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Wolf Guide

Category:Handbook

Physiology

Species

 
Horizon focuses upon one particular species of wolf: the gray wolf, Canis lupus. In the real world, gray wolves can be found in the northwest United States and Canada. Given the setting of our story (the Pacific Northwest), the gray wolf is the only species of wolf that would realistically inhabit the area.

The species lupus (wolves) includes many known subspecies, eleven of which are playable at Horizon:

                                           
Eastern Timber Wolf
 
Canis lupus lycaon — Most common.
Timber wolves are generally large in size and can come in a variation of colors ranging from black to off-white (for roleplay purposes this color range has been expanded). “Timber” is a common coloring for these wolves (gray or dark brown with white on the chest, muzzle, and underside).
Great Plains Wolf
 
Canis lupus nubilus — Common.
Inhabit a wide range of areas. Great Plains wolves are large in size and come in various colors.
Rocky Mountain Wolf
 
Canis lupus occidentalis — Slightly common.
Rocky Mountain wolves (also commonly known as Mackenzie Valley wolves) stand at medium to large heights and vary diversely in color.
Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf/
 
Canis lupus irremotus — Slightly common.
This wolf is generally “timber” colored, though a bit lighter, and of medium to small size.
Mexican Wolf
 
Canis lupus baileyi — Slightly common.
Mexican wolves are smaller than those of other subspecies. They have dark brown or reddish fur and generally have large manes.
Mongollon Mountain Wolf
 
Canis lupus mogollonensis — Less common.
Hailing from the southwest US, their coloration is usually dark with some white.
Cascade Mountains Wolf
 
Canis lupus fuscus — Less common.
Cascade Mountains wolves are usually dark brown or chocolate colored with black masks on their faces.
Southern Rocky Mountain Wolf
 
Canis lupus youngi — Less common.
Smaller in size with light colored fur.
British Columbian Wolf
 
Canis lupus columbianus — Uncommon.
These wolves are medium size, and always dark gray or black.
Banks Island Tundra Wolf
 
Canis lupus bernardi — Uncommon.
These medium-sized wolves are white with black stripes on their backs and dark tail tips. They hail from the Northwest Territories.
Arctic Wolf
 
Canis lupus arctos — Uncommon.
Quite large and almost always pure white or cream, Arctic Wolves are rare due to the extremity of their far-northern heritage.

Subspecies not listed here require permission from staff. Please also note that your wolf’s subspecies is not a required field while editing your profile; it’s just for reference and flavor purposes. Note that in present times, many of these subspecies are extinct, and would not be found in the wild. However, Horizon is set during the human decade of the 1900s, so species like the Great Plains wolf become playable to us.

Lifespan

Healthy wolves in Horizon have an average lifespan of 6-9 years. In the real world, wolves have been found to live as old as 11, but it is rare that wolves in this roleplay will reach or exceed this age. The maximum age for characters on this site is 9 years, 11 months.

                                     
0 yrs.1 yrs.2 yrs.3 yrs.4 yrs.5 yrs.6 yrs.7 yrs.8 yrs.9 yrs.
PupYearlingYoung AdultAdultElder

Note: characters in Horizon age automatically. You do not need to manually update your character’s age.

Size

On average, adult gray wolves reach a weight of 80-120 pounds (about 36-54 kg) with males being larger than females, and sizes differing between subspecies. Wolves can reach heights (from ground to shoulder) of up to around 33 inches (85 cm) and lengths (from nose to tip of tail) of around 6 feet (183 cm). Below is a scale of wolf lengths, heights, and weights, and their size classifications:

                                               
MalesPetiteSmallAverageLargeVery Large
Weight71-81 lbs82-92 lbs93-103 lbs104-114 lbs115-125 lbs
Height22-23 in24-26 in27-30 in31-33 in34-36 in
Length5.0-5.1 ft5.2-5.3 ft5.4-5.8 ft5.9-6.2 ft6.3-6.5 ft
                                               
FemalesPetiteSmallAverageLargeVery Large
Weight50-60 lbs61-78 lbs79-88 lbs89-99 lbs100-110 lbs
Height20-21 in22-23 in24-26 in27-30 in31-33 in
Length4.3-4.4 ft4.5-4.9 ft5.0-5.5 ft5.6-5.8 ft5.9-6.0 ft
Coloration

 

Despite the name, gray wolves aren’t just gray - they can be found in a wide variety of fur colors. Some wolves’ coats are just one solid color, while others’ contain blends of colors with markings such as blotches, stripes, flecks, masks (on faces), or socks (on paws). A wide spectrum of colors is available for wolves’ coats, though any variation of these should be kept as realistic looking as possible.  Note: Copper and ginger colors featuring orange hues should be desaturated or contain enough brown to look natural. If you are uncertain about your wolf’s intended colors, please reach out to Staff!

 


In the real world, wolves have amber eyes, but some have gray, green, or even blue eyes. Blue and green eyes are rarer - green are hardly encountered in the real world - but for the sake of our roleplay, we allow these colors of eyes to increase diversity*. Besides, it’s more fun to have a wolf with cool-colored eyes. Thus, your character’s eyes may be a unique mix of two of the following colors if you’re feeling fancy:

   


*In order to try to preserve realism, we don’t allow characters with pink, purple, or red eyes.
*We are currently not accepting any more albino characters at this time.

If you have any questions about suitable character sizes, coat colors, or eye colors, feel free to bring it up with staff.

Packs  

Overview

In Horizon, packs are created in character. There are currently nine packs in Horizon. For information about how packs are created, check out the Pack Creation wiki page.

