Wanderer's Counsel Akunanse Website
Excerpts from Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom
These sages and wanderers of the Akunanse legacy
take their name from the “wise spider” legends of the
Ashanti and other West African tribes, and the name is
apt. Deeply in tune with the earth and its primal origins,
the Akunanse develop bestial features of the spider, the
lion, the hyena and the snake, among others, as they
wander down the road of centuries. Restless, like many
predators, they roam the star shrouded nights of Africa,
seeking knowledge and wisom, as well as the prey they
need to survive.
Wander lust fills the Akunanse, and many do not feel
compelled to needlessly restrict themselves to a single
domain. They travel across the whole of the continent,
from the plains to the mountains, from the coasts to the
jungles, both learning from and teaching to mortals and
Laibon alike. The wisdom gained from their sojourns
makes the Akunanse highly valued as advisors, mediators
and mentors to many magaji and other influential Laibon.
Legends tell of one Akunanse traveler calling him-
self Hasani who traveled the Ebony Kingdom far and
wide int he 16th century. It's said his taloned feet touched
every type of terrain, including the Sahara itself, and the
legends recall he was quite fond of various cultures' beliefs
about their origins.
In the late 16th century, Hasani found himself in
Morocco on the northern coast of the continent as that
nation was fighting a losing war against the Portuguese
and their colonial interests there. The Portuguese hoped
to conquer Morocco and transform it into a satellite of
the Iberian country. As the Europeans controlled the sea,
the Moroccans often held less coastal territory in their
own country than the foreigners did. While usually above
mortal concerns, Hasani had no interest in seeing any
more of his homeland fall under the dominion of outsiders.
Therefore, he presented himself to the Sultan of
Morocco, a frail, ill man, as advisor and consul.
Aided by the Laibon’s advice, the Moroccans soundly
defeated the Portuguese in 1578 at the Battle of Three
Kings. The battle earned this name from the fact that the
Portuguese king himself took part in the battle, as did the
“tame” sultan candidate the European monarch had to
replace the current sultan. Both of these mortals died in
battle, and Hasani, knowing that a weak leader meant
ruin for Morocco, witnessed the death of the sultan
The new Moroccan ruler, Almansur, made Hasani a
fixture of his court until wanderlust again moved Hasani
to go elsewhere. Almansur took advantage of the Laibon’s
patronage and desire to be on the move, and Hasani
traveled with an army south across the Sahara to attack
and conquer the Songhai Empire in 1590. Within a year
or two, even the legends lose track of Hasani, as he again
wandered to some new challenge, some new lesson.
The Akunanse are well regarded within the Ebony
Kingdom for their knowledge. The Guruhi value them
highly as advisors, counselors and inter-domain diplomats.
The Shango often consult the learned Akunanse
when dispensing Laibon justice, and the Xi Dundu treat
them warily, suspecting them of being more Guruhi spies
and informants than sagely wanderers of the earth. In
some cases, certain broods and sub-tribes of the Akunanse
legacy have conflicted with individual factions of the
Setites. Perhaps this is to be expected with the former’s
inclination toward learning new things and the latter’s
desire to hold knowledge close.
The Akunanse themselves respect the dominion of
the Guruhi and its supporter legacies, rarely feeling the
need to change the current system, which works well
enough most of the time. These Laibon often worry over
the ambitions of the Xi Dundu, however, and wonder
when (not if) they will strike at the Guruhi regime. Many
Akunanse, at least those less concerned with politics
than learning more of the earth and its wonders, remain
aloof regarding a possible struggle of domain supremacy.
As long as they are left alone to pursue their owns ends,
many Akunanse care little enough for which Laibon
legacy claims to have power over them.
The Akunanse are the wanderers and the storytellers
of the Ebony Kingdom and the closest to understanding
nature. They are, perhaps out of all the Laibon, the least
concerned with the Jyhad, and while other vampires
write them off as distracted fools, a small number of
Laibon are curious why the Weavers aren’t more troubled
In parts of West Africa, the Ashanti believe in a
legend that they refer to as “the wise spider.” This spider
traveled the world over on his strings and webs. In the
beginning, there were no stories on earth, but many
creatures knew they existed in the realm of the gods and
they wanted to know them, as did the spider. He felt that
by having all the stories, he would know the beginnings
and endings of all things. So this spider went to the sky
god and asked him for these stories. The sky god gave the
spider four seemingly impossible tasks to complete in
exchange for them. Through cunning and clever trickery,
the spider did the impossible, so the sky god gave him
a wooden box with all the tales. And the spider shared
them with the rest of the world, by spinning their webs for
all to see.
