Split-arrows It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple pages. (Discuss)
    Lycanthropy → Lycanthropy + Lycanthrope

Lycanthropy (pronounced: /lˈkænθrəpily-KÆN-thruh-pee[1]) was a condition, disease or curse that caused humanoids and giants to change form, usually into hybrid humanoid-animal states.[2][note 1]

A lycanthrope (pronounced: /ˈlkənθrpLY-kən-throhp[1]or: /ˈlkænθrpLY-kæn-throhp[1]), also known as a werebeast, weretype,[3] or nightwalker,[4] was an individual who possessed this condition.[5]


There were several different categorizations of lycanthropes in the Realms, and many related beings.[5]


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, had different terms to describe them:

Lycanthropes that contracted their condition as a hereditary trait, and could breed with other true lycanthropes to produce lycanthrope offspring. This form of lycanthropy had no cure.
e.g. werewolf born to true werewolf parents.
Lycanthropes that contracted their condition by being injured (usually bitten) by a true lycanthrope.
e.g. human bitten by a true wereshark may become infected.
A being affected by magical items, causing them to turn into a lycanthrope. These beings could not transmit lycanthropy to others.
e.g. swanmay, who willingly accepted feathered tokens.
A being affected by a curse, either from a spell or other means.

Related creaturesEdit

These beings had similar qualities, but were not technically lycanthropes:

Shapechanging creatures, but transformed into humanoids from their original animal state, instead of the other way around. Antherion type names often had the suffix, were. They hated lycanthropes, as lycanthropes hated them.
e.g. jackalwere
Other races that had similar qualities to werebeasts, or resulted from the inter-breeding of lycanthropes with humans.
e.g. shifter

Physical characteristicsEdit

Superficially, lycanthropes resembled their original species but with the head of the specific animal whose shape they were cursed with. In humanoid form, they appeared no different than before and their natural life expectancy was the same.[6] 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.[2]


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,[7] but orc and goblin lycanthropes also existed.[6] 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.[8] However, all lycanthropes were usually secretive about their condition because of the social stigma attached to it and many ended up as lonely adventurers.[5]


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.[6] 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.[citation needed]

Groups of LycanthropesEdit


See AlsoEdit


  1. In 4th edition, lycanthropy is only a hereditary condition.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dungeons & Dragons FAQ (HTML). Wizards of the Coast. (2003). Archived from the original on 2017-07-09. Retrieved on 2018-05-22.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 180. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  3. Timothy J. Kask ed. (November 1978). Dragon #20 (TSR, Inc.).
  4. Dave Gross (August 2007). Black Wolf. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-4283-1.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), pp. 231–232. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 142. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
  7. Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 20. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
  8. Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 145. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
  9. Jeff Grubb. "Temptations", Forgotten Realms (Comic) #20. DC Comics, 1991.

External linksEdit