The Rokea are weresharks, one of the Changing Breeds of Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The Rokea claim to be the first of the Changing Breeds, as Sea existed before solid land appeared on Gaia and sharks predate all land-born predators. Most Rokea are notoriously xenophobic, and very few leave the water. Their relations with the other Changing Breeds are tense at best, with one exception: they have allied themselves with the Mokole, whom they consider closest to them between all the Changers. Rokea gather into small groups called slews, similar in purpose and behaviour to Garou packs. Much like Garou have caerns, Rokea have undersea sacred places, referred to as Grottoes. Rokea of the Beast Courts are referred to as Same-Bito.
The Rokea have a code of law similar to the Litany of the Garou, except simpler and more straightforward:
- Survive: The race must survive, no matter what. The Rokea believe that there is only foolishness, not honour, in fighting a battle they can't win. No Rokea will accuse another of cowardice if they swim away from a fight that is hopeless. The only exception is sacrifice in the name of a Grotto, which is expected to be defended to the last breath.
- Hunt: Rokea have duties as both shapechangers and sharks. They were designed to be predators of the highest order, and their actions affect the sea around them. This tenet reminds Rokea that they are warriors and predators above everything else.
- Spawn: Rokea breed slowly but deliberately. Each wereshark is expected to breed at least once during their lives. This part of the code also obliges weresharks to teach and mentor young weresharks in the ways of the Rokea.
- Swim: The weresharks consider it a duty to continue to swim, explore, and move. They need to watch for dangers threatening the Sea, and the best way to do this is to move around and keep their eyes open.
Cosmology and BeliefsEdit
Rokea protect Sea and everything in Her and are familiar with an undersea variation of the Triat: Kun (the Wyld), who is responsible for fish and marine mammals; C'et (the Weaver), queen of all shelled ocean-dwellers, and Qyrl (the Wyrm), creator of squid, octopi, cuttlefish, slugs, snails, and other boneless sea creatures. Rokea consider themselves to be children of Kun.
According to Rokean stories, Qyrl was responsible for the creation of the sun and the stars. She wished to visit the sky, Unsea, but did so against the wishes of her mother, Sea. Afraid of her mother's wrath, Qyrl sank her jaws and tentacles into Oversea to hold on. Where she bit and punctured Oversea's skin, wounds formed. As Oversea bleeds bright, blazing blood (light), the small wounds bled in small drops, forming the stars (called Small Wounds), but the largest formed the sun, which the Rokea call the Great Wound.
Rokea slews follow totems much like Garou packs do. Favourites include Angler, Crab, Dolphin, Hurricane, Manta Ray, Moray, and, of course, Shark himself. A small number of Rokea also serve Qyrl, however, such a bond to the goddess of corruption is considered an abomination by most Rokea, and those who follow her are hunted down with little mercy.
Rokea are a simple, honest race; they rarely lie or manipulate and find it difficult to pick up on the manipulations of others.
Rokea are constantly compelled to move, and have trouble standing still even on dry land.
Rokea cannot step sideways without use of Gifts.
Weresharks communicate by means of electric signals called the Sending. They can receive these signals in all shapes, but cannot send messages in Glabrus or Homid form.
Weresharks also regenerate as Garou do, and have furthermore the ability to regenerate in their breed form when swimming in salt water. Like Garou, however, they cannot soak silver damage except while in breed form. Rokea are effectively immortal. They can not die naturally; once they reach adulthood, their aging process stops. The only way a wereshark can die is through an unnatural death.
- Homid: Homid-born Rokean are incredibly rare. Most Rokea despise humans and would never consider breeding with them. Furthermore, for a Homid Rokea to be conceived, a true Rokea has to mate with a Kadugo, a human Rokea kinfolk. Even then, the child may just be a normal human or another Kadugo. There are a few Homid Rokea among the Same-Bito of the Beast Courts. The Rokea breedbook introduced a possible non-Same-Bito Homid Rokea, Matteo, whose fate is left in storyteller hands. Most Rokea consider the idea of human-born Rokea to be an abomination and would likely kill all they come across.
- Squamus: Almost all Rokea are born of sharks. A mating between a Rokea and a normal shark will always produce Rokea offspring. Of the many species of shark in the world, the Rokea breed with about 20%, choosing the largest and deadliest species as their mates. Rokea are usually born of makos, great whites, tiger sharks, hammerheads, blue sharks, tresher sharks, blacktip sharks and bull sharks.
