Lycanthropy 5e, also known as werebeast, weretype, or nightwalker is a condition wherein your character becomes a shape-changer. They can switch between a humanoid and an animal. As humanoids, they live an everyday human life; however, you might find distinct features such as pointed teeth or long fingernails if you look closely. They can also shape-shift into an animal, but their intelligence reveals their true nature often. Interestingly, they can also become a hybrid with the body of a humanoid and an animal’s face. Refer to Monster Manual, which contains all about this curse.
What is lycanthropy?
In D&D 5e, lycanthropy is a benefit as it offers the players protection from slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage from non-magical or non-silvered weapons. Moreover, it increases the ability statistics, enables them to change shape, and provides new features. You can choose this condition for your characters to grant them new proficiencies and challenge them along the way.
This curse comes with its own set of problems such as –
Every month on the full moon, when their animal instincts are at their strongest, the lycanthropes face a test. If they lose command over themselves, they’d change permanently and turn into vicious beings who prey on weak people.
Their past memories of losing control still haunt those who have control over it.
Some of them master their shape-shifting abilities with incredible difficulty. As for some, they are entirely unaware that they are cursed. They live in a fugue state with no memory of their activities on a full moon after they turn back into humans. The characters would try their best to create stories to justify their lost memory.
History of 5e lycanthropy
It’s a speculation that many eons ago, the god Malabar turned barbaric human tribes into lycanthropes and gifting them the attributes of their favorite animals. Others believe that Selûne granted this blessing to the young human orphans to generate survival skills in them.
The oldest lycanthropes are lythari, a natural line of elven werewolves which came into existence during the first elven exploration of Faerun. They resided with the moon elves and wood elves community for numerous years.
Classification of lycanthropes
The classification of D&D 5th edition lycanthropy is as follows –
Therianthropes – They were famously known as lycanthropes. They could either be humans or giants with the ability to turn into an animal or a monster. Here are the ways you could become a lycanthrope.
True – The ones who contract this condition as a hereditary trait come under this category. They can breed with other creatures of the same species to produce lycanthrope offsprings. For instance, werewolf parents give birth to a werewolf. There’s no cure for the disease caused this way.
- Infected – If a lycanthrope injures your character by biting them, they will become cursed. For example, a wereshark bites a human and infects them.
- Induced – Those personae turned into lycanthropes through a magical item can’t spread this condition any further; for instance, a swanmay who willingly received feathered tokens.
- Cursed – Your character is cursed through a magical spell or in other ways.
The beasts listed below are related to lycanthropes as they share similar attributes but aren’t one.
- Antherions – Quite the opposite from the creatures mentioned above; these beasts transform into humanoids, unlike lycanthropes. Moreover, they share hatred towards lycanthropes and vice versa. For example, jackelwere.
- Others – Other races such as shifters who have similar traits as a werebeast or were born out of the lycanthrope-human interbreeding.
What are the types of lycanthropy?
Most of the lycanthropes were either humans or elves; however, orcs and goblin were also in existence. Natural lycanthropes were proud of their condition, unlike the afflicted ones who tried to cure it using belladonna or magical items. Due to the social stigma regarding them, they kept their illness a secret and ended up lonely.
The list below comprises all the details regarding every lycanthrope.
Unlike other similar species, Werebears are good-natured, and they have control over their instincts. If an NPC catches this condition, they’d have to stay in a cabin in the woods on full moon nights.
- Armor Class – 10 as a humanoid, 11 (natural armor) in bear and hybrid form
- Hit points – 135 (18d8 + 54)
- Speed – 30 ft. (40 ft., climb 30 ft. in bear or hybrid form)
- Skills – Perception +7
- Senses – Passive Perception 17
- Alignment – Lawful Good
- Personality – Reclusive, kind, cautious
- Traits as a humanoid – Broad chest, built and hairy as their fur color.
- Favored territory – Remote areas
- Social preference – Inclined towards seclusion
- Likelihood to infect others – Low. They only infect those who can handle it.
