Werewolf: The Apocalypse is a role-playing game and series of novels from the old World of Darkness line by White Wolf. In this game, players take the role of werewolves known as Garou (from the French 'loup garou';as well as other lycanthropes), warriors who are locked in a two-front war against (on the one hand) the spiritual desolation of urban civilization and (on the other) supernatural forces of corruption that seek to bring about the Apocalypse.
Along with the other titles in the original World of Darkness, Werewolf was retired in 2004. Its successor title, Werewolf: The Forsaken, was released on March 14, 2005.
The Garou are beings of both physical strength and spiritual depth. Created by (and in most cases fighting on the side of) a force known as Gaia, Garou are shapeshifters capable of changing their physical form at will to appear as humans (a form they call homid), wolves (lupus), or several intermediary mixed forms. There are: glabro; physically strong and brutish humans, crinos; the traditional wolf-man, and hispo; wolves of unnatural size and strength. Unlike werewolves in most traditional folklore, Garou in Werewolf: The Apocalypse are neither mindless predators nor lunatics. Instead, they are depicted as defenders of Mother Earth and its Umbra (or spirit world).
Basic Garou Character StatsEdit
Besides all the usual game stats for a game based on the Storyteller System, all Garou have three defining character aspects. The Garou's breed form, the Garou's tribe and the Garou's auspice.
In the World of Darkness, lycanthropy is not a disease but an inheritable trait. As dual beings (being both wolves and men), Garou can (and do) interbreed with both species. A Garou's extended non-shapechanging family is called its Kinfolk. Most often, Garou are born to one non-Garou and one Garou parent but in families (both wolf and human) where Garou blood is especially strong, Homid or Lupus Garou sometimes are born from non-shapeshifting parents.
The circumstances of their parentage determines their breed. A Garou born in human form is called a homid; a Garou born in wolf form is called a lupus. The breed or species of the mother determines the breed of the Garou. A Garou born from two Garou parents is called a Metis and is invariably deformed as a result of this inbreeding, as well as completely sterile; however, Metis have Gifts and advantages exclusive to their breed, including the ability to regenerate in all their various forms and a deeper understanding of Garou society owing to their pre-change life exclusively amongst the Garou. Once pariahs in Garou society, trying times have led to the partial integration of the Metis breed into the ranks of the Garou. A werewolf's breed determines (to some extent) their Gnosis, or spiritual awareness (Lupus Garou being more in tune with the primal spirit world than Homids, and Metis Garou being in between).
Prior to their First Change, Garou typically live amongst their kinfolk; in most cases, non-metis Garou are raised unaware of their true nature. Garou usually experience their first change during puberty, occurring in the early teenage years for homids, around 1–2 years of age for lupus, and typically about 6–10 years of age for metis. Prior to this change, the proto-garou is usually unable to change forms, a condition that rarely causes difficulty amongst the homid and lupus, but which confines the metis to the perimeter (or bawn) of Garou-held holy places called caerns.
In general, while most non-metis Garou leave their native societies to live among their shapechanging kin (engaging in a modern primitive lifestyle), they retain healthy contact with their Kinfolk to ensure their protection as family and the overall health and vitality of the Garou line.
Garou tribes resemble human tribes in that they are a community of members sharing common lineage, traditions, rites and values. The Garou tribes each claim descent from the human peoples of particular geographic areas or demographic subset of human/wolf society (or claim that the particular human culture descended from the Garou tribe). There were once sixteen tribes, but only thirteen remain servants of Gaia in the modern age. Twelve of these tribes form a great alliance known as the Garou Nation. They are:
- Black Furies
- Bone Gnawers
- Children of Gaia
- Get of Fenris
- Glass Walkers
- Red Talons
- Shadow Lords
- Silent Striders
- Silver Fangs
Three tribes have been lost to Gaia:
- The Bunyip of Australia (destroyed in the War of Tears)
- The Croatan of North America (who sacrificed themselves to protect their homeland)
- The White Howlers of Scotland, who were corrupted by the Wyrm and became the Black Spiral Dancers.
