Characters: Were-Form

Were-creatures abound in the Dresdenverse, and many of them make for viable player characters.  Our conceit is that the Dresden Files RPG is being written by Billy, Georgia, and the other Alphas — so in this installment, we’ll get a little bit of Billy injecting himself into the text.  Check it out.


alphas-meetingThe Dresdenverse is rife with shapeshifters of all stripes, with very few of them human in origin. But there are those humans who have learned (or were simply born with the capability) to take on the form of a beast-when that beast is a wolf, we call them werewolves, but there are many other were-forms out there, I’m told. The animal in question isn’t supercharged or innately magical (other than the fact that it has a human intellect kicking around in its noggin), but with some practice, the shapeshifter can use it as easily as his or her human form, within the limits of what that animal can do. Unlike a few other types of beast-changers (lycanthropes and loup garou in particular), most were-form shifters are entirely in control of their change. There’s no full moon business going on with us.

The supernatural mechanism whereby a were-form shapeshifter takes on the shape of an animal varies. Harry Dresden looks at the thing my friends and I do when we turn into wolves as the casting of a specialized single spell, but honestly I think that’s more a case of everything looking like spellcasting to a spellcaster. I’ve watched Harry do magic, and it just doesn’t feel the same to me, not really.

For me, these days, it’s like a switch in the back of my brain. When I flip it, my human body gets optimized. My mind is still there — I still know who I am and all that — but the priorities flip around a bit. My senses and body align for the hunt, and the same goes for my friends. That’s why (and how) we’re taking back our corner of Chicago from the night.

Musts: Were-form shapeshifters must take a high concept aspect indicating that they are a shapeshifter-whether hereditarily or by choice-able to take on a single animal form (e.g., CRIME-FIGHTING WEREWOLF or WEREGOAT WISEASS). The type of animal must be specified at the time the character is created.

In addition, the following supernatural abilities must be taken:

  • Beast Change
  • Echoes of the Beast
  • Mundane Form (Voluntary)
  • At least two refresh points worth of abilities from the options list below.

The Beast Change ability allows the player to restructure his skills when in animal form. This second skill configuration should be worked out before play begins.

Options: The character may take up to two Inhuman abilities (Inhuman Strength, Speed, Toughess, and Recovery), so long as those abilities are in sync with the animal form he assumes. Similarly, abilities may be taken from the Creature Feature category or the Minor Talent category if they can be shown to be a part of the creature’s natural advantages.

Thus, a werewolf would have:

  • Inhuman Speed
  • Inhuman Strength
  • Claws
  • Pack Instincts (though not always!)

While a wereraven (were there such a thing) might have:

  • Inhuman Speed
  • Wings

Player and GM should work together to determine what advantages the chosen animal form has. Note, some advantages will be expressed already due to the Beast Change reshuffling of skills, so if an animal is more resilient or deadly, that might simply be reflected by boosting the character’s Endurance or Fists skill as a part of the Beast Change rather than going to the full extent of Inhuman Toughness, etc.

Toward the end of May, we’ll begin our journey into the White Court.