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How to Roleplay a Warrior Cat from the Warriors Book Series
Have you read the Warriors book series by Erin Hunter?
Warriors is a series of children's fantasy novels published by Erin Hunter (a pseudonym for authors Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, and Tui Sutherland) centered around the lives of feral forest cats. The books have become popular around the world despite not having won any major literary awards. The series is a popular choice for roleplays given the storyline and existence of Clans with which to make allegiance. Would you like to join the fun and become a warrior cat, but haven't read the books? This hub will explain the ins and outs of Clan society and roles, giving you just the information you need to create a warrior cat of your very own.
Appearance: Pelt Color and Size
If you ever pass by a cat adoption window or event, take a moment to look at the cats; chances are, their colors vary from one to the next. Some examples of cat colors include:
- solid black, gray, white or brown
- tabby black, gray, brown or orange
- white with black, gray, brown or orange
- calicos and tortoiseshells (color patches)
- and more
All of these colors apply to the feral cats in the Warriors series. For example, Fireheart is an orange tabby tom, while Graystripe is a light gray tabby tom. Essentially, the warrior cats, as feral cats, have naturally found pelt colors.
Warrior cats are the size of your average house cat; however, if you know someone with cats (or own cats yourself), you know that some cats are larger than others. The difference can be food-related; a malnourished kitten will have less potential to grow while it is young. However, the size can also be due to genetics. Some cats are simply larger than others, and give birth to larger kittens. Furthermore, male cats tend to be larger than females. For instance, Tigerstar is a very large, muscular dark brown tabby tom with immense paws. Bluestar, on the other hand, is a lean and compact blue-gray cat with a long sleek tail. Tigerstar, in comparison to Bluestar, is a much bigger cat.
To roleplay as a cat from the Warriors book series, your character will need to have these attributes of the typical house cat. As long as your cat's pelt is a mixture of natural colors and the size acceptable by domestic cat standards, your character should be acceptable. If you want to give your cat extra originality, you can add markings or wounds; they might have a heart-shaped white spot behind their left ear, or have a shorter tail due to a fight or accident. Character flaws give your cat more background and personality; think about Cinderpelt, whose injured leg kept her from becoming a warrior and led her to being a medicine cat instead. Had she not been crippled, it is likely she would have eventually been raised as a ThunderClan warrior.
"In fiction, canon is the conceptual material accepted as "official" in a fictional universe's fan base."
Above all, you need to follow the rules set by the leader of the roleplay. Whether your Warriors roleplay takes place in a forum, by email or by instant messenger or more, the creator of a roleplay usually sets down rules to follow in making and roleplaying your character. Unless the Warriors roleplay is non-canon, your cat will only be allowed to have natural colors and markings. If you're allowed and encouraged to have exotic color combinations, such as pink pelt markings or purple eyes, then that decision is up to you. In a strictly canon Warriors roleplay, your options will be much more limited. Following the rules set down in a roleplay is important - it shows your genuine interest in participating and ensures that you won't be warned or kicked from the roleplay.
Background: The Four Clans
In the Warriors book series, there are four main Clans: ThunderClan, RiverClan, WindClan and ShadowClan.ThunderClan lives in the forest in a small clearing between the trees. Because of their location, they specialize in successfully stalking prey through the forest. RiverClan lives next to the river and survives primarily off of fish. Unlike the other cats, they also make expert swimmers. WindClan lives close to a human farm, has more knowledge of humans than the other Clans, and are known for being swift on their paws in catching rabbits. ShadowClan is recognized for their stealth and having darker minds and intentions. They will eat whatever they can get their paws on - frogs, lizards, rats and even crow food (animal carcasses).
Another Clan, SkyClan, is introduced later in the series as having been kicked from their land after an invasion by humans. The cats lose contact with other Clans until they are rediscovered and rebuilt by Firestar. They have the ability to jump great heights as well as tougher paw pads. In the sixth book, a group of feral cats calling themselves BloodClan make an appearance, but do not follow traditional Clan ways and have no faith in StarClan. BloodClan is defeated and no longer exists.
The Clans are all very territorial about their land, except in times when alliances are formed against other Clans; for example, in The Darkest Hour, ThunderClan and WindClan unite against ShadowClan and RiverClan after refusing to join with TigerStar as one Clan under his rule. When traveling, Clan members are expected not to encroach on foreign land (unless they are medicine cats journeying to visit Moonstone). Each Clan has a distinct smell that set them apart from other Clan cats, making it obvious when outsiders have been sneaking around someone else’s territory. Setting paw on another Clan's land usually results in fights and retribution; when ThunderClan cats take a shortcut home through RiverClan territory, a battle with Leopardfur and her warriors ensues, ending in the death of a cat and a promise of revenge from Leopardfur.
Fourtrees (a group of four tall oak trees in a hollow) is the only place where the four Clans can meet in peace; during each full moon (a month in Warrior time) the four Clans meet in this central area to discuss new Clan leaders, warriors, apprentices, medicine cats and potential problems or concerns. Only here are cats of separate Clans allowed to mingle and talk to one another; after Graystripe leaves ThunderClan to join RiverClan for his kits, the only place Fireheart can publicly speak to him is at Fourtrees. No matter the Clan climates or difficulties, every Clan is expected to meet at Fourtrees for every moon.
