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Chetney transformed - Max Dunbar

Fan art of Chetney Pock O'Pea, a werewolf, by Max Dunbar.[art 1]

Lycanthropy is a curse, often also termed a disease, 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.

Description[]

A lycanthrope is a humanoid afflicted by a curse that transforms them into a beast. 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] Although Matthew Mercer once stated that the curse is driven by Catha, the primary moon of Exandria, rather than Ruidus,[7] Chetney Pock O'Pea's memories suggest otherwise. When caught by a psychic blast, he remembered: "Within your belly, a hunger stirs. An itch hits your skin. An iron smell fills your nose. A howl pierces your ears. You look up to the full glowing red moon Ruidus above you. From its ruddy light streaks a single beam of pure crimson light that envelops you. You let it wash away the sadness, and you give into the beast tearing your skin away as you feel the anxious tingle that you always feel at the zenith of this moon now grow into an uncontrollable impulse to hunt, to kill, to eat, to ruin. It sees you now, and it's found common ground."[8] Similarly, Gurge Kisgregg stated that Catha mostly drives it, "but when Ruidus is high in the sky, everyone's kind of at a disadvantage."[9]

Lycanthropes are ostracized from most societies in Exandria, and the Claret Orders in Wildemount hunt 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 One, and Chetney Pock O'Pea, a werewolf main player character in Campaign Three. 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.

There are various types of lycans, including werewolves,[10] werebears,[11] weretigers,[12] werepanthers,[13] and wereboars.[14] Which beast form a lycanthrope becomes is controlled by the form of the creature that bit him and transmitted the curse.[15] 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;[16] 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.[17] Lycanthropes can wield weapons in their hybrid forms.[18][16] 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]

Mechanically, lycanthropy is primarily represented in two ways: by a statblock, such as those in the Monster Manual,[17] and by the Order of the Lycan blood hunter subclass.[18] 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 Pock O'Pea, who are both Order of the Lycan mechanically but are not members of the Claret Orders.

Silver saps the strength from lycanthropes and burns to the touch, even when they are not in hybrid form.[19]

History[]

Lycanthropes are feared and ostracized by many throughout Exandria and even other planes.[20][21] Some lycanthropes self-exile or isolate themselves from others upon contracting the curse,[2][21] especially during full moons.[22] 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.[23] 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,[20] only to the willing and in controlled conditions,[18] or never on purpose even if the victim is willing.[24]

Wildemount[]

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,[25] 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.[18][20] 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][26]

Alfarr and Grenya Lorelei by Micaerys

Fan art of Grenya Lorelei, who inherited the curse from his father Alfarr, bitten during the war, by Micaerys.[art 5]

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,[20] 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.[27] 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.[20] 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.[28]

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.[29] Jaina and Pono remained living on Rumblecusp even after the memory loss was lifted and the island's residents were able to return home.[30] Additionally, at least one rogue werewolf lived in the Flotket Alps near Uthodurn in 843 PD and was killed after biting Chetney Pock O'Pea,[1] and there was at least one pack in the region.[31]

Marquet[]

Throughout Marquet, there are occasional folktales and "distant stories" about lycans, but they were generally believed to be old stories meant to scare children.[32] The bounty hunter Artana Voe personally encountered only two lycanthropes in her career by "Thicker Grows the Meal and Plot" (3x09), in 843 PD.[33] A group of lycanthropes called the Gorgynei lives on the continent and use hemocraft to tame their curses.[2] They swear not to pass their lycanthropy on to others,[24] and their thinking about living with lycanthropy is considered "eccentric" by some.[34] In Jrusar in 843 PD, Armand Treshi had the werewolf Gurge Kisgregg captured and hired Ira Wendagoth to force Gurge to pass the curse onto three volunteers,[3] possibly to make the volunteers more powerful.[35]

Elsewhere[]

Ukurat by Joma Cueto

Fan art of Ukurat, by Joma Cueto.[art 6]

A pack of werewolves is rumored to live in the Parchwood Timberlands of Tal'Dorei.[36] 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,[37] 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.[36] 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.[38]

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.[39]

In the Feywild, a group called the Fendir live in the Moonbrush, seeking to live peaceably away from any who would harm them.[40][21] 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.[21] 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.[41]