- Languages – Common (can’t speak in bear form)
- Challenge – 5 (1,800 XP)
- Shapechanger – They can transform into a hybrid of a giant bear and humanoid, a large bear or a humanoid. In every shape, their statistics are the same, except their size and AC. Their transformation doesn’t affect any equipment they possess, and once they die, they turn back into their original form.
These lycanthropes are beasts in their true sense. Their motive to destruct drives them. However, they do follow specific rules such as traveling in groups as they treat everyone as equals.
- Armor Class – 10 in humanoid form, 11 (natural armor) in boar or hybrid form.
- Hit points – 78 (12d8 + 24)
- Speed – 30 ft. (40 ft. in boar form)
- Skills – Perception +2
- Senses – Passive Perception 12
- Alignment – Neutral evil
- Personality – Violent, antagonistic, durable; charges into combat headfirst
- Traits as a humanoid – Stocky and swole with short bristle-like hair all over their bodies
- Favored territory – Secluded spaces
- Social preference – Gangs or family members of Wereboars occasionally ally with Orcs
- Likelihood to infect others – High. They enjoy watching people suffer under the curse.
- Languages – Common (can’t speak in boar form)
- Challenge – 4 (1,100 XP)
- Shapechanger – Wereboars can polymorph into a boar-humanoid hybrid or a boar or a humanoid. Their stats, except AC, remains the same. The rest of the details are unchanged for every creature, as mentioned above.
Being a wereboar doesn’t affect your character’s intelligence and wisdom scores, which justifies why they impulsively charge into battles.
There’s a high probability that those with wererat lycanthropy were cursed by someone they knew. Moreover, if you curse someone who expects it would only make them a more potent variant with extreme traits. For instance, if they were cautious about their surroundings before this condition, they are now paranoid of every shadow.
- Armor class – 12
- Hit points – 33 (6d8 + 6)
- Speed – 30 ft.
- Skills – Perception +2, Stealth +4
- Senses – Darkvision 60 ft. (rat form only), passive Perception 12
- Alignment – Lawful evil
- Personality – Clever, shifty, and calculated; prefers to ambush
- Traits as a humanoid – They are twitchy and paranoid with thin hair and quick eyes.
- Favored territory – Sewers, cellars, catacombs; close enough to feed off civilization without getting involved
- Social preference – Secluded or in organized crime circles; often keep Giant Rats
- Likelihood to infect others – Low. They only infect members of their gang and kill anyone accidentally infected or rogue members.
- Languages – Common (can’t speak in rat form)
- Challenge – 2 (450 XP)
- Shapechanger – They can transform into a rat-humanoid hybrid, a rat, or a humanoid. Except for their size, every other statistic remains unchanged.
This species is highly competitive regarding hunting and are too invested in their appearance. They wish to create a façade of a calm and composed creature who takes calculated risks. According to players and DMs, a weretiger is hyper-sensitive about proving their stereotype as reckless monsters wrong.
- Armor Class – 12
- Hit points – 120 (16d8 + 48)
- Speed – 30 ft. (40 ft. in tiger form)
- Skills – Perception +5, Stealth +4
- Senses – Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
- Alignment – Neutral
- Personality – Proud, ferocious, and detail-oriented hunters
- Traits as a humanoid – Tall and meticulously groomed
- Favored territory – They prefer jungles and peripheral of society, but close enough to travel in to trade and party.
- Social preference – Alone or in small family groups
- Likelihood to infect others – Low. They treat other Weretigers as competition.
- Languages – Common (can’t speak in tiger form)
- Challenge – 4 (1,100 XP)
- Shapechanger – Weretigers can morph into a hybrid of tiger and humanoid, or a tiger, or a humanoid. Apart from their size, their stats stay constant.
The basic instinct of a werewolf is fighting, tearing, being the alpha, and staying alone. It makes them ferocious to others, but the reason behind their nature is what differentiates them.
