Builder's Note: M'kay, so there seem to be a few versions of this one, and I'll plop the different ones I find in here, and the Wizards can... decide what to do about it. :D
Many Garou have one or more elders that look after them. The rating of your Mentor Background quantifies how powerful your mentor is within the tribe and what rank he or she has achieved. A mentor can teach you skills, advise you or speak on your behalf at a council fire. Of course, your mentor may expect something in return for his assistance, be it good company, an occasional gofer, a champion or perhaps a supporter in sept politics. (Mentor demands are excellent hooks for stories.) In general, however, you will receive more than you give.
A powerful mentor doesn't have to be a single person; a pack or council of elders might be considered a collective mentor. The latter would almost certainly have a rating of four or five dots, even if no one on the council is above Rank 5.
• Mentor is Rank 2
•• Mentor is Rank 3
••• Mentor is Rank 4
•••• Mentor is Rank 5
••••• Mentor is Rank 6
Changelings tend to look after one another, educating and protecting those who bave recently experienced their Chrysalises. The relationship between a changeling and his mentor is often very close. A mentor can serve as an invaluable guide to changeling society.
Mentors may also protect a changeling from danger and inform him of social opportunities. However, a mentor may expect some favors in return for the information or assistance she provides. This could be as simple as cleaning her manor or as perilous as protecting a faerie glen from Unseelie redcaps.
• Basic: Your mentor knows little of import.
•• Minor: Your mentor has some noteworthy pieces of information to share.
••• Useful: Your mentor has significant secrets to share.
•••• Significant: Your mentor has extraordinary knowledge to pass along.
••••• Incredible: If your mentor doesn't know it, no one probably does.
The Trait represents and elder - or possibly even more than one - who looks out for you, offering guidance or aid once in a while. A mentor may be powerful, but his power need not be direct. Depending one the number of dots in this Background, your mentor might be nothing more than a vampire with a remarkable information network, or might be a centuries-old creature with tremendous influence and supernatural power. He may offer advice, speak to the prince (or archbishop) on your behalf, steer other elders clear of you or warn you when you're walking into situations you don't understand.
Most often, your mentor is your sire, but it could well be any Cainite with a passing interest in your well-being. A high Mentor rating could even represent a group of like-minded vampires, such as the elders of the city's Tremere chantry.
Bear in mind that this Trait isn't a 'get out of jail free' card; your mentor won't arrive like the cavalry whenever you're endangered. What's more, she might occasionally expect something in return for her patronage (which can lead to a number of interesting stories). A mentor typically remains aloof, giving you useful information or advice out of camaraderie, but will abandon you without a thought if you prove an unworthy or troublesome 'apprentice'.
• Mentor is an ancilla of little influence.
•• Mentor is respected; an elder, for instance.
••• Mentor is heavily influential, such as a member of the primogen.
•••• Mentor has a great deal of power over the city; a prince or archbishop, for example.
••••• Mentor is extraordinarily powerful, perhaps even a justicar or Inconnu.
Only the most naive Orphan discovers magic without some sort of help, training and instruction. Often, a character's mentor has a more profound influence on her personality, beliefs and knowledge than any other person since her Awakening. If she has no mentor, then she doesn't have the benefit of a teacher. If she has a lousy, abusive or over-protective mentor, then the things she learned could scar her. A mentor can be a mage, a spirit or any other Awakened being. You should work with your Storyteller to give your mentor an identity and personality.
Your character can use her mentor in many ways, though her mentor may also use her in return. The mentor-student relationship can be a complex thing, especially if the mentor requires favors in exchange for the wisdom he imparts. Furthermore, your character's action reflect on her mentor, just as her mentor's reputation reflects on her. If your character does something to disgrace herself, her mentor may step in with a hard lesson in retribution for the stain to his own reputation.
Mentors are key in teaching characters about new skills, knowledge and magical practices. A mentor could instruct a mage in some obscure lore or special techniques, offer the advice of experience, loan a magical item or intervene in a nasty situation. Obviously, a mentor is much more active than a library, but using this help requires that the character repay the debt in some fashion.
x No mentor or teacher - how did you learn to do magic?
• Unimportant or distant mentor.
•• Helpful, but eccentric mentor.
••• Good and notable mentor.
•••• Wise and respected mentor.
••••• Powerful or influential mentor.