[GURPS Werewolf: The Apocalypse] When I adapted GURPS Werewolf: The Apocalypse from the White Wolf original in 1992, it -- like many of my manuscripts -- ran a little long and had to be cut down to size. Even before that, though, I realized it was going to be too large, and consciously chose to leave out material in order to make it fit.

One of those things that was left out was a breakdown of how I came up with the cost of the Garou racial package. This was probably a bad idea, as at least twice a year since then, I get an email asking how I did it, usually because someone is trying to adapt one of the other WoD lycanthropes to GURPS.

Anyway, for everyone who needs to know, here is how the Garou package is built. It gets very long and complicated, which is another reason why it wasn't in the book in the first place.

Following it is a question I recently received in email, and my answer. It's closely related to the cost of being a Garou, and may prove helpful to both players and GMs alike. After that you'll then find an alternative build for the Garou package offered by a reader.

In all cases, though, the material presented here is for GURPS Third Edition, Revised and considerably predates my 2003 book GURPS Shapeshifters and its somewhat more rational handling of shapechangers.

And before anyone asks, at this time there is no Fourth Edition/Shapeshifters version of the Garou. Because of the way things fell out between SJG and White Wolf lo these many years ago, there will never again be any officially-sanctioned GURPS World of Darkness material. And as for anything unofficial that I might assemble... well, I haven't seen much evidence that anyone's still playing the GURPS version of Werewolf. I've started to think of this page and its compatriots as more of a historical display than support for live games. I don't know that it's really worth my time to do a 4E version that no one is going to use.

Garou Racial Package

Frequently-used Discounts

For anything -- advantages and disadvantages alike -- that is not shared by all forms, the following limitation discounts apply:

  Available to 4 forms: -10%
  Available to 3 forms: -20%
  Available to 2 forms: -30%
  Available to 1 form: -40%

Whenever there are listings in the form

  Advantage/1 in 4 forms (18 pts)
  Advantage/2 in 2 forms (14 pts)

it means that 4 forms possess the first level of Advantage, which is discounted to the listed price, and that 2 forms also possess the second level of Advantage, the additional cost of which is discounted accordingly. In the example above "Advantage" costs 20 pts/level. The first level is bought with a -10% discount, while the second level -- and only the second level -- is bought with a -30% discount. Attributes and skill penalties are purchased similarly.

Positive Modifiers:

Common to all forms:
  Combat Reflexes (15 pts)
  Instant Regeneration (75 pts)
  Step Sideways (60 points)
  Wereform (52 pts)
  Garou Language at IQ (2 pts)
Subtotal: 204 pts

  ST +3 in 2 forms (Lupus/Glabro) (21 pts)
  ST to +5 in Glabro (ST 15 up from 13, 1 form only) (18 pts)
  Increased ST, in 2 forms (Crinos/Hispo) (35 pts)
  Base ST -1 for Hispo (-10 for 1 form only) (-6 pts)

(This gives a base ST of 10 (Homid), 15 (Glabro), 20 (Crinos), 18 (Hispo), and 13 (Lupus)).

  DX +3 in 2 forms (21 pts)
  DX +2 above this in 1 form (18 pts)
Subtotal: 107 pts

  Claws/1 in 4 forms (14 pts)
  Claws/2 in 2 forms (18 pts)
  Extra HP +5 in 4 forms (23 pts)
  Extra HP up +3 to total +8 in 3 forms (12 pts)
  Increased Density/1 in 3 forms (4 pts)
  Increased Density/2 in 2 forms (4 pts)
  Sharp Teeth/1 in 4 forms (5 pts)
  Sharp Teeth/2 (Fangs) in 2 forms (7 pts)
  Delirium in 2 forms (70 pts)
  Longer Arms +1 hex in 1 form (6 pts)
  Penetrating Call in 3 forms (4 pts)
  Four legs in 2 forms (4 pts)
  Speak With Animals (Wolves only, -50%) in 2 forms (4 pts)
Subtotal: 175 pts

Total positive: 486 pts

Negative Modifiers:

Common to all forms:
  Berserk (-15 pts)
  The Curse (-10 pts)
  Enemy: The Wyrm (-80 pts)
  Secret: Garou (-30 pts)
  Vulnerability to Silver (-10 Metis/-8 Other)
Subtotal: -145/-143 pts

  Stuttering in 3 forms (-8 pts)
  -1 level of Appearance in 1 form (-3 pts)
  Appearance: Ugly in 1 form (-6 pts)
  Bloodlust in 1 form (-6 pts)
  Inconvenient Size/Larger in 1 form (-6 pts)
  No Fine Manipulators in 2 forms (-35 pts)
  Mute in 1 form (-15 pts)
Subtotal: -79 pts

Skill Modifiers:
  -3 to Fast-Talk in 4 forms (-7 pts)
  Additional -5 to Fast-Talk in 3 forms (-8 pts)
  -3 to Diplomacy in 4 forms (-9 pts)
  Additional -5 to Diplomacy in 3 forms (-16 pts)
Subtotal: -40 pts

Total negative: -264/-262 pts

Grand Total: 222 pts (Metis)/224 pts (Homid/Lupus)

Yes, I know this total is a few points off from what's in the book. This is because this is a reconstruction of my original work; when I went searching for my notes the first time someone asked, I could not find them, and had to recreate the racial package from scratch. I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out the difference, and as far as I can determine, it's rounding errors. I may have rounded one way when originally writing the book, and a different way when recreating the package.

