Lycanthropy

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My players please don't read.  You know if you are one of my players if you know about the little girl Cindy and her pet cat Patches


In 4th ed Lycanthropy is heredity instead of being passed on through a bite.  Well I want to change that.  If a werewolf bites you, you suffer from moon fever / frenzy and when bloodied randomly attack an adjacent person/monster.  This is fine for the lower level werewolves in my campaign, but I want it to be like 3rd ed where you could contract Lycanthropy through the bite especially for the BBEG.  Anyone have a good way to make this happen?

A little background.  One of the BBEGs is a wolfwere   Yes wolfwere.  He was a wolf before being attacked by a werewolf and at the first full moon transformed into a human thereby becoming a wolfwere.  So now he hates all filthy humans and has made it his goal to instill strife, murder and other nasty things into the local city.  He has taken over the rogue's guild and they have been trying to get the neighboring cities to go to war by killing / kidnapping merchants etc.   Killed almost all the local trappers especially the ones that had hunted any wolves, instigated strife between a sea god and some fishermen etc.   So when my players confront him, I want him to be able to infect them (if they fail saving throws etc) so they may be more open to helping him if they are also affected with the curse.  He is just a bit insane to think they will, but he understands that humans are more open to things if it benefits them and well being a werewolf they should understand the plight of wolves and werewolves.

Maybe something like

initial stage - moon frenzy but doesn't wait till bloodied.    So the sooner the BBEG can infect the players the sooner they maybe willing to help
1st failed saving throw -  xxx
2nd failed saving throw - contracted Lycanthropy and next full moon will transform into a werewolf.


Of course they'd have to go on a quest to find a cure but that's another thread.


Thanks

One of the BBEGs is a wolfwere   Yes wolfwere. 

Someone thinks they're clever.  But I prefer manwolf, thank you very much


In 4th ed Lycanthropy is heredity instead of being passed on through a bite.  Well I want to change that.  If a werewolf bites you, you suffer from moon fever / frenzy and when bloodied randomly attack an adjacent person/monster.  This is fine for the lower level werewolves in my campaign, but I want it to be like 3rd ed where you could contract Lycanthropy through the bite especially for the BBEG.  Anyone have a good way to make this happen?


That depends greatly on how, exactly, you think your werewolves should act.  The characters of werewolves greatly depend on who you are asking and when, and I'm pretty sure that my favorite interpretation of werewolves will differ from yours in some way.


So first ask yourself, aside from the gross physical apperance change, what would you envision becoming an werewolf should actually entail?  What would change physically and mentally.  Is it truely a curse, or is it a blessing in disguise.  From that, it would be easier to suggest how to mechanically represent what you want to happen.


A simple way to represent the penalties and draw back would be to use the Boon concept from the DMG2.  Basically, becoming the a lycanthrope would grant the benefits (and drawbacks) of the mechnical equivalent of a slot-less item.  Using this method would allow you to make mechanical changes to your players without actually changing their race, forcing feats on them, or something similarly drastic, and you can scale the benefits/drawback to the players levels.


Whatever you do, I suggest against mechanically forcing play to act a certain way, such as reintroducing 3e's alignment-enforced lycanthropy.  It's one thing if your players are okay with forced alignment or similiar roleplaying mechanics, but such things were no fun for alot of players.


An aside, I'm actually planning on playing a afflicted werewolf in an upcoming campaign.  Mechanically, the character is a human cosmic sorcerer, and the lycanthropy is entirely flavor based, with different forms being tied to specific cosmic cycles (Sun = Hybrid, Moon = Wolf, Star = Human).  Not entirely relavant, but it might spark some ideas.  And my character's high strength, as well as his training in Intimidate and Nature, is attributed partly to being a werewolf.

Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Anyone have a good way to make this happen?



Well there are a few general questions you need to answer for yourself before you can decide how to design your version of lycanthropy:

1.  How quickly will the disease act once it takes hold (i.e. how frequent are the saving throws to avoid moving down the disease track)?  Narratively, you might want it to be one save per day, for example.  But if you want the infection of a PC to potentially alter a battle-in-progress, you might want to make the progress of the disease extremely fast - say one save per round (Perhaps a PC could be infected on round 1 and transform into a full werewolf by round 3.).