Cats of the Place of No Stars
Personality: Beliefs and Terms
All four Clans share a general belief that their dead ancestors join StarClan high up in Silverpelt (the Milky Way), and that each star represents a dead warrior. StarClan cats speak to the Clans through dreams and visions, as well as signs and omens. For example, Spottedleaf (a StarClan cat) sends ThunderClan the message, “Fire alone can save our clan” in Into the Wild. Members of StarClan generally aid the Clans they lived in before death - for example, Bluestar watches over ThunderClan after her death. Medicine cats and Clan leaders frequently experience messages and visions due to their connection to the Moonstone and StarClan.
The Dark Forest, or the Place of No Stars, is where cats who caused others pain and suffering in life go after death. Cats like Tigerstar (who tried to kill Bluestar, and kills Brindleface, Gorsepaw and others) reside here. These ancestors are able to appear in a cat's dreams as well, though the messages and communications are often more dark and frightening, like nightmares. In later books, “visitors” are able to enter the Dark Forest and train with the ancestors; Tigerstar, once dead, takes it upon himself to train living Clan cats in the Dark Forest to orchestrate a fight between ShadowClan and ThunderClan. Living cats can find the Dark Forest with guidance, but StarClan cats face the risk of becoming lost forever.
Common Clan Terminology
Newly caught prey
Rotten dead prey
Not all cats truly believe in StarClan, just as not all people believe in a particular religion. You can decide how much your cat has faith in StarClan; when Cloudkit - Fireheart's nephew - is brought into ThunderClan, the kit does not believe in StarClan or value Clan ceremonies. Not having knowledge of these things as a kittypet (slang for housecat), Cloudkit does not know of the existence of StarClan or faith in such things. Natural born members of the Clans are generally raised to uphold the ceremonies of raising kits to apprentices, apprentices to warriors and other rank and name changes. Your character can be a devout believer is StarClan and ceremony, or have suffered a tragedy to lose faith in their ancestors; your cat can even be an outsider like Cloudkit, if the roleplay allows it.
Another essential part of a cat's personality is their figures of speech: if you want to play a warrior cat, your character needs to speak like one. Clan cats have special figures of speech relating to StarClan and beliefs. If a Clan cat is relieved by the outcome of an event or meeting, they might exclaim, "Thank StarClan!" Humans are known as "Twolegs" and a barn is called a "horseplace." "Sunhigh" and "Moonhigh" are terms of time relating to the high points of the moon and sun during the day. The seasons are not as we refer to them; spring is called "new leaf," summer is "greenleaf," fall is "leaf-fall" and winter "leaf-bare." Where we measure distance in inches, feet and yards, warrior cats use terms like "tail-length" and "mouse-length." "Mouse brain" is a common insult, similar to calling someone stupid or an idiot. If you haven’t read the books and are unfamiliar, look at an experienced member’s roleplay posts for a better idea. Furthermore, if you are roleplaying on an online forum, take a look around; most detailed roleplay boards have threads explaining the subject of roleplay (i.e. the Warriors book series) along with rules and things to know. If you are lucky, you might find some advice about getting into character.
Occupation: Warriors and Ranks
Each Clan (excluding BloodClan) has the same hierarchy of ranks for all cats that also correspond to their names. From kits to Clan leaders, each rank is important in the Clan society and structure. In highest to lowest rank order, these are:
- Leader: cat who leads the Clan; approved by StarClan and given nine lives. Name ends in -star.
- Deputy: cat second-in-command to Clan leader; in charge of the Clan’s warriors.
- Medicine cat: cat trained to heal sick and injured Clan members with herbal mixtures.
- Warrior: cat trained in combat and hunting for the Clan. Name ending chsoen by Clan leader.
- Apprentice: cat six moons or older in training to become a warrior or medicine cat. Name ends in -paw.
- Queen: she-cat expecting or nursing kits, or watching over another she-cat’s kits.
- Kit: newborn kitten not yet old enough to become an apprentice. Name ends in -kit.
- Elder: ex-warrior or medicine cat in retirement; they are cared for by the Clan.
Higher Clan ranks have more importance and may not always be available in a roleplay due to limited availability. In a roleplaying situation, Clan deputy and leader will be highly sought after roles, and may sometimes already be claimed by the roleplay's creator. Otherwise, your warrior cat can play any of these roles, given the approval of the roleplay leader or administrator and popular demand; if there is already a Clan deputy, your cat will be unable to fill this position unless the other player steps down or leaves the roleplay.
When it comes to roleplaying, no matter the content, always follow the rules of the roleplay. Remember that you are playing a warrior cat, not a god.Follow the warrior code and Clan rank system, and respect your fellow roleplay members. Roleplays should be a fun and learning experience with good friends; a proper use of character, reading the rules and being respectful toward other members will ensure this. To learn more about warrior cats, try reading Erin Hunter’s book series!
© 2012 Jessica Marello