ANother World of Darkness - Alpha Network
The Fera like their Werewolf cousins the Uratha all tend to know the First Tongue as they were there at the very beginning, before the Tower fell and they were cursed. Certain dark or profit-grasping research seeks to corrupt Shapeshifters into cruel and twisted Mockeries. Some of the known breeds of the Shapeshifting Fera include :-
- Ajaba: Were-Hyenas are thought close cousins of the Uratha, based out of Africa but at war with the Bastet and far fewer now.
- Ananasi: Were-Spiders that joined with the Weaver to save it’s life somehow.
- Apis The Were-Aurochs or “Moon Bulls” are now thought to be extinct after the War of Rage.
- Ashringa: The Were-Horses have been called Unicorns, Centaurs etc. but they are they’re own people.
- Azubuike: Were-Rhinos are huge mountains of a breed, rare in numbers over Africa.
- Bastet: Were-Cats including Panthers, Lions, Tigers and others.
- Brineborn: are Were-Fish that tend to like the deep oceans and open waters.
- Camazotz: Were-Bats are almost extinct after deliberate extermination by various enemies.
- Corax: Were-Ravens are one of the few breeds of Fera still on good terms with the Uratha after the War of Rage.
- Gaalodi: Were-Turtles are large, slow-moving and slow-thinking cousins of the Mokole.
- Grondr: Were-Boar, gluttonous, greedy race of Shifters. Dirty & untrustworthy who sold out to the Wyrm and thought extinct.
- Gurahl: Few of these Were-Bears are believed to exist after the War of Rage. AKA as Ursara.
- Jhaa: Asian Were-Elephants are big and gentle giants that seek peace and solace.
- Kitsune: Were-Foxes that seem to exist only in the Middle Kingdom now.. cunning, quick and unreliable.
- Kun-Shulor: Were-Squids are truly a terrifying sight with so little known of them, lurking in the deepest parts of the Ocean.
- Mhole-Rho: African Were-Elephants are of roughly the same numbers as their Asian cousins.
- Mokole: Ancient Were-Lizards & Were-Alligators, kin of the Dinosaur and Memory Holders and Lore Masters.
- Nagah: The Were-Snakes are thought to be almost as old as the Mokole.
- Narwhal: Were-Whales …
- Nuwisha: The Were-Coyote are also servants of Luna and are all over America.
- Ratkin: with their Japanese cousins, the Nezumi who are hated by the Nagah, get everywhere and are found in many Realities.
- Rokea: The Were-Sharks act as the guardians and Scouts of the Seas.
- Selkie: Were-Seals
The Hosts, or known as “Shartha” in the First Tongue are creatures able to shift into the form of a swarm or horde of many smaller versions of the creature. Includes Spiders, Ants, Lamprey, Flies etc.
- Abazu are known as Mantis-Hosts and they are very, very hungry!
- Bharsalu: Bee Hosts are not as hostile as some others and tend to leave others alone unless they are attacked or in a panic.
- Gisilu: The Ant-Hosts are mean…
- Klurhogal are Octopus-Hosts that swim in the deep ocean waters.
- Razilu: These are Snake-Hosts …
- Srizaku: Locust-Hosts devour everything in their way.
- Ukusgualu: Lamprey Hosts are a chilling reminder of the Horrors around us.
- Viskthaigilu: Moth-Hosts are more dangerous than they may seem.
Snails, Slugs, Toads, Otter, WereApe (witch ape), Stag,
Hippos, Laughing Strangers: Foxes, hares, coyotes, raccoons and possum.
The Pack: Wolfkin, dog-folk, hyenas and wolverines.
Royal Apes: Monkeys, gorillas and man-like mysteries.
Wind-Runners: Horses, elk, deer and other lean, fast creatures.
Wing-Folk: Bird- and bat-people.
Before the sundering of creation, before the veil was raised, Pangaea was bound to the whims of the Celestine. Helios, whose passion brought fire to illuminate the shadow; Gaia, whose heart brought life and structure where otherwise none could flourish; and Luna, whose reflection gave insight to a place of eternal chaos.
Through these greater spirits was the world born, and under their watchful eyes did all things rise and fall in harmony with each other. Yet as all things that begin must end, so too ruin did befall the peace of Pangaea, with the coming of Anthelios.
Anthelios! The Serpent star! That crimson scourge! When he appeared from the place between, so too he did bring catastrophe. To what end, none but the Celestines could say, for he choked the world in ash and smoke, and wrapped Gaia in his deadly coils.
