Howls

The most powerful, evocative and effective way to communicate with other werewolves is by howling. Enormous amounts of information can be condensed into a few wailing sounds. All of them incorporate the Garou language, although not all of them are as “high-falutin”’ as the High Tongue. Just as every Philodox studies the Litany, any Galliard should be well versed in all the common howls.

Howls can vary greatly from one sept to another — enough so that an attentive Galliard may even be able to recognize a performer’s tribe or auspice, or possibly part of his personality. Optionally, a Storyteller may allow a Galliard skilled in expression or performance to convey further information. Thirteen of the most commonly used howls are listed here. Sane Garou use 12 of them, while one is reserved for a fallen tribe.

Anthem of War Ahroun muster their septmates to war with this battle cry. Moon Dancers use it to rally them if their morale is waning. The howl can convey where the enemy is, approximately how many are attacking and how soon reinforcements are needed.

Call for Succor — One pack member may use this howl to summon his comrades if he is in great danger. Some find it embarrassing, since it sounds like a puppy’s bark for his mother. An expressive howl may include sensory impressions of what danger is near.

Call to Hunt — A long, low ululation informs the pack of the position of its prey. When done properly, it may also identify what the prey is, describe its wounds or even coordinate
the tactics of the pack that’s hunting it.

Chant of Challenge — This howl begins very much like the Howl of Introduction, but it is quickly contrasted by a horrible mockery of an enemy’s deeds, ancestry and odious method of initiating duels, but also further elevated it to a satirical art form. Everyone hearing the chant can discern exactly why the challenge is taking place.

Cry of Elation — In the heat of battle, young heroes may think themselves almost invincible, and they may attempt ridiculous feats of courage that no sane werewolf would attempt. The cry basically means, “Look at me!” or (as some elders put it), “Watch me do something incredibly stupid!” With enough expression, it may also convey who should get out of the way, what four or five objects are going to be used, where they will be inserted in the victim and why the pack’s healer should ready her mystic Gifts if the attempt fails.

Curse of Ignominy — This howl is a horrible, discordant snarling whine used to insult violators of the Litany. As more werewolves lend their voices to the whine, it becomes increasingly painful. The strain on a listener does not subside until he joins in the cry. Garou who have fallen into disfavor are subjected to this cacophony. The sounds convey a mocking account of a villain’s failures and shortcomings. An entire sept can memorize all of the excruciating details by sharing in the chant.

Dirge for the Fallen — This dirge is a somber, low-pitched howl used as a requiem for the honored dead. Its length depends on the status of the fallen. An attentive listener can learn which participants are hurt the most by this tragedy, and he may even gather brief images of the hero’s deeds, rather like the memories after a great eulogy.

Howl of Introduction — The Litany commands werewolves to respect the territory of others; this howl is the result. It details a Garou’s breed, tribe and auspice. Some werewolves include parts of their lineage. The Howl of Introduction may even include a sensory impression of why a visitor is worthy of attention.

Snarl of Precedence — This short violent outburst is directed against a chosen foe, and it usually means, “You’re mine, punk.” Packs use these snarls to coordinate their tactics, establishing who is attacking whom. A higher-ranking Garou does not have to recognize this howl — and he even has the right to “steal the kill” from a lesser werewolf— but most react to a well-executed snarl.

Song of Mockery — A Ragabash can take any other howl and twist it into something perverted and infuriating. Shadow Lords and cocky Ahroun are common victims of well-timed mockery. An undeniably insulting gesture, it’s the musical equivalent of “the finger.” If done properly, the recipient can be taunted into attacking or just losing his composure altogether.

Symphony of the Abyss — The Garou’s greatest enemies, the Black Spiral Dancers, unleash an insane reverberating whine as they stalk their prey. Victims who listen too closely can identify the fate that lies in store for them. Even those who don’t are usually terrified.

Wail of Foreboding — Whenever danger approaches, this sound is the general cry of distress. The Anthem of War alerts werewolves of an attack, but the Wail of Foreboding is typically used for natural disasters, unusual phenomenon in the Umbra or anything strange that bears further investigation. A practiced Galliard can give impressions of what the danger may be, but such sensations are usually cryptic or contradictory.

Warning of the Wyrm’s Approach — A sharp-pitched howl, followed by a series of brief staccato bursts, announces the presence of the Wyrm’s minions. If a scout can scent the true form of these creatures, he may be able to describe it. All who hear the howl can see and feel the foulness that surrounds them.

Howls

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