OverviewEditThe Damhàn consider themselves children of Queen Ananasa, an ancient and powerful spider spirit created by the Weaver itself. As creatures of the Weaver, they seek to keep true balance between the forces of the Triat, fulfilling the Weaver's original purpose. Queen Ananasa's will is their law; she is the patron and totem of every Ananasi (though there are traitors like the Kumo and Kumatai, who abandon her). The children of Queen Ananasa have many of the advantages of spiders. In all forms other than homid, they possess multiple pairs of eyes and limbs; they are also able to consciously exude pheromones, making it easy to attract mates. They possess poison glands (but their venom's potency varies according to the species of spider they resemble), and may also spin webs in Pithus form which are tremendously strong.
Having no connection to Luna, the Ananasi are one of the few Fera who do not possess Rage (and do not normally frenzy). Instead, like some of their spider kin, they are able to draw sustenance and supernatural power from the blood of humans and animals. They may expend the power granted by this blood to heal themselves, move with supernatural quickness, instantly change forms, create webs or to power some of their gifts. They do not regenerate like other Fera; they either heal at the same rate as humans, or they may use the power of the blood they have ingested to heal themselves. Similarly they do not enjoy the immunity to disease that Garou and other Fera possess, though they can purge such diseases from their system with the power in their blood.
The Damhàn do not step sideways to enter the Umbra; instead, they assume Crawlerling form (see below) and crawl through the strands of the web, which is how they think of the Gauntlet. Being creatures of the Weaver, they find this much easier in areas of high Weaver influence, and much more difficult in areas dominated by the Wyld or the Wyrm. They are are considered bizarre and alien at best by the other Changing Breeds; in return, the Ananasi consider the other Fera (for whom they use the collective term "Ovid") beneath their notice. Perhaps because they are not Gaian offspring, Ananasi possess no vulnerability or allergy to silver, nor to any other substance as a Breed. They often point this out as proof of their superiority to the Ovid.
The Ananasi may change into many distinguished forms:
- Homid - a normal human form. Though it is not exactly human, and a very thorough examination will reveal their strange nature.
- Lilian - a human-spider hybrid form, which is not necessarily the same for each Ananasi. Some are humanoid with multiple limbs, while others have a human-like torso sprouting from the abdomen of a giant spider. It is considered a war form, and thus analogous to the Crinos form of other Fera.
- Pithus - an enormous spider, at least half as heavy again as the werespider's human form.
- Crawlerling - the spider form. Unique among the Fera, Ananasi do not transform into a single animal, but rather a swarm of hundreds of spiders. This makes them very difficult to kill, though if significant numbers of the swarm spiders are killed the Ananasi may lose memories, skills and mass in her other forms. This mass can be regained by consuming ordinary spiders.
- Araneid - This form is not standard to the Ananasi. Through the general Rank 2 Gift: Man-Spider Form, the Damhàn develops a Glabro-like form between Homid and Lilian.
The Damhàn’s current form does affect the venom’s potency. Ananasi in Pithus form produce full strength venom; in Lilian form, their poison is somewhat diluted, in Homid even more so, and the bite of a single spider in Crawlerling is quite weak. Storytellers should determine for themselves the exact amount of damage (and any extra effects) based on the particular “spider” species, but venom always deals aggravated damage that can only be healed through medical attention or magical healing. Left unattended, the damage will never heal. Even if the spider species they emulate does not, Ananasi also possess venom-producing glands (and fangs capable of delivering this venom via a bite). The fangs are present in all forms allowing a werespider to bite with venomous effect regardless of his current shape.
When in Pithus form, Ananasi can spin webs that are almost as strong as steel and yet as flexible as natural spider webs. Pithus webs take four health levels of damage before they break. Creating webs costs a Pithus Ananasi one blood point to create a web large enough to block an industrial sized doorway, fill a small closet, or ensnare a large human (or Crinos Garou). In Crawlerling form, all Ananasi can spin webs that have the strength of ordinary spider webs — this does not require the expenditure of blood.
Ananasi have only two Breeds: Homid (born of one human parent) and Arachnid (born of one spider parent). Ananasi do not have 'true' metis, instead a creature born to two Ananasi parents is a separate breed called Athasaia, which are kept deep in the umbra. The Athasaia only communicate with Queen Ananasa herself and are involved in the Apocalypse. Metis do exist among the Kumo - rare, horrid beings who eat their way out of their mother's body.
Damhàn also do not possess Tribes, nor Auspices. Instead, they have three aspects, and the factions within each of them. Each aspect seeks to balance the forces of the Triat member it champions; the factions approach this task in different ways. They do not however serve the Weaver, Wyld or Wyrm as they are, but rather try to fulfill what they originally represented. The three aspects are togeather known as the Triumverate.