And for those of you who will object to the use of Increased ST, well, you're right. But I haven't gotten around to working out a revision to the racial package that will still total up the same. However, see the Alternate Garou Package below.

Increased Density and Garou

In February 1998, Chris Pepper wrote me to ask:

I'm confused by the Increased Density rules. The advantage description on p. WTA57 says the cost is 5 points and DR (crushing) +1 per hundred pounds weight, but the Forms description on p. WTA49 says that Glabro is ID x 1 and twice to triple Homid weight (which would mean much higher ID). How is this supposed to work? Is everything but the 'last 100 pounds' normal weight for Glabro form, and the last hundred due to ID, or what?

This is a very good question, and I had to sit down and think for quite a while to figure out what I was thinking when I wrote the Glabro description. This is the answer I gave Chris:

First off, the advantage only applies to each full 100 pounds of extra mass. It doesn't really pass the reality check, but it's a lot easier to handle that way. So if a 150-pound homid doubles his weight to 300 lbs. in Glabro form, only 100 lbs. of that extra weight is actually Increased Density.

So what is all the left over weight? Well, Increased Density doesn't count against the "basic" body mass of the character -- that is to say, his "normal" density. Harkening back to our theoretical 150-pound homid mentioned above, when he goes into Glabro form, he gains about half a foot of height, and a lot more muscle. Most of the "unclaimed" 50 pounds are subsumed into the new bone and muscle mass required to simply establish and fill out his Glabro body shape. Some additional fraction goes into the extra body hair and more pronounced "claws" this form has.

Anything that's left over certainly contributes to his denser muscle mass, but not enough to merit any real game-level quantification.

Now note that the Glabro description says that the character can gain 100% to 200% of his base body weight. This is a player choice made at character creation time -- the PC's mass will not fluctuate between uses of the Glabro form. If the player chooses to use the higher end of the range, or his PC is heavy enough to begin with that even a 100% mass increase is 200 lbs. or more (or both!), the GM should feel free to assess him the cost of as many extra levels of Increased Density as is appropriate, modified by the "Number of Forms" accessibility limitation outlined above. This cost is in addition to the Garou racial cost, and reflects his extra advantage in being a particularly huge or heavy specimen.

(Alternately, a cruel GM could just say the Glabro was flabby and out of shape, and assess the "Fat" disadvantage against him. <grin>)

Alternate Garou Package

In early April of 1999, Phillip Weiss posted a revised Garou package of his own to rec.games.frp.gurps which tried to bring the Garou up to date and fully compatible with GURPS as of Compendium I. I think it's a pretty good piece of work, and with Phillip's permission I'm including it here. Enjoy!

Revised Garou Package

Positive Modifiers:

Common to all forms:
  Combat Reflexes (15)
  Garou Invulnerability (150) (see WTA 75 under "Injury & Death")
  Regeneration (Instant (Doesn’t function vs. Aggravated damage –25%;   Doesn’t function while in natural form –10% (65)))
  Step Sideways (60)
  Wereform (52)
  Language (Garou @IQ (2))
Subtotal: 344 points

  ST +3 in 4 forms (Glabro/Crinos/Hispo/Lupus) (27)
  ST to +5 in 3 forms (Glabro/Crinos/Hispo) (24)
  ST to +8 in 2 forms (Crinos/Hispo) (21)
  ST to +10 in 1 form (Crinos) (12)

(This gives a base ST of 10 (Homid), 15 (Glabro), 20 (Crinos), 18 (Hispo), and 13 (Lupus).)

  DX +3 in 3 forms (Crinos/Hispo/Lupus) (24)
  DX to +5 in 2 forms (Hispo/Lupus) (21)
(This gives a base DX of 13 (Crinos) and 15 (Hispo/Lupus).)
Subtotal: 129 points

