Hair and Howls – Lycanthrope Player Characters
There are many ways you can use Lycanthropes, shape shifters influenced by the moon(s) in your games as Player characters. Here are some questions to run through to help you define Lycanthropes in your games.
Lycanthropes can be player characters if the hybrid or animal form has a animalistic-human nature, but not if they are a berserk killing machine.
The best Lycanthrope stories are where the characters have double lives. They either try to separate or must separate the two parts of their lives and deal with the changes in both parts. Oz from Buffy is not just a Werewolf, he’s also Oz.
A way to do this is to have some contacts for your regular life, and some for your lycan life. For the latter they can be a druid circle, other lycans, or sympathetic family members.
You don’t want characters becoming invincible slaying beasts at low level/campaign start, so you can reduce their immunities and stat bonuses of their hybrid form, but allow them to enhance those traits with feats etc later on in the game. In character they go on a camping trip to get in touch with their bestial nature.
For example-Start with half damage from non-silver weapons but double damage from silver weapons. Then later progress to no damage from non-silver weapons.
Typically characters have some sort of mark or trait that shows their bestial nature. This may be hairy limbs, middle and index fingers of the same length (werewolves), nervous disposition, a pointy nose (wereravens), or a unholy glyph on their back.
You don’t want characters going berserk every failed social interaction or combat start.
Have a control roll, I’d suggest wisdom with difficulty of moderate, then have modifiers for :
- -1 character threatened or traditional enemy involved.
- -2 recurring enemy or family/pack member involved.
- -3 lots of blood around or full moon.
So a hostage situation with a traditional enemy threatening your sister is -3 to the roll.
They will need to hide their scent from other creatures, especially if you have humanoid creatures as races like Lizardfolk, Catfolk etc. They can use garlic, cinnamon, lavender, jasmine or aniseed on their clothes or in their regular food.
Scent ability can teach them about creatures they encounter.
- Age of creatures, health of creatures, nature (fey, aberration, magical).
Some questions your players may want to explore –
- Players can roleplay their characters going through the change. Is it surprising, quick, painful or delicious? Does their voice change?
- Does their personality change? Are they more protective & team focused? Are their drives more sedate once their hungers are satiated?
- If the Lycanthropy is some kind of curse of demonic gift – Perhaps demons leave them alone, and they get headaches when they go in good temples?
One way to expand on their dual nature is characters can have shared dreams with other Lycanthropes, sometimes with Lycans they have not met yet. Some of the dreams are real events from the past, some of the dreams are potential events in the future, but all have nature elements such as animals, hunting, storms and threats to pack safety. To tie them to the astral plane then the recurring dream threats may be aberrations or undead.
Lycanthropes in TV/Film
- Wolfman, movie.
- The Grimm tv series has tons of shapeshifters.
- Night watch Day watch films they had Wereowls.
- Underworld movie series has Lycans vs Vampires.
- Being Human – tv series, BBC & US versions.
- The Howling, Werewolf movie series in the 80’s.
- Van Helsing, movie.