World of Darkness: My Chicago
According to the legend of the Forsaken, the world was once a perfect place called Pangaea. In this world, the barrier between the spirit world and the material world was thin and it was easy to travel from one world into the other.
The spirit who watched over the balance between both was Father Wolf, the mightiest warrior of his time. Father Wolf patrolled the barrier between the two worlds and allowed spirits to remain in the spirit world and even form cults around them. But only so long as they did not become as humans are and flesh and spirit remained separated. Many of the powerful spirit lords saw the wisdom in that and followed the rules. However, those who threatened the balance between the worlds were either chased back to their world or were killed outright.
Over time Luna, the spirit of the moon, began to travel the world in a body of flesh. She had many suitors but choose only Father Wolf as a mate, due to his strength and power. With him she sired the First Pack (children part human, part wolf, and part spirit), who were the ancestors of all Uratha and assisted their father in his duties.
Over time Father Wolf grew weak and was no longer able to fulfill his duties. When his children saw his weakness, they began to rebel against their father and succeeded in killing him and taking his place. As Father Wolf died, the barrier between the worlds became so strong that traveling from one to another was only possible in special places for most beings. The pain over the death of her lover caused Mother Luna to curse all children she had ever borne, so that silver (her sacred metal) is able to kill them.
Those Uratha who killed Father Wolf, later swore the Oath of the Moon and promised to fulfill the duties of their father. To those Uratha, Luna gave her Auspices and lifted the curse partly. The Forsaken sought out the Firstborn and later founded the five Tribes of the Forsaken.
The Uratha are physical and spiritual creatures, who can use the energy of the spirits (called Essence) to activate certain supernatural powers (called Gifts), supernatural tools (called Fetishes), change form or accelerate their healing.
Unlike humans, Uratha heal very fast (sometimes in a matter of seconds) and can theoretically regrow limbs and organs (which is accompanied with a great deal of effort). An exception to this rule are wounds caused by silver. These wounds have a resemblance to burns and only heal very slow and with difficulty. The Uratha are immune against normal diseases and most foreign particles are expelled from their bodies very quickly.
The metabolism of a Uratha is faster than that of a human and so they have to eat more. What they can eat depends on their personal taste and the form they wear at the moment. Most prefer meat, but a vegetarian diet is also possible (but very difficult).
Uratha can only reproduce with humans, but the chance that the child will be a Uratha is very small. Reproduction with wolves is not possible and a mating between two Uratha can results in the birth of a Spirit monster (mating with other Uratha is considered as a serious sin).
Uratha can come from any part of human society, which can have a stronger or lower importance after the werewolf’s first change. Some forsake human society completely and others do not.
Most Uratha form packs of different sizes to hunt more efficiently and better protect their territory. The smallest packs consist of 3 Uratha and every pack needs a totem (a spirit who bonds with the pack).
Also, every Forsaken werewolf who belongs to a Tribe (or remain at the very least as not a threat) must swear the Oath of the Moon, which (roughly) describes the moral of the Uratha (called Harmony). The phrases of the Oath are:
- The Wolf Must Hunt (the Uratha have to fulfill the roles of Father Wolf)
- The People do not murder the People (Uratha don’t murder other Uratha)
- The Low honor the High, the High respect the Low
- Respect your Prey
- The Uratha shall cleave to Human (Uratha are forbidden to mate with each other or with wolves and are mandated to reproduce)
- Do not eat the flesh of Human or wolf
- The herd must not know (the Uratha must be hidden from the humans)
Each Uratha has an Auspice, a traditional role in Uratha society, tied to one of five phases of the moon. Luna decides each Uratha’s Auspice, based on their personality and abilities; accordingly, a Uratha will go through the First Change during the corresponding moon phase. The five Auspices have the following names in the First Tongue.
- Rahu (The Full Moon, The Warrior) – warriors of all kinds from brawlers to seasoned commanders.
- Cahalith (The Gibbous Moon, The Visionary) – seers, storytellers and lorekeepers.
- Elodoth (The Half Moon, The Walker Between) – diplomats to the spirit courts, judges and arbiters.