A fourth tribe (the Stargazers) remains loyal to Gaia but have withdrawn from the Garou Nation joining instead with the Beast Courts (a loose conglomeration of lycanthropes of other species called Fera) of Asia in an effort to reclaim and protect their native Tibet.
Garou society is divided into five auspices, or spiritual life-paths that a Garou is born with. They are tied to the phases of the Moon and considered gifts from Gaia's sister Luna. These auspices determine (to some extent) a Garou's Rage, or violent predatory instinct. The auspice system is one of the pillars of Garou society as it helps to describe social caste, predisposition, and calling. The auspices are:
- Ragabash: Auspice of the new moon, the Trickster. The Questioner of the Ways. Ragabash have a duty to question Garou society and, by so doing to show what needs to be changed and what doesn't.
- Theurge: Auspice of the crescent moon, the Seer and Shaman. The Searcher of the Ways. The Theurge serve as intercessors between their Garou brethren and the spirits.
- Philodox: Auspice of the half moon, the Mediator, Counsellor and Judge. The Keeper of the Ways. The Philodox are tasked with knowing the laws of the Garou by heart, thus discerning right and wrong as well as settling disagreements.
- Galliard: Auspice of the gibbous moon, the Bard. The Lover of the Ways. The Galliard remind the other Garou of their heritage and history with their passion for the ways of the garou.
- Ahroun: Auspice of the full moon, the Warrior. The Protector of the Ways. While all Garou are warriors, the Ahroun excel at the arts of war, even if they are often unstable. Their task is to enforce the ways with skill, tactics and, if necessary, with brute strength.
These auspice names, the ones most widely used, were originally devised by the Fianna; and several of the other tribes (particularly the Get of Fenris and Wendigo, who have grievances with the Fianna) use their own nomenclature when referring to auspice. Some garou also use the associated moon phase instead of the auspice' name, as in "I'm Evan-Heals-The-Past, a half moon."
As a Garou performs deeds fitting with their auspice, they rise in rank in Garou society. While Garou can renounce their auspice and select another more suited to their true calling, this is a grave action, done only in cases where a Garou's auspice truly does not fit their destiny. Such a Garou turns his back on his former life completely, renouncing not only his auspice, but his renown and even his spirit-granted gifts as well.
Auspices are not the end-all-be-all role of each garou. In fact each garou is expected to serve small functions of each auspice. Ahrouns are usually the leader, and therefore must be able to sometimes perform mediaton. Other garou besides theurges are expected to deal with spirits, even though it is not their primary function. This is why many tribes and other auspices have gifts specifically to deal with spirits (example, call to duty, a philodox gift, and spirit speech, and Uktena gift). All garou are expected to fight for Gaia, not just the Ahrouns. Some tribes, the Get of Fenris in particular, expect all of their members to be adept at fighting.
Garou are not solitary creatures. They live in packs like wolves do and organize themselves into septs (groups of packs). In former times septs used to be communities of one tribe only, but in modern times septs often house garou from more than one tribe. This also led to multi-tribal packs. Some septs live around a holy site, called Caern, a place with magical properties. Besides the community the a garou lives in, the tribe he belongs to, has a more or less strict social infrastructure, depending on the tribe in question.
In a Werewolf: The Apocalypse game, the players' characters usually form a pack. This pack is either wandering (not belonging to a particular sept) or living in a sept. The other garou of the sept are then the Storyteller's Characters (NPCs).
The playable Tribes form a loose coalition, known as the Garou Nation. This Nation is based on two core aspects:
- the common set of laws, called The Litany
- the three virtues Honor, Glory and Wisdom
The Rank of a Garou in the society is measured by his renown as being glorious, honorable and wise.
As a whole, the Garou Nation follow a set of rules called the Litany as listed here. Adherence to the litany ranges between individuals and tribes from strict obedience to simple lip service.
