Running with the pack, I see a hunter in it’s prime. The wolf I have come to meet is the pinnacle of power and leader among this group. They are not Red Talons, no, but a family formed through bond and deed. They feel each other’s presence without needing to make a sound. Like a machine that mankind has spent it’s entire existence trying to emulate, they move as one under the direction of the alpha, my subject. As one, they surround me, moving in concentric circles to herd me, make me run in fear until I drop. I won’t run though. I may be man, but I am kinfolk and ready to face any stair down.
The alpha moves in, hackles up, fangs bared like ivory death awaiting the first sign of weakness, of a bared throat. His eyes are alert but focused, his senses identifying me and ways to track me a dozen ways before I could even plot my path. His ears are back as claws dig into the snow, the intent is a razor honed to a molecule edge. Never have I seen such in the world of man, for we are not even capable of understanding it in this world. Like a dream, it is some vision half glimpsed from the corner of the eye. Gone before mankind could even grasp the significance of what was just witnessed. My experience, my path, has lead me to this. To the moment I see all of Gaia’s majesty. My cousins, for the alpha before me and his siblings among the pack now circling me are born of the same ancestor that gave me my kinfolk nature gave them theirs.
The ultimate family tree, not just spanning generations but species. That Garou, the children of Gaia and blessed ones of Luna, can link all of creation in ways that only the celestials can understand in it’s entirety. Circling my cousin, distant in our ways but not in souls, forming a bond without end or words. With this moment, in this moment, we are of one mind, walking not as we once did, but as one being living two lives. The world fades away until all we can see is the gaze of one another.
Smirking, I say the only thing I can as I hear bones cracking and looking at the mirror image standing before me, “You have Grandpa John’s eyes.”
The lupus breed of Garou is something that has been perverted and hunted horribly in recent years but what needs to be remembered is they are the tails to the coin that put us at the head. We are not better than they, nor they us. The wolf born are our opposite, the darkness that let’s us recognize our light. Though to be honest, I would personally say that humanity is the darkness that rages against their light. None the less, we are opposites but related. Like the sons of Adam, we are forever linked and with one destined to kill the other.
The opposites theme is the beginning of learning how to think like the lupus, as this is such a shift, I will be mixing in the role play advice throughout this article. Anywhovian, you are a obnivore but you are prey. The great joke, that the apex killer of the globe is itself prey. The lupus is born a predator, and never lives with the fears we do. Yes, they are not invincible but there is a huge difference between a predator meeting a rival and the stark paralyzing fear of prey facing down death. The perfect example to this intrinsic difference is found within the delirium that strikes the heart of man. This primal fear, so potent it is a game mechanic, does not effect the wolf. They simply see something that needs to be taken down or avoided when presented with the crinos form of the Garou.
When presented with a problem, mankind has a history of inventing new things to deal with it. Be it the spear, the wheel, the gun, or the multitude of devices we carry with us every day. Your pants? Yeah, something invented to make up for our lack of fur. Lighters, harnessed electricity, computers, cars, planes, etiquette, and mass produced food are all things the predator knows nothing of. The wolf sees a problem and analyzes what the threat is to itself and it’s pack mates. It weighs the risk versus the reward, and it acts accordingly. If it can find a way to let the threat weaken or damage itself, than it will. The wolf is not stupid, it simply is focused. I watched a video once of a predator who had already learned not to attack a porcupine directly had watched until it was in a situation where it could be flipped on it’s back from a lever and fulcrum effect similar to a teeter-totter. Well low an behold, the predator ate well and it was obvious that the predator knew this was a rare delicacy. The wolf hunts what it can, fights what it must, and leaves the rest alone as opposed to mankind’s insane need to bother everything until they master everything. Well, as nexus crawlers prove, some things are better left alone.
Next on the chopping block of differences is family, community, and how we approach eachother. Humans use eachother, from the day we are born we are parasites. We can take eachother or leave eachother as works for each individual. Where we have an entire catagory of people, introverts, who do fine alone for the most point. The lupus is built on every level to be a communal creature not for the benefit of one, but for the benefit of all. The old are protected while they are still useful as teachers, the young are taught while they care for the sick. The strong protect the vulnerable. The list goes on and on in ways that would take all day to list. The leaders know that the pack does not serve them, they serve the pack. This very concept is alien to the human mind apparently, as shown by the leaders the world round for the last millennia or so. Working from the top down, is not the way of the wolf and needs to be thrown away. Even the Omega, the lone wolf, has more sense of community than most than the average human in that they would rather walk away than screw over overs. Scraps over moral perpetuate.
Moving on, the wolf has a different though process than the human. This much should be obvious, but it extends to how they process information. A human receives information mostly from their sense of vision and tactile sense. Both are extremely acute. The wolf on the other hand processes things through all five sense on another level entirely. Smell so acute they can tell color, taste that can track week old scents, the list goes on. Why is this import to note? Because these senses are at the forefront of a wolf’s thoughts, while a human can have so many thoughts they lost track of what they see. Focus, cold and acute, to such a degree that the entire world is processed at an amazing rate while the body works to keep up. It’s actually a beautiful thing.
Now that we have all four legs on the ground, let’s get into what makes the lupus Garou different than the other breeds. Being born as a wolf means that the animistic ways of the Garou are second nature to the lupus. The parts that take adjusting are mostly those with a touch of humanity to them. Spirituality and pack life are also easy to adjust to as the lupus is exceeding close to Gaia from the start. Language, both human and Garou, are picked up easy enough. The sheer immensity of the world can be boggling to many lupus, but not all.
