Special Conversion Thread: Lycanthropes and their ilk

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I'm convinced, CE it is!

Perhaps we should add a special note that the template adds the aquatic subtype and amphibious SQ to a non-aquatic base creature. But leave amphibious off non-amphibious aquatic base creatures.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I'm convinced, CE it is!
Good, that saves me the bother of altering the SRD!

Perhaps we should add a special note that the template adds the aquatic subtype and amphibious SQ to a non-aquatic base creature. But leave amphibious off non-amphibious aquatic base creatures.
I'm more inclined to leave the "standard" weremako without any such note and just follow the SRD rules while adding SQs to the Mystaran weremako to account for their variable ability to breathe air and/or water.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Sure, that works for me.

Do you have some ideas on background and description?

(And, yikes, how did I get this far behind again?)
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Sure, that works for me.
Okay, how about:

In Mystara
Most if not all the weresharks in Mystara turn into mako sharks. These weremakos are a more magical breed than standard wereasharks. They possess the ability to summon sharks or even afflicted weremakos they have created. Tritons can become Mystaran weremakos despite being native outsiders who would normally be immune to lycanthropy.

Air breathing creatures turned into Mystaran weremakos almost always die during their first transformation into a shark, either by suffocating as a fish out of water or by drowning far out to sea when the moon sets and they turn back into a air-breather.

Amphibious (Ex): A Mystaran weremako in hybrid form possesses lungs and gills so can breathe both air or water.

Gills (Ex): A Mystaran weremako in shark form has no lungs and must breathe through its gills. Even if the base creature is amphibious or an air breather a shark form weremako can only breathe water.

Do you have some ideas on background and description?
Ta-da:

A bestial figure that resembles a shark that can stand on two sturdy legs like a human. Its forelimbs are elongated fins that split into clawed fingers. The creature has a short tail and dorsal fin just like a shark's.

Weremakos are evil creatures who will kill for no other purpose than to sate their bloodlust. On nights of the full moon they roam and slaughter with as much abandon as the most vicious werewolves. A weremako in its humanoid form has no definite distinguishing traits. Its skin may be a bit rough, but no more than many normal people who have endured rough lives exposed to the sea's weather. A weremako will normally have a full set of sharp white teeth.

A weremako in shark form is usually about 50% longer and 50% heavier than they are in their humanoid form. However the most powerful weremakos tend to be much larger and more massive than that, up to twice as long and four or five times heavier than their humanoid form.

(And, yikes, how did I get this far behind again?)
If I had to hazard a guess I'd suspect it was because you had other things to do? B-)
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Just noticed a couple of stat errors in the Dire Sheep stats posted in this thread.

AC 16 with touch 12 that should be AC 13 with touch 9, a "Gore Bite" in the attack line and Weapon Focus in (horns) instead of (gore).

The AC errors also appear in the Giant Sheep entry.

They've been corrected where possible.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Well, that all looks good to me, both the weremako and error corrections.

Is the weremako done after that?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Nope, you choose!
Let me just check the Shapeshifter to-do list… …which I might as well update it while I'm there.

Okay, I fancied doing one of the more interesting ones and, while I was tempted by the Devil Swine, Simorgyan and Weredragon I think I'll opt for the Weregorilla. 'Cause everyone likes gorillas. :p
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Weregorilla Original Stats

Prof. Arcanus
Maledictive Weregorilla, Chaotic Good
Armor Class6Str19
Movement12Dex14
Level/Hit Dice4+1Con19
Hit Points25Int14
THAC017Wis14
MoraleElite (14)Cha17
No. of Attacks3
Damage/Attack1d3 (fist)/1d3 (fist)/1d6 (bite)
Special AttacksRoar
Special DefensesHit only by silver and +1 or better magical weapons
Magic ResistanceNil
*SNIP*

Combat
Arcanus changes form far less frequently than most werebeasts. In battle, the chance that he transforms is based upon the damage he has suffered. At the end of each round, his chance of changing form is equal to the damage he has suffered thus far.

In either form, Arcanus can be struck only by wooden weapons or those with at least +1 magical bonus.

