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Let me preface my rant by saying this: Our current game is so alternate history and lore that it might as well be considered full homebrew. That said we are using Dark Ages 20th core books where available and branching out from there until we hit the rules/mechanics we need.

The game is very heavy on politics and intrigue, set in alternate history Roman empire around year 900 and forward.

My ST is very experienced in the WoD landscape, though mostly in VtM. Werewolf is not a system he really has any experience with personally. Our campaign is planned to be very very long, and as such certain pacing is attempted to keep everything contained and playable.

My character is based on the mechanics for Kitsune, and we are trying to play with the Renown system in our own lore way while keeping the mechanics. That being said, I don't personally understand Renown all that much and my ST does not have a good grasp of how to run it by his own words.

Here are relevant outtakes from the Changing Breeds book:

Renown

Kitsune

The three categories of werefox Renown are Chie, Toru, and Kagayaki, roughly corresponding to Cunning, Honor, and Glory. The Kitsune put little stock in Renown; it mostly seems useful when dealing with the other Breeds — although, the Kitsune reason, if the other Changers have been keeping track of the stuff for millennia, there must be something to it.

Chie (Cunning) is awarded for exhibiting superior cleverness; the ideal of Chie is to trick two enemies into destroying each other, while the Kitsune watches safely from a distance.

Toru (Honor) is awarded for living one’s life in accordance with Gaia and Luna’s rules, preferably by living as a Kitsune without compromise while still achieving one’s goals.

Kagayaki (Glory) is awarded for perfection. Kitsune care less for accomplishments themselves than for how those accomplishments make them shine in the eyes of their Changing Breed cousins. Also, Kagayaki is awarded for doing “good deeds” in the sight of those that matter. Rank, on the other hand, is both eagerly sought after and revered — particularly since foxes gain additional tails, magic, and longevity each time they advance.

  • W20 Changing Breeds p. 218

THE LAWS OF HEAVEN

I command you to destroy that which harms Gaia.
I command you to aid your brothers, your sisters, and that which serves Gaia.
I command you to revere Your Mother, Myself, your Aunts, your Uncles, and Our Favored Servants.
I command you to keep your duty first in your heart, and to listen for my teachings
I forbid you to exterminate the humans.
I forbid you to make war on your brothers and sisters
I forbid you to break your word.
I forbid you to commit suicide for reasons of honor.
I free you to do anything else necessary to achieve our goals.

  • W20 Changing Breeds p.123

Cunning

Sample Behavior Award
Drawing first blood in combat; creating a talen; discovering a useful secret 1
Protecting an important secret from discovery; surviving an incapacitating blow 2
Wounding a powerful foe and prudently retreating; performing sabotage; creating a successful diversion 3
Creating a fetish; hatching a complex plot that succeeds; stealing something of value from an enemy stronghold 5
Destroying an enemy stronghold; creating a Den-Realm; creating a new Gift 7
Failing an attempt at craftiness; being captured by an enemy –1
Being caught in a lie; becoming the pack’s runt (Ratkin); letting a secret slip –3
Hurting other members of your Breed through recklessness or conniving; getting caught defying an elder –5
  • W20 Changing Breeds p.219

Glory

Sample Behavior Award
Telling a good story at a gathering; participating in a just challenge; proving one’s bravery in a routine situation 1
Surviving an incapacitating wound; defeating a minor threat; telling a true epic that is later retold 2
Defeating an average threat; traveling to an Umbral Realm and returning 3
Defeating a strong threat; dying while defending a Den-Realm 5
Defeating a very powerful threat; sacrificing oneself for the greater good 7
Succumbing to fox-frenzy –1
Losing territory to an enemy –3
Conscious cowardice that results in the death of another of your Breed –5
  • W20 Changing Breeds p.220

Honor

Sample Behavior Award
Showing restraint in the face of certain death; showing devotion to the greater good; dealing respectfully with other shapeshifters 1
Protecting helpless humans in need; participating in a just challenge 2
Acting selflessly for the greater good of the Breed; mediating a dispute fairly and impartially 3
Ignoring strong feelings of vengeance and hatred; being truthful in the face of adversity; protecting helpless animals related to the Breed 5
Enduring torture to protect fellow Breed members; death in defense of Gaia 7
Acting selfishly; not protecting helpless humans; being deceptive in the face of extreme adversity –1
Failing to keep promises; being deceptive; participating in an unjust challenge –3
Not protecting a helpless Breed member; completely ignoring etiquette; giving false testimony against a Breed member –5
  • W20 Changing Breeds p.220

The "Chie" and Cunning comparison is quite straight forward I believe, simply add a intrigue and clever maneuvering spin to it. It's not that far from the examples already.

