Winter Wolf (Skolis-Ur)Tribal totem of the Storm Lords, Winter Wolf is the second of Father Wolf's children and alpha of the Forsaken pack, and led them into the world after the death of Father Wolf and the loss of Pangaea. A remote, disapproving figure, he demands total loyalty and respect from his followers.
- Aloof Big Brother: To his followers.
- An Ice Person
- Big Brother Mentor: To Red Wolf.
- Cain and Abel: He and Silver Wolf have an intense rivalry over leadership of the First Pack. Winter Wolf would appear to be winning.
- The Chains of Commanding: Feels the responsibility of leading the Forsaken, and does not believe he can show any weakness before the others.
- The Leader
- Number Two: Was once the Beta to Dire Wolf's Alpha, but no more.
- Pet the Dog: Lets his icy demeanour slip with Red Wolf.
- Undying Loyalty: Demands it from his followers.
Red Wolf (Sagrim-Ur)The tribal totem of the Iron Masters, Red Wolf once watched over the human herds. Inquisitive and driven, he often frustrates his siblings with his need to know. He is close to both Winter Wolf and Death Wolf.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Once played this role to the rest of the First Pack.
- Cain and Abel: Has a rather agonising relationship with Rabid Wolf.
- Good Twin: To Rabid Wolf.
- Morality Pet: To Winter Wolf and Death Wolf.
- Mother Nature, Father Science: Father Science to Black Wolf's Mother Nature. Unlike most examples, they get along pretty well.
- The Smart Guy: Father Wolf and the rest of the Firstborn were content to just accept things were as they were. Red Wolf was the only one who would bother himself to contemplate "why?"
- Trickster Archetype: He's called "kin to Coyote" for a reason. He also rewards this kind of thinking.
Death Wolf (Kamduis-Ur)Quiet and withdrawn, Death Wolf is the tribal totem of the Bone Shadows. She has always walked her own path, and is fascinated with notions of life and death.
- Don't Fear the Reaper
- Loners Are Freaks: The opinion of some of her siblings.
- Pet the Dog: With Red Wolf, according to some.
- The Quiet One
Black Wolf (Hikaon-Ur)Tribal totem of the Hunters in Darkness, Black Wolf is a creature of the night, and the best tracker among the First Pack. Once close to Dire Wolf, Black Wolf is the exact opposite of her brother Destroyer Wolf, and has a curious respect for Red Wolf.
- Cain and Abel: Hates Rabid Wolf with an undying passion.
- Evil Former Friend: How she sees Dire Wolf.
- Mother Nature, Father Science: Mother Nature to Red Wolf's Father Science. Again, mutually respect each other due to similar motives.
- Scarily Competent Tracker
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With Destroyer Wolf.
Destroyer Wolf (Fenris-Ur)The tribal totem of the Blood Talons, Destroyer Wolf revels in violence and combat, often tearing his prey to shreds before devouring it. While extremely aggressive, he is no sadist, and respects a worthy adversary.
- The Big Guy
- Blood Knight
- Cain and Abel: Despises the sadistic Dire Wolf for marring the purity of combat with malice.
- Combat Pragmatist: His vow of "Offer no surrender you would not accept" is a code of personal honor. Anything that works is fair game to him, so long as you're not a hypocrite about it.
- Laser-Guided Karma: A story in the 2E core features a group of corrupt Blood Talons who had taken over a town and had transformed it into a cannibalistic cult. Destroyer Wolf found out. That town no longer exists, especially not its rulers.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With Black Wolf.
- Unstoppable Rage
- Worthy Opponent: Always on the look out for one.
Dire Wolf (Huzuruth-Ur)Tribal totem of the Predator Kings, Dire Wolf is the oldest and most malicious of Father Wolf's children. He mourns the loss of Pangaea, the predator's paradise, and longs to bring it back.
- The Brute: Falls into this role by choice. He could be the Pure Alpha if he so chose.
- Cain and Abel: With Destroyer Wolf.
- Canis Major: The biggest after Father Wolf himself. He resembles one of the Dire Wolves that once stalked the mortal world.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Dire Wolf and the Predator Kings don't like the Forsaken, but they find the Bale Hounds totally revolting, and will take any chance to kill them and urinate on their corpses.
- Evil Former Friend: Was once close to Black Wolf, acting as a sort of mentor figure.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: If you ask him, humanity is the primary cause of most spiritual pollution and imbalance in the world. While he's right about many conceptual-spirits not existing if it weren't for humans and which probably shouldn't, such as rape or murder, keep in mind he thinks compassion is a sign of spiritual weakness.
- The Leader: Was once the Alpha of the First Pack. Now he mostly keeps to himself.
- Nature Is Not Nice: The personification of primordial carnivorism and savagery among the Pure, and supports the Predator Kings in demonstrating this.
- Might Makes Right
- Social Darwinist: Believes that only the strong can survive, and that if you are weak, you deserve to die.
- Super-Persistent Predator
- Worthy Opponent: He and his followers are the most likely to see the Forsaken this way.
Rabid Wolf (Gurim-Ur)The youngest and maddest of Father Wolf's children, Rabid Wolf is a slavering coward who serves as the tribal totem of the Fire-Touched. Crazed with fear and paranoia, and stricken with disease, he grants his followers visions in exchange for their services....According to the Forsaken, at least. According to the Pure, it's mostly accurate, but he isn't actually a coward so much as reluctant to involve himself in confrontations he knows he can't win, being a peerless Seer. The Fire-Touched say his various illnesses are simply a spiritual, literal representation of his piousness (faith is similar to a contagion after all), while his madness is a result of being aware of every single lie in the world. He is the kindest of the Pure tribe totems, and is quite supportive of granting mercy to the Forsaken...if they convert to the Pure.
- Cain and Abel: Red Wolf, Black Wolf, and Death Wolf all find him completely disgusting.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: According to the Fire-Touched anyway.
- Dirty Coward/Lovable Coward: Forsaken believe he's the former, Pure the latter.
- Evil Genius
- Evil Is Visceral
- Evil Twin: To Red Wolf
- The Fundamentalist
- Giggling Villain: Purported to cackle like a hyena after killing his victims.
- Mad Oracle: Grants his followers visions, and possesses prophecy himself-to his detriment.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Was once like this towards both Father Wolf and Dire Wolf.
Silver Wolf (Hathis-Ur)Kingly in aspect, Silver Wolf believes he should have been the alpha of the First Pack. He serves as the tribal totem of the Ivory Claws, and his followers often provide the Pure with leadership.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: He loathes any form of impurity whatsoever, especially familial. It's why he won't let converted Forsaken join his tribe, or even tolerate a ceasefire for larger threats with them.
- Big Bad: To the Pure as a whole, though just barely.
- Cain and Abel: Has a longstanding rivalry with Winter Wolf, who is everything that Silver Wolf fancies himself to be.
- The Evil Prince
- The Leader: Of the Pure. This is largely because Rabid Wolf is mad and Dire Wolf does not care.
- Manipulative Bastard
- The Power of Hate: Even the Ivory Claws themselves admit his whole existence is based around one part agony, three parts absolute intolerance for any degree of impurity.
- Pride: Easily his greatest sin.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Has a very high opinion of himself, believing he is a greater leader then Father Wolf or Winter Wolf, and imagining that he is the leader of the Pure. In truth he is but a shadow of his father and older sibling, and only leads the Pure because Dire Wolf isn't interested.
- The Starscream: Tried to seize power from Father Wolf in a coup d'etat and was humiliated in the process.
The Bale Hounds
Spiritual descendants of the Black Spiral Dancers of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Bale Hounds are werewolves who have abandoned the creeds of both the Forsaken and the Pure. Instead, having looked closely at the Crapsack World they live in, they have formed the opinion that the Maeljin, corrupt Incarnae embodying Avarice, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath, Deceit and Destruction who inhabit the Wounds and their minions are not only the most powerful of all spirits, but are destined to win control over the world and turn everything into one giant Wound. So, they have joined up with the "winning team". Their exact numbers and status is left up to individual Storytellers to customize for their own campaigns, but the default assumption is that they are a distinct minority power in comparison to the Pure and even the Forsaken, compelling them to work as lone double-agents or small, twisted cults that know they will be destroyed if their corruption is ever revealed.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: In the Shadows of the UK sourcebook, it's noted that Bale Hounds have a disproportionately high presence in the UK because of the strong historical influence of Christianity, which unambiguously portrays werewolves as irredeemable agents of Satan and willing servants of evil. When this is combined with an usually high majority of Ghost Wolves, the lack of proper werewolf culture to fall back on means that many of those confused, tormented werewolves either fall back on their human beliefs and become convinced they are the Devil's Dogs, or they have no way of resisting the blandishments and arguments of Bale Hounds when they come to convert them.
- Black Magic: Beyond the unique gifts granted by the Maeljin, Bale Hounds know many rites that would be unspeakable even to the Pure.
- The Corrupter: Bale Hounds exist to spread metaphysical corruption, and seducing another werewolf into embracing the Maeljin is a great triumph for them.
- Cult: They're technically a Religion of Evil, but they're too disparate and small to fully qualify for that status.
- Hell Hound: Not by physical definitions, but they are werewolves who serve the setting's equivalent of Demon Lords And Arch Devils, so they still fit the spirit.
- Paranoia Fuel: Any werewolf could potentially be a Bale Hound, and even their own packmates wouldn't know it.
- Poisonous Friend: If you have a Bale Hound in your party, congratulations; she's going to work towards converting you if she can or killing you if she can't. Or if it's just more expedient.
- Villainous Valor: They actually have quite a lot of respect for the Forsaken. They still think their efforts are doomed and the Bale Hounds are on the winning side, but they can appreciate the courage and stubbornness it takes to fight for a hopeless cause. They certainly respect the Forsaken far more than they do the Pure, whom they roll their eyes at and consider to be unwitting pawns. After all, with how chaotic the reconstitution of Pangaea would be if the Pure's methods succeeded, surely it would end up turning the world into one giant Wound, right?
Soulless Wolf (Viruhk-Ur)Also known as the "Eyes of the Maeljin", Soulless Wolf purports to be Father Wolf's ninth offspring, and claims to have allied with the Maeljin when he saw the way the wind was blowing. Whether he is telling the truth, and whether he is the totem of the Bale Hounds, or simply acts as a messenger for the Maeljin, is up to the storyteller's discretion.
- Bad Boss: Bale Hounds who fail him don't last long.
- Black Eyes of Evil: Has dead, black, sharklike eyes that never move.
- Black Sheep: Regarded as such by both sets of (possible) siblings, and proclaims himself as such.
- Cain and Abel: With both the Pure and the Forsaken totems, who took a vow never to speak his name again.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Seems quite self-aware about his own, and the Maeljin's, role in the overall plot. He also doesn't seem to care.
- Deal with the Devil: Has some sort of arrangement with the Maeljin.
- Dragon-in-Chief: He's not the Big Bad of the Bale Hounds, but both players and the Hounds themselves are much more likely to encounter him then they are the Maeljin themselves.
- Loners Are Freaks: Left the First Pack very early on.
- Mouth of Sauron: Acts as the eyes and voice of the Maeljin in the world.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Several options are presented for Soulless Wolf's origins.
- The Soulless: Likely, given his name.
- The Stoic
- Turncoat: Ran out on the First Pack long before the Pure/Forsaken rift.
