Why House Rule Renown?
Renown is handled a little differently on LiberationMUSH with an aim towards creating a game with a more narrative, tabletop-inspired flow, and less paralyzed by Renown bookkeeping and OOC arguments. Every Director (what you might normally consider ‘staff’ on another MUSH) is expected to be a storyteller and worldbuilder first. Additionally, we have no desire to maintain purely administrative staff or specialized roles like ‘renown monkey’ – whose true contributions on most games rarely exceeds a net positive.
What this means is that even though LiberationMUSH as a whole is committed to a satisfyingly canonical and faithful portrayal of the 20th Edition setting, it was felt to be equally vital to escape many of the age-old traps and ruts that World of Darkness MUSHes tend to slip into. This is usually when a mechanic intended for five or six players is instead expanded to fifty or sixty players. It leads to a ponderous, over-bureaucratized resolution process which trends towards either the consistently arbitrary (such as imposing time limits per Rank increases regardless of how deserving or undeserving), or the inconsistently advantaged (such as when a system is so complex or arduous, a significant minority maximizes their Renown gain, while a majority tune out).
We gave this a great deal of thought, and we truly believe that we have hit upon a superior solution – one that will better maintain the thematic and spiritual intent of Renown, while jettisoning most of the OOC drama and bureaucracy.
Instead of referring to Renown charts, keeping track of Temp Renown points and then converting them into Renown – an often bureaucratic and log intensive process which depending on the game is usually neglected by many and/or proceeds so rapidly as to mandate arbitrary time limits – characters have three simple requirements to raise their Renown:
In the bulletpoints beneath each requirement, I will list common responses to common questions. Only the bolded text is required reading.
- You must possess the required number of Experience points to purchase that dot of Renown. If playing an incentivized Garou tribe or Fera breed, it will usually be 5 x (New Dot Rating) to a maximum of 25 XP. ‘Less encouraged’ tribes and breeds, if allowed on grid, will pay 6 x (New Dot Rating) to a maximum of 30 XP.
- ICly, this represents the ambition and determination required to conduct your existence in such a way that will earn the respect of your peers and the adulation of the spirit world, bringing with it both vast potential for mystical power and the deference of your lessers.
- The cost increases over time to represent the fact that it is less impressive for a veteran Adren to for example, overcome a Black Spiral Dancer in single combat, than say, a freshly blooded Cliath.
- What could be seen as merely an ‘XP tax’ in a free-for-all sandbox game is alleviated by the following factors in our narrative-based game:
- The granting of a free Gift which aligns with your Auspice, Breed or Tribe (or equivalent if Fera). You may choose any Gift, whose level is equal to or less than the new rating of the Renown dot you just purchased – provided your current Rank allows for it.
- A system (chiefly expounded in its own HR entry) where unlike other races, Shifters can potentially learn level 1-2 Rites for free, given time and a suitable PC teacher or Mentor. In addition, all Rites are capped at only 5 XP, although you will still require a PC teacher or an NPC Mentor. It chooses to mostly replace with time and RP – virtually always in scenes that players can conduct together – what in other games is a significant XP sink. This concession, combined with the point above, goes a very long way towards erasing the ‘tax’. This is intended – since it’s not meant to be a tax. The greatest ‘sheet’ significance long term is that players will usually end up with more Breed/Tribe/Auspice gifts than usual.
- In contrast to virtually every other sphere on the game, the Garou (and many Fera) are comprised of born warriors with a supernatural fixation on certain roles. You will find that Garou receive enormous leeway in pursuing their Auspice-intended roles in ways that other races just don’t mirror as convincingly. (This is important, given that LiberationMUSH is not a self-serve XP sandbox – all spends must be convincingly justified, as in tabletop).
- Most Shifters retain access to several powerful force multipliers, which are made even more pronounced on a ‘lower XP’ game like ours:
- The relatively easier ability to summon Spirits that are usually far more receptive and willing to listen. This can make a potent source of allies and spies, especially on a narrative heavy game like ours.
- The relatively easier access to magic items (in the form of fetishes), on what is a magic item restrictive game. There are no magic item factories in 20th Edition (such as Enchanting/Alchemy M+) and other races (such as Blood Mages) have had such means severely restricted. Most Shifters retain a mechanical and thematic access that isn’t much different from prior editions.
- Finally, Shifters retain multiple, powerful forms they can shapeshift into, granting big dice pools, aggravated damage inflicting natural weapons, and the ability to soak such damage in kind. This is a huge advantage in a game where 6-8 dice is considered a decent dice pool, and the average non-bystander NPC has 4-5.
- You must put in a +request that summarizes what actions you feel that your character has taken recently, or whatever interval of time you wish to cover, that you believe would qualify you in the eyes of the spirit world and your Shifter society for a higher Renown rating.
