The Differences Between Werewolves and Changing Breeds
There is a large misunderstanding over the differences, or similarities, between Shifters. It should be noted that Werewolves and Changing Breeds are fundamentally different, separate spheres, and that Ferals are not just a sub-category of Werewolf. This page will, hopefully, contain all of the relevant information on the differences between the two spheres.
- Ferals, unlike Werewolves, can breed with whomever they choose. They are not restricted from mating with any other Feral, even according to Species or Breed. For Ferals, it isn't incest.
- Yes. Like Werewolves, Ferals have a very painful and debilitating vulnerability to silver. Any damage dealt by silver is automatically aggravated. Simply touching silver will cause no harm, but weapon attacks certainly will.
Feral Heart vs Primal Urge
Feral Heart and Primal Urge work in very distinctly different ways, though both share certain facets. Both inherently come with drawbacks of social stigma due to the predatory nature of Changing Breeds and Werewolves... or do they?
How is Feral Heart different?
- The negative social modifiers of Primal Urge are consistent, whereas Feral Heart's modifiers are dependent on Accord and Breed. Prey species do not come with the bestial disquiet that predatory species do, and require a higher rating of Feral Heart than predatory species before their nature is more obvious to mundane mortals.
- Werewolves are half spirit and half human, whereas Ferals are half animal and half human. This partly translates into the function of their power stat. Unlike Primal Urge, Ferals can apply their power stat as a direct social bonus when dealing with any PC or NPC character. This bonus reflects the powerful animal magnetism lurking beneath the Feral's flesh. Feral Heart can be added to any social roll for as many turns as the character has points in Feral Heart (Feral Heart 1 = one turn bonus, etc). This bonus does not stack with Respect bonuses, pick one or the other to apply.
- This half animal existence also reflects the Feral's ability to apply their Feral Heart rating to all perception checks. The Feral may apply their Feral Heart rating as a bonus for every minute per dot of Feral Heart (Feral Heart 1 = one minute bonus, etc). It should be noted that when the Feral does this they must be using their senses in a very clearly animal fashion. Sniffing the air, cocking their head, staring intently are all animal behaviors that will look strange in front of others.
How is Feral Heart the same?
- Feral Heart, like all power stats, provides an inherent bonus in the resistance of supernatural influence much like Primal Urge.
- Feral Heart determines how long the Feral can stay within their War-beast form.The maximum duration is equal to the Feral's human stamina + Feral Heart.
- Ferals with a Feral Heart rating at 6+ begin to experience Essence Bleed dependent on their Feral Heart rating (consult page 98 of Changing Breeds).
- At higher ratings, Ferals (like Werewolves) can purchase higher Attributes and/or Skills above 5.
Berserking (and the Fury) vs Kuruth
Unlike Werewolves who are subject to kuruth, Ferals are subject to two very different senses of primal anger.
How is Berserking different?
- Berserking comes in two flavors, and the flavor is dependent on Accord, and occasionally on Breed. Rabbit Run, which is fox frenzy, and Tiger Storm, which is akin to death raging.
- Ferals who are about to berserk can opt out of the Resolve + Composure roll to keep their cool and instead spend a point of willpower to avoid it altogether.
- Ferals do not roll for berserking if they deal 5L+ with a bite attack, or take 5L+ damage in a single attack.
How is Berserking the same?
- Ferals roll for berserking in circumstances such as: grievous harm to a loved one, gross betrayal by a loved one, or extreme injury (on the verge of collapse).
- When berserking, a Feral cannot tell the difference between friend or foe and are equally likely to attack both.
What is the Fury?
Resolve + Composure - Feral Heart. On a failed roll, they methodically extract revenge for a slight inflicted upon them. This could be someone abusing their dog, or raising the Feral's ire by threatening them. This behavior is always intentional and revenge oriented.
Ferals are the guardians of nature, but they're also animals deep down. Due to this, Ferals are prone to behavior called the Fury, a behavior that is very similar to the proverb of 'an eye for an eye'. A Feral experiencing the Fury rolls
higher of their Wits or Dex.
Ferals, unlike Werewolves, benefit from their animal natures when in their animal forms. Instead of using the lower of their Wits or Dexterity when calculating defense, Ferals use the
The Oath of the Moon
Ferals, unlike Werewolves, are not subject to any oath. Revealing what they are is up to the discretion of the Feral. Many Ferals who expose themselves and their existence wantonly don't survive long, but they aren't punished by their fellows unless the community at large is in jeopardy. Ferals, unlike Werewolves, do not function as a singular group that shares the same beliefs or behaviors, and they are not bound to similar ethos beyond the shared understanding of Harmony. Ferals are independent of any central authority beyond shared bonds and understanding.
