Werewolf (or other were-creature) player character - how to represent?

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Hi guys,

One of the players in the game I'm planning to run has expressed an interest in playing a werewolf, werebear, or similar. I'm trying to work out a good way to handle this. Currently, the best idea I have is to let them pick class and race as normal and represent Lycanthropy with a Move, which the character would take instead of their first advanced move at level 2. I was thinking of something based on the Druid's Shapeshifter move; like this:

Lycanthropic transformation
When you allow your lycanthropic nature to assert itself, roll+Wis.
* On a 10+ hold 3.
* On a 7–9 hold 2.
* On a 6- hold 1 in addition to whatever the GM says.
You may take on the physical form of a great and terrible wolf, or a monstrous hybrid of wolf and your normal form. Only your body changes - clothes are shredded, weapons and possessions cast aside. You have any innate abilities and weaknesses of the form. You still use your normal stats but some moves may be harder or easier to trigger. When you purchase this move, spend some time with the GM working out a list of moves appropriate to the form. Spend 1 hold to make that move. You remain transformed when you run out of Hold, but may gain more points of Hold by making this Move again (although there is no further transformation).


Transforming back doesn't require a roll, unless of course doing so requires you to Defy Danger. Changing into wolf-form is usually the result of triggering the Lycanthropic Transformation move, but it could also be a consequence from missing a roll on something else.

So... Does this look sensible? Are there any glaring problems with it? Would you handle it differently?

Re: Werewolf (or other were-creature) player character - how to represent?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 08:17:50 PM »
I don't know, I would probably ask the player what he wants out of the werewolf form and it needs to be defined if a werewolf still retains his mind when transformed. I tend to consider werewolves out of the WoD scenarios as not in control of their beast, so they could be one, but I would go towards the uncontrollable rage at first, and work out a compendium class for the abilities and control over the beast.

The basic move could be simple:

Cursed by Lycanthropy
When the full moon is on the sky or when you are under an intense emotion roll +Wis:
10+ You managed to keep the beast at bay
7-9: You shift into a man-wolf form but still retain some degree of control, any actions are directed to your enemies, if none are present then the beast rages towards your friends, you can defy danger to control it and shift out of the form
6-: the beast is in control, depending on why you shifted you either won't change back until sunrise or after your emotions are soothed, this usually means nobody alive around you.

The compendium class would then be something to happen in-game.
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noofy

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Re: Werewolf (or other were-creature) player character - how to represent?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 08:29:58 PM »
Very Nice Valtiel!
But is it an inherent trait? If so, I'd replace one of the original class moves with your one. Though if they get bit or develop the trait or come of age or whatever, then sure, just give them the move as fictionally appropriate.

I have a few ideas (and questions) for your move if you'd like?
Is it based on the moon? Is it a conscious shift? Is the beast treated with fear and retribution by the people of your dungeon world?

(these are all great questions to establish in play with spout lore or discern realties too)

I took some liberties from Joe's Monster Heart's Werewolf Playbook too.

The Howling
When your lycanthropic nature demands attention and takes hold, roll+ the Moon's Phase. (note the Day may interfere -2 with this roll, or the Night Aid +1 at the GM's discretion)

Dark Moon -2
Crescent Moon -1
Half Moon  +0
Gibbous Moon +1
Full Moon +2

 
* On a 10+ hold 3.
* On a 7–9 hold 2.
* On a 6- hold 1 in addition to whatever grim potent the GM says.
You transform into a terrifying wolf-creature: Your Beast.
You crave power and dominance, and those are earned through bloodshed. If anyone attempts to stand in your way, they must be brought down and made to bleed.

Only your body changes - clothes are shredded, weapons and possessions cast aside. You have any innate abilities and weaknesses of the form. Your wolf self has the same stats as your human self. What changes is your role and place in the story - new actions and opportunities will make sense in this new context.  

When you purchase this move, spend some time with the GM working out a list of moves appropriate to the form. Spend 1 hold to make that move in this scene. To do it do it - the moves always follow the fiction.

You remain in the Howling in your Beast form when you run out of Hold, but may gain more points of Hold by making this Move again (although there is no further transformation). You escape your Beast form either when you wound someone you really care about or the sun rises, whichever happens first.

Sample Moves to spend Hold On:

*Scent of Blood - Add 1 to all rolls against those who have been harmed in this scene already.

*Unstable  - When you make camp (or at the end of session),  in beast form, gain an experience point.

*Primal Dominance - When you rend a PC with your claws and teeth, take the bond: I have tasted ___________ blood. We are bound by it.

*Uncontainable - When you attempt to escape any form of physical entrapment, roll with strength.
On a 10 up, you escape.
On a 7-9 the GM will offer you a hard bargain: agree if you want to escape.

*Bare Your Fangs - While you are your Beast, you may use Strength instead of Charisma to Parley.

Howl at the Moon - When basked in moonlight, and howling to on the spirits of the land, roll+Wis. You will be granted a vision of significance to you, your allies, and the spirits around you.
?On a 10+ the vision will be clear and helpful to you.
?On a 7–9 the vision is unclear, its meaning murky.
?On a miss, the vision is upsetting, frightening, or traumatizing. The GM will describe it. Take the debility Confused.

*Heightened Senses When you rely on your animal instincts to make sense of a charged situation, roll with WIS.
On a 10 up, ask the GM three of the questions below, On a 7-9, ask one. If you act on one of the GM's answers, carry +1 forward.
 
Where’s my best escape route or way in?
Which enemy is the most vulnerable to me?
What’s their secret weakness?
What poses the biggest threat to me?
Who’s in control here?
 
