Playing a balanced werewolf?

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For a while i've wanted to play a werewolf character. My last character got infected with lycanthropy but we didn't play again, and my newest one has been based off of Daybreak Ranger in Magic:The Gathering, and i've been trying to think of ways to make it work.

The obvious answer would be to use the werewolf creature stats, but seeing as the character is a crossbow user, having such a strong melee base would be majorly unbalanced.

One idea I came up with was to transform as an alternative to going unconscious: after the first failed save, basic melee against nearest enemy each turn. after second fail, attack nearest creature, enemy or ally. after third fail, loses control/sanity and flees the battlefield rather than dying.
I love this idea for simulating the change occurring under stress, but we're playing a half-HP game variant to speed up combat, so i'm not sure if it could end up ruining the team.

The other idea would be to let the DM control changes and what happens while transformed. While sensible, it would take all the fun out of being a werewolf in the first place.

Any advice or other ideas?

Also not sure if this is the right section, didn't seem quite right putting it in CharOp or Races though seeing as it's not about optimisation, and the race is still human. 
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Have you thought of tailoring the druid class rather than altering the werefolf creature?  I am sure you can find much more balance if you went that route, re-flavoring the powers and other class features up and down the line to be a werewolf.

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As it turns out the Neverwinter Campaign Guide has a Werewolf theme. If you can get access to that, and if the DM allows it, it's a good, balanced way to handle lycanthropy (IMHO).

Basically you get the ability to turn into a wolf at 1st level, a few other powers after that and an ability to fully turn into a hybrid wolf-man at 10th. Worth a look.
Are you wanting to apply the werewolf attributes to your race or class? The only reason I ask is because we had some vampire-like traits that could be added to races, but received the vampire as a class of its own.

There are several ways of going about it. It's really going to depend on how you want it all to flow.

If you'd rather your PC retain all of his class abilities, you could simply RP the change as flavor-filled dialogue. He'd drop his weapon (if he had one out), wolf-out, and the mechanics of the PC would remain intact. Do the whole thing through just RP, in other words.

If you want some mechanical effects from the change, you could have the PC retain his race and class stats, but add "vulnerable 5 to silver weapons", add a point or two to your speed, and other such (mostly) cosmetic changes. It wouldn't really affect the base character, and it wouldn't cause too many paperwork/bookkeeping issues. I wouldn't get out of hand with the mechanical changes, though.

Or, as you said, you could turn over control of your PC to the DM while he is changed. Not a lot of fun in that, though.
As it turns out the Neverwinter Campaign Guide has a Werewolf theme. If you can get access to that, and if the DM allows it, it's a good, balanced way to handle lycanthropy (IMHO). Basically you get the ability to turn into a wolf at 1st level, a few other powers after that and an ability to fully turn into a hybrid wolf-man at 10th. Worth a look.



I think I might have a look at this, i'm sure somebody I know would have it. That's a pretty good idea, thanks.

EDIT: Okay, can't find anyone who has this anywhere, and the DM won't allow it. Good idea though, thanks.


If you'd rather your PC retain all of his class abilities, you could simply RP the change as flavor-filled dialogue. He'd drop his weapon (if he had one out), wolf-out, and the mechanics of the PC would remain intact. Do the whole thing through just RP, in other words.

If you want some mechanical effects from the change, you could have the PC retain his race and class stats, but add "vulnerable 5 to silver weapons", add a point or two to your speed, and other such (mostly) cosmetic changes. It wouldn't really affect the base character, and it wouldn't cause too many paperwork/bookkeeping issues. I wouldn't get out of hand with the mechanical changes, though.



Another pretty good idea that could work. I didn't actually think of just having cosmetic changes tbh. 
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Extending what Hocus said.
You could take feats and powers that trigger on the bloodied condition.. there is one feat which boosts your speed when you are bloodied .. A fighter utility power for regeneration could be grabbed via multiclassing)  - I think you could just do the flavor thing for silver.    Bloodied becomes your shifted status.

I think the theme however can give you some powerful core elements.
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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
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"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I do like these ideas, but i'm not sure i should add too much feat stuff. Either it comes in the form of feats, which prevents proper character creation, or it just gets added which runs the risk of becoming overpowered.

From Hocus' flavor things though, i've been running up a small list with my DM, with both advantages and disadvantages.

Vulnerable to silver and fire.
Cannot take an extended rest outside at night (the frustrating urge to transform forces me to take cover or wait until day)
+1/+2 to speed
Bonus to following tracks due to heightened sense of smell (adapted from a Shifter feat)
 Maybe a small (1 or 2) bonus to athletics, endurance, and/or nature.

