During a recent conversation with a player, the subject of the role of spirits in Garou renown came up. As it's apparently causing some confusion behind the scenes, I wanted to address it directly for the benefit of the game as a whole.
TL;DR your Renown is based on what other GAROU and the Nation as a whole is saying about you. Spirits do not confer or remove Renown.
The concept that spirits are involved in Renown is not a by book thing. It's a LARP thing, and not all LARPs either, even those that are chapters within the same organization. It's frequently used as a failsafe to (a) allow STs to handle Renown rather than just players (a thing people choose to do for a host of reasons I won't detail here) and (b) compensate for situations in which a game's Galliards are…perhaps not the best Galliards one could hope for.
What spirits CAN do is witness events that you were not around for, and convey that information to you either (a) because you have come to them looking for it, or (b) you have previously established a standing agreement with certain spirits to act as, effectively, a spy network. Note that witnessing events is NOT the same as making moral judgements about them or caring about their implications. A spirit could absolutely witness two Garou having sex, and if you come seeking that information, they'll tell you "A and B had sex", but they're not necessarily going to come running to you proactively while screaming, "Litany violation!"
Edit: Because a player pointed it out - there is sidebar/gray box panel in the revised ed Storyteller's Handbook which talks about spirits being witnesses to renown worthy events, and that impacting renown. Because of the ambiguous phrasing (a common White Wolf sin), it's unclear whether that means directly (i.e. the spirits themselves confer renown) or if they used the term witnessing to specifically imply that spirits can report what happened, but that the adjustment to renown then comes from the world/NPCs/the Nation doing something with that information. Either way, sidebars/gray box rules are not considered 'hard' canon, so the interpretation we're using here will stand.
Spirits are not bound by Garou laws and do not care about the Litany; they care about their bans, their personal goals (if they're large enough and sapient enough to have them), the ancient spirit pacts between Garou and spirits, chiminage, and how you treat them. This last piece is important, and is where some of the confusion about spirits and renown seems to come from. Spirits can and do gossip about Garou and how they interact with the spirit world, but this impacts something called Spirit Notoriety, which is different from Renown.
In addition to all this, there's a practical reason that even if spirits conferring and removing renown was canon, we probably wouldn't use it: it puts onus on the STs to read every single scene AND it removes the opportunity for PCs to engage with and debate issues of the Litany, morality, Glory/Honor/Wisdom, etc. While it's possible that having renown hits and awards come from a storyteller might save some hurt feelings, it isn't feasible. Much like all of you, we simply don't have enough time and energy to read every single thread. It's why we rely on self-reporting and every single one of you (especially you thread snoopers) to help with this.
On that note, you do not have to be a Ragabash to submit negative renown for someone else. You need to be a Ragabash to call a formal Scandal, but that's all.
That's all for now. As usual, PM me with questions.
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