Each Pack Totem bestows upon Garou who follow it certain abilities and powers that reflect the spirit's role and demeanor. These are detailed in 'news totems <totem incarna>2' (eg. news totems owl2). Please note that, unless otherwise specified, a totemic advantage may be used by one pack member at any one time (this limit may be altered by spending Totem Background points, as detailed below)
Totem avatars may also be possessed of additional powers and spirit Charms. These are purchased with Totem background points. All purchases are subject to approval by the wizards, who will be accommodating wherever possible, but reserve the right to veto any inappropriate combinations.
All totem avatars begin:
- 7 stat points to spread between Gnosis, Rage, and Willpower
- The Charms Airt Sense and Reform
- 20 points of Power
The avatar's Willpower is its ability to perform physical tasks (such as attacking an enemy or flying through the Umbra). Its Rage is its anger and anguish that is used to damage other spirits or Garou. Its Gnosis is what the spirit uses for any kind of social or mental activity.
A spirit's Power reflects two things: both its capacity to withstand damage (one point of Power is roughly equal to one "wound level"), and its reservoir of magical energy that it uses to power its Charms (each Charm has an associated Power cost; see +charms and +info/charm <charm>). Once the avatar's "battery" of mystical energy has been depleted, it dissipates into the Umbra for a number of hours equal to 20 minus its Gnosis (after which it Reforms in the Umbra and gradually begins to replenish itself). A spirit can enter a sleep-like state called Slumber in order to regain lost Power at a rate of one point per hour that it does nothing.
After purchasing its totem avatar, a pack may use leftover totem points to buy the following additional powers:
- 1 pt. per 3 additional points to spend on the Totem's Gnosis, Rage, and Willpower.
- 1 pt. per 10 additional points of Power.
- 1 pt. Totem can speak to the pack (pack does not need the Spirit Speech gift to communicate with its totem).
- 1 pt. Totem can always find pack members.
- 2 pts. Totem is nearly always with the pack members.
- 2 pts. Totem is respected by other spirits.
- 2 pts. Per additional Charm possessed (see +charms for a list).
- 3 pts. Per extra pack member who can share the totem's powers in the same turn.
- 4 pts. Totem is mystically connected to all pack members, allowing communications among them even at great distances.
- 5 pts. Totem is feared by agents of the Wyrm.
Gifts taught by a totem are generally not added to a pack member's +sheet; these are powers that a Garou retains only as long as he or she is affiliated with a totem spirit. Additionally, should a Garou leave a pack, the pack will lose the former pack member's totem point investment, and the totem will decrease in power commensurately.
Packs may gain additional totem points, and thereby increase the power of their pack's avatar, by a number of means. These include but are not necessarily limited to:
- A new Garou joining the pack (the pack may spend the new member's points).
- A pack member rising in Rank.
- The pack completes a special task appropriate to the Totem Incarna's nature and role, subject to the approval of the wizards.
If a pack member dies, the pack may submit a +learn request to retain one and only one of their deceased comrade's totem points. Packs should be prepared to justify and defend why their comrade's death was glorious/honorable/wise enough to merit this bonus. Circumstances where the packmate died furthering the Totem Incarna's goals or embracing its ideals will generally be looked upon more favorably. The wizards reserve the right to actually remove an additional point if a pack member dies in a cowardly/dishonorable/foolish fashion.
If you believe your pack may have fulfilled one or more of the above criteria, please contact the wizards.