Lycanthropy Question

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I am/was trying to think of throwing some rather intresting types of monsters.

I have this Minotaur Lord who has been comanding a bugbear army. I was thinking of the Minotaur getting into a form of cross-breeding to strengthen his army. His maze has a few sections I haven't fleshed out yet and would be perfect for something like cells for were-creatures.

I have seen all mentions of "human form", "were(insert animal)", and "hybrid form". Does this mean only humans can become lycanthropes? Or would other races be subject to the disease as well?

I have seen all mentions of "human form", "were(insert animal)", and "hybrid form". Does this mean only humans can become lycanthropes? Or would other races be subject to the disease as well?

It's whatever you want. Don't let the rules block what you think would be a cool idea.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

  4E assumes that werewolves(etc) are a species unto themselves, rather than a curse/disease that ordinary people can contract; someone else getting bitten results in a non-transformative disease like filth fever or moon frenzy. 3E has a mix of curse/disease and 'natural' lycanthropy that is layered onto an existing creature type.

  Both 3E and 4E have positioned shifters as the "lycanthrope-blooded" humanoid; the result of interbreeding between lycanthropes and (usually) humans. Trying to create weird hybrids with other types of monsters is liable to result in more problems than benefits though, especially with the substantial psychological changes that come along with the physical ones.

  Thus, the answer might vary a bit depending on which edition you're using. If you're working with a specific setting (Nentir Vale, Forgotten Realms, Eberron, etc) then it might also change the situation since each of those puts its own lore-spin on lycanthropy. On the whole, though, Mr. Minotaur Lord is probably best off recruiting existing lycanthropes than trying to create a hybrid/infected army.

  As for the specific appearance: the canonical 4E ones generally have a human form, but there are some exceptions; their abilities won't be any different regardless of what their humanoid form looks like. The 3E ones vary in terms of base species, although IIRC they still need to be 'humanoid' or 'giant' class creatures. In its case the base creature type does have an impact on the creature's abilities.

  I'm not sure how happy they'd be (in either edition) to be asked to sit around in a maze all day, though...
It is 3E, that I am using.

Mr. Minotaur is the leader of a bugbear army. And I was looking at bugbears and thought if they turn into werewolves they would look basically like menacing versions of themselves. That is what lead me down this path of thinking. And I am leaning on more of the fact that Minotaur's as a whole are fairly intelligent creatures to begin with, which would lead one to think of doing something like this.

The sections of the maze ... one would be a holding area for "pure blood" werewolves. A room for the chosen bugbears to be turned, and lastly a resting chamber where the bugbears would "heal" up while getting used to there new powers.
Okay, in 3E (assuming no setting-specific differences - Eberron in particular could mess this up) lycanthropy essentially comes in two forms: natural and afflicted.

Natural lycanthropes are in full control of themselves and their powers, since they're born as such. They're also the only ones who can normally infect someone else with the condition - afflicted lycanthropes can't infect others - so Mr. Minotaur would need to recruit some of these guys to get started. Of course, they usually have their own interests and agendas, and those don't normally involve being someone's guard dogs. Evil ones are also notoriously unreliable as allies.

Afflicted ones present a different problem: they don't have full control (and most don't have any control) over their shapeshifting or their actions while changed. They could be useful as a kamikaze/suicide squad of sorts, but they'll be as dangerous to the rest of the minotaur's forces as his enemies would if he tries to make a regular unit out of them.

Now, a group of natural lycanthropes who happen to be bugbears and thus part of the bugbear tribe is a possibility, especially if it's something more along the lines of being the gift of a clan totem (similar to the Gray Wolves of the Uthgardt tribes in the FR setting), and would give them a solid reason to work alongside their 'ordinary' fellows.

In this case they probably wouldn't be able to infect anyone else (again, similar to the Gray Wolf Uthgardt), and even if it were possible it'd be a bad idea to try that in an organized fashion for the reasons noted above. On the other hand, the totem's "gift" could be sought by non-werewolf members of the bugbear tribe, thereby turning them into "natural" werewolves... if they're willing to face the unpleasantly high attrition rate involved in whatever trial/initiation is required.
Just a thought, but, y'know...since it's in the name and all, why not try Werebears instead of cliche' Werewolves?
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It's still workable if you go with the MM rules, but it depends on how long the minotaur has been leading.

He could have isolated the inflicted lycanthropes where they can't kill anything and bred them in order to spawn natural ones. The naturals could then be raised for the army, with inflicteds who are no good for breeding or too hard to control being used as cannon fodder.
It's whatever you want. Don't let the rules block what you think would be a cool idea.



This.
There are a few halfling were-creatures in FR canon.  One is mentioned as the leader of the dead rats guild in Luskan, and IIRC there are some more were-halflings in module Sceptre Tower of Spellgard as well.  If there are halflings, I'd think other races were on the table as well.
> This.

  Except that simply proclaiming the self-evident "Do whatever you want," doesn't actually answer the OP's question about the rules-assumed state of affairs.