As was mentioned, there is many abilities that are restricted to the lupus Garou at character creation. Keep that in mind when you build, as well you should keep in mind the knowledge or training a wolf would logically have at the time of it’s first change. This can lead to a bit of min/maxing but I suggest dropping a point or two in survival, animal ken, and other nature based abilities to reflect the fact that you have spent a lifetime beating everything nature could throw at you. Brawl over melee, primal urge over streetwise or subterfuge, the choices are logical when you really weigh them against each other. Now as for backgrounds, resources and other mankind ones make little sense for a lupus. Though pure breed, mentor, and such are ripe for the wolfborn to enjoy. When it comes to a merit and flaw or two, I think ones that reflect injuries can show the harshness of life without medicine or the strength of who it takes to excel as such. Such as one eye or lame, the life before can be brutal, and the physical merits show who it takes to come out on top. With your high Gnosis, the highest in fact, you should think about rituals, fetishes, and gifts that run on such. Use what you know, you know?
As a final note of roleplay, don’t be a furry. This is not a wolf playing out human emotions. Doing this breaks the entire point behind the breed, and interrupts the suspension of disbelief for the group. I know this may offend some but this is not some manga themed rp or something (I have seen great roleplay groups broken from this behavior on a multitude of sites and apps). Getting the human side out of the equation is essential. In fact the game even mentions in multiple places that humanity is often confusing or hard for the lupus. This is not just a restriciton but a great source of roleplay opportunities for you. How do you cope with those difficulties? How do you face humanity? How are you adjusting to your new life and ability to change into a human? The challenges of life without human culture and technology, the learning of such, and the awkward moments it leads to are what make the role so great.
Lupus are the closest to Gaia, the hunter to their core, the animal made man. This is reflected in their gifts and how they work with rituals. Here is some highlights in those nifty powers:
Hare’s Leap let’s you double or even triple your jumping distance. This can be extremely useful in multiple ways.
Heightened Senses turns your senses up to eleven. Like Daredevil’s hearing but for all your senses.
Sense Prey guarantees the ability to feed the family through hunting.
Predator’s Arsenal gives the Garou claws and fangs in their homid form. This is amazingly useful for when you need to blend the worlds as a predator.
Prey Mind boosts your ability to do what comes naturally. With every danger, the decision of fight or flight is presented. This cranks up the latter.
Axis Mundi lets you have a compass in your head. This is similar to the migratory abilities of many birds and is in fact taught by such.
Eye of the Eagle adds literal miles to the distance at which the Garou can pick out detail. Side note, if you are making a sniper build, this one is a godsend that can be nabbed by anyone fairly cheaply.
Name the Spirit reflects how the lupus is very close to the spirit world. With this, you can identify a spirit’s type and traits.
Scent of Sight allows your sense of smell to be so acute as to completely subsume the sense of sight.
Catfeet grants you not only immunity to minor falls but the legendary balance of the feline.
Monkey Tail lets you morph your tail into a longer prehensile limb similar to some primates. You can even hang off the thing.
Sense the Unnatural is fairly self explanatory. You can sense anything that does not belong acutely enough to tell their approximate strength.
Silence the Weaver allows you to emit a howl of some rage that all sensitive electronics in the immediate area are destroyed instantly.
Strength of Gaia lets you bring the crinos form’s immense strength to bear in the lupus form.
Beast Life allows you to call, communicate with and command animals. Though domesticated animals don’t fight for you, creatures of the wyld will as long as their sacrifice is honored and respected.
Gnaw not only increases the damage of one’s bite but also allows you to chew through virtually anything given enough time. Even things that a wolf could not hope to chew through like a steel I beam can be worked through with this.
Scream of Gaia is a game changing howl of the earth mother’s rage and frustration. It knocks away and damages everyone who is not in the pack of the user. A nature fueled grenade if you will.
Terror of the Dire Wolf is a game changer in that it allows your fierce growl to strike true delirium into anything that was, is, or is even close to being human. The fact that this can be used in any form makes it particularly fierce.
Elemental Gift is a double whammy game changer among game changers. Not only does it grant you the ability to control the primordial forces of Gaia but it summons an elemental of earth, wind, water, or fire. This elemental itself is as powerful as a Nexus Crawler. For those who don’t know, a Nexus Crawler is a being of Lovecraft’s wet dreams that normally take a pack of the most powerful elder Garou to take down.
Song of the Great Beast is hard to learn as the spirits themselves that teach this are rare, in fact the reclusive Mokole are one of the few guides for this and they don’t particularly like any Garou. The thing is, this is a game changer, You call forth with your mournful howl the spirits of the past. The very beasts that once ruled the world, be it the megalodon, mammoths. sabertooth tigers, or Gaia knows what. They come forth to do your bidding in their own way, and in great numbers they will achieve it. Luna help those who you send them after.
That is it, the last of the breeds. I enjoyed writing and learning about them all, and formed quite a few new character ideas. The fun part is that we are not done. Next week we will be doing the first of the Auspice focuses I have planned. What do you think, start at the full moon and work down? Start at the new moon and work up? Let me know.
Please note I am interested in running online one shot World of Darkness games on Google+ or something for Nerdarchy. If you are interested in playing contact me at the places below.
Did I miss something? Have any Questions or Comments? Feel free to message me at www.facebook.com/NubzTheZombie or at email@example.com