- Werewolf howls are loud, roaring howls that fill their enemies with primal fear or communicate certain things to their packmates.
- Though anyone within a hundred yards or so can hear the physical sound of the howl, the true resonance of it echoes through the Shadow, a spiritual emanation more than a physical sonic phenomenon.
- Werewolves and many other supernatural creatures hear the howl reverberate through Shadow with perfect acuity out to its full distance.
- Werewolves always know the meaning behind the howl.
- Other supernaturals capable of hearing it do not naturally understand its meaning, but many of them have learned to interpret them.
Performing a Howl
- Generally speaking, a howl is a Presence + Expression + Primal Urge roll, as a standard action.
- Each success on this roll grants the howl a mile of distance at which it can be heard clearly through Shadow.
- Those within a mile of the howl hear it automatically.
- For every mile beyond that (to a maximum of the rolled range of the howl), there is a cumulative -2 penalty to the Wits + Composure roll to hear the howl, plus any other penalties based on environment.
A werewolf who howls within his pack territory can automatically be heard through Shadow by any of his packmates within that territory, even if it's further away than the rolled limit. The howl of the pack carries throughout the territory.
Types of Howls
Werewolves can use the following different kinds of howls. There are Merits that either improve the effects of these howls or grant entirely new kinds.
- Positioning Howl: One of the most common types of howls in both wolves and werewolves, this is a howl that tells the pack where an individual is. Those who hear it (not just packmates) can roughly pinpoint the position of the one who gave the howl to within three hundred feet or so (roughly a half-block). A werewolf may also modulate his howl,
- Hunting Howl: A call to the pack to pursue prey, or for them to gather for a full moon run. Packmates traditionally answer the howl with Positioning Howls, telling where they're at, so as to give an idea of how quickly they can be there. Packmates who answer the call to hunt gain a point of Willpower when they arrive in the presence of the packmate who calls the hunt. In return, the one who calls the hunt gains a point of Willpower if at least two of his pack answer his call.
- Distress Howl: A call for aid. Those who have a bond with the howling werewolf gain a point of Willpower when they arrive in the howling werewolf's presence, ready to lend aid, though anyone who is familiar with the howl might investigate the situation.
- Challenge Howl: A howl challenging a foe to face the werewolf. It is a form of taunt and intimidation both. The identity of the one challenged is part of the howl (in as clear terms as possible - "the one invading our territory" is a legitimate designation for a challenge howl), and if that individual arrives in the presence of the howler, both of them gain a point of Willpower.
- Victory Howl: A great howl that announces a victory of some kind. It is often started by one pack member, and taken up by others. Those who participated in the task being celebrated as finished gain a point of Willpower, assuming the task was truly dangerous or otherwise difficult. If the Victory Howl is given in response to defeating an enemy called out via the Challenge Howl, the one who gave the Challenge Howl recovers all his Willpower, as long as he is the only one who fought his enemy.
- Mourning Howl: A long, low, mournful sound, the mourning howl is used in the wake of a loss of some kind: usually the loss of life in the pack. Spirits of the dark moon always come in response to this call, protecting the fallen packmate from the corruption of creatures that are attracted to the bodies of fallen werewolves for nefarious purposes. The rush of spiritual attention is keenly felt by those crying the mourning howl, and all of them gain a point of Essence.
- Denial Howl: Alphas only. An alpha can force a werewolf that is in its pack out of its shapeshifted form with this type of howl. He must spend a point of Essence to use it, and make a Presence + Intimidation + Primal Urge roll, at a penalty equal to the packmate's Resolve + Primal Urge rating. A success will shift a werewolf from wolf form into hybrid, or from hybrid form into human. An exceptional success will shift a wolf into human form. An alpha may also use this against a werewolf not in his pack, as long as he has three or more points of Primal Urge above the werewolf's, and that werewolf is not in the presence of his own alpha.
Reading a Howl
Howls tell something about a wolf to those who know what to listen for in it. In nature, wolves can use their howls to attract mates because their howls reveal their size and health. Likewise, a werewolf hearing another werewolf's howl can ascertain a few things about them. For each success on a Wits + Survival + Primal Urge test, a werewolf may determine one of the following things:
- How injured the werewolf is, expressed as "Not injured," "Slightly injured" (fewer than half of their total Health in damage), "Badly injured" (more than half of their total Health in damage) or "Near death."
- Whether or not the howler is currently suffering any pain penalties.
- The potency of their Feral Wolf. Compare the listener's Primal Urge with that of the howler. The listener knows if it is lesser than, greater than or equal to her own Primal Urge rating.
- Whether or not the howler is part of a pack.