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Werewolves kind of hog the spotlight in the Werewolf: the Apocalypse. Yes, I know, it’s called Werewolf: the Apocalypse, not Werebear or Wereshark.
Nevertheless, I feel like we should yank the spotlight away from them, if only for a little while, to highlight how amazing some of the other changing breeds are. There are so many mind-blowingly awesome options to explore in this tabletop RPG, after all.
That’s why, in this article, I’m planning on showing you what I feel are the most bad ass changing breeds in Werewolf: the Apocalypse. I’m limiting the list to five only here, because if you let me go much longer than that, I’d never stop writing.
Anyway, without further ado…
What are Changing Breeds?
Before we get to the fun stuff, let’s rewind a little bit and start with an introduction to the concept of changing breeds. Werewolf: the Apocalypse is a tabletop RPG that focuses on these awesome creatures, but mainly one specific kind: werewolves.
The changing breeds are, however, any shapeshifting person. This is not limited to the ever-famous werewolf, although they tend to be the most popular type. They’re so popular, actually, that all changing breeds that aren’t werewolves get called by another name – Fera.
There are quite a few Fera out there. At the beginning of this post, I mentioned werebears and weresharks. Those are actual changing breeds in the game, although the list doesn’t stop there.
The full list of changing breeds, both living and extinct, is as follows:
- Ajaba (Werehyenas)
- Ananasi (Werespiders)
- Ao (Wereturtles) (extinct)
- Apis (wereaurochs – bulls) (extinct)
- Bastet (Werecats)
- Camazotz (Werebats) (extinct)
- Corax (Wereravens)
- Grondr (Wereboars) (extinct)
- Gurahl (Werebears)
- Khara (Weresabertooths) (extinct)
- Kitsune (Werefoxes)
- Mokole (Weresaurians – lizards)
- Nagah (Wereserpents)
- Nuwisha (Werecoyotes)
- Ratkin (Wererats)
- Rokea (Weresharks)
Okay, one last thing before I actually show you my list. I want to explain what made me decide to pick one changing breed over another.
For starters, I only considered extant Fera. As interesting as the extinct Fera are, I’m considering them ineligible for my list if they’re no longer living. Refer to the above list to see which Fera are extinct – I marked if they’re no longer walking, crawling, or flying anywhere on the earth.
I did not necessarily factor in combat prowess when I chose particular Fera. Instead, I picked Fera that I felt had the most intriguing lore and abilities.
The keyword there is “felt.” It should go without saying that this list is completely subjective.
Top 5 Most Bad Ass Changing Breeds
All that informational stuff out of the way, let’s get to what you came here for: a list of crazily awesome shapeshifters. Note: this list is not in any particular order.
Here are what I think are the most bad ass changing breeds in the World of Darkness…
Okay, so it should be no surprise that a shapeshifting bear would end up on this list. The idea of a person changing into a bear by itself has enough merit to impress most people.
Then consider the fact that the bears Gurahl change into are awesome on their own. Different members of the Gurahl species can transform into black bears, polar bears, or grizzly bears.
Aside from bears in general just being amazing, the Gurahl have a rich culture filled with tradition. They’re the healers of the Fera, known for their unmatched caretaking skills.
If you’re the type of person who thinks healing classes in other game systems are boring, let’s skip to the reason I added them on this list…
Here’s what makes them bad ass: Gurahl, wise and patient, were entrusted with true power over life and death. When a Gurahl deems it necessary, they can literally fight death to bring someone back from its icy clutches.
In game, this ability is called the Rite of Fighting the Death Bear. (Of course, death itself takes the form of a bear, which just proves how cool bears are.) An offering is made to Mangi, the Death Bear, and then the Gurahl issues a challenge for the life of a deceased person.
If the Gurahl wins, they can enter the spirit realm (the Umbra) to bring the spirit of the deceased person back. Should they fail, then nothing happens…except when the mood strikes Mangi to claim the life of the Gurahl as payment for that failure.
At a glance, the wereravens might seem like they don’t deserve a place on this list. In a game system that many say tends to focus on combat, they’re pretty squishy – in fact, a Corax is better fleeing the fight rather than sticking around.
Furthermore, they’re terrible gossips. They’re often regarded as news carriers, flitting from city to city and spreading whatever word they have. That means that if your campaign has a Corax in the party, he or she likely can’t shut their beak.
But I picked them with a good reason in mind…
Here’s what makes them bad ass: Aside from the fact that they’re the only living flying Fera left in the game, wereravens have a unique ability that sets them apart from all the others. They can eat your eyeballs.
