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Some totems have the power to raise garou's attributes or abilities. However, the rules seem quite tricky and controversial on this issue, depending on the sources you check.

Some say you gain, for example, "three extra dice" in tests regarding leadership, like the falcon. However, some sources just write "each pack member gains leadership 3" for the same totem. Leadership 3 is diferent than 3 extra dice in leadership rolls.

Regarding attributes this looks even more confusing. The Fenris says it raises a dot even above 5. The Bear totem says it raises the pack member's strength by one permanently (so even if the pack is disbanded they will keep the dot forever)

So, what is your take on these confusing rules? I'll show some links for you to compare.

Not to mention the many versions of the book which are different, too.

Thanks.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Which edition of Werewolf the Apocalypse? There's been multiple different versions of it. \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 Jun 9 '19 at 6:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Revised seems to be the better one. I've read on forums some people say that all totems just add dice and that ww corrected it later, but I would like to see some sources confirming it. All in all it really seems all totems just add to the basic garou 5 characteristic cap. The fenris' text might be deceptive as it was written in a time it was the only one who did attribute boon. So the emphasis. W20 I don't like because it seems a copy and paste with no criteria. Very below in quality (and pages) than M20 and V20. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Jun 9 '19 at 19:13
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Traits Have an Upper Limit of 5

Traits have a value which ranges between 0 - 5.

each Trait has a rating from one to five ... You should consider the normal human range to be from one to three, with two being average. However exceptional people, Garou especially, can have traits of four (exceptional) or five (supurb) ... (Werewolf: The Apocolypse, pg.82)

This is to say that in general you cannot have a trait above 5. I looked through a few of the books I have and didn't see any examples that raise a trait above 5 (though I don't have the Fenris tribebook). However, if one did say that it would be an exception to the general rule.

Totems

You mentioned two different kinds of phrases for how totems grant benefits. I'll use a different example from the books I have to illustrate the differences.

Some benefits add a dot or two. For example, the Raven totem (Red Talon tribebook, pg.50) says:

... Raven's children ... each gain one point to their Wits Attribute.

So if you follow the Raven totem you gain 1 point in your Wits. You should also observe the maximum from the corebook. So if you already have 5 Wits that bonus won't do you any good.

On the other hand, some totems give you a certain value in a trait. For example, the Sphinx totem (Werewolf Player's Guide, pg.130) says:

...Sphinx grants her children Enigmas 3.

As written, this sets your Enigmas trait to 3. This is great if it was less than 3 previously, and disadvantageous if it was higher.

Although I don't know of a written rule to this effect, at our table we allow characters to use their own traits if they are higher than the totem bonus. We connect this to the fiction: in foregoing your totem's benefit, you are relying on your own knowledge/skill/ability. This system has worked for us without any downside.

About Sources

It might be easier to use reliable sources. Two of the sources you linked to appear to be about World of Darkness MUDs, rather than the tabletop game. I'm not knowledgeable in these games, but in several cases I noted that the totems grant different benefits than they do in my Werewolf books.

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