A lycanthrope (pronounced: /ˈlaɪkənθroʊp/ LY-kən-throhpor: /ˈlaɪkænθroʊp/ LY-kæn-throhp), also known as a werebeast, weretype, or nightwalker, was an individual who possessed the condition of lycanthropy.
Lycanthropes were shapechangers with at least two forms, that of a humanoid and that of a particular kind of animal. In humanoid form, they appeared no different than a typical specimen of that type and their natural life expectancy was the same. Lycanthropes could disguise themselves somewhat through their shape-shifting abilities, either taking on a form almost identical to a humanoid but with subtle details revealing their true nature such as pointed teeth or long fingernails. Similarly, lycanthropes could assume an animal form, which would be a perfect disguise except for the unusual spark of intelligence in their eyes that sometimes gave them away. Some lycanthropes could also take on an intermediate "hybrid form", superficially resembling their humanoid form but with the head of the specific animal whose shape they could also take.
Often called lycanthropes, these were humans or giants that could transform into an animal or a monster. Therianthrope type names often had the prefix, were. One became a lycanthrope in several different ways and, accordingly, they had different terms to describe them.
- Lycanthropes that contracted their condition by being injured (usually bitten) by a true lycanthrope.
- e.g., a human bitten by a true wereshark may become infected.
These beings had similar qualities, but were not technically lycanthropes:
- Other races that had similar qualities to werebeasts, or resulted from the inter-breeding of lycanthropes with humans.
- e.g., shifter
Some lycanthropes were in control of their ability to transform and others were not. Most lycanthropes had some empathy with animals with which they shared their forms. Most lycanthropes were humans or elves, but orc and goblin lycanthropes also existed. Most natural lycanthropes viewed their condition as a gift, whereas afflicted lycanthropes were more likely to be horrified by it and attempt a cure, using belladonna or magical means. However, all lycanthropes were usually secretive about their condition because of the social stigma attached to it and many ended up as lonely adventurers.
No one deity in the Realms truly had the condition of lycanthropy as a part of their divine portfolio, though priesthoods had conflicting claims on this topic as there were some gods often associated with the condition. Malar and Selûne were two such gods, believed to have in their portfolios evil and neutral lycanthropes respectively. Of the two Selûne was the most closely associated, though worshipers of Malar would claim otherwise.
Some said that thousands of years ago, the god Malar used barbaric human tribes to create the original lycanthropes, providing them with qualities of the predatory animals they admired. Others said it was a blessing from Selûne to a group of young human orphans to help them survive in the dangerous wilds. Either way, these ancient bloodlines were passed down through generations.
A natural line of elven werewolves known as lythari dated back to the first elven explorations of Faerun, and the good members of their kind lived among the moon elf and wood elf communities for thousands of years.
- The Akri: a tribe of werecats who lived in the Anauroch desert.
- The Blood Screamers: weremole gnome bandits of southwest Faerûn and followers of Urdlen.
- The Dead Rats: a guild of wererat criminals and thugs active in Luskan and Neverwinter.
- The Eyes of the Evening: a sisterhood of werecats dedicated to the goddesses Sharess and Selûne.
- The Whiskered Gang: a group of wererat bandits active around the Sword Coast North in the late 15th century DR.
Types of Lycanthropes
- Wererats, which were commonly found in urban environments, often as members of criminal organizations
- Various feline lycanthropes included werecats, werecougars, werejaguars, wereleopards, werelions, werepanthers, and weretigers.
- Seawolves, which could transform into a creature resembling a mix of seal and wolf.
- Werecrocodiles, lycanthropes created originally in Mulhorand by the god Sebek
- Weresharks, a very rare type of aquatic lycanthrope
- Werebat, lycanthropes often found in the Underdark.
- Weredragon, a type of lycanthrope so rare that it was sometimes believed to not exist
- Variscite, a type of gemstone poisonous to lycanthropes.
- Hengeyokai, a wholly different type of humanoid-to-animal shapeshifter.
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Aranea • Coyotlwere • Hengeyokai • Jackalwere • Selkie • Shifter • Wolfwere