Known lycanthropes[]

Organizations[]

  • 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[20]
  • The Fendir, group in the Feywild primarily composed of werewolves but includes other lycanthropes[21]
  • 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[20]

Individual werewolves[]

Aurra Lorelei werewolf

Official art of Aurra Lorelei as a werewolf, by Kendra Wells.[art 7]

Other individuals[]

Tova-WereBear-by-Kit-Buss

Official art of Tova in werebear form, by Kit Buss.[art 8]

  • Annaline (called Divaasheela as a code), a human woman in her late 40s and the weretiger leader of the Gorgynei
  • Jaina, half-elf living without her memory on Rumblecusp, remained there after the memory loss was lifted[30]
  • Manad, a scrawny orc and werepanther of the Gorgynei
  • Morgo Delwur, dwarven explorer operating out of Syrinlya[44]
  • Pono, human member of the Clasp wounded by Jaina while living without his memory on Rumblecusp, remained there after the memory loss was lifted[30]
  • Tova, dwarven blood hunter who fought alongside Vox Machina in the City of Dis[45]
  • Uther, a human man in his late 50s and a wereboar of the Gorgynei
  • Fresceo, a dwarven woman and a werewolf of the Gorgynei[46]
  • Dorao, an elven man and the weretiger that turned Annaline into a lycanthrope[47]
  • Igor, a wereboar and member of the Slayer's Take[48]

Trivia[]