2.  How likely do you want the infection and the full transformation of a PC to be?  Do you want it to be merely "a possibility", or are you hoping/planning for at least one or two PCs to be infected and fully complete the transformation?  If the former, you can use normal DCs for the disease.  If the latter (i.e. you want them to be infected) you should make the DCs quite high so they're unlikely to avoid the transformation.

3.  How tempting do you want lycanthropy to be for the PCs?  That is, if they do become infected, how much would you like them to entertain the thought of staying that way and, perhaps, even helping the wolfwere as he hopes they might?  If you want them to think infection is bad, then make the effects rather crappy.  If you want them to find it tempting to be werewolves, make the effects mostly positive (e.g. significant increases in power); but, perhaps, with a dark cost (e.g. once per month, during a full moon, they become ravenous monsters that devour anyone unfortunate enough to encounter them).

4.  How severe do you want the effects of infection/transformation to be?  If they're bad effects, how bad?  If they're good effects, how good?  And, as a further point, how unbalancing will it be if some, but not all, PCs are infected?  Suppose that lycanthropy increases the general power of the victim.  How much will it upset the party balance if two PCs are infected and the rest aren't?  Will the non-infected PCs seem weak by comparison?  What would you do, for instance, if those two PCs wanted to keep their lycanthropy and therefore remained more powerful than the rest of the group?  Would you be prepared to force them, somehow, to change back?
I would suggest that you NOT base it on die rolls.

Ask the players of the PCs who have the chance to be afflicted (perhaps it's engineered such that all do) whether they WANT to have their PC change so that they remain in control of their PC's development.

Make it clear what the results are - you can allow for a race change (there are a few PC werewolf writeups floating around these forums), or use a divine boon/grandmaster training equivalent for a less drastic effect (which may be a better option for existing PCs since a race change will likely scramble their stat arrays, feats, and so on).


I would suggest operating the infection based on a critical strike, and making it a trigger for attack of opportunity as well.

Concisely: I want a system where players don't have to pick between mechanics and roleplaying. I hope 5E fails asap so a better system can be made asap.

( I can't believe what they did to the forums. The sterile lack or color is rather depressing. )

 

 I want it to be like 3rd ed where you could contract Lycanthropy through the bite especially for the BBEG.  Anyone have a good way to make this happen?

MM p.259 has rules for becoming a vampire. Lycanthropy could be handled similarly.

Thanks all.  I don't want to force it on the PCs I just want it as a chance for it to happen.  I wouldn't force any feat/alignment changes etc on them.  I plan on them confronting the BBEG on a night with a full moon so infection would soon result in a transformation. Maybe have the first time they transform they aren't able to control their urge to attack humans but after the first time they can...

The wolfwere would not like the term manwolf as that sounds too human and humans are filthy creatures


I will take a look at the boons and the vampire rules. 


Thanks again

Yruc
wolfwere was an old 2nd ed monster too- you can use that for ideas. 

I would basically give only the benefit of some minor regeneration, unless the moon makes them change. Then give some stat boosts and penalties like having to make a save to avoid attacking the first moving nonwerewolf they see (or channel their rage), to balance out those stats and regenerating, attacks, etc. Then theres equipment left behind.

Basically give it a minor advantage- and a horrible unless they can make it focus period under a full moon, and theyllw ant to get rid of the curse. Of course you could go off of the legend where you kill the one who infected you...
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How does this sound.  My PCs should encounter the BBEG this weekend and I finally wrote up something.

From the Werewolf Lord's bite

contracts Curse off Lycanthopy

On going 10 disease dmg (save ends)
1st Failed saving throw:  Target becomes dazed as diease courses through the body
2nd Failed saving throw: Target becomes stunned and falls prone howling in pain from the disease as body begins to distort.
3rd failed saving throw: On going disease dmg ends.  Target transforms into werewolf and attacks closest non werewolf.  (As if dominated (save -2 ends) DC increases by 2 until save is made or domination ends if reduces a non werewolf to 0 hit pionts)

The players are level 12.  That doesn't sound to severe does it?
Diseases progress via extended rests and endurance checks, and saves don't have DCs - if you want it to be an in-combat event then don't call it a disease and eliminate the DC reference.