I know what you’re thinking: so what? Technically, any other changing breed could eat someone’s eyes. This is true, but with the Corax, it comes with a special effect…they can see your memories by eating your eyes. This is called eye drinking, and allows them to view the memories of a deceased person.
They can take it a step further with an ability called Dead Talk. As you might imagine, it allows them to have a conversation with the dead – as long as they died within the last 24 hours.
Oh, and one last thing: they have an interesting way of creating more Corax. Unlike the other changing breeds, which are born that way, wereravens can pick any raven or human and make them into a Corax through something called the Rite of the Fetish Egg.
I just think that really sets them apart from others. Rather than hoping against the odds that an offspring will become a wereraven, they can pick someone they like, and turn them into one.
You might think that a weresaurian must surely be boring. You’d probably be imagining something giant that just basks on a rock all day with a little tongue darting out occasionally. Perhaps you’re imagining something streaking across the sand to hide under a rock.
You’d be wrong. The Mokole have an extremely ancient lineage that hails all the way back to the time of the dinosaurs. When werewolves waged war against all other changing breeds, they survived by going into hiding, and are slowly drifting out of that concealment.
Now they seek more than merely being passive observers. They creep around the edges of the homes of other changing breeds, looking for knowledge and preparing to shape history once more.
Here’s what makes them bad ass: The Mokole are often called Gaia’s memory. This is because they’ve existed for millions of years, witnessing the rise and fall of countless species.
Like the world’s historians, they remember everything. Because of this, although other changing breeds must concern themselves with wars and fears of an upcoming apocalypse, the Mokole can rest assured that they will survive. They will continue to remember and witness all history as it is made, existing long after other Fera have passed away.
Also, I can’t help but think that a werealligator is pretty awe-inspiring.
The Nagah – wereserprents – are unique. Most other changing breeds don’t even know they exist.
Long ago, werewolves kind of overstepped their bounds and started hunting all the Fera to near-extinction in what was called the War of Rage. (Why they did this is a whole other post – I might get into it someday.) The Nagah, before the Ware of Rage happened, were revered as mystics.
They might have been dancers, scholars, advisers, philosophers – whatever they wanted. Then, once the War of Rage happened, they fled into the Umbra to ensure their survival. They hid within the Umbra for so long, others thought they’d gone extinct.
Now you’re probably wondering what makes them special. I’ll tell you.
Here’s what makes them bad ass: The Nagah, although they portrayed themselves in a variety of societal roles, had a common and hidden purpose. What was it?
They were (and still are) assassins. Each changing breed has their own roles to fulfill in service of Gaia, the earth itself, and the unique task assigned to wereserpents was to watch all the others…just in case they step out of line.
And if they do spot any individual stepping out of line, they eliminate the rogue. Yes, this includes werewolves, and sometimes even other Nagah.
To this day, they continue to perform this function. The Nagah will receive information that someone is a threat to Gaia, and just like any other assassin, they discretely carry out the hits.
Part of me wanted to include Rokea in this list simply because they’re weresharks. How could a gigantic shapeshifting shark not be bad ass? They’re practically the definition of the phrase.
To give you some background, Rokea, just like the Mokole, have existed for millions of years. While most other changing breeds have specific sacred roles to fulfill, the goal of the Rokea is a bit simpler: survive.
That’s right. They’re not necessarily assassins, healers, historians, or anything else – their objective is to outlive everything else, weathering all disasters safely in the depths of the ocean. This might make the Rokea sound cowardly, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
As humans have increasingly polluted the ocean or engaged in nuclear testing, the Rokea have begun to surface…and they’re angry. Of course, that’s not all…
Here’s what makes them bad ass: The Rokea are literally immortal. Many of the other changing breeds have to be heavily focused on reproducing, because they’re so rare and can often live painfully short lives, but this is not the case for weresharks.
A wereshark, left to its own submarine life, will live basically forever. They stop aging once they reach adulthood.
Furthermore, Rokea are the only changing breeds that live in the seas. This makes them the undisputed kings of the deep.
In many of my other posts, I try to sum up the article by picking my favorite thing if the article was a list. I can’t really do that here, because I like all the changing breeds on this one.
I will say that I’m personally biased towards the Corax. When I last played the game, I was tempted to make one named Poe, but chose to go with something else at the last minute. If I were to play again, I’d be equally drawn to pretty much every Fera in this article.
Which changing breed is your favorite? Is it one I didn’t include in this post? Leave a comment to let me know.