Bands vs Packs
While the two may seem similar, they are very different in structure, purpose, and duration.
How are Bands different?
- Bands are fluid and subject to change regularly, with Ferals coming and going as their needs and purpose change.
- Many Ferals never join a Band. The desire to be a part of a group changes depending upon Breed; a feline (sans lions) is much less likely to be inclined to join a group dynamic than a canine for the sheer sake of it.
How are Bands the same?
- Many Bands function with a hierarchy from highest to lowest with their alpha at the top determining, often with a beta, how the Band will claim territory, how members join, who gets to join, and what the Band's purpose is.
- Like Werewolves, Bands are only formally acknowledged as Ferals and Beastkin in membership.
Aspects and Favors
While Werewolves gain gifts from Luna (loosely), Ferals find that their forms are changed by the needs of Mother Fera. While Ferals may be taught gifts by spirits, they cannot learn the auspice gifts, nor can Werewolves ever gain Aspects or Favors.
What are Favors?
Favors are inherent physical traits that a particular species might have, such as Razorskin, water breathing, or natural armor. Favors are almost exclusively in the purview of their particular breeds as defined by the book (you're not going to find a dog that glows with Bioluminescence without a damned good reason). Some Favors can be gifted to Ferals by Fera even if they are not native to the Breed, such as Darksight.
What are Aspects?
Aspects are often tricks, quirks, and other inhuman details that a Feral might have that are more individually oriented. While some may have them innately as a part of their Breed, Aspects are diverse and can be gained by others more easily than can Favors.
How do they differ from Gifts?
Gifts aren't permanent. They must be activated, be it with a roll, essence, willpower, or some combination of two or three of those. While some Aspects need to be activated, many of them carry a permanence that affects the Feral continuously without expenditure and without activation. Many Aspects are simply a physical part of the Feral, a gift of Fera that alters even the Feral's human form in some meaningful way. Examples of this include:
- Keen Senses are often a trait of many Breeds, but can also be purchased. These Senses give a +2 to the relevant sense no matter the form the Feral takes, giving them bestial perception that stacks with Feral Heart and doesn't require them to behave in an animal manner. This Aspect is always active, and cannot be turned off.
- Aww!!! is an Aspect that gives the Feral a constant social bonus based on the number of points purchased and apply any time the Feral is making an attempt to present themselves as 'cute' or 'adorable'.
- Durga's Blessing allows a Feral to heal aggravated damage up to their Feral Heart rating per scene at a cost of one essence per point of aggravated in any form.
- Sweet-Voiced Fiend negates the social modifier of Feral Heart by a maximum of +2 (this doesn't become a bonus) so long as the Feral uses their voice in the social interaction.
There are many, many more Aspects with this level of permanence. Check the Changing Breeds book beginning with page 79 for more information.
The Shadow vs the "Real" World
It's pretty common knowledge that the Werewolves continue, as a sacred duty, the policing of the Hisil after the death of Father Wolf. So if Werewolves are guardians of the Shadow, what about Ferals?
Ferals are guardians of the opposite half of the equation, protectors of the real world and its natural places. This doesn't make them all staunch environmentalists, but they're usually pretty keen on taking care of the Mother (the earth). To that end, the Things That Should Not Be are their greatest enemies, and Ferals act as 'antibodies' against Things and their infection of reality.
While Werewolves have access to the Hisil natively as a part of their being, Ferals don't. Learning to walk the Shadow, or to see and speak with spirits, is tricky business for them, but the only way they can hope to learn gifts.
Instincts vs Anger
Not all wolves are grumpy, but as a group, they have a few... anger issues that their distant Feral cousins aren't prone to. There's no spiritual rage beating within the breasts of Ferals, but there's something that all Ferals experience that Werewolves simply aren't prone to.
Even we as humans experience them (fight or flight is a basic instinct we've all experienced), but Ferals experience them from multiple standpoints. Ferals are prone to experiencing the instincts of their animal halves, a constant assault of needs, urges, and desires that only a very willful Feral can ignore all of the time. It isn't anger that torments a Feral, but baser instincts such as lust, gluttony, greed, and territoriality. Many Ferals forget themselves in their human guise and behave in an animalistic fashion to their later chagrin.
