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Numen (cWOD)

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For the supernatural mortal powers, see Numina (cWOD).

A numen, also known as a familiar spirit, is a personal spirit companion in the Classic World of Darkness, specifically in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The numen's capabilities are reflected in its companion's game mechanics as a Background trait.


A numen is usually bound to its companion at the time of their birth. Naturally, most living beings who have a numen bound to them are Garou; although Kinfolk are also eligible, most Kin would be unable to make full use of the benefits granted by a numen, as they require the recipient of the bond to give the spirit Gnosis. The typical numen is a Gaffling, although it may be a Jaggling if the Background trait is high enough (three or more dots). The spirit is no more capable than any other spirit of its rank, and as such only has minimal abilities to help its shapechanger ally, mainly limited to its Charms and other innate spiritual abilities.

Edition differencesEdit

In the original Werewolf Players Guide and the Werewolf Players Guide Second Edition, the Background that granted this spirit was called Familiar Spirit. There, it was much more similar to how a mage's familiar worked at the time, as its main function (and only explicit benefit) was that it was effectively a battery that stored Gnosis or Rage, not unlike how the sole mechanical benefit of a mage's familiar prior to Revised Edition was that it ate both Quintessence and Paradox.

In the Players Guide to Garou for Werewolf: The Apocalypse Revised Edition, the Familiar Spirit Background was renamed to Numen and significantly altered (presumably to mechanically distinguish it from mages' familiars), chiefly by removing its ability to store Rage and Gnosis. While the spirit and the Garou lost some of their ability to innately sense each other across the Umbra, their ability to communicate in general was less explicitly limited, making them potentially more appropriate for use in terrestrial chronicles. Instead, the numen gained the ability to grant the bonded Garou a share of its power, reflected by a boost to a single die roll for actions appropriate to the type of Renown that the spirit most strongly represents: Physical actions for Glory spirits, Social for Honor, and Mental for Wisdom. It also gained the similar ability to grant its bonded companion the use of a Charm it knows for a single use; both of these granted actions require Gnosis expenditure on the part of the Garou.


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