Fetishes and Talens
From WoD Gotham
Fetishes and Talens Overview
When setting out to create a Fetish or Talen, send out a proposal to your ST via ticket. This will set up a dialog with you and the ST where you will discuss the proposal. You both will determine if the Fetish creation is worthy of a SL or if it needs to be tied into current events within the setting or if it’s just a simple matter of expending downtime.
STs will also work with you on determining balance. Werewolf has the tendency to get twinkish and we are constantly vigilant of that. Fetish creation will be a process totally supervised by the STs and periodically even Thing 1 will get involved by reviewing the current Fetishes approved in WoDG to ensure that the chronicle balance is maintained and nothing fell through the cracks. If anything does fall through the cracks be prepared for Thing 1 to come and nerf the item and be not so pleased with either the ST overseeing the creation or the player who is doing the creating. It behooves everyone to maintain balance from the outset to avoid nerfing.
Rolls and roleplay will be necessary to support your creation. You will have to pay for the Fetish with XP.
Gifting the Fetish to another player character should not be taken lightly. These things are difficult and time consuming to create. Fetishes can be handed down among family members, sept-mates, pack-mates, etc., but they are not toys or trinkets. Often times they are very specific with certain taboos and conditions attached to them. Therefore, it's not so common to find them easily traded. More common are the passing of talens from Garou to Garou as a form of payment for favors and the like. So with that in mind, Fetishes will require the XP expenditure for the full value of the Fetish of not only the creator but also of the recipient. Talens can be traded freely.
With talens in mind something needs to be said regarding the creation and distribution of Fetishes and Talens in WoDG and how that relates to Rank and Renown. Young Garou should not have access to full blown Fetishes. We will not allow player characters to start with them. Even if you were to write a story where the family klaive were handed down to your Garou, it would not be enough to satisfy the STs. Why? Because your character is yet too young to be entrusted with such a potent item. He is simply not "ready".
Once the player character has become a Fostern, then he can petition an older Garou to start helping him learn the appropriate Rites and begin his research. He can also tap his Mentor for such purposes. Indeed he can learn the Rites relatively quickly and begin practicing making simple talens to start. All through Fostern he can be preparing his first real Fetish and going through the trouble of researching and designing and refining his Fetish. By the time he reaches Adren or is close to reaching Adren his preparations should be completed and he can finally finish his first potent Fetish. At this rank, he will be a significantly wise and experienced Garou who can appreciate just how special the Fetish is. Therefore, in WoDG, no Garou shall begin the process of learning how to create fetishes until Fostern.
For those players looking to create Fetishes and Talens it is HIGHLY recommended that they read Chapter 2 of Hammer & Klaive A Player Sourcebook for Werewolf: The Apocalypse. It is rare that we push anything specifically written by White Wolf simply because it's so often contradictory, but this book is a very well written supplement and that Chapter gives an excellent illustration at just what goes into making a Fetish. To put it simply, there's no real way here to expand on those explanations.
Stages of Creating a Fetish
In WoDG creating a Fetish is not a simple matter of rolling dice, spending experience points and then happily having a Fetish added to your sheet and you sent off on your merry way to wreak havoc upon the world. There are stages and preparations Garou must take before fashioning the final creation. The forms of these stages vary wildly depending on the tribe, type of Fetish, auspice, etc. However the essential idea remains the same for every Fetish.
These steps are very well outlined in Hammer & Klaive (pp. 41-59), but we will review here.
Before your character can do anything they must have a concept and a goal in mind which needs to be researched. Your character starts with this concept and begins researching methods in which to realize that concept and draws up a plan to execute it. Basically this is where your character comes up with the formula for the Fetish and learns what spirits might be the best to approach for your type of Fetish.
Research is handled with a variety of ways that differ from the texts as it's important to consider what type of research is being conducted. If the player character is doing the research himself then normally it would be an Intelligence + Investigation or Occult Roll against difficulty 8. Other Abilities may make sense for the research stage itself - this is entirely up to the ST to decide. Alternatively, if the player character is tapping his Backgrounds such as Mentor, Allies, Kinfolk, etc., then he rolls his Background rating at a difficulty 8 for Kinfolk and Mentor and Allies or Contacts against difficulty 9. The target amount of successes needed to finish the research phase of Fetish creation are as follows:
Fetish Level + 3
Each success required represents one day needed to work on the problem. This roll can be extended.