> There are a few halfling were-creatures in FR canon.

  If he's dealing with 3E then there are all kinds of lycanthropes in canon because it's a template that gets thrown onto existing creatures and a human werewolf is NOT the same thing as a bugbear werewolf. (The only real limitation on applying the 3E templates is that the creatures have to have a certain base type and the humanoid and animal forms can't be more than one step apart size-wise.) Of course, the 3E FR throws a bunch of other monkey wrenches into the situation in terms of story/fluff, but since no specific setting has been mentioned...

  4E took a different approach to the idea (although the handling of it for PCs as a theme instead of a race clashes with their 4E backstory); a wererat is a wererat regardless of whether its humanoid form looks like a human or a halfling. (This actually makes things an awful lot easier on the DM than the template system of 3E.)

  --

  Regardless, it isn't too difficult to conceive of a bugbear tribe with true-born or spirit-gifted lycanthrope members. The issue tends to be that, with the exception of wererats (who generally prefer underground warrens), their bestial nature doesn't really suit being asked to hang around in a maze all day/night long as guards.
Without going into a lot of detail ... although I can if so desired... they aren't going to be in the maze for long. The bugbears work with/are run by the Minotaur. They are just hold up with a hostage for the time being, then will be moving on.

I want to throw my PC a curve ball, as in most of the pics of bugbears I have seen they sort of already look like a werewolf ...



This for example.

So I thought why not mess with the PC a bit. They go through slicing and dicing up bugbear after bugbear, then get to a room with a bugbear that is a werewolf. They would look really similar. PC is too carefree ... and bam ... trouble hits when this thing doesn't go down in a hit or two. In fact it gets angry and starts to shred through the party.

I figure Minotaurs are know to be smarter than most PC give them credit for, this one just so happens to be a pioneer in crossbreeding. And it holding hostages to get some ransom to fund some more projects of his. He finds great irony in being in a maze, but his home is 30 or so miles away in a tower.
A single werewolf bugbear isn't going to be that much stronger than a single ordinary bugbear - not enough that the encounter difficulty would go from 'easy slaughter' to 'scary' just by plopping a single werewolf bugbear down in front of them, anyway. You'd need to use a pack of the things, at least.

What level are the PCs?

--

They... don't look all THAT similar, at least going by all of the art I've seen (large, hairy goblin vs digitigrade wolf-man). It's still a reasonable encounter concept, but when the things shapeshift to hybrid, the difference will be obvious.
PC are level 4.

And I realize that one yes I know ... but a room full of them maybe. Make the PC be a little more cautious, and give me a new plot hook to throw at them in the process.
If you want to get the idea across that these guys are scary (compared to the regulars) then a narrative illustration might work better:

The PCs are wading through the 'regular' bugbears when a new squad arrives - their outfits are clearly different (designed to accomodate shapeshifting, although that might not be immediately obvious), and the moment they make an appearance the rest of the bugbears start scrambling to get out of their way (disengaging from the PCs as needed to clear a path for the new guys).

IOW, the bugbear grunts are clearly more scared of these bugbears than they are of the PCs, and the reason why soon becomes evident...
> This.

  Except that simply proclaiming the self-evident "Do whatever you want," doesn't actually answer the OP's question about the rules-assumed state of affairs.




Of course it doesn't.  I wasn't claiming that it did.  Only expressing the hard truth that sometimes, people get so caught up in the numbers that they forget it's a completely subjective game.  Is this what the OP is doing?  I don't know.  YOU don't know.  Despite the fantastic advice you gave to him on how to make his goal achievable within the bounds of the rules, it is always possible and sometimes recommended that we forget the rules and play how we want to play.  Regardless, I am perfectly allowed to "second" anyone else's thought process that I wish, instead of going on to repeat the same comment for a second (or third) time.  Forums are sweet like that.

Have a great day!
A single werewolf bugbear isn't going to be that much stronger than a single ordinary bugbear - not enough that the encounter difficulty would go from 'easy slaughter' to 'scary' just by plopping a single werewolf bugbear down in front of them, anyway. .



Sure it would, so long as the DM wanted to play it that way.  Kailmung, you're creating a whole new race of monster; have fun with it.  Maybe there's something about lycanthropy in bugbears that makes them really nasty creatures.  You could have a standard attack + charge as an at-will that would give it some pretty good mobility and show it as distinct from the get-go.  Depending on if you want this minotaur to be a BBEG, rather than a one-shot villain, You've now introduced a threat that will require the PCs to power up before they're able to leave the maze and take on the minotaur in his own house. 
> This.

  Except that simply proclaiming the self-evident "Do whatever you want," doesn't actually answer the OP's question about the rules-assumed state of affairs.

The what?

If you mean "the way the rules about lycanthropy actually work," then there's nothing to give the OP other than that "self-evident" advice. The rules make no assumptions about what the OP wants to do, because as far as I can tell it's a unique and creative idea. The rules might give some inspiration, but trying to follow them will lead to blockage of the idea, which would be a shame.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

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