- You Have Failed Me: Rarely, but pissing him off is a good way for a Bale Hound's career to meet a very messy, very final end.
The MaeljinThe seven corrupt Incarnae who act as the lords and masters of the Bale Hounds.
Ancient, alien spirits of concepts which never were, never existed, or never codified, depending on who you ask. Some say they aren't actually spirits, either, though they're certainly close enough to be called them. Mad Gods to a spirit, the idigam's experiments and hungers posed a grave danger to Pangaea, made as they were with either no care for the order of things or contempt for it, so it naturally fell to Father Wolf to hunt them. Unfortunately, the idigam soon proved more cunning prey; their defining trait is their endless evolution, each form an idigam takes simply being a transitional state to something grander and more terrifying. Any attempt to destroy them was countered, any trap was disarmed, any victory undone. In desperation, Father Wolf turned to Luna for help, and she took them unto her physical self, leaving only the ones who he never saw due to their relative lack of hostility on Earth.On the moon, the majority of the idigam licked their wounds and sulked. A few learned to call the spirits of stellar phenomena, a few reflected on how they were finally defeated and changed. But they could not reach Earth, the gap of space plus Luna's own guarding against space-born threats prevented that.The Apollo missions? Not so much.The idigam have returned, still furious over their humiliation and millennia of imprisonment. So new a threat that the Forsaken have no method for hunting them, so old as to have matched wits with the greatest of hunters and come out ahead, the idigam combine the adaptability of werewolves, the might of spirits, the strangeness of the Hosts, the intellect of humans, and the unpredictability of the Claimed into singular beasts, and due to their skill with Shaping Essence, they can command or create all of the above given the time and motive. They still despise Father Wolf, all of them, but he cannot feel their fury, since he is dead.So, they've focused their rage on the next best thing-his descendants.
- Big Bad: Of the Idigam Chronicle setting update, and in any story they feature in, being very powerful masterminds who prefer to work through proxies.
- Confusion Fu: On a species-wide level with werewolves, who have no idea what they are or what they're generally capable of. Formless idigam have this on a personal basis, with even their Bans and Banes varying from scene to scene, but thankfully they need to subvert the trope if they want to focus on a single goal, and Coalesce into a stable form...that generally has little bearing on what form the idigam took, it was just present nearby when the idigam Coalesced.
- The Corrupter: The defining ability of Coalesced idigam is the ability to transform anything and anyone nearby into their servants.
- Eldritch Abomination: Nobody's sure what these things are spirits of, or even if they're spirits. Even beyond that, all idigam are alien and bizarre in form, even after Coalescing (Formless idigam look like Shoggoths).
- Mad Scientist: Dominant motive for many of them is curiosity and the desire for self-perfection, and even the ones who aren't have no problem whipping up Claimed monsters and aberrant spirits as minions.
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Self-inflicted version; while idigam start as ever-shifting, fluid beings called Formless, one that has decided on a Goal in Life semi-permanently fixes its body into a Coalesced stat build specifically for that purpose, gaining a Rank of power and the ability to manufacture minions. Can be subverted later on if the idigam gives up on that particular avenue towards perfection and devolves back into a Formless.
- Tortured Abomination: Idigam, horrifyingly, don't need a normal human to create a Claimed; they can tear the wolf-spirit part of an Uratha out and place a different spirit in, creating a monster called a Su'ur; an Empty Wolf. From the quotations of one, it is exactly as horrifying as it sounds to the Su'ur.
Lul'Aya, The False Father
- Animalistic Abomination: He wanted to look like Father Wolf, a great and mighty lupine, but his idigam nature to "improve" got the better of him. Instead he looks like a giant wolf with, among other things, barbed tentacles for fur, an impossibly long jaw filled with teeth from beginning to end, exposed musculature, and occasional other "improvements" if he feels like it.
- Bed Trick: As part of his obsession, he wants to pull a metaphysical version of this on Luna. It's not working.
- Blue and Orange Morality: He really doesn't grok what being a warden and protector of both worlds really means. See Evil Cannot Comprehend Good and Start X to Stop X.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: A prime advantage werewolves have over Lul'Aya is the fact he doesn't understand pack bonds or the relationship between equal peers, only dominance and power. Thus, it's possible to surprise him with ambushes made by trusted allies or invoking help without threatening or blackmail.
- I Just Want to Be You: To Father Wolf, to insane degrees.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: He usually claims to be the reborn Urfarah...to people who don't know any better. He looks and acts nothing like Father Wolf.
- Start X to Stop X: He knows Father Wolf was a hunter of things that disrupt the balance between the Shadow and Flesh worlds. Thus, he uses his Essence Shaping to make things that disrupt the balance by their very existence to hunt.
- Yandere: He wants everything that Urfarah had as his role. Especially his wife. Given how his very existence sends nearby Lunes into Death Rage, it's probably a safe bet that she isn't a fan of the idea.
Gamugur, The Unholy HostNot all of the idigam retained their hatred and their desire during their long imprisonment on the moon. Gamugur actually came to enjoy the serenity of its imprisonment, losing interest in the world twinkling so far below. It wasn't until December 19, 1972, that it finally mustered the desire to return to Earth. With its new obsession with stability and peace, it found Earth of the 1970s horrifically chaotic, and retreated to a cave in the wilderness. It wasn't until a quiet Christian church was built over the cave that it stirred from its slumber; in the stoic, faithful minds of the congregation, it found kindred souls — especially in their shared abhorrence for the chaotic influence of disease and age. Manifesting itself, Gamugur become the patron angel of the church, founding its own private little heaven where routine was all-sacred and nothing ever changed.
- Arc Number: Three, and multiples of three, are repeated throughout Gamugur's form.
- Chaos Is Evil: Its entire motif boils down to its belief in this and its logical counterpart. Of course, as is made clear, its obsession with stasis makes it more of an example of Order Is Evil.
- Harmful Healing: Gamugur can heal the sick and wounded... technically. From its alien perspective, healing is as disgustingly chaotic as letting the disease or injury run its course. So, rather than actually heal something, it just freezes the aberration in stasis, perhaps cosmetically resculpting the body to look less damaged if necessary, and then leaves it like that. Thusly, Gamugur's congregation still have cancers and the like, it's just that they no longer feel the symptoms.
- Our Angels Are Different: Gamugur deliberately styles itself out of angels from the Old Testament. It sports three heads with thirty-three eyes shared between them, fitted on a sexless humanoid body with six arms and nine legs. It is born aloft by six wings in three rows of two upon its back and surrounded by a nimbus of golden light.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Gamugur's abhorrence for change extends to the shunning of death. Thusly, whenever one of its congregation dies, it restores them as a twisted half-living version called an Ascended. These individuals come back incurably insane and still half-dead; they can't sleep, or feel phsical pleasures, and just wander around in a daze. They're also utterly loyal to Gamugur, being incapable of even thinking about defying its orders.
- Voice of the Legion: Inverted; Gamugur's three mouths all speak with the same voice at the same time.
- Weaksauce Weakness: "The blood of Christ" — communion wine that has been properly blessed and sanctified — burns Gamugur like acid, piercing its supernatural defenses.
Gifmalu Igizalag, The ExplorerObsessed with the way that creatures and spirits interact with each other and the world around them, Gifmalu Igizalag is a compulsive experimenter, constantly seeking to find some way to "fix" this broken world caused by the shattering of Pangaea and create a new world of infinite possibilities. Thusly, it roams the world seemingly at random, performing all manner of torturous experiments in melding flesh and ephemera.
- Blob Monster: In its "native" form, Gifmalu Igizalag basically looks like an animate blob of sapient mercury that solidifies into limbs and organs as needed.
- Chaos Is Evil: Inverted; the Explorer worships Chaos as the embodiment of everything good and worthwhile, and seeks to create the ultimate chaos by undoing the stability of the two worlds.
- For Science!: For all of its posturing, this is Gifmalu's real motivation — the desire to know everything there is about the blending of flesh and spirit.
- Giant Enemy Crab: Its preferred form is... vaguely...crab-like.
- I Have Many Names: It has quite a list of titles, including The Shapeless, The Formless, The Blob, The Mad Scientist and the Intelligent Designer.
- Incendiary Exponent: The easiest way to destroy this idigam? Set yourself on fire (or set someone else on fire as a Human Sacrifice). Oh, and it has to be a Heroic Sacrifice; if you're immune to fire, then you're not in pain, so the Explorer just keeps coming.
- Kill It with Fire: A strange variant. The Explorer cannot stand to be around someone who is being burned alive. Human pain is fine, fire is fine, but when the two are combined, it spiritually wracks it, nullifying all of its powers and almost completely negating its defenses...unless the creature in question is a being specifically vulnerable to fire itself (a vampire, for example), which is a different enough frequency that the Explorer can ignore it (thankfully, it isn't yet aware of this).
- Mad Scientist: One with an obsession in investigating what makes spirits and flesh-creatures tick, and how the two can be combined.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Averted. Gifmalu Igizalag is actually First Tongue, and basically translates as "Perfect Dusk Watchman" — something that the average spirit or werewolf wouldn't blink an eye at, and hardly the most intimidating of monikers even by human standards.
- Sanity Has Advantages: Gifmalu Igizalag is pretty much guaranteed to never succeed in its goals because its obsession with trying out the new and fresh keeps it from making or staying with concentrated efforts. It basically refuses to do anything but just poke around at random, finding the idea of doing otherwise incomprehensible.
Mussughana, The Ravenous SwarmIn 1678, the voice of one particular idigam reached to Earth from its prison, touching upon the mind Heironymus Gesell, a German occultist currently confined to a sanitarium as consumption ravaged his body. Desperate to survive and insane, he interpreted this spirit as a deity and founded a cult, the Brotherhood of the Locust. It would not be until April 17, 1970 that the Brotherhood's god would make its way back to the Earth. Now, it roams the world, seeking famines and plagues to fuel its strength, hoping to one day devour everything.
- A God I Am: Though this admittedly comes from the ravings of the Brotherhood of the Locust, Mussughana claims to be the embodiment of the universe before existence began. The incarnation of absolute nothingness, it seeks to devour everything because it cannot know peace until creation has been undone.
- Grey Goo: It's almost a spirit of this trope incarnate.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Its titles include the Devourer, He-Who-Consumes, The Final Dissolution, and The Worm That Feasts.
- Omnicidal Maniac: It isn't actual sustenance that spurs Mussughana's hunger — it's hatred for the very concept of existence and a desire to return to the primordial void by eating everything not of it.
- Plague Master: Downplayed; it has some minor influence over disease, but more so over hunger and despair. It does seek out places suffering from famine and plague, as these fuel its strength more efficiently.
- Weaksauce Weakness: It cannot cross a barrier of pure potable water, it is compelled to devour any offering of pure food, and its hunger increases with its size, so it quickly loses its strength the bigger it gets.
Udu Luhal, The BreederBreeding-Beast Master, to translate its name from the First Tongue, is an idigam obsessed with the unihar, the Ghost Children born of werewolf/werewolf mating. It sees in them a kindred spirit, and it yearns to make one turn from its insane, all-consuming quest to murder werewolves to instead become its mate. Consequently, the idigam secretly follows werewolf packs, seeking to manipulate couples into pairing and birthing unihar, so that it may try to create its perfect mate.
- Blob Monster: It generally appears as semi-amorphous mass or smear of blood, dirt or grime.