*Spirit Armour - When basked in moonlight, any damage that you suffer is reduced by 1D6, and you have +1 Ongoing to Defend rolls.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 08:38:00 PM by noofy »

Re: Werewolf (or other were-creature) player character - how to represent?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2013, 07:33:06 PM »
Here's how I did it in Number Appearing if that helps:

Alternative race: Lycanthrope

The sorcerer-kings called it “lycanthropy” in their day—a creature that was both man and beast. It is said to be passed on by a bite, but dark curses and superstitions abound.
Bear, boar, wolf or spider? Lycanthropes come in a variety curses. But they all have banes that they struggle with.

Names:
Angmar, Fantak, Firelegs, Gunther, Hellrunner, Lily, Ravnar, Rex, Ripper, Samantha, Shabby,
Stormbite, Stripes, Tawar, Whistle, Windrunner.

Look:
Red eyes, hungry eyes, piercing eyes. Forest black body, ghostly grey body,
raging white body, fierce striped body. No tail, bushy tail, scrawny tail, whip tail.

Alternative bonds:
I will gift _________ with 'the change.'
I know a secret about __________.
___________ knows my banes.
___________ left me for dead.

Choose a normal form in which you usually appear: dwarf, elf, goblin, halfling, hobgoblin,
human, kobold, orc, etc.

Choose an animal form: bear, boar, fox, giant lizard, giant rat, giant snake, giant spider,

All Lycanthropes have these three moves:
o Animal form: You can change between your normal and animal forms whenever you like, unless you are affected by a bane. In animal form you and your possessions meld into a perfect copy of the animal and you have their innate abilities and weaknesses. You still use your normal stats but some moves may be harder to trigger—a wolf will find it hard to open a door for example.
If you are affected by a bane you must immediately change to your animal form and stay in it until the bane no longer affects you. A Druid Lycanthrope cannot use Shapeshifter when affected by a bane.

Choose three banes:
o The full moon
o No moon
o Less than half hit points o Inebriation
o Anger
o Fear
o Passion
o Close to fire
o Touch of silver
o Touch of cold iron o Touch of wolfsbane.

o The Moon Gift: When in animal form your bite does class damage. NPCs you kill with your bite might return as a Lycanthrope not in your control. When a character uses Last Breath and rolls a 7-9, you may offer them your 'gift' of transformation to a Lycanthrope as though you were death itself.

o Wild Scent: In animal form you can use the Ranger move Hunt and Track using your keen sense of smell. If your animal form is a giant lizard, snake or spider, you get this move instead of Wild Scent:
o Poison Bite: Choose a Touch poison. Once per day when you are in animal form you can inflict that poison on someone you successfully bite.

When you find out how you can be cured chose a method:
o Wolfsbane, picked and prepared under a strict recipe
o An exorcism, in a certain place using words from an ancient tomb
o Killing the creature that caused it
o Agonizingly cutting out the animal parts
o Ritualistic piercing with iron nails
o It can’t be cured, only endured as long as you can.

How did you become a lycanthrope?
o The child of a lycanthrope
o The curse of a witch
o Wounded by a lycanthrope
o Drinking from the footprint of an animal
o Sleeping with the full moon on your face
o The bite of a Worg or other animal.

Lycanthropes often have a few “tells” which stay with them in all their forms. Choose one or more:
o Animal footprints
o Animal shadow
o Cat eyes
o Fur inside your flesh
o Hairy arms
o Monobrow
o Prominent birthmark
o Prominent scar
o Scaled arms
o Slurred speech
o Stooped posture.

Compendium Class: Greater Lycanthrope

If you are a Lycanthrope and you successfully use The Moon Gift to transform a comrade, family member or innocent to a Lycanthrope, you may take this move when you level up.

o Lycanthropic Regeneration: When you are in animal form but not affected by any banes: heal 2 HP whenever you roll a 10+ on any move; and instead of making a Last Breath move after a short rest restore your HP to 1d6.

Once you’ve taken “Lycanthropic Regeneration,” the following moves count as class moves for you. In addition to your normal list of moves, you may choose from this list when you level up.

o Additional Form: You gain an additional animal form you can change. This form can include swarms of rats, snakes or spiders that can move through small holes but act as a single creature.

o The Embrace: When use the Moon Gift on an NPC, roll+CHA. On a 10+ they return as a faithful Lycanthrope and serve you. On 7-9 they return, but they only owe you three tasks. On a miss the GM can choose whether they will return or not, but if they do they will try to destroy you.

o Forceful Will: You gain more control over your changes. Remove one bane.

o Hybid: You can change into a hybrid form which combines the best of both normal and animal forms. In hybrid form you can use all animal moves (including Lycanthropic Regeneration) and also have hands and access to your possessions.

o Monkey's Tail: To take this move you must have a tail in your animal form. When in animal form your tail acts like an extra hand including to use a weapon or shield.

o Run with the Pack: If you are not a Ranger, gain an Animal Companion of the same type as your animal form as per the Ranger move.

Re: Werewolf (or other were-creature) player character - how to represent?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2013, 07:52:13 PM »
Ohhh, thanks for sharing.

I hate myself for not checking kickstarters back when DW was there.
I started a blog to share my pain: gmstruggles.wordpress.com

All my posts (unless stated otherwise) are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Re: Werewolf (or other were-creature) player character - how to represent?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 06:42:40 AM »
...Ok, that's awesome. The stupid thing is that I have a copy of Number Appearing, and I just never thought to check it!