- I will personally review each of these requests – and since more than likely – I also personally reviewed and approved the plots you were involved in, or ran them myself, I will have an immediate idea as to the validity of your desire, and I might even remember a couple things that you didn’t. You will not be arbitrarily boned here. You will be judged as if we were playing a tabletop game, and I was your storyteller, and that we are motivated by a spirit of collaboration rather than competition.
- The worst thing that can happen is that I will decline the +job and you won’t lose anything. If I think you’re very close to your next Renown threshold, I’ll leave it open so you can add something to it. If you’re farther away, I’ll close it, but you should still feel free to re-apply if something major or significant happens.
- It should be taken for granted that it will be much easier for a Cliath to go to Fostern, than a Fostern to go to Adren, and so on. Garou society simply expects more of you. It is entirely possible to plateau at Fostern or Adren, if you’re not tackling plenty of Fostern or Adren-level challenges.
- Once you have received my approval, you must then carry out the IC ritual that your respective Shifter race requires to have their Rank or Renown officially recognized. If you succeed, I will deduct the XP, set your new Renown (or Rank if appropriate) and set your free, chosen Gift.
- This is more straight-forward for some than others. A Garou Cliath for example, will want to seek out a Galliard to perform a Rite of Accomplishment for them, with everything that entails (see W20, page 217). It is typically hard to fail these, although some have mechanics and rolls to allow for it to be ICly disputed.
- There are often more elaborate rites and challenges required for attaining Rank. Since some of the best roleplay is often had around these challenges, this should be something enjoyed for its intrinsic narrative excitement. Garou follow a very elaborate ritual in attaining new Ranks. Some Fera are more casual or rigorous. In any case, once I’ve validated that your character is technically worthy, everything else that follows – including the Rite’s ultimate success or failure – is dependent on IC roleplay and the rite mechanics. You will not have XP deducted unless you succeed.
- If you do fail, there is always a canonical means to atone and try again, such as simply waiting a moon, or undergoing some penance. Either way, you won’t need to request approval again. We’ll just keep the +job open until you make it through the IC process. Shifter society can be unfair sometimes – lean into it ICly and don’t get frustrated OOCly.
- I am well aware that a few players, despite being great writers, with equal availability and with similar longevity, will inevitably suffer for not being active in the same time zone that most players, Directors and Producers are. This is something of a universal fact of MUSHing, and affects things like XP accrual as well. I promise that I will make every attempt to find and promote approved plot runners that better synch with you, and I will collaborate with you more thoroughly via +job to ensure that purely OOC circumstances don’t hamstring you. It is something I will approach with nuance and empathy.
- Losing Renown is a very simple process: If you commit a major, egregious sin, or simply continue to commit a more minor offense over and over again despite being repeatedly warned, you will eventually lose Renown. I’ll remove the XP that it took to acquire it from your Softcap, so you won’t be permanently disadvantaged.
- If someone needs to lose Renown, 9 out of 10 times, I’ll be the first one to notice. And even then, I might poke a leadership PC to give the offender a last chance IC talking to first.
- I will consider every situation and inevitable accusation through the prism of your Fera race or Garou tribe’s own code of ethics or unique take on the Litany. I will consider the population of both PCs and NPCs that are likely to condemn or support you, and I’ll rule accordingly. Sometimes, a PC might commit a significant offense and be pushed to the edge of a Renown loss, yet escape with a warning. Then they might get pinged with a minor transgression, and I’ll decide that’s enough to put them over the threshold.
- Mainly, you are just going to need to trust me to handle it as you would a storyteller in a tabletop game. I do not play ‘favorites’ – chiefly because the most entertaining players are those who find creative inspiration from IC adversity rather than be OOCly put out by it. It is typically a red flag for me when a player’s OOC and IC tantrums and rivalries are too closely linked, as it suggests a certain immaturity. That said, it’s okay to be disappointed occasionally and not be friends with everyone, ICly or OOCly. Just be mature about it.
- There will inevitably be one or two players who wish to argue with me about their Renown loss. I’ll never cut you off or turn a deaf ear to a calm appeal.
Encouraged Garou Tribes and Fera
Encouraged tribes and races pay 5 x New Dot Rating for Renown (as described above). Everyone else pays 6 x. This is because some tribes and Fera – along with their attendant hosts of allied spirit hierarchies – are simply more numerous in some parts of the world than others. A Bone Gnawer isn’t going to judge a Silver Fang by only Silver Fang standards, after all – they’re going to inevitably judge them by Bone Gnawer standards as well. This is why the Garou Nation isn’t all one big happy family.
