Lycanthrope Overhaul (5e Variant Rule)
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This Variant Rule is designed to rework the current mechanics regarding lycanthropes.
On the sunset of each day, the phase of the moon changes. On the first sunset of a campaign, the DM may either choose a lunar phase or roll a d8 to randomly choose a lunar phase of the moon, as shown in the table below. If the DM decides to choose a lunar phase, they cannot choose a Full Moon.
After the lunar phase of the campaign's first night is determined, the order of the lunar cycle is shown below, starting from the lunar phase of the first night. After reaching the Waning Crescent lunar phase, the cycle continues from the New Moon.
New Moon > Waxing Crescent > First Quarter > Waxing Gibbous > Full Moon > Waning Gibbous > Last Quarter > Waning Crescent
On a full moon, all lycanthropes forcefully transform into their hybrid forms.
- If a player character or NPC is a lycanthrope and is exposed to the light of the full moon, or when midnight occurs during the night of a full moon, they immediately begin transforming into their hybrid form.
- While transforming during a full moon, the NPC or player character is incapacitated until the transformation is complete. If this is the first time an NPC or player character has transformed as a lycanthrope, this process takes one minute to complete. Otherwise, this process takes one round to complete.
- Lycanthropes transformed in this way remain in their hybrid form until the sun rises. In addition, control of player characters that transform during the full moon are given the DM. At dawn, lycanthropes immediately revert to their humanoid form and players regain control of their characters. Whether or not NPCs/player characters remember what they have done during the full moon is at the discretion of the DM.
Properties of the Lycanthropy Curse
The following rules apply to NPCs and player characters while they have the lycanthropy curse:
- The NPC/player character is treated as a humanoid shapechanger.
- The NPC/player character is vulnerable to slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage dealt by silvered weapons, regardless of the form they take on.
- The NPC/player character receives any Ability Score & AC bonuses described in the "Characters as [Creature Name]" section of their lycanthrope type's creature page.
- If the NPC/player character is killed or falls unconscious, they immediately revert to their humanoid form.
- After transforming for the first time during a full moon, the humanoid form of the NPC/player character changes based on their lycanthrope type. See the description in your lycanthrope type's creature page for the details on the physical changes. For example, as described on its creature page, a weretiger is "lithe and sleekly muscular in humanoid form". Because of these changes, other creatures and NPCs might recognize you as a lycanthrope unless you find a means to conceal these changes.
- After transforming for the first time during a full moon, the NPC/player character also gains access to the Shapechanger racial trait. With this trait, they can use an action to transform into their hybrid or animal forms. They may remain in that form for a number of minutes equal to their Constitution modifier + 1 (min. 1). After this time expires, or if the NPC/player character uses a bonus action to revert early, they become incapacitated for one round as they revert to their humanoid form. One round before their time in hybrid or animal form runs out, their primal instincts will notify them that their time is about to expire. NPCs/player characters can only use the Shapechanger feature to willingly transform to and from their hybrid or animal form once daily.
- After changing into a different form, the NPC/player character's alignment changes to their new form's alignment.
- The NPC/player character cannot take a short or long rest while in their hybrid or animal form.
- Transforming through the lycanthropy curse isn't magical. As a result, the NPC/player character chooses if their worn equipment is either destroyed or falls to the ground in their space.
Properties of Hybrid and Animal Forms
The following rules apply to NPCs and player characters while they are in their hybrid form:
- The NPC/player character receives the appropriate features and actions from their new form as racial traits (i.e. Keen Hearing and Sight, the weretiger's pounce feature).
- The NPC/player character gains resistance to slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage dealt by non-magical, non-silvered weapons.
- NPCs/player characters receive the natural weapons provided by their hybrid form (i.e. Bite, Claws, Talons). If an NPC/player character uses the multiattack feature found on their lycanthrope type's creature page, they can only do so by making attacks with natural weapons.
The following rules apply to NPCs and player characters while they are in their animal form:
- The NPC/player character game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the animal, but they retain their Hit Points, personality, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores.
- The NPC/player character can't cast spells, and their ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of their animal form. Transforming breaks their concentration on a spell they've already cast, and prevents them from taking actions that are part of a spell, such as call lightning, that they've already cast.
