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The Werewolf Translation Guide had to focus on the werewolves at the heart of both Apocalypse and Forsaken, and didn’t have the space to talk about alternative shapeshifters. I know that the Fera of Apocalypse have a lot of fans (myself included), so I got permission to take the bare-bones conversion rules from the first draft and release them online.
The following system is a rough guide for converting the Fera as given in the Player’s Guide to the Changing Breeds. Naturally, these rules are guidelines. The results need to meet with the approval of the group before seeing play. If you want further inspiration for introducing Fera-like shapeshifters into Forsaken, shapeshifters get a whole section in War Against the Pure that provides a good starting point.
These rules should leave the shapeshifters with an approximate power level the same as the Uratha. If you want to enhance that, see the options presented in the Werewolf Translation Guide.
Step One: Convert Traits
Converting the Trait modifiers of a given Fera’s forms involves a few changes:
- Subtract 1 from form bonuses to Strength and Stamina.
- Don’t modify the Dexterity bonus.
- Apply the more severe of any Appearance and Manipulation penalty to Manipulation.
- Any Perception bonus remains the same, and applies to Wits
- “Near” forms that are significantly larger than humans get Size +1.
- Animal forms have Size appropriate for the animal in question, p. XX of the World of Darkness Rulebook can provide guidelines.
- Crinos-equivalent forms have Size +2 (+1 if the Breed is noted for their small Crinos-equivalents) and 1/1 natural armor.
Changes to Attributes and Size affect Initiative, Speed, Health, Defense, and other derived traits as normal.
Step Two: Natural Weapons
The options available to the Fera will vary a lot by form. The most common set includes:
|War-Form||Bite +2L, Claw +1L|
|Near-Beast||Bite +2L, Claw +0L|
Some Fera have claw attacks in Near-Human, which deal +0L, or claws in Beast form that deal +0L (often alongside a bite that only does +1L). As a rough guide: if an attack is likely to fuck up a human being, it deals +2 lethal damage. If it’s going to ruin his day but may need a couple of hits to really bring the pain, it deals +1 lethal damage. If it’s sharp and pointy but fundamentally no worse than a kitchen knife, it deals +0 lethal damage. All forms from War-Form to Beast can bite without grappling first.
Step Three: Lunacy
War-Form and both Near-forms (where present) incite Lunacy much the same as werewolves. If a form specifically gives a bonus to witnesses resisting Delirium, apply each “step” of reduced Delirium as an effective +1 to the victim’s Willpower when it comes to resisting Lunacy. This bonus is cumulative with form-specific modifiers—a Breed that reduces normal Delirium by 1 step in their War-Form would give a +1 Willpower bonus in War-Form and a +5 bonus when in Near-Human.
Step Four: Gifts and Rites
Gifts and Rites convert using the systems starting on pp. 22 of the Werewolf Translation Guide.
Step Five: Renown
Fera use a range of categories of Renown, detailed in the Player’s Guide to the Changing Breeds. Use those writeups, along with the example of Apocalypse-centric Purity Renown on p. 33 of the Werewolf Translation Guide to convert Renown as needed.
Step Six: Details
This section covers specifics for each breed. Bits that aren’t covered either have no system (Corax eye-drinking) or the system in Player’s Guide to the Changing Breeds doesn’t need changing (Kitsune not regenerating).
Ananasi: Pithus form counts as Near-Beast for everything already stated. Crawlerling form creates a swarm of radius equal to the Ananasi’s Size in yards (Swarms are covered on p. 198 of World of Darkness Innocents). When a swarm takes enough damage to reduce it to half its original radius, the character will look and act rather differently. Ananasi webs have Durability 3, Size 1, Structure 8, Damage 2 (only for grappling). Were-spiders only regain Essence when doing damage with a bite attack, each point of damage inflicted causes them to regain a point of Essence. Swap the modifiers for Stepping Sideways in built-up and rural areas. Ananasi don’t regenerate but can spend Essence to heal bashing or lethal damage at a rate of one point per point of damage.
Corax: In Crinos form, Corax have a Flight speed equal to their land speed + 5; in Corvid form, increase Speed by 5, but they don’t really have a walking Speed—most birds have a species factor of 10 when calculating flight speed, rather than the 5 common among land creatures. Hollow bones gives +2 dice to Athletics rolls in Crinos, but attackers wielding weapons that do bashing damage gain +1 die. When distracted by shiny objects, Corax must make a reflexive Resolve + Composure roll to act normally.
Gurahl: Were-bears raise Strength or Stamina by spending Essence, at a rate of one point per dot per turn. Alternatively, they can increase Health by 1 for the scene by spending 2 points of Essence (but see Temporary Health Dots, p. 173 of the World of Darkness Rulebook). Add 3 dice to Composure rolls that involve the were-bear’s need to protect, but a Gurahl’s player must spend a point of Willpower if her character ever changes his mind.
Kitsune: Were-foxes receive an extra dot of Dexterity for free at character creation. This comes before spending Attribute dots, and their human-form maximum is still 5. Kitsune always use the higher of Dexterity or Wits to determine Defense, and don’t take aggravated damage from silver. Were-foxes do inflict Lunacy, but observers have an additional +3 die bonus to their Willpower roll to resist (+5 in total for Juko, and +7 for Sambuhenge)
Mokole: Aspect benefits translate directly into Forsaken terms. Sum the character’s Harmony and Primal Urge, then divide by two (rounding up). Select that many Archid characteristics. Armor provides 2/2 armor every time it’s taken. Color Change adds three dice to contested Stealth rolls when the Mokole is hiding. Bladed Tail/Horn give an additional means of attack that does +2L damage. Huge Size increases Stamina and Size by +1 (and thus Health by +2) for each pick. Long Teeth/Terrible Claws add 2 dice to bite and claw attacks. Poison Sacs deliver a Toxicity 4 poison. Other Archid characteristics don’t need changing.
Nagah: Regain Essence when underwater. Primal Urge is not harder to raise; it’s plenty expensive enough. Nagah venom is a Toxicity 6 poison.
Nuwisha: Do not take aggravated damage from silver and cannot frenzy. Their Primal Urge trait measures their closeness to Coyote, as such they don’t suffer social modifiers for having a high Primal Urge.
Ratkin: Blood Memory requires a Harmony roll, with a penalty depending on the specific nature of what the rat-shifter is after (difficulty conversions are provided on p. 29 of the Werewolf Translation Guide). Ratkin blood is a Toxicity 3 poison, anyone consuming it also suffers the effects of a dose of hallucinogenic drugs. Pretty much all Aspect traits convert directly.
Rokea: Shark-born Rokea suffer a -3 penalty to Presence and Manipulation rolls when dealing with humans. Worse, any dice that show a ‘1’ also subtract a success from the character’s total. Double the Rokea’s Primal Urge when checking to see if the character falls into Death Rage. Chasmus and Gladius both have 1/1 armor, and an attacker who makes a successful unarmed attack against a Rokea in those forms suffers a point of bashing damage.
© 2012 CCP hf. White Wolf, The World of Darkness, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and Werewolf: The Forsaken are registered trademarks of CCP hf.
Stew Wilson is a writer, game designer, computational demonologist, and mathematician.
This blog covers his professional writing and game design work.
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