- Death by Irony: The blood created when a female werewolf gives birth to an unihar is a lethal toxin to Udu Luhal; a werewolf who anoints their fangs and claws with it can tear through the idigam's flesh with ease, and smearing a handprint of unihar birth-blood on Udu Luhal saps its ability to resist magic and binding.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Is capable and willing to engineer unihar into a better mate directly.
- Love Makes You Evil: Zigzagged; it is motivated by its obsession with finding a perfect mate, but it was pretty damn evil to begin with.
- Stalker With A Syringe: A variant, in that it doesn't try to mate with a werewolf itself, but to arrange for two werewolves to mate. Usually overlaps with Conceive and Kill; as the child is important, it typically murders the father to make its planned experiments easier for it.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Because of its ban, it has an instinctive intense phobia of pregnant women, and will flee into the Shadow rather than come near one.
Umum Wabalu Damu, Mother Wants A FamilyOne, it was an unnatural duality, two spirits that were perfect halves of the greater whole. In the days of Pangaea, the idigam Umum'Abum was unity incarnate. But Luna grew jealous of the perfection of its wholeness and demanded that Father Wolf separate the two, so that no love was greater than that of the fickle goddess and her chosen mate. So it was torn apart and thrown to the moon, until eventually the female half of it tumbled back to the moon, coalescing within the haunted catacombs below an ancient graveyard. Of course, such is the biased claims of the clearly insane Umum Wabalu Damu. But what is irrefutably true is that, seeing a kinship with the ghosts roaming her graveyard, the idigam began assimilating ghosts into herself, trying to use them to patch the hole where her other half once was.
- Evil Matriarch: The only idigam to be explicitly female, and she pretty much has the "overbearing parental figure" down to an extreme.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Anyone willing to infect themselves with Yellow Fever can deliver unnaturally lethal blows to the idigam. Of course, Yellow Fever is a horrible, horrible way to die...
- Unholy Matrimony: When she was half of Umum'Abum, and what she tries to achieve by melding with ghosts.
- Voice of the Legion: Speaks in this fashion.
Zul Sanak, The NemesisOf all the idigam to have escaped the moon, Zul Sanak is perhaps the easiest to understand. At heart, it is little more than a horrifically abused child, driven insane by rage and spite and self-loathing, and utterly consumed by hatred for those around it. It despises werewolves with all its black heart, and yet it yearns for their validation as well, so overwhelmed by loathing of itself that desperately strives to prove it has a place in the universe.
- Death Seeker: Zul Sanak's mind is so fragmented and consumed by self-loathing that, secretly, it wants to be destroyed.
- The Power of Hate: Literally; not only is Zul Sanak utterly consumed by hatred for itself and everything around it, it has spiritual power over hatred.
- The Power of Love: As Zul Sanak is more a spirit of hatred and vengeance than anything, its bane is that werewolves who are willing to make peace with each other just for the sake of killing it will be endowed with the power to do so.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: When it deigns to speak, Zul Sanak favors a sweet, melodic tone of voice even while informing the Uratha of the fate they will suffer at its claws.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Zul Sanak is freakishly adept at manipulating its body even by idigam standards.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Zul Sanak is a hideously evil monster. But, when one notes its description as a "cast-off thing, unvalued and without purpose", living an existence described as "endless misery", well, one can't help but feel a little sorry for it.
The broken, twisted descendants of malevolent Pangaeans (flesh-bound, primal spirits that survived in the Border Marches before Ufarah's death destroyed them). that Father Wolf fought but couldn't completely destroy during the days of Pangaea. The Hosts take various twisted spirit-beast forms, devouring their own kind to grow into stronger forms, which ultimately merge with humans to achieve a mightier state. Each Host is driven by its own drive, based on its original spiritual ancestor.
- Body Horror: Hosts that reach the power to join and become hybrids are always hideously warped, twisted creatures.
- Cannibalism Superpower: To get stronger, a Host needs to physically devour other "Shards" of the same Host class, as this is the only way to evolve and mutate into the higher forms.
- Demonic Possession: Once strong enough, any Host can take over a human body. Unlike most spirits, even those merely Ridden by a Host end up dead, as Hosts kill their human victims and then puppeteer the corpse to interact with the world around them.
- Monstrous Cannibalism: The secondary goal of all Hosts is generally devouring other Hosts of the same class in order to increase their strength.
- The Worm That Walks: As a defense mechanism, when any single Host is physically beaten, it reverts to a massive swarm of deformed and distorted "base creatures" (spiders for Azlu, rats for Beshilu, locusts for Srizaku, etc) that then attempts to flee in all direction. One of these contains the essence of the defeated Host, and unless you manage to luck out and kill that one, or just destroy them all, the Host will survive, take a new host, and pick up where it left off.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Intra-Host cooperation is a fairly rare event, since all Hosts are compelled to devour each other to get stronger. When it happens, usually there's a singular strong and developed Host able to keep them all in line.
- Averted with the Beshilu. Perhaps because they are the weakest of all Hosts, perhaps because of influence from their ratly nature, whatever the reason, they are far more communal than Hosts tend to be and so are usually found in groups.
Azlu: The Spider HostGenerally held as the first and oldest of the Hosts in Uratha mythology, the Azlu were once a demonic Pangaean spider named Zur Suhikath, "The Spinner-Hag". Though Pangaea had its place for predators, the Spinner-Hag was The Hedonist, defying the laws of the primal world to greedily pursue a life of sensual indulgence, rampantly conquering, enslaving and devouring all that caught her many eyes. Such an attitude drew the wrath of Father Wolf, especially due to her fondness for consuming werewolves. Breaking off his then-hunt for the Plague King, he pursued the Spinner-Hag relentlessly, destroying every abandoned web-palace and tearing through all of her cunning traps. Realizing she was doomed, the cowardly demon devised a plan; as she fled before the raging wolf-spirit, she laid thousands of tiny eggs, each containing a small shard of her very soul. When she was destroyed and Pangaea was ultimately shattered, these hatched and became the Azlu. Driven by mad urges to strengthen the Gauntlet and cut off the two worlds entirely, and craving the delicious flesh and blood of werewolves, the Azlu creep into the skulls of human victims and devour their brains so they can take control of their bodies.Appearing in the corebooks of both editions, Azlu were fleshed out in the Predators sourcebook for 1st edition.
- Alternate History: An In-Universe example; some versions of the story of the Spinner-Hag claim that the monster managed to bite Father Wolf just once before being destroyed, and that the First-Forsaken slew him in an unjustified assault, mistaking the curse-laced poison for true weakness. Only the Pure and some Bale Hounds tell this version of the story, which the Forsaken fiercely reject.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Justified in the Predators 1e sourcebook; the insane daughters of an even crazier spirit, Azlu know that sealing off the two worlds will almost assuredly kill or render insane millions of flesh-side beings and may potentially destroy both worlds. And they don't care in the slightest. The Azlu weave and kill because they must, they can, and they want to. There is no question that they will "defect" from their way of life, any more than a human can "defect" from eating and breathing; their spirit-driven intelligences simply cannot comprehend or encompass a reason to cease their lives and duties.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Of the Giant Spider variety.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: The mightiest of the Azarath can develop a special mutation; the Egg Sac. These "Azlu Crones", as they are known, are the only Azlu capable of reproducing, laying dozens of eggs in a sitting that all hatch into new Azlu. Fortunately, it's an extremely rare mutation and very difficult for an Azlu to fuel, which means Azlu guard their "Crones" with their lives.
- Spider People: When an Azlu gains enough power by consuming its weaker siblings it can meld with a human victim's body to become an evolved creature called an Azarath. These monsters craft forms that are a hideous mixture of human and spider traits.
Beshilu: The Rat HostThe second of the Hosts known to be born, and the most common next to the Azlu, the Beshilu are the soul-fragmented spawn of a titanic disease-spirit, a Pangaean demon known as the Plague King. This demon earned Father Wolf's wrath for its delight in slaughtering mortals and spirits alike, visiting plague and ruin upon all things for the sheer joy of watching their suffering. Though distracted for a short time by the Spinner-Hag, Father Wolf could not be stopped and ultimately slew the Plague-King. As he lay dying, the Plague-King summoned swarms of rats which devoured his tainted flesh with unnatural speed, and from these creatures eventually were born the Beshilu. Terrified of werewolves, the Beshilu seek to gnaw down the Gauntlet and force the worlds of flesh and spirit to reunite, eating the hearts of living humans so that they can use their bodies to their advantage.Appearing in the corebooks of both editions, Beshilu were fleshed out in the Predators sourcebook for 1st edition.
- Enemy Mine: Averted. You'd think that with their goal of tearing down the Gauntlet, they'd be natural allies for the Pure, and that even their affinity for disease would be okay with the Fire-Touched, who tend to worship disease. But Beshilu have an insanely strong phobia of werewolves, too strong to even consider the idea as opposed to ripping the Pure apart.
- The Fundamentalist: When Beshilu get religious, they are invariably fanatically devout to their twisted doctrines.
- Plague Master: They have a natural affinity for disease-spirits, so where Beshilu gather, plagues swiftly follow. Rokhans, the most powerful of evolved Beshilu, even have powers specifically relating to inflicting disease, such as infected claws or hideous skin-tumors that weep disease-laden pus.
- Rat Man: Their evolved forms after taking possession of a human body are always some hideous melding of human and rodent features.
- Religious Bruiser: Beshilu often form mad cults and twisted religions about their works, particularly those in the United Kingdom.
- You Dirty Rat: They're literally embodiments of the rat in its symbolism as an agent of disease and foulness.
- Zerg Rush: As Beshilu are more communal than usual for Hosts, their primary tactic is to swarm foes in a wave of possessed bodies and grotesque hybrids.
Srizaku: The Locust HostThe most common and well-known of the "lesser Hosts" (which still isn't saying much), the Srizaku are the Shartha most likely to be known as the Third Host. They were once locusts, before they were infected by the soul of the Famine-Bringer, a monstrous Pangaean whose dominion was over insects and hunger, taking the form of an immense locust. Indeed, it is sometimes said that the Srizaku were truly the first hosts, for Famine-Bringer was brought down in Father Wolf's prime, before his final battles with the Spinner-Hag and Plague King. Taking the forms of swarms of omnivorous locusts, they devour the innards of human beings and take control of their bodies for a single, simple purpose. To feed.Srizaku are detailed in the Predators sourcebook for 1st edition.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Locusts, with the most powerful hybrids being humanoid locusts.
- Big Eater: Their hunger is literally insatiable
- Eldritch Abomination: The true identity of the Famine-Bringer, according to the Night Horrors: Wolfsbane sourcebook? An idigam. Mussughana, the Ravenous Swarm. A creature that is very much alive, well and haunting the World of Darkness today.
- Extreme Omnivore: Being incarnations of demonic hunger, Srizaku will devour anything so long as it's organic.
Halaku: The Crow HostEerie, ominous figures, little is known about the Halaku. Their obsession seems to be watching, claiming human proxies to further their web of information-gathering. Patient, cautious and careful, Halaku simply watch, and wait. Whenever a Halaku does have a goal, it seems to always be an individual thing, rather than the all-consuming drive of other Hosts. They are believed to be the spawn of a Pangaean known various as "The Corpse-Eater" and "The Carrion Prince".Halaku are detailed in the Predators sourcebook for 1st edition.
- Creepy Crows: They're crow-spirits that can assume grotesquely half-human forms, with no apparent purpose save to lurk around spying on people (or at least werewolves) and looking ominous.