Human Aspect
In human form, Arcanus tries to avoid combat, claiming that such is unbecoming a gentleman. If pressed, however, he is a fairly powerful enemy. He retains a fraction of his lycanthropic strength in human form, allowing him to strike twice per round, inflicting 1d3 points of damage with each blow. (This does not spread his lycanthropy.)

Over the years, Arcanus has mastered the art of mesmerism. In game terms, he can use this power three times per day, but only if he has some manner of focus with him. Usually, he uses the gleaming stone on his walking stick, but any other shiny object will do. The effects of this talent mimic those of the hypnotism spell, save that it affects only one subject.

Gorilla Aspect
When transformed into a gorilla, Arcanus is a savage and fierce beast who hungers for blood and combat. In this form he can attack thrice per round. The first two attacks are blows from his savage fists, which inflict 1d3 points of damage each. He follows these up with a bite that inflicts 1d4 points of damage and has a chance of infecting his enemy with lycanthropy.

In his gorilla form Arcanus has the ability to utter a powerful howl that echoes through the air, touching the simian roots in all humans. Those who hear this roar for the first time must make a fear check. Failure has the normal effects indicated in the Domains of Dread book. Those who have heard this roar before are entitled to a +2 bonus on the check, as are demihumans. Humanoids need not make a check, as the gorilla’s roar has no effect upon such bestial creatures.

Anyone who contracts lycanthropy from Arcanus becomes a carnivorous ape (as described in the MONSTROUS MANUAL tome). Although technically werebeasts, these creatures cannot change shape. They feel no loyalty to their creator but are not openly hostile to him. They dwell in the wilds, preying on animals and men alike. Only when they are killed does it become apparent that they were once men.

Originally appeared in Children of the Night - Werebeasts (1998).

Note the statblock and descriptive text have a few discrepancies. The statblock he's vulnerable to silver weapons, the text says wooden. The statblock says a 1d6 bite, the text 1d4.


For comparison, here are two AD&D versions of an ordinary Gorilla:



GORILLA
FREQUENCY: Very rare
NO. APPEARING: 1-20
ARMOR CLASS: 6
MOVE: 12″
HIT DICE: 3 + 1 (females) or 4 + 1 (males)
% IN LAIR: Nil
TREASURE TYPE: Nil
NO. OF ATTACKS: 3
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-3/1-3/1-4 (females) or 1-4/1-4/1-6 (males)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Rending
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Low
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
SIZE: M or L (up to 6′ tall and very broad)
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
LEVEL/XP VALUE: females III / 85 + 4/hp; males III / 130 + 5/hp

Gorillas are found only in undisturbed tropical forests, where they live in small bands, moving from clearing to clearing in search of succulent plants. Each band consists of a number of females with their young (one-fifth of any group are individuals too young to have effective attacks) and a single adult male. Gorillas will try to drive away intruders with a display of force, and anyone who does not move away, or who moves quickly — even to flee — is likely to be attacked. Female gorillas weigh about 200 pounds and have strength ratings of 17 or 18. Males are twice as heavy as females and have strength ratings of 18 or 19.

Originally appeared in Dragon Magazine #95 (“The many shapes of apes – giving primates the attention they deserve” by Stephen Inniss, March 1985)


APE,(Gorilla)
FREQUENCY: Very rare
NO. APPEARING: 1-4
ARMOR CLASS: 6
MOVE: 12″
HIT DICE: 4 + 1
% IN LAIR: Nil
TREASURE TYPE: Nil
NO. OF ATTACKS: 3
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-3/1-3/1-6
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Rending
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Low
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
SIZE: M (6′ tall, broad)
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

The typical ape is found only in lonely tropical forest regions. It is non-aggressive and shy, but if threatened or cornered will fight fiercely. If it scores hits with both of its hands it does an additional 1-6 points grabbing and rending its opponent.

Originally appeared in Monster Manual (Gary Gygax, 1977).


The Monster Manual one looks a slightly closer match to Arcanus than the Dragon Magazine one.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I'm tempted to make this a shapeshifting monster like we did for the Sheneya and Meeka which also originated from this source.

A standard SRD template lycanthrope would lack the interesting special abilities.

