Werewolf, Variant (5e Race)
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They Who Prowl in the Night
Werewolves. Who hasn’t heard about werewolves? Humanoid creatures with the ability to change into wolves or a horrific mixed form of man and beast. Across cultures and races, these creatures are feared as vile boogiemen to frighten children in the night. They are also often regarded as monsters to be exterminated when discovered.
Whether or not they deserve this sort of universal hostility is hard to say.
|Worok - Card Art, Mathos Lappas, https://www.artstation.com/artwork/W60lJ|
Werewolves in normal form look just like anybody else. It’s part of the reason they’ve managed to survive for so long. And part of the reason they are feared. Anyone could potentially be a lycanthrope, considering there aren’t any defining features to indicate one.
But in alternate forms, that’s where it’s obvious. Hybrid werewolf forms appear as a mix of man and beast: a hulking, bulky figure of fur and flesh with a large gaping maw of a wolf’s head. Most lycanthropes easily surpass 6 ft. in this form. Combined with their long, wicked looking nails, and their large, sharp teeth, hybrid forms serve as very intimidating figures. The fur coloring can vary, usually resembling the natural hair coloring of the original form, occasionally with some lightening or darkening during the change.
In wolf form, lycanthropes appear as any other wolves might albeit slightly bigger. Their fur, like that of the hybrid form, is typically colored after the hair of the original form, occasionally with some lightening or darkening during the change. In this form the only tell-tale sign an unafflicted individual might get to the wolf’s true nature could be the unnatural intelligence shining in bright eyes, or the intentional behavior it might display.
Tales of these beasts are prevalent throughout nearly every culture. Some say they were cursed by some ancient arcane, or even divine magic that twisted them into horrid beasts of man and wolf. Others call it a disease: some horrid affliction that can spread from one humanoid to another to create evil more of these vile creatures. All in all, views of lycanthropes often depict them as foul creatures of the night out to kill anything that gets in their path.
What’s the truth? Honestly, no one knows.
What really causes lycanthropy remains a mystery to most scholars even now. Whether curse or affliction, the bad reputation and constant cries to hunt down these creatures whenever they crop up has made most afflicted with the condition wary of regular civilization. Who would want to announce their condition when the act could easily get them killed? In response, most werewolves hide from the normal population. Whether it is done in plain sight, or through solitude in the vast wilderness, werewolves tend to lay low. Only the few who revel in their more feral nature dare to announce themselves.
And civilized society just so happens to remember those few individuals the most.
Werewolf “society” is practically nonexistent. Due to the nature of lycanthropy, most werewolves simply continue to follow the culture of their original race. As such they don’t really form a definitive “culture” specific to werewolves.
Now, there are exceptions. From time to time you may get packs of werewolves that form and keep to themselves. These groups tend to work much like a wolf pack or tribe would. There is an alpha (or chieftain) that leads everyone else, and different roles assigned to different members of the group. Leadership can be determined by any number of things: from strength, to wisdom, to even bloodline. Such decisions vary between groups.
Because of the negative stigma associated with werewolves, these rare groups are often nomadic out of necessity. Staying in one place for too long could draw unwanted attention. Such unwanted attention could bring patrol bands or adventuring groups out to “rid the world of such vile monstrosities.” For that reason it’s important for a pack to stay on the move and keep hidden once camp is made.
Most werewolves will retain names that reflect the race they originally were, or the culture they initially came from. As such, lycanthropes can have a wide variety of names. On very rare occasions, a proud (or foolish) lycanthrope will assume a name more indicative of his hidden nature, but those who do this rarely last long.
Male: Francis, Markus, Ozrut, Grushna, Oskas, etc.
Female: Maria, Anne, Nehiri, Rosri, Seslov, etc.
Rewritten Biology. The nature of your affliction has rewritten much of your base race’s physiology. Because of this, you retain no additional features attributed to your base race other than your ability score improvement, size and languages.
NOTE: This race variant is meant to be used as a template that is applied on top of a race of your choosing (this will be referred to as the base race for the remainder of this page).
Infamous shapeshifters that have the ability to transform into a mix of man and beast. These creatures are almost always feared and hated by the general population. Whether or not they deserve this hostility is hard to say.
Ability Score Increase. Your ability score increases will remain the same as that of your base race.