- Eye Scream: Halaku possess humans by gouging out and swallowing their eyeballs whilst they're still alive.
- Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Their Fickle Fate aspect allows Halaku to inflict bad luck on people who displease them.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: The "Doomcry" aspect of Halaku mimics the effect of the Word of Quiet gift,
- The Necromancer: To a very, very limited degree; all Halaku have the inherent ability to speak with the dead.
- Winged Humanoid: In hybrid form, Halaku always combine a generally humanoid body frame with flight-capable wings.
Razilu: The Snake HostRarest and most mysterious of all the Hosts, virtually nothing is known about them beyond that they exist, and they are driven to hide themselves, reacting violently when their presence is discovered.Razilu are detailed in the Predators sourcebook for 1st edition.
- Charm Person: They have a hypnotic gaze as one of their inherent powers.
- Curious as a Monkey: If the option that their "purpose" is to sleep is chosen, Razilu are best defined by their insatiable curiosity when they are awake and about. Of course, since these Razilu spend 99 years out of every 100 in the deepest slumber imaginable, it's rather justified they want to cram as much learning and discovery into their one year awake as they can.
- Food Chain of Evil: One of the options presented for Razilu is that their "purpose" is to hunt other Hosts, making them predators of Azlu, Beshilu and the others.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The "serpentine grace" of their host-bodies is described as looking threatening, rather than sensual.
- Shrug of God: They're deliberately left blank in their sourcebook so that Storytellers can make them fit what role they have, including chosing their potential purpose from a list.
- Super Strength: Razilu can double their Strength for a single turn by spending a point of Essence.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: If their purpose is "healing", then they will probably fall under this; Razilu "healers" are not entirely concurrent with human concepts of compassion and mercy.
Adarusharu: The Wolf HostTwisted lupine spirits commonly assumed to be "just" spirits of fear-of-wolves, the Adarusharu are an enigmatic lupine Host that possesses packs of wolves, dogs and coyotes, turning them into Gauntlet-hopping gestalt entities that exist to haunt mortals, growing ever-stronger as they feed on the fear their hunting generates.Adarusharu are detailed in the Night Horrors: Wolfsbane sourcebook for 1st edition.
- Canis Major: Their "war form" is at least the size of a large horse.
- Hell Hound: Spirit-possessed canines that literally feed on fear.
- Hive Mind: All of the canines possessed by an Adarusharu are a singular organism, on a mental/spiritual level.
- Multiple Head Case: When an Adarusharu colaesces into its war form, it becomes a many-headed abomination.
Usudwirku: The Fungus HostOne of the least understood of all Hosts, most werewolves don't actually realize these creatures are Hosts at all. Instead, they believe them to be two separate phenomena; the Usudwirku (mushrooms) proper, a species of spiritually aware fungus that has a tendency to colonize loci on both sides and would ignored were it not for its lethally toxic spores, and the Namusiden ("The Marching Dead"), mysteriously revived corpses of people killed by werewolves who somehow keep returning, each time nothing but a hollow skin filled by slimy, gloppy fungal matter. In fact, the Usudwirku are driven by a mad purpose to colonize loci, as part of a long-term to break down the Gauntlet by bridging the two worlds. The Namusiden are created as propagators and guardians; the fungus-filled corpses spread spores to new loci, and distract werewolves from destroying the new fungal colonies by playing headgames.Usudwirku are detailed in the Night Horrors: Wolfsbane sourcebook for 1st edition.
- From a Single Cell: The Namusiden are the unliving breeding spores of the Usudwirku form-and so long as they have the embryonic spore in them, all they need is a thimbleful of their original bodies and decaying organic matter to reconstruct themselves.
- Fungus Humongous: Downplayed. The mushrooms above the ground are generally no bigger than ordinary mushrooms. The primary body below the soil, however, can easily spread for miles, if given long enough to grow.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Namusiden are not at all fighters by nature, but what they do have is an extremely cunning mind, memories from their bodies, and the willingness to use the guilt of werewolves against them while scheming to force them out of loci.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Theoretically, they could potentially recreate Pangaea. But, like all spirits, their mindlessly amoral pursuit of this goal overrides any good that may come of their actions, especially since they are lethally poisonous to werewolves and humans alike.
Uglathlu: The Worm HostAn extremely rare strain of Host, the Uglathlu are spirits of physical and spiritual decay, existing only to induce dissolution wherever they go, making them the most potent sources for Wounds in the world. Only capable of propagating by possessing the body of an extremely morally bankrupt individual (Morality 2 or less) as they die and then using the body to create a large Wound, their spiritual impact more than outweighs their limited numbers, as mortals descend into insane evil and spirits are driven away or defiled.Uglathlu are detailed in the Night Horrors: Wolfsbane sourcebook for 1st edition.
- Evil Smells Bad: Uglathlu bodies always smell like freshly dug graves and decay.
- Moral Event Horizon: In a sense. Uglathlu don't cross it, technically — they're In-Universe embodiments of the point beyond it. Their presence literally drives people into evil, opening up Wounds if they stay in one place too long.
- Walking Wasteland: If an Uglathlu stays in a given spot too long, they'll cause it to develop into a Wound, a hellish spiritual void where only the most evil and twisted of spirits flock. Indeed, just being near one for too long causes a person's Karma Meter to drop as the Worm Host subtly devours their spirit.
- Worm That Walks: Puns aside, as Uglathlu eat through their bodies, they gradually replace all of the internal organs with hundreds of tightly knotted pink worms. If their pet Wound becomes toxic to their satisfaction, each worm becomes a new Uglathlu and crawls off to find new places to defile.
Kha-Yaawk: The Leech HostA kind of Host endemic from the rainforest of the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. They are solitary creatures, capable of possessing humans and animals alike, that gain sustenance - and Essence - by drinking blood, and the blood of a Uratha is particularly potent to them; once they have fed, they do not need to eat again for months. The worst thing about them is what happen with their victims: if the desiccated corpse rot in standing water sometimes they reanimate as gory, slithering monstrosities just as blood-hungry as the Hosts.Kha-Yaawk are mentioned in the The Pack sourcebook for 2nd edition.
- Our Vampires Are Different and Our Zombies Are Different: The possible result of their attacks if certain conditions are met. Also, since they are possesed leeches the Host also qualificates for the first trope.
- The Necromancer: Played with. Some of their victims will return as zombie/vampire hybrids but they don´t control them or care about what they do.
- Orifice Invasion: How they enter into their victims, using the ear, nose or mouth while they are sleeping.
- Never Sleep Again.
- This One Is Not Like The Others: Justified. They were named and discovered by Urathra natives of the Golden Triangle and likely any knowledge of the name of the original entity, its crimes against Father Wolf and its original name has been lost in time.
Ukusguaku: The Lamprey HostAlso from the Golden Triangle, this Host also burrow into the flesh for blood but the real danger is what they do to the Gauntlet. The Barrier becomes almost fluid, a bloody medium through which the Ukusguaku swim and prowl, and starts seeping blood and oozing into the Flesh. Worse, the Meninna tales whisper of wallowing horrors reaching out of its depths, what makes the Forsaken worried that something worse is using them as its minions.Ukusguaku are mentioned in the The Pack sourcebook for 2nd edition.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Lampreys possesed by shards of a primal spirit.
- Eldritch Abomination: If the tales of the Meninna are true then at least one of them, likely an Idigam, is the one that orders them around.
- Villain Teleportation: Because of their effect on the Gaunlet they can attack from everywhere if there is the oozing and blood their presence produces.
Other HostsThere are rumors of even rarer Host that the ones explained above, so strange and twisted that the Forsaken donot expect them to exist. Of course, such shortsightedness is likely to kill them.These Hosts are mentioned in the Blasphemies sourcebook.
- Cats Are Mean: The Cat Hosts.
- Religion of Evil: Is mentioned that the Host often have cabals of human devotees protecting and giving them power but the "Stinger" is the only one know to have willing followers.
- Genuine Human Hide: Used by "Stinger" servants to help with "his" plans.
- Hypnotic Eyes: Used by the Cat Hosts to get help from normal humans in their hunts of spirits, Ridden and Forsaken.
- Omnicidal Maniac: The Ghost Hosts only want two things, to kill people and suck their souls to create more of them that will kill more people to create more until everything around them is dead.
- Worm That Walks: "Stinger" is believed to be a living hive to a colony of Bee Hosts and wants to build and it wants to "pollinate" both the Gurihal and the Hisil.
The Uratha are not the only beings to wander the World of Darkness in more forms than one. Other strange lineages of half-man, half-beast also prowl the darkness, alongside mad mystics, cursed souls, mortals ridden by beast-spirits, and other, even stranger things. The majority of focus to non-werewolf shifters is the focus of the 1e sourcebooks Skinchangers and War Against the Pure, with the latter focusing on "true" shifters, although the Balam-Colop appeared in the Blasphemies sourcebook.There are also the Fera of "Changing Breeds", but nobody likes to talk about "Changing Breeds".
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: Are they ever! Just take a look a this list of creepy creatures and know that storytellers are actively encouraged to come up with their own unique forms of werebeast.
True ShiftersTrue Shifters are shapechanging races in their own right. They may begin life as men and become beasts, or they may be born as beasts and become men, or they may know what they are from birth. They may propagate through selective breeding, sorcery, or some strange combination of the two, but whatever induces the change, they are shifters thenceforth, and this trait can never be removed.
Balam-ColopDescendants of a cursed line of jaguars once used by the ancient Mesoamericans to conduct human sacrifices, Balam-Colop are born whenever a pregnant jaguar of such lineage kills a human, cursing her young to existence as half-man, half-beast monsters. Balam-Colop are massive and powerful jaguars with near-human intelligence and the ability to assume a beast-man form. Though they lack higher culture of their own, embracing the feral life of their jaguar ancestors, Balam-Colop have a taste for human flesh and must feed on human hearts to power their regenerative abilities. In their hybrid form, Balam-Colop have eerily child-like proportions, with overly large heads and eyes and amply fleshed frames that conceal powerful muscle. In contrast, their jaguar forms are true paragons of their species, large, strong and vital specimens that have their pick of mates, ensuring their tainted bloodline spreads far and wide.
- Breath Weapon: Balam-Colop can exhale dense clouds of mist, which they use to cover their retreats or enhance their ability to strike from surprise.
- Healing Factor: Weaker than that of a werewolf's, and it only functions if a Balam-Colop has eaten at least one human heart within the last 24 hours, but it does allow them to recover from non-mortal wounds with preternatural swiftness.
- Picky People Eater: Zigzagged. Balam-Colop need to eat human hearts to fuel their powers of regeneration. But they can and will eat the rest of a person, too, as they enjoy the taste of human flesh in general.
- Spider-Sense: Balam-Colop have a limited form of inherent prophetic talent, enabling them to sense danger before it arrives. This makes them almost impossible to ambush, makes their attacks far more accurate, and means that opponents don't gain any benefits from trying to fight them in a group.
- This Was His True Form: Balam-Colop revert to jaguar form upon death.
Suthanu-Sua: The ColonyCursed and insane werecats driven by mystical compulsions to judge and punish humanity, the Colony seeks out human sinners and destroys them, or is driven insane by the unsated urge to do so.
- Cat Folk: Played for horror. Suthanu-Sua in their hybrid form resemble grotesquely emaciated and long-limbed humans with clawed digits, a thin coating of cat-like fur, and a rather oversized for its body vaguely anthropomorphic cat's head. The end result is quite hideous.