The Akunanse are the embodiment of that Ashanti
legend. Presumably having their roots in Ghana, the
Akunanse no longer call any region home, but they look
at different countries as merely pieces of a whole tapestry.
They occasionally travel with other Weavers out of
convenience and experiences they have in common, not
because of desire or necessity. Traveling has made many
Akunanse wise beyond their undead years as they seek
out the origins of man and his sorcery, though not all are
quick studies, and some take longer in their progress to
understanding. The more in tune they become with
nature and to the origin of humankind, however, the
more they change.
Because of that wisdom and knowledge, the Akunanse
lose more and more of their human features and resemble
the animals of the Ebony Kingdom. While the majority
of the Weavers maintain their control, a few beasts have
been overwhelmed with knowledge and lost themselves
to the Beast. Most Laibon think the Weavers waste their
time in tracing fairy tales and mock their bestial appearance,
but a few wonder long into the night that if, as the
Akunanse believe, understanding the origin points the
way to the future, then why does that knowledge strip
away their humanity? And they brood over, as some do,
just what the future holds in store for them.
Young Akunanse most resemble West
Africans with unremarkable features. They adopt trends
at a much slower rate than mortals do, however, and
many of the Akunanse favor traditional garb over the
more disposable fashions of the modern world. The more
learned elders, however, are another matter. Over the
centuries, they have acquired animal features. Some
have come to share features with the deadly snakes, while
others resemble the great cats (lions, leopards and cheetahs),
and others still carry the markings of the dogs of the
savanna plains (jackals, hyenas and foxes). A small group
has even taken on the aspects of the gorillas. Those who
do not hail from that region of the Ebony Kingdom
occasionally acquire the features of the animals that are
indigenous to their region.
While the young and/ or inexperienced
Akunanse maintain single dwellings among the kine, an
elder Weaver often makes do with any suitable den he
finds along his travels. Elders who share animalistic traits
with similar Weavers (or even other Laibon) might share
their dens if appropriate, while others guard their solitary
lairs with ferocious intensity.
Although it started out as a legacy of mostly
West Africans, its members' very nature has changed the
makeup of the Akunanse. Driven by the need to travel,
the Akunanse have Embraced the peoples of the regions
they have traveled through as well as foreign visitors,
archeologists and researchers who have come to Africa
to understand the "cradle of humanity".
Weavers typically favor the more conservative
Natures, but their Demeanor often varies by the
animalistic traits that they develop, suggesting
that some psychology is also inherited along with
phsycial aspects. Physical and Mental Attributes
are very common, as well as Knowledges, Talents (Empathy)
and Skills (specifically Animal Ken). The Mentor
background is not unusual, either.
Abombwe, Animalism, Fortitude
Akunanse who acquire knowledge and experience
over the course of their unlives become closer to the
Beast Within. The more they learn of the truths of
nature, the more they come to resemble it. They take
on the features of the dominant animals of the region
where they reside the longest. For every 20 experience
points an Akunanse acquires, he also gains one animal
characteristic. This characteristic can be any of a
myriad of animal features - the ape's elongated arms,
the crocodile's protracted snout, a prehensile tail,
et cetera. Every five features he adopts permanently
reduces one Social Attribute by one, to be agreed upon
by the player and the storyteller.
Weavers are the most disordered of the Laibon.
The only type of legacy affiliation they maintain is
the occasional exchange of information if they cross
another Weaver's path, which they usually give freely.
Ultimately, they want to share their stories with any
who will listen. Beyond that, however, they are too
wrapped up in their eternal search to care about any
kind of formal order that is not natural.
Don't be afraid when you see my face, for it
is your face, too.
Animalism is best known as a power of the
Akunanse, though Guruhi, Kinyonyi and Naglopers
also show a talent for the Discipline. Akunanse most
often use it for purposes of survival, while Guruhi and
Kinyonyi sometimes summon animals to act as messengers.