- Armor Class – 11 in humanoid form, 12 (natural armor) in wolf or hybrid form.
- Hit points – 58 (9d8 + 18)
- Speed – 30 ft. (40 ft. in wolf form)
- Skills – Perception +4, Stealth +3
- Senses – Passive Perception 14
- Alignment – Chaotic evil
- Personality – Savage almost to the point of being rabid
- Traits as a humanoid – Volatile, prefers raw meat, carefully attuned senses.
- Favored territory – Wildlands with lots of hunting ground.
- Social preference – Forms packs with Wolves and Dire Wolves.
- Likelihood to infect others – High. Werewolves are Chaotic Evil and will exchange blows with anything.
- Languages – Common (can’t speak in wolf form)
- Challenge – 3 (700 XP)
- Shapechanger – They can turn into a wolf-humanoid hybrid, or a wolf, or a humanoid. Their stats don’t change, except AC.
You might have the opportunity to see a different side of werewolves wherein their qualities manifest in their love for animals and pastures.
- Multiattack – As a bear, they go for two claw attacks, whereas as a humanoid, they prefer two greataxe hits. In hybrid form, they can either strike as a bear or a humanoid.
- Bite (only as a bear or hybrid) – Melee weapon attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d10 + 4) piercing damage. For a humanoid target, you must have DC 14 Constitution saving throw or acquire the curse.
- Claw (bear or hybrid form) – Melee weapon attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) slashing damage.
- Greataxe (humanoid or hybrid) – Melee weapon attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d12 + 4) slashing damage.
Keen smell – Your smell gives you an advantage over perception checks.
- Multiattack (humanoid or hybrid) – They can attack twice, but one of them must be from their tusks.
- Maul (humanoid or hybrid) – Melee weapon attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage.
- Tusks (boar or hybrid) – Melee weapon attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) slashing damage. To defeat a humanoid, you must successfully use the DC 12 Constitution saving throw or succumb to the curse.
Only the wereboar possesses this trait allowing him to cause severe damage if he moves 15 feet straight towards their target and then hits them with their tusks. The prey faces an additional 2d6 slashing damage. If your prey is a creature, they must have a Strength saving throw (8 + proficiency + Wereboar’s strength) or be prone to knock.
An attack of 14 damages or less would reduce a wereboar to 0 hit points; it decreased only to 1 hit point. A short rest is all you need to recharge.
- Multiattack (humanoid or hybrid) – Out of the two strikes, one of them can be a bite.
- Bite (rat or hybrid) – Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage. If you don’t succeed against a humanoid by using a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, then you’d be cursed.
- Shortsword (humanoid or hybrid) – Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
- Hand crossbow (humanoid or hybrid) – Ranged weapon attack: +4 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage
- Multiattack (humanoid or hybrid) – As a humanoid, they can either make two scimitar attacks or two longbow attacks. However, as a hybrid, they can hit as a humanoid or use two claw attacks.
- Bite (tiger or hybrid) – Melee weapon attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d10 + 3) piercing damage. A successful DC 13 Constitution saving throw against a humanoid would save you from the disease.
- Claw (tiger or hybrid) – Melee weapon attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage.
- Scimitar (humanoid or hybrid) – Melee weapon attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) slashing damage.
- Longbow (humanoid or hybrid) – Ranged weapon attack: +4 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage.
If the weretiger proceeds 15 steps forward and strikes the creature with its claws simultaneously, it must possess the Strength saving throw (8 + proficiency + weretiger’s strength) or be knocked prone. You’d then acquire a bonus action of a bite attack.
Keen hearing and smell:- It also provides you a benefit on perception checks.
- Multiattack (humanoid or hybrid) – They attack twice with a bite and a claw or spear.
- Bite (Wolf or Hybrid Form Only) – Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage. To avoid the disease, employ a successful DC 12 Constitution saving throw against your target humanoid.
- Claws (Hybrid) – Melee weapon hit: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) slashing damage.
