Prestige classes were introduced in third edition as a further means of individualizing a character. A recent Unearthered Arcana article introduced playtest material for us to create Prestige Classes for D&D 5th Edition. I’m working with one of my players who was bitten, scratched and nearly killed by a werewolf. We decided he is going to try to control the curse versus curing it, so we thought a Werewolf Prestige Class might be a good player option to help his character progress from uncontrolled transformation to mastering his curse and unlocking new abilities.

Thoughts on Prestige Classes in D&D 5th Edition

Many of the prestige classes of the past such as Assassin, Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Knight are now just archetypes for the base classes in fifth edition. I think with prestige classes in fifth edition, we are provided a way to offer players additional rewards as their characters advance.

I’m taking the approach of prestige classes basically being archetypes with prerequisites that players will need to consider in advance. Any prestige classes I create for my game would attempt to be mechanically equal to any other character options.

Some hooks for prestige classes could be:

  • You are bitten by a Werewolf and are cursed with lycanthrophy
  • The old master asks you to start training in an order of monks, rogues, templars or knights due to your recent accomplishments.
  • An invite to finally take the test and become a fully sanctioned mage arrives via messenger from the academy.
  • The captain himself asks you to his office to hire you as a member of the royal guard after stopping an assassination attempt.
  • After saving her fleet, the Queen gives you papers making you a royal privateer, ending your life on the run as a pirate.

When looking to create a Werewolf Prestige Class for D&D 5th Edition, my player and I looked to Werewolf – Howl at the Moon for ideas. I thought a prestige class would work better than taking feats to gain control over his curse. We’re just starting to playtest this 5 level prestige class, so I’m sure we’ll be tweaking it as we go (this is version 2.5).

Werewolf Prestige Class

A Werewolf is a humanoid that is cursed with chaotic nature magic to transform into a large, wolf-like creature during the full moon. The most common way to become a Werewolf is to be bitten, or scratched. Some part of the Werewolf’s claws or saliva must make contact with a target’s bloodstream to spread the curse. As such, creatures without blood (e.g. Warforged) are immune. Other races too far removed from mammalian predators are also immune for unknown reasons. This includes the races of Dragonborn, Thri-kreen, Shardmind, and Tiefling (the Tiefling’s blood is already considered cursed, which prevents it becoming double-cursed). A child with one or both Werewolf parents has a chance of being cursed with lycanthrophy at the onset of puberty.

Once a creature is cursed with lycanthropy, they have until the first night of the following full moon (approx. 28 days away) to use a remove curse spell, or the condition becomes permanent.  Once the first change into a Werewolf has taken place, only a wish or other extremely powerful magic can remove the curse. Doing so should be a monumental undertaking, and possibly the focus of an entire adventure or campaign.

A Werewolf will transform each of the three nights of the full moon, as soon as the moon is in the sky and the sun has set, against their will. The hybrid form they take is that of a very large and vicious wolf with some humanoid qualities. They will remain in this form until sunrise, or they are rendered unconscious.

If remove curse is cast at the beginning of the transformation, the Werewolf may make a DC15 Wisdom save to avoid the transformation. This will delay transformation for one night. If the spell is cast using a 4th-level slot, this save will suppress the transformation for 2 nights.

This Werewolf Prestige Class gives a player’s character increasing control and eventual mastery of this curse.

Prerequisites

In order to advance as a Werewolf, you must meet the following prerequisites (in addition to the multiclassing prerequisites for your existing class):

  • Special. You must be cursed with lycanthropy.
  • Character Level 7th. The ability to control lycanthropy is only possible for powerful individuals.
Level Class Features Moon Points Extra Damage Regen
1 Lycanthrophic Channeling, Curse of Lycanthrophy, Adept of the New Moon 5 1d6 1d4
2 Adept of the Waxing Moon 5 1d6 1d4
3 Adept of the Waning Moon 10 1d8 2d4
4 Adept of the Full Moon 10 2d8 2d4
5 Lunar Embrace 15 3d8 2d4

Class Features

As a Werewolf you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d12 per Werewolf level
Hit Points per Level: 1d12 (or 7) + your Constitution modifier per Werewolf level

Proficiencies

Armor: None
Weapons:
None
Tools:
None
Saving Throws. None
Skills. Survival or Perception

Equipment

The Werewolf prestige class does not grant any special equipment.

Lycanthrophic Channeling

Beginning at 1st level, you have built up a store of resistance inside you can use to resist your curse and empower your lycanthropic abilities. You gain a pool of 5 Moon Points that increases to 10 at 3rd level, and 15 at 5th. Used Moon Points are restored upon the completion of a long rest.