However the Toru and Kagayaki become more troublesome for me.

Toru seems to be about living in accordance to the Rules of Heaven and otherwise just being a Kitsune/yourself? Which does not translate very well into the Honor examples as Kitsune are all about trickery, illusion, deception and magic. The last Law is literally everything else is permitted. My character is pretty much doing this all the time. The Laws guides his life and otherwise he lives proud of himself as a cunning predator. But simply gaining Renown by being himself sounds... like trying to game the system? But if actions more than that are needed, then this one is really hard?

Kagayaki is even weirder to me. Glory is all about... glory in combat? Slaying your foes and creating Epics in the process? Kagayaki is about perfectionism and looking good in the eyes of others and doing "good dees"? That does not seem to be about combat at all to me, maybe a little...

So now I beseech you, wise people of StackExchange, can you provide me with your own insight on how to interpret Kitsune Renown and possibly even come up with your own improved Renown examples? (Both gain and loss if possible)

TL;DR: Kitsune Renown is unique and weird. Help me understand it please.

PS: I also asked this on the White Wolf subreddit and on TheOnyxPath. I'll leave the links to those forums here for anyone finding this post in the future. I found the answers here, on StackEchange, to provide me with what I sought.

https://www.reddit.com/r/WhiteWolfRPG/comments/x54wru/question_how_to_award_kitsune_renown/

http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/main-category/main-forum/the-classic-world-of-darkness/werewolf-the-apocalypse-aa/1492277-question-how-to-award-kitsune-renown

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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I've got a clarifying question: what are you using Renown for in your game? That is, does your campaign have the same kinds of traditional shifter culture with a Litany and all that, where status and hierarchy are super important? In light of the text you've quoted, Kitsune care the least about Renown except when dealing with other Breeds, so what do you (and your ST) hope to do with it that makes it worth the work? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Sep 3, 2022 at 22:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jadasc Renown is also used for "levelling up" and unlocking more powerful Gifts, unless there's something unique about kitsune Gifts. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Sep 3, 2022 at 22:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 Sure, typically, but that implies that the spirit world and chiminage are the same, which I've got no basis to assume, since the game is "so alternate history and lore that it might as well be considered full homebrew." \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Sep 3, 2022 at 23:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Jadasc The hope is to use the Renown and Rank system for progression. The world is a very fantasy-esc Dark Ages with all types of supernaturals in the WoD landscape, including many more for narrative use. The Cosmology such as the Umbra, the gods and such are part of the game. But so is a lot of lore from other settings. It is primarily a WoD game, rather than any specific setting. My character is narratively a Spirit, using the mechanics of the Kitsune. We have so far attempted to implement Renown as a literal power reward from the Spirit World and the Gods, rewarded for acting as is fitting \$\endgroup\$
    – Drekin
    Sep 4, 2022 at 7:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Dark Age Werewolf was a thing, but never explored anything in the asia area. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Sep 4, 2022 at 10:16

2 Answers 2

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Hengeyokai - Shapeshifters of the East has a more extensive answer. See p174

Toku

I command you to aid your brothers, your sisters, and that which serves Gaia.

Honor, Toku is about being a good senpai. It's about being an honorable person to your fellow kit who needs help and following the rules of social etiquette.

That doesn't mean you can't use illusion magic and ambush a predator from behind, or break the mind of some enemy of Gaia. It follows the command above- it heavily applies to other Kistune more than it applies to enemies of Gaia, or even most humans. You need to keep your promises to humans, and protect them, but honor is for Kitsune and servants of Gaia, not for deserving enemies.

Toku is about being a morally upstanding person to your fellows. You get renown when other Kitsune respect your actions mostly. If your game includes other supernaturals, so long as they are Gaia following they may also earn you Toku. In terms of what triggers it, think of in a roleplay what makes a good team mate socially.

Don't lie to your team mates. Don't break promises. Don't get angry at them. Mediate disputes fairly. Follow the social contract.

Kagayaki

I command you to destroy that which harms Gaia

Kagayaki, glory, is better translated as shining with the ideogram army tacked on- it represents the brilliance of being a soldier of Gaia. It's not something that Kitsune care about as much, but many Shen, other supernatural races, care about it a lot. You can get it whenever you show off your martial skills in front of any supernatural race. Foxes who show off their fighting skills to other supernatural races which care more about direct combat and violence are important in building alliances.

In terms of what triggers it, anything where you look super badass in combat. When you defeat impressive foes, or tell stories of yourself doing so, you get it. If you get defeated, or look pathetic or run away without your team mates, you lose it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for taking the time. A very comprehensive answer. I will look into that book and see if it clears any confusion for us :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Drekin
    Sep 4, 2022 at 7:24
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Renown is among the Bête!