- Spear (Humanoid) – Melee or ranged weapon strike: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one creature. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage, or 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage if it’s used with two hands to make a melee attack.
Keen hearing and smell:- It also provides you a benefit on perception checks.
- The Akri: It’s a tribe of werecats who lived in the Anauroch desert.
- The Gray Wolf Tribe: This tribe of Uthgardt barbarians consisted of werewolves.
- The Blood Screamers: In this group, weremole gnome bandits of southwest Faerûn and followers of Urdlen belonged.
Immunity from damage
The DnD 5e lycanthropy shields them from non-magical or non-silver attacks. The best part is that they retain this immunity even in human form.
No one is invincible, though; therefore, spell casters and adventurers who possess magical, silver, or +1 weapons are a threat to you. Furthermore, this rule applies to both PC and NPC personae.
How to use lycanthropy with NPCS?
The first thing to focus and deliberate on is their connection to the curse and how do they cope with its impact.
How were they cursed?
It’s up to you to decide the origin story of your character’s condition. Were they married to a cursed family? Did they volunteer for it? Were they infected since birth? And so on. There are multiple ways for you to take this angle forward.
How do they cope with their new compulsions?
Each and every lycanthrope might show different changes; for instance, Werewolves act like mad dogs whereas Weretigers include cleanliness in their life. A wererat becomes thirsty of power due to their anxiety. Wereboar wizard NPCs charge head on into combat.
The DM has the power to decide which trait do they wish to incorporate based on their general profile. You can even move away from these stereotypical behaviors to enhance your storyline. However, some basic rules do apply to these NPCs.
House rules about lycanthropy
To maintain order while playing this game, the first thing to do is to set 5e lycanthropy rules for your house beforehand. Here are the house rules you should follow –
|Level 1||New Actions and Traits, Additional AC on transformation.|
|Level 3||Statistics Increase, and Natural Armaments|
|Level 5||Protection from non-magical, non-silvered, Bludgeoning, Slashing and Piercing.|
|Level 10||Immune to non-magical, non-silvered, Bludgeoning, Slashing and Piercing.|
- Level 1 – The first stage is an enhancement of their race. They aren’t much different from Unearthed Arcana of the shifters, and they don’t possess immunity to damage yet. You can imagine it as the first phase of the curse taking hold gradually.
- Level 3 – At this level, your statistics increase, and you can acquire natural weapons as well. The martial classes and lycanthropes gain their proficiencies right about the same time. Monks using a natural weapon of a werebear affects the game’s balance, so use it carefully if you must. At stage 3, you might gain only one of the two damage dice that a werebear gains after their first strike. You can achieve the second die at level 7 or so.
- Level 5 – By this point, they acquire resistance but not immunity from Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing. You can now duel against creatures much more prominent and influential than you. For instance, if there’s a barbarian in your party who isn’t a lycanthrope and a character which is one, you can have combat between the two. Magical and silver weapons are lycanthrope’s weakness, but not a barbarian’s.
- Level 10 – Your character has become an all-powerful hero and someone to not mess with. The DM’s part is over now, as most of the characters wield a magic weapon by now.
Being a lycanthrope doesn’t affect or diminish your other proficiencies. Your persona can transform into a werebear and continue casting a fireball.
Yes, according to the Monster Manual, it’s a curse and once the character is cursed, they are known as a lycanthrope.
There are two ways to get lycanthropy: if a humanoid gets bitten by a lycanthrope or if one or both of its parents are lycanthropes.
Yes, Warforged can get lycanthropy since they are humanoids according to the current rules.
A werewolf can be born with the curse if one or both its parents are werewolves. However, not all naturally born werewolves are cursed by lycanthropy.
There is a lot to know and understand about lycanthropy 5e, but this information would suffice for now. We tried to cover every essential detail about lycanthropes that would help you in the game if, fortunately or unfortunately, the curse is upon your character. However, there’s one thing that I can assure you is that it’d be a rollercoaster ride.