- Garou Shall Not Mate with Garou
Because of the deformities and psychoses displayed by metis werewolves (and the age-old prejudice correspondingly levied against metis), Garou are forbidden to mate with their own kind. Werewolves must instead seek mates around either human or wolf society. This tenet embodies one of the great Garou tragedies; Moon Dancers often move audiences to tears with ballads of Garou who fell in love and could not express their passion - or who did and were torn to pieces by their outraged tribe. The existence of the Metis, however, is evidence that this law is broken all too often. There are those amongst the Garou Nation (particularly the Ragabash) who argue that, in the age of the Apocalypse this tenet should be lifted, as the Garou could swell their numbers quickly by adding large numbers of Metis to their ranks.
- Combat the Wyrm Wherever It Dwells and Whenever It Breeds
The Garou were spawned, say the Galliards, to fight the Wyrm, and much of their history comprises battles between their heroes and the Wyrm's minions. Most Garou pay at least lip service to this tradition.
- Respect the Territory of Another
The practice of this portion of the Litany has changed over the last few centuries; humans have spread to the extent that urinating one's territorial marking has become impractical. Instead, a Garou visitor or immigrant must first ask permission by singing the Howl of Introduction, reciting name, sept, lineage, totem and tribe. Some septs, particularly those of the Glass Walkers, also accept phone calls or even e-mails, as howling in a city may be considered a breach of the Veil.
- Accept an Honorable Surrender
The Garou realize that they are a dwindling race and that intraspecies duels commonly occur. Realizing that continuous battles to the death would only advance the Wyrm's cause the Children of Gaia and Fianna incorporated this element into the Litany. In theory, a Garou combatant may end a duel by exposing her throat or presenting some other sign of formal surrender; the opponent is honor-bound to accept the surrender. The loser suffers no reduction in Renown for surrendering, although the winner may certainly gain Renown for winning.
- Submission to Those of Higher Station
Garou's wolf nature practically enforces a hierarchical structure within their society. Thus the Garou have implemented the concepts of Renown and Rank. Within reason, any request by a Garou of higher Rank is to be obeyed.
- The First Share of the Kill for the Greatest of Station
This portion of the Litany is much favored by the Garou elders, as well as such tribes as the Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords; it is grudgingly acquiesced to by the rest. The "kill clause" also applies to the spoils of war - thus, in theory, the prey's most powerful fetishes and the like may be garnered by the Garou with the highest renown. Wise elders are cautious with this tenet; a "great and powerful elder" who has claimed the greatest share of the kill to the exclusion of those who follow him may find that their followers reason that such a great Garou must not need the aid of his lessers.
- Ye Shall Not Eat the Flesh of Humans
This portion of the Litany was first sung in the post-Impergium days; the Stargazers are believed to be responsible for its insertion. They noticed that Garou who routinely consumed human flesh often grew Wyrm-tainted; furthermore, cannibals had a hard time stalking and killing more challenging prey, such as woolly rhinos or Banes. Additionally, in these modern times, this rules serves a function similar to the "kosher" laws of the Hebrews; modern humans' chemical-laden diet makes their flesh bitter and unhealthy. The Red Talons and most other lupus Garou despise this tenet, particularly because it does not include a prohibition on the consumption of wolf-flesh. Most septs recognize that, while the consumption of wolf-flesh is not specifically outlawed in the litany, the spirit of this tenet prohibits such cannibalism as well.
- Respect for Those beneath Ye - All Are of Gaia
Garou tend to think of themselves in communal terms, and they thus realize that most creatures have some sort of contribution to make toward the whole. When all is said and done, Garou were created to be the world's protectors. The chivalric ideal is much in vogue among some septs, and Garou who display a great deal of noblesse oblige may get Renown. This tenet also softens the edge of the fifth and sixth tenets.