  • In the Monster Manual, lycanthropy contracted from a wound inflicted by another lycanthrope may be cured with Remove Curse, but Wish is required for a lycanthrope who inherited the curse.[17]
  • So far, all types of traditional lycanthropes in 5th Edition have been shown in Exandria, with four exceptions: wereravens,[49][50] werebats[51] werejaguars[52] and werehares.[53] Wererats have been mentioned by Liam O'Brien as the possible type of lycanthropy that Tarad Cornei suffers;[54] Laudna also mentioned wererats, imagining that would be her type of lycanthropy if she were bitten.[55]
    • There's also a variant lycanthrope called "loup garou", but they are considered a more virulent strain of werewolf lycanthropy.[56]
    • Although werepanthers and werejaguars exist as their own types, mechanically they work the same as weretigers.[57][58] In a similar way, werehares work the same as wererats.[59]
    • There are other two types of lycanthropes in 5th Edition: werefoxes and werevultures. However, the strain of werefox lycanthropy presented for this edition isn't contagious,[60] and werevulture lycanthropy is fiendish in nature, unlike any other.[61]
  • The Taming ceremony of the Claret Order of the Lycan and the Taming of the Lorelei family, who operate outside the Order, aren't necessarily the same. Mechanically, three of the Lorelei player characters are Order of the Lycan blood hunters, and the Taming is described as part of that subclass. Since blood hunters of that subclass can exist outside the Claret Orders, it's possible that House Lorelei acquired on their own (or through contact with hemocrafters) the knowledge to make their curse more bearable.
  • As of "Downfall: Part One" (3x99), every named werewolf living in Exandria with a confirmed origin is from Wildemount. The only named werewolf who isn't, Ukurat, lives in the Feywild.
  • As a magical curse, lycanthropy is enhanced during celestial solstices, and specifically during apogee solstices. In those events Catha reaches its full moon phase, causing even the most disciplined lycanthropes to transform and lose control more than usual.[62]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 See "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:43:00.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 See "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:37:50.
  3. 3.0 3.1 See "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. See "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:30:16.
  6. 6.0 6.1 See "Liam's One Shot: The Song of the Lorelei" (Sx36) from 0:08:18 through 0:10:08.  Werewolf lycanthropy is passed down through the Lorelei family.
  7. Twitter logo Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) on Twitter: "The smaller one is vestigial. No affect by comparison. ;)" (2018-01-26) — in reply to @jamesjhaeck: "Hey Matt, how does having two moons affect Exandrian lycanthropes? [prepares to take notes]"
  8. See "What Dreams May Come" (3x34) at 0:12:25.
  9. See "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:41:35.
  10. See "Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61) at 1:16:39 and "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 1:22:59.
  11. 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.
  12. See "Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61) at 1:16:39 and "Hunted at Sea" (2x100) at 3:25:56.
  13. See "Compulsions" (3x40) at 3:02:14.
  14. See "Compulsions" (3x40) at 3:02:57.
  15. See "Call of the Wild" (3x41) at 1:19:45.
  16. 16.0 16.1 See "Hunted at Sea" (2x100) from 3:07:02 through 3:09:37.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 See D&D: Monster Manual, 5th ed., pp. 206–211.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 DDB The Blood Hunter Class: Order of the Lycan on D&D Beyond.
  19. Chetney has extra trouble with a silver net.  See "A Path of Vengeance" (3x65) at 2:15:58.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 82. Chapter 3: Wildemount Gazetteer. "Marrow Valley: Cyrengreen Forest".
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 See "Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61) from 1:20:23 through 1:27:35.
  22. See "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:57:00.  Chetney says that he generally isolates during full moons.
  23. See "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:40:44.
  24. 24.0 24.1 See "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.
  25. 25.0 25.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, pp. 54–55. Chapter 2: Factions and Societies. "Claret Orders".
  26. See "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 2:55:04.
  27. See "Liam's One Shot: The Song of the Lorelei" (Sx36) at 0:08:18.  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".
  28. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 62.
  29. See "Hunted at Sea" (2x100) at 3:25:56.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 See "Devoutness and Dicks" (2x107) at 1:31:46.  Jaina and Pono are still on the island even after others went home days prior.
  31. See "Compulsions" (3x40) at 2:32:22.
  32. See "Thicker Grows the Meal and Plot" (3x09) at 2:34:48.
  33. See from 3x09 through 2:20:07.
  34. See "Promise and Potential" (3x22) at 2:53:17.
  35. See "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 through 3:27:36 and at 3:32:32.
  36. 36.0 36.1 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 73.
  37. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, pp. 82–83.
  38. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 58.
  39. See "The Search For Grog" (Sx42) at 0:55:25.  See also "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) at 0:17:47.
  40. 40.0 40.1 See "Heredity and Hats" (1x60) from 2:26:04 through 2:28:48.
  41. Members of the Fendir appear in hybrid form for the entirety of their appearance in "Denizens of the Moonbrush" (1x61).
  42. See "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 1:22:59.
  43. See "Compulsions" (3x40) at 2:32:35.
  44. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, pp. 129–130. See also pp. 242–243.
  45. See "Deals in the Dark" (1x92) at 2:41:05.
  46. See "Call of the Wild" (3x41) at 0:26:08.
  47. See "Call of the Wild" (3x41) at 1:14:48.
  48. See "The Frozen Puppet" (RTx03).
  49. Wizards of the Coast, Curse of Strahd, p. 98 and 242.
  50. Wizards of the Coast, Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, p. 253.
  51. Wizards of the Coast, Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, p. 317.
  52. Wizards of the Coast, Tales from the Yawning Portal, p. 79.
  53. Wizards of the Coast, Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, p. 84.
  54. See "Compulsions" (3x40) at 3:55:13.
  55. See "Call of the Wild" (3x41) at 0:18:41.
  56. Wizards of the Coast, Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, p. 237.
  57. Wizards of the Coast, Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, p. 167.
  58. Wizards of the Coast, Tales from the Yawning Portal, p. 79.
  59. Wizards of the Coast, Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, p. 84.
  60. Wizards of the Coast, Monstrous Compendium Volume 4: Eldraine Creatures.
  61. Wizards of the Coast, The Book of Many Things, p. 184.
  62. See "Far From The Others" (3x52) at 2:39:28.

Art:

  1. Fan art of Chetney Pock O'Pea, a werewolf, by Max Dunbar (source). Used with permission.
  2. DDB Werewolf on D&D Beyond. This page contains unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
  3. DDB Werebear on D&D Beyond. This page contains unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
  4. Depiction of a weretiger, by Conceptopolis from D&D Monster Manual, 5th ed., p. 210. This page contains unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
  5. Fan art of Grenya Lorelei, who inherited the curse from his father Alfarr, bitten during the war, by Micaerys. Work contributed to the Critical Role Wiki by the artist.
  6. Fan art of Ukurat, by Joma Cueto (source). Used with permission.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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