General Rules Regarding Shifters (Work in Progress)
Shifters in this game work differently for setting purposes than in other games. We will be using the WoD 20th Anniversary Werewolf the Apocalypse book as the base system -but- the story line is going to be dramatically different here. There will be some critical differences, which will be outlined and introduced more in game play. Some of those changes are the following:
- Auspices – Many Shifters are born under Auspices of the moon and this birthright tells them what Rage they are born with as well as where their focuses will primarily be. Choosing an Auspice is up to the player.
- 1. Ragabash (New Moon) – The Trickster who is ultimately foolish and then wise. Questioning tradition, being sarcastic and witty, maybe even silly, those born to this Auspice know when to not question vs when to bother the crap out of someone. They are also cunning scouts and ambush strategists. Initial Rage: 1, Blur of the Milky Eye, Infectious Laughter, Liar’s Face, Open Seal, Scent of Running Water
- 2. Theurge (Crescent Moon) – The Seer who is connected to the Spirits and Umbra more so than others. Theurges are mystics that delve deep within the Umbra and discover secrets and decide how to deal with what is learned of, one way or another. Rage: 2, Beginning Gifts: Mother’s Touch, Sense Wyrm, Spirit Snare, Spirit Speech, Umbral Tether
- 3. Philodox (Half Moon) – The Mediator sees to helping Shifters and others to meet eye to eye, even including Umbral spirits and those who are outside of their regular element. Philodox have a way of seeing both sides easier than others might be inclined to. They are often quite stoic. Often, though not nearly always, Philodox are seen as wise leaders in peace time. Initial Rage: 3. Beginning Gifts: Fangs of Judgment, Persuasion, Resist Pain, Scent of the True Form, Truth of Gaia
- 4. Galliard (The Gibbous Moon) – The Moon Dancer is the one that remembers tales of old and recounts the history as they may while also inspiring others currently. They can sooth the savage beast literally and in the next song, raise spirits for battle. They can be quite important in a time where the Shifting Breeds have lost so much. They are often very passionate about what they do and what they experience. Initial Rage 4. Beginning Gifts: Beast Speech, Call of the Wyld, Heightened Senses, Mindspeak, Perfect Recall
- 5. Ahroun (The Full Moon) – The Warrior of Gaia is strong and full of Rage, ready for war at any time. They are the true leaders of war, and are first in and last out if they ever even actually retreat. In times of war, their instincts make them war leaders. In times of peace, they let others lead with good reason. It’s not in their character to be too peaceful for too long. Initial Rage: 5. Beginning Gifts: Falling Touch, Inspiration, Pack Tactics, Razor Claws, Spur Claws
- Homid & Lupus – Homid and Lupus (or mentioned equivalents with different names) are the two Breeds available for new characters. Metis will not be player characters to begin with, and Metis are corrupted. The more corrupted they become, the more signs of it they will show in their forms. ‘Homid’ refers to Shifters that are conceived and born human-style. ‘Lupus’ refers to the child being born the way of the animal it resembles. Homids typically age as humans do and tend to have their First Change in their adolescent years. Lupus tend to grow faster to adolescent stage (i.e. two years for a wolf), and their aging will slow down once they have their First Change.
- Regarding Metis – Metis will exist in this game but not as it works in WoD regularly. Metis will not be caused by Shifters ‘inbreeding’ but instead is caused by the Wyrm. In other words, there is some corruption that is working against that particular shifter or even a curse that can run through a pack of them or family line, but it will not just be caused by say two Garou having an offspring. Why some might believe that two common Shifters mating could cause such a calamity could be because an offspring was cursed/corrupted by the Wyrm, but not because of said union. It’s just coincidence. Basically, any Shifters that are corrupted will show Metis symptoms per the rules.