Enraged and impassioned, Helios did call out a challenge to the fiend—that he might slay it and spare Gaia disgrace and shame. But Anthelios was clever, and toyed with the Incarna’s pride, claiming him a coward to strike low a spirit far weaker than him. Believing this ploy, but refusing to secede, Helios called forward a champion to fight in his stead, and fight in the name of Pangaea. So was born Dragon, who spoke with the voice of primordial fire, and whose bones were of immortal stone.
Undaunted was Anthelios by Dragon, for the lesser spirit was neither swift nor sharp of wit to do battle with him. Such bulk would easily be laid low by his iron coils. But then came the whims of Luna, the Mad. From Helios did she gather strength, and grant her own boon onto Dragon, whose form would shift and turn till all things greater he could be.
So it was that Dragon gashed with tooth and claw, till Anthelios was finally torn asunder. With Gaia freed, the land would one day thrive again… but as the blood of the serpent star soaked into the earth, all knew that nothing would be as it once was.
Part 2 – A Starlit Ocean
With the defeat of the Crimson Scourge, all of Pangaea was given a chance at reprieve. It was during this time that the Emerald Mother was forced to sleep, her wounds great and in need of peace. The land grew cold as ice and snow blanketed the scars of calamity, and with weariness Dragon did join Gaia in sleep. The Incarna and those who called him lord burrowed deep beneath the earth, waiting for the day when they might hunt once more. Unbeknownst to all but Luna, whose insight revealed enigma, corruption festered within Dragon’s form, the blood of the enemy bringing untold horrors upon both mind and soul of the Incarna.
Perhaps sensing the disaster to come, Luna spoke to Mother Ocean, to whom she had always confided. She bade her search the depths for the scales of the Serpent Star, and with subtlety surround the Dragon’s Cave, that no beast or spirit venture near till all was made ready.
For many cycles, the two worked in secret, fearing Helios would scorch the world and all who dwelt upon it to remove the demon’s taint. In their wisdom, the two Incarna cleansed each scale in sacred water and holy light, but for their plan to work each scale would need placing within the Dragon’s Cave, their carrier quiet enough to not wake the beast, and cautious enough to guard the island.
Luna then turned her eyes to the mainland, and on it found such a beast. Throughout the frozen lands, it had shown the skills to survive, using tools of wood and stone, and the strength to travel in times of need. She then whispered in their dreams, guiding them towards the sea. Not all listened, but of those human tribes that did, they soon came upon Anthelios’ scales, having been washed ashore by the Ocean’s waves.
With the scales now in mortal hands, a new conundrum appeared. Though Mother Ocean could carry them to the island, the humans were as skittish as any of their fellow beasts to the powers of the Great Spirits. To ensure they did not wander elsewhere, a herald was needed.
Under a starlit night, Luna guided a woman to the nearby shore. Entranced by the Moon, the woman lay upon the sand, till the sea enveloped all but her face. Mother Ocean then merged with the mortal, her essence infusing the womb with life. It is said that for every hour under the light of Luna, the woman’s body aged a month, till at long last she gave birth to a creature of both land and sea, mortal and spirit.
The first shapechanger was born.
Part 3 – The Tale of Oe
Among his people, the child was named Oe, and was blessed with many gifts. He was fast and skilled in the water, able to hunt beneath the waves far longer than any of his kin. At will, he could become a man, fish, or something in between, though always Mother Ocean warned him never to show this to his people. As he grew, so too did his knowledge and love of beauty. From his mother and the Moon, he came to understand the ways of music, mathematics, and raft-building, so that he might teach the tribes to traverse beyond the waves of the sea.
When the time finally came, Luna once more breached the realm of dreams, calling the tribes to take leave of the shore for the Dragon’s isle. Many rafts were built under Oe’s guidance, but not all tribesmen dared the unknown waters.
Reluctantly, Oe stayed behind as others left for the sea; the Ocean calm and the wind with purpose. Try as he might, neither words nor song could move the remaining tribesmen. Frustration grew inside Oe, till at last he revealed his hybrid form. No sooner did he than the tribesmen panic, the creature they once called brother now a monster as he succumbed to the death rage.
For what reason she did, few can say, but it was then that Luna cursed the silver worn by Oe, causing it to burn at his scaled hide till he threw it to the ground. Emboldened, the tribesmen rallied with spears and flame, chasing the first shifter into the night.
