Characters: The Lycanthrope

Lycanthropes in the Dresden Files universe aren’t quite what you might think they are…


parkertheberserkerLet’s get this clear up front: lycanthropes are not werewolves-though they share some traits in common. But where werewolves change their bodies to take on power, lycanthropes change only their minds, aligning their thoughts and senses with those of a beast. While this isn’t as scary as a man turning into a wolf right in front of you (at least at first), they can still mess you up all nasty-it’s thought that lycanthropes are what gave birth to tales of Viking berserkers. Add to this the fact that a pack of lycanthropes in close proximity to one another have a near-telepathic link, giving them a sort of group-mind advantage, and you’re looking at some serious badasses here.

So what keeps lycanthropes from taking over the world?

Well, to start, they’ve got a bit of a temper problem. Beasts don’t run governments very well. But beyond that, most of their powers aren’t fully in effect except for about five days out of every month-starting two days before the full moon, and ending two days after.

As such, players may find playing a lycanthrope to be pretty frustrating–having a lot of your power tied up and only available 5 days out of every 28 may not be a lot of fun for some. When faced with a lycanthrope PC, GMs will have to consider how often they’re willing to stage stories near the time of the full moon-and if so, how much of a restriction the Mundane Form (Involuntary) really represents. At the least, deciding that the full moon is not forthcoming may be worth a compel every time it’s relevant.

Musts: A lycanthrope must have a high concept aspect that references his or her nature as a mind-shifting beast-dude (e.g., LYCANTHROPE BIKER). In addition, the lycanthrope must take the following supernatural abilities:

  • Pack Instincts
  • Echoes of the Beast

The above abilities are always available to the lycanthrope, even when not near the time of the full moon. The lycanthrope should also take:

  • Mundane Form (Involuntary)
  • Inhuman Strength
  • Inhuman Speed
  • Inhuman Recovery

This set of abilities are affected by the Mundane Form, and are only available near the time of the full moon. Some lycanthrope concepts (particularly non wolf-derived ones) may not require all of these abilities, or may provide a different set of abilities during a particular time period or under particular circumstances. Player and GM should discuss any such possibilities if the player is interested.

Later this month we’ll be talking about the odd men out of the Dresdenverse — the minor talents.