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It’s time to do another Werewolf: the Apocalypse guide, and this time, I think I’d like to focus on gifts. There are honestly so many aspects of the Garou (werewolves) that are awesome – how could there not be? – but gifts are kind of the icing on the cake.

The issue is that there are so many gifts to choose from, it can be a wee bit confusing. That’s why, in this guide, I’ll be discussing what I feel are the best gifts in Werewolf: the Apocalypse. In case you’re a total beginner, I’ll also answer a couple other basic questions about gifts and obtaining them.

What are Gifts?

I’ll start by answering a basic question: what are gifts? Put simply, gifts are just additional powers and abilities your Garou gains as they grow wiser and more powerful. (It’s important to note, though, that other changing breeds can also get gifts – these gifts just often have different names.)

Lore-wise, these gifts are bestowed upon you by spirits. For example, the Chameleon gift that allows a werewolf to blend into the background can be taught by chameleon or octopus spirits.

Gifts are divided into different ascending levels ranging from one to six. The higher in level the gift is, the more powerful it is and consequently the more powerful you have to be in order to learn it.

Additionally, gifts are attributed to various categories in the world of changing creatures. There are gifts specific to auspices, breeds, tribes, and even particular changing breeds (IE, a werebear has unique gifts that a werewolf doesn’t learn). Your character can potentially learn gifts from categories they don’t belong to, but that depends on whether or not they can find someone (or something) who knows the gift and is willing to teach them.

Read Next: Werewolf: the Apocalypse – Where to Find Auspices

How Do You Get Gifts?

Now you know that spirits teach your character gifts. This doesn’t mean, however, that your character can just sit there, constantly calling on spirits to learn new gifts anytime they please. (That would be broken, wouldn’t it?)

So, how do the mechanics of getting gifts work? That’s an excellent question!

First, you get to start with three gifts while creating your character. You’ll get to choose one gift from lists related to your auspice, tribe, and breed. Once you have chosen those three gifts, you may purchase additional gifts with freebie points if you have any left over.

After character creation, you get gifts much in the same way you get new abilities in other tabletop RPGs: by gaining experience. The caveat here is that you can only purchase gifts that are equal to or lower than your character’s rank. You’re also generally limited to gifts from categories your character belongs to unless you can find a teacher willing to instruct you on gifts that normally don’t belong to your auspice, tribe, or breed.

Best Gifts in Werewolf: the Apocalypse (for Breeds and Auspices)

Before I share some of my favorite gifts with you, allow me to lay down a couple restrictions. The first one is that, to make this list, I’m choosing only gifts from the 20th anniversary edition of Werewolf: the Apocalypse, because that’s the one I own.

Second, there are a lot of gifts. I’m only including more general gifts for breed and auspice here because I’d go insane having to sift through all the numerous gifts. I might look at tribe-specific gifts later on and do a best gifts for each tribe list or something.

Because there are still numerous breed and auspice gifts, I’m narrowing the list down further to one of each rank. Thus, I’ve tried my best to pick what I feel are the most promising gifts for levels one through six – otherwise, this list would probably just be packed with skills level three and above.

Mother’s Touch (Level One)

For level one breed and auspice gifts, I just had to go with the Theurge gift, Mother’s Touch. Werewolf: the Apocalypse tends to be a heavily combat-oriented game because werewolves are just naturally beefy fighters.

Of course, this means they’re often in dangerous situations. That’s why healers are indispensable, and Mother’s Gift could mean the difference between life or death for grievously wounded Garou.

I know what you’re thinking. In addition to being powerful warriors, Garou are resilient and can regenerate from wounds on their own. However, in the heat of battle, you need to make rolls to regenerate from damage, and rolls can be failed.

In fact, I botched a healing roll once in battle, and that meant I couldn’t make any more healing rolls for the rest of the fight. I would’ve been screwed if one of our party members didn’t have Mother’s Touch, which allowed them to make a roll to heal levels of bashing, lethal, and aggravated damage.