Werewolves experience a much diffuse shadow of these urges due to the animal nature of their spirit half, but they are primarily affected during their shifts into Urshul and Urhan. Ferals experience intense instinct no matter what form they exist in. What those instincts may be are determined by the Breed, and Accord, of the Feral. Speaking of...
Accords vs Auspices
Although both Accord and Auspice are fundamentally important to both spheres, they too differ even as they share a few similarities.
What is an Accord?
- An Accord is the agreement between the Feral's animal half and human half, an agreement on their dual nature and role as a Feral.
- Auspices are determined by the moon sign under which a werewolf First Changes. Accords are decided differently; an Accord fits the Feral's nature rather than any sign they may have been born with or changed under.
- There is no drawback to changing your Accord, but this is a rare occurrence for a Feral unless their personality and nature changes dramatically due to experiences, trauma, or personal development.
- Changing your Accord comes with no social stigma for Ferals within the sphere. If you're changing your Accord, you're simply accepting a new role to fulfill for Fera.
While both Werewolves and Ferals use Harmony as their system of morality, what constitutes as a breaking point and expectations of each are radically different. This is a comparative breakdown between the two.
- Feral Harmony 10
- Accidental disregard for property or wilderness. Breaking a vase or tossing a cigarette butt out a window can make a high-Harmony character feel guilty. If only he'd thought more about his actions.
- Werewolf 10: Not shapeshifting for more than three days.
- Feral Harmony 9
- Not shapeshifting for more than a week; disrespect toward people. Beast-bloods are creatures of both worlds. To deny what they are once they know about it causes psychological stress. Causing pain through deliberate action feels wrong, too. Even if people can handle such disrespect, this feral knows she can do better.
- Werewolf 9: Not obtaining your own food; carrying a silver weapon.
- Feral Harmony 8
- Gross misbehavior; carelessness resulting in harm to Man, Beast or Nature. The feral who shits in a corner, accidentally breaks a person's arm or runs over a raccoon feels genuine regret. If that harm is serious (major injury, dead raccoon babies, brush fire started by a cigarette), that guilt may feel more like killing (sin level 5 or 6).
- Werewolf 8: Disrespect to a spirit or elder Uratha.
- Feral Harmony 7
- Intentional theft or injury; disrespect toward Nature; eating your own animal species. Aware of greater consequences, a thoughtful werebeast realizes that all things are intertwined. What he does to one, he does to himself. Although he may eat meat, he probably won't eat the flesh of his animal kin. And as for Nature, he realizes that by using Nature as his personal dump, he's acting... well, human.
- Werewolf 7: Spending too much time alone; significantly violating a tribal vow.
- Feral Harmony 6
- Killing "important" living thing needlessly if you're a predatory species. A feral knows all things are alive. An "important" living thing, though, is either a higher animal (mammal, human) or a member of his breed species (if his soul-beast is reptilian or insectine). A hunter feels less guilt about killing, but a harmonious one respects his prey and does not kill recklessly. Note that a Heart-Ripper counts as a "hunter" no matter what breed she is.
- Werewolf 6: Mating with other Uratha; slaying a human or wolf needlessly.
- Feral Harmony 5
- Killing another "important" living thing if you're not a predatory species. This feels bad.
- Werewolf 5: Slaying a werewolf in the heat of battle .
- Feral Harmony 4
- Killing your own kind; using silver against other shapechangers. "Your own kind" means a human being or member of your breed species. This smacks of murder even if it's accidental. Meanwhile, the scourge of Moonbane is infamous; a feral who uses it as a weapon is playing dirty, and he knows it.
- Werewolf 4: Revealing the existence of werewolves to a human; using a silver weapon against another werewolf.
- Feral Harmony 3
- Torture; intentionally killing your own kind. Lack of compassion, respect or awareness marks a feral who's gone too far. Even a killer has limits, but this sin level doesn't leave many limits to surpass.
- Werewolf 3: Torturing enemies/prey; murdering a werewolf.
- Feral Harmony 2
- Betraying Beast to Man or Man to Beast. Selling out your own kind to hunters of another species feels treacherous, and it is.
- Werewolf 2: Hunting humans or wolves for food.
- Feral Harmony 1
- Sadistic murder; cannibalism of your own kind. By this point, even Heart-Rippers feel queasy. A monster at this level has lost all sense of compassion and lives for extreme selfishness.
- Werewolf 1: Betrayal of pack; hunting werewolves for food.