"I ran into the pack today, out hunting rabbit. I didn't even hear them come up, they were so quiet! Teilo was there beside me of course, and he spotted them first. He tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, 'look up', and I did and saw them there in the tree branches above, perched there looking at us. Stopped me in my tracks! We stared at each other for a brief moment, but one of them, a bit older, smiled at me. His grin was full of sharp teeth, but he was't scary. He swung down from the tree branch, dropped down, like a height that would have broken my ankles for sure, and stood up beside me. Still smiling, he gripped my shoulder heavily and just said, 'we've got some good eats, interested?' I couldn't help but smile back and accept."
Wilder Packs are Wilders who have come together for survival and camaraderie that travel the Great Forest. Wilders travel in packs for many reasons, foremost of which is the need for family and belonging. However, a pack also provides natural benefits such as for protection, ease of hunting, and of course for support if you are injured or sick. Wilder Packs are essential to the survival of Wilders, and they are not an uncommon sight in the Great Forest.
Wilder Packs are simply made up of whatever Wilders happen to join them. They are thus a mish-mash of different individuals, and as such, each pack is wildly different depending on who is in it. Almost all Wilder packs are generally accepting of new Wilders, and as such, if a new Wilder happens upon a pack, they will almost always accept him or her into their fold. Most Wilders have a deep need for belonging as they feel that this was stripped away from them during the transformation, and as such, this need manifests into a new need to make sure that any Wilders they encounter also find a home.
Packs are almost always led by a pack leader known as the alpha. The pack leader is not elected nor arrives at his station through inheritance. Rather, the alpha is simply understood to be in charge as he is likely the most capable for the job. This can be through natural ability but is more often born of leadership or charisma traits which allow the alpha to build the trust of his or her pack. When an alpha gets old and realizes that he is no longer capable, he or she will naturally step aside letting the next capable individual take the reigns of leadership. This is a very natural process and can happen over night. There is no ceremonial passing of leadership but rather a simple, mutual understanding among all the members of the pack.
Beyond the alpha, the make-up of the pack will be solely based on the individuals within it. Some packs have many strong and capable members who will often fill necessary roles within the pack. These may be people who are particularly good at something such as tracking, finding food, or warding off creatures of the forest. They may be people who are particularly inventive or cunning that can assist the pack in decision making or survival. They could be good with their hands and have abilities to create or manufacture goods out of simple things they can find in the forest. Therefore, like any group, once a person finds a role to fill and they fill it well, they can earn the respect of the pack.
Rarely, some packs also have children known as True Wilders. They are the children of pack members, and they do not carry with them the burden of once having had a life among the Tribes. True Wilders are usually stronger and more capable than Wilders but also more chaotic. True Wilders can grow up to become powerful leaders as often their bodies are simply stronger or faster than other Wilders. They can also grow up to be out of control in some cases. In any event, the presence of a True Wilder is a symbol of pride for the whole pack but also means that the pack is long standing and likely a bit more disconnected from humanity than others.
Packs are like large family units. Like any group, they consider themselves as a single unit and often adopt traits around the pack. This is often representative of the personalities of strong individuals within the pack or perhaps a long history of a certain trait. Thus, Wilder Packs often display unique traits which take shape in many ways. They may all share a common trinket or other jewelry that their wear religiously. They may share a taste for a common color or article of clothing. Some Wilder Packs may favor certain kinds of tools or weapons or have long passed down traditions. The short is that no two Wilder Packs are the same, and it is often easy to discern between one pack or another based on their personalities and appearance.
Packs often adopt the mentality of their alpha simply because the alpha is the final decision maker. Thus, a calm or thoughtful alpha will often reflect a calm and thoughtful pack. Likewise, a ferocious or impetuous alpha will reflect as such on her pack. In many ways then, a careful observer will be able to distinguish one pack from another simply by the mannerisms of the pack and how they reflect their current alpha.
