There have been many different
approaches to the disease of lycanthropy.
Many are too complicated to understand or are structured so poorly that the werecreature dominates the game.
Lycanthropy as a form of player character should be discouraged in AD&D.
This can be done by promoting the human attributes instead of the beast’s, thus making lycanthropy undesirable (as it should be).
Some players may not realize
that any damage of over 50% of hit points sustained by bites in a fight
with a lycanthrope may cause them to be afflicted by the disease.
When this happens it may be months after the first night of the change before the character begins to suspect that lycanthropy
has taken hold of his or her being. After that first night all that will be
remembered is that the character was very ill and extremely tired. In the
morning the townspeople will quite possibly be combing the countryside
looking for a rampaging lycanthrope. The player character may join in the
search for the werebeast, not realizing that he or she is the lycanthrope.
After a few months of changing, the adventurer will (or should) begin to
suspect that something is wrong. On the nights before the full moon the
lycanthrope will become withdrawn and a bit edgy, preferring his or her
own company to that of others - including family. It may be the torn and
shredded clothes he or she wakes up in or the mud and scratches on the
character’s arms and legs that trigger the realization that he or she may be
the werebeast the townspeople are searching for. If at all possible, the DM
should try to moderate the campaign so that the players don’t know for
several months of game time that the character is now a lycanthrope.
Any human PC (humans are
the only beings able to contract lycanthropy<1>)
bitten for 50% or more of his or her natural hit points has a 100% chance
of becoming a lycanthrope of the same type that attacked him or her.
If the player eats any belladonna within an hour after being
bitten, there is a 25% chance the disease will not manifest itself, and thus
the character will not be afflicted by it. If not, then a 12th or higher level
patriarch must be found to administer a cure disease within three days
after being bitten. If the adventurer is only able to find a patriarch of a
high enough level after the initial three days, he or she may elect instead
to have the priest attempt a remove curse. This spell must be performed on
the player character when he or she is in wereform. The beast will need to
make a monster’s saving throw against magic, and while in wereform the
creature will fight violently to put as much distance as it can between it
and the patriarch performing the spell. If all this fails, there is still
hope . . .
At this point, if the player
wishes to remain a lycanthrope the two charts
given later should be consulted in handling the lycanthrope as a player
character. If the adventurer decides to be cured and the methods
mentioned thus far have been unsuccessful, he or she may take refuge in
a holy/unholy place such as a monastery or an abbey. There the clerics
can administer to the afflicted one holy/unholy water laced with a goodly
amount of wolfsbane and belladonna prepared by the spiritual methods of
that particular religion. This potation is to be consumed by the victim at
least twice a day from a silver chalice. No adventuring may be done by the
character while he or she is being treated by the clerics. After a month or
more (depending upon how advanced the disease is) the player character
should be cured and somewhat poorer in the purse, as this procedure is
very costly. The clerics will charge for the cost of the herbs and the
holy/unholy water as well as for the services rendered. The DM may also
wish to include the level of the priest as well as the adventurer into the
cost of this treatment.
If the character has died
in a fight with a lycanthrope and is resurrected,
the disease will be 100% certain if the cleric raising the adventurer is unaware
of the disease or fails to follow the proper procedure to eradicate it.
The aforementioned cure will work on the werestricken adventurer who
has been resurrected. The cleric can use a cure disease (if there is still
time) or a remove curse (if there isn‘t) on the dead adventurer before employing
the resurrection spell. If the cleric doesn‘t take the above safety
measures, then it will be necessary to wait until the adventurer becomes a
lycanthrope to try to remove curse or use the cure with the herbs and
If the character opts to
remain a lycanthrope, many things will need to be
taken into consideration, such as the mental anguish caused by the act of
changing. Other things, like conflicting alignments between the character
and his or her lycanthrope nature, and what his or her family and friends
will do once they discover that their friend and loved one is the werebeast
that might have been terrorizing the countryside on the nights of the full moon,
will have to be determined.
The more extreme the difference in the alignments of the adventurer and the beast,
the more mental anguish the character will be prone to suffer.
For example, a lawful good paladin is bitten by a werewolf,
which is a chaotic evil creature.