That said, I would also be game to stat up a Wereape, Weregorilla or even a Werechimpanzee for the sake of the exercise.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Do you want to do the Weregorilla or the unique shapeshifter (the Arcanus?) first? I think I'd go with the unique one just since it's here.

First question: is Arcanus good as a name?
The next thing is the type, I guess. I'd go with Monstrous Humanoid, like the Sheneya, since this one seems more humanoid-based vs the Meeka, which was more feline. Work for you?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Do you want to do the Weregorilla or the unique shapeshifter (the Arcanus?) first? I think I'd go with the unique one just since it's here.
I was assuming we'd be doing the "unique" version first since that's the one in the Children of the Night guide.

First question: is Arcanus good as a name?
Just using "Arcanus" sounds a bit off - there's not that much arcane about him, after all.

I'd be OK with either "Arcanus Ape" or "Arcanus Gorilla" so we have a primate in the name.

The next thing is the type, I guess. I'd go with Monstrous Humanoid, like the Sheneya, since this one seems more humanoid-based vs the Meeka, which was more feline. Work for you?
Definitely Monstrous Humanoid. It's not a beast that shapechanges but a human(oid) that becomes a beast.

I'll start a Working Draft, with the assumptions:

  • The listed ability scores are acceptable.
  • The bite attack is the stat-block's 1d6 rather than the text's 1d4.
  • I'm inclined to make the slam attacks 1d4 instead of the text's 1d3 to match the 1d4/1d4/1d6 of a standard Medium sized lycanthrope. I'm also conflicted on whether to make the slam attacks claw attacks or have slams in humanoid form, claws in ape form - I currently lean towards the ape claws/human slam approach.
  • I'd give them NA +4 like a Dire Ape, although this'll result in the AC being a bit tougher than the direct 3E equivalent to AD&D's AC 6

Do you prefer the statblock's "silver weapons to hit" or the text's "wooden weapon's to hit"?

I prefer a specific type of wooden weapon, such as DR 10/darkwood.

I'm also in favour of either leaving out the "or magic" from the Damage Reduction (since magic weapons are so abundant in D&D).

Alternatively, we could combine the two and make it "DR 10/darkwood or magic silver weapons"
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Arcanus Ape Working Draft

Arcanus Ape
Medium Monstrous Humanoid
Hit Dice: 4d8+16 (34 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), climb 30 ft.
Armor Class: 16 (+2 Dex, +4 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+8
Attack: Gorilla Form: Slam +9 melee (1d4+4)
Humanoid Form: Club+8 melee (1d6+4) or slam +9 melee (1d3+4)
Full Attack: Gorilla Form: 2 slams +9 melee (1d4+4) and bite +3 melee (1d6+2)
Humanoid Form: Club+8 melee (1d6+4) and slam +4 melee (1d3+2); or 2 slams +9 melee (1d3+4)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Curse of the simian, howl, mesmerism
Special Qualities: Alternate form, damage reduction 10/darkwood, low-light vision, scent, simian empathy
Saves: Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +6
Abilities: Str 19, Dex 14, Con 19, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 17
Skills: Bluff +10, Climb +12, Diplomacy +12, Disguise +3 (+5 acting), Intimidate +12, Listen +6, Move Silently +5, Spot +6
Feats: Alertnessᴮ, Great Fortitude, Weapon Focus (slam)
Environment: Any warm or temperate land
Organization: Solitary or troupe (1 plus 1-8 apes and dire apes)
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Always chaotic neutral
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment:

A snarling hairy beast dressed in torn remnants of clothes. Barrel-chested and muscular, it walks on two legs like a human but is covered in thick dark fur and has an apelike face distorted by murderous fury.

Arcanus apes are a rare form of shapeshifter that most sages consider a variety of lycanthrope. When provoked by injury or strong passions they turn into savage carnivorous apes who hunger for flesh and violence. Their "normal" form appears to be an intelligent and civilized humanoid native to their homeland (although this may be an act to deter suspicion). In this form they have the power to mesmerise humanoids into following their suggestions. An arcanus ape usually lives as an itinerant merchant, traveling entertainer or peddler since a stationary career carries too much risk of exposing their simian alter-ego. The origins of this monster are obscure, the oldest known example was a human cursed to become a beast as punishment for a crime of passion.

