Whatever its form or breed, a Swara is lean, slender, and wiry. They dress for speed and comfort, not style, and tend to take daredevil chances for kicks. Each Swara receives a tribal tattoo from their mentor just before they "graduate" into the loner's world. These tattoos often appear in a fairly obvious place - on a bicep, a shoulder blade or the face, depending on the person's human culture. African or feline Swara often decorate the faces of their kits, while human European Swara prefer to mark a youngster on their arm or back rather than across their face. They sport very little jewelry - it gets in the way- but any adornment a Swara wears has some spiritual significance.
Swara tend to be long-limbed and lanky, with short hair and a nervous air about them. In Chatro form, their fur occasionally has the striped king cheetah morph running through it, which is considered a sign of good luck. They can change into five forms: Homid, Sokto, Crinos, Chatro, and Feline. They function in most respects like their Garou counterparts, and the difficulties associated with shifting forms for the Garou apply to the Bastet as well.
- Homid - Swara in Homid form tend to be attractive, but are indistinguishable from normal humans.
- Sokto - The Sokto form is a hybrid of human and feline characteristics, with the emphasis on the human traits. The Swara’s limbs lengthen, claws extend from her fingers upon command, and her facial features, eyes, and teeth become more catlike. Her body hair thickens, and she becomes disturbingly inhuman.
- Crinos - This form is an anthropomorphic blend of cat and human, built for battle. The Crinos form offers the Swara the greatest protection, while still allowing him to manipulate weapons and equipment. Swara in Crinos form invoke the Delirium, although to a lesser degree than normal (Delirium is reduced by two ranks on the Delirium Chart).
- Chatro - The primordial war-form, Chatro takes the feline form and super-charges it. This form is stronger than any of the other forms, massively built, and utterly terrifying. The Swara's canines extend to a length of 3-5 inches, allowing her to inflict an extra die of damage with Bite attacks. The Bastet evokes the Delirium at full strength in this form.
- Feline - The Swara’s Feline form is like that of her normal feline Kin. It is more useful for movement than any of the other forms.
Of all tribes of the Bastet, the Swara are the least understood. This is a result of their very isolated culture. Swara are the only breed of Bastet able to step sideways, allowing them to travel to realms within the Umbra that their brethren are unable to reach. Some speculate that this is a result of their strong relationship to Luna, who most Swara revere. Some legends claim that it was a Swara who first visited the moon during the time of the Impergium, and it was this that taught them the meaning and importance of the war against the Wyrm and how dire the situation is. Many Swara know that the Apocalypse is heading and prepare for it. Many other Bastet, especially the Simba, view the Swara as cowards who would rather flee an enemy than face it.
The War of Rage hit the Swara especially hard. Few members of the tribe survived, leading to severe inbreeding. All members of this tribe now possess Metis disfigurements regardless of breed (1 for Homid or Feline, 2 for Metis). More than 50% of disfigurements amongst the Swara are related to their claws. After the War, the Swara had to constantly move due the predations of the Simba and Ajaba, who considered the Swara traitors and cowards. This taught the Swara to trust no one outside their tribe and to this day, most Swara are very xenophobic.
Like the Pumonca, Swara are loners and wanderers. However, their territory extends across the whole world and beyond. This well-traveled outlook tends to feed their cultural paranoia rather than dispel it, and they make only superficial ties outside their tribe.
After the Fall of Black Tooth, many Swara allied themselves with the Ahadi. Under the leadership of Tinus Grellman, they tried to overcome their xenophobic tendencies in order to aid their brethren. Some Swara even tried to re-establish a cheetah colony in India to aid their fellows there in overcoming the terrible aftermath of the Week of Nightmares.
Swara Bastet value Ferocity above Glory, and Cunning (sometimes called Cleverness) over Wisdom. Bastet perform Rites of Recognition to gain Renown, typically in the presence of their mentor or another representative of their tribe. The exact form of the ritual varies widely, however. Simba, being the most group-focused of the werecats, often include other members of their pride in the ceremony, while a nomadic Pumonca may call spirits to act as his witness, rather than another Bastet.
The human side of the family favors the bushmen and herders of central and southern Africa. Early on, the cheetah-children are set apart from their more outgoing peers by their timid, nervous ways, and they often end up being ostracized long before First Change even has a chance to happen. Among the Bushmen and Bantu, community is vitally important; Swara avoid community, and are considered odd from the childhood. Whatever their form or breed, a Swara is lean, slender, and wiry. The majority of the tribe itself descends from black Africans, though a few odd European Swara exist. The latter usually have lighter coats than their relatives do. Each Swara receives a tribal tattoo from their mentor just before graduation into the loner's world. These tattoos often appear in a fairly obvious place: on the shoulder blade, a bicep, or on the face, depending on the person's human culture.
A werecheetah keeps to themselves after their fostering, until they find a mate. The two bond cautiously, then separate as soon as possible. A mother will raise her children just long enough to ensure their survival, then leaves them at the home of some trusted Kinfolk. For a year or so, she watches the family until she's convinced they won't harm her children, then fades off into the woods or grasslands. Fathers are presumed to do the same, but do not have the same obligations.
Swara are solitary creatures who prefer wandering alone through the worlds. Despite this, they prefer the company of their own kind to the company of other Fera. Groups of three or four younger Swara are not uncommon. They use their numbers to strike quickly, in military style tactics to take down their foes.Their hatred for the Garou runs deep and many Swara avoid them.
The Swara love fixing things, regardless of their nature (spiritual, mechanical, physical, emotional etc.) seeing it as the best way to serve Gaia.
The Swara are somewhat paranoid and distrust others, even of their own kind. Like all Bastet, they share a Yava:
- The Swara are very protective of their mother's good name. By telling tales of Damaa's cowardice, you can reduce a cheetah to madness.
- The soil of the moon intoxicates the Swara. Mix it into his drink, and he will dance and laugh for days.
- The Unmaker has his hand deep in all Bastets' souls. A frenzy will herald his approach. A Swara fears such frenzy, and must avoid its taint at all costs.