In nearly every rural settlement or city, one can find tales of large, feral, wolf-like creatures terrifying townsfolk on the nights of a full moon. Beloved kin and livestock are found viciously mauled and eaten, prompting the heavy persecution of these large near-wolf creatures. Werewolves are actively hunted down and killed, for a transformed creature will lose its mental faculties and turn into a bloodthirsty predator attacking any living creature in sight just to feed.
Whilst people infected by the werewolf disease typically retain all the same traits of their species, some strains change the host significantly. The physical prowess of those infected with lycanthropy is said to increase by a moderate degree when they are in their transformed state.
Much like with Vampirism
, various scholars over the years have discovered that Lycanthropy has split into different strains of the same illness. The infected victim begins to suffer from a more bestial nature, most often transforming and becoming something apart from the person that they once were.
All strains have been found to have the following in common:
- There is a transformation into a werewolf whether voluntary or involuntary.
- The victim tends to become less rational and more ruled by their emotion.
- The full moon of Pneria affects them in some way.
- They cannot be infected with vampirism.
Most strains of lycanthropy force a transformation upon the victim, making them stronger, faster, monstrous, and bestial in nature. This happens once a month to the full moon of Pneria. They retain the memories of their act, but have no control over themselves during the transformation. Most werewolves are unable to be infected with vampirism.
It is said that the only true method of killing a werewolf is through the use of silver weapons. However, werewolves can typically be killed through conventional means. Blunt force trauma to the head, decapitation, being stabbed in the heart, and severe blood loss can usually kill them.
Other strains have been seen where the transformation becomes permanent or where the host can make the change controllable.
There is no known cure for lycanthropy, and those blighted with the curse are effected by the Full Moon of Pneria. Whether they become a monster or simply grow more irritable, the link is always there. This is not to say that Lycanthropy is incurable, but no method has yet been found.
Lycanthropy is a disease, but how that disease takes root in your character is up to you.
Documented above is the 'core' of what it means to be a Werewolf on Arethil. This is the only real requirement when creating your own strain of lycanthropy. As long as the strain fits these principles of the disease then the abilities of any werewolf simply have to be balanced.
There should be trade offs for your line of werewolves. Typically Werewolves are stronger, faster, and take on the tendencies of a Wolf. This is traded off by the disadvantage of changing once a month involuntarily depending on the moon, being in immense pain, and essentially becoming a monster.
These are the core principals you should keep in mind when creating your strain of Lycanthropy. For instance, if you want your werewolf to be able to transform whenever they like, you can tone down the physical prowess that comes with the transformation.
Other examples could include:
- A strain of the disease that does not cause an involuntary change. Instead this change permanently twists the body into a half wolf, half man. This is permanent. The character cannot be a normal man, but nor does he turn into a wolf monster. He has an enhanced sense of smell and is slightly stronger and faster, but also suffers with great mood swings with the changing phases of the moons. These changes in his form make interacting in most civilized societies utterly impossible.
- A strain of Lycanthropy that allows those infected to change whenever they want. However the change still causes severe pain, takes several minutes, and there are other side effects. The Victim can control his change most of the time, but with this strain there are certain 'triggers' that cause his change to become involuntary. Stress, injuries, and of course the change of the moon cause this Werewolf strain to transform, and unlike when he does it voluntarily, these changes turn the werewolf into a mindless, monster that will turn on anyone. This means that the werewolf has to take great care in avoiding triggers to shift involuntarily.