- Ithaeur (The Crescent Moon, The Spirit Master) – occultists and keepers of spirit lore and rituals.
- Irraka (The New Moon, The Stalker) – scouts, spies and trackers.
The Forsaken have five Tribes. These Tribes consist of Uratha who choose to follow one of five ancient and powerful wolf-spirits, called the Firstborn. These Firstborn are the first born children of Father Wolf (but not of Mother Luna) and have allied with the Forsaken. Every one of the Forsaken demands, that the Uratha who belong to his Tribe act in accordance to a certain ban. These Five Tribes, with their First Tongue names in parentheses, are:
Tribes of the Moon
- Blood Talons (Suthar Anzuth) – the Tribe of Fenris Wolf, who promotes the warrior and wolf aspects of the Uratha. Their tribal ban is “Offer no surrender that you would not accept”.
- Bone Shadows (Hirfathra Hissu) – occultists who seek to restore relations with the Spirit Courts with the guidance of their patron, Death Wolf. Their tribal ban is “Pay each spirit in kind”.
- Hunters in Darkness (Meninna) – protectors of loci, the spiritual centres of the world. Black Wolf is their totem. Their tribal ban is “Let no sacred space in your territory be violated”.
- Iron Masters (Farsil Luhal) – this Tribe, following the teachings of Red Wolf, embrace change and new ideas. They are closer to humanity, keeping up with technology and taking cities for their territory. Their tribal ban is “Honor your territory in all things”.
- Storm Lords (Iminir) – the Tribe of Winter Wolf seeks to lead all Uratha through strength and noble example. Their tribal ban is “Allow no one to witness or to tend your weakness”.
Next to these five Tribes, there are the Ghost Wolves among the Forsaken (Thihirtha Numea). These are not an actual Tribe, but rather a collective term for all Uratha who do not belong to a Tribe. Therefore, they neither have a tribal ban nor a tribal patron. Some follow the Oath of the Moon and others do not. Some never belonged to a Tribe and others left their Tribe (this includes Uratha from the ranks of the Pure). The only thing that all Ghost Wolves have in common, is that they don’t belong to the Uratha society in the traditional sense, apart from that, no generalizations can be made.
The Pure Tribes
- Fire-Touched (Izidakh) – fanatical followers of Rabid Wolf, the spiritual leaders of The Pure, who hold that all Forsaken are irrevocably evil and that their taint may only be cleansed by fire.
- Ivory Claws (Tzuumfin) – obsessed with purity, the followers of Silver Wolf are cold and calculating planners and schemers. Only those of the purest bloodlines are allowed to join.
- Predator Kings (Ninna Farakh) – these savage hunters hate the Forsaken not for killing Father Wolf, but for losing them the hunter’s paradise of Pangaea. Like their patron Dire Wolf (the oldest Firstborn), they live for the hunt above all else.
In the World of Darkness, there are many dangers for the Uratha. But these rivalries rarely result in open combat, since most supernatural beings in the World of Darkness prefer to be hidden. The main threats to the Forsaken are:
- Spirits: Spirits who do not acknowledge the barrier between the worlds are the most common adversary of the Forsaken.
- The Pure (Anshega): Werewolves descended from those who chose not to rise up and slay Father Wolf. They blame their Forsaken cousins for the loss of Pangaea and view the extermination of the Forsaken as a holy crusade.
- The Hosts: Bizarre creatures who, like the Forsaken, are a hybrid of spirit and flesh, man and animal. They are descended from powerful Pangaean spirits hunted by Father Wolf for their attacks on humanity.
- The Idigam: The rarest of the Forsaken’s enemies, these cthonic entities are the spirits that represent concepts that existed before the world was fully formed.
- The Bale-Hounds (Azah Gadar): these Uratha devoted themselves to the Maeljin, archetypal spirits of the Seven Deadly Sins plus Violence and Deception.
- Humans: Humans can be friend or foe for the Uratha, especially those who are part supernatural themselves, since the Lunacy provokes a weaker reaction or sometimes even fails to effect them.
- Other Supernaturals: The Forsaken occasionally come into conflict with other supernatural denizens of the World, like Ghosts, The Kindred, Mages, or the other were-beasts.