D&D 5E Balancing A Playable Lycanthrope Character

The A5e Synergy feats are a good way to do it. There's also Grim Hollow's Lycanthrope Transformation. The Lycanthrope [Transformation] | Welcome to the Woods | Obsidian Portal

Boons and curses for each level.
Several years ago, I read about an unusual form of lycanthropy that involved Astral Projection. Instead of projecting an astral form that resembled their flesh and blood form, their astral form resembled that of a wolf. Since an astral projection is like a spirit, a player could use the rules for familiars and animal companions for their projected beast form.

So every time a person with this form of lycanthropy went to sleep, their astral form went out to play. ;)
 

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I've got a new lycanthrope in my game. One thing I didn't anticipate is that with the immunities, the player made a comment about not wanting to play D&D on easy mode. Because, worse than lycanthropy is the Curse of Boredom. Eventually a bunch of fights where the PC is in no danger of taking any damage is going to get old and that Remove Curse spell is going to start looking pretty good.

That being said, there are lots of monsters that deal damage that can bypass lycanthropy immunities. And any long-term, organized opposition will plan accordingly and start outfitting some of their troops with silvered weapons.

Normally I avoid using lycanthropes in games for this very reason, but it was a pre-published adventure and I was tired and wasn't thinking things through.
 

In my game, I'd have it be a mild curse which they have to grapple with and either break or find a way to get control.

Like, whenever threatened or in the presence of blood, they make a save every minute (or every round of combat) to resist a two-step transition. First step would be uncontrolled aggression but in their normal form, under the GM's control. If they succeed a save after that they snap out of it. But if they fail a second time, they transform and attack like a wild animal, getting a new save every minute.

On the night of a full moon, they have to make the save every hour if they can't see the moon, or every minute if they can, and once they transform they stay transformed and out of control until dawn.

However.

It would be possible to learn to control the beast form. I'm not sure what would work best for any given player, but it might be a quest to find a freed werewolf mentor to give them a training montage, or a psychic journey where they must subdue their beast form, or a religious pilgrimage, or whatever. But make the player earn it.

And even the success here would have two steps - first to gain control of the bestial impulses so you can avoid the savagery and so you can decide when to transform . . . except the full moon still can drive you mad. But then, second to break the curse so the full moon doesn't force you to transform.

If you finish step one, you can transform, and you get resistance to non-silver attacks in wolf form.

Only on the full moon, though, and in wolf form do you get full damage immunity.
 

Oofta

Legend
A side note on this whole conversation and just an observation. Why is it that we seem to do we assume that all D&D fantasy worlds have a moon like ours? Or that the moon is on a monthly cycle? This came up in a Ravenloft game - that the moon was full more often, once every 10 days. My immediate question was - is that unusual for Faerun? Does the world have only a single moon which is a bit of an oddity in our solar system, or is it a specific moon?

I don't want to derail, just a thought to ponder when doing world design.
 

aco175

Legend
A side note on this whole conversation and just an observation. Why is it that we seem to do we assume that all D&D fantasy worlds have a moon like ours? Or that the moon is on a monthly cycle? This came up in a Ravenloft game - that the moon was full more often, once every 10 days. My immediate question was - is that unusual for Faerun? Does the world have only a single moon which is a bit of an oddity in our solar system, or is it a specific moon?

I don't want to derail, just a thought to ponder when doing world design.
Another problem is Forgotten Realms (FR) has 10 day weeks which screws up powers and items that recharge each week. It was more of a problem in earlier editions.

Apparently the moon or Selune is muck like Earth's.

Lunar Phases​

Selûne was full at midnight on Hammer 1, 1372 DR, and subsequently every 30 days, 10 hours, and 30 minutes. Selûne was also full at midnight on the first day of every leap year. Selûne made exactly 48 synodic revolutions every four years, so the phase of Selûne was the same at the same time on the same date every four years. Selûne was generally full around the first day of each month, give or take a day; festival days served to keep the moon's phases consistent across calendar months and years.
 

A side note on this whole conversation and just an observation. Why is it that we seem to do we assume that all D&D fantasy worlds have a moon like ours? Or that the moon is on a monthly cycle? This came up in a Ravenloft game - that the moon was full more often, once every 10 days. My immediate question was - is that unusual for Faerun? Does the world have only a single moon which is a bit of an oddity in our solar system, or is it a specific moon?

I don't want to derail, just a thought to ponder when doing world design.
This could become more problematic when you are dealing with a world such as Eberron, which has 13 moons. Either all of the moons are influencing when and where the lycanthrope undergoes their transformation, or just one of them influences their transformation. And when it comes to the different changing breeds of lycanthrope, it could be that each is influenced by a separate moon. So one moon could be dubbed the 'Wolf Moon' because it influences only werewolves while another is the 'Bear Moon' because it only influences werebears.

There was a Dragon Magazine article in the 3e era that talked about how multiple moons affected lycanthropes.
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Several years ago, I read about an unusual form of lycanthropy that involved Astral Projection. Instead of projecting an astral form that resembled their flesh and blood form, their astral form resembled that of a wolf. Since an astral projection is like a spirit, a player could use the rules for familiars and animal companions for their projected beast form.

So every time a person with this form of lycanthropy went to sleep, their astral form went out to play. ;)
Benandanti from Friulan, Italy (Austria-Slovene border region) they were good guys with their wolf forms going out each night to protect the villages from malevolent Witches (Malandanti). During the day they acted as healers, helping those who had be en afflicted by malandanti. Unfortunate they came to the attention of the Roman Inquisition and were declared Stregha.
one theory is that the Bernandanti were the last remnant of a former Pyreness Shamanism or Agrarian cult.

I have used them in my games.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
A side note on this whole conversation and just an observation. Why is it that we seem to do we assume that all D&D fantasy worlds have a moon like ours? Or that the moon is on a monthly cycle? This came up in a Ravenloft game - that the moon was full more often, once every 10 days. My immediate question was - is that unusual for Faerun? Does the world have only a single moon which is a bit of an oddity in our solar system, or is it a specific moon?

I don't want to derail, just a thought to ponder when doing world design.
I had a planet with three moons but declared that it only had two moons visible at a time. Those two moons cast shadows on each other as well as the planet and so only one moon was Full each month (the larger moon had greater effect though). Once every 25 years there was a Long Night when all three moons eclipsed on the same day causing the world to stay dark for hours
 

MarkB

Legend
A side note on this whole conversation and just an observation. Why is it that we seem to do we assume that all D&D fantasy worlds have a moon like ours? Or that the moon is on a monthly cycle? This came up in a Ravenloft game - that the moon was full more often, once every 10 days. My immediate question was - is that unusual for Faerun? Does the world have only a single moon which is a bit of an oddity in our solar system, or is it a specific moon?

I don't want to derail, just a thought to ponder when doing world design.
Eberron has twelve (possibly thirteen) moons which each have a different cycle, and apparently all of them can influence lycanthropes. Goes some way towards explaining why the Silver Flame were so hot on wiping them out.
 

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