- The Veil Shall Not Be Lifted
This tenet was instituted after the Inquisition of the medieval and renaissance periods wreaked havoc upon the Garou population. This is perhaps the most inviolate portion of the Litany. There is no "reality" here - Garou are aware that both the Wyrm and the Inquisition hunt for them. Garou who disobey this edict die at the claws of their brethren. With the Delirium covering their actions, however, many Garou feel that it is difficult to breach the veil at all, and, in the case of Frenzy, breaches of the veil are sometimes unavoidable. This is yet another reason Garou often avoid cities; cities not only offer more provocation to frenzy (claustrophobia, surprise, street crime, frustration, etc.) but then a frenzy within a city will almost certainly be witnessed by humans.
- Do Not Suffer Thy People to Tend Thy Sickness
In ancient days, an injured, infirm or aged Garou was simply torn to pieces by his peers. As time went on, however, it came to be considered more dignified to let such a Garou end his own life. In the age of Apocalypse, this tenet is softened; aged or infirm Garou who are still sound of mind are often allowed to survive and mentor younger Garou.
- The Leader May Be Challenged at Any Time during Peace
Though Garou are known for their pack mentality, this does not mean they must slavishly obey their leaders. If no immediate threat is pending, any Garou of sufficient standing may challenge another's position of leadership. A contest of some sort is usually staged. If the challenger wins, he assumes the mantle of leadership; if he loses, he must accept the leader's dictates with good grace.
- The Leader May Not Be Challenged during Wartime
Certain creatures of the Wyrm are monstrous in size and power, and no one Garou can best them. Pack tactics are vital to the Garou's success against such creatures, and obedience is vital to successful pack tactics. In battle, the word of the leader is immutable law. A Garou who disobeys a superior will be punished as soon as circumstances permit, assuming that the Garou in question and those he disobeyed survive the encounter.
- Ye Shall Take No Action That Causes a Caern to Be Violated
Like the preceding clause about the Veil, this rule is fairly ironclad. The caerns are Gaia's lifeblood and if they are destroyed, the Garou will cease to exist. Even a Garou who accidentally leads an enemy to a caern is often severely punished. Even the most Ragabash cannot bring themselves to actively oppose this tenet.
Garou are spiritual creatures. It is said that they once were animistic spirits themselves, and upon entering flesh they retained their spiritual affinities and pacts. The culture of the Garou nation is centered around venerating various spirits (every pack, sept, and tribe has its patron spirit or totem) that can help them in their war against the enemies of Gaia. While it is Theurges who deal with spirits most often, every werewolf has to deal with spirits, in order to gain favors and knowledge, and to learn Gifts, the quasi-magical powers of Garou.
The thematic conflicts of Werewolf: The Apocalypse is largely driven by a spiritual war being waged by the Triat, incarnations of the three aspects of reality:
- The Wyld is the force of primal creation and chaos
- The Weaver is the force of stability and stasis
- The Wyrm is the force of corruption, decay, and destruction.
The Creation Myth of Werewolf: The ApocalypseEdit
According to Garou mythology created as backstory for the game:
- In the beginning there were the three members of the Triat: the Wyld, the Weaver, and the Wyrm. They were balanced with one another in the beginning. Creation began with the Wyld. The Wyld is chaos and the vast endless of possibility, constantly swirling with change, shifting forms endlessly. From the Wyld's heedless creation came growth. Gaia sprang from the Wyld.
- The Weaver, the embodiment of order, selected portions of creation from the Wyld and gave them structure; kept them from dissolving back into chaos at the moment of their birth. In doing so, the Weaver began to create the fabric of the universe - the Pattern Web.
- The Wyrm was once the restorer of balance. Residing between the Pattern Web and the chaos of the Wyld, it ensuring that neither the order of the Weaver nor the chaos of the Wyld prevailed throughout reality, removing all that was not harmonious.
- According to Garou myth, this was the true cosmological cycle of chaos, creation, and destruction. It lasted an eternity, but was ultimately shattered when the Weaver gained consciousness. The Garou disagree on exactly how this happened.
- Regardless, the Weaver subsequently tried to spin the entire Wyld into full, patterned existence. The futility of such an impossible task drove the Weaver insane. In its desperation, the Weaver ensnared the Wyrm within the Pattern Web in its pursuit of the Wyld, in turn, driving the Wyrm insane as well.
