Lycanthropy

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Lycanthropy is a curse, often also termed a disease, condition, or affliction, that transforms a humanoid into a beast. Those afflicted with the curse are called lycanthropes, lycans, or a name referencing the animal of their curse, such as werewolf or werebear. Many types of lycans exist, but the most common are werewolves and werebears. A lycanthrope has three forms—humanoid, hybrid, and animal—and control over the curse and the changing between these forms varies between individuals.

Lycanthropes are ostracized from most societies in Exandria, and the Claret Orders in Wildemount hunts lycanthropes who cannot or do not control themselves. Various organizations and communities of lycanthropes exist, both featuring single types of lycans or mixed types. Most notable are the Claret Order of the Lycan and the Gorgynei in Marquet. Relationships to the curse and philosophies about its spread vary between individuals and groups of lycans, ranging from seeing it as a ruinous affliction that must not be spread to considering it a gift to be imparted on the willing and unwilling alike.

Two lycanthrope player characters have appeared in the main campaigns: Tova, a werebear guest player character in Campaign 1, and Chetney Pock O'Pea, a werewolf main player character in Campaign 3. Mechanically, lycanthropy is primarily represented by either a statblock or by the Order of the Lycan subclass of Matthew Mercer's homebrew blood hunter class. A character who is subclassed as Order of the Lycan is not necessarily also a member of the narrative Order of the Lycan within the Claret Orders.

Description[edit | edit source]

A lycanthrope is a humanoid afflicted by a curse that transforms them into a beast during a full moon. They are created either by sustaining a bite from a lycanthrope that draws blood[4][5] or by inheriting the curse from a lycanthrope parents.[6] The curse is primarily driven by Catha, as opposed to the secondary moon Ruidus.[7][8][9]

Werewolf Gurge Kisgregg remarked that "Catha drives it mostly" but darkly added that "everyone's kind of at a disadvantage" when Ruidus is at its peak, apparently in reference to Ruidus as a sign of ill omen.[10] However, Chetney Pock O'Pea's lycanthropy has some further relationship with Ruidus and its flares, especially noticed after he began to be more conscious and aware of the flares.[11][9] His transformation can be triggered unrelated to Catha's cycle by a Ruidus flare; this happened for the first time on the 30th of Sydenstar in 843 PD.[12] Lycanthropes are vulnerable to silver.[13][14]

There are various types of lycans, including werewolves,[15] werebears,[16] weretigers,[17] wereboars,[18] werepanthers[19] and wererats.[14] A lycanthrope has three forms: humanoid, hybrid, and animal. They have heightened senses in humanoid form and appear as their normal selves, though many eventually develop features that suggest the animal. In animal form, they generally appear as a larger, stronger version of the animal but are otherwise largely indistinguishable;[20] for example, werewolves in animal form may appear to be dire wolves. Hybrid is a bipedal form with the head, fur, and other features of that animal.[14] Lycanthropes can wield weapons in their hybrid forms.[21][20] Lycanthropes in their hybrid or animal forms generally revert to their humanoid forms when knocked unconscious or killed.[1]

Control over changing between forms and over themselves as a hybrid or an animal varies between individuals. Some descend into ravenous monsters who cannot stop themselves from attacking those around them, and others are able to exercise finer control and transform into their hybrid form at will.[2][1]

Lycanthropy can be cured.[22] In the Monster Manual, lycanthropy contracted from a bite may be cured with Remove Curse, but Wish is required for a lycanthrope who inherited the curse.[14]

Mechanically, lycanthropy is primarily represented in two ways: by a statblock, such as those in the Monster Manual,[14] and by the Order of the Lycan blood hunter subclass.[21] A lycanthrope who is mechanically Order of the Lycan is not necessarily also a member of the narrative Order of the Lycan sect of the Claret Orders; examples of this include Tova and Chetney, who are both Order of the Lycan mechanically but are not members of the Claret Orders.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Depiction of lycanthropes from D&D Monster Manual, 5th ed.

History[edit | edit source]

Lycanthropes are feared and ostracized by many throughout Exandria and even other planes.[23][24] Some lycanthropes self-exile or isolate themselves from others upon contracting the curse,[2][24] especially during full moons.[25] Individuals also have varied relationships with their lycanthropy. Though many see it as a ruinous affliction, some lycans see it as a curse that can be useful if controlled.[26] Various groups also maintain different opinions on purposefully spreading the curse to others: with malicious intent to cause suffering, wantonly to the unwilling out of the belief that it is a gift,[23] only to the willing and in controlled conditions,[21] or never on purpose even if the victim is willing.[27]

Wildemount[edit | edit source]

Lycanthropy has existed in Wildemount since the Marrow War from 544 to 546 PD.[6] The Claret Orders, an organization of monster slayers founded in Wildemount during the war,[28] include an order of lycanthropes who inflict the curse on inductees in a ceremony called the Taming. This Order of the Lycan uses both a keenly trained willpower and hemocraft magic to exercise control over their curses and use it as a weapon during their hunts.[21][23] However, the Claret Orders also hunt lycanthropes who cannot or do not exercise control over themselves and their curse as they see it as a curse or disease that must not be allowed to spread.[1][29]

