Willpower is one of the few great equalizers. Almost every creature skulking around in the World of Darkness has it. Its force is a common one. It is the strength hidden in each individual to overcome his base urges and occasionally push himself to greatness.

Much like Gnosis and Rage, Willpower is indicated in two forms. The permanent Willpower rating is illustrated on the character sheet by dots; the temporary Willpower pool is measured in the squares below the Willpower rating. A character’s Willpower pool can never be larger than his Willpower rating. As with Rage and Gnosis, spending a Willpower point is recorded on the Willpower pool squares, and not on the permanent rating dots.

A character’s Willpower rating decreases every time a character uses this innate force to perform a difficult task, keep his urges in check or remain in control of himself. However, as
a character continues to spend Willpower, he finds his reserves becoming depleted. With no Willpower left, characters will be exhausted and unable to summon the inner strength to perform
their duties. They will not care what happens to them, since they have no Willpower to go on.

For the most part, Garou are very strong-willed creatures. Even young pups who have just passed their Rite of Passage might boast a 6 or 7 in Willpower. In the grand scheme, this amount seems small compared to their elders and enemies who often check in at 8 and 9. But in relation to their charges, the humans, it is miles above. A typical human adult has a Willpower score of about 2 or 3. The most willful of humans, a lawyer, cop or protester, tops out at about 4 or 5. Humans can go above 5 Willpower, but such individuals are remarkably rare.

Using Willpower

Of all the Traits werewolves possess, Willpower is possibly the most frequently rolled and spent because of the many ways it can be utilized. As your story progresses, you may find yourself
paying a lot more attention to your Willpower pool as you discover how handy it can be.

• Automatic Successes: Spending a Willpower point on an action gives the player one instant success. Only one point can be spent thus each turn, but the success is guaranteed. Therefore, a task can be performed successfully by concentrating and focusing the mind, without leaving the task to chance. Some situations might negate this success, and the Storyteller has the final right in deciding when it can and can’t be used. For instance, Willpower is traditionally not allowed in damage rolls or any roll involving Gifts.

• Uncontrollable Urges: Garou are instinctual creatures, and players may occasionally find the Beast in their characters reacting to stimuli that has been part of their nature for millennia. The Storyteller may inform you that your character has done something from a primal urge, like getting away from fire or attacking a creature of the Wyrm. A Willpower point can be spent to negate this gut reaction and allow the higher brain to remain in control and keep the Garou right where he is. On occasion, the feeling will not just go away, and more Willpower points must be spent to keep from reacting. This build-up continues until the character removes himself from the situation or runs out of Willpower.

• Halting Frenzies: As mentioned previously, a character flies into a frenzy whenever her player rolls more than four successes on a Rage roll. This situation can be averted if the player spends a Willpower point to remain in control.

Recovering Willpower

Garou rarely get a moment’s peace. Besides their ongoing battles against the Wyrm and its minions, the daily rituals and duties of the human side of their lives take up much of the
remaining time. Nonetheless, characters must be able to rest or at least get a chance to restore their damaged self-images, in order to regain their precious Willpower. It is ultimately up to
the Storyteller when and how a character recovers Willpower.

Presented here are three different ways characters can regain their Willpower. Remember that recovering Willpower has no effect on the character’s permanent rating. That rating rises only by investing experience points.

  • When a story is complete, characters can regain all their Willpower. This act should be reserved for story endings, not necessarily the end of each session. The Storyteller may wish to allow the characters to regain only as much Willpower as he feels they deserve for the goal they accomplished.
  • Another option is to allow players who have achieved a particularly unique victory in the framework of the game to regain some amount of Willpower. These victories are typically deeply personal in nature, such as confronting a personal enemy or overcoming a vice. The Storyteller would rule whether a character has regained some or all of his self-confidence by this action.
  • Finally, if a character performed the duties of her auspice particularly well, she might regain one to three Willpower points. This method is subject to the Storyteller’s approval, and it relies largely on the role-playing skills of the player.
  • The quick-and-dirty method is simply to let the players regain a point of Willpower when they wake up each day. It is not as involved or satisfying, but it is a way to keep things moving, and keep the kids happy.


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