Any other thoughts?
We're liking the RP idea for extra character development so we're going with that.

Thanks for everybodies input though! 
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As an encounter power, exchange your current racial stat bonuses for +2 str/con and gain some unarmed bonuses to make that feasible. Lose all benefits from human racial feats during this time. Use the same encounter power to change back, so you can't change in and out in a single encounter.

Just off the top of my head. As a crossbow user, you there's no risk of it being too powerful. But you might want to use it in niche situations.
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I do like these ideas, but i'm not sure i should add too much feat stuff. Either it comes in the form of feats, which prevents proper character creation, or it just gets added which runs the risk of becoming overpowered. 


 
One aspect to consider is retraining.. to represent I am now a werewolf so I dont have the focus I had before ie the violence of it interferes with something I used to do... mechanically you retrained feat X to bloodied featness if I someday over come my lycanthropy I retrain out of that.

I might retrain my reaping strike  a fighter power that is basically an I never miss style attack to.. Brash Strike an ultimate agressive I dont care for my own defenses style attack...   ie you use power retraining to show real changes in personality and fighting style.
 
Interferes with character creation that isnt the way I see it at all.!!
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Here is an idea on making a werewolf type character, not sure how it will work for you but something that occured to me recently.

Take a Dex/Wis Hengeyokai from the recent article, make it a wolf (dog based).

Take a monk, fight unarmed primarily, or use a belt to make your unarmed attacks club like, can also fight some weapon equivalents for claws, but use a ki focus of some sort (lock of hair or something amusing.)

Now as a hengeyokai you can be a hybrid when you want, abilities don't change so you play as an unarmed monk, ripping all opponents next to you in a flurry of claws (5 storms) or doing a standard wolf improved trip (Dragon's tail) plus reflavor the other monk powers to your hearts content.

As a hybrid you will technically be a tiny wolf but I would ask my DM to let you play a medium size one with all the same restrictions, probably not that hard, now as a hengeyokai you start with speed 7, with the animal form your speed jumps to 9 and monks get a feat that gives a speed boost in heroic to 10, that jumps to 11 in heroic. Combined with boots that add to speed you could be moving at 10 in heroic and 12 in paragon, making for some impressive mobility in animal form, assumed as a minor action.

Not sure if this works for you, but its an idea to make a "werewolf"
As a hybrid you will technically be a tiny wolf.



Size: Medium (human or hybrid form)



You're only Tiny when in animal form.

Just sayin'

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I also suggest the theme route. If you don't have access to Neverwinter material, make your own theme. Fortunately those are a lot easier to create than classes, but you'll have more room to work with than if it was just a race (you could also make it a race and a theme, or just use shifter for the base race and tack the theme onto that).
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I'm playing a werewolf right now, 
Class: Monk
Race: Human
Theme: Pack Outcast 
Background Bonus: +2 Athletics 
Items: Bracers of Brachiation
and Boots of Bounding

That set up allows me to change into a werewolf climb any surface, jump huge distances, move faster then any of my allies, leap from the ground to wall or vice versa, assault multiple enemies, move around them with impunity and grant combat advantage to an enemy adjacent to me at any time to all my allies and that's at level 5.

Throw in a pair of daggers and select feats and my defenses go near Paladin levels. It's a really fun build but the biggest weak point is I can't focus damage very well, I spread it around and hit a lot of stuff. It's a ton of fun and I choose items and feats to backup the Werewolf characteristics I'm looking for.
I'm playing a werewolf right now, 
Class: Monk
Race: Human
Theme: Pack Outcast 
Background Bonus: +2 Athletics 
Items: Bracers of Brachiation
and Boots of Bounding

That set up allows me to change into a werewolf climb any surface, jump huge distances, move faster then any of my allies, leap from the ground to wall or vice versa, assault multiple enemies, move around them with impunity and grant combat advantage to an enemy adjacent to me at any time to all my allies and that's at level 5.

Throw in a pair of daggers and select feats and my defenses go near Paladin levels. It's a really fun build but the biggest weak point is I can't focus damage very well, I spread it around and hit a lot of stuff. It's a ton of fun and I choose items and feats to backup the Werewolf characteristics I'm looking for.



Ive played a similar build in the past but was a shifter for my race, and I flavored the lack of focused damage as the fact that in werewolf form Im not as calm and able to focus on anything...