The Cyrengreen Forest in the Dwendalian Empire is a sanctuary for lycanthropes, who are at odds due to differing views on controlling or embracing their feral curse. Tensions between them increases every lunar cycle. The Order of the Lycan of the Claret Orders trains outcast lycanthropes to manage and use their curse in a hidden garrison there,[23] and the forest is also home to the werewolf Lorelei family, who seek to control their curses through a process they also call the Taming.[30] The adventure hook "More Perfect People" in Explorer's Guide to Wildemount also places the werewolf Brotherhood of the Moon in Cyrengreen, and the group intentionally spreads lycanthropy to travelers on the road in the belief that it will create more perfect humanoids.[23] In the adventure hook "The Unlucky Few" in Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, a community of Righteous Brand deserters fled to the Cyrios Mountains, adjacent to the Cyrengreen Forest, after becoming afflicted with lycanthropy.[31]

Three lycanthropes also lived on Rumblecusp under the effects of a memory loss magic: a werebear Jaina, Pono who contracted lycanthropy from Jaina, and an unnamed weretiger.[32] Jaina and Pono remained living on Rumblecusp even after the memory loss was lifted and the island's residents were able to return home.[33] Additionally, at least one werewolf lived in the Flotket Alps near Uthodurn in 843 PD and, after biting Chetney Pock O'Pea, was killed as a measure of self-defense.[1] Soon, Chetney was found by a group of lycans inhabiting or traversing the region.[34]

Marquet[edit | edit source]

Throughout Marquet, there are occasional folktales and "distant stories" about lycans, but they were generally believed to be old stories meant to scare children.[35] The bounty hunter Artana Voe personally encountered only two lycanthropes in her career by "Thicker Grows the Meal and Plot" (3x09), in 843 PD.[36] A group of lycanthropes called the Gorgynei lives in a small village of Barinak,[37] hidden from civilization behind the dense canopy of the Gloomed Jungles, and use hemocraft to tame their curses.[2] They swear not to pass their lycanthropy on to others,[27] and their thinking about living with lycanthropy is considered "eccentric" by some.[38] In Jrusar in 843 PD, a former Gogynei Gurge Kisgregg was captured by Ira Wendagoth to force Gurge to pass the curse onto three volunteers,[3] possibly to make the volunteers more powerful.[39]

Elsewhere[edit | edit source]

A pack of werewolves is rumored to live in the Parchwood Timberlands of Tal'Dorei.[40] In the adventure hook "The Beast Below", werewolves are listed as a possible sources for howling and disappearances in the Dividing Plains near Ironseat Ridge,[41] and a werebear killer lives in the Mooren River Run in the "Bear of the White River" hook in Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting and Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn.[40] Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting also includes an adventure hook "A Bad Influence" in which suude from Stilben intentionally and secretly contaminated with lycan bile causes users in Turst Fields to kill others in a rage.[42]

Bertrand Bell claimed to have slain a Whispering Werewolf of the North (or "from the North"), presumably in Issylra, though this story is dubious and probably untrue.[43]

In the Feywild, a group called the Fendir live in the Moonbrush, seeking to live peaceably away from any who would harm them.[44][24] Led by the werewolf Ukurat, the Fendir is largely composed of werewolves, though at least one weretiger and one werebear are among them. They were bitter enemies with Iotha and the Wisher pixies, who seek the eradicate the Fendir.[24] The Fendir and Vox Machina fought and killed Iotha and the Wisher pixies in late 810 PD, as depicted in "Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61). The Fendir apparently prefer to remain in hybrid form.[45]

Notable lycanthropes[edit | edit source]

Organizations[edit | edit source]

  • Brotherhood of the Moon, werewolves living in the Cyrengreen Forest in the adventure hook "More Perfect People" who intentionally spread lycanthropy, believing that it will create better humanoids[23]
  • The Fendir, group in the Feywild primarily composed of werewolves but includes other lycanthropes[24]
  • The Gorgynei, blood hunters in Marquet who use hemocraft to control the curse[2]
  • Order of the Lycan, order of the Claret Orders based in the Cyrengreen Forest[23]

Individual werewolves[edit | edit source]

Official art of Aurra Lorelei as a werewolf, by Kendra Wells.[art 1]

Other individuals[edit | edit source]