- Common Eye Colors: Suthanu-Sua are divided into three auspice-equivalents based on the color of their eyes in hybrid and cat form.
- Green Eyes: Suthanu-Sua with green eyes, commonly named "Leafeyes", are the most adept at interacting with people. They tend to be the seducers and the target-trackers as a result.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The "warrior caste" of the Colony are the Bloodeyes, marked by their gore-red eyes.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: The Goldeyes are the scholars and intellectuals of the Colony, favoring topics like academics, investigation and the occult.
- Detect Evil: Averted. Despite being compelled to find and slay evil, the Suthanu-Sua have no special ability to sense people who are evil. They have to rely on mundane methods of tracking criminals down... and spirits preserve them if they're wrong.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Suthanu-Sua are mentally compelled to kill sinners and evil doers, with the frequency set by how powerful they are; the most powerful Suthanu-Sua have to be committing a murder a week. Failure to kill drives them insane, with insanity deepening if they still refuse to obey, and can only be cured by finally giving in and committing murder. However, killing people forces a Harmony check if the Suthanu-Sua is at all a decent sort of person (6 for innocents, 7 for sinners), so they'll probably end up going permanently crazy anyway.
- Man Bites Man: Suthanu-Sua with the Spinebite aspect have the ability to deliver an exceptionally lethal bite, allowing them to rip out peoples' throats for immense damage.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Killing someone that they consider innocent is a huge mental blow to the members of the Colony, forcing a roll on the Karma Meter.
- The Virus: Almost literally. Suthanu-Sua enter a quasi-biological mystic condition on every 10th birthday, in which they are compelled to add a new werecat to the Colony. By an act of will, they can secrete a virulent spiritual toxin (which werecats often refer to as "Cat Scratch Fever") and deliver it via their claws. If the Suthanu-Sua can stay within the victim's presence for the next 24 hours, the victim will become a new werecat. Otherwise, the victim dies.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Originally humans, they have the ability to assume the forms of large, feral-looking housecats capable of speech, or eerily mute and alien humanoid cats.
Surthu Athilal: The Distant OnesArrogant and vain, the Surthu Athilal are a race of werefalcons who claim the skies as their sovereign territory, jealously defending their chosen aeries from groundling interference almost as zealously as they bicker and war with each other over the pettiest of difficulties.
- A God Am I: A sign of how arrogant they are; the Distant Ones are all convinced that they are royalty, born with the strains of godhood running in their bloodlines. It's so ubiquitous that renaming themselves after various deities related to the skies is standard practice in their aeries.
- Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Every so often, when a person tries to obsessively climb to a certain height, the Surthu Athilal will recognize that human as one of them in potentia. After abducting the candidate, they perform what they call the Soaring Uplift; a ritual in which at least three of the avian therianthropes pluck their feathers and draw spiraling sigils on the subject's body with a cocktail of egg yolk and blood taken from ordinary birds, shrieking and screeching as they do so. Then, when they have completely covered the subject, they throw him or her from the highest point in their aerie. If the ritual takes, the human is irreversibly transformed into a new Surthu Athilal. If not, they go splat.
- Giant Flyer: Downplayed. In their beast form, Surthu Athilal have a wingspan of six to seven feet and when sitting are easily half that height — which is massive for a falcon.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Surthu Athilal can assume the form of both abnormally large raptors and humanoid eagles in addition to their original human form.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Surthu Athilal are driven almost obsessively by the pursuit of Glory, and thusly their interactions with one another are almost operatic performances of oneupsmanship, rivalry, competition and other petty disputes. Only the intervention of a hostile outside force makes them pull together.
- Winged Humanoid: Only if patagia count. Surthu Athilal can fly in hybrid form, but they don't have distinct, seperate wings on their humanoid form.
Bith Balag: The BrinebornThis is the story that the Bith Balag tell. In the beginning, Mother Ocean looked upon the land and saw that man was but an animal, knowing nothing beyond the hypnotic dance of the campfire and the sweet taste of bloody brains oozing from a rock-smashed skull. But she also saw that they had potential. So she gave life to a child of herself, a creature she named Oe, that melded human forms with piscine elements, and sent him to the land to educate man. From Oe's careful tutelage, man learned the rudiments of math, writing, music; everything that would ultimately give them culture and wisdom came from Mother Ocean's generosity. But no matter Oe's gifts, man was still no more than a savage, and proved that by turning on their benefactor without warning or cause. Terrified and bleeding from wounds made by stone axes, Oe fled his assailants by diving into the waters of the sea, only for Mother Ocean to turn on him in a fickle rage. Exiling him, he was trapped on the shoreline forever more, caught between the worlds of man and ocean, as his children have been ever since.
- Blessed with Suck: For all their powers and shapeshifting abilities, it gives them little benefit. Brineborn can't live too far from sources of water; at 50 miles or more away, it's almost impossible for them to think about anything other than the burning need to get closer to water. However, they can't survive in water, either; the ability to breathe water isn't universal amongst them, and even if they can breathe water, they can only do so for so long. Secondly, spending too long in the water gives them horrific panic attacks as they become seized by an unshakeable conviction that some horrific Sea Monster is going to gulp them down from beneath.
- Dark Is Not Evil: They look like Deep Ones straight out of the Cthulhu Mythos... but they're actually a shy, retiring and decent people, who are laboring under an extremely nasty species-wide curse. There are some bad eggs, but for the most part they want to leave alone and be left alone.
- Evil Matriarch: Mother Ocean, going by their Creation Myth, makes Luna seem a stable and loving mother-figure.
- Interspecies Romance: They have to engage in this in order to reproduce; Brineborn mate with humans to produce more of their own kind, guaranteeing the birth of new Brineborn, but if they mate with each other, the result is a violently insane monster trapped in hybrid form and constantly in the throes of Death Rage.
- Mythology Gag: The results of Brineborn breeding together is very similar to the Metis of Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: They're shapeshifting, cursed fish-men, who don't even have the ability to breathe underwater as standard.
- Religious Bruiser: Whether they worship Mother Ocean, Christianity, Buddhism or some other faith, the Brineborn tend to be strongly religious.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Implicit in their attitude towards Mother Ocean. She torments them mercilessly, refusing to let them get too close to her or to get away from her, but the Brineborn love her and worship her.
- Tragic Monster: Everything about the Brineborn seems to be the result of someone looking at a Deep One and thinking "how can we make these guys pitiful and sympathetic?"
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Their true form is arguably their hybrid form, which varies a lot, but always looks like a strange melding of human and fish. However, they can also assume human form, or the form of massive fish, such as giant catfish, gars, sturgeons, or, in rarer cases, more predatory horrors like sharks, giant eels and swordfish.
Nidmuzug: The UncleanCursed wereroaches who spread a spiritual contamination wherever they go, the Unclean huddle in the dark places of the world, seeking only to be left alone by a world that hates and reviles them.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: They're were-cockroaches. It comes with the territory.
- Blessed with Suck: They gain Voluntary Shapeshifting and significant durability... at the cost of being weakened by the light and, of course, turning into hideous roach-men.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Yes, they are hideous, repulsive and terrifying. But most Nidmuzug are actually fairly nice guys... at least, until age and bitterness turns them hostile to a world that rejects them for being what they are, anyway.
- Poisonous Person: Nidmuzug have the Venomous aspect as a freebie, imbuing them with lethally poisonous natural weapons.
- Tragic Monster: No Nidmuzug asked to be turned into a hideous, garbage-eating wereroach. But once they changed, they can't change back. And they can't even have children any other way than by this "adoptive" method; wereroach/wereroach breeding always miscarries, and wereroach/human pregnancies are three times as likely to miscarry as normal ones.
- The Virus: A disturbingly literal example. Nidmuzug broadcast a spiritual contamination whenever they increase in Primal Urge, contaminating exposed water sources and raw foodstuffs in a radius of potentially hundreds of feet. Those who eat such food risk becoming sick with a disease that will, if they succumb, turn them into new Nidmuzug.
- The Worm That Walks: Their "beast form" is a mass of 500 or more six-inch-long cockroaches that moves with a singular mind and will.
GudthabakReferring to themselves as the Baal-Hadad, these sun-worshiping werebulls stake out territories in the backroads and desolate regions, forcing humans into worshiping them.
- A God Am I: The natural instinct of the Baal-Hadad is to claim dominance over humans, seeing themselves as intermediaries between Helios, the Incarnae of the Sun, and humans, and thusly as being demigods.
- A Load of Bull: They're taurine shapeshifters. Naturally, their hybrid form is a minotaur-like humanoid bull, and their beast form is a particularly large and savage bull.
- Animal Gender-Bender: Female Baal-Hadad sport horns as impressive as those of the males in animal and hybrid forms, though otherwise they remain visibly female.
- Breeding Cult: Their primary reason for clashing with the Uratha; Baal-Hadad can only propagate their numbers by mystically transforming wolfbloods into new werebulls. As these same individuals are the primary source of new generations of werewolves, violence swiftly ensues.
- Knight Templar: They regard themselves as arbiters of morality in their territories, and they are extremely vicious about punishing transgressors.
SkinthievesThe most common form of once-men shapeshifters, skinthieves are mortals who have learned magical rituals that enable them to craft talismans that let them assume the forms of animals. Most usually, this involves killing an animal and wearing its hide to trigger the transformation, hence the common moniker, but there are variants upon the theme.
Black-Eyed ToadsA secretive lineage of minor mystics who have learned a secret rite from the spirit Softly-Croaking Toad. After first treating their eyes with drops of a compound of castor oil and tannins, dying their eyeballs a deep, near-black hue, these mystics are able to remove their eyes and then implant them in the body of a toad. They can then possess this toad's body, allowing them to direct it as they see fit, seeing and hearing anything. Though they still possess the power of speech and reason, they are otherwise normal toads.
- Black Eyes of Crazy/Black Eyes of Evil: It's hard to say which more accurately describes someone willing to yank out their eyes so they can spy on people in the guise of a toad.
- Eye Scream: The ritual to take control of a toad's body involves first cutting out the living toad's eyes, and then gouging out your own eyes and sticking them in the toad's eye sockets. Then, to reclaim your eyes, you have to pluck them from the toad's eye sockets again and stick them back in. Then you eat the toad.
- Weirdly averted; if a toad is killed whilst being possessed, the eyes will usually survive completely unharmed. There's also a secondary ritual where, if the mystic's eyes are destroyed, they can grow new ones over a base of rock crystal.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Not a lot of people would consider "pluck out your eyes to take control of a toad's body" to be much of a valuable power.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: The reason there are still black-eyed toads around; being a toad is an excellent way to go unnoticed, and learn all kinds of valuable secrets, and there are people who consider it worthwhile for that alone.
The CoalblacksThe Coalblacks of Cincinnati, Ohio, had made a fortune in the coal industry, but when the grand switchover from coal to petroleum occurred in the 1970s, Emil Coalblack, grandson of the man who had founded the Coalblack dynasty, found his family one of the first to lose grasp on both the business and its fortune. When the legal and financial dust settled, they retained ownership of their mansion and estate some 20 miles from the city along the I-74, and enough money in stocks to subsist on, so long as they gave up their formerly extravagant lifestyle. Emil refused to accept this, and turned to the occult. The Coalblack Mansion became known as the Crow House, as the increasingly gloomy estate became infested with crows over a period of a few short years. However, Emil's experiments bore fruit; he created an elixir that would allow him to assume the form of a crow. Sharing this secret with his children, the Coalblacks have since secretly prospered, using their alternate forms to steal, spy and blackmail.
