Lupus guide (draft)
Lupus Linguistics and Intellectual Capabilities Wolves are not very cognitive creatures, even when compared to the most dim-witted of humans. Wolves (and other animals, excluding humans, that communicate) can only speak about a 2-word sentence using simple words. i.e., "I'm hungry." "I'm scared." "Run away!" "That way." "Follow me." "Hello?" Truly exceptional creatures, the Einsteins of their species, might be able to manage 3-word sentences with simple words. "I dislike you." "Cats are tasty." "This way: water."
Note that these communicative abilities/responses should be limited to 2 or, in rare instances with exceptional animals, simple word sentence--not paragraphs.
Bad example: "I'm scared! Follow me! Bad Men! With guns!"
The above example is creating a paragraph of simple phrases to form a more advanced thought process that would be beyond the capabilities of a wolf or dog (or other animal if Beast Speech is used). The above example is also demonstrating advanced cognitive thought on the animal's part. The paragraph explains that the animal is afraid, recognizes that the entity it is communicating with is an ally, has processed that this ally can get rid of or run off the cause of that fear because the entity it is speaking with is an ally, and that the ally in question will want to know that the source of the problem is not just men, but "bad" men--either in its own eyes or the eyes of the ally--and that these men also possess firearms, which could further complicate getting rid of them and is something that the ally should be aware of. Also, the animal will gladly lead the ally back to these men--so there's a sense of vendetta there as well.
That's a pretty darn advanced thought process for an animal to manage. It is also a completely unrealistic intellectual leap for an animal, even a "smart" one like a dog or a wolf, to be making. And all that has really been done with the example "paragraph" is to break up a continuous thought into four short two-word sentences.
Translated, the bad example above essentially is equivalent to the following spoken paragraph: "I'm very afraid of this group of men that have guns, and I think they're up to no good and that you would be interested in stopping them. Follow me and I will show you where they are at so you can do something about them and make me happy."
Obviously, this is patently far too complex a thought process for an animal. Thus the limitation that lupus (and other animals that Beast Speech is used on) can speak no more than a single sentence response to a question, and that single sentence cannot be longer than two relatively simple words.
By limiting the "verbalized" conversational abilities of an animal, it also emphasizes the importance of non-verbal communication in animals. Flattened ears, raised hackles, scent, tails held high, tucked between legs, or wagging happily. Most animal conversation/posing is going to be a sequence of gestures/motions/actions/scents.
Good example: "The black lab steps free of the treeline and spies a family walking through the oepn field of the park. His ears perk up, his tail starts wagging, and his tongue lolls out in a canine-like grin of pleasure. He woofs out a doggy "Hi, there!" and lopes playfully over towards them."
Two words of lupus speech, but the physical posturing speaks far more than words. And that, boys and girls, is how a lupus/dog/animal-with-Beast-Speech-used-on-it communicates.
Note that it's impossible to have any intellectually stimulating or philosophical digressions this way, but it is perfectly adequate for elementary communication of hunger, fear, anger, etc.--the most basic of emotions and biological imperatives. Thus, animals do not have, nor do can they develop, higher cognitive functions like humans do. Their brains simply aren't wired that way. Lupus Pre-change Garou All of the stuff above applies directly to a pre-change lupus garou. No stringing of thoughts together beyond a 2-3 word sentence. If it takes more than 2-3 words or requires an extra sentence to complete the thought--your character is mentally incapable of completing that thought.
Welcome to life as a wolf.
Prior to firsting, a lupus has absolutely no advanced cognitive abilities or emotions/feelings. They do not wonder why they are there, or why they don't seem to fit in, or why people came and built a home and leveled a great rabbit field. They simply know it was done. There is no why.
Where humans can ask "who, what, when, where, how, and why," animals (and pre-changed lupus) can not ask "why"--that pivotal word to every 2-year old human that makes humanity very different from all the other animals on the planet. "Why" is the foundation of knowledge and learning--asking questions about things that are not understood and attempting to comprehend the reason that things happen and can be controlled.
A dog that gets hit for chewing on the couch does not sit there and contemplate why it got hit for chewing on the couch, and how the couch is valuable and shouldn't be destroyed or chewed on. It simply realizes that if it chews the couch, it will get hit. There's no "why" involved in this thought process. There's only cause and effect. Do this, get hit.
So if you're playing or apping a pre-change lupus cub, you've got 2-2.5 years (equivalent to 14-19 human years) of an animal with a brain about as advanced as a bowl of lukewarm oatmeal when compared to that of a 14-19 year old human. There's no real cognitive thoughts going on: just eat, sleep, hunt. Repeat ad naseum.
Lupus Garou, Firsting, and a Cordial Welcome to the Special Olympics Your pre-change lupus garou suddenly firsts. Now what? Sudden, blinding consciousness? Nope. That'd make as much sense as a homid cub firsting and then having a sudden, blinding knowledge of advanced nuclear fusion principles. A lupus' mind is an atrophied muscle that, if it's ever to get stronger, has to be worked. And guess what? A lupus is behind the average just-firsted homid cub by about 14 years.
