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Lycanthropes

 

Description:
Lycanthropes are greatly feared throughout Tymaera and with good reason. They transform into wolf-like beings and so are also referred to as werewolves and as weres though care must be taken with such terminology as they are not to be confused with werefolk (whose minds at least remain totally human all the time). These werewolves are fearsome creatures that embody the basest predatory instincts and usually show little or nothing of the nature of the beast's human half, no matter how good a person they might be. It is sometimes the case that a human does not even realise they are a lycanthrope until they wake up one morning, covered in blood and find their family torn apart.

Transformations are governed by the phases of the silver moon, Isel. When the moon is full the lycanthrope has no choice but to transform and it is at this time they are most dangerous for the beast has almost full control. At other times the more full-blood lycanthropes can transform (to some extent) at will, especially in moonlight. During these transformations they retain a little more of their human faculties but are still incredibly dangerous. Transformations can also be induced during 'fight or flight' situations when stress and adrenaline can make the lycanthrope lose control.

Lycanthropy can be passed on in two ways: hereditary or through biting. Lycanthropy passed on through biting actually 'waters down' the condition so that the creature the afflicted turns into is progressively more human through each 'generation'. Generations are denoted by the number of bites down from the original full blood (eg. third would be three away, so someone got bitten by a full blood, then bit someone else to create a second generationer and the person that gets bitten by the second generation lycanthrope would be a third generation lycathrope).

Very little is known of the origin of lycanthropes though it is thought they first emerged during the Age of Dust when dark and terrible things stalked the land. In fact, there are no documented encounters with full-bloods though there are legends depicting them as huge, dire wolves appearing either black or ghostly white. First-generation werewolves are almost equally rare to the point of being myths! These are the dire werewolves and are undead. It is thought that they died out many millenia ago to leave only their legacy of second-generation and below. As they are Undead, dire werewolves cannot pass on their lycanthropy by breeding and their bite (if survived!) leaves a victim as a living, second generation were.

The truth is dire werewolves are created through the bite of a Morvarg (aka Death-Hound), the spawn of Cerberus itself. These are Undead wolf-beasts that patrol the dark borders of the Spirit-World. During the Age of Dust they found their way to the mortal planes and ran free in the realms of men, bringing death where they went as it was their nature to hunt and destroy without needing reason or cause. It is said that some remain to this day but there is no record of them beyond legends told by firesides in the dark of winter.

Generation Wereform Vulnerability
Full-blood A Morvarg , not really a were at all since they are beasts that do not shape-shift. Usually appear as huge black or ghost-white wolves with red or green glowing eyes and mouth. Sometimes sport strange symbol-markings on their fur or visible signs of decay as per their undead nature. Immortal. Can be harmed only by silver.
First Generation Recognisable as dire wolf, but has anthropomorphic features - can walk on hind legs or all fours, Can be wounded by normal weapons but quickly re-generate. Lasting damage/death only caused by silver.
Second Gen Smaller. Prefers to stand on hind legs but still can go on all fours, face and features still canine but looks a little more like their human form. Can be wounded by normal weapons and magic, takes longer to heal. Especially vulnerable to silver.
Third etc Progressively retains human characteristics until wereblood is diluted so much you get the classic hairy 'wolfman'. All but the most greivous wounds heal, but slowly. Can be harmed/slain by conventional weapons but silver is particularly damaging.

There are tales of communities of lycanthropes, rather like the legends of the Vampire Counts, where it is believed, using a pecking order based upon a werewolf's generation, the creatures have formed a society amongst themselves where there are remote villages full of them and that they have spies planted amongst common folk. Of course, such wild tales have never been substantiated and everyone know werewolves don't get along...

 

Average Statistics
Diet: omnivourous in human form, carnivorous in wereform.
Alignment (if any): Depends on individual. Frequently evil more due to nature than nurture. The wereform is not, strictly speaking evil, but it lacks reason and will attack any living thing, not out of spite but because it is the nature of the beast to hunt and kill unrelentingly and without remorse.