- Encouraged Garou Tribes: Bone Gnawers, Children of Gaia, Glass Walkers and Uktena. Black Furies qualify as well owing to the fact that the nearest Sept via moonbridge, is their Sept of the Western Eye near San Francisco.
- Encouraged Fera: Ratkin (All Non-Freak Aspects), Corax, Nuwisha, and Bastet (Balam, Qualmi, Pumonca and Ceilican). Ananasi (Tenere, or ‘Weaver-dedicated’) qualify as well.
There are two ways to learn Gifts on LiberationMUSH:
1) Spirit-Taught: As per W20, most Garou (and most Fera!) learn gifts by:
"...petitioning a particular spirit to teach her its powers or ask an elder to summon that spirit on her behalf. Traditionally, the Garou first travels to a caern with a power level equal to or greater than that of the desired Gift to petition the spirit personally to do otherwise is to defy tradition, which risks incurring the wrath of the spirit. But as more caerns fall to the talons of the Wyrm, many Garou are forced to make do with whatever places of power they can find, or even to summon spirits outside of caerns completely. Such slighted spirits often demand recompense or service before consenting to share their blessings. Other Garou, lacking access to a ritemaster capable of summoning spirits at all, must track down potential mentors and petition them directly in the Umbra. The manifold dangers of such ventures include offending the spirit in its home or mistaking a hostile spirit for a friendly one."
- Spirit-Taught gifts are more akin to a ‘blessing’ than an instruction, bringing with them more or less instant comprehension. You are able to learn any Gift that correlates with your Breed, Auspice/Aspect or Tribe, etc.
- You may not learn Spirit-Taught gifts from outside your Breed, Auspice/Aspect or Tribe.
2) Shifter-Taught: The other way to learn Gifts is to either be taught by another Shifter of your own race (such as a Garou teaching a Garou, a Ratkin teaching a Ratkin, etc). There are one or two special racial mechanics (such as high ranked Corax or Bastet possess) which allows them to ‘steal’ a Gift from another Shifter race, depending on the Storyteller allowing it. Those gifts are not covered here.
W20 describes Shifter-Taught Gifts as follows:
"...this process is neither fast nor easy. Learning a gift from another Garou is a long process of trial and error, of attempting to achieve communion with another werewolf and emulate the shape of his soul. At best, the process takes a full lunar month. Most elders strongly discourage this practice, viewing it as unacceptably risky on a number of levels. Wielding incomplete mastery of Gifts such as Silver Claws, for example, can be not only painful, but dangerous to the Garou and to others in his pack or sept. Moreover, the level and depth of sustained intimacy necessary for werewolves to teach Gifts to one another can strain the bounds of the Litany."
- The only way to learn Gifts that are outside your Breed, Auspice/Aspect or Tribe, is to learn them from another Shifter PC of your same race, or a Mentor. It takes at least one RL month to learn a single gift in this fashion, and (at least among Garou) it is highly discouraged. Although, even the elders who discourage it likely have learned a few Gifts in this way in their time.
- As ever, out of Tribe/Auspice/Aspect/Breed Gifts costs 5 x per level instead of 3 x per level.
- If you’re a Tier buying Gifts in CGEN, you can take whatever your Director agrees is reasonable according to your Backstory.
- You do not need to supply logs or even engage in elaborately roleplayed scenes (although, why not RP about it?). We will however enforce that it takes a RL month to learn (and teach!) Gifts across Breed/Tribal/Auspice/Aspect boundaries, etc.
You may learn Minor, Level 1 and 2 Rites from PCs and NPC Mentors for free, although it requires a certain duration of teaching. This won’t be obsessively enforced, but I am wanting something like an average of three days per Minor Rite, a week per Level 1 Rite, and two weeks per Level 2 Rite. While I don’t require logs of the teaching sessions, the roleplaying does need to happen.
Levels 3-5 Rites still need to be taught by a PC or NPC Mentor, but they cost 5 XP each (per Rite, not per level of the Rite). Again, higher level Rites are unlikely to be taught to lower ranked Garou outside extreme situations.
- PC teachers must have an Instruction Ability equal to the level of the Rite they are hoping to teach.
- PC teachers may teach one concurrent Rite for every dot of the Instruction Ability that they possess.
It should be noted here that Rites from Garou Tribebooks and Fera Breedbooks are one of the only mechanics from Werewolf Revised, that with a little tweaking where required, will be mostly allowed on Liberation MUSH without much comment. This is because many of the Rites are very flavorful and were clearly cut from later compendiums almost entirely owing to issues of available space.
You will still need to be patient with us about getting every past Rite added to the statdb. Often, if a Rite isn’t already added to the database, we will have you set it as a +note until we can get around to it.