In its default humanoid form an arcanus ape has the same height and weight as a human (although they tend to be short and stocky). In ape form the arcanus's height remains the same but its weight doubles.

COMBAT
An arcanus ape in human form often tries to use diplomacy or its mesmerism power to avoid combat, but if it does fight an arcanus ape tends to shift into gorilla form while using its howl special attack and then charge into melee. Arcanus apes are not averse to fleeing from battle if the situation calls for it and retain their full human intelligence in gorilla form.

Alternate Form (Su): An arcanus ape can assume two forms: a gorilla-like ape or a humanoid.

In ape form, an arcanus ape is unable to use weapons apart from its natural bite and claw attacks.

In humanoid form, an arcanus ape is unable to use its bite attack and its 1d4 damage claw attacks become 1d3 damage slam attacks. Its humanoid form is that of a unique individual of a humanoid race native to the arcanus ape's land of origin (typically human). This is its natural form.

If an arcanus ape in human form experiences a primitive emotional stimulus such as the heat of battle, rage, hatred, or even lust, the arcanus ape must succeed at a Control Shape check or involuntarily assume animal form. The Control Shape check's difficulty ranges from DC 15 for a regular situation to DC 25 for a particularly provocative one.

Curse of the Simian (Su): Any humanoid hit by an arcanus ape's bite attack must succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save or be transformed into a carnivorous gorilla-like creature. If the victim has fewer than 5 Hit Dice this "gorilla" has the attributes of an ape, if they have 5 or more Hit Dice the transformed victim has the attributes of a dire ape. The cursed simian loses all memory of their previous life and becomes a wild animal that hunts humanoids and animals for food and sport. Transformed victims are not under the control of the arcanus ape who created them but can be influenced by its simian empathy.

Howl (Su): An arcanus ape in ape form can emit a terrifying howl as a standard action. All humanoids and animals within 60 feet must succeed at a DC 15 Will save or be frightened for 1d4 rounds. A creature who makes the saving throw is immune to the arcanus ape's howl for the next 24 hours. This is a sonic mind-affecting fear effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Mesmerism (Ex): Three times a day as a full-round action, an arcanus ape in human form can attract the attention of a single humanoid within 30 feet by speaking to them and making strange gestures with a shiny object. Any shiny object will do, and arcanus ape usually carry a favorite piece of jewellery, gemstone or a small mirror for this purpose. If the humanoid fails a DC 15 Will save they become fascinated by the arcanus's voice and the shining object in the ape's hand. The target gains a +2 bonus on its saving throw if they are in combat. The fascination effect lasts for 2d4 rounds, during which the subject reacts as though it were two steps more friendly in attitude towards the arcanus ape. This allows the ape to make a single reasonable-sounding request of the target humanoid (assuming they can communicate with the victim). The humanoid retains its friendlier attitude toward the ape after the fascination ends, but only with respect to the hypnotic request. This is a mind-affecting language-dependent compulsion effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Simian Empathy (Ex): Communicate with any simian animal (including apes, baboons, dire apes and monkeys), and +4 racial bonus on Charisma-based checks against simians. This ability works on victims transformed by the arcanus ape's Curse of the Simian but does not affect other apelike creatures such as girallons.

Skills: Arcanus apes have a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.

Originally appeared in Children of the Night - Werebeasts (1998)

Skill Ranks: I was thinking:
Bluff Skill: 7 SPs
Climb: 0 SPs
Diplomacy: 7 SPs
Intimidate: 7 SPs
Listen: 2 SPs?
Move Silently: 3 SPs
Spot: 2 SPs?
 
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freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I will agree with everything you suggest in your previous post. "Arcanus Ape" sounds a little better than "Arcanus Gorilla," I agree.

I'd be fine going with DR 10/darkwood.

The Curse and Simian Empathy look good.