Packs in the Great Forest
Wilder Packs are nomadic and travel the Great Forest often on the trail of food. Wilder bodies are stronger than human bodies, and as such, Wilders can often find and eat food that would otherwise be poisonous or distasteful to normal humans. This makes food easy to find, but the appetite of a Wilder is also greater than a human making the need to find food, greater. Packs can also travel the Great Forest for other reasons such as traveling to a nearby village to find supplies or in support of a Ranger Outfit. Packs also commonly escort Bear Shamans through the Great Forest on whatever mission the Bear Shaman may have. Bear Shamans and Wilders share a very deep connection and understanding as they have both undergone the transformation of The Wild.
Because packs travel the Great Forest and make it there home, it is not uncommon for them to come across the myriad dangers that lurk within. Packs regularly come under attack by creatures of the forest, but their enhanced bodies and ability to act as a pack more often than not see them through the encounter not only unscathed but also victorious. The bones, horns, and meat that they collect from such wild beasts are often valuable as trade items to the Tribes.
Packs and Tribes
Wilder Packs often come into contact with Tribes. In fact, Wilders are often drawn to the Tribesfolk as they have a deep sense of connection to the humanity that they once had as a member of a Tribe. The most common interaction then between a Wilder and a Tribesman is an encounter in the Great Forest while the Tribesfolk are on the hunt or collecting food. Wilder Packs will provide assistance, and in exchange, the Tribesfolk will provide the Wilders with a bit of camaraderie as well as with updated news about the happenings of the nearby Tribes. Such encounters are often a bit uneasy as Tribesfolk do not fully understand Wilders, and they are often a bit afraid of them as Wilders represent the fate of The Wild which still haunts the Tribesfolk. However, because Wilders are respected and often very helpful, such interactions are not avoided, and it can be an eventful story over dinner if a person runs into a Wilder Pack while in the forest for the day.
Some Tribes build bigger relationships with nearby packs. If they are particularly progressive, they may welcome or even invite a Wilder Pack into the village to offer up trade or resources. Such events can build lasting bonds between the pack and a village, and they can develop close friendships and alliances. Packs need supplies that the villages can make, and villages benefit from having friendly packs around them. This is because packs offer some protection against the creatures of the forest but also because packs are also known to come to the defense of a village that they feel is friendly to them should the village come under attack from other Tribes. Stories exist as well where Chieftains have even asked friendly packs to assist them in going to battle against neighboring Tribes with whom they have an outstanding conflict. Having a Wilder Pack on your side is a very powerful weapon as Wilders bring incredible strength, speed, and stamina to the battlefield.
When two packs meet in the Great Forest, the result is more often than not a night of rest and reverie. If a pack has come across some intoxicating plants while on their travels, they will often save them for such encounters to share among the packs when they meet. Packs see such meetings as a chance to meet others like themselves and to bask in their shared life and histories. The meeting of two packs is very rarely hostile and in fact, usually results in a great night for both. In the morning, packs will continue on their way.
Packs never grow very large, and they often try not to inhabit the same territory as another pack. The primary reason for this is one of survival as finding food for larger packs or more than one pack becomes more difficult. Thus, it is better if packs travel apart from each other.
Sometimes, especially in the case of relationships, members of one pack may switch to another pack. Two members of a pack may fall in love, or a pack may have a need that another pack member can fulfill. Such transitions of pack members can happen frequently for a pack, changing its make-up. Although fiercely loyal to their current pack, it is well understood that all packs survive best if the people within them make a cohesive group. This is yet another reason why packs are generally friendly to each other as they all understand the need to share resources.
However, packs can become hostile to each other, especially if one pack feels wronged by another pack. This can happen mostly around territory or areas of scarcer resource. Packs do not generally fight each other, but to resolve a nasty dispute may challenge each other to a contest. Such a contest may involve violence between great warriors within the packs, but it may also be as harmless as a game of sport. When a dispute is settled, it is typically dropped completely, and the packs go on about their business.
--Neil (talk) 17:44, 25 October 2016 (AST)