Among Laibon, the powers of Animalism are known
as Animal Speech, The Call, Pacify, Ride the Beast and
Unique to the Akunanse legacy, Abombwe is a
Discipline in the truest sense of the word, for in addition
to closeness to the animal kingdom, it also confers a
heightened awareness and control of the user’s Beast.
Akunanse are known for both their jungle experience
and their overall wisdom, and their control over frenzy
and Rotschreck contributes to the air of wisdom they
project. Some Laibon believe that the Akunanse learn
control of their own Beasts by studying and emulating the
wild creatures of the rainforests, gaining a level of instinct
unknown to other Laibon. Some believe that the power
focused almost entirely on control over the Beast in the
past, but in its current form, it blends this with transformative
abilities, possibly learned from outsiders during
the Dark Ages, when some Akunanse ventured into
Europe. For their part, the Akunanse tend toward humble
silence on these questions.
In addition to the powers detailed here, Abombwe
gives an additional measure of control against the Beast.
When rolling to resist frenzy or Rotschreck, a character’s
rating in Abombwe adds to her dice pool. If the character
succeeds, she does not enter frenzy or Rotschreck. With
fewer than three successes, however, she must continue
to placate her Beast by “tithing” it one point of blood
each time she spends blood for the rest of the night. If she
does not succeed, the Beast overpowers her defenses, and
she may not use her Abombwe to resist frenzy or
Rotschreck for the rest of the night.
The Akunanse uses her Beast’s primal senses to detect
other Beasts in the area. This applies to vampires and other
supernatural creatures, so results can be ambiguous, but it
does allow detection ofhidden creatures at times. Akunanse
most often use this power to detect potential threats before
entering a new area or settling in to rest at sunrise.
System: The player spends a blood point. For the rest
of the scene, the character can sense other Beasts in the
area (including other vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts,
predatory animals and mortals and ghouls with Humanity
scores of4 or less). The character automatically knows
if another Beast is in the vicinity. To pinpoint the
location (or to find a hidden character by “sniffing out”
its Beast), the player rolls Perception + Survival (difficulty
6, modified by the strength of the Beast, as
determined by the Storyteller). Stronger Beasts (from
evil ghosts or vampires with low path ratings, for example)
are generally easier to detect than weaker ones.
INVOKING THE BEAST
By calling upon the feral nature of her Beast, the
Akunanse temporarily takes on one characteristic of a
particular animal. Akunanse use this power to temporarily
grow claws, poison glands, wings, exoskeletons or
nearly any other minor feature they can imagine. These
modifications aren’t always fully functional - wings
are only useful for slowing a fall or gliding a short
distance, for example -but still, this power has helped
save quite a few Akunanse who found themselves in
System: Invoking the Beast is similar to Feral Claws,
but with a broader focus. If used to grow claws, they inflict
Strength + 1 lethal damage (not aggravated) and reduce
climbing difficulties by two, but the power can also be
used to create other small appendages (only one at a
time). The transformation takes one turn and requires
expenditure of one blood point. For anything particularly
exotic (such as poison glands, wings or webbed toes), the
Storyteller may require an Intelligence + Survival roll
(difficulty 7) to correctly manifest the desired feature. A
botch on this roll still results in the creation of the desired
item, but along with it come several permanent cosmetic
changes (scales, skin markings, gills, hair, etc.).
This power is meant to be useful, not cinematic, and
Storytellers are encouraged to use any overly wild suggestions
creatively. Despite the origin of their legacy’s name,
Akunanse should not be seen swinging from the trees and
buildings with this power like a certain comic-book
superhero. In most cases, weight is the easiest solution to
this problem. Spider silk isn’t nearly strong enough to
hold a 150-plus pound Laibon, and no set of wings could
possibly support one in flight, either.
This power is likely the reason so many Akunanse are
able to survive the harsh forests, jungles and savannas of
the Ebony Kingdom without so much as a tent or a hut to
protect them from the sunlight during the day. Unseen
Hibernation allows an Akunanse to use the natural world
as a temporary haven, taking sanctuary in a tree, a rock
formation, even the ground. Mystically fusing herself
into a chosen resting spot, the Akunanse becomes hidden
from both the physical and the astral planes, protecting
her while she slumbers during the day.