Shortly after an Ananasi’s Metamorphosis, she manifests physical changes that denote her aspect. These markings manifest as changes in pore patterns (especially on the face and torso) in homid forms, but as overt coloration and texture changes in other forms. Tenere are branded with spider-web markings that radiate in circles or wedges. Hatar markings are sinuous and serpentine. Kumoti patterns are jagged, like lightning bolts, zig-zagging and crossing over one another.
- Tenere (Weaver-dedicated) - of all Damhàn, Tenere have the best control over their emotions and pay the most attention to order and pattern. They aim to restore the Weaver to her original aspect, not the mad-out-of-control creature she has become. Tenere value neatness in their personal lives, order in their relationships, and pattern in their day-to-day activities. Logical, calculating, and precise, they strive to maintain stability in the Great Web, and to embody the Weaver in everything they do.
- Starting Gifts: Groom, Patience of Ananasa
- The Hatar (Wyrm-servants) - like the Tenere, the Hatar are dedicated to the original aspect of their facet of the Triat — the Destroyer Wyrm, rather than the Corruptor. They believe that the Wyrm, itself, has been corrupted by its imprisonment by the Weaver, and that in order to fulfill its true place in the Triat, it must be freed and returned to its original role. Living embodiments of the tenet that the “center cannot hold,” Hatar are the Unweavers of the Ananasi. Whether physical or esoteric, their duties focus on breaking down that which stands in the way of Symmetry, under the command of the Queen Mother.
- Starting Gifts: Blood of Pain, Wyrmling Kinship
- The Kumoti (Wyld-born) - creative and dynamic, Kumoti emulate the Wyld as it should be, rather than as it is. Through subtle changes and manipulations, they fight stagnation and entropy, encouraging growth and development where it might not otherwise flourish. Some claim the Kumoti are more chaotic than calculating, but to the Wyld-born, any change carries with it the potential for transition in the right direction to achieve the Great Mother’s goals.
- Starting Gifts: Inspire, Mother’s Touch
While there are overarching goals and duties for each Ananasi aspect, even within each group, distinct roles exist. These subdivisions, known as factions, ensure that every part of an aspect’s responsibility receives proper focus and attention. For each of the part of the triumvirate, there are three factions, defining the individual Ananasi’s duties to Queen Ananasa succinctly. An Ananasi’s destined faction becomes clear during her initial period of Umbral instruction. The word Faction both denominate the three roles and the specific combination of the nine combinations of aspects and roles.
Ananasi cannot change their aspects or factions; there is no Rite of Renunciation for the werespiders. It is both their blessing and their curse that they are what they are, from the moment of their making until they are welcomed back into the Great Mother’s silken embrace.
- Myrmidon - the Warrior aspect. They engage in martial combat when necessary, and guerilla tactics when that suits their Queen’s needs. They understand the subtleties of diplomacy and the value of shock maneuvers, alike.
- Starting Gifts: Illusion of Size, Open Sea
- Viskr - Judges and mystics. Specializing in hidden knowledges, arcane magics, and secret mysteries, they are the most likely to seek interaction with other Changing Breeds, or at least obtain their powers, to fulfill The Great Mother’s goals.
- Starting Gifts: Curse of the Great Web, Shroud
- Wyrsta - Questioners. Wyrsta look beyond how reality presently exists and ask not only why it is so, but how it could be manipulated to better serve the Queen Mother’s objective. They also test the rest of the Damhàn, personally and as a whole, to ensure they do not weaken the perfection of the Great Web through laziness, ignorance, or incompetence.
- Starting Gifts: Alter Mood, Beastmind
There are a total of nine different combinations of aspect and faction. They are properly called "cabals", though they are often also referred to as roles, or factions.
|Tenere||Secean: Warriors of the Weaver, they seek to understand the universe's pattern by analyzing the details around them.||Plicare: Shamans of the Weaver, they use powers to exert a perfect control of their life, and to bring precise order to the world around them.||Gaderin: Counter-spinners and challengers of order, they question the interconnectedness of things by amassing extensive collections of subjects.|
|Hatar||Agere: Destroyers sworn to the Balance Wyrm's purpose, they move quietly and surgically from one target to the next.||Anomia: Balancers of the lost Balance, they fulfill the Wyrm's role of destroyer by manipulation mortals into doing their work for them.||Malum: Questioners of the Wyrm's faction and disdain corruption, they anguish in pursuit of pure, undiluted destruction and entropy.|
|Kumoti||Kar: Warriors of the Wyld, they manipulate their environment by working changes on the smallest levels.||Amari Aliquid: Sorcerers of chaos and creativity, they fulfill the Wyld's mandate of constant change with persistent motion and action.||Chymos: Counter-dancers in the Wyld's name, they undercut and fight agains the minions of each Triatic spirit as necessary to further their plans for the Wyld.|
- Damhàn - the "normal" Ananasi, who are loyal to Queen Ananasa. The vast majority of all Ananasi. They are split among the three aspects, one for each of the Triat, and among the factions within those.