Howl next? I'm kind of thinking about basing it on Frightful Presence, but I could be convinced to go with something else. I'm not sure if I like the racial bonus to save/racial immunities.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I will agree with everything you suggest in your previous post. "Arcanus Ape" sounds a little better than "Arcanus Gorilla," I agree.

I'd be fine going with DR 10/darkwood.

The Curse and Simian Empathy look good.
Updating Arcanus Ape Working Draft.

For the Alternate Form I repurposed a chunk of the Sheneya's version of that ability, with the humanoid shape being the Arcanus Ape's natural form.

Howl next? I'm kind of thinking about basing it on Frightful Presence, but I could be convinced to go with something else. I'm not sure if I like the racial bonus to save/racial immunities.
Yes, I don't like the save/immunity malarkey. Why would an orc being more "bestial" mean they're unafraid of a howling ape? Why would a gnome be less afraid of one than a human? Also, if it scares regular humanoids shouldn't it scare animals too. Why should a sheep or pig be immune?

As for duration, I'm inclined to use the standard "once saved against you're immune for 24 hours" rule.

The original AD&D Ravenloft fear check was basically a special saving throw vs. paralyzation with a failure resulting in either running away or fighting at a -2 penalty if unable to flee, with the effects lasting 1d4 rounds. In 3E terms that's the frightened condition.

So how about:

Howl (Su): An arcanus ape in ape form can emit a terrifying howl as a standard action. All humanoids [and animals?] within 60 feet must succeed at a DC 15 Will save or be frightened for 1d4 rounds. A creature who makes the saving throw is immune to the arcanus ape's howl for the next 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting fear effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
What weapon, if any, would you like the humanoid form to wield?

I'd like a simple weapon since that's what Monstrous Humanoids are proficient in.

So how about a plain old club?
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I guess that's basically a ghost's frightful moan, so I'm good with it. Let's include animals and make it a sonic effect, too.

A club works for me.

I would make Hypnotism an Sp ability and write it up as
Hypnotism (Sp): An arcanus ape can use hypnotism as the spell 3x/day, except it only affects a single creature up to 4HD.
How's that for you?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I guess that's basically a ghost's frightful moan, so I'm good with it. Let's include animals and make it a sonic effect, too.
I can agree to the sonic tag.

A club works for me.
Updating Arcanus Ape Working Draft.

I would make Hypnotism an Sp ability and write it up as
Hypnotism (Sp): An arcanus ape can use hypnotism as the spell 3x/day, except it only affects a single creature up to 4HD.
How's that for you?
I wouldn't bother with the 4 HD limit since the original monster lacked in.

I also like the flavour of the "waving shiny object in front of the victim" so would like to keep it.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I would make Hypnotism an Sp ability and write it up as
Hypnotism (Sp): An arcanus ape can use hypnotism as the spell 3x/day, except it only affects a single creature up to 4HD.
How's that for you?
I wouldn't bother with the 4 HD limit since the original monster lacked in.

I also like the flavour of the "waving shiny object in front of the victim" so would like to keep it.
Rereading the original description the ability is an exaggerated version of mundane "Mesmerism", so it could be an (Ex) power or an (Su).

That said, I'm fine with (Sp) since hypnotism is a 1st-level spell in D&D.

How's this for a counter-draft:

Hypnosis (Ex): Three times a day as a full-round action, an arcanus ape in human form can attract the attention of a single humanoid within 30 feet by speaking to them and making strange gestures with a shiny object. Any shiny object will do, and arcanus ape usually carry a favorite piece of jewellery, gemstone or a small mirror for this purpose. If the humanoid fails a DC 15 Will save they become fascinated by the arcanus's voice and the shining object in the ape's hand. The target gains a +2 bonus on its saving throw if they are in combat. The fascination effect lasts for 2d4 rounds, during which the subject reacts as though it were two steps more friendly in attitude towards the arcanus ape. This allows the ape to make a single reasonable-sounding request of the target humanoid (assuming they can communicate with the victim). The humanoid retains its friendlier attitude toward the ape after the fascination ends, but only with respect to the hypnotic request. This is a mind-affecting language-dependent compulsion effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

I did wonder about renaming it "Mesmerism" to distinguish it from the spell, but I'm OK with "Hypnosis".
 

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