- Now the balance of pattern and chaos has been replaced by stagnation and decay, as the Weaver madly weaves its patterns unchecked or balanced, while the Wyrm, trapped within the Pattern Web, works to devour Gaia and destroy all of creation from the inside out.
According to Garou oral history, it was always their duty to keep the balance in nature on behalf of Gaia. They did so by culling overgrown populaces, hunting too powerful predators that otherwise would rampage unchecked and fending off otherwordly spirits that overstepped their stance.
The formation of nations and cities was the first radical change wrought on the Garou by humanity. The Garou prevented it by declaring a limited war upon humanity, a period known as the Impergium. During this time, Garou are credited with destroying large human cities, retarding the technological and scientific progress of the human race, and even imposing population caps upon the humans of any given area, killing and sometimes eating humans when they grew too numerous. Though the Impergium dates back to the Mythic Age before recorded history (occurring over a period of approximately 3,000 years between 13,000 and 10,000 years ago), humanity has retained an inborn fear of the Garou. Humans seeing Garou in their hybrid (Crinos) form are usually struck with a condition known as Delirium, a state of panic and denial that has been largely responsible for modern humanity's disbelief of the existence of the Garou. Most humans who have suffered from Delirium either have very little memory of the incident that caused it or they rationalize it and remember an animal attack or the work of a psychopathic human. Subconsciously, however, the human may experience an aversion to wolves and other canids in general or to the particular Garou they witnessed. The memory loss or rationalization of events as well as the fact, that that the general public is unaware of werewolf existence is called The Veil (not to be confused with the mystical barrier between material and spiritual world called The Gauntlet).
Following the end of the Impergium, the Garou maintained an active but subtle role in the direction of humanity through the Industrial Revolution and to the present. During such time the Garou waged war with the other Fera, dramatically reducing the numbers of the other shifters as well as completely destroying at least 2 Fera breeds (the Apis were-bulls and Grondr were-boars); this time is known as the War of Rage. The War of Rage lasted approximately another 3,000 years after the end of the Impergium, and the Garou claim that it was started when the Gurahl were-bears refused their duty to teach the Garou a powerful rite.
During the period of the "taming of the West" in America in the 1700-1800s, the Garou engaged in a second War of Rage against not just the Fera of the New World, but against their own brethren, the Native American tribes of Garou (who call themselves the Pure Ones); in this war, the Garou exterminated the Camazotz were-bats and drove their totem, Bat, to madness and the service of the Wyrm. The careless progress of the European Garou (called Wyrmcomers by the Pure Ones) also severed the mystical bonds restraining a powerful bane (a spirit servitor of the Wyrm). This bane captured and devoured a powerful servant of the Weaver, combining their essences and becoming the Storm-Eater. The Storm-Eater whipped the umbra of the West into a terrible frenzy resembling an earthly storm, gaining it the nickname "Storm Umbra," and further threatened to bring on an early Apocalypse. The Storm-Eater was eventually re-bound by the sacrifice of 13 Elder Garou and the execution of the Rite of Still Skies (discovered by the Two-Moons pack, lead by the Silver Fang Theurge Isaiah Morningkill of House Wyrmfoe).
The overwhelming societal transformation of the Industrial Revolution weakened Gaia and pushed the Umbra away from terrestrial reality, giving it less influence over the world. This period was marked by the withdrawal and extinction of many spirit varieties, but also heralded the birth of new "urban" spirits (such as glass and electricity elementals). These changes were visible in the Umbral landscape, as sites associated with Gaia became fewer and weaker, while the Pattern Web of the Weaver and the corrupt influence of the Wyrm became more prominent.
