Lycanthropy is a condition whereby the affected can transform themselves into the form of a vicious animal that is far more terrifying than either man or beast, and in many cases has little or no control over themselves. It originates in the ancient Fae, many of whom took bestial forms and are the precursors to the modern-day beasts of Morus.
Most lycanthropes have three forms; their natural demihuman form, the form of an animal, and their hybrid form, which is the most terrifying.
Upon changing into their hybrid form, the afflicted gains the THAC0, movement speed, natural AC, hit dice, immunity to normal weapons, and bite attack of the entry in the Monstrous Manual. Even if this means an overall reduction in strength, the template is still used - it is entirely possible for a powerful fighter to become a werewolf and actually lose hitpoints as they have become simple beasts without the knowledge of avoidance and reflexes of the fighter. The HP of the hybrid form are rolled once, and used every time thereafter. Every time the afflicted gains a level, their hybrid form's hitpoints are rerolled; if it is higher than the existing value, this replaces their current hybrid HP. Though it is not reflected in the damage of their bite, all lycanthropes are tremendously strong - with a strength of at least 18/00, if it was lower than this previously.
The animal form is usually identical to a normal animal of that type. Lycanthropes of at least 5th level have maximum hit points while in their animal form.
Upon returning to human form from their animal or hybrid forms, 1d6 * 10% of their wounds are healed.
Types of Lycanthrope
There are two types of lycanthrope; true lycanthropes, and infected lycanthropes. True lycanthropy is hereditary; they are created by a mating of two lycanthropes, whether infected or not. If only one parent is lycanthropic, there is a 5% chance per year after adolescence that their lycanthropy will manifest itself. Infected lycanthropes, on the other hand, are humans (or demihumans) who have been afflicted with lycanthropy through the bite of a true lycanthrope or through certain dark rituals. The child of an infected lycanthrope and a human has a 50% chance of being clean, a 40% chance of being infected and a 10% chance of being a true lycanthrope.
True lycanthropes are born into lycanthropy, and their animal nature is a part of their very being. They tend to take on the traits of their animal nature, including the lycanthrope's alignment - for example, most true werewolves behave like wolves, and are also usually chaotic evil, though they still feel ties of loyalty and love to their pack. This is not to say that they are predestined to the general alignment of that type of lycanthrope, but lycanthropes like werewolves are predisposed to a beastly, bestial nature devoted to hunting and killing. You are as likely to find a good werewolf as a good orc.
Amongst true lycanthropes, blood and blood ties are usually very important, and most types of true lycanthrope usually live in packs or families based on bloodlines and familial connection. True lycanthropes have the ability to assume any of their forms at will, and their personality is usually the same in their altered forms.
Note that the alignment given for a lycanthrope refers to the average, typical member of this race. Not all werewolves are chaotic evil, for example, although they tend towards chaos and evil.
Because true lycanthropes retain their presence of mind in their hybrid form, many are able to wield weapons while shifted. They also use their normal THAC0 if it is better than their hybrid form's natural THAC0, and their natural HP if it is better; their skill in combat and resilience/ability to avoid severe wounds is not impacted by their change of form. Those whose HP and THAC0 is significantly higher than a normal lycanthrope of that type - for instance, a high-level fighter - will be visibly bigger and stronger in their lycanthropic form. They may even assume the dire form of their animal form - a dire wolf instead of a wolf.
Infected lycanthropes are those who have contracted their lycanthropy through the bite of another lycanthrope. Upon the three nights before, during, and after the climax of the full moon, they will assume their hybrid form, losing all control of themselves. Whenever bitten by a lycanthrope, there is a 1% chance per point of damage taken of contracting the curse. The true lycanthropes that are less evil recognise that it is a terrible thing to become an infected lycanthrope, and that the result is basically a monster, and refrain from biting their foes unless necessary. Many even take it upon themselves to hunt down infected lycanthropes and either slay them or take them with them.
Infected lycanthropes will usually only assume their hybrid form while changed, and when they awaken - usually in tattered rags and covered in blood - they will have no memory of what transpired during their transformation. It is possible that in times of extreme fear or stress, they may make the shift regardless of the phase of the moon. Though it requires a tremendous amount of willpower and is dangerous to the sanity to learn, some infected lycanthropes can learn to tap into their curse and transform at-will. Establishing this kind of control can take decades, and they still have no control over when they change back or what they do while in lycanthropic form.
Lycanthropes of any type tend to be longer-lived than other members of their species - in the case of humans, often living up to 200 years.
Natural lycanthropy cannot be cured; no matter how much a natural lycanthrope may resent their inborn nature, it is their nature nonetheless. If a sprig of belladonna is eaten within 24 hours of contracting lycanthropy, there is a 25% chance it will cure them. It is also poisonous, however, and will incapacitate them for 2d4 days.
The only other way to lift the affliction is to cast a Remove Curse on the character, on the night of a full moon, or the night immediately preceding or following the full moon. After Remove Curse is cast, if the character makes a successful saving throw vs. polymorph, the curse is broken. Otherwise the changes take place and the spell has no effect. The caster must be at least 7th level to lift the curse of lycanthropy, either way.
These refer only to true lycanthropes. Infected lycanthropes can be found anywhere, although they tend to mirror the types of true lycanthropes found in the area.
Werewolves: Found anywhere that wolves are found, but prefer wintry and mountainous locations. Most densely concentrated in Nordmaar, where they are legendary warriors - see the entry on Nordmaar's Ulfhednar for more information. Drawn to war, especially those who live in Nordmaar, and as such tend to participate in wars as mercenaries, though they will never betray family.
Werebears: Most densely concentrated in Nordmaar though still rare, being reclusive and living in isolation far away from other people. Tend not to associate with humans.
Wereboars: Most densely concentrated in the wooded areas of Leng. Tend to live alone and far from others and mate rarely - they are a very rare species. Live in secluded cabins in forested areas, far from humanity - though not so far they cannot steal from it.
Werefoxes: Mostly found in Kyujitai, living amongst high society. Can sometimes be found in Leng or Githas, always in large cities and always in a position of wealth, luxury and power. Occasionally live in dens in the wild, or an entire family of werefoxes may live in disguise in a city, running an elaborate masquerade.
Wererat: Can be found all over the world, wherever there are large cities. Live in developed sewers, feasting off that which humanity discards and eking out a living beneath the city. Prey upon humans when they can, seeing the city as their hunting ground, but are cowardly and will scatter and flee if a battle turns against them. Tend to live in very large packs, usually all of the rats in a sewer will be part of one pack.
Wereraven: Incredibly rare. Tend to live either in Githas or in high mountain eyries in Nordmaar. Befriend wizards and druids who are exceedingly wise and influential.
Weretiger: Found almost exclusively in Kyujitai. Live in small prides in the jungles of Kyujitai, roaming a large territory. Prefer to inhabit areas that border on human civilisation. Equally comfortable in human or lycanthropic company.