Age. Lycanthropy does not affect age in any way. Your age is determined by your base race.
Alignment. Contrary to popular belief, lycanthropes are capable of any alignment, although it is usually influenced by their base race.
Size. Your normal form retains the same size as members of your base race would. Most hybrid forms for werewolves average out at around 6-7 feet tall. Your size is the same as your base race in human form, and is medium in wolf and hybrid form, if you are not already medium size.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet. Your base speed increases by 5 feet in hybrid and wolf form.
Darkvision. 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. You only have darkvision in hybrid and wolf form, and is seen in shades of red, not grey.
Shapechanger. As an action, you can change into your hybrid or wolf form. Your game statistics, other than your AC, remain the same in each form. Any equipment you are wearing or carrying is not transformed. You revert to your original form when you take an action to revert back, or if you are reduced to 0 hit points.
Perks of the Predator. You gain proficiency in the Perception and the Survival skill.
Wicked Resistance. When you take damage and are in your hybrid or wolf form, you can, as a reaction, gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks not made with silvered weapons. Your resistance ends once it reduces damage or at the start of your next turn. You must finish a short or long rest before using this trait again.
Languages. You know the same languages as your base race would (ex: Human, Tiefling, Halfling, etc.). You do know, however, how to speak with other canines while in wolf or hybrid form.
When you change into your hybrid form, your size is medium. You are still able to use your weapons and cast spells, unless your weapons are made for a Small creature. If you wear armor or clothing not especially made to accommodate your hybrid form, it falls off, requiring small repairs before it can be worn again. You retain the same amount of health as you would in your normal form. You also gain the following traits:
- Natural Armor
While in hybrid form you have a natural armor composed from your thickened skin and fur. In this form you have an AC of 13 + your Dexterity modifier. You can still wield a shield and benefit from this ability.
- Claws and Fangs
In hybrid form, you grow sharp fangs and claws. These are treated as natural weapons that you have proficiency with. They deal 1d6 slashing or piercing damage on a successful hit.
- Keen Senses
- Terrifying Transformation
When you shift into hybrid form, every creature of your choice that is within 60 feet and that can see you transform must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of you until the end of its next turn. You can use this trait once and regain its use when you finish a long rest. The saving throw DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier. Other werewolves are immune to this trait.
When you change into your wolf form, your size is medium and you are unable to wield any weapons. You also cannot cast any spells while in this form. You retain the same amount of health as you would in your normal form. You also gain the following traits:
- Natural Armor
While in wolf mode, you have a natural armor composed from your thickened skin and fur. In this form you have an AC of 13 + your Dexterity modifier.
In wolf form, you gain a bite attack. This is treated as a natural weapon that you have proficiency with. It deals 1d6 piercing damage on a successful hit.
- Disguised Predator
In your wolf form, you appear just as any other wolf. Others will regard you as a regular wolf unless they succeed on a Wisdom (Insight) check opposed by your Charisma (Deception) check. Opponents who succeed are able to tell there is something off about you, but do not immediately know you are a lycanthrope.
- Keen Senses
- Pack Tactics
You can use the Help action as a bonus action. You can use this trait a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier, to a minimum of once. You regain all expended uses after a long rest.
Random Height and Weight
Base height and weight can be taken from the base race's page instead, as that is what determines your original form's size and weight.
When creating a werewolf character, you can use the following table to add additional quirks to your character due to their affliction. Use these tables in addition to or in place of your background's characteristics.
|1||I feel more awake at night than I do during the day, and occasionally I have trouble getting to sleep.|
|2||When I’m hungry, my stomach is in full control. I don’t bother with silverware or manners when hands and shoveling food in are equally viable options.|
|3||Sometimes it’s hard to separate the predator from myself. I can get easily distracted by small critters and animals when I see or smell them.|
|4||Sometimes I can’t help but howl at the moon. Cliche, I know, but I can’t help it!|
|5||Nothing’s tastier to me than meat fresh off the bone. I usually just eat meals raw rather than cook them.|
|6||After traveling with someone for a while, I tend to get very attached and extremely protective of them. Sometimes to an alarming degree.|
|7||On occasion the wolf in me really shows. I don’t always follow typical social protocol that most others do; like bathing regularly, for example.|
|8||I am always slightly uncomfortable indoors or in small spaces that make me feel like I’m caged.|