As the defense of Gaia becomes more difficult, the Garou have found their tasks increasingly harder to perform. Once able to act as silent warriors and guides, many have been reduced to guerrilla tactics and monkeywrenching. These ill omens have led to a general consensus that an Apocalypse is nigh, in which a final desperate battle will be waged by all sides. In addition to discrete threats such as the Wyrm and its minions, Garou find themselves opposed to the faceless foe of general disinterest in Gaia. Environmental disasters and modern warfare have done considerable damage to Gaia in recent decades. This callousness is sometimes spread by the Wyrm itself (as best exemplified by the Pentex corporation, a global conglomerate dedicated to spreading the Wyrm's influence). The Garou themselves are a self-acknowledged dying race; the largest Gaian tribes number 750-1,250 Garou worldwide, with the smaller tribes numbering less than 500. The wyrm-serving Black Spiral Dancers comprise fully one-tenth of the total Garou population and are the largest single tribe.
The Fera Edit
Though the most widespread, Garou are not the only shapeshifters in the World of Darkness. The Fera (also called the Changing Breeds) is a term used by Garou to refer to other shapechangers. The affiliation of these other beings is not necessarily to Gaia, but by and large this is the case.
In several parts of the world, the Fera gather in groups not unlike the Garou Nation. These regional groups band together in their battles against the Wyrm.
In Asia, the Beast Courts band together to defend the Emerald Mother from the Great Centipede. While they do not always get along, the Hengeyoukai know that their cooperation with one another will one day save their homeland from the devastation of the coming Sixth Age.
In Africa the newer Ahadi has risen to defend the Dark Continent from the forces of the Wyrm. Originally a loose alliance of Fera dedicated to the destruction of the tyrant Simba King Black Tooth and his Pride, the Endless Storm, the Ahadi has grown to become a confederation of Changing Breeds.
Bad relations still remain from the War of Rage that the Garou waged upon ALL other Fera. Many Fera had their numbers decimated during the War of Rage, several even being exterminated. All Fera are wary around Garou and any werewolves have their work cut out for them in gaining the trust of a group of Fera.
A long time ago, Gaia saw that no wolves decided to live in Africa, so she created the Ajaba to be the warriors of the earth. These "were-hyenas" could do the same job as the Garou, but were more cat-like so that they could work with the Bastet. However, it did not work out. The Garou, upon discovering the Ajaba (as well as other Fera), slaughtered the other shapechangers quite liberally. In the mid-1980s, the Simba attempted to completely exterminate the hyenas. The widely misunderstood Ajaba are often considered extinct or nearing extinction because of these wars, but the hyena people are very much alive and kicking. These social Fera live in large clans; their society is strictly matriarchal, so Ajaba women are typically more aggressive and outgoing than Ajaba men. Their five forms are similar to the other mammalian shapechangers: homid (human), anthros (near-human), crinos (were-hyena), crocas (dire hyena), and hyaenid (hyena).
The Ananasi are "were-spiders." Their name is drawn from the West African trickster/god Anansi. Grandchildren to the Weaver and the children of Ananasa, this race of shapeshifters was corrupted and coerced (through the imprisonment of their Queen, Ananasa) by the Wyrm into service for a considerable time. Though Ananasa was eventually freed and many Ananasi renounced the Wyrm, the Weaver did not forgive their lapse in loyalty. The Ananasi differ from the other Changing Breeds in that they do not have Rage, but instead use blood to fuel many of their gifts. The Ananasi are capable of acquiring a number of spider-like abilities such as multiple eyes, multiple limbs, venom, webs, as well as certain psychic abilities. Furthermore, they are the only Changing Breed whose animal form is not a single animal; Ananasi instead have "Crawlerling" form, which is a swarm of spiders. Their other two forms are Lilian and Pithus, a man-spider and a giant spider, respectively.
The last known Apis was the Minotaur of Knossos. They were so called after Apis of Egyptian mythology. The Apis' totem was the aurochs, or the wild ox, which were similar to today's cattle only as wolves are similar to dogs. They were daytime Fera and were in charge of cultivation and agriculture. They were also known as "The Matchmakers of Gaia" whose job included teaching humans to respect nature. The extinction of the aurochs had nothing to do with the Apis extinction. They were driven to extinction by the Garou during the Wars of Rage, long before the aurochs itself began to decline.
