Werewolves are either born to a human mother and a werewolf father, or they are a former human who was infected by a near-death mauling. After their first Phase-forced transformation, they may shift at will - however, they will always have to shift during their Phase. Their Phase also grants them with a supernatural Gift. For voluntary transformations, there are two forms: fully human and fully wolf. The third form, the anthropomorphic one, results when a werewolf becomes enraged, and is involuntary.
Werewolves are pack creatures, and like true wolves, hierarchical in nature. They have heightened senses, inhuman strength and speed, and their body temperature is higher than humans. In addition, they have decelerated aging and are immune to the Snap. However, a werewolf's weaknesses are wolfsbane, silver, decapitation and lunapeste. They also inherit a Calling from the wolf who infected/sired them.
DETAILED WEREWOLF DESCRIPTION
Werewolves are infected by the bite of another werewolf. A made werewolf will have been maimed to near-death. If they're strong enough, they'll survive and the werewolf 'virus' will infect their body. Lycanthropy is an extremely aggressive genetic mutation that can jump to the new host with the spread of genetic material. They will heal and transform either at their moon phase, or while experiencing a period of intense emotion. Female werewolves cannot bear children because their transformations kill the fetus. However, if a male werewolf impregnates a human the child has a 50% chance of being a werewolf. A born werewolf will usually transform for the first time following puberty, in a period of extreme stress or anger.
Werewolves are forced to shift at their phase, but may shift at will any other day or night. The transformation is very fast and is usually accompanied by wisps of black smoke rising off their figure. Some werewolves believe that the smoke has something to do with the fierce fire they feel in their wolf state, which makes their blood run hotter than a normal human's. When a werewolf transforms into a wolf or hybrid, their clothing melds into their body except, inexplicably, for their shoes.
Werewolves only have two voluntary forms: fully human and fully wolf. However, they don't look exactly like an average wolf. For one, they are a great deal larger and more muscular than their cousins. Second, they have retractable claws. Third, many bear unique markings or colour patterns which look natural but are, in fact, a little out of the ordinary (none, for example, have a pink spot over their eye, but one may have a slash of white in their brown fur, or a reverse-coat that darkens near the legs rather than lightening).
Their anthropomorphic, or 'hybrid' form, results when a werewolf becomes 'Fire Blooded.' A wolf is considered Fire Blooded after they've gone into a blood-thirsty rage.
TRAITS AND TEMPERAMENT
Werewolves have a heightened sense of smell and hearing. They also bear inhuman strength. After their first Change their aging speed decelerates dramatically, such that an older werewolf can look anywhere from a few years to a few decades younger than they actually are. Werewolves after the first Change are vicious and unpredictable. However, they can learn to control their temper, and some wolves have an easier time of it than others. A werewolf in a 'Fire Blooded' rage is called such because it, literally, makes them feel as though their blood is burning. If a werewolf has gone Fire Blooded, run.
BONDED, UNBONDED AND SOULBONDED
Wild wolves are naturally monogamous creatures who mate for life. Werewolves are only half wolf, and so while some become very selective, exclusive lovers, others are more polygamous. This often depends on their human lifestyle.
A Bonded werewolf mates for life. Once they find someone, they are with them forever or until their lover dies. Some werewolves recover slowly from such a death and move on, but others remain permanently attached for the rest of their lives and never search out someone else.
Unbonded werewolves come in two varieties. Most unbonded wolves fall in the 'normal' range of human relationship behaviour, while the Unbonded ones (distinguished by the capital letter) have very open policies concerning sex and relationships. They generally do not mess in the love lives of Bonded werewolves, though some are callous enough to do so.
Werewolves may also soulbond, which is a little different from the other two categories. Werewolves may feel the need to soulbond to another as an expression of their loyalty and devotion. Consider it a spiritual marriage of souls. Two wolves who deliberately exchange blood become soulbonded. They also typically exchange small trinkets, to act as a conduit to ground the soulbond connection. These trinkets are often kept on the werewolf's person at all times, and removal of the object can result in a soulbond 'tearing'. Soulbonded werewolves can hear each other's thoughts, feel each other's pain and, ultimately, they will die whenever the other does. Simultaneously.
Soulbonds are incredibly rare. Werewolves estimate only about three to five happen within a decade.
Pack is synonymous with 'family' for werewolves. Because werewolves are often forced to keep the secret of their identity from their family and friends, their pack become their family and friends. Werewolves are naturally loyal creatures. Treachery is one of the most despicable crimes to their kind. Hence it has the most severe punishment: exile and sometimes death.
Werewolf packs are hierarchical. For a detailed look at the pack hierarchies at Rift, take s look at the Kahlites.
Packs range in numbers. Some have hundreds to thousands of werewolves while another pack only has five. It depends upon the werewolf population in the area and how many other packs are vying for territory in that area.
Pack territories are huge, taking up entire cities and, in some cases, provinces or states. When one pack encroaches on another's territory it can mean serious trouble. Two dominant Alphas in the same area is the equivalent of a cigarette lighter in a windowless cement compound filled with gasoline. Sometimes they fight to the death and the Alpha who wins takes over. The wolves from the leaderless pack either merge with the newly dominant pack or they roam to find another. In a few rare cases, the Alphas manage to divide the territory and form a treaty.
Inner-pack rivalries for dominance are not unheard of either, and a subordinate werewolf may challenge a leader for their position.
See also: Pack Hierarchy
Wolfsbane is the most effective method of killing a werewolf. A werewolf in the near vicinity of wolfsbane will feel ill and feverish. This makes it very difficult for werewolves to use wolfsbane against other werewolves. Ingestion results in unquestionable death. The only known remedy for wolfsbane poisoning is Moonseed, a plant that can only be grown in warm temperate to tropical climates. Regions with cold winters cannot grow this plant.
Moonseed is also a hallucinogenic opiate to werewolves – the equivalent of what morphine is to a human.
Silver can be fatal depending upon the dosage. Often, in the case of wounds inflicted by silver, it is not the silver that kills the wolf. Silver causes a multitude of effects in werewolves, from thinning the blood to burning the skin. Silver bullets often thin the blood and so a werewolf with untended wounds can die of blood loss. Silver isn't as deadly as wolfsbane, but werewolves still can't hold silver cutlery without breaking out in a rash. Certain werewolves are more allergic to silver than others.
Decapitation is a surefire way to kill a werewolf. It's just rather difficult to catch them, get them to hold still, and then systematically saw their heads off. If someone were to use this method, they'd better be quick and efficient.
There is presently only one disease known to easily kill werewolves. It's called lunapeste (moon plague). The disease prevents a werewolf from transforming back into his/her other shape. After a week the wolf presents with symptoms such as fever, high blood pressure, cough and nausea. After a month the virus enters their respiratory system and they begin to cough blood. At this stage it is impossible for them to heal and they die within three-five days. Some werewolves' immune systems manage to fight it off in the early stages, but there is no known cure. It is a blood-borne contagion so it is important that those attempting to treat a werewolf with lunapeste do not allow any of his/her blood or saliva to get into their mouth, near their nose, eyes or ears or into any open sores.
Some wolves bear a tattoo of the moon somewhere on their body (many choose the underside of the forearm). This tattoo changes with the phases of the moon in their area and serves to remind them when their Phase is approaching. They must be careful to keep it hidden from humans. Usually a specific member of a pack is charged with the duty of marking a new werewolf.
Written by: Silvae
Edited by: Ash, Sunreon, Skiecrow