- The NPC/player character retains the benefits of any features from their class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so. However, they can't use any of their special senses, such as darkvision, unless their new form also has that sense.
Detriments of the Lycanthropy Curse
- Horrifying Change. Each time an NPC/player character finishes changing forms, including back into their humanoid form, they must make a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw or have disadvantage on all skill checks and Wisdom saving throws until the start of their next turn.
- Emotionally Unstable. While an NPC/player character is in their humanoid form and is in a strong emotional state (i.e. anger, fear, hunger, danger, ect.), they must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or they transform into their hybrid form. In addition, control of the NPC/player character is given to the DM for a number of minutes equal to the NPC/player character's Constitution modifier + 1 (min. 1), at the end of which they return to their humanoid form. Transforming in this way does not consume a use of the Shapechanger racial trait. What is considered a "strong emotional state" is at the discretion of the DM.
- Bloodlust. At the start of each of their turns, if the NPC/player character has taken damage since their last turn, they must make a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw or immediately attack the nearest creature, using an action (and a number of feet of movement, if necessary) in the process.
As normal, if a player character is afflicted with the lycanthropy curse, the remove curse spell can be used to cure them. Alternatively, magical items that cure curses and specifically mention lycanthropy, such as the Ring of the Lycanthrope, are also able to cure lycanthropy. If a player received the lycanthropy curse before receiving a class feature that removes or grants immunity to curses, that class feature doesn't remove their case of lycanthropy. If a player character is a lycanthrope by birth, only a wish spell can remove their curse.
Racial Class: Lycanthrope
Some lycanthropes make the decision to harness their primal tendencies, learning how to control their instincts and take advantage of their lycanthrope forms.
Multiclass Requirements: You must have the lycanthrope curse and you must have transformed during the full moon at least once.
- Hit Points
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- Any simple weapon of your choice (with 20 pieces of ammunition if you choose a ranged weapon)
- an explorer's pack
- Table: The Lycanthrope
|1||+2||Beginner Shapechanger, Fighting Style|
|2||+2||Novice Shapechanger, Unarmored Defense|
|4||+2||Ability Score Improvement|
At the 1st Level, you're beginning to get used to the side effects of your curse, and as such it doesn't frighten you anymore. You automatically succeed the Wisdom saving throw you make due to the "Horrifying Change" rule.
Also at the 1st Level, you adopt a particular style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can't take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.
Archery. You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.
Dueling. When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
Great Weapon Fighting. When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or a 2. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.
Knockback. Each time you hit a creature of your size or smaller with a Heavy melee weapon, you can force them to make a Strength saving throw or be pushed 5 ft. away from you. The DC for this saving throw is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier.
Primal. When you aren't wielding any weapons and you aren't wielding a shield, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls you make with natural weapons.
Protection. When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.
Two-Weapon Fighting. When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
At the 2nd Level, the mental transition from your humanoid form to your other forms seems to have less of an impact on your mind. You gain advantage on the Wisdom saving throw you make due to the "Bloodlust" rule. Additionally, while you are in your hybrid or animal form, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls on attacks made with natural weapons.
Also at the 2nd Level, while you are not wearing any armor or wielding a shield, your Armor Class is equal to 11 + your Dexterity modifier + your Constitution modifier. If you received an Unarmored Defense feature prior to receiving one from the lycanthrope class, you do not receive the Unarmored Defense feature from the lycanthrope class.
At the 3rd Level, you now have better control over yourself when you transform into your other forms. You gain advantage on Wisdom saving throws you make due to the "Emotionally Unstable" rule. Additionally, when using the Shapechanger racial trait, you may choose to remain in your hybrid or animal form for a maximum of one hour. Finally, you regain use of the Shapechanger feature after taking a short or long rest.
Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
At the 5th Level, your curse has now become a gift. The "Emotionally Unstable" rule no longer applies to you. In addition, you may now use the Shapechanger feature twice before taking a short or long rest and may remain in your hybrid or animal form for a number of hours equal to 1 + your proficiency bonus + your Constitution modifier (min. 1). The rules regarding transformation during a full moon still apply to you.