A werewolf (French: loup-garou) is portrayed as a human with the ability to shape-shift into a wolf-like being. Werewolves are a shape-shifting species, mentioned in legends as early as ancient Greece.
The common depiction of inheriting lycanthropy is being bit or scratched, born from one, or cursed. The biter usually determines whether its subject will survive the bite or not. If born from a werewolf parent, its offspring have been depicted as showing signs during puberty. A curse could be cast on someone, with the intention to turn them as well.
The terminology for describing the dominant grey wolf as the "alpha", and the subordinates as "beta" and "omega" was first used in 1947 by Rudolf Schenkel of the University of Basel, who based his findings on researching the behaviour of captive grey wolves.
- Also: Werewolf pack
When discussing types of werewolves in the hierarchy of a werewolf pack, it is in the context of pop-culture mythology; such as from film, comic books, literature, and video games (For cultural impact, see Lycanism).
The alpha is patient zero, the master Werewolf, or the dominant one in a Werewolf pack. This type is not usually bit by another, but may be born as an alpha passed on by a parent alpha. They have the ability to form their own pack and may either be male or female.
- Alpha abilities
- Alpha Bite- An alpha bite can either turn its subject into a beta, or it can kill them intentionally.
- Alpha Call- An alpha's howl can congregate its loyal pack of betas and omegas.
- Physical Dominance- An alpha is typically larger than all others in the pack when in wolf form. As human, size may not play a factor. Although strength plays a part, it’s their endurance that sets them apart from all other werewolves, beta or omega. Alphas last much longer, and have superior control in mind, agility, and shape-shifting.
- Shape-Shifting- Alphas can change into a full quadrupedal (four-legged) wolf. An alpha cannot be tracked. You could never coincidentally run into an alpha. It will only reveal itself, if it wants to. It is superior in stealth.
Betas are created by an alpha bite or scratch, if the alpha intends or desires it. Betas are submissive to the alpha. In some cases they may serve as slaves, but others may be second-in-command. At some point, they may even be able to vie for the position of alpha, if the master is declining. Depending on the circumstance, betas could be a formidable foe to an alpha, but usually require some kind of leverage.
- Beta abilities
- Enhanced Senses- Betas have enhanced canine senses, superior to any human.
- Beta Call- Betas can roar to congregate omegas, or frighten hostiles. A beta howls to signal the pack.
- Pain Siphon- Some betas may have an empathy ability, so as to draw the wounds out of one (a healing). In some cases, empathizing severe wounds might deteriorate or even kill the performing beta. It depends on how far the beta intends to siphon.
- Shape-Shifting- Betas may shape-shift into an anthropomorphic wolf-like creature. Depending on how big it can get, will determine whether or not their clothes stay in tact.
Omegas are the lowest caste in a hierarchical society. They are cursed by the beta, and not necessarily by the alpha itself. Omegas are subordinate to all others in the community, and are expected by the pack to remain submissive. Omegas could also be used as communal scapegoats or outlets for frustration. They are often given the lowest priority. Subsequently, rogues come from this group.
- Omega abilities
- Enhanced Senses- omegas have superior senses. Its debatable as to whether an omega is equally as strong, or not, to a beta. There are many depictions of omegas and betas in formidable fighting matches. In some cases, they can even be as strong as an alpha, but only if they exert all their energy at one time. However, their energy is short lived and nowhere near the endurance that a beta or alpha has. They only respond to the call of their commanding beta or alpha.
- Omega Call - strikes fear and/or confusion among hostiles. In some cases, they almost sound like laughing hyenas.
- Rabid Hunger - Omegas have less control over their hunger. They are a more rabid werewolf having less control in all things. Thus, they are hindered from organizing or forming any kind of pack. Even if an omega killed an alpha, it wouldn’t be able to direct the pack. There is much infighting between omegas. There hunger dominates their psyche even to the point of death. They have little to no endurance.
- Shape-Shifting- Omegas have less control over their shape-shifting. They may even give away their positions.
- "Schenkel’s Classic Wolf Behavior Study Available in English". http://www.davemech.org/schenkel/. Retrieved 25 August 2018.