Renown is generally not how the spirits look at you, renown is how your peers know of you. They might have heard of your cunning or your honor or glory.

When it comes to tracking the renown, Kitsune are special: They don't do it for the spirits or themselves, they do it because everybody else does it. They pretty much mimic other breeds in how they take notes and tell spirits.

The Kitsune put little stock in Renown; it mostly seems useful when dealing with the other Breeds — although, the Kitsune reason, if the other Changers have been keeping track of the stuff for millennia, there must be something to it.1

  • W20 Changing Breeds p. 218

The spreadsheets are only examples

The spreadsheets all start with one very important pair of words: Sample Behavior. They are not meant to be the end-all-be-all. The Renown Charts on page 219 and following are meant to be general examples, from which the Storyteller can work - which is actually much more concise guidance in one spot than there was in Hengeyokai - It did claim that Chie was Wisdom there even, which wasn't reflecting the make enemies fight one another very well.

The ST also might want to check out the other renown types and see what from those might fit better to a breed's interpretation of renown - and then shift the fitting examples. Because they are just examples and don't cover everything.

The examples are still applicable

Cunning

As you noticed, cunning is the most straightforward in applicability and easily translatable to Kitsune - the pinnacle example from the blurb is very much a case of 7 Cunning.

In fact, a well-orchestrated plan might involve triggering multiple goals without even being in the fight: Stopping a Pentax Subsidiary from building their bane-powered nuclear reactor by tipping off a Namebreaker Technologist lawyer in a black suit and then watching the carnage as a First-Team gets taken apart by a couple of HIT-Marks and then total shutdown of the facility triggers all of the following examples: 7 cunning, 5 Cunning, two variants of 3 Cunning, 7 Glory, and depending on how many members on either side of that carnage died, multiple other instances of Glory.

The pinnacle of Cunning is to use trickery. However, Trickery is not something a Kitsune uses against their friends or allies. It's a weapon in the Kitsune's quiver against those that are the target of Rule 1. It's the weapon for cunning, but not the only one, and it is most certainly not used against your buddies. Kitsune are not Nuwisha after all!

Honor

The description of Honor for Kitsune points out to be Kitsune to the fullest and to uphold the Laws of heaven. The spreadsheet for honor in particular has examples for the rules 2 to 8 - dealing respectfully with the other Bête/Fera, Spirits and humans (as long as they are not covered under Rule 1) just as much as aiding them is what being a good fox is all about.

A good and honorable Kitsune is a friend to his neighbors and protects the humans to some degree. He assists them, doesn't lie to them, and just by doing that he constantly triggers the 1-3 Honor categories. Harbored a Fera for a few days? Spoke on behalf of the foreigners in the local court? That's all covered in the demands part of the Laws of Heaven!

There's only one caveat: Rule #8 forbids suicide for honor. Depending on the GM, this can extend to ban challenges with deadly weapons or claws, but there are ways to circumvent that: Riddle contests or a contest with non-lethal weapons are options.

The 5 Honor category has examples for not breaking your word, even against adversaries, and most of the bans also are well covered in the examples for higher Honor renown. And even here, you might want to look at Ferocity about upholding protocol for inspiration.

Glory

Glory on the other hand is described as perfection, but the spreadsheet is having examples all over Rule 1. The more effective you are in doing the "Destroy that which harms Gaia", the more likely you match the higher ranks of Glory, but that does not tell the whole story.

What is not well visibly covered in the example spreadsheet is the doing things for those that matter part. To some degree, the examples for Glory about stories could count here, or "proving one’s bravery in a routine situation".

On the other hand, the point "Surviving an incapacitating Blow" and the multiple variants of dying don't fit very well. However, examples from other spreadsheets are a good way to populate a group's renown sheets. For Fox Glory, a couple of good examples that could be used to replace unfitting tenets could be:

  • 3 Ferocity: Defeating an enemy without being harmed, remaining calm in the face of extreme adversity
  • 7 Ferocity: Upholding protocol in the face of humiliation
  • 7 Humor: banishing the Wyrm from an area through indirect or nonviolent means
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  • \$\begingroup\$ We understand that the tables are samples meant to be guides and can be extrapolated to more scenarios. However we do not have enough experience with Werewolf and Renown to really to that. We are missing context, such as what you are providing here with your take on it. Thank you very much :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Drekin
    Sep 4, 2022 at 10:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Drekin That's just what playing Kitsune since a decade does to you^^ \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Sep 4, 2022 at 10:21

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