In game terms, Bastet Gifts work just like Garou Gifts. Unlike the dogs, howerver, most werecats learn their Gifts from each other, or by watching others perform tricks, then practicing until they can do the trick themselves. This passing of secrets is one of the hallmarks of a clever cat; the Bastet who can't teach herself new tricks is regarded as a poor example of the Folk. Even so, spirit allies often have to be found to teach Bastet the most powerful secrets; one of the greatest assests of having a Jamak is the wisdom it can convey. Werecats without a Jamak have to track down new sources of Gifts.
The heart of most Gifts, as Bastet understand them, is a puzzle, some conundrum which offers an insight into power. Once you figure it out, everything makes sense and the Gift comes flowing into your memory, to be used whenever it's needed. These puzzles often involve symbols and twisted logic; an example could be: "To pass without a shadow/One must lap the waters of the Yungla River/Spit them into Mother's breast/And sign the silent quest,/Then look into your own waters and decide/ To leave no mark of passing." Understanding such enigmas, and figuring out how to apply them in practical ways, takes time. Other insights can include snatches of eavesdropped conversation that, when you string them all together, make a certain kind of sense. Werecats know intuitively when something they hear or see is significant, and even the dullest ones can exercise impressive powers of recall and deduction when piecing them together.
Using a Gift isn't just a matter of spending a few Gnosis and making a die roll; for the character, it involves reaching down into her essence, then into the world around her, then shaping them both into an extension of her desires. The werecat doesn't just rattle off the name of a Gift - she calls it up from her memory, gestates it like a kitten, and gives it birth. In reality, this only takes a moment, but to the Bastet, it becomes "the hour that stretches," a lush tingling moment when the cat, her surroundings and the spirit of Seline meld into one. When the magic burns forth, it's not just a game effect - it's a magical birthing. Not that an outsider can tell, of course. Cats are notoriously casual about their talents. If asked, the cat simply says, "It's nothing." IN her heart, though, she knows better.
At the end of each Bastet's First Year, the kuasha leaves him with three secrets - a general Gift, a breed Gift, and a tribal Gift - in addition to the Yava. Unless a Gift specifies otherwise, these powers may be used in any of the car's five forms. Werecats without mentors often learn their first Gifts from spirit allies, or by trial and error, and those trained by someone from another tribe don't learn their tribal Gifts until later. From there on, the cat is expected to learn new spells for himself. Most do this by eavesdropping, or by puzzling out ancient riddles until the solution - the Gift - becomes obvious. In game terms, you simply pay a few points to learn a new Gift; in story terms, though, your Bastet should have some reason to know what she knows.
Although Gifts are based more on personal understanding than social teachings, the character's Rank still determines which Gifts she can and cannot learn. A cat without sufficient experience simply doesn't understand what she's seeing. She might understand that it has some sort of mystic connections, but can't piece them all together until she progresses through the Ranks.
Some Bastet gifts resemble those of their lupine cousins; old tales brag that certain powers were stolen on both sides during the War of Rage. On rare occasions, a werecat might learn a Garou Gift or tow. These are usually "swiped" by cats spying on werewolves. In places where spirits teach both werecats and Garou (Like the Amazon), a Bastet might bribe or even threaten a spirit into passing along a nifty trick. After all, why let the dogs have all the fun?
Even so, this isn't always as simple as it sounds. Much of the werecats' annoyance, some pilfered Gifts just don't work right for them. The auspice magics the depend upon a Garou's relationship with the moon seem especially hard to steal. In game terms, the Storyteller has every right to decide that certain werewolf Gifts don't work for anyone else, period. Whether the Gift is good or not is for the Storyteller to know and the player (and her character) to find out… (Incidentally, a Gift that can't be learned does not cost XP anyways.)