Curse of Lycanthrophy

At 1st level the curse of lycanthrophy provides you with supernatural strengths and weaknesses that come coupled with your condition.

You gain the following benefits:

Strength of the Moon. While in hybrid form you gain a minimum strength of 15, and +1 bonus to AC while in wolf or hybrid form (from natural armor). Attack and damage rolls for the natural weapons are based on Strength.

Eye of the Wolf. While in humanoid, wolf or hybrid form, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Unarmed Attacks. You have the following unarmed attacks that are based on Strength.

  • Bite (Wolf or Hybrid Form). Melee weapon attack: reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1d6 piercing damage.
  • Claws (Hybrid Form Only). Melee weapon attack: reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1d6 slashing damage.
  • On either attack, if the target is a humanoid (excluding Warforged, Dragonborn, Thri-kreen, Shardmind, and Tiefling), it must succeed on a DC [8 + your proficiency bonus + your CON modifier] Constitution saving throw or be cursed with Werewolf lycanthropy.
  • When you hit a creature with an unarmed attack you can spend 2 Moon Points to deal an additional 1d6 damage to the target, in addition to the damage of your bite/claw. This extra damage increases as you gain levels in Werewolf, as shown on the Extra Damage column of the table.

Your gain the following flaws:

Curse of the Moon. A humanoid that is made unconscious (0 HP) by your Bite or Claw attack instantly fails their Constitution Save and becomes cursed.

Full Moon Transformation. You will transform each of the three nights of the full moon, as soon as the moon is in the sky and the sun has set, against your will. The form you take is that of a very large and vicious wolf with some humanoid qualities. You will remain in this form until sunrise, or until you are rendered unconscious. While in this form the DM can take control of your character at any time. When you transform back into your normal humanoid form you gain one level of exhaustion (and you may experience memory loss of any events that occurred while the DM controlled you).

  • While in hybrid form you can’t cast spells, speak and take any action that requires hands but is not limited by your physiology.
  • While in wolf form you can’t take actions that are not directly related to stalking, hunting, fighting, tracking, feeding, or other wolf-like activities.

If Remove Curse is cast at the beginning of the transformation, you may make a DC15 Wisdom save to avoid the transformation. This will delay transformation for one night. If the spell is cast using a 4th-level slot, this save will suppress the transformation for 2 nights.

Enraged Transformation. When you fail a death save, take 12 or more of your total hit points in damage in a single round, or witnesses severe harm come to something or someone you care about, you must make a Wisdom save or immediately transform into a Werewolf (hybrid form). The DC is determined by the DM and should be dependent on the severity of the insult or injury. Typically DCs of 15, 20, 25 & 30. Enrage lasts for 1 hour, after which you transform back to your Humanoid Form, and gain one level of exhaustion, or you may choose to enrage and continue your rampage at the DM’s discretion (additional one hour).

Adept of the New Moon

At 1st level you start on a path to controlling your curse of lycanthrophy and gain the following benefits:

Transformation Resistance. You can now resist Full Moon Transformation with a DC12 Wisdom save without the aid of a Remove Curse spell. If you fail the save, you transform as normal or you can choose to resist the transformation by spending 5 Moon Points. Also, you no longer need to roll to resist transformation for the rest of a full moon phase after you have successfully resisted for one night.  If a Remove Curse spell is cast you can roll your save to resist the transformation with advantage. The damage threshold for an Enraged Transformation increases to 24 plus your Constitution modifier.

Friends.
A well-known friend or associate may make a DC15 Wisdom (Animal Handling) check as a reaction to being attacked by you, to convince you it is friendly, and should not be the target of your aggression. If the Animal Handling check is successful, you will attempt to run away from the area if there are no enemy targets to attack.

Regeneration. The regenerative abilities of your curse are starting to emerge. At the start of your turn as a free action you can:

  • Spend 1 Moon Point to regain hit points equal to 1d4 + your Constitution modifier
  • Spend 5 Moon Points to regain hit points equal to 1d4 + your Constitution modifier and at the start of each turn for 1 minute while in combat.

You can not gain this benefit if you have 0 hit points. If you are hit by a silvered weapon or piece of ammunition your regeneration abilities halt until the end of your next turn.

Adept of the Waxing Moon

At 2nd level you continue along your path of learning to control your curse of lycanthrophy. You gain the following benefits:

Keen Senses. You gain proficiency on Wisdom (Perception) checks that involve hearing or smell.