Note that this process can be shortened if the player character is not creating something completely new. If the Fetish already exists and he is copying it, if he's gotten the formula from somewhere, or if he's being taught step by step by a mentor, then the time involved in researching should reflect that and be adjusted.
Some Notes on Research
It's important to understand the nature of the urban landscape and take that into account when considering the available spirits a Garou might summon in NYC in order to create a fetish. Geography and the umbral landscape plays just as large a part in the types of Fetishes produced in an area as does tribe, auspice, purpose, and other factors. You wouldn't expect to be able to make a Fetish that required the spirit of a cheetah in New York City. There simply would not be a cheetah spirit to be found in order to make such a Fetish.
The example of the Bunyip Boomerang in Hammer & Klaive (pg. 42) is an excellent illustration of such a conundrum. After the Bunyip disappeared, there were no Garou left who had the knowledge to create such a Fetish. Efforts to duplicate it went south. The bird-spirit required for such a Fetish likely was a specific bird-spirit to Bunyip territory - just any bird-spirit wouldn't do. The knowledge of which spirit and how to fashion the Fetish disappeared with the Bunyip and finding the bird-spirit anywhere but Australia is likely impossible.
Because of the Bunyip factor in creating Fetishes, rural tribes are at a disadvantage in the setting. Their tribes each have a wonderful and rich history of creating Fetishes like any other tribe does. However, the spirits in New York City are not those spirits with whom they are familiar. It's a sure bet a Get of Fenris has not made a klaive with the cooperation of a Pattern Spider!
Fabrication and Preparation
Most Fetishes are custom made. They are usually commissioned by the Garou or created by the Garou himself. The systems for inventing, creating, and building devices in Mental Feats must be used in addition to other steps involved in Fetish creation. Either the Garou is making the rolls himself and spending his downtime making the object or another player character is and that must all be documented with the ST.
After fabricating the future Fetish, Garou spend time purifying themselves and the objects with Rites of Cleansing. The generic Rite is in WtA Core Revised (pg. 157), but players should feel free to spruce up that Rite depending on their character's tribe, auspice, etc. For especially creative, detailed, and appropriate Rites of Cleansings the ST may award the player with a lowered difficulty in the Rite of the Fetish.
Dealing with the Spirits
Finally the Garou has checked and double checked his object and made sure he was all cleaned up and pretty for the spirit so the last thing to do is to take a deep breath and hope that dealing with the actual spirit goes well.
The first step is calling the spirit with the Rite of Summoning. Of course one needs to know the spirit to be called and so on and that's where the research step is so important. It's probably a good idea to do this near a caern if possible as the spirits seem to like those places for some odd reason (heh). It's not crucial, but it's good manners and may lay the ground work for more favorable dealings.
The second step is the actual Rite of the Fetish. This is a all or nothing back and forth dickering with the spirit. It should be RPed and rolled in an extended series of contested actions as per Hammer & Klaive (pp. 54-55). This is a nerve wracking process because it involves a lot of haggling and if the Garou is unsuccessful, all that time spent making the pretty object is wasted. No spirit will ever accept the object. To spirits it's kinda like hand-me-downs or an engagement ring that was intended for another girl, no one likes those. Presenting a previously rejected object to a spirit is tacky.
Fetish Ratings and XP Costs
Fetish XP costs are based on their Fetish Rating (WtA Core, Revised pg. 121). General rules for Fetish levels and Gnosis can be found in Hammer & Klaive (pp. 46-47). However there are tons of examples in the texts to get a general idea of what should be appropriate levels for Fetishes as well. These levels are assigned by the ST using the texts as a guide.
For Talens the XP cost is the same as the Background cost. Purchasing or raising a Background is 3 x New Rating so a level 1 Talen or group of Talens (since they are often made in sets like matchsticks) would be 3. However, when you start talking permanency the cost is double that of the Background cost. So if you were to create a level 1 Fetish, then the cost would be 3 x New Rating = 3 x 2 = 6 for a total of 6 XP.
Assuming that all went well with the Rite of the Fetish, the player is just about done with the process, but there are a few finishing touches. The player is expected to have the XP saved by now for the Fetish and have a description written up for inclusion in the Character Dossier. It may be nice to give it a name and a cool description, history and personality - after all Fetishes are a big deal!
If everything is all in order, then the Fetish will have successfully been created. It should be listed on the Character Sheet by the STs as its own line in Backgrounds on your Character Sheet with the description in your Character Dossier.