Seeking refuge within a secluded cove, Oe cried out as he bled, helpless and alone. In his moment of shame, Mother Ocean then appeared to him. With a scornful look, she chastised him for breaking his vow of secrecy. She then abandoned him, with only the spirits of her court to offer him reprieve.
Part 4 – The Dragon’s Isle
It should be known that Helios was not ignorant of the world. Though distant compared to Luna, the Sun saw the calamity brought on by Oe’s rage. With disgust, he bore himself down on Mother Ocean, whom he saw was to blame. From his words, the Spirit of the Deep knew grief, and in her rage she condemned the tribes of the coast, a hurricane there’s to suffer!
One by one, she gathered them all, those serpent scales that remained now hers to bear. These mortals who had wounded her so would perish beneath the waves, for she no longer cared for them. And so it is said that the pieces of the serpent star fell into the darkest depths, where life forbidden was brought anew, in the shape and form of a spirit most foul.
So great was the Ocean’s rage that those mortals that now traveled the sea held for dear life. The Moon saved those that she could, or perhaps spared only those crucial to her plans. In doing so, she brought the remnant scales to the Dragon’s Isle, to finish what must be done.
Haggard from their journey, the mortal tribes sought the island’s cave, oblivious to the spirits that slept within. And as predicted, the demon struck, commanding through his slayer’s voice for his shape to be made whole again. The mortals fell into the deepest sleep, their souls to feed the Serpent’s revival. But then the scales latched on, and in horror the possessed Dragon cried out in terror! Indeed, the scales soon channeled divine light.
In a blaze of light, Dragon, the Champion of Pangaea found a warrior’s peace, his essence returning to the great beyond.
Part 5 – The Underworld
As the great wyrm battled against the evil within, the caves shook and trembled. Though not all the mortal tribesmen perished, many that delved deep into the cavern’s heart were sealed away from the light of day.
The spirits, now awakened from their sleep, soon realized their conundrum. For untold cycles, Dragon’s aura had fed them the essence they would need during hibernation. Now, with their champion gone, they would surely starve unless a solution was found.
Eventually, they turned to the sleeping mortals, to whom they blamed their lord’s death upon. But rather than slay them outright, the reptiles saw a better use. Those strong enough to do so fled into the bodies of the humans, garnering essence from them as they wore their skins. What they failed to see was how they slowly became trapped within, unable to free themselves of mortal flesh. So it was that through the dying resonance of the Serpent Scales—imbued with Luna’s magic—they became the second race of shapeshifters.
Delving deep into the earth below, the Mokole, as they are now called, sought out the sacred sites of Gaia, where her lifeblood flowed like rivers of fire and molten stone. With eyes that could see the warmth of the world, they found such chambers in the vastness of the lands beneath Pangaea. For a time, they found peace here, resting in the womb of Gaia herself. Soon, however, the largest of their spirit brethren began to fade, having spent too long within the earth till they themselves became one with it.
No longer able to stand in wait, the Mokole sought to return to the surface. But the old passageways they once knew were gone, replaced by those now filled with the shades of the dead. With fortune’s favor, they came upon Suethanu, the Incarna of Bats. He knew the roads of the Underworld, and knew the path the Mokole must take. But the spirit would not parlay with such knowledge, no, not without recompense. And so a bargain was struck.
Suethanu loved his children, both spirit and beast. As the dead grew in number within his halls, the Bat God found they could not hunt, so eerie was their phantom glow. In exchange for knowledge of shifting forms, Suethanu would guide the Mokole to the light above. So the lizardmen swore, and thus was born the first of werebats.
As honorable to any pact made of the Incarna, Suethanu sheltered the children of Dragon through the realm beyond spirit and living beast, and through the darkness they all did find the light of starlit skies, surrounded by the verdant jungle they would soon called home. In gratitude, they thanked Suethanu, forming a friendship between him and his children that would last for many cycles.
- The class analogue in this are “Accords”, also known as “Songs of the Souls” (not even kidding.) It’s “a spiritual harmony composed of longing, awareness, hunger and rage.” This is basically the temperament of your character and what they do. The Accords are the Den-Warder (nurturing/protecting), the Heart-Ripper (predatory), the Root-Weaver (builder), the Sun-Chaser (trickster) and the Wind-Dancer (intuitive/thoughtful).
The book goes on to say that there’s no real were-creature society, as it’s too fractious and widespread. The reason I bring this up is because they use the term ‘parliament of werebears’ and it made me think of how much better Parliamentary politics would be if arguments could escalate into MPs turning into giant-ass bears and mauling each other.