The Bastet (named for the Egyptian deity Bast) are "were-cats". Servants of Gaia, their society is divided into tribes, but these divisions exist solely along lines of heritage, and are not influenced by auspice. Loners by nature, as a rule they don't form packs. On the rare, and dire, occasions when two or more work together, each member’s individuality is respected within the group. Being very secretive many Bastet are not proud fighters, but mere protectors of their territory. The Nine Tribes of the Bastet now number only eight, with one of their tribes apparently extinct. They are:
- Bagheera: Leopards, this tribe is wise and even-tempered, protecting India and Africa.
- Balam: Jaguars, this tribe is savagely violent, protecting Central and South America.
- Bubasti: Sacred Cats of Ancient Egypt, this tribe is the most secretive and most magically powerful. Their animal kin, a species of cats called "kyphur," are apparently extinct. How they survive without their animal kin is a closely guarded secret.
- Ceilican: White Lions of the Fae, this tribe is generally thought to be extinct, however, among the Bastet, some believe they are rumored to still exist.
- Khan: Tigers, this tribe is the most physically powerful and protects India and Eastern Asia. Many Bastet prefer to think of the Khan as their leaders, rather than the Simba.
- Khara: Saber-toothed cats, this tribe has been extinct since ages long gone—if indeed it ever existed in the first place. According to Bastet lore, the Khara was the originators of the Entire Bastet line, but this is not a certain truth.
- Pumonca: Cougars, this tribe is highly adaptable and protects South America and the southern and western United States.
- Qualmi: Lynx, this tribe has a strong grasp on practical magic and riddle games, and protects the northern United States and Canada.
- Simba: Lions, this tribe considers itself the royalty of the Nine Tribes, and protects western and southern Africa. (Most Bastet would rather die than acknowledge the Simba as their kings.) Unlike other Bastet, they habitually work together in prides.
- Swara: Cheetahs, this tribe is the most spiritually inclined of the Bastet, and mainly lives in central Africa. They're in frequent battle with the Simba.
Very little is known about the Camazotz, being one of the Changing Breeds that have been wiped out throughout the history of Gaia's shapeshifters. Called the "Voice of Luna," they were "were-bats" who functioned as messengers, spies, and umbral travellers. In the Revised Shadow Lords Tribebook, it is revealed that there is a clandestine group of Shadow Lords operating out of Mexico and the American Southwest, who have adopted the once-shamed Bat as their pack totem. It was also rumored that they would have something to do with the return of the Camazotz before the Apocalypse.
The Corax are "were-ravens," and are among the least physically powerful of the Changing breeds. Despite this, they make up for their lack of brute strength with experience, secrets, cunning, and trickery. Unlike many denizens of the World of Darkness, the Corax have shown remarkable resistance to the corruptions of the Wyrm, the machinations of the Weaver and the madness of the Wyld, and reliably work to protect Gaia. They have neither tribes nor auspices, though they do form loose groups tied by a common purpose. In Asia lives a group of Corax called Tengu.
The Grondr were "wereboars." Among the changing breeds, they were appointed to be Gaia’s groomers. Their task was to root out the impurities from the land before they became huge problems.
The Gurahl are "were-bears," whose duty is as healers, both of tainted or damaged land, and of injured creatures, both body and spirit. They are tied to Gaia to an extent experienced by none of the other Changing Breeds.
The Kitsune are "were-foxes," individualistic beings driven by insatiable curiosity. While the Bastet hoard ancient secrets and the Corax gather secrets of a more modern nature, the Kitsune are especially curious about magic in all its various forms. Their society is divided into four Paths, or schools, of thought aligned along elemental lines and correspond roughly to the auspices of other Changing Breeds in their functions. Unlike most elemental distinctions, Kitsune paths relate not to the four classic elements, but their combinations. They are:
- Doshi: The path of Lightning (Air + Fire), these Kitsune focus most heavily on magic and the spirit world.
