Werebeasts therianthropes, werewolves, lycanthropes, wererats, were-other-animals, are all terms with varying degrees of specificity for the same general sort of thing, a subset of beastpeople. This is an ancient curse of uncertain origin, though it is thought to be related to Vaxia/Magic/Biomancy. The curse takes different forms, but generally, a werebeast transforms into his animal at night, usually during the full moon (though there are some werebeasts who are always transformed, and there are some who transform for various portions of the month, and most werebeasts can also transform at will), and when he is in animal form, is usually an uncontrollable killing machine.
The most common theory is that, just as a vampire's Curse is powered by blood and life force, the werebeast's Curse is powered by magical energy from the moon. The beast form is thought to be more conducive to gathering environmental magical energy than a humanoid form, so the werebeast transforms once a month, while the moon is strongest. Under normal conditions, this is sufficient to sustain the Curse.
Werebeasts who live underground in GHOUL have found that this is not sufficient for them. Without access to the direct light of the full moon, they become lethargic and fatigued. Most of them voluntarily remain transformed all the time, so as to better absorb the low levels of ambient magical energy, which also suffices to sustain the Curse.
- Lifespan: - The werebeast curse usually lengthens the natural lifespan of the afflicted, but werebeasts live violent lives and tend to die early, so the exact limits to their lifespan, if any, are not well-studied.
- Typical Height/Build/Distinctive Traits: - When not transformed, werebeasts appear to be normal individuals of their race, though they may take on some subtle traits and habits of their animal form. When transformed, they appear to be larger, more aggressive versions of a normal creature of their type.
- Where Found: - Nearly everywhere, but mostly forests and Vaxia/Locations/GHOUL.
The werebeast curses are transmitted via bodily fluids, most commonly by biting. Claw scratches are unlikely to transmit the curse, but any fluid-to-fluid contact (including kissing and intercourse) probably will, even if the werebeast is not transformed at the time. Usually, a transformed werebeast will go either completely berserk and attempt to maul everything in sight, or he will go completely berserk but only attempt to maul sapient beings, so as to transmit the curse more effectively.
If the victim is already a werebeast or a vampire, their existing curse will not allow a new one to take hold, and they will not be infected.
For notes on ruling specifics for werebeast infection, refer to the Vampires and Werebeasts page in the System section of the wiki.
The curse only has the above effect on sapient, intelligent creatures. If the Curse is transmitted to a non-sapient, natural, vertebrate animal, and the animal survives, it instead makes the animal a carrier for werebeastism. The only noticeable change to the carrier is that the carrier becomes slightly more aggressive, especially around the full moon. But if a carrier then bites (or otherwise infects) a sapient individual, the sapient individual will then contract a form of werebeastism templated upon the animal that bit him.
For example: an elf werewolf bites a boar. The boar, being tough as nails, survives, and becomes a carrier. The boar then gores a human, who becomes infected with werebeastism. But the human becomes a wereboar, not a werewolf.
Tougher and bigger animals (e.g. boars, bears, big cats, and direwolves) are more likely to survive a mauling by a werewolf, and are thus more likely to pass the Curse on, partially explaining why these sorts of werebeasts are more common than lesser versions (e.g., werepenguins or werepigeons). (To the layperson, weredirewolves are largely indistinguishable from werewolves.)
Invertebrates (such as insects, arthropods, or molluscs) and very magical creatures (such as unicorns, Dragons phoenices, or stalkers prime) are too different from natural vertebrate animals for the Curse to derive a proper template, and are thus usually entirely unaffected by the werebeast curse.
Even touching silver will cause burns to a werewolf. These burns increase with the purity of the silver and the duration and surface area of exposure.
Werebeasts do not have any one coherent societal structure. Each werebeast will tend to behave like his animal, and they do generally tend to group into similar types - for example, wererats will group with other wererats, werewolves will form packs, and werelions will form prides. Thus, werewolf society resembles wolf society and the strongest fighter becomes the alpha male, werepenguin society resembles egalitarian penguin society, werebear society resembles antisocial bear society, and so on.
Any animal can be the object of werebeastism, but some are more common than others. Examples include:
Wereboars are perhaps the second- or third-most-common form of werebeast, when a human or other sentient person is afflicted with the kapranthropy curse and transforms into a large boar-like monster around the full moon.
There are a number of types of werecats, sapient mortals under the effect of ailouroeidanthropic curses. As well as more generic 'big cats', varieties include weretigers and werelions.
Werepenguins are a rare form of werebeast, where the victim of pigkouinanthropy transforms into a penguin-like animal around the full moon.
Wererats are a fairly common kind of werebeast, where a person afflicted with nyfitsanthropy transforms into a rat-like creature, usually much larger than regular rats, around the full moon.
Weretortioses are a relatively rare form of werebeast, regular people afflicted with chelonanthropy so that they turn into a turtle-like creature once a month, on the full moon.
Werewolves are the most common form of werebeast, when a human or other sentient person is afflicted with the lycanthropy curse and transforms into a wolf (or direwolf or wolf-like monster) around the full moon.
("Werebeast" is not a race. A werebeast character is listed as their original race, but with the werebeast Condition)
Werebeasts are not allowed in the Vaxia/Organizations/Vaxian Empire (i.e., Vaxia/Locations/Argonn), even with ID cards. Even the nicest werebeast is uncontrollable and a menace to society while transformed, so short of being vouched for by the likes of First General Kire Cordock or someone of similar clout, agreeing to take all responsibility and punishment for a werewolf's violent actions upon himself, it is not allowed.
Vaxia/Notable Characters and NPCs/Gaunth, using the magic of the Vaxia/Races/Undead/Vampires/Children of Kosmo managed to completely tame transformed werebeasts. Since his death, this has ceased to be as easy, but using a combination of Vaxia/Mysteries and Oddities/Gwyne (which has a calming effect), inspiring speeches, Vaxia/Notable Characters and NPCs/Queen Anne's Majesty skill (inherited from Gaunth), and the efforts of lesser Children of Kosmo werebeasts dwelling in GHOUL have been fairly controllable, which is still significantly better than the uncontrollable monsters they could expect to become anywhere else.
Since the Vaxia/History/Naga Nori War, werebeasts are now allowed in Vaxia/Locations/Ramsalon, so long as they (or their families) are able to prove they have provided secure accommodations during full moon. Even so, that policy has led to increased tensions and occasional violence with the populace.