A pack must have at least four members, but there is no upper limit to the amount of wolves a pack can have. They start out with one subarea, which they can either claim or create themselves, and are limited to as many subareas as they can control. For example, a pack with four members will likely not be able to reliably defend more than one subarea if their claim to it is challenged.

Ranks

Ranks in Horizon are comprised of two parts: position (a Roman numeral) and title (like “leader” or “hunter”). Example: “I. Alpha” or “III. Hunter”

Positions— Wolves in packs are ranked according to numerical order in Roman numerals. The highest-ranked wolf or wolves will hold a rank of “I,” the next lowest “II,” and so on. These position rankings typically convey the order of dominance/leadership within the pack, though they may carry other connotations based on each pack’s unique hierarchial structure.

Titles— In addition to position in the pack, ranks also carry titles, such as “leader” or “pupsitter.” Titles often carry meaning based on that wolf’s role in the pack. Titles can be descriptive (such as “ambassador”), but they may also carry abstract names. Pack founders/leaders are free to change their pack’s titles as they see fit, and may determine structure as necessary.

Challenges

Challenges occur when a wolf wishes to rise in his pack’s ranks. A challenge can be anything from a verbal conversation to a full-blown fight— the terms depend on any pack policies regarding challenges, as well as the challenger/challengee’s individual personalities. As per Horizon rules, all rank challenges must be responded to within three OOC days unless the character being challenged has already been placed on absence. Any rank (including leadership) in any pack may be challenged.

Borders, marking, and pack etiquette

A wolf pack marks the boundaries of its territory by spraying scent (urine) on trees, rocks, or other objects of interest. In this roleplay, it is to be assumed that all pack territories have already been marked by their respective leaders, so marking in posts is encouraged, but not required. In Horizon, as in most other wolf roleplays, the scent of a pack is descriptive of that pack’s numbers, setting, and other traits.

Most wolves in the real world try to avoid venturing into other packs’ territory as much as possible - instinct tells them that they’ll probably be killed for straying into terrain owned by someone else. However, in this roleplay, our wolves are personified as creatures who harbor emotion and have complex histories. Since our wolves will have grudges, vengeful thoughts, or, on the other hand, alliances or other positive bonds, interpack relations will depend on the motives of our characters. This does not mean our characters will completely abandon respect, though.

To respect your neighboring pack, wait at the border until you are greeted. Be respectful to your greeter, for once you are standing even an inch within their territory boundaries, you are in their jaws. Wandering in others’ territory is not a wise idea - however, some characters may make exceptions: for example, a pack leader who finds his sister wandering through his woods might welcome her warmly instead of tearing her limb from limb. However, you are free to try your luck wandering in a pack territory if you are willing to risk your character’s life! In our roleplay, some packs are more peaceful than others, and may treat trespassers differently.

Reproduction

Forming pairs

Instincts drive real wild wolves to form pairs and mate; in this roleplay, our characters have more complex emotions and drives as if they are humans falling in love. That said, although wolves have long been considered monogamous (as in, they mate for life), this is not always the case. Wolves are about as monogamous (or, in some cases, non-monogamous) as humans are. Sometimes, a pair will mate for life, where other times, a male may breed with two or three different females over the course of his lifetime.

Before wolves mate, they pair up with a partner of the opposite sex in whom they have begun to take interest. The two wolves, a male and a female, will, night by night, sleep closer together and begin to show loving signs of affection such as nuzzles, cuddling, and so on. This may occur before the wolves reach sexual maturity.

Although this is different in all wolves, some are physically capable of reproduction by 1.5 years (1 year, 6 months) of age at the absolute earliest.

Mating

Mating season begins in Early Winter and ends in Late Winter.

If she has reached sexual maturity, the female will go into heat for approximately 2 weeks between Early Winter and Late Winter. During this time she often travels with her mate nearby, and when they are alone, mating occurs.* Pairs about to mate will often run off into a secluded area to avoid harassment from other pack members. Mating in wolves occurs as it does in dogs.

*Don’t roleplay this out - you can just sort of “time warp” to after it has happened.

Dens

Contrary to popular belief, wolves do not reside in dens year round. A family will begin preparing a den (or multiple dens in case one is flooded or otherwise becomes unusable) as soon as a mother begins expecting pups. When her litter is born, she and the pups live in the den for eight weeks - after this, the den is abandoned.

Maternity 

After the heat ends and the female has successfully conceived, she will undergo several bodily changes, especially beginning in her third week. (It’s virtually impossible for wolves to detect pregnancy before this point!) 

The gestation period in wolves is about 63 days (two months). Pups are born any time from Early Spring to Late Spring, with the exception of litters dangerously conceived before or after mating season officially began.

Following early pup care, wolves generally exist in a low hormonal state from summer to late autumn and cannot conceive a litter until the next winter.

Important: Wolves may only become pregnant in-character. You may not join Horizon with a pregnant wolf.

Pup development



See the Pup Development Guide for guidelines for playing pup characters as they age.


Litters usually consist of 4-6 pups - this is quite a large number of pups to play out, so for the purpose of our roleplay, wolves in Horizon will usually birth litters of 2-4 pups. The size of the litter is randomized by staff, who will perform a die roll to determine the number and gender of pups. Health of the parents and other factors may affect litter size.

Wolves may not reach full physical and emotional maturity - comparable to a 25 or 30 year old human - until about four or five years of age. However, they may reach sexual maturity much earlier, at one or two years of age.

Important: Pups 6 months or younger cannot enter horizon. Characters not born in Horizon in-character must be 7 months or older. Since young pups wouldn’t realistically be able to survive a journey through, say, Eastern Wasteland, this ensures a logical chance of having survived to get here.


Think the Wolf Guide is missing some information, or do you have any questions? PM Staff about it! We’d love to expand the wolf guide based on your suggestions.


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