Written by: Akemo Draegonne & Puma Nitely
Images by: Natacha Haroldson & Vanatosis Arenitre
We. Are. Wolves.
We are NOT humans. We are NOT human-like. Our human form is simply a mask. Beneath our flesh, lies the maw of the beast, and, like any beast, we are creatures of primal instinct. Eat, hunt, breed and survive. However, our bestial nature is tempered by our human aspect. We are touched by both worlds – human and beast, and while we stand between, at times of anger, great fear or attraction we will play true to our nature. The wolf.
The werewolf has fascinated mankind for centuries. Tales of people who change into wolves can be found in cultures across the globe. Some change because they have been cursed by magic, a bite from another werewolf or simply by the light of the full moon, while others shift at will. The werewolf can be a wild hairy human or appear as a natural wolf and sometimes even be a hybrid of the two species. In other words: one size does not fit all when it comes to the werewolf.
For the purposes of role-play it’s important to separate and categorize the various aspects of the werewolf. The following descriptions are by no means meant to be taken as canonical – but merely as a guide in assisting players who are considering playing a werewolf, to put everything in perspective:
[hero heading=”Key Differences … At A Glance”]WEREWOLF: A werewolf is born; a hybrid between the wolf and human states. It is neither wolf nor human in appearance normally but able to take both forms at will. Werewolves may mate with other werewolves, lycans and humans (and even on rare occasion’s, elves) and have a high probability of producing werewolf offspring.
LYCAN: A lycan is a human that survived the bite of a werewolf or lycan as well as the physical trauma of the attack and their first change (not all do). Lycans do not have control of their change and shift into wolf or wolf hybrid form in times of rage, extreme stress or the rising of the full moon, and tend not to remember shifting. Lycans rarely become pregnant and usually miscarry when they do because of the violent nature of their change. The rare child of a lycan will most often carry the parent’s infection. To be a lycan is to carry a disease and curse. It is not a natural state, though from Lycan’s, the race of werewolves was born.[/hero]
Like wolves, werewolves are a primal race. Instinct and intuition is trusted above the spoken word. While werewolves are marginally civilized – capable of speech and reason – they are more comfortable with non-verbal communication: body language, scent and eye contact. Because of this, they are less likely to believe words over what they see and can smell. This cynical attitude towards spoken word is compounded by the fact most werewolves are innately distrustful (like natural wolves) of anything outside the pack, including other werewolves.
Most werewolves crave touch: a brush of the hand, grooming of the hair – this is exceedingly true in stressful situations. For the pack: the scent, the feel, the touch of other pack members is comfort. Also comforting and key to survival in harsh winters, are the giant “puppy piles” werewolves are known to sleep in. These are big reasons as to why lone werewolves have a difficult time facing nights alone.
This need for touch, even in human form; however, is not sexual, and while nudity is common among werewolves, it is devoid of sexual innuendo; to even notice or call attention to another werewolf’s nudity is an insult and considered a challenge. To reject an innocent touch by another pack-mate is an outright rejection of the pack and the consequences of such can be severe since touch is also a bonding mechanism that supports pack solidarity. Because of this, hunters look for those with an obsessive need to touch others. It is a tell-tale sign that werewolves must avoid when among humans. It’s much easier for most werewolves to remain in the wild, in their den.
The Den is home, sanctuary, and the pack is everything. A werewolf rarely brings an outsider to the den because any outsider could potentially endanger the pack’s survival, especially the young, which are the future of the pack. Usually related by bonds of kinship, the pack is everything and the den is a place to be safe and loved. Most werewolves never venture out of the den or its immediate vicinity unless they are hunters, alphas or scouts. Likewise, a werewolf who ventures abroad for too long, picking up exotic scents or living too long among humans, risks becoming alienated from the pack. The pack may wonder if you’re the same pack-mate and treat you warily at best. In the worst case scenario they’ll chase you away or tear you into ribbons.
Admittance to the pack of an unrelated werewolf occurs occasionally but only after the potential pack-mate undergoes a lengthy initiation process so the pack can see how well the new wolf works within the pack dynamic. Werewolves who fail initiations are lucky to escape with their pelts and lives intact.
Pack cohesiveness is paramount and conflicts within it are dealt with swiftly. To maintain group harmony, werewolves, like natural wolves, have a strict pack hierarchy based upon rank, domination and submission – though there are no sexual overtones to werewolf dominance. It is important for werewolves to know their pack, who is who, and where everyone stands in rank.
