Humans can be some of the most versatile characters in the World of Darkness, yet they are also some of the most underrated. While most everyone wants to wield the power of a mage, brandish the claws of a shifter, bare the fangs of a vampire, or cavort with the insanity of a wraith, few ever consider relishing the innocence and the vulnerability of a human. Humans make up the majority of the population of the world outside Warrington, and they play important (often unwitting) roles in the lives of the monsters that stalk the night.
However, not all humans are created equal. Some, through either birth or luck, are equipped with knowledge, and occasionally, powers, that set them apart from the majority of humankind. There are many different character types and experiences to be had when it comes to Playing a Human, read on to find out more!
“Sleeper” is the term used to describe most humans. Almost every faction has it in their best interests to keep humans from knowing of their existence, and so most humans live blithely day to day, secure in their lack of knowledge of the supernatural world around them. That does not mean that they are not affected by that hidden world, but it does mean that they have no understanding, recollection, or awareness of that connection. Many sleepers write off extraordinary experiences as “peculiar” or as “a trick of the light”. Many humans subconsciously go to great lengths to avoid acknowledging ghosts, mages, vampires, or werecreatures, and in so doing remain “asleep”. In places like Warrington, sleepers can rarely ignore the goings-on of the townfolk for long.
Initiation into the Occult
Some humans are (un)lucky enough to be aware of the hidden world around them. Some of them, like kinfolk, are born into this culture and perform varying roles within their society. Others, like ghouls, are chosen and are often used as pawns in a game far beyond their comprehension.
Kinfolk are not “made”, in a sense, they are bred, and so the only way to become kinfolk is to be born one. The Shifting Breeds are not allowed to mate with others of their kind, and instead must take human mates in order to propagate themselves. The offspring of a shifter/human coupling are called kinfolk, and carry the shifting gene dormant within them. When a shifter takes a normal human as a mate, the chances of their offspring being shifters as well are incredibly low, often in the realm of 1 in 100 children. However, when a shifter takes a kinfolk mate, the chances of their children being shifters is about 1 in 10. As such, most shifting breeds take good care of their kinfolk, or at least keep track of them and know who they are.
Some kinfolk are aware of their heritage and fulfill important roles within shifter society, while others remain completely oblivious until they are needed. Every kinfolk has the potential to undergo a first shift, but after puberty the chances of them shifting drops dramatically. Either way, they are incredibly important to shifter society not only as breeding stock, but also as safe havens in human society that can shelter or provide for their supernatural family members.
Unlike kinfolk, ghouls are created rather than bred. A ghoul is a normal human who has consumed vampire blood, called vitae, and has thus gained certain powers and benefits, as well as certain drawbacks. They are very easy to create, and as such are often used as slaves, pawns, or easy access snacks in the political world that vampires live in. However, a human who has been “ghouled” will revert back to being a normal human once their body finishes processing the vampire blood in their system, a process that can take anywhere from a month or longer, depending on how much vitae they consumed.
While ghouled, humans do not age, and can learn vampiric gifts at a slow rate. These benefits are offset by the fact that ghouls rarely have free will, and instead exist to serve the vampire that ghouled them. The treatment of ghouls varies from clan to clan, ranging from barely aware pawns, to shock troops, to unlucky pieces of living architecture. Some ghouls have managed to escape their masters, or have been given independence, but remain addicted to vampire blood and often work to obtain it any way they can.
An acolyte is a human who has been made aware of mage society. They serve a master and are often paid for their services, but they are usually only given a small taste of knowledge. Though they are aware of the existence of mages and some of their capabilities, they do not have any sort of special powers of their own and are not trusted with the particulars of mage society. Acolytes are often kept in check by the mage that they serve, and are not allowed to spread the secret of the mage’s existence.
Humans in Warrington
Warrington is a very peculiar place, and so there are very few sleeper humans in the city. Due to the strange goings on in the town, the residents struggle with keeping their secrets truly secret. Occasionally, keeping a secret means that an innocent gets killed, either by someone protecting their secrets, or by a secret getting loose and going on a rampage. Living as a human in Warrington is a dangerous business, and though they usually have no real way of protecting themselves, they’ll often find complete strangers springing to their defense to protect them from hidden threats.
In the end, humans are often caught in the crossfire of a war that they have no knowledge of and cannot understand. They are used as food, bait, and obstacles for other supernatural creatures, but at the same time they truly define the town and remind others of the importance of secrecy and the value of innocence. Everyone has a story, and sometimes their story plays a greater role in the future of Warrington than their abilities ever will.
And Now You Know
So you're a human who's learned about the supernatural? See Aware Humans for more.