System: Mechanics for this power are identical to
the Protean power Earth Meld, but the Laibon may
choose any stationary natural formation or plant in
addition to the ground. Trees and rock formations are the
most popular alternative choices. Some prefer to use
caves, particularly those where lions or other predatory
animals live. Anything sculpted by man is no longer
considered “natural” for the purposes of this power, so
rock sculptures or wooden dwellings are not an option. A
tree with carvings in it is probably (Storyteller discretion)
still usable, though. If the Laibon’s resting-place is
disturbed (by axe, pick or whatever means), she is expelled
the same way as with Earth Meld, usually destroying
the tree or rock formation in the process.
One of the most mysterious and powerful abilities of
the Akunanse, Devil-Channel is the ability to harness
the Beast by imbuing its power into a specific part of the
body. Depending on which part of the body he chooses to
imbue, a variety of different abilities may be gained.
System: The player spends two blood points. All difficulties
to avoid frenzy increase by one because the Beast is
literally very close to the surface. The Beast manifests as a
film of black, clotted blood that cakes the affected body part.
Only one power can be activated at one time.
Storytellers are encouraged to cooperate with players
to create their own manifestations of the Devil-Channel.
Examples of use include:
Hands: The Laibon inflicts aggravated damage with
punches. The power lasts for the scene.
Head: The Laibon gains the ability to see perfectly in
normal darkness and a -2 difficulty to seeing in supernatural
forms of darkness. He can also spit [Dexterity +
Athletics (difficulty 7)] a toxin that paralyzes whichever
of an enemy’s limbs it touches - which the target may
resist with a straight Stamina roll (difficulty 7). This
power lasts for the scene.
Back: The Laibon sprouts four evil-looking “spider
legs” from his back. These legs provide two additional
actions ifused to grapple or attack. Any attempts to climb
automatically succeed, and attempts to escape by running
are at -2 difficulty. This power lasts for the scene.
Legs: The Laibon inflicts aggravated damage with
kicks. He can also leap up to 10 times his normal jumping
distance. He also receives -1 difficulty to landing without
hurting himself (on rolls requiring Dexterity + Athletics).
This power lasts for the scene.
Throat: The Laibon can roar. Mortals and ghouls)
flee unless they succeed on Courage rolls (difficulty 9).
Players of supernatural creatures must make successful
Courage rolls (difficulty 8), lest their characters become
weak with terror (all dice pools reduced to half, rounded
up). This effect lasts for the scene.
By slaying a creature and drenching herself in its
blood, the Akunanse can enshroud herself in the creature’s
Beast. Doing so allows the Akunanse to transform herself
into the slain creature. Laibon who wish to transform
into a particular type of creature often use this power in
conjunction with Animalism. After learning to transform
into a certain type of creature, skilled Akunanse can
even re-create the transformation later without slaying
another of the same type of beast. Thus do the Akunanse
become true masters of shapeshifting.
System: The Laibon must anoint herself with the
creature’s blood then successfully invite the spirit of the
creature into herself [requiring a Charisma + Occult roll
(difficulty 7)]. If successful, the Laibon transforms physically
into that creature. The creature in question must
have at least one blood point’s worth of vitae (that is, it
must be at least as large as a cat or large bird) and must be
a predatory or omnivorous animal (no elephants or
rhinos). The blood must be fresh. The Laibon gains all
physical traits of the creature (so a Laibon transformed
into a vulture can fly, and a vampire transformed into a
leopard has claws and increased speed). Humans and
supernatural creatures may be duplicated in this fashion,
though such changes are limited to appearances (no
Disciplines or other supernatural powers are gained from
such transformations). The transformation lasts until
sunrise or until the Laibon “sheds” the skin he’s taken.
A Laibon may also attempt to duplicate a previous
transformation without slaying another creature. Doing
so requires an Orun roll (difficulty lo), with difficulty
reduced by one for each time the Laibon has killed and
transformed into a creature of that type (down to a
minimum difficulty of 7). For mortals and vampires, this
means that the Laibon may become only an “average”
member of his victim’s particular ethnic group or legacy,
unless the player succeeds on the roll at difficulty 10 (in
which case, a previous transformation is completely
duplicated in every way).
Chapter 5: Geography
The Story of Amavi
This entire chapter is told from Amavi's point of view.
Back to the index.