- Kumo - the eastern werespiders, somewhat loyal to the Wyrm, but more so to one of the three Kumo families. They do not revere Queen Ananasa. They are essentially all Hatar, and have no factions.
- Antara - those who have chosen to truly serve the Wyrm out of a desire to be free. Each used to belong to an aspect, but no more. It is really difficult to differentiate Antara from Hatar, even for Antara and Hatar themselves.
- Kumatai - allows themselves be worshiped by humans. They do not serve any of the Triat, nor Queen Ananasa. Their struggle with the Damhàn is more one of trying to convert one another, rather than outright hostility.
- Padrone - a mysterious group with a powerful form similar to Pithus, but horrifyingly mutated. They hunt, kill and eat other Ananasi. They might be the result of some kind of disease among the Ananasi, or are perhaps metis that were not collected to be Athasaia.
Aside from these, there are individual Ananasi who for one reason or another rejects Queen Ananasa, but still have not fallen to the Wyrm, nor joined the Kumatai.
The Ananasi claim to be one of the oldest Fera, older than humans. Their original form in ancient time was the Pithus form before they learned how to shape shift. They exterminated the Insect Races in the Insect Wars, to the dismay of the Weaver who felt that the Ananasi had betrayed it. As revenge for being trapped by the Weaver, the Wyrm captured Queen Ananasa, and forced the Ananasi to work for it. Some refused and instead turned to the Wyld. The Ananasi eventually found her and tricked the Garou to crack her prison. She was still trapped, but could communicate with her children, and she ordered them to keep serving all three parts of the Triat, but not as they are, but as they were meant to be.
Though the Ananasi were a prime target during the War of Rage, they actually survived relatively well, by pretending to be utterly defeated. After the War of Tears, the Yahwie has hunted Ananasi in Australia relentlessly.
Gifts and RitesEdit
Ananasi gifts often bolster their spider-like abilities, strengthening webs, allowing their venom to affect supernatural creatures, and so on. They learn a wide range of gifts allowing them to fulfill any of the roles Queen Ananasa may give them. Damhàn learn most, if not all, their Gifts directly from Queen Ananasa while meditating in their Sylie.
Ananasi general gifts
• Balance (Level One)
• Cling (Level One)
• Many Eyes (Level One)
• Resist Pain (Level One)
• Resist Toxin (Level One)
• Stolen Moments (Level One)
• Hand Fangs (Level Two)
• Man-Spider Form (Level Two)
• Replenishment of the Flesh (Level Two)
• Spines (Level Two)
• Blood Pump (Level Three)
• Jump (Level Three)
• Spider’s Grace (Level Three)
• Entropic Bite (Level Four)
• Hydraulic Strength (Level Four)
• Carapace (Level Five)
• Survivor (Level Five)
• Groom (Level One)
• Patience of Ananasa (Level One)
• Beneath Notice (Level Two)
• Breath of Ananasa (Level Two)
• Mother’s Look (Level Three)
• Reshape Object (Level Three)
• Understanding the Tapestry (Level Four)
• Web Sheet (Level Four)
• Thieving Touch of Spiders (Level Five)
• Blood of Pain (Level One)
• Wyrmling Kinship (Level One)
• Blood of Illusion (Level Two)
• Call of the Wyrm (Level Two)
• Corrupt (Level Three)
• Pulse of the Invisible (Level Three)
• Ill Winds (Level Four)
• Still Blood (Level Four)
• Burning Blood (Level Five)
• Inspire (Level One)
• Mother’s Touch (Level One)
• Arachnophobia (Level Two)
• Insight of the Mother (Level Two)
• Alter Lilian (Level Three)
• Sense Motion (Level Three)
• Mindblock (Level Four)
• Assimilation (Level Five)
• Illusion of Size (Level One)
• Open Seal (Level One)
• Hydraulic Strength (Level Two)
• True Fear (Level Two)
• Scorpion Tail (Level Three)
• Weak Arm (Level Three)
• Blood Hunt (Level Four)
• Drying Bite (Level Four)
• Image of the Great Mother (Level Five)
• Curse of the Great Web (Level One)
• Shroud (Level One)
• Mindspeak (Level Two)
• Minor Unweaving (Level Two)
• Calcify (Level Three)
• Cocoon (Level Three)
• Attunement (Level Four)
• Brethren Call (Level Four)
• Shattering (Level Five)
• Alter Mood (Level One)
• Beastmind (Level One)
• Blinding Spit (Level Two)
• Visceral Agony (Level Two)
• Tick Body (Level Three)
• Blades of the Mantis (Level Four)
• Wither Limb (Level Four)
• Razor Webs (Level Five)
• Summon Net-Spider (Level Five)
The Ananasi share quite a few rites with the Ovid, especially Mystic rites. The Ananasi also have a number of their own rites, taught during their time of Umbral instruction, or whispered to them by Queen Ananasa inside of their Sylie. One rite stands above all others in importance, however.