A druid is another way to do this.
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Ranger Twinfighter with MC Monk and the new unarmed combatant MC feat could also work.
Is there some mechanical reason the character has to be human?  I don't see why your character couldn't be classified as human narratively, but shifter mechanically.

Also, don't feats that convey benefit only while bloodied get more uptime in a half HP game?  They might not cost as much as you think from an optimization point of view. 
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Is there some mechanical reason the character has to be human?  I don't see why your character couldn't be classified as human narratively, but shifter mechanically.

Also, don't feats that convey benefit only while bloodied get more uptime in a half HP game?  They might not cost as much as you think from an optimization point of view. 



No, but I based the character off a magic card, who happens to be human.
Besides, I like playing as humans, they have a lot of good stuff. 
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Is there some mechanical reason the character has to be human?  I don't see why your character couldn't be classified as human narratively, but shifter mechanically.

Also, don't feats that convey benefit only while bloodied get more uptime in a half HP game?  They might not cost as much as you think from an optimization point of view. 

No, but I based the character off a magic card, who happens to be human.
Besides, I like playing as humans, they have a lot of good stuff. 

Humans > shifters. Shifters just don't have the feat support, and nothing but their racial encounter power as racial features, which are bleh at best.

I'm playing a werewolf currently, using the pack outcast theme (the original build had him as a dwarf, but I think a frost werewolf sounds SO much cooler). He's a cleric|ranger hybrid, and uses a frostbrand double axe. He worships Sehanine, so Silvery Glow works on most of his powers. His backstory is a mixing of werewolf and winter wolves, and I'm having the frostbrand encounter power simulate his "breath weapon"
Here's my build:
Wulfhere
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Wulfhere, level 8
Human, Cleric|Ranger
Hybrid Cleric: Battle Cleric's Lore
Hybrid Ranger: Hybrid Ranger Reflex
Hybrid Talent: Ranger Fighting Style
Ranger Fighting Style: Marauder Fighting Style (Hybrid)
Human Power Selection: Bonus At-Will Power
Background: Born Under a Bad Sign (Born Under a Bad Sign Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 20, Con 13, Dex 11, Int 8, Wis 18, Cha 10.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 13, Dex 11, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 10.

AC: 26 Fort: 22 Reflex: 19 Will: 22
HP: 67 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 16

TRAINED SKILLS
Endurance +10, Dungeoneering +13, Nature +13, Athletics +14, Perception +17, Insight +15

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +4, Arcana +3, Bluff +4, Diplomacy +4, Heal +8, History +3, Intimidate +4, Religion +3, Stealth +4, Streetwise +4, Thievery +4

FEATS
Human: Battle Awareness
Level 1: Weapon Proficiency (Double axe)
Level 2: Wary Fighter
Level 4: Axe Expertise
Level 6: Hybrid Talent
Level 8: Silvery Glow

POWERS
Bonus At-Will Power: Singing Strike
Hybrid at-will 1: Brand of the Moon
Hybrid at-will 1: Twin Strike
Hybrid encounter 1: Mighty Hew
Hybrid daily 1: Shield of the Gods
Hybrid utility 2: Invigorating Stride
Hybrid encounter 3: Disruptive Strike
Hybrid daily 5: Two-Wolf Pounce
Hybrid utility 6: Bastion of Health
Hybrid encounter 7: Lashing Leaves

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Ornament of Alertness +2, Ebon Drakescale Armor +2, Frost Brand Double axe +2, Gauntlets of Blood (heroic tier), Quickhit Braces (heroic tier)
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

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Is there some mechanical reason the character has to be human?  I don't see why your character couldn't be classified as human narratively, but shifter mechanically.

Also, don't feats that convey benefit only while bloodied get more uptime in a half HP game?  They might not cost as much as you think from an optimization point of view. 

No, but I based the character off a magic card, who happens to be human.
Besides, I like playing as humans, they have a lot of good stuff. 

Humans > shifters. Shifters just don't have the feat support, and nothing but their racial encounter power as racial features, which are bleh at best. 

Regeneration and  whenever  bloodied and +2 damage for the remainder of the battle is not meh ... But I also like playing humans (in particular they make awesome hybrids) 

I think there is an item that allows you to be considered bloodied even though you are not.. I am now forgetting what it was called but such an item could be flavored as something like a Moon Token or Badge of the Wolf. And could be seen as granting you extra contol over your shifting power. (Blood Fury Weapon enchantment)
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

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