Official art of Tova in werebear form, by Kit Buss.[art 2]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The in-universe relationship, if any, between the Taming ceremony of the Claret Order of the Lycan and the Taming of the Lorelei family, who operate outside the Order, is unclear. Mechanically, three of the Lorelei player characters are Order of the Lycan blood hunters, and the Taming is described as part of that subclass.
  • Every named werewolf with confirmed origin living in Exandria is originally from Wildemount. Ukurat does not live in Exandria (he lives in the Feywild), and it is not known if Yuvelo is originally from Marquet, where he lives now.
  • While playing a game of Bunions and Flagons Grog as a Bunion Master, Grog in the game became a werewolf and attacked the in-game party to become the champion of Trisha.[55]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:43:00.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:37:50.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) from 2:28:27 through 2:30:21.
  4. Chetney Pock O'Pea[1] and Gurge Kisgregg[2] contract lycanthropy from a bite caused by a lycanthrope, and Gurge is forced to pass the curse by biting volunteers.[3]
  5. "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:30:16.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Liam's One-Shot: The Song of the Lorelei" (OSx23) from 8:18 through 10:08. Werewolf lycanthropy is passed down through the Lorelei family.
  7. Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) on Twitter: "The smaller one is vestigial. No affect by comparison. ;)" (January 26, 2018).
  8. "Pyrrhic Return" (3x35) at 42:41. Travis: Which moon? It's not Ruidus. It's if— / Matt: It's Catha. / [...] / Sam, to Matt: If Ruidus goes full, does that affect him at all also, or? / Travis, in-character: It hasn't, no. / Matt: [visibly expresses "no"]
  9. 9.0 9.1 "The Momentum of Murder" (3x39) at 3:01:48. Matt: [Lycanthropy] is tethered to the history of Catha, and the transformations have always been pulled by that massive silver glow in the sky.
  10. "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:41:31.
  11. "What Dreams May Come" (3x34) at 12:24.
  12. "The Momentum of Murder" (3x39) at 3:02:30.
  13. "A Path of Vengeance" (3x65) at 1:58:06.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Monster Manual, 5th edition, pp. 206–211.
  15. See "Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61) at 1:16:39 and "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 1:22:59.
  16. See "Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61) at 1:16:39, "Deals in the Dark" (1x92) at 2:41:05, and "Hunted at Sea" (2x100) at 3:07:02.
  17. See "Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61) at 1:16:39 and "Hunted at Sea" (2x100) at 3:25:56.
  18. "Compulsions" (3x40) at 3:02:57.
  19. "Compulsions" (3x40) at 3:50:10.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Hunted at Sea" (2x100) from 3:07:02 through 3:09:37.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 The Blood Hunter Class: Order of the Lycan on D&D Beyond.
  22. "Promise and Potential" (3x22) at 2:52:48. And again 3:04:47.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 3: "Wildemount Gazetteer", p. 82. Chapter 3: Wildemount Gazetteer. "Marrow Valley: Cyrengreen Forest".
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 "Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61) from 1:20:23 through 1:27:35.
  25. "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:57:00. Chetney says that he generally isolates during full moons.
  26. "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:40:44.
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:46:40. Gurge refuses to bite the willing Fearne, saying he took an oath years ago. As he was not a lycan during his time in the Claret Orders, this must have been sworn during his time with the Gorgynei.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 2: "Factions and Societies", pp. 54–55. Chapter 2: Factions and Societies. "Claret Orders".
  29. "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:55:04.
  30. "Liam's One-Shot: The Song of the Lorelei" (OSx23) at 8:18. The Lorelei family seems also alluded to in the "wilder families" of the Cynrengreen Forest. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 82. Chapter 3: Wildemount Gazetteer. "Marrow Valley: Cyrengreen Forest".
  31. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 3: "Wildemount Gazetteer", p. 62.
  32. "Hunted at Sea" (2x100) at 3:25:56.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 "Devoutness and Dicks" (2x107) at 1:31:46. Jaina and Pono are still on the island even after others went home days prior.
  34. "Compulsions" (3x40) at 2:32:22. Chetney: "I came across another group of people like me."
  35. "Thicker Grows the Meal and Plot" (3x09) at 2:34:48.
  36. "Thicker Grows the Meal and Plot" (3x09) at 2:20:07.
  37. "Compulsions" (3x40) at 3:15:24.
  38. "Promise and Potential" (3x22) at 2:53:17.
  39. "A Woodworker's Quandary" (3x08) at 2:53:04. The adventuring party additionally speculates on the motivations for Gurge's capture in "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) from 3:26:06 to 3:27:36 and 3:32:32.
  40. 40.0 40.1 Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 3: "Tal'Dorei Gazetteer", p. 73.
  41. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 3: "Tal'Dorei Gazetteer", pp. 82–83.
  42. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 58.
  43. "The Search For Grog" (OSx28) at 55:25. See also "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) at 17:47.
  44. 44.0 44.1 "Heredity and Hats" (1x60) from 2:26:04 through 2:28:48.
  45. Members of the Fendir appear in hybrid form for the entirety of their appearance in "Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61).
  46. "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 1:22:59.
  47. "Compulsions" (3x40) at 3:19:00. Named in "Call of the Wild" (3x41) at 22:52.
  48. "Compulsions" (3x40) at 3:00:31.
  49. "Compulsions" (3x40) at 3:49:52.
  50. "The Frozen Puppet" (RST 1x03).
  51. "Compulsions" (3x40) at 3:08:18.
  52. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 3: "Wildemount Gazetteer", pp. 129–130. See also pp. 242–243.
  53. "Deals in the Dark" (1x92) at 2:41:05.
  54. "Compulsions" (3x40) at 3:37:29.
  55. "Grog's One-Shot" (OSx17) at 3:34:29.

Art:

  1. Official art of Aurra Lorelei as a werewolf, by Kendra Wells (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  2. Official art of Tova in werebear form, by Kit Buss (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.