Tears of Africa: A Chronicle of the Dark Continent
Ajaba – The self-titled Choosers Of the Slain, the Ajaba were intended to spare the other beasts of Gaia from slow deaths due to starvation or disease by culling the weak and dying. Following an ancient betrayal, the other Fera turned thenr backs of the Hyenas and vice-versa. Locked in endless war with the Endless Storm, it took the heart of a young, naive child to bring the Ahadi into the world, a child who would go on to be the greatest queen the Hyenas had ever known.
Ananasi – Werespiders with an entirely different outlook than the other changing breeds. Ananasi are seen as betrayers by the so-called ‘Ovid’ (Other changers) because many of them serve the tenets of the Wyrm, Weaver and Wyld before Gaia, in what they consider an effort to restore ultimate balance. Oh, and because they drink blood.
Bastet – The dark continent so belongs to the cat-changers that the Ahadi needed the might, symbolic and physical, of the Bastet to ensure that all of Africa would not fall into unceasing night and despair with the death of Blacktooth. The Bagheera, Bubasti, Simba and Swara are the most active tribes in Africa.
Corax – Wherever there is conflict, wherever there are sickening events to be brought to light, Ravens will be there to feast on the eyes of the dead and drag the truth, kicking and screaming into the light. So it is in Africa and the Middle East.
Garou – The Silent Striders and Kuchu Ekundu have done much to redeem themselves in the eyes of the Fera. As the Striders return to wage war for their Homeland and the Ekuchu find their way, it is a testament to the guile and determination of the Ajaba Queen that they have agreed to join the Ahadi beside the very Fera their kind once tried to destroy.
Gurahl – Gaia’s healers, the Bears are a rare breed, but slowly recover each year. After their refusal to yield a rite allowing resurrection of fallen warriors to the Garou, and the ensuing war of rage, the Gurahl retreated into cyclic hubernation away from the world for centuries, and have only now realized the damage their retreat from pain has caused Gaia, seeking to make up for their selfishness.
Mokolé – Gaia’s memories, they are monitor lizards, crocodiles, and in ancient times dragons and dinosaurs. Tied to Helios, the celestine of the Sun, the Mokolé are surprisingly even-tempered historians who carry within themselves the Akashik Memory of their race, passed down hereditarily but too massive for any one to access easily.
Ratkin – Gaia’s terrorists in the modern times, the Ratkin have largely become selfish warlords, turning away from the other Fera and their dutiues
Rokea – Keepers of the Sea, Enigmatic and dangerous weresharks. Very little is known about them because they are denizens of the oceans. Few Rokea become ‘land walkers’, for the sharks have their work cut out for them, fighting minions of the Wyrm in places most other Fera will never know of or see.
What makes playing Fera so different from portraying Garou? They share some basic qualities: most agree they are Gaia’s children to one degree or another, and each is an embodiment of some sort of greater purpose or specialty. each is a shapechanger, a combination of human and some animal such as a bear or a cougar. Aside from such obvious differences as playing a fox or a big cat rather than a wolf, the main change lies in each breed’s perception of itself and it’s role in the world and in the animalistic part of the character. Further, most of them have a long-standing grudge against the werewolves – The War of Rage – which may lead them to fear, distrust, or even hate the Garou.
Whereas the Garou think of themselves as Gaia’s warriors, those to whom She has entrusted Her welfare and ultimate salvation, the other Breeds generally see the Garou as, at best, braggatys and overly agressive bullies.
Each group of Fera knows they have been given other, but not less important, duties than the Garou. Most feel that their own contributions equal or exceed those of the wolf-changers. They mat server as Gaia’s eyes, Her memory, Her messengers or some other function. They may see themselves as chosen children of forces even greater than Gaia herself. They each have their own particular practices, rites, and Gifts that help them in these jobs. Taking into consideration what those powers are designed to do will determine part of how you’ll play your Fera character. So will having knowledge of the animal side of the equation.
All Fera Games
While Garou games invariable lead to comabt sooner or later (status as Gaia’s warriors aside, bloodshed is as integral to the Werewolf myth as seduction is to the vampire myth), such concerns may be secondary in Fera games. Intrigue, the acquisition of knowledge, stealthy theft, clever manipulation or the cleansing of a horrid blight might be the order of the day depending on what sort of Fera the game involves.
The largest strength og a game with multiple types of Fera is it’s diversity; There’s a certain amount of vitality that comes from a game where everyone is not only playing exactly the type of shapeshifter they like best, but enjoying the ability to play off other breeds. This sort of scenario obviously works best with players that enjoy watching their fellow players take the limelight as much as they enjoy their own turn on center stage.
(Those who are less interested in watching the other players have their turn than they are in trying to grab the player’s attention suffer from the dreaded ‘look at me’ syndrome, which can badly injure games. If everyone wants to be looked at but nobody wants to look at anyone else, it’s a formula for disaster. Be warned!)
A group of mixed Fera also has the advantage of a wide variety of skills and abilities to apply to the task at hand. A mixed group might not be as stealthy as an all Corax group or as proficient at sinking ships as a slew of Rokea, but they can outfight enemies that would tear the murder of Corax into ribbons and have far more success on dry land than the Rokea would. They have the advantage of diversity that carried the Garou packs to victory, only more so. Such a group can meet a wider variety of challenged while still not being so over-specialized that they are guaranteed success in any one endeavor.
A mixed-Fera group is also potentially the best way to experience the culture of one of the major shape shifter organizations – the Beast Courts and the Ahadi. A mix of different Breeds showcases the diversity and the strength through shared culture that makes these two allainces as effective as they are.
On the other hand, a group of mixed Fera can lack focus. Some of the members of the group might not have any real reason to get along. they can also look somewhat implausible when lined up together; all members of very rare Breeds, somehow gathered in one place by a common purpose. Extra work at devising reasons for your character to know and respect one another is highly recommended. After all, you can only play the “We’re trying to set an example of Breed cooperation” card so many times.
The diversity of abilities being as extreme as it is, players may feel less helpful in certain situations. After all, a Corax who travels with a Rokea, a Mokole, and a Khan isn’t going to pull the same share of weight in the average combat. The Storyteller should do his best to mix up the challenges so that each player has a feeling of contributing equally when the overall story is considered, even if they didn’t feel the same way in every scene.