Luperci Basics

The ability of wolves and other canines to shift — in essence, being a “werewolf” — is one of the many unique aspects of ‘Souls.

Introduction

Our werewolves are known as Luperci. The Luperci were, in ancient Roman times, cults which arose out of love or adoration for lupa romana, the she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus. The Luperci of ancient times sacrificed goats at the entrances of their “wolves dens” or homes. At ‘Souls, the origins of the term “Luperci” are unknown, although it may have arisen from a particularly scholarly wolf who studied his ancient forebearers in one library or another.

The Luperci’s origins are not a mystery to most. When the Z456 virus infected and subsequently wiped out the existing human population in the late eighties, the virus mutated, and began infecting animal populations. Other species were infected by the virus, but the animal that most profited from the Z456 virus were species in the genus Canis — wolves, dogs, coyotes, and jackals.

They gained the ability to shift into two other forms in addition to their natural one. For a long time, canines at ‘Souls remain quite feral, but there has been slow adaptation of humanized behaviors. Luperci outside of ‘Souls and the Americas, particularly those in Europe and Russia, have already seen widespread adoption of these lifestyles.

It is important to note that Luperci do not have human forms. Luperci were never human. They are canines with a mutated gene that allows them the ability to shift into a more humanized, bipedal form, but they are not and never will be human.

Three Forms

Luperci have three forms: the Lupus (normal) form, the Secui (halfling) form, and the Optime (werewolf) form. Again: they do not have human forms (the human silhouette is included in the chart for size reference only).

Luperci forms.
Luperci forms. (Example is a wolf; other species will have differences in height.)

Lupus

The “normal” form. The Lupus form is just that. Think of an average, run-of-the-mill canine. This form bears certain advantages, including speed, agility, and stealth. Many feel most comfortable in this form, especially the young.

Secui

The “half-shifted” or “halfling” form. The Secui form is somewhere between Lupus and Optime form. Its body retains the general shape of the Lupus, though it is much more massive. Its build is heavier and bulkier in general, giving it more brute strength, and its thickened mane makes it seem even larger than it already is. Claws are retractable in Secui form, and despite their size, they are generally faster than Lupus forms.

Optime

The werewolf, or fully shifted form, is a bipedal, humanoid creature with opposable thumbs. The Optime form has the ability to manipulate objects with much greater dexterity than either of the other two forms. Body types can vary greatly among Optime forms, from the more traditional, more-feral looking werewolves, to much slimmer and more refined-looking individuals.

As many werewolves personally opt to become more humanized, certain characteristics can be groomed up to more human standards. For example, a long mane can be combed forward to emulate human hair by creating stylings and bangs. Though the Optime form retains digitigrade feet, some Luperci alter or create their own clothing to accommodate their unique anatomy.

RPGuide_12Types of Luperci

There are two types of Luperci. The most common is the Luperci Ortus who is born with the Luperci gene inherited from at least one Luperci parent. The less common type is the Luperci Verto who is not born with the gene, but was instead infected at a later date.

Luperci Ortus

This type of Luperci is born with the ability to shift between all three forms. The mutated shifting gene is dominant, so it only takes one Luperci parent for a litter of Luperci children to occur. Luperci Ortus are almost always more fluid and faster in their transformations than Verto shifters. The Luperci Ortus are less volatile shifters, as their abilities are inherent and their parents usually explain the shifting process to them. Regardless of their mother’s preferred form, Luperci children are always born in Lupus form and do not usually shift for the first time until they are roughly six months old.

Luperci Verto

Luperci Verto are born as non-Luperci, but pick up the ability to shift via infection later in life. They are also able to transform between all three forms, though Luperci Verto can have difficulty controlling their shifting and their urges for up to six months following the initial infection, especially if they were given the mutation later in life.

Luperci Verto cannot usually be created “accidentally” through smaller bites; a significant amount of bodily fluid must pass into a non-Luperci’s bloodstream. Serious Luperci-inflicted wounds, sexual intercourse, and purposeful blood transfusion are some of the most common forms of transmission. Once infected, it can take up to eight days before the mutation is fully realized. The first signs — an uncontrollable urge to shift — usually manifests a few days afterwards.

Naming Conventions

A normal, non-Luperci wolf retains its regular scientific name. A Gray Wolf is Canis lupus. An Arctic Wolf is Canis lupus arctos. Luperci names are formed by appending the Luperci type to the end of their species’ regular scientific name. Thus, a Gray Wolf that is a Luperci Ortus becomes Canis lupus ortus, and an arctic wolf that is a Luperci Verto becomes Canis lupus arctos verto.

Please remember that only species in the genus Canis can gain the ability to shift. This means that many other kinds canines in the family Canidae cannot shift, including foxes (Vulpes), African wild dogs (Lycaon), and maned wolves (Chrysocyon). This also means that other animals like cats, elephants, bears, hyenas, weasels, cannot shift.

Shifting

No matter what form a Luperci is in, they are comfortable with the movements and abilities of that form. Though the process of shifting can take some getting used to, there is no significant “adjustment period” where a Luperci must adapt to the body of their Optime form. Even after the very first shift, a young Luperci will know how to manipulate and move in its Optime form.