Ananasi general rites
• Rite of Spinning - Level One, Mystic
• The Master’s Needs - Level Four, Mystic
Most Ananasi lead solitary lives, each doing her part to carry out the will of Queen Ananasa, with whom she maintains a personal bond. While they are uncannily aware of the connections between all the disparate parts of reality (which they refer to as the Great Web) they, themselves, most often remain aloofly above what they see as the “lesser” parts of that same interwoven Tapestry. They are, at heart, the manipulators of those threads, rather than threads themselves. And as such, while they may give the appearance of bonding with those around them (as an effective manipulation technique), in truth they categorically avoid becoming too intimately connected with humanity, the Ovid, or even others of their own kind.
When they do organize in groups, either to accomplish a goal too large for single effort or for mutual protection, these temporary “clusters” quickly disband after the threat is dealt with or the task completed. Some among the Ovid claim this is the only way that the werespiders avoid falling to the cannibalism that often happens in nature when one spider intrudes on each others territory. The Ananasi have not deigned to answer these allegations.
The Laws of AnanasaEdit
Queen Ananasa’s directives to Her children may be subtle and complex, but their overarching goal is a simple one: restore Symmetry to the Great Web. In order to complete this singular mission, however, Her children have innumerable likewise-herculean tasks to accomplish, not the least of which is restoring each member of the Triat to sanity (and to their original, balanced duties).
To keep Her children’s own balance and focus, Ananasa has set forth a series of nine Laws that rule their every action. While humans may defy their legal system, and even Garou may debate the meaning of the tenets of their Litany, every Ananasi holds these Laws at the core of their being, knowing that without them, success is not only unlikely — it is impossible.
- Obey the Mother-Queen in All Things
- Defend Your Brethren from All Who Would Do Them Harm
- Follow the Aspect and Faction that Ananasa Chooses for You
- Understand the Ways of the Triat, Both as They Were and as They Are. Know the Difference
- Know Your Enemies
- Know the Great Web for What It Is
- Know Your Place
- Keep Your Mouth Shut
- Worship None but Ananasa
Ananasi may gain renown in three categories, which correspond to the three members of the Triat; they try to follow all three, no matter their faction, to gain a deeper understanding of the "Great Web" of existence. The categories are Cunning (for the Wyrm), Obedience (for the Weaver) and Wisdom (for the Wyld).
Rank is less important to Ananasi than the favor of Queen Ananasa, but their ranks are made apparent by subtle patterns on their skin, discernible in all forms. Each faction has a distinct pattern which becomes more complex as the werespider rises in Rank.
Some of the renowned Ananasi include:
Errata and ClarificationsEdit
Different source books have clarified different things, but quite many things about the alien Ananasi are easy to misunderstand. Some rules have changed with the editions between the books.
Main article: Ananasi Errata and Clarifications
Version Differences Edit
In the first edition of Players Guide, the Ananasi were described as much more like living vampires than in later books. They were also described as extremely rare, as opposed to probably being the most numerous changing breed. There was in also no difference between Hatar, Antara and Kumo (goblin spiders).
Before Breedbook Ananasi, the Crawlerling form was not divided into leaders and drones.
- The Ananasi, their Queen, and her first child Anansi are all named after the African folktale spirit Anansi, also known as, among other things, Kwaku Ananse and Aunt Nancy. He is a spider that can appear in the shape of a man, or as something in between, and is one of the most important characters in West African and Caribbean folk tales.
- Werespiders, as a kind of Lycanthropes, make their appearance in Dungeons and Dragons (first in Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three, 1996).
- Though most spiders are solitary, it does exists a few species of social spiders, that can appear somewhat similar to the Crawlerling form.