- Dark Secret: Not just the whole "family who use occult rituals of Voluntary Shapeshifting" thing, but they actually gather all kinds of secrets in their flights.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: The younger Coalblacks have become more crow than human, and so display an increased tendency to act like crows even in their own bodies.
- Mundane Utility: Turning into Ravens and Crows works great as a way to steal valuable trinkets to rebuild your crumbling family fortune. Not to mention ferreting out all sorts of secrets that can work for blackmail.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Coalblack formula involves mixing together a cocktail of coal dust, crow's eggs and the skinthief's own blood. The skinthief then feeds a mixture of this compound and seed to a crow, before eating it alive. After which, they turn into a crow and can stay like that for as long as they wish, though once they've changed back, they need to feed and eat another crow to become crows again.
Tusk-RunnersThroughout Africa and Asia, certain isolated clans and tribes have learned a ritual where they can open up an elephant's stomach and climb inside, proceeding to assume control over the elephant's body. By bathing in a cocktail of elephant's milk and certain special plant oils, the Tusk-Runner can then approach a sleeping elephant without fear, slicing them open and melding with them, and then leaving, with nothing but a tiny and harmless scar left in their wake. Though mostly restricted to the lands of their birth, a few have chosen to immigrate elsewhere in the world.
- Demonic Possession: Inverted, in that it's a human possessing a beast through magic.
- The Symbiote: The process does not actually kill the elephant, making them unique amongst the sample skinthieves — hell, it doesn't even hurt the elephant all that much.
Horned HuntersSometimes, hunters who seek out deer and elk become obsessed with hunting, coming to lose themselves in the cycle of predator and prey. When these souls manage to slay the biggest and most fearsome bucks in the forest, the so-called "king stags", they are seized by an urge to carefully harvest the skin and antlers. By dressing in the buck's skin and thrusting the sharp roots of the antlers into their own scalps, the Horned Hunters transform into ferocious and highly territorial humanoid stags. Some Uratha lore-seekers believe that the arts may have originated in some sect in Eastern Europe, but it has clearly crossed well beyond its ancestral borders.
- Animal Gender-Bender: Women can become Horned Hunters too, and presumably they look about as female as female Gauru-form werewolves do. But, since the power is concentrated in the antlers of the stags, a female Horned Hunter still sports an impressive set of antlers.
- Fauns and Satyrs: Horned Hunters look like particularly vicious and warlike humanoid stags in their hybrid form.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The transformation into a Horned Hunter can be quite addictive. Those who succumb to this addiction and try to force themselves to remain in hybrid form longer than they should often end up getting what they want at the cost of going completely stark raving mad.
Spirit-SkinnersRarest and most disparate of all the skinthieves, Spirit-Skinners are occultists and lunatics who have managed an almost impossible feat; flaying a spirit and using the preserved hide to assume its form, or otherwise imprisoning and compelling a spirit to let the skinthief wear its body.
- Demonic Possession: Inverted, they're humans who possess spirits.
The StrayAlan Donning is one of the many sad and pitifully strange beings who roam the city streets of the World of Darkness. An unexceptional man, he loved two things with all his heart; his wife, and his faithful dog. When he returned early from work, only to find his wife having sex with another man, the heartbroken Donning turned and left, becoming a vagrant with his only true and loyal friend. One cold winter night, the homeless vagrant was on the verge of death, when his dog made a Heroic Sacrifice and tore itself open with its weathered teeth. Blinded by grief, Alan crawled inside his only friend's body for warmth, only to waken and find himself wearing the guise of large dog. Ever since then, whenever his borrowed hide decays, another stray sacrifices itself, and unwilling to let it die in vain, Alan takes a new body.
- Death Seeker: Alan wants to die, unable to tolerate living in this cruel world, but he can't bring himself to just let it end, not when the dogs keep sacrificing themselves to preserve his life.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Alan is more of a dog than a man now, after spending so long in canine form.
- Pet the Dog: Incredibly Lame Pun aside, the Forsaken have a great deal of pity for Alan Donning, and consider him a distant relative by adoption. The packs politely ignore him and even give him what comfort they can, when they can spare it.
Doctor ApeModern African legends tell the story of an American doctor who came to the continent as part of a relief program in the late 50s. Though they say only good things about his intentions and efforts, all stories ultimately focus on how, after an attack by an angry chimpanzee, he ultimately went mad and left. What none know is the truth; the attack, although it did little damage to his body, did injure his mind. He became obsessed with chimpanzees, and ultimately began performing experiments in human skin grafts, leading to his discovery of a way to take the hide of a chimpanzee and walk amongst them. To this day, certain villages in Africa near the heavy jungle regions will sometimes notice a chimpanzee who seems strangely interested in the doings of people. Rumors whisper that, should this chimpanzee see an important injury or a sickness, a strange white doctor with unusually lump skin and recently-sewn wounds behind his ears will soon after emerge from the jungle. He will help the hurt and cure the ill, and then vanish into the jungle once again. Doctor Ape has not abandoned his urge to heal the sick even as he has forsaken the human life for that of the chimpanzee.
- Creepy Good: Nuts he may be, but the reason people know he exists is that he can't stand to see people in pain when he has the capacity to help.
- Mad Doctor: Averted. He is a doctor, and he is mad, but the two aren't linked-in his medical life, he's perfectly sane and helpful. Did go through a phase where he attempted to use chimp skin grafts in place of human ones, but that was motivated by desperation more than anything.
- Power Born of Madness: It was his insane obsession with chimpanzees that ultimately allowed him to discover his strange, science-based form of skintheft.
BarsarksBelieved to hail from Eastern Europe, Barsarks are enigmatic loners who ritually stalk and kill the biggest, fiercest bears in the wilderness. By defeating such a monster and eating its heart, the Barsark can then cure its hide to create a cloak that enables them to become a bear or a bear-man. This cloak does not last forever, and the Barsark must continually recharge its power by slaying more bears, if lesser than its "totemic kill", and stitching them into the cloak to imbue it with fresh magic.
- Bears Are Bad News: Most Barsarks seek only to be left alone in the wilderness, but like the bears they resemble, they are deadly when roused to anger.
The Invisible ManA Nicaraguan man who learned a mad ritual that enables him to possess a swarm of fire ants by laying down in their nest and letting them swarm all over his body. Though the ceaseless biting is painful even as his mind rides the swarm, such is his obsession with the power he feels it gives him and his growing self-loathing that he cannot resist the urge to perform the ritual again and again.
- The Worm That Walks: His "shapeshifting" is a kind of inverted Demonic Possession that lets his human mind inhabit an entire colony of fire ants.
The Nahualtin, Cihuatlactah, and Animal Mystery WarriorsIntroduced in Dark Eras. The Mexica empire-known to modern historians as the Aztecs-lived in a far more blatantly magical world before the conquistadores came. For example, it was actually an article of common knowledge that properly trained people could take the form of animals and learn the secrets of spiritual magic from them. Such as it was with these three varieties of shapeshifter, each from a quite different branch of Mexica life. The nahualtin (singular nahualli), the priesthood of the rain-makers and keepers of social order, trained trusted members in their ranks to take the form of beasts to keep watch on seditious elements. The Mystery Warriors were members of the normal Jaguar and Eagle branches of the Aztec military who were trained in skintheiving their namesakes as a reward for the many captives and victories they brought to their people. Finally, the Cihuatlactah were not actually sanctioned members of Aztec society, and in fact became as such in vicious defiance-for they were all women who grew so sick of their gender role they stole the skin of men, just to finally see what it was like, having freedom and power.
- Big, Badass Bird of Prey: Owl-aspected nahualtin and Eagle Mystery Warriors turn into them.
- Bond Creatures: The Eagle Mystery Warriors don't need to kill their donor, and in fact usually don't-just a few drops of blood is enough to recharge their powers, and so they usually keep the eagle as a pet. Many are noted to become quite depressed when their friend dies.
- Body Snatcher: A Cihuatlactatl who does not have the Renewable Skins power is going to be murdering a lot of men and hiding their bodies.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Nothing says you have to be an awful person and be one of the Aztec skinthieves-the example Cihuatleth killed her donor while defending her father and only learned the trick to legally pardon him for teaching her male crafts, and both the Mystery Warriors are chivalrous Nice Guys. By Aztec standards, the nahualtin aren't evil either, just making sure society runs smoothly and the sacrifices keep coming. Operative term being "Aztec standards", and even them they're still pretty terrifying.
- The Dreaded: The nahualtin invoke this quite deliberately to make their jobs easier-it's a lot more appealing to be loyal when you know that the owl in the trees could be a lower-ranking priest, and any animal (or ghost, or human, or spirit...) a master among them.
- Loss of Identity: Rarely, a Mystery Warrior will lose himself to the beastial instincts, becoming a mad cryptid with no place as a man or beast.
- Malevolent Mutilation: The nahualtin aren't hypocrites about human blood feeding the gods-they happily cut themselves open to donate their own to the altars, and thus you can usually tell them by the network of scars they bear. Given how they're the shapeshifting Secret Police, they count.
- Ominous Owl / Panthera Awesome: Mid-ranking nahualtin are taught how to turn into an owl or jaguar as their initiation. Jaguar Mystery Warriors always turn into Jaguars.
- Scary Amoral Religion: Averted for the nahualtin-their religion condones human sacrifice, but it's made quite clear they, and everyone else they know, think it's necessary to keep the sun going. They have a pretty strong sense of good and evil behavior, and do what they need to in order to keep people on the good path.
- Super Soldier: The Mystery Warriors are a Magic Knight version.
- Transsexual: It is explicitly mentioned that some Cihuatlactah pick up the art and come to realize they feel more comfortable with male bodies for reasons that go beyond having agency. A few even come to feel that the male skin is their real self, and the female form their disguise.
- Villainous Crossdresser: Averted for the Cihuatlactah. They all have skinned at least one person, but the place of Aztec women is often so fucking miserable that becoming men, even briefly, is often the only way they remain sane.
Spirit-ClaimedMany spirits of beasts are capable of claiming human hosts and twisting their bodies into more comfortable guises. When such a being is capable of freely reverting between forms, usually establishing a bond with its host beyond that normal of a spirit, then a true shapeshifter is born.
- Demonic Possession: What they all technically fall under.
Thar Akuru: The Black FlockIn the days of Pangaea, Father Wolf existed alongside many other spirits of equal might. One of these was Uha, Raven, a trickster spirit who loved to test his wit and skill against those of Father Wolf. Though he was always careful to respect Father Wolf's authority and keep from pushing the great hunter's temper too far, not all of Uha's brood was so clever. One such spirit, Nam Uha, let his pride get the best of him, wreaking such havoc and harassing Father Wolf to the extent that the great hunter ultimately had no choice to hunt Nam Uha down. Though the hunt ended the only way it could have done, with Nam Uha being devoured, the spirit made a plan to escape. It left a "spirit egg" in the body of a human woman, hoping that this would allow Nam Uha to reincarnate after death. And from this action was born the Black Flock, a lineage of Claimed all hosting incarnations of the same trickster-raven spirit.
- Bullying a Dragon: If Nam Uha had just stopped flaunting its lawbreaking and incessant badgering for Father Wolf's attention, the Thar Akuru wouldn't exist.