Guidelines

  • Luperci puppies (whether Ortus or Verto) begin shifting as early as six months of age, though this may be delayed until sexual maturity. Shifting as early as five months of age is exceedingly rare but may be triggered by a traumatic event.
  • A Luperci is not “uncontrollable” in its Optime form. A normal Luperci will not be level-headed and collected in its Lupus form, and then, once shifted, turn into a pillaging, plundering murderer.
  • Luperci are never forced to shift due to full moons, although some may feel a strong pull to change forms to expend excess energy. Rage will not force a Luperci to shift, although an especially traumatic event may cause premature shifting in a young Luperci.
  • Involuntary shifting is extremely rare.
  • Shifting takes a bit of energy no matter the time of the month or energy level of the individual. Luperci are not able to swap quickly back and forth between forms; excessive shifting may result in fainting.
  • Shifting is not instantaneous and can take anywhere from two to five minutes or more depending on the experience and comfort of the individual.
  • Once shifting has started, it will continue at least until the next form is reached. If an individual is interrupted during the process, it will still continue, but the transformation will be slower if they’ve lost focus/concentration. Luperci cannot become “stuck” between forms.
  • If your character prefers to wear clothing when in the Optime form, the clothes don’t magically appear. Optime hair will need to be restyled — or even re-cut.

Luperci Type

For Luperci Ortus, the process of shifting is neither complicated nor painful. In order to shift, all a Luperci has to do is focus on the change, and it will happen. The process may take anywhere from two to fifteen minutes depending on how experienced the shifter is. A young Luperci will take a longer time than an older Luperci, and one who shifts infrequently will take more time than one who shifts frequently.

For Luperci Verto, the change isn’t painful either, but they may perceive it as being such, especially for their first few times. It is much easier for Verto to get confused as their body changes, and it can end up taking thirty minutes to an hour if they are distressed.

Example of Shifting

Shifting is generally pretty methodical, though it can happen virtually any way you please so long as it’s not instantaneous.

Lupus to Optime: “She leapt nimbly upon the seat which she’d claimed as her own, sitting herself down nicely. Dark eyes stared forward and then shut as she began to shift. At first the only noticeable difference was the fur along her neck. It lengthened out; the short, rough hair growing long and silken. The next was her forelegs. In a seemingly painful fashion, upper halves lengthened, shifting her elbow downwards. Her haunches began to lengthen into thighs. Slowly at first, then a bit faster and faster, the raven alpha began to double in size. Her arms continued to lengthened, along with her hind legs, and with a sickening crackle of bones, new joints appeared at her ankles and wrists. The toes in her forepaws began to lengthen as well, stretching out into dexterous fingers. Her ears moved slightly up her head, which had grown slightly to accommodate for the change in size her body had just underwent. Finally, her tail lengthened, the coarse sable fur layered thickly upon it becoming soft and velveteen.”

Intelligence

Non-Luperci are not necessarily less intelligent than Luperci; they are simply less inclined toward human things, which may make Luperci seem more sophisticated. It’s physically difficult (and sometimes impossible) for a non-Luperci to engage in certain acts that a Luperci would adapt to easily — e.g., writing. A non-Luperci could learn to read and write, but for the latter, at least, few would be inclined to do so because of physical difficulties.

Another thing to remember is that a non-Luperci would have more than likely come from an area with few (if any) Luperci. If they did, then it’s likely that they would have already become Luperci themselves. Therefore, Luperci technologies wouldn’t be available to these non-Luperci canines. Remember, most technological advances in the ‘Souls world originate from Europe and Asia.

So it is not that non-Luperci are less intelligent, they generally just have a different, simpler thought process, focusing on survival and other more basic needs.

RPGuide_14Life Expectancy & Aging

The Luperci have a longer average lifespan than their non-Luperci relatives — an average of twelve years compared to the non-Luperci’s seven or eight.

Depending on a Luperci’s lifestyle though, they may die at a much earlier age from injuries or sickness — even in the most advanced of Luperci populations, medicine and treatment for diseases is very limited. In the same vein, if an individual is able to avoid harsh environments and chronic diseases, it is possible to live longer than average.

Because of the lengthened lifespan, the relative aging of Luperci is slightly different from non-Luperci. Below is a chart comparing the ages of both Luperci and non-Luperci to their human age/maturity equivalent. Note that both have a relatively short childhood and mature quickly. After that, their relative aging slows considerably with adult life making of a majority of their years. As most canines remain physically active throughout their lives, few will show overt signs of deterioration until a year or two before their natural death.

Note: Various factors such as illnesses, health, and lifestyle may affect a character’s life expectancy. Many purebred dogs tend to be less healthy than their mixed-breed counterparts, and some breeds are known for shorter life spans. For example, the Bernese Mountain Dog lives to be just seven years old on average.

Age Calculator

An age calculator (well, technically it’s a maturity calculator) is available here to help determine the appropriate maturity of your character given a specified age. A reverse calculator — to determine age given a specified maturit — is in the works. Or, if you prefer, an age chart is available below.

Age Chart

Luperci

Non-Luperci

Actual Age
This is the age you should use for your profile.
Maturity: Human Age Equivalent
This is the approximate maturity/age equivalent in human years.
Actual Age
This is the age you should use for your profile.
Maturity: Human Age Equivalent
This is the approximate maturity/age equivalent in human years.
1 month 3 years 1 month 3 years
2 months 5 years 2 months 5 years
5 months 8 years 5 months 9 years
8 months 12 years 8 months 13 years
10 months 15 years 9 months 16 years
12 months 18 years 12 months 19 years
15 months 20 years 15 months 23 years
2 years 25 years 2 years 27 years
3 years 30 years 3 years 33 years
4 years 34 years 4 years 40 years
5 years 38 years 5 years 51 years
6 years 42 years 6 years 60 years
7 years 49 years 7 years 66 years
8 years 53 years 8 years 75 years
9 years 60 years 9 years 89 years
10 years 66 years 10 years 100 years
11 years 73 years 11 years 115 years
12 years 80 years 12 years CORPSE?
13 years 86 years
14 years 93 years
15 years 105 years

Last updated: November 15, 2017

Further Reading

External Sources

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