There are no Rokea Metis. Rokea feel no urge to mate with one another and as such never produce them.
- Homid: Also called "Long Fins" by the Rokea. The homid shapes of most Rokea, in particular the shark-born ones, are usually not aesthetically pleasing. Many are hunchbacked; their faces are often lopsided and feature crooked noses, misshapen jaws, walleyes, harelips and bulging foreheads.
- Glabrus (Glabro): Also known as "Round Back", this shape is usually known only to land-dwelling Rokea - ocean-dwelling weresharks have little use for it. The Rokea loses all body hair and grows even uglier than her homid form. He or she doubles her muscle mass, and the back broadens as the dorsal fin begins to form.
- Gladius (Crinos): Called "Standing Jaws" by the weresharks, the Gladius is a ten-foot bipedal shark creature. Standing Jaws combines the power of a shark with the versatility of a human form. This form incites partial Delirium in humans.
- Chasmus (Hispo): The form the Rokea call "Fighting Jaws" is a prehistoric nightmare that incites full Delirium in humans. The Rokea turns into a giant version of her breed form, growing half again as long as her Squamus shape. Rokea do their underwater fighting in this shape.
- Squamus (Lupus): Also referred to as "Swimming Jaws", this form is indistinguishable from a normal shark of the Rokea's species.
Rokea determine auspices by the time when a wereshark was born.
- Brightwater: Rokea born during bright days or full moons. Brightwaters are similar to Garou Ahroun; they are warriors and heroes. However, they often desire to be the near the surface of the sea.
- Dimwater: Dimwaters are born during clouded days or at night under any moon phase which except full or new. Most Rokea fall under this auspice. They are the judges and leaders of the Rokea race and create what few fetishes the Rokea use.
- Darkwater: Called the "mad ones" by their peers, Darkwaters are born under eclipses or the New Moon. They are curious, innovative, bright and daring. They enjoy diving into the frigid depths of the sea or walking on land to uncover new secrets.
Rokea accept three forms of Renown: Valor, referring to a wereshark's fighting prowess and courage in defense of a Grotto; Harmony, meaning the ability of a wereshark to accept his place in the world and act in accordance with it, and Innovation, which is awarded to weresharks who, through new ideas, help the race defend the Sea and fight off Qyrl's brood.
Relationships with the Other BreedsEdit
The Rokea rarely leave the sea and when they do, relationships with the other Changing Breeds are shaky at best. Rokea distrust the Garou and Ratkin in particular, but seem to have called a truce with the Mokole.
Not all Rokea remain in the water. Although it is considered an abominable blasphemy by most Dimwaters, many Rokea, especially Brightwaters and Darkwaters, visit Unsea. Some are so fascinated with it that they decide to stay, and these weresharks become known as Betweeners. Some have other reasons - maybe they are being hunted by other weresharks, for instance - but most come out of curiosity and stay out of satisfaction. Any Homid breed Rokea who survive outside of the Beast Courts are Betweeners.
Betweeners earn their name because they cannot truly stay on land, but do not desire to live in the water. A wereshark who does not return to Sea regularly will lose his shapeshifting ability forever. To avoid such a fate, Betweeners travel along shorelines, spending some time as humans but always returning to the ocean for sustenance from Sea.
Dimwaters across the oceans often call for Betweener hunts, gathering slews to send to the surface to kill the blasphemers.
Betweeners were the first weresharks to discover the Glabrus shape, although few use it, given its hideous appearance. The Gladius shape of betweeners often lacks a tail, as it is useless on land (however, should they chose to, they can grow it back at will).
According to Bleeds-Night, a Darkwater who appears in the Rokea sourcebook, he and other Betweeners have made changes to Rokean Law, instead following what they call Betweener Law. Its tenets are as follows:
- Survive: This tenet does not change. The Rokean purpose is to survive and endure, and doesn't change no matter where they live.
- Humans Are Not Prey: The devouring of humans simply raises too many questions for the Betweeners to be acceptable behaviour among them.
- Stay Near Sea: As the sea gives sustenance of the soul to the Rokea, and they lose their ability to shapeshift if they are away from it for too long, the purpose behind this law is fairly obvious.
- F.E.A.R.: An acronym with the (rather crude) meaning "Fuck Everything And Run", which Betweeners often take literally. They mate with humans whenever they feel the urge to, but usually can't stay around to take care of their offspring, as the Betweener Hunts issued from the ocean-dwelling Rokea often force them to flee.