- Clever Crows: They owe their existence to the symbolism of the crow/raven as a trickster and cunning mischief-maker.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: The first of the Thar Akuru was, in effect, a perfect copy of Nam Uha... but completely devoid of any sense of identity or or guiding purpose. When it finally figured out what it was, it found it couldn't voluntarily leave its body, even upon death.
- Also, the whole point of propagating the Flock — to one day free and restore Nam Uha — is pretty much impossible at this point. Each spirit that is part of the flock is, really, its own individual, so if it were set free, it wouldn't be Nam Uha reborn but an entirely new spirit.
- The Trickster: A classic example.
- The Nothing After Death: The Thar Akuru propagates because each spirit is desperately afraid of dying; they cannot leave their host-bodies, even if those bodies die, so the death of the flesh brings them total annihilation.
- Your Soul Is Mine: A Thar Aku consumes the soul of its mortal flesh when its spirit egg hatches inside of them.
KitsuneTo survive in the days of Pangaea, so it is said, the foxes unanimously became trickster-spirits. However, their trait became a bane in its own right when their unwillingness to discriminate in their targets and their cruelty angered Father Wolf. Confronting the leader of all fox spirits, Inari the Eternal Fox, he gave the spirit a choice; reign in his brood, or watch as Father Wolf devoured them. So, Inari called all fox-spirits to a meeting, explaining the situation. Some agreed with Inari's plan, to change their ban so that they may only trick and molest those who had slighted them, and that they were compelled to repay those who gave them boons. These became the Inari Seha, the Obedient Foxes of Inari, and so they were left in peace ever more. Others, however, refused to heed Inari's warning and left the meeting; these became the Foxes Who Abandoned Inari, the Inari Kihar, and Father Wolf fell upon them with all his fury. Only the death of Father Wolf and the fall of Pangaea kept the Inari Kihar alive. As human culture evolved, so too did Inari's brood, until they became their own distinctive spirit choir; they became the Kitsune.
- Canis Major: Siten Uzu with the Avatar of Inari aspect can assume the form of a gargantuan nine-tailed silver-furred fox, comparable to the Primal Wolf form that certain Uratha can take.
- Cunning Like a Fox: The synonymy between "fox" and "The Trickster" is the ultimate reason why the kitsune exist.
- Demonic Possession: The Siten Uzu are a rare inversion; control of the kitsune's spiritual powers is entirely left to the human host, they can only be created if the host agres to it, and the human has such total control that the spirit inside can't communicate or leave until the host dies or lets it out. Needless to say, Siten Uzu are universally created in desperation, and only by the Inari Seha, whose ban near-universally prevents them from conventionally Claiming a host.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The universal ban of the kitsune is that they must repay a kindness tenfold, and can repay a slight however they wish.
- Kitsune: Obviously. Beyond the division of Inari Seha and Inari Kihar, there are three specific kinds of kitsune. The Kitsune Ka are spirits who only take the form of foxes, sometimes with multiple tails, and are the simplest-minded of the kitsune strains. The Kitsune Unu, generally held as the smartest and strongest of their kind, are shapeshifting fox spirits who prefer to spend most of their time manifesting in a human form, allowing them to more elaborately test — and trap — humans for their amusement. Finally, the Kitsune Sedu are shapeshifting fox-spirits who prefer a humanoid fox form and fetter themselves to unsuspecting human hosts and use their powers to make life chaotic for their victim. Needless to say, most Kitsune Sedu are Inari Kihar, relishing the chance to make human lives miserable, but a small number of Inari Seha take this path to better test, punish and reward mortals.
- Master of Illusion: Naturally, illusionary powers are universal to kitsune, although Kitsune Unu (with their unique Hallucinations numina) and Siten Uzu with the Illusion aspect are best at it.
- Super Speed: Siten Uzu with Inari's Swiftness can attain supernatural speeds, complete with bullet-dodging abilities, whilst in fox form.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Kitsune Unu can become humans or foxes as they please, but prefer human form. Kitsune Sedu prefer a humanoid fox form, but can become purely human or fox if they must. Siten Uzu can unlock the Fox Transformation and Avatar of Inari forms, which allow them to become a normal fox or a giant fox-monster, respectively.
The Kanaima, aka Umamu Suhi, the Beasts of VengeanceHailing from the jungles of South America, the Kanaima are a specialized descant of the Vengeance spirit choir that are unique fusions of jaguar spirit and vengeance spirit. They are the children of Ka'an Balam, an Incarna who once ruled over the people who would become the Olmecs in South America; though a stern and demanding ruler, he was also fair, teaching his mortal subjects to live lives of faith and piety, and to live with full hearts. When Pangaea fell, he could no longer direct his people, and they turned increasingly to darker arts in order to survive and to find their beloved Jaguar God. By the time that Ka'an Balam was able to pierce the Gauntlet and walk amongst his people again, it was too late; the people whom he had ruled and, in his own way, loved, were dead, leaving a twisted and corrupted parody in their place. After being served human entrails at a feast to honor his return, and seeing the once-joyous Festival of the Sun culminate in a young boy being sacrificed and his heart offered to the heavens, Ka'an Balam could bear it no longer. He slaughtered his fallen priesthood and followers... but found, to his bitter regret, that his people were so distorted they could no longer understand why he was so angry. And so he left them. His brood were left behind, confused and uncertain; with no other clear path before them, they chose to continue in their lord's path; punishing those who were corrupt and avenging on behalf of the unjustly slain.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The Kanaima do not care about the magnitude of the crime they are called to punish, nor the moral character of whoever contacted them. They are called for vengeance, and that is all that matters... though directing them for truly petty ends can irritate them.
- Monster from Beyond the Veil: Uniquely amongst spirits, Kanaima cannot possess mortals. But they have instead developed the ability to possess the bodies of those who die in a manner deserving of vengeance. So long as the future host either called upon a Kanaima to continue their quest before they were slain, pleaded with the Kanaima to avenge them as they died, or lingers as a ghost to grant permission, the Kanaima can take control of the body and act..
- Panthera Awesome: The default form of a manifest kanaima is a huge, ghostly jaguar, and their host-bodies can shift between human and jaguar form.
Nemu Sakar: Leopard MenBorn in Liberia, the "Terror Cats" (to translate their name from the First Tongue) are unique choir of spirits created as a result of human mysticism. When leopard hunting came into vogue amongst the tribes of the region, some leopard hunters began developing their own belief structure; having slain what they considered the most fearsome and terrible of all predators, they had literally conquered fear. And so that gave them the right to usurp the "leopard's power", to act as a leopard acts and use this to dominate the people around them. And so they began reigns of cruelty, murder and brutality... inadvertently feeding leopard-spirits who were drawn to them by the leopards they had claimed. These spirits gorged themselves on a bounty of pain, suffering, fear and bloodlust, becoming dark monsters that went from magath to a twisted new breed. Initially fettering themselves to their creators to goad them to further acts, eventually, they came to ritualistically claim them, creating duguthim and brutalizing the world around them.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Terror Cats" — if that's not a moniker you don't want to hear applied to someone...
- Panthera Awesome: They appear as massive, evilly intelligent leopards with blood-spattered paws and muzzles.
Im Iri: The BoudaIn the ancient days of what is now Abyssinia, the Bouda tribe were once bedeviled by a unique choir of particularly malicious hyena-spirits, the Im Iri, who took a delight in plaguing the humans who had inadvertently helped free them from being "mere" hyena-spirits. But the Bouda had wise souls who knew the ways of spirits, and they learned of the Im Iri's ban; whenever they received a gift, they had to repay it with one of equal value. Upon also learning that many spirits eagerly sought to walk amongst the world of flesh, the elders of the Bouda made a deal with the Im Iri; the Im Iri would be allowed to claim selected women of the Bouda, but in return they were bound by their nature as spirits to grant an equitable request. The Im Iri agreed, but found they had understimated the elders; they demanded that the Im Iri give themselves to the Bouda as the Bouda had given their women, protecting the tribe from their enemies and walking freely amongst them, and in exchange being constantly given new hosts as old ones perished, until the debt was paid. And so the Im Iri and the Bouda have been bound together ever since.
- Always Female: Thanks to their spiritual connections with the spotted hyena and its matriarchal pack structure, Im Iri can only possess female hosts. Thusly, all of the Bouda's hyena duguthim are female.
- Deal with the Devil: The pact formed between the ancient Bouda and the Im Iri is this, and the tribe's chieftains and witch doctors know it. They desperately keep extending the pact because, not only is it familiar to both sides now, but they fear what might happen the day that the Im Iri are released.
- Lady Land: Zigzagged. Although the Bouda culture appears matriarchal to an outsider, the true power is concentrated with the always-male chieftains and witch-doctors. The duguthim are certainly respected and obeyed in matters of practicality, for doing otherwise would be foolish given they are compelled to use all of their strength and intelligence to protect the Bouda, but true leadership lies with the humans.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: From woman to unusually large and powerful female spotted hyena, and then back again.
Afhal Usum: The Serpent Sages, and Hal Usum: The Serpent GuardiansThe Afhal Usum and the Hal Usum are two choirs of spirits intimately intertwined with each other. The Afhal Usum are ancient serpent-and-knowledge spirits who dedicate themselves to discovering and protecting the world's lost and forbidden lore. Always scattered into small, regionally-separated societies, the shattering of Pangaea made their choir task far more difficult. As humanity spread and expanded, scattering the Afhal Usum's knowledge, they realised they would have to begin entering the physical world to do what they needed. A risky prospect, given the ever-watchful, ever-angry Uratha still guarded the Gauntlet. So, they absorbed a second choir, one composed of serpent-and-guardian spirits, and renamed it the Hal Usum, a special descant of their own choir. Now with guardians in place, the Afhal Usum have continued their plans; urging and claiming humans, they found secret societies, dedicated to seeking the knowledge they wish to guard, all the while struggling to stay unnoticed by the Uratha.
- An Axe to Grind: The Serpent Guardians who claim human hosts always wield massive great axes. Nobody knows why, they just refuse to use any other weapon if they have a choice.
- Dumb Muscle: This is a rather poor attitude to take about the Hal Usum, but they are so single-minded that even the Afhal Usum tend to think of their guardians as "simpletons".
- Implacable Man: The Hal Usum are implacable and relentless to the point their singlemindedness comes off as just plain ignorant stubbornness.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Subverted. They're based on older concepts of serpents as embodiments of wisdom or protection, before Christianity demonized the snake as the symbol of evil.
- Scaled Up: Hal Usum generally appear as 30-40ft long vipers or cobras, whilst Afhal Usum usually appear as much vaguer ghostly serpents.
- Seen It All: Afhal Usum are so stoic and experienced that pretty much nothing phases them.
- Snake People: In contrast to Afhal Usum, who use Voluntary Shapeshifting to switch wholely from human form (with perhaps some subtle snaky traits) to snake form and back again, Hal Usum simply merge the best traits of both together, becoming armor-scaled humanoid serpents when they claim a host body.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Despite everything, the Afhal Usum clash frequently with one another over similar territorial urges to werewolves — it's just that the Serpent Sages claim conceptual territories, such as topics of fate and destiny, or topics of life and rejuvenation, rather than physical ones.
Other StrangenessSome shapeshifters do not fit so neatly into the categories above, but are clearly still part of the general category.
