In books and movies turning into a werewolf is a horrible curse that changes people into savage beast without any control over their action. That makes it so strange that the lycanthropy curse in Dungeons & Dragons is almost worth seeking out. There are 5 type of lycanthropes, each of which gives the user a boost in strength or dexterity, natural weapons, special traits and a change of alignment. Although this could be a fun feature in your campaign, I personally changed lycanthropy in my campaign to something to be avoided at all costs… but still fun.
I didn’t change how to get it. If each of the 5 types of lycanthropes bites you and you fail a constitution saving throw you have contracted the curse. The other way is to be the child of lycanthropes or to be cursed by a powerful magic. The player doesn’t know they are cursed though. They will be left with a scar from the bite and they will get a permanent drop of 10% of their max HP.
First month until full moon
After the event (which will most likely have taken place during the full moon) they have a month in which they experience some minor side effects. A slight hunger for blood and red meat, a slight change in appearance and an allergy to silver.
During full moon
When the sun sets and the full moon comes in to view the world goes black for our cursed player. Until the sunrise they will be playing a wild animal, trying to kill everything in their path, only fleeing when on the brink of death. If they drop to 0 HP in this form they are changed back to their human form in unconscious condition until the next morning. Waking up in the morning the player remembers nothing but will find their equipment and clothing torn or gone and their hands and face covered in blood.
The rest of the month
Between full moons during long rests the lycanthrope rolls for flashbacks. On a 5 or lower their night is tormented with flashbacks of their transformed escapades and the murders they committed. This causes them to only receive half of their health and spell slots back. The only “positive” change is that every day they can transform into their mindless lycantrope form for an hour. They can use in a fight, but there is always the possibility they go after their own team.
At higher levels
When the players level up I make sure to also level up their lycanthropy form, it is the same body that grows stronger after all. Every 3 levels I up the Armor Class because they grow larger and grow thicker skin. I also keep dialing up the damage of their bite and claw attacks to keep them interesting against stronger enemies.
In first month the lycantropy can be cured by a ‘Remove Curse’ or ‘Greater Restoration’ spell, but after their first full moon the curse can only be lifted by a ‘Wish’ spell or your in-universe type of higher forms of magic.
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In my opinion you have to know the rules to break them effectively. If you want to read up on the original D&D lycanthropes you need the “Monster Manual”, for extra monster fun you can try out “Volo’s Guide to Monsters” and for the other rules to play with you need the “Dungeon Master’s Guide”. All available in the links below.
Geweldig! Ik ben trots op jou!