- Regarding Ratkin – Ratkin in this game are divided. The corrupted ones are the ones that want to cause plagues en masse to populations and the like. They were tainted and they would have Metis corruptions about them. Not all Ratkin are like this, however, and some do fight as other Shifters do, against the Wyrm and Weaver, but these Ratkin were also among the first to see that the Wyrm was a prisoner and the Weaver was really the truest enemy. Living in the cities, they and their Spirit allies found out the truth of what was up and have been trying to spread the word to others for 70+ years now. However, the Weaver went at them hard and let the Wyrm corrupt many of them so that the Ratkin that are not corrupted have a lot of dangers and can be seen as enemies sometimes by all sides.
- Regarding Garou History – Garou are some of the more powerful Shifters, but many of these were cursed as well to Metis forms and heinous acts of corruption, acting like the berserker creatures that are often depicted in horror movies. These corrupted Garou often do work in packs and hunt down any of the Changing Breeds, just as the Ratkin may unleash plague bombs in areas. Other Garou that are not corrupted often have to hunt these groups down in the hopes they can stop what they are doing. The Garou had ignored the Ratkin, as other Changing Breeds had, but after their populations were decimated and Tribal leaders fell and whole societies were lost, they’ve had to take a new look at things and come around in the last 20 years.
- Regarding The Garou Nation – The Garou Nation, for all intents and purposes does not exist in this story line. No Shifters in the game have an alliance they can fall under that is as strong as a ‘nation’. They may have groups here or there with up to 30-50 members, but that is really the maximum because the Shifters have been hunted relentlessly and the Wyrm and Weaver aspects and affiliates have made their lives a living hell. Most Shifters have been forced to become nomadic or they work through bloodlines and families they have been linked with for generations, and maybe some even make small groups in cities or out amid nature, but they have to fight for what they have.
- Regarding Tribes – The Garou and other Shifters, such as Bastet, may have Tribes which refers mostly in this game to actual lineage and blood lines. Due to the hunting down of various Tribes, comfort rearing has become a thing nearly of the past. One may have the lineage of say “Get of Fenris” and they will inherit Gifts to their Auspices and Tribes but many will need to learn to communicate with the spirits to help themselves learn more as they grow, or they will have to hunt down teachers that can guide them so they can learn nearly lost gifts and rites. There are occasionally packs of common Tribes around, and family lines that are known about if you have the right connections, but these too are not so organized. Spirits that are totems to those tribes though will tend to be more willing to help those of the Tribes they connect to.
- Regarding Spirits – The world has become a place where humans reign supreme in population and much of the Weaver is about. The Wyrm wiggles its way into things too as it works on corrupting the Umbra and the spirits within it. The Shifters are beings that have one part of their beings which connects solidly to the Umbra/spiritual realms and the other part that connects to living beings on this side of the “Gauntlet”. They are unique beings that the Weaver doesn’t want on this side of the veil, so to say. Therefore, they have been hunted and their numbers are dwindling. The Spirits in the Umbra though are connected to the Changing Breeds and they wish to fight, so they are willing to help that Shifter that wants to learn more and defend against the corruption of the Wyrm and the banality of the Weaver that threatens all. Some Spirits may even be of older Changing Breed members that have chosen to remain that way on the other side and some are ancient beings of nature which hold many secrets. All Changing Breeds learn more from Spirits, even though sometimes they may run into twisted corrupted ones too. The deeper one gets involved with the Umbra, the more likely they will run into horrid corruption that must be stopped or they too will be tainted.
- Regarding Kinfolk – Kinfolk may be either descended from human bloodlines or from animal blood lines. If the Kinfolk is of a human bloodline, that being can ‘mate’ with any Changing Breed and potentially have a child that is a Shifter or Kinfolk. Kinfolk can learn some minor Gifts and gain Gnosis. Kinfolk are not bound to specific Shifters, though they may be from a bloodline specific, such as this specific family line has produced Shadow Lord Garou for generations. Some families may even be purists to only allowing for such things, but make no mistake about it…another Shifter from another Tribe or even another Breed entirely could mate with the Kinfolk and have a high chance at success of breeding one of their own instead. Kinfolk and family lines are rare nowadays but not entirely unheard of. Some family lines though have forgotten or lost history intentionally of what they could bring about into the world when the right two people connect. Some families even might know and think it’s a curse and if a child seems to be too sensitive to things or a teenager starts showing signs of connections too closely to nature or feral behavior, the family may even become that child’s enemy and do something drastic. Some families have some interesting legends and stories within them but they certainly don’t want those things awake now…for whatever reasons may lurk among the skeletons in their closets. Others may be more prepared and even proud or have a Shifter or very aware Kinfolk to guide the youngsters. It all depends.