Swiping secret magics from other Changing Breeds is problematic. Most of them are so specific that they won't work for anyone else. Afrer all, can you imagine a werecat trying to use a Mokole Gift? Players are advised to roleplay out their characters' attempt to "borrow" someone else's Gift; on top of their comedic value, such attempts can cause all kinds of new story complications…
(Storyteller note: If your tribe/breed learns a specific gift at a certain level, you will not be able to swipe the gift early. It is an inherent flaw of your kind. Not only is it frowned upon to attempt this for any reason other then for RP value, it just will not work for your character.)
Cats have long been renowned for their healing prowess. Which a purr and a lick, a skillful Bastet can cure minor diseases and chase venoms away. Although a Bastet never takes ill herself, this Gift is helpful when a loved one is unwell.
System - Curing a simple illness like the flu requires a Manipulation + Medicine roll (difficulty 6). Severe diseases and venoms demand a Gnosis point and a roll against difficulty 7. Chronic illnesses or really lethal poisons demand two Gnosis points and a difficulty of 8 or higher. Vicious diseases that eat a victim alive, like AIDS, leprosy, etc. may demand three Gnosis, or even remain incurable by magical means.
This Gift gives the werewolf the agility of a cat, making him immune to falls under 100 feet (he lands on his feet just right). He also has perfect balance even on the most slippery surfaces, and the difficulties of all combat actions involving body slams and grappling decrease by two. Cat-spirits teach this Gift.
System - This ability becomes innate to those who learn the Gift.
A werecat can call on his feline presence to draw attention the instant he steps into a room. Everyone in a given space (a room, a clearing, whatever) will immediately stop what they’re doing to notice the Bastet’s entrance. Their reaction from that point on will depend on what the character does, and upon their feelings about him; an attractive Homid will get a different reaction than an angry Crinos-panther would.
System - The player rolls Manipulation + Expression (difficulty 7) to get everyone’s attention for one turn. This Gift also reduces the difficulty of his next Social roll by 1 for every success he rolls for the Gift. This bonus only applies once, upon entering the space.
By pawing or sniffing at the ground, the Bastet tries to locate nearby water sources (underground streams, pipes, etc.). With luck, she’ll be able to tell whether or not that water is safe to drink.
System - A roll of Perception + Primal-Urge will determine the water’s location, if any exists within 100 feet of the Bastet. The difficulty depends upon the water’s distance and quantity; a muddy puddle beneath debris would be 9, while a pure rushing stream on the other side of a wall would be 5.
As the Theurge Gift: Mother's Touch, this power heals normal or aggravated wounds (but unlike the Theurge Gift, can be used to heal oneself).
System - This Gift may be used as many times as the player wants, but each healing “lick” costs another Gnosis point. Bear in mind that even a cat may be loathe to lick up toxic waste or raw sewage! Some substances, like silver or Wyrm-poison, might damage the healer in proportion to her healing — that is, by one Health Level per Health Level healed — if it’s still in or on the wound when she licks it.
With this Gift, the Garou can open nearly any sort of closed or locked physical device. Things like clasps may or may not be considered 'closed physical devices' according to the GM in the scene. Buttons, velcro, zippers and snaps, however, generally do not count. A raccoon-spirit teaches this Gift.
System - The player rolls Gnosis (difficulty of the local Gauntlet rating).
Cats have a remarkably good sense of direction. With this Gift, a Bastet may improve that knack to find his way out of most kinds of mazes, deserts or woodlands. Worthy folk may learn this Gift from Bird-spirits, but no werecat willingly admits to it in public.
System - Invoking this Gift requires a Perception + Subterfuge roll. The difficulty depends on the area’s complexity: a large flat desert or small forest would be 5 or 6, a vast expanse or complicated maze might be 7 or 8, and a primordial rain forest would be 8 or 9. Magical confusion spells, like the Garou Gift: Trackless Waste, can be undone with difficulties 9 or 10. Pathfinder’s Pride does not provide any kind of travel; the werecat merely discovers the way out — getting to the exit is her problem.