Anyway. The second axis, and the one that is way the hell wider, is the Nahual, or spirit animal. Yes, you have a power animal that you can see in your dreams that reflects in your body and demeanor, and determines what shapes you can shift into and what stuff you can do. If you’ve ever read Werewolf or even seen a movie with werewolves, you have the general idea.
- Animal-folk are all of “exotic” ethnic descent: Myth rooted in fact. A feral can be born from any ethnicity; most, however, come from regions where people live in close proximity with the animals in question, and have deeply symbolic attachments to them. A werecougar, for example, will probably come from American stock, while a werelion would probably have African ancestry.
- Ferals are just eccentric human “furries”: Myth, with elements of truth. Some people consider themselves “animals under the skin”; a few of these therians even possess the Changing Gift. For the most part, though, furries are human beings and ferals are just a little bit more.
• The Bastet — Named for their most notorious godhead, these cat-folk range from supple wildcats to noble yet implacable weretigers.
• The Land Titans — The rarest but most powerful shapechangers, these elephant- and rhino-men seem more like endangered gods than mortal beings.
• The Laughing Strangers — Tricksters, robbers, beautiful eccentrics…how much of the reputation of these weasel-, rat-, hare-, coyote- and fox-folk is earned, and how much is propaganda?
• The Pack — Loyal yet ferocious, these cousins of the werewolves count wolfkin, dog-bloods and hyena-people among their ragged band.
• The Royal Apes — Despite their brutish stereotype, these uncomfortably man-like beasts include sagacious mystics along with tree-swinging tricksters.
• The Spinner-Kin — Grandmother Spider weaves her web across the world, and while her children seem quite sinister, they create the most beautiful designs imaginable.
• The Ursara — From shy black-furs to ferocious grizzlies, these werebears boast potent medicine and terrifying rage.
• The Wind-Runners — Stags, elk, horses and deer blend grace, speed and strength with human cunning and an urge for freedom.
• The Wing-Folk — Corvians, swan maids, owl-folk, even werebats are joined by their outstretched wings and the open sky.
Werecats (Bastet) are keepers of secrets, they are warriors in every way that Garou are but their abilities are more geared toward being solo. Well, accept for the Simba, werelions, who run in prides. They are mostly in South America and Africa but they spread across the planet.
Werebears (Gurahl) are the healers and are in every sense of the word, the tanks of the the Fera. Durable and capable of surviving damn near anything, including death. They are also very peaceful compared to other fera.
Werecrocodiles (Mokole) are an enigma in that they are tied to the sun more than the moon. Also, their battle form is more akin to dragons and dinosaurs than anything else. Your pack would be careful to give these space as they loathe most Garou, especially the Get of Fenris. Though they have uneasy truces with the Hakken and Stargazers from what I hear.
Wereravens (Corax) are scouts and communicators of Gaia. Before the net and phones, their was the Corax. They are also the children of the sun, to the point that they are vulnerable to gold instead of silver. Not combatants, but still not one you wish to anger.
Weresharks (Rokea, are the stuff of nightmares, and probably the most successful of any of the shapechangers in their original goal. The commandment they were given was to survive, and low and behold they have done so for millions of years. These guys have abilities that make the megalodon seem like a fluffy puppy. There is a particular reason why every other fera has a fear of the water. These guys are #1 on the list.
Wererates (Ratkin) are the one who has gone off the rails the most. Their original plan was to keep the humans from overpopulating the planet. Now, they do this to everything. Plagues, technology, and terrorism is the tools of the rat. They loathe Garou with a passion, and more than a few of these have fallen to the Wyrm. Not combatants but no where on earth will hide you when thousands of these guys swarm you.
Werespider (Ananasi) are the children of neither of the celestials, in fact they are the grand children of the triat. The weaver created their mother who created them. They are cold, calculating, and powerful in their specific abilities. Incredibly hard to kill, like killing a swarm really. Though I would not make jokes regarding raid around them.
Werecoyote (Nuwisha) are the tricksters. They do not have rage, but are also immune to silver. In all other ways they are very similar to the Garou in their structures. Their pranks are meant to teach but can be taken to far.
Werehyena (Ajaba) are the closest Africa has to Garou now. Though they don’t have great numbers and are not true Garou. They have issues with the Simba due to the genocide of their kind at the hands of the Simba pride leader known as Blacktooth.
Beastcourts (Asian Shapechangers) These varied shapechangers come from all different breeds and even some unique to the beast courts like the magic wielding Kitsune. Unlike the rest of the world, these Fera work together in relative harmony for centuries.