Pure breed

Garou take great stock in ancestry, and the werewolf who is descended from renowned forbears has a definite advantage in Garou society. This Background represents your lineage, markings, bearing and other features of birth. Other Garou revere werewolves with high scores in Pure Breed as heroes of yore come to life — and such werewolves are expected to act the part. The higher your Pure Breed score is, the more likely you are to impress elder councils or receive hospitality from foreign tribes. Each point of Pure Breed adds an extra die to Social or challenge rolls involving other Garou (even Ronin or Black Spiral Dancers).

Some tribes place more value on good breeding than others, but Pure Breed is almost universally respected. It's almost a mystical trait, and werewolves can tell instinctively whose blood is particularly pure. Of course, Garou expect those of pure blood to live up to the standards set by their noble ancestors. They frown on those who can't or won't accept the challenge.

Over the eons, whole lines of heroes have fallen to war, Wyrm or simply time. In this latter age, very few pure-bred Garou walk the Earth.

Silver Fangs, more than any other tribe, exhibit an obsessive interest in bloodlines. Most of their Kinfolk possess the Pure Breed Background, and the Silver Fang make certain that the purity of their lineage does not diminish due to such paltry reasons as love or physical attraction. Soon after a female Silver Fang Kin delivers a child, a member of the tribe (sometimes the Garou parent) shows up to “verify” the purity of the birth. The Silver Fang contacts an ancestor spirit using a tribal ritual to determine the true father of the child. Coupled with often rigorous interrogation of the mother and close relatives, the tribe can ferret out any stray infidelity that might lead to a dilution of the blood. When the child receives approval by the tribe, he receives his Fetch (see pp. 99-104) along with a welcome to the tribe. Even if he never undergoes his First Change, he becomes an important contributor to the tribe (and goes on the list of approved carriers of the blood).

If a child proves to be the result of a match between a Silver Fang Kin and anyone else (including a Garou of another tribe), the interrogators remove the child from his mother and “relocate him.” The official story holds that the child enters an approved foster home and becomes “adopted” by a less particular tribe (i.e., the Bone Gnawers, Children of Gaia, or even Silent Striders).

Most Garou and Kinfolk prefer to believe the official story.

The Silver Fangs have the strongest reputation as sticklers for Pure Breeds, making certain that their Kinfolk mate with Garou or other Silver Fang Kinfolk. Sometimes these matings result from arranged marriages; at other times they come from ad hoc pairings that do not necessarily result in long-term relationships. The need to conceive a child serves as the imperative to which all else takes second place. The Silver Fang keep at least one registry (see the Silvertree Genealogical Society below) to ensure the perpetuation of the blood.

Likewise, the Get of Fenris have strong preferences toward the lineage of those they claim as Kinfolk. For the most part, they prefer Kinfolk of Nordic or Teutonic stock, believing that their warrior traditions, strong patriarchal tendencies, and cultural ethos provide the best nature-nurture environment for the Get’s Garou-to-be.

On rare occasions, usually ones in which a non-Get Kinfolk brings herself to the attention of a Get of Fenris pack through an act of distinction, that pack may reward the individual with the right to call herself Get of Fenris Kin. Usually this happens in the case of romantic involvements between a Fenris Garou and someone outside the circle of Kinfolk and resembles the old fairy tales in which a worthy commoner undergoes a test of strength and character to win his beloved in marriage.

Mostly, Get of Fenris Kinfolk keep their children close enough so that they end up in approved relationships, either with other Get Kin or with a pre-selected Garou.

Shadow Lords care as much, if not more, about the mating choices of their Kin, but for their own reasons. Foremost in the minds of the Shadow Lord Garou stands the question: “How best can a mating advance the power and influence of the tribe?” Closely followed by: “How can I best benefit from selecting a politically, socially, or economically influential mate?” Marriages or relationships outside the Shadow Lord fold may win approval by the tribe provided they pass careful scrutiny that involves bank accounts, investments, and sometimes not-quite-legitimate activities. The bottom line: what’s good for the tribe is the only thing that matters.

The Red Talons, since they have no human Kinfolk, don’t seem to worry overmuch about “marriages.” Wolves tend to mate for life, and Red Talons retain so much of their wolf nature that the conceiving, bearing, and raising of children by wolf-Kin does not present a problem. As for the occasional Red Talon who may enjoy a tumble with a human or wolf Kinfolk from another tribe, only rumors exist to suggest that such an event ever happens. Some Black Fury, Bone Gnawer, Uktena, Children of Gaia, and Silent Strider Kin claim that they have met and even borne children by one or another rogue Red Talon, but no confirmation has ever come from the Talons — nor ever will. Undoubtedly any Red Talon caught consorting with human Kinfolk ends up facing tribal retribution resulting in loss of Honor and/or Wisdom Renown at best, actual rank loss even worse, and banishment for incorrigibles (repeat offenders).

Another tribe that pays close attention to the breeding practices of their Kinfolk are the Wendigo. These Garou tend to try to preserve the Native American Garou from the contamination of mating with the Wyrmbringer tribes from Europe.

While individual Wendigo may decide differently and follow their hearts, the tribe as a whole looks askance at such marriages or relationships and reacts with censure or requires some sort of ritual purification before accepting the errant Wendigo back into the tribe or reluctantly acknowledging her choice of mate.

In general, all Garou try to make use of their Kinfolk in ways that strengthen the tribe, and none of the tribes hold themselves above dictating who should marry whom when the future of Gaia is at stake.

player roll a die to see if their next character “breeds true.” The difficulty for the roll is 10, reduced by 1 for any amount of Pure Breed, and reduced by 1 again if the player acquitted herself memorably with her last character. Success indicates the player can play a Garou if she so chooses; otherwise, her next character is Kin (and no, there is no botching this roll and having to sit out a story).

A garu hero is an individual who has performed a deed significant enough to be written down in the silver record. The descendants of a hero will always be considered to have at least one dot in pure breed even if the hero himself possesses no dots at all.

Kinfolk families are considered purebred if they trace at least five generations of their descendancy to be only within their own tribe. This includes no breeding amongst non-kinfolk humans.

A character is considered purebred if their previous generations are purebred. They may count one dot for every generation before them that is entirely purebred. That is every individual of that entire generation possesses at least one dot of pure breed. This makes every subsequent generation more difficult to be purebred. For a character to have five dots of pure breed they must have five generations where every direct ancestor possesses at least one dot of pure breed.

In addition every dot of pure breed tells of at least one hero that is a direct ancestor. Therefore having five dots of pure breed says you have at least five Heroes as direct ancestors

Breeding is central to the way Silver Fangs view the world and themselves. Every Silver Fang character must have at least three dots in this Background, and many have even more. The tribe devotes significant time to tracking and recording its genealogies and thus probably has a good idea who a particular character’s ancestors are back through many, many generations. It also means, as noted above, that the tribe keeps a very careful track of its Kinfolk and thus can keep the breeding pool pure.

This obsession has led to purity of breed becoming a mark of the potential worth of a werewolf. The purer his blood, and the more he looks like the idealized image of a Fang, the more easily the rest of the tribe will give him respect. The late Lord Arkady was a perfect example of this. Members of the tribe were ready to disbelieve the many (and often justified) allegations made against him, simply because he was widely believed to be the purest Silver Fang born in generations.

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