- Eji: The path of Lava (Earth + Fire), these Kitsune are warriors and cavaliers.
- Gukutsushi: The path of Fog (Air + Water), these Kitsune are masters of illusion, the mind, and dreams.
- Kataribe: The path of Clay (Earth + Water), these Kitsune are storytellers and lorekeepers.
The Mokolé are, in principle, "were-alligators, crocodiles, and monitor lizards" though the broader classification of "were-lizards" may be more appropriate. They are the second oldest of the Changing Breeds, and are driven by an intense racial memory of their ancestors, the Dinosaur Kings. Through the practice of Mnesis, the Mokolé are able to tap into this ancestral memory directly, remembering events ranging from the recent past to millions of years ago. Their ancestral memory is also the source of an intense coming-of-age dream-quest that determines their "true shape". Metis children are not found within the Mokolé, for they die before they are born, and become malevolent ghosts known as Innocents. The only Mokolé Stream that does not have a problem with the Ghost Children are the Gumagan. The reason that they do not have a problem with Innocents, is because the mother cooks and eats the dead child, thus reabsorbing its spirit back into herself.
The Nagah are "were-Snakes" that originated in India. Most of the other changing breeds believe them to be extinct, however the Mokolé and the Hengeyokai are aware of their existence. The Nagah serve as the Judges of Gaia, filling the roles of silent and hidden judges and executioners for the Changing Breeds. They judge the other Changing Breeds by the codes the other Breeds establish for themselves. When in need to use force, they strike from the darkness using their supernaturally potent neurotoxic venom (available in all forms but Balaram, and in Balaram form with the right Gift.) The Nagah never hunt alone, for according to their lore, they were the ones that were responsible for the War of Rage, when Vinata was corrupted by the Wyrm.
Of all the Changing Breeds, it is the Nuwisha, or "were-coyotes," who have the strongest tie to the Umbra. They are tricksters, troublemakers, and jesters. Though once loyal to the moon in the same way as the Garou, they apparently perpetuated some prank against Luna so reprehensible that she turned her back on them entirely. As such, Nuwisha all represent the epitome of the Ragabash auspice, having no Rage at all. Nuwisha have no metis, though it is unknown if this is due to genetics or the fact that the wandering nature of Nuwisha makes it unlikely that two would every be together long enough to make a metis. Their trickster nature is perhaps best exemplified by the part of their "Litany" that is most often quoted by players: "Always PRANK the Wyrm."
The Ratkin (or "were-rats") were once charged with shepherding humanity's urban masses, culling them quietly by eating their grain and spreading disease. Their role was supplanted during the Impergium and Wars of Rage, a blow from which they never fully recovered. With the onset of urban sprawl's explosive growth, however, Ratkin are once again in ascendance. The most brutal and ruthless of Gaia's children, Ratkin are pragmatists (a side effect of living almost entirely within and beneath cities), though they have made peace with the Garou, they still largely distrust them and by-and-large work in isolation from other shapechangers.
The Rokea or "were-sharks" are the unquestioned rulers under the waves. They have only a few Kinfolk among humans, and exist mostly among their bestial relations (a reverse of the Hakken situation). Homid Rokea (those born by a Kudago (kinfolk) and a Rokea) are rare and and found mostly among the Same Bito. The Rokea of the Hengeyokai. Those who decide to "Swim the Unsea" are hunted without mercy by their kind, which has become a rite of passage among the shark-born Rokea. As a result, theirs is the simplest and most brutal of societies among the Changing Breeds. Rokea see everything in relation to Sea, their Gaia equivalent, who commands them only to survive, and have had little to no contact with Unsea (i.e. dry land) until very recently. Rokea are ageless, they stop aging once they undergo their first change. Rokea have three auspices (though only Homids use the term), based on their complex interpretation of the sun and lunar cycle in Oversea (the sky). They had little invovlement in the War of Rage, but they are highly distrustful of everything related to the Unsea and so have poor relations with the Garou and most other Fera (except for some Mokole).
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