There is such a thing as Bastet Society, though it tends toward the loose and informal. There is no "Bastet Nation" -- All the tahla hinting at such a thing admit it was tenuous at best due to the cats' own inclinations, and banished beyond the pale by the War of Rage. But the werecats do share common spoken and glyphic languages, rites, and a common hierarchy. Contrary to what some claim, the Bastet are social animals--but they are social on their terms. Even when a pecking order establishes itself, cats have no kings.
The formative period of a Bastet's after their First Change is called the "First Year;" it a period of exactly one year spent under the tutelage of another Bastet, called Kuasha. Ideally the Kuasha is of the same tribe as their pupil, but in a pinch any Bastet may teach a cub of any other tribe. After the First Year, the cub is given his first Rank and sent out on his own with what his Kuasha has taught him. After this, the Bastet lives life on his own terms, expected only to accrue Renown and keep the Bastet's litany, called Karoush.
Karoush: The Bastet Litany
- Honor Yourself
- Honor Your Word
- Honor Your Kin and Kind
- Honor Your Earth
- Honor Your Silence
Bastet do have a hierarchy of rank. It does not denote absolute authority as it would among the Garou, but rather polite deferment and acknowledgement of experience. Still, Bastet can pull rank and often do. A Bon Bhat's personal power and the weight of their renown so vastly eclipses a Tehkmet that in any disagreement, the Bon Bhat will get their way. Bastet titles always have a social meaning outside of their rank.
- Rank 1: Tekhmet: "Little One." A term of address (usually condescending) from elder cat to a youngster.
- Rank 2: Akaa: "Truthchaser." An honorific between Bastet of equal rank.
- Rank 3: Tilau: "Accomplished Friend." A respectful title of address denoting experience and accomplishment.
- Rank 4: Ilani: "Wonder Favored." A title used when flattering another Bastet.
- Rank 5 & 6: Bon Bhat: A respectful term for an elder, also used to greet the host when attending a Taghairm in a foreign land for the first time.
When Bastet meet, it is Taghairm, a neutral meeting ground sanctified by rituals and protected by the spirits. Taghairm is a way to settle disputes, share information, and brag.
The last pillar of Bastet society is the Den Realm, a Bastet's personal sanctuary, where only a cat and his friends and lovers are welcome. Creating a Den Realm is a statement of achievement for the cats; they cannot build a Den Realm of their own, or inherit one from another Bastet, until they have become Tilau (achieved Rank 3).
Bastet rarely maintain Caerns. The Werecats' solitary natures make holding such desirable places difficult in the face of pressure from humans, let alone power-hungry Garou and Mages. Still, in places such as Central and South America and Africa, the Balam and Simba maintain ancient sacred sites; it is said that after the Silent Striders were banished from Egypt, the Bubasti took over some of their most powerful temples, saving them from desecration by the Followers of Set (intentional) and the Bone Gnawers (less intentional). Bastet refer to caerns as tona and those that remain in their claws are held tightly.
Like the Garou, the Bastet are divided into tribes. Like the Garou, Bastet acknowledge a universal renown and ranking system from youngling to elder. Unlike the Garou, there is no "Bastet Nation." Hierarchy among the werecats varies from tribe to tribe and tends to be loose in any case, but unlike the other Fera the Bastet have retained their ancient glyphic script. There are nine tribes of werecats, each with its felid roots in different species:
- Bagheera: The leopard-men of Africa and India, heirs to twin gifts of wisdom and savage might.
- Balam: Jaguar warriors of Central and South America.
- Bubasti: Shadowy mystics, ancient foes of a lineage of vampire sorcerers.
- Ceilican: Fae-cats of Europe, believed to be destroyed.
- Khan: Tiger-warriors, whose once proud Sultanates lie in ruins.
- Pumonca: Dusty wanderers who roam North America in Puma and man-guise.
- Qualmi: Practitioners of old American magics in Lynx-skin.
- Simba: Call them Dark Kings or the Lords of Sunlight, the Lions' star is in the ascendant at last.
- Swara: Cheetah-men of Africa, wary and elusive and gifted with spiritual power.
- Bastet do not have the innate ability to step sideways. This is learned via a level 4 gift, Walking Between Worlds. Swara may learn this as a level 2 gift.
- Metis Bastet gifts may not be learned by Homids or Felines.
- Bubasti tribal gifts are deeply held secrets; the tribe destroys those who teach them to outsiders.
- Swara may learn most Theurge gifts as Tribal gifts. (Bastet pg. 117)
- All Bastet possess an affinity for Sorcery, which they call "Shadow Craft." However, only the Bubasti, Ceilican, and Qualmi practice it habitually. Other tribes, such as the Simba, actively shun knowledge of sorcery (until they need it). Bastet Sorcerers may learn any path of Sorcery, but Bubasti favor Alchemy, Cursing, Enchantment, Ephemera, Spirit Control (from the Wraith supplement The Quick and the Dead, this path may not be approved for use at CoH), and Summoning/Binding/Warding. Ceilican favored Alchemy (with an emphasis on Herbalism), Conjuration, Cursing, Enchantment, and healing. Those of the tribe who have fallen may favor darker arts. Qualmi favor Alchemy (again with an emphasis on herbalism), Healing, and Spirit Control. (Bastet pg. 94)