Rank is all-important within werewolf society. Despite being highly stratified, all members of the pack are equally important as each werewolf has its place and each rank has its purpose – without which the pack would be unable to survive. Submissive werewolves of a lower rank are no less important than the alpha, or leader. It is important for a player to understand these ranks as, for example, a submissive personality would not challenge a dominant.
APLHA as a title and alpha as a class are completely different things. While Alpha is the top dog, so to speak, in a werewolf pack, the alpha wolf, as a class, denotes a wolf that is a dominant personality. Alphas are destined to rise into strong positions in the pack. Typically, Alphas act as hunters, guards and scouts for the pack.
THE Alpha (or Lupa if a female), is the supreme werewolf in the pack and the others look to him or her for leadership. The young want to grow up to be like the Alpha, and look to him for examples of how they should not only behave but also react. The Alpha’s word is law and to question it is to challenge the Alpha to a duel – the winner emerging either as a new Alpha or with his status re-affirmed.
BETA as a class of werewolves denotes those who would naturally follow an alpha wolf. These werewolves are the support of the pack. Betas perform the majority of work and act as support to the guards, hunters and scouts when needed. Betas always support the alpha wolves and obey pack leadership.
The OMEGA is a special class, very rare to be born and usually are the runt of a litter. The omega is the antithesis of The Alpha and is extremely submissive by nature. Its passivity is immutable and cannot be altered. The omega is who the omega is, and while they’ll always support the pack, rendering aid to pack-mates whenever possible, they are unable to take help for themselves. The presence of an omega is calming to the pack as he or she will bear the brunt of the pack’s aggression, chasing back strong negative emotions like depression, anger, sadness and frustration. Despite the mild abuse and neglect heaped upon the omega by the pack, wiser werewolves see omegas as gifts and realize their very presence provides the more aggressive werewolves a convenient target that reins in their wild sides.
Eye contact, in wolf society, may be considered a challenge of dominance. Challenges of rank and dominance are common among werewolves and usually result in non-lethal sparring. The victor of such a challenge may bite or scar the loser to mark his victory and domination. Listed below are a few dominant and submissive postures that you might want to use in your own werewolf or lycan character.
- Head held high
- Eyes directed towards another wolf’s
- Raised hackles
- Growling side-swipe or body slam to subordinates, sometimes pinning them to the ground
- Bared teeth
- Up-right ears
- Tail partly erect
- Rigid posture, almost on ‘tiptoes’
- Head held high
- Eyes directed at another wolf’s
- Raised hackles, if furred and bipedal. Alphas in skin often speak of feeling their hackles raise, as a tingling, itching or prickling across the back of their shoulders which results in goose-pimpling.
- Growling, outright or as a deepening and coarsening of the individual’s normal vocal range.
- Shoulder-checking to outright body-slamming, control holds.
- Bared teeth, very different from a normal smile. Often some degree of fang and/or dental shifting is evident, depending on the alpha’s degree of control over both their emotions and their body.
- Eye color altering to that of their lupine form. This is the most common reaction to strong emotion, and is often not entirely under an individual’s control. Most are aware of it because of a shift in visual acuity— color vision fades to near grey-scale, but perception of contrast and movement is greatly enhanced.
- Extremely erect “military” posture, shoulders thrown back and chest fully expanded.
- Lowered tails (very submissive: tail tucked between the legs)
- Folded ears
- Submissive grin, peeling back of lips
- Crouched or lowered body position
- Subordinates will lick a superior wolves muzzle or lie on its side raising one hind leg to expose the groin to the dominate.
- May bend head back to expose the throat
- Bowed head
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Whimpering or whining
- Slouching to full prostration and crawling
- Licking at dominant’s mouth or hands
- Exposing the throat – A submissive seeking the protection of a dominant will press themselves against the other wolf, who will either step in front of them or at the least, touch them if in front of non-shifters, if the dominant is willing to take on the role of protector.
Again, the content in this article is not all-inclusive and will contradict some gaming system’s established rules. It is not meant as canon, but simply a guide for the novice to his or her werewolf character. There is so much information upon which to draw from, when creating your werewolf character. To play a werewolf simply as a man or woman bitten and cursed seems flat in comparison to the potential of a fully fleshed out majestic werewolf or diseased lycan.
As always research and decide for yourself how you’ll play your own werewolf character, and make sure you clear everything through the admins of your sim.
Reproduced with permission from Roleplay Guide Magazine.
April 2011 – June 2011 – August 2011 – Sept 2011 – Oct 2011 – Nov/Dec 2011 – January 2012 – Oct 2014