glabro form is bipedal, and it doesn't possess obvious fangs or claws, but the resemblance to a human being ends there. A Garou shifting from Homid to Glabro gains from 100% to 200% in body weight (all muscle) and six inches in height. Body hair becomes much more profuse, the teeth and nails elongate (although not enough to inflict any special damage), the brow slopes, and the character looks huge and menacing.
Werewolves in Glabro can speak the Garou tongue and manage human language without too much trouble. Human speech, however, has a gutteral rasp to it. While Garou can use this form to interact with human society, they typically don't. The Glabro form is too crude and too easy to remember.
Example: Longing Glance stands nearly six and one half feet tall in Glabro form. He weighs in at approximately 350 pounds, and his normally sparse facial hair springs out around the jaw and neckline. His eyebrows grow together and he walks with a slight lope in this form.
Crinos: The Wolf-Man
Statistic Adjustments: Strength +4, Dexterity +1, Stamina +3, Manipulation 0, Appearance 0
Shift Difficulty: 6
Form Description: Affectionately known as the "nine-foot snarlin death-beast" form, a werewolf in Crinos wants to do only one thing -- kill. The natural form of all metis breed Garou, the Crinos is not a form for deliberation, even with other werewolves.
Shifting from Glabro to Crinos, the Garou grows in height by half and gains another 100% to 200% in weight. The head changes to a wolf's maw, and the fangs and claws are now fully grown. The arms become long and apelike, and the werewolf can move either on two legs or all fours. The Garou also grows a tail, which helps with balance.
A werewolf in the war form may speak the Garou tongue perfectly well, and he may converse with wolves crudely. Human speech is reduced to one or two words at a time (favorite phrases include "Wyrm!" and "Kill them!"). Expressing anything more complex requires the expenditure of a Willpower point.
Note that the Manipulation and Appearance penalties may not apply to other Garou, who speak the language and are used to the war form.
Example: Longing Glance shifts to Crinos form. He now stands over nine feet tall and weighs just under 800 pounds. His body is covered with fur, which takes on a silvery sheen in this form.
Hispo: The Near-Wolf
Statistic Adjustments: Strength +3, Dexterity +2, Stamina +3, Manipulation 0
Shift Difficulty: 7
Form Description: The Hispo resembles a normal wolf in the same way that the Glabro resembles a common human. A werewolf in Hispo form looks like a prehistoric dire wolf. The head and jaws are massive, even more so than the Crinos, and the bite of a Hispo inflicts an extra die of damage. The Hispo can stand on its hind legs, if necessary, but it is much more comfortable on all fours.
The Hispo form weighs nearly as much as the Crinos form, but its four-legged stance allows it to run faster. Perception difficulties decrease by one in this form. The senses are sharp, although not so keen as the Lupus. A werewolf in Hispo has no hands, so he cannot grasp objects, except in his mouth.
A Garou in Hispo form can speak with a Garou and wolves with little difficulty, but human speech requires a Willpower point and even that is limited to one or two syllables.
Example: In Hispo form, Longing Glance still weighs close to 800 pounds, but he stands 5 feet high at the shoulder.
Lupus: The Wolf
Statistic Adjustments: Strength +1, Dexterity +2, Stamina +2, Manipulation 0
Shift Difficulty: 6
Form Description: The natural state of lupus Garou, the pure wolf form is feral and driven by instinct. Used primarily for tracking and travel, the change from Hispo to Lupus causes the Garou to shed a great deal of muscle and body size. The jaws and claws shrink considerably -- a homid or metis in Lupus can cause aggravated wounds with only a bite, and lupus in their breed form cause lethal damage. The Lupus form runs at twice human speed (see Movement) and it is far more perceptive. All Perception difficulties for Garou in Lupus form drop by two.
The Lupus resembles a normal wolf for all intents and purposes. The exact appearance of a Garou's Lupus form will vary depending on her Tribe.
Example: Longing Glance completes the shift to Lupus form. He appears, to all scrutiny, to be a large, silver-white wolf.