Scavenger WolfA disgraced and disreputable member of the Firstborn, the spirit called Scavenger Wolf became obsessed with humanity during the days of Pangaea, and especially with the ability of his lesser kindred, the Uratha, to take human form and walk amongst them. After a hundred failures, he finally tried something new, something inspired by the human practice of wearing clothes. He killed a slender human youth, tearing off his skin and carefully wriggling inside. To his delight, it worked, especially once he slew a wolf and used its hide to cover the wounds in his stolen skin, and he spent much time walking amongst humans. Overjoyed with his cleverness, he gathered the early Uratha and revealed himself to them. Outraged, they denounced him as a manslayer, a wolfslayer, and a betrayer of their common progenitor, before cursing him and stripping him of his status amongst the Firstborn. Scavenger Wolf fled into what is now the Hisil, and ever since then has bedeviled and plagued humanity and the Forsaken alike. Never will they kill him, though, because, repulsive as he is, he's still family.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Weirdly inverted; spending so much time in the form of a human has actually left Scavenger Wolf thinking like a human.
- Glamour Failure: His stolen skins slowly rot away, never lasting more than two or three weeks before they become obviously decayed and forcing him to find a new one.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: As mentioned above, Scavenger Wolf is now, mentally, more human than spirit.
- Never My Fault: His being trapped in a half-flesh state rather than existing in the same ethereal state as other humans. The Forsaken make the understandable conclusion that it's because of his constant stealing of human skins. He refuses to admit this, instead insisting that it's some evil hex inflicted on him by the Forsaken.
- Wound That Will Not Heal: He suffers from the Unhealing flaw; his stolen skins don't regenerate themselves, meaning any wounds inflicted whilst he wears that stolen guise remain with him until he sheds it once and for all.
PatchesA character who serves as an example of the "Artifact" classification of shapeshifters, those who transform with the aid of magical items. Patches is a mysterious figure whose powers come from her ever-present greatcoat. Which is made from the stolen and preserved faces of countless victims, human and animal, that she has stitched together.
- Clothes Make the Superman: Patches' shapeshifting powers comes from her coat. Assuming that she actually isn't the cloak itself disguising itself as a humanoid.
- Genuine Human Hide: Flayed faces, human and animal, are the material Patches uses to create her trademark tattered cloak.
- Glamour Failure: No matter what form she wears, Patches' eyes are always the same color; one brown, the other blue. Additionally, in animal form, her fur, feathers or scales are always mottled, covered in shapeless, multi-colored blotches that roughly correspond to the many faces on her cloak.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Patches can transform into the form of any creature whose face she has stitched to her coat.
The ChimeraA category of shapeshifters based on the scientific or alchemical fusing of animal to human - or human to animal.
- Beast Man: The Humera, being humans who have been forced into a more bestial form, fall under this.
- Uplifted Animal: The Animera, who have gained human-like intelligence and prehensile digits as part of their transformation.
The Cursed, aka "Circe's Brood"A classification applied to humans forcibly shapeshifted into animal forms by magic-users, typically as a form of vengeance or for cruelty.
- Baleful Polymorph: They were transformed into animals as a punishment; this trope goes without saying.
- Disproportionate Retribution: All too often, even when the spellcaster justifies inflicting the transformation as a punishment for misdeeds, it's far out of proportion with what's justifiable.
- Laser-Guided Karma: There are times, if rarely, where the transformation is actually a Karmic Transformation. In the introductory fluff for the category in Skinchangers, the sample Cursed is a rich college boy who used his connections to get away with raping and impregnating the only daughter of a widowed hillbilly farmer, who turned him into a pig when she realized she'd never get justice for her family through the legal arena.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Generally speaking, the Cursed lose most if not all of their human identity and have it subsumed by their animal nature. This is generally treated as a mercy, as it keeps the Cursed from going utterly insane under the weight of realizing just how doomed it likely is.
- This Was His True Form: A universal flaw in the spells that create the Cursed; cut off a piece and it reverts to its original shape, kill the creature and it becomes human again.
The LobisonHailing from Central and South America, the Lobison is a twisted lycanthrope born when certain families have a seventh child. If the child is a son, perhaps especially if its father was also a seventh son, it becomes a were-maned wolf, a monster consumed by its taste for human blood.
- Always Male: By default, it's assumed all Lobisons are, well, sons. What might happen if the seventh child of a Lobison family is a daughter is left up to individual storytellers to decide.
- Curse: Exactly why the seventh son of a family may be born a Lobison is unknown, but this is perhaps the most obvious answer.
- Death by Childbirth: Though there are rare aversions, the norm for Lobison pregnancy is for the mother to die. Usually because the Lobison flips out inside her womb when she goes into labor and it proceeds to rip its way out of her with its teeth and claws.
- Express Delivery: Women unfortunate enough to be carrying Lobisons find their pregnancies advance with unnatural speed.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: In monstrous form, Lobisons sport two rows of shark-like teeth.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: It's technically a werewolf, although very different to the Uratha. Its only got two forms; human and monster (unnaturally large maned wolf with a double-row of shark-like teeth), its transformations are triggered by stress (anger, fear, even extreme hunger or arousal), it can only change back by consuming large amounts of human blood, it has no control over itself in its monster form, and it will slowly be driven insane by the shapeshifting.
- Tragic Monster: No Lobison asked to be born a monster, but once they come into the world, they're doomed to a downward spiral, slowly being driven insane by the brutal acts it commits in its its bestial form until ultimately it gets put down for being a ravening monster.
Lila, the Devil's DaughterA character who serves as an example of the "Spawned" classification of shapeshifters, those who transform due to less than human ancestry. In June 1939, in the depths of the Great Plains of Kansas, a farming family called the Warricks was struggling to survive in North America's worst drought. Driven by desperation, Melvin walked out into the fields one night and made a pact. They found him dead in the field the next morning, but over the next nine months, as Melvin's wife Alice swelled with a final pregnancy, the farm seemed truly blessed. As her children were busy harvesting the wheat, Alice went into labor. When her children returned, they found their mother dead — and a snake suckling at her breast. It slithered away before they could catch it. Ever since then, Lila Warrick has enjoyed herself on the party scene in the big cities, leaving a string of broken hearts, shattered minds, empty wallets and missing persons in her wake.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Spawned are universally selfish, amoral and devoid of empathy, to the extent that they officially lack a Karma Meter.
- Bottle Fairy: Lila loves to drink, and never seems to get drunk, even when matching far larger companions drink for drink.
- Charm Person: Lila has a power called "Her Father's Eyes" that lets her hypnotize and control anyone who meets her eyes, if she so wishes.
- The Corrupter: Lila loves to manipulate and coax people into acting on their worst impulses, eventually leading them to their destruction.
- Death by Childbirth: Alice died bringing Lila into the world all on her own.
- Literal Maneater: Not necessarily all the time, but, many of Lila's bedmates are implied to become her food (or just be tortured to death for her amusement) if the whim strikes her.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Although she also invokes Snakes Are Sexy, she's evil to the core and played up as a heartless, man-eating (metaphorically and literally) monster.
- Scaled Up: Lila can transform into one of two different rattlesnake forms; the first only four feet long, the second twelve feet long and weighing in at over one hundred pounds.
- Someone to Remember Him By: Lila's mother, Alice, originally thought Lila was her husband's final child. Who knows? Maybe she was right, and Lila was born the way she was become of some genetic anomaly, or perhaps experimentation by some amoral wizard — maybe even a mad Thyrsus — tampering with Melvin's child.
The Summoned, aka FamiliarsMystical entities called from unknown other-worlds by human mystics, with a distinctive ability to assume the shape of various animals.
- Casting a Shadow: Familiars can teleport by merging with shadows, allowing them to leap to anywhere else on the planet if they so desire.
- Deal with the Devil: As their common nickname implies, the Summoned can be bartered with. However, most of the rituals that call them don't compel them to accept — indeed, their would-be summoner is lucky if such shoddy rituals are even complete enough not to insult the Summoned, never mind including protection from the wrath of the entity they've called!
- Owl Be Damned: The sample familiar, Graemalkin, favors the form of a large, jet-black owl, or else a tall, formidably muscular dark-skinned man with a shaven scalp and eerie silver-blue eyes.
The Devil of Deacon HillA character who serves as an example of the "Territorial" classification of shapeshifters, when a location produces some strange shapeshifting entity for no reason that can be ascertained at a glance. The Devil of Deacon Hill is a mysterious ghostly panther that manifests itself on Deacon Hill when the fogs rise. Once an expansive hardwood forest, the hill was clear cut and degraded under the watchful eye of the unscrupulous timber baron Zachariah Deacon, which is when the worksites became plagued by unnaturally common and thick fogs, and constant attacks by a shadowy mountain lion. Zachariah refused to be thwarted, building a mansion atop the hill. His wife, Margaret Deacon, mysteriously died — apparently slain by a big cat. There afterwards, her ghost began haunting Deacon Hill, and ever since, those foolish enough to try and cross the hills during the fog risk being attacked by the hungry panther-creature.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Is it the spirit of Deacon Hill, summoned by the pain of the land? Is it the ghost of Margaret Deacon, the woman accepted as its first victim? Nobody really knows what it is.
- Nigh Invulnerable: As far as can be ascertained, the Devil of Deacon Hill can't be killed. Destroy its body, and it reforms in a lunar month. No spirit-targeting powers work on it. It shrugs off sunlight. And it's also completely immune to pain.
- Panthera Awesome: It shifts between the form of a ghostly woman, the spitting image of Margaret Deacon, and an all-too-solid black puma.
- Super Smoke: A variant; it can't manipulate the fog around it, but it can teleport between any two spots touched by the same bank of fog.
The ZoonoticsHumans affected by a series of horrific genetic retro-viruses that forcibly mutate the body from human to animal, leaving them as twisted and insane humanoid beasts.
- Baleful Polymorph: From a disease and not magic, but the effect is the same.
- Body Horror: The whole idea behind them; a disease that slowly and painfully turns you from a man into a lizard, a rat, a wolf, a bull, a cat, any sort of animal.
- The Mind Is The Plaything Of The Body: Their human intelligence is stripped away as the disease progresses, subsumed by their bestial instincts.
VersipellitusPerhaps distantly related to the Zoonotics, Versipellitus can be summarized as "lycanthropy as a sexually transmitted disease". Whatever its origin, it spreads slowly, going through periods of long dormancy before randomly manifesting itself, inducing intense urges to mate and kill indiscriminately, and gorge on warm raw flesh, only to recede into dormancy once sated.
- Body Horror: It's a disease that turns you into a sex-and-violence obsessed cannibalistic wolfman, with no way to predict when it'll strike.
- Literal Maneater: Because of the intense and confusing urges for physical gratification that the virus induces when it triggers, those infected by it often end up sating their urge to kill and mate by combining the two, using their transformed body to butcher and eat their bedmate after — or as! — they have sex.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: They're victims of a sexually transmitted transformative virus that causes them to grow wild hair, fangs and claws when engaged in physical violence or physical pleasure, resulting in a wolfman appearance, compelling them towards sex and violence with such intensity that they often combine the two, all whilst producing a thick musk that entices people to accept their sexual advances. Also, silver has no effect on them, but it's possible — just very, very difficult — to produce a medicinal paste from the rare Aconitum Porphura (Purple Wolfsbane) plant that can cure them.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Averted. Although werewolves spread a lot of stories claiming a magical origin for it, the sourcebook it appears innote claims it's just an ordinary disease.