Pulse of the Prey (Level Two)

I suppose it depends on the type of game you’re playing, but a lot of it will likely be spent trying to track people (or supernatural creatures!) down. Sure, you could do it the old-fashioned way, reaching out to contacts or doing some on-the-ground investigating…but that takes too long, doesn’t it?

Well, with Pulse of the Prey, you can make hunting just about anyone down so much easier. This Ragabash gift allows you to always get a sense of which direction to go to find someone you’re looking for, provided you know at least one thing about them. Whether it’s their name or a basic idea of what the individual looks like, you’ll always know where to go to find them.

Best of all, you don’t even need to make any rolls to use the ability. It happens automatically unless the person you’re searching for is hiding. (In that case, you need to make a Perception and Enigmas roll that’s pitted against your quarry’s Wits and Stealth roll.)

Combat Healing (Level Three)

Earlier on, I discussed the potent self-healing abilities Garou naturally have. The one big flaw with them is that you have to roll to heal during combat, which isn’t always a guarantee.

Combat Healing is a level three Ahroun gift that solves that dilemma. You no longer need to make Stamina rolls in combat to determine whether or not you heal. Instead, healing happens entirely automatically, allowing the injured werewolf to heal one level of non-aggravated damage per round.

You might still need a healer to stabilize you if you get horribly mangled. Anything short of that, however, and you’ll be fine with Combat Healing stitching your wounds on autopilot.

Scream of Gaia (Level Four)

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Area of effect, also known as AOE, attacks can be a lifesaver if you’re getting swarmed by enemies. Taking out multiple at once saves you time and effort, which the Lupus gift Scream of Gaia allows you to do.

It works much like the name implies: your character unleashes a scream so full of the pain, anguish, and fury of Gaia that all enemies within a 50-foot radius are blown over while taking one level of bashing damage per success on your Rage roll.

The drawback to this ability is that the only people immune to it are your pack members. Thus, if you’re in a really crowded public place, you risk hurting neutral bystanders. That shouldn’t be likely, though, because it’s not often you’ll engage in combat in a place so crowded that there’s a bunch of people within 50 feet of you.

Read Next: Werewolf: the Apocalypse – Where to Start

Elemental Gift (Level Five)

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could combine a werewolf and the Avatar from Avatar: the Last Airbender? No?

Well, you know what they say: there’s a first time for everything. Using Elemental Gift, which is another Lupus-born gift, your werewolf will gain control over water, fire, earth, or air temporarily. The gift grants you power over a relatively large area of the element, too – 400 square feet per success on a Gnosis roll.

Imagine the possibilities. You could take a huge amount of water and drown a group of enemies in it on land. You could erect shields around yourself or create tornadoes. It’s possible you could even fly using the ability.

Break the Bonds (Level Six)

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When you exist in a world populated by supernatural creatures and powers, mind control is a very real and dangerous possibility. So, too, are capture and imprisonment.

The average werewolf is a physical juggernaut – there’s no denying that fact. However, many are vulnerable to mental manipulation and there are few werewolves prepared to protect themselves from it.

That’s where Break the Bonds comes in. Willpower is often one of my favorite things to focus on in tabletop RPGs because I like always having control of myself. Break the Bonds basically gives you that certainty.

With this sixth-level Philodox gift, your Garou becomes an indomitable force. Both physical and mental bonds cannot contain you any longer. You’ll get to break free from any sort of physical bonds – chains, ropes, bars, etc – as if your Strength attribute were 15, and you are totally immune to supernatural control.

The best thing is you can use this gift on other people, too. Say good-bye to having to deal with the frustration of party members dominated by nefarious powers.

Wrap Up

Choosing your gifts is one of the coolest parts of character creation and improvement. I would compare it to picking feats in DnD – it’s something to look forward to as your character grows.

The gifts I mentioned here are really just the tip of the iceberg. I had to limit the options I could choose from, otherwise I could have gone on forever. There are gifts unique to specific tribes, too, which I could discuss if you were interested.

If I missed anything or you’d like to hear more about gifts in Werewolf: the Apocalypse, drop a comment below.

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