Voluntary Transformation. You may now choose to transform as an action by making a DC15 Wisdom check (On a failed Wisdom check you become enraged) or by spending 5 Moon Points and you will remain in hybrid form for one hour, and will not be under DM control. This does not take the place of an Enraged Transformation or Full Moon Transformation. You may choose to transform into your wolf form as well. The damage threshold for an Enraged Transformation increases to 32 plus your Constitution modifier.

Good Friends. Your beast form gains some level of awareness, and you are less likely to attack known friends and associates that you are aware of from your subconscious humanoid mind, unless they directly threaten you. They may make a DC10 Wisdom (Animal Handling) check as a reaction to being attacked, which will stop all attacks against them.

Adept of the Waning Moon

At 3rd level, your growing control over your curse provides the following benefits:

Improved Unarmed Attack. The damage from your unarmed attacks increase from 1d6 to 1d8.

  • Bite (Wolf or Hybrid Form). Melee weapon attack: reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1d8 piercing damage.
  • Claws (Hybrid Form Only). Melee weapon attack: reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1d8 slashing damage.

Greater Transformation Control. You gain advantage on rolls to resist any transformations and you only need to spend 4 Moon Points to resist transformation in the case of a missed save. At the start of each night during a Full Moon cycle the DC becomes 10 to resist Full Moon Transformation. The damage threshold for an Enraged Transformation increases to 64 plus your Constitution modifier.

Best Friends. You will not attack known friends or associates while transformed, even if enraged.

Greater Regeneration. The regenerative abilities of your curse are starting to emerge. At the start of your turn as a free action you can:

  • Spend 1 Moon Point to regain hit points equal to 2d4 + your Constitution modifier
  • Spend 5 Moon Points to regain hit points equal to 2d4 + your Constitution modifier and at the start of each turn for 1 minute while in combat.

You can not gain this benefit if you have 0 hit points. If you are hit by a silvered weapon or piece of ammunition your regeneration abilities halt for one turn.

Adept of the Full Moon

At 4th level, you have have nearly mastered controlling your curse of lycanthrophy. You gain the following benefits:

  • Your extra damage on unarmed attacks from spending Moon Points increases to 2d8.

Super Senses. You gain advantage on any Wisdom (Perception) checks that involve hearing or smell.

Superior Transformation Control. You gain advantage on rolls to resist any transformations and you only need to spend 3 Moon Points to resist transformation in the case of a missed save. At the start of each night during a Full Moon cycle the DC becomes 8 to resist Full Moon Transformation. The damage threshold for an Enraged Transformation increases to 100 plus your Constitution modifier.

You can not gain this benefit if you have 0 hit points. If you are hit by a silvered weapon or piece of ammunition your regeneration abilities halt for one turn.

Voluntary Transformation. As an action, you can voluntary transform into your hybrid or wolf form for one hour by spending 1 Moon Point, after which you either take one level of exhaustion and revert to humanoid form, or you may choose to spend 1 Moon Point and continue your rampage for an additional hour. While transformed you have more control:

  • You can’t cast spells, speak, or take any action that requires hands or is limited by your physiology. Concentration on any ongoing spells is broken.
  • You may make use of class features if your beast form is physically capable of doing so.
  • Your equipment falls to the ground in your space. You will need to pack some spare clothes.
  • Taking any action that is not directly related to stalking, hunting, fighting, tracking, feeding, or other wolf-like activities may prompt the DM to make you roll a Wisdom Save against DC 15 or lose control. You act as if enraged which lasts one hour, afterwards you transforms back to your humanoid form.

Lunar Embrace

At 5th level, you have learned to fully control your curse. You gain the following benefits:

  • You are immune from Enraged Transformation.
  • Your extra damage on unarmed attacks from spending Moon Points increases to 3d8.

Increased Strength and Speed. The curse is making your stronger and quicker.

  • Your base Strength while in humanoid form permanently increases by 1.
  • Your speed while in Wolf or Hybrid form increases by 5′ feet.

Shapechanger. You can transform as a bonus action into a wolf-humanoid hybrid or into a wolf for one hour, or back into your true humanoid form. Your statistics are the same, other than Strength and AC, in each form. Any equipment you are wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. You revert to your true form if you are reduced to 0 hit points. Transforming is less taxing on you:

  • You no longer take any exhaustion for transforming and you have full control of your actions.
  • While in hybrid form you can cast spells, speak and take any action that requires hands but is not limited by your physiology.
  • While in wolf form you can take actions that are not directly related to stalking, hunting, fighting, tracking, feeding, or other wolf-like activities.

 

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