He doesn't discover he has the disease until it is too late.
His mental torment is great,
especially when the moon is waxing full,
up to the time it is full and then for several days afterwards.
(The DM may wish to select a mental disorder from the section on Insanity for the character to suffer from to reflect the anguish caused by the disease.)
even after being cured,
is no longer a paladin because he is no longer pure enough for that honored state.
The DM can elect to have the gods send the paladin on a quest in order to restore him to his paladinhood,
but it is not recommended.
No experience points may
be gained by a player character while in lycanthrope
form. If the character is a fighter/lycanthrope, the fighter will
be able to gain levels only as a fighter, never as a lycanthrope. This
applies to all classes. The only way a lycanthrope will ever be able to
control the change from man to beast is with time measured by full moons.
There will be no control of the change into a werebeast for two years of
game time and it will be another year before any control will be gained
for the change back into a human. On the nights of a full moon all lycanthropes
with less than three years experience as a werebeast will change
into their wereform and remain that way from the rise of the moon till
There are other factors besides
the full moon that can cause the release of
the werecreature in a person afflicted with lycanthropy. One common
cause is stress during a melee. If the character has lost more than one-third
of his or her natural hit points during the fight, there is a 50% chance that
the werenature will emerge, causing the player character to be disoriented
for 1 to 2 rounds (characters with more than two years of experience
as a lycanthrope will not suffer this disorientation). During this time,
the lycanthrope will be unable to engage in combat. He or she will also
sustain damage from the change as shown on the appropriate table given
below. Spells used in the vicinity of a lycanthrope such as monster summoning
Ill-Vll, conjure animals, and animal summoning III might cause the
werenature to be released. It will be up to the DM to decide what spells or
magic items could trigger the beast inside the afflicted adventurer. Arguments
with other player characters as well as fear could cause the change
from man to beast.
All lycanthropes will fight
and do damage as described in the MONSTER
MANUAL regardless of how long the character has been a lycanthrope.
The diseased adventurer will eventually acquire the alignment of the lycanthrope
form (if it isn‘t the same already) within 2 to 12 months.
While in wereform the character
will not be interested in any of his or her
belongings and will leave them where the change took place. This
includes armor and weapons (except for wererats, who will carry swords).
Question: Under the
Lycanthropy section of the DMG it states that a paladin
disease. Paladins can’t contract disease. Please explain why
you said this.
is not a disease, but it is often called one. To
become a lycanthrope you must contract it like a disease even though it
is a curse. If it were a real disease, a Remove Curse would not work on
it, and a Cure Disease would not have a three-day time limit on it.
Lycanthropy is very complicated, and paladins are not exempt from it.
Paladins already have it pretty good; we can’t let them have everything
Change Table For Lycanthropes:
This table will aid the DM
in determining the percentage chances of a
player character lycanthrope changing into and out of wereform. After six
years of experience, lycanthropes will be able to control their change at
|WANING MOON||1-2 years||3||4||5|
* There is no chance for voluntarily changing out of wereform.
** There is only a 25% chance for voluntarily changing out of wereform.
This table shows how much
damage a character takes from armor constriction
(before the straps burst and it falls off) during sudden change to lycanthrope form.
|Studded Leather/Ring Mail||1-2||1-2||1||1-3||1-2|
|Splint Mail/Banded Mail||2-4||2-4||1-2||2-5||2-4|
<Extend damage table for Foxwoman, Seawolf (Greater), Seawolf (Lesser),
<Extend damage table for Bronze Plate, Field Plate, Full Plate>
1. The DMG notes "humans are the only beings able to contract lycanthropy".
2. The MM notes "any humanoid creature".
3. To keep it simple, I recommend "humans only" : this is backed up by the MM & MM2 definition of lycanthropes as "humans with the ability to assume animal form". (italics added)
Originally Posted by A'koss
Whoa, I didn't realize I was such a rebel AD&D player! <stick out tongue>
All I can say is...
I once allowed someone's subdued and charmed ogre servant to become a werebear-ogre after it was bitten but survived a fight with a werebear, and that was pretty much the omega of that sort of thing <paranoid>