- Regarding Nature and the Wyld – Out in nature, it’s still the Shifters’ best areas to get across the Gauntlet and to be safest, but quite a bit of nature can be surprisingly corrupted by what corporations and some sloppy people have done. Sometimes, this is quite deliberate but in the end, there are still some natural things of beauty and supernatural ones too. As for Caerns and the like, they exist but they are like oases found rarely in a desert. Usually, a totem spirit of some kind resides in them to keep them active and there are at least 3 beings around that keep it maintained and protected. Shifters that are friendly and connected to the Wyld will be drawn to these sites. Those that are corrupted will have a much harder time finding a Caern and the like as spirits want very little to do with them.
- Regarding Cities – Many species of animals have learned to survive in cities and adapt and this can be said also for some of the Spirits as well. There are also some tricky, corrupted Spirits in cities, but there are some that may be a little grimy but can offer Shifters a lot of aid in adapting what they do to survive in cities better.
- Regarding Delirium – Delirium gets incited in mundane people who gaze upon the Crinos form of most Changing Breeds. If they fail checks, the humans often do whatever they can to not look at the Shifters directly and they will panic with such fear that after 5 minutes of being away from their object of dire fear, they forget about it most often, or the brain adjusts and will give them a more rational thing to have been afraid of. There are a few ‘whys’ to this. 1. The Delirium is caused because mundane humans are looking at beings that are part Spirit and part monster and part animal…and each of these forms are from predators that just shouldn’t exist. Humans see them as monstrosities that shouldn’t exist. 2. They don’t defy ‘nature’ at all but they do defy the human conditioning that has been going on for some time by such groups as the Technocrats and unwittingly some supernatural other groups have been helping the Technocrats with what they have set about doing by making humans forget the supernatural actually really does exist. After the Inquisitions and Crusades, vampires also have helped by instilling rules such as “The Masquerade”, but they are not the root cause…which is the Technocracy and the Weaver. 3. The Delirium helps the Shifters by making them forgotten and even can work on people themselves making excuses for why, say, that is not a picture of a werewolf there, but some trickery, etc. In the modern age, one would think it was harder to do, but with graphics and Photoshop etc, people can write it off easily enough.
- Regarding Rage – At a 5 or lower, Rage does not really ooze off a Shifter so easily. If Rage gets to a 6, the character can seem kind of stand-offish. At 7, people don’t really want to be around the character and avoid direct contact if possible. At 8, people instinctively just move the hell out of a Shifter’s way. At higher than that, they think that person has a gun or something and are extremely dangerous.
- Regarding Gnosis – Gnosis is the equivalent of Quintessence, Chi or Sekhem. Glamour is a form of Gnosis.
- Regarding the Technocracy – The Technocrats know about Shifters and don’t like them, although the Ananasi might be useful, or they might even be a design by the Weaver in the great scheme of things. They also fear Shifters because Shifters are nature’s way of defying their Order and Shifters can mess things up if given the chance to. The Technocrats don’t really run into them so much anymore though, thanks to past successful efforts to remove some very strong groups of them.
- Regarding Pentex Corporation – and its subsidiaries. Yeah, they are still out there working for the Wyrm, whether they believe it or not. They are also still kicking out Fomori and working with Black Spiral Dancers; the cursed Garou. Their mission isn’t over until the balance is restored or Wyrm’s appetite is filled. It had been denied too long.