  Alertness +2 in 1 form (Lupus) (6)
  Claws in 4 forms (Glabro/Crinos/Hispo/Lupus) (14)
  Claws (Talons) in 2 forms (Crinos/Hispo) (18)
  Damage Resistance +1 in 3 forms (Crinos/Hispo/Lupus) (2)
  Delirium in 2 forms (Crinos/Hispo) (70)
  Discriminatory Smell in 1 form (Lupus) (9)
  Enhanced Move (1/2 lvl) in 2 forms (Hispo/Lupus) (4)
  Enhanced Move (to 1 lvl) in 1 form (Lupus) (3)
  Extra Hit Points +5 in 4 forms (Glabro/Crinos/Hispo/Lupus) (23)
  Extra Hit Points to +8 in 3 forms (Crinos/Hispo/Lupus) (12)
  Four Legs in 2 forms (Hispo/Lupus) (4)
  Longer Arms (+1 Hex Reach (Both Arms)) in 1 form (Crinos) (12)
  Passive Defense +1 in 3 forms (Crinos/Hispo/Lupus) (20)
  Penetrating Call in 3 forms (Crinos/Hispo/Lupus) (4)
  Speak with Animals (Wolves Only –50%) in 2 forms (Hispo/Lupus) (6)
  Teeth (Sharp) in 4 forms (Glabro/Crinos/Hispo/Lupus) (5)
  Teeth (Fangs) in 2 forms (Crinos/Hispo) (4)
  Temperature Tolerance (1 lvl) in 3 forms (Crinos/Hispo/Lupus) (1)
Subtotal: 217 points

Total Positive: 690 points

Negative Modifiers:

Common to all forms:
  Berserk (-15)
  The Curse (-10)
  Enemy (The Wyrm (-80))
  Secret (Garou (-30))
  Vulnerability: Silver (1 lvl (Not in Natural Form –10% (-9)))
Subtotal: -134 points

  Appearance (-1 lvl (-5)) in 2 forms (Glabro/Crinos) (-4)
  Appearance to Monstrous in 1 form (Crinos) (-12)
  Bloodlust in 1 form (Crinos) (-6)
  Disturbing Voice in 3 forms (Glabro/Crinos/Hispo) (-8)
  Horizontal (downgraded from Semi-Upright) in 1 form (Lupus) (-3)
  Inconvenient Size (Large) in 1 form (Crinos) (-6)
  Mute (downgraded from Disturbing Voice) in 1 form (Lupus) (-9)
  No Fine Manipulators in 2 forms (Hispo/Lupus) (-21)
  Semi-Upright in 1 form (Hispo) (-3)
Subtotal: -72 points

Total Negative: -217 points

Grand Total: 484 points

Revised Garou Forms:


No Modifications


Attributes: ST +5.
Advantages: Claws; Extra Hit Points +5; Teeth (Sharp).
Disadvantages: Disturbing Voice; Reduce Appearance (-1 lvl).


Attributes: ST +10; DX +3.
Advantages: Claws (Talons); Damage Resistance +1; Delirium; Extra Hit Points +8; Longer Arms (+1 Hex Reach); Passive Defense +1; Penetrating Call; Teeth (Fangs); Temperature Tolerance (lvl 1).
Disadvantages: Appearance (Monstrous); Bloodlust; Disturbing Voice; Inconvenient Size (Large).


Attributes: ST +8; DX +5.
Advantages: Claws (Talons); Damage Resistance +1; Delirium; Extra Hit Points +8; Four Legs; Passive Defense +1; Penetrating Call; Speak with Animals (Wolves Only); Teeth (Fangs); Temperature Tolerance (lvl 1).
Disadvantages: Disturbing Voice; No Fine Manipulators; Semi-Upright.


Attributes: ST +3; DX +5.
Advantages: Alertness +2; Claws; Damage Resistance +1; Discriminatory Smell; Extra Hit Points +8; Four Legs; Passive Defense +1; Penetrating Call; Speak with Animals (Wolves Only); Teeth (Sharp); Temperature Tolerance (lvl 1).
Disadvantages: Horizontal; Mute; No Fine Manipulators.


1) On page 75 of GURPS Werewolf: The Apocalypse under the heading "Injury and Death", a list of special conditions pertaining to Garou resilience is given. The description is starkly close to the advantages granted by Vampiric Invulnerability in GURPS Compendium. Therefore, I consider it fair to assign the Garou package a 150 point Advantage titled Garou Invulnerability to cover the Garou’s resilience.

2) Disturbing Voice (a rename of Stuttering) makes success in Fast-Talk and Diplomacy impossible (see Stuttering on page 29 of GURPS Basic Set), so to have negative modifiers for these two skills is needlessly redundant. Therefore, I did not reduce the cost of the Garou package by giving points back as Schroeck did (-40 (!) points in fact).

3) The gaining of mass when a Garou changes form seems more like a special effect than what the Increased Density advantage confers, especially in regards to the Crinos form. I deliberately deleted Increased Density from the package, and substituted Damage Resistance, Passive Defense, and Temperature Tolerance to cover something not included in the original package: a Garou’s fur!

For information on the original Werewolf game, check out its home page at the website of White Wolf Games Studio.

GURPS Werewolf: The Apocalypse has been out of print for a while but you can still request it from Amazon.com. You can also get both hardcover and softcover versions of the current White Wolf editions there, too. Go to my bookstore page via the menu above to order any (or all!) of these volumes.

[Go To Steve Jackson Games]

This page was created on December 18, 1997.
Last modified March 12, 2011.