Werewolves in your game for a howlin' good time
WHERE CAN YOU FIND THEM ?
You can find werewolves on page 207 of the 5E Monster Manual under “Lycanthropes”.
Here’s what is says about Werewolves:
“A werewolf is a savage predator. In its humanoid form, a werewolf has heightened senses, a fiery temper, and a tendency to eat rare meat. Its wolf form is a fearsome predator, but its hybrid form is more terrifying by far-a furred and well-muscled humanoid body topped by a ravening wolf's head. A werewolf can wield weapons in hybrid form, though it prefers to tear foes apart with its powerful claws and bite. Most werewolves flee civilized lands not long after becoming afflicted. Those that reject the curse fear what will happen if they remain among their friends and family. Those that embrace the curse fear discovery and the consequences of their murderous acts. In the wild, werewolves form packs that also include wolves and dire wolves.”
ABOUT & ABILITIES
Werewolves are a CR 3 monster which will grant you 700 experience points. They are immune to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from all non-magical attacks. Silver will harm them though.
A werewolf can use their action to transform themselves into a wolf, a wolf humanoid hybrid, or back into their human form. In all cases it’s statistics other than its armor class are the same in each form. Any equipment the werewolf is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. When a werewolf dies, it transforms back into its human form.
The werewolf has a passive perception of 14, which is quite impressive. To add to that it has advantage on perception checks that rely on hearing or smell. This makes for wonderful storytelling but we will discuss that a bit later.
How a werewolf attacks depends on what form the werewolf it is in. In its humanoid form the werewolf attacks twice with its spear. Take into account the not every werewolf will have a spear, some will have a sword, some will have a bow, some will have daggers or hammers or pitchforks or torches. Please do not have all werewolves in your campaign walk around with only spears. Mix it up a little bit, it’s okay you’re the dungeon Master.
In its hybrid form, now this hybrid form is much like the Wolfman from the old black-and-white monster movies. If you haven’t seen them, go watch them, this will go a long way towards telling your werewolf story. You’ll really get some great ideas from these movies. So, in the hybrid form it gets a bite attack and a claw attack. Now here’s where it gets a little confusing the bite attack happens in the wolf or the hybrid form only, sure your werewolf in its humanoid form can probably bite, don’t feel like you can’t let them. If you want your humanoid werewolf to bite, let them bite. If the victim of the bite is humanoid, they must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with lycanthropy. The hybrid form can attack with both claws and the bite and the claws get a + 4 to hit.
Fifth edition has changed the lore of the werewolf just a little bit, as matter of fact the werewolf itself has become more powerful and impressive over the years with each edition changing just a little bit.
There are two types werewolves, those that were individuals who were turned into werewolves and those that were born werewolves. This is important to note because a remove curse can cure an individual who was turned into a werewolf but cannot cure an individual who was born a werewolf to do this requires a wish spell.
It is said that some werewolves can control their Lycanthropy, while others cannot but in all cases when the moon is full none can control the beast that lives within them.
HOW TO USE THEM
Please, I beg of you whatever you do, do not use your werewolves simply as a meat bag full of hit points. They are just way too cool for that, take the time to build a story around the werewolf or werewolves.
One of the things I’ve done in the past is had a wealthy merchant, nobleman, just someone rich hire the group of adventurers to investigate some murders that have been happening. Maybe he’s the mayor of a small town that borders on a forest. Make this a murder mystery and then pull a maneuver that I like to call the “Shayamalan” where you have a twist ending. That twist ending is that the mayor, unknowingly, is the werewolf and he has actually hired the party to kill him.
Throughout the adventure drops little hints that the party can pick up on that may suggest that the mayor has some involvement. While this may not be the makings of a lengthy campaign, this can certainly be placed within an already existing campaign as a fun Halloween story for the party to follow.
And now for that perception bonus. Use this to build suspense, maybe a lone PC is being tracked by the werewolf in dark misty woods. The PC can hear it getting closer, its feet crunching the dry leaves and twigs below. The PC can hear the werewolf sniffing loudly, catching the PC’s scent.
There’s a lot of ways you can use a werewolf in your campaign, and this is just one.