By raking his claws over stone or another hard surface, the Ahroun hones them to razor sharpness. Either a cat- or bear-spirit teaches this Gift.
System - The player spends one Rage point, and the Ahroun must take a full turn to sharpen her claws. For the remainder of the scene, her claw attacks do an additional die of damage. (Note: Razor Claws/Diamond Claws and other Gifts like this do not stack unless specifically stated in the Gift description.)
Truth of Gaia
As judges of the Litany, Philodox have the ability to sense whether others have spoken truth or falsehood. A Gaffling of Falcon teaches this Gift.
System - The player rolls Intelligence + Empathy (difficulty of the subject's Manipulation + Subterfuge). This Gift reveals only whether the target speaks the truth or lies.
Sense Unmaker's Hand
The werewolf can sense manifestations of the Wyrm in the nearby area. This Gift involves a mystical sense, not a visual or olfactory image, although werewolves using the Gift sometimes say things like, "This place stinks of the Wyrm" (with a few more colorful adjectives). Garou should remember that the Wyrm's taint can cling to relatively blameless souls. Werewolves may sense an innocent person who happens to work in a Wyrm-controlled factory or who has eaten tainted food. This power requires active concentration. Any spirit of Gaia may teach this Gift.
System - The player rolls Perception + Occult. The difficulty depends on the concentration and strength of the Wyrm's influence. Sensing a single fomor in the next room would be difficulty 6, while detecting the stench of a Bane that was in the room an hour ago would be difficulty 8. Vampires register as Wyrm-tainted, save those with Humanity Traits of 7 or higher.
This common trick allows a Bastet to move without making any sound. Even squeaky or shifting surfaces, like wooden floors or piled twigs, can be passed over without noise.
System - The player rolls Dexterity + Stealth, difficulty 5. Failure renders the Gift unusable for the rest of the scene. Note that this Gift doesn’t make the werecat himself invisible or silent in any way, nor will it prevent any damage (broken twigs, for instance) in his wake — it stifles the sound of his footsteps, nothing more.
Although werecats cannot normally travel through the Gauntlet, this Gift allows them to see through it for a short time. Plenty of good secrets can be discovered this way, but the Gift’s effects tend to frustrate the hell out of the Bastet who can’t get through, like a cat watching a bird on the other side of a window.
System - The player rolls Perception + Awareness (difficulty of the local Gauntlet) and spends one Gnosis point to look into the Penumbra. The Gift lasts one scene and ends if the Bastet is knocked unconscious.
By extending and sharpening his claws, then invoking this Gift, a Bastet may travel up or down any vertical surface, from tree bark to concrete. Leopards excel at climbing, and most kuasha teach this secret first.
System - Climbing this way requires a Dexterity + Athletics roll. Really hard or slippery surfaces, like ice or steel, are difficulty 8, while easy ones like rock or bark are at difficulty 6. A character traveling this way moves at 10 feet a turn or so, and may have to make new rolls if the circumstances change (in an avalanche, for example).
By calling on her heritage, a Bastet in Homid or Sokto form can unsheathe her claws and attack as if she was in beast-form.
System - A simple Stamina + Primal-Urge roll (difficulty 7) brings out a cat's claws. They remain out as long as she cares to keep them, but damned peculiar and hurt to use (+1 to all combat or Dexterity difficulties). Once resheathed, they must be called forth again.
Sweet Hunter's Smile
With a charming look, the werecat wins his target over; if that look shifts into a snarl or a stare, the victim feels uneasy and may back away, intimidated.
System - By rolling Manipulation + Primal-Urge, the Bastet adds a die to all subsequent Social rolls for the remainder of the scene. This only works on one target at a time. Difficulty is the subject's Willpower if she's hostile to the werecat, 6 in most situations, and 4 if she's already inclined to like or fear him. At Storyteller's option, the player may add two dice if he scores four successes or more.