- The Wyrm – The Wyrm absolutely, and all its corrupted twisted minions exist. It has managed to break mostly free of its bonds that Weaver had imprisoned it with and it wants revenge. It has no love for Weaver at all and wants revenge and often this comes about at targeted groups of humans in very “Call of Cthuluu” types of ways. Shifters used to try to stop the Wyrm and still do try to contain it but they have become aware that Wyrm is not the only problem and was once part of the grand order of things. Wyrm lashes out at what it will because it has been a prisoner and it hungers deeply. It will have its fill…
- The Weaver – The often seemingly hidden culprit that seems innocent with its clear desire for Order and systemic control, The Weaver had trapped the Wyrm for a few thousand years at least and through efforts, the Wyrm has managed to break free strand by strand and make its presence known on the earth again. The Weaver is desperate for its plans are almost finished..the rituals are almost complete in order to enslave everyone under its control. It just needs to hold out against the Wyld and the Wyrm, which have been fighting each other more often until the last 70 or so years. After World War II, the Shifters realized that something was awfully wrong and it wasn’t just the Wyrm. They had an enemy they didn’t even barely know about because the Weaver had been so subtle after it had subdued the Wyrm. It stuck with human kind, orchestrating in new ages and benefiting from it and meanwhile, the Wyrm being let out here or there, with its pure madness, was enough to convince the Wyld what it needed to focus on. It wasn’t entirely wrong…but the repercussions for ignoring the Weaver are totally out in the open now for the Shifters.
- Regarding Heavens and Hells – The Shifters are part of the natural order of things, being of the Wyld. They were never really intended to have to war beyond a certain point to extinction and were meant to be protectors for Humanity and nature. Unfortunately, there were great betrayals upon great betrayals over and over again among humans and among Angels and then the forces of the Trinity even went at itself as a show of twisted perversion. The Weaver betrayed the Wyrm, not wanting its life-forms to be destroyed, as was the way of things. Is there a story here as to why this force went against the force of Destruction? Was it a rebellion against some choice made in the past by some gods? Whatever the reason, the Shifters are part of a grand order of things but even they can’t always hear what it’s about and they, as well as their Spirit allies in the Wyld and Umbra do the best they can do with little guidance anymore.
Changes to the Character Sheet
- Primal-Urge – This will be written as a Secondary Ability. All Shifters will use the normal character sheet and this Primary Ability will be listed below and be accounted for.
- The sheet otherwise will be written up the same but Shifters will use the !shape and !shift commands and need to input their other forms within.
Most Shifters are allergic to silver and a few are allergic to gold.
Metis and Silver or Gold
Metis – These Shifters are considered twisted and have two Forms to them. The first is a twisted form of either Homid or Lupus, with some clear signs of corruption such as horns, or they are hairless, or they have scabs all over them. These Shifters are tainted and their battle form, (Crinos), becomes their ‘breed’ form and they can barely leave it, save to enter the form they were born in originally.
Metis may be allergic to silver or gold, or both, depending on what kind of Shifter they are, but Metis will be treated as though Crinos is their Breed Form. This means that in Crinos, they can work on healing the aggravated wound.
Biting a Shifter with Rage
If a vampire bites a Shifter with Rage, the vampire has a good chance of frenzying and may gain faster movement as though Rage is replaced with Celerity (1 Rage drained = 1 Celerity-like effect). The vampire’s generation determines how much BP they can drain, but a Self-Control roll must be made each round to determine if the character will enter frenzy. The difficulty is 8. A Shifter also has 2BP to every 1BP that is drained from them, meaning their blood is very potent.
Trying to Make a Shifter into a Ghoul or Vampire
Shifters can spend Gnosis to prevent vampirism from transpiring, so their spirits can be released back to the Wyld. Shifters also cannot be ghouled regularly and a 1 in gnosis will make them barf up any vitae they have been fed, regardless of how they ate/drank it. There is no roll if they use gnosis, which also works for Kinfolk. If a Shifter or Kinfolk has no gnosis, the roll is still pretty hard to ghoul a Shifter. The Kinfolk without gnosis may just be screwed, but a Shifter will regain gnosis timely and they can then take action. If somehow a vampirism did work on a Shifter, the Shifter becomes an Abomination…a tragic creature that is driven mad and may barely be controlled even by the vampire that created it.