Does this mean that it takes 14 years for a lupus, completely and totally immersed in human society, to grasp the language, culture, and mannerisms of human society to the extent that a 14-year old human does? Nope. It takes EVEN LONGER. Why? (See that human trait of yours popping up again?) Because the brain is a giant sponge between about 1-4 years of age--back when your lupus was, in dog years, preoccupied with hunting and eating and licking its ass and generally doing anything but thinking. It's like a human kid never going to school, never being taught, and then being tossed into college courses when they turn 18. They fail everything miserably and, if they work hard at it all of their life, might get to die with a level of knowledge that might put them up around the 6th-8th grade level if they're smart and diligent.
Guess what your lupus is good at well beyond what a homid is capable of? That's right: all things wolfish/instinctual. Oh, and exceptional spirit apptitude by default as well with that Gnosis of 5. Those 4 extra points of gnosis (the equivalence of 8 freebie points in chargen) come with a very steep price tag: inability to relate to humanity, long-term inability to speak a human language, and poor cognitive processes/naivity.
Whereas a lupus (or a homid) can semi-instinctually learn the mother tongue of the garou in very short order (about a month), a lupus is going to have a monumental obstacle to overcome in learning to speak a human language. Sure, a human that goes to another country can become more or less fluent in their language in a year or three, and a young child can pick up several languages in extremely short order. There's two reasons for this. 1) A human, immersed in another language, extrapolates and learns the new language by comparing/contrasting the syntax of the new language with the one he already knows. Once the familiarities are discovered and the grammar understood and practice practice practice have happened, the person slowly becomes more and more fluent. With a child, they are able to pick up multiple languages at the same time because their brains are geared to work in overtime at a young age, because this is when the fundamentals of language development and acquisition occur. Toddlers pick up languages faster than adults when immersed.
A post-change lupus, on the other hand, has already missed the window of opportunity for when their brains would be in an optimal state for picking up a new language. Like an older human being immersed in a new language, it will be harder and more difficult for them to learn that language. Furthermore, there's an additional complication for the lupus--the lupus has absolutely no language or syntax with which to compare the new language with.
The difference is like being given a map and being told to go to the highest elevation point in the country. Homid? You get a red arrow on the map with a "You are here." Going 10 miles north of that reference point is no problem. Lupus? No reference point for you. And what the hell is a mile, what are all these scribbles, and how do you read a map?
Now do you see why lupus refer to human speech as "monkey babble"
Where a human has a reference language, a lupus has none. Where it might take a year or four for a human immersed in a new language to become fluent, a lupus is lost and adrift, likely never becoming fluent in any one human language and probably taking a couple years before they can even use simple sentences with simple concepts and words. Their speech will raise eyebrows wherever they go as the inflections, wording, delivery, pronunciation, and meaning will often be askew, basically making people think that 1) the speaker doesn't speak English (or French or whatever) and/or 2) the speaker is mentally handicapped or insane.
Now that you can see the rationale behind a lupus never really being able to ever learn any human language to fluency levels, carry that over to the complexity of human culture. And then advanced cognitive thought and philosophy. A lupus garou is always going to be an outsider in human culture. The best they can really manage in attempting to pass for normal is to pass through without speaking or interacting with anyone. Otherwise, any interaction is going to quickly set off "not from here/not normal" alarms in all but the most blind/dumb/deaf of humans. There's a reason people all talk slow to you and basically treat you like a young child--that's about the best of your mental abilities.
Forever. Lupus, Cities, and Veil Breaches--or "let's advertise to all supers and hunters that I'm a werewolf and that these are my werewolf friends!" Some Garou would even consider a lupus masquerading as a human in the city or even around non-garou or non-kin to be a potential veil breach. It is most certainly asking for trouble. It's patently obvious to any sane human that they interact with that there's something "very not right" with them. And the lupus mannerisms alone betray the lupus garou almost instantly to every supernatural and werewolf hunter out there. So going out into the city with a lupus in the group instantly draws a lot of unwanted attention to the group--potentially of the supernatural kind. And exposes all the other Garou in the group as being potential allies/garou as well. Summation Lupus are renowned for being experts in the woods, possessing far more instinctual capabilities than homids (who are often paralyzed by their own intelligence/logic/thinking), and their natural affinity with the spirit world.
A lupus is not a "funny human" with lots of gnosis. A lupus is a wolf/werewolf that, at times, may attempt to pass itself off as being a human--and do a pretty piss-poor job if anyone human even remotely attempts to interact with them.
A lupus is not, nor ever will be, human--nor even decent (not ever "good") at imitating humans--to the point of sometimes even being a potential veil breach and a danger to any Garou seen with it in an urban setting. A lupus coming and going from a city safehouse is jeoprodizing the secrecy of the safehouse and potentially alerting enemies to the location of the Garou hideout as well as identifying the people seen entering and leaving the safehouse as being either Garou, kin, or allies.
Lupus lose renown for associating with or attempting to learn about humanity or using tools.
Thus, most lupus rarely, if ever, leave the woods or associate with humanity. They prefer to stay in lupus for day-to-day living, crinos for when fighting, and almost never use any other forms except hispo. Homid is a weak and confusing form that is to be avoided if at all possible. And if a lupus does venture into the city, it is typically as a lupus. A big wolf or big-dog-that-obviously-has-substantial-wolf-blood-in-it-and-isn't-on-a-leash in the city.
Whereas homids have difficulty in human society, lupus are "cursed" to never even remotely fit in to human society--even if they desperately wanted to and devoted their entire lives to it.
Original article here.