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Edsel

Mythos of the Werewolf

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In my spare time I have been working up a reasonable sounding mythos for common werewolf. I haven't gotten around to building an NPC werewolf yet and don't really know when I will. Below is what I have come up with so far. Anyone can feel free to steal it, criticize it, or make suggestions. This was not typed up with the idea of it being excellent prose, it is notes that I made before undertaking the design of a werewolf NPC.

 

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Werewolf, Common Lycanthrope

 

Damage done by silvered weapons (e.g. those with silver plating) may slow the regeneration but they will not halt it. Weapons must be primarily silver to prevent regeneration. For instance a wound caused by a silver edged sword will regenerate but probably at about half the normal rate. If the werewolf is brought to negative its BODY score by the use of such weapons it will die and not regenerate. On the other hand, a silver-filled blackjack will halt regeneration since the weapon is primarily of silver. The werewolf can be slain by burning the corpse or anything else that essentially disintegrates the body. The werewolf will not regenerate while actually on fire. If the creature is dismembered and measures are taken to prevent the various parts from rejoining the creature will likely die given enough time (GM’s discretion). If severed limbs are kept from the creature it will still regenerate them (though this will probably require more time).

 

Martyr’s blood is the certain bane of all werewolves. Martyr’s blood is the blood of a person who has given their live to save others. Martyr’s blood is understandably a very rare item and a difficult to obtain substance. The most likely source is the donated blood of a person who later sacrificed themselves in this manner. It would also be possible to obtain such blood from a savior who has recently fallen. Martyr’s blood acts as both an acid and a poison to the werewolf. Anything but the merest contact will kill any werewolf. The blood must be fluid and unspoiled in order to work.

 

Lycanthrope is spread by werewolves. Anyone who is injured by a werewolf, and survives, will transform on the eve of the next full moon. The injury can be very slight, only a break in the skin is necessary, suffering only 1 BODY damage will suffice. At the GMs option a wound that does not even inflict BODY may infect the victim (for instance the wound only does STUN but is still judged to have left an insignificant scratch). If the werewolf who has infected the victim can be slain before the next full moon the victim will be freed. Perhaps the victim could resist with a CON roll at a penalty?

 

Unresolved Issue: Can a werewolf be slain while in human form? If yes, then that is another way to kill them. If not, then what happens when you try?

 

Lastly, there is one other thing that can kill a werewolf. Werewolves have a tremendous appetite. The process of transformation consumes an enormous amount of energy and if the werewolf does not eat soon after changing they will literally die of hunger. Hunger is extremely painful to a werewolf and this ravenous craving is the reason that they are driven to kill and eat any living creature that they encounter. Werewolves do not have to eat humans in order to survive but since they live near human society people are often the first living creatures that they encounter. The drive to eat is so great that the animal part of the creature takes over. Many a werewolf is engulfed by angst once their hunger is sated and they realize what they have done. Often new werewolves will attempt suicide only to discover that they cannot kill themselves due to their regenerative abilities. Once they revert to human form they hope that the curse has been lifted only to transform, and kill, again. Some eventually figure out how to kill themselves and some learn to deal with their new existence taking on a secret life on the periphery of society.

 

A newly turned werewolf has no control over his transformation. On the three nights of the full moon (the night before, the night of the full moon and the night after) they will transform. At the rising of the sun they will transform back into human form. As a result the Shape Shifting ability of a new werewolf is bought with the limitation Only During The Full Moon (-1½) and they have the Disadvantage of Accidental Change (Uncommon, Always).

 

A werewolf can buy off the limitation with experience points. This means that an older, experienced, werewolf can learn to control his transformation to a degree. He will be able to assume his werewolf form at will but will still be forced into that form during the nights while under the full moon (the moon must actually be up to force them into the bestial form). An experienced werewolf will have also learned to eat a heavy meal before the full moon or before he intends to transform and this will stave off the uncontrollable hunger.

 

Werewolves are pack creatures and if left on their own a werewolf will feel compelled to create their own pack but not to the point of risking their own safety. Certain, strong willed, individuals resist the compulsion all together. Usually such a pack ranges in size from six to twelve individuals but much larger packs are possible. This compulsion is a disadvantage, it is a Psychological Limitation (Pack Mentality, Common, Moderate) and all werewolves have it.

 

A pack of werewolves will have a leader. The leader is usually the individual that created all of the other members of the pack. The leader usually is pretty selective about who she creates to be a part of their pack and thus can rely upon their obedience. The leader is also more experienced and powerful than the pack members that they have created. However occasionally there is a power struggle which will shuffle leadership positions or cause a member to leave the pack to form his own.

 

Technically, a werewolf does not have to be an evil creature. They are tainted by darkness which is why silver, a pure metal, can harm them. However there are individuals who have adapted well to their curse and turned it into an asset or even a power that can be used for good. But, such creatures are the exception to the rule and are exceedingly rare. Normally the horror of being turned and the atrocities that they commit before being able to control their bestial nature drive many of them a little mad. In the best case scenario a person who is infected realizes what is happening to them self and takes precautions or has help from others who understand. Such a person may avoid becoming a murdering creature of darkness.

 

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The above is a mixture of my own memories of classical werewolf stories, information from the games, Chill, Bureau 13, Horror Hero, and assorted other sources that I can't think of right now.

 

In addition to the common werewolf I also have some ideas for a couple of variants; the Loup Garou (who transforms via the use of a wolf skin) and the Loup Du Mal (essentially a very powerful form, which is very attractive in human form).

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

I think you could kill a werewolf when he was human according to some stories (not the wolfskin stories, but lycans). I think there was a drawback though. I believe that the werewolf would return as a vampire.

CES

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

Well one thing that doesnt quite go with the mythos but gave me an idea about treating werewolves was strangely DBZ. When the Saiyans went giant weremonkey they seemed to have to look at the full moon. This made me think it would be more practical that the full moon would only turn a werewolf if they absorbed the light of the moon. I prefer skin than through eyes though a technicality. i didnt work out some ideas in my head. Like if they were cut off from moonlight. A cloudy night would probably take away the chances, and what if a cloud blotted out the moon. It would be a bit hard to turn back and forth all night.:P Maybe returning to human state would take time (or if sun rises) and you can only do it once in a night. And of course the ones who can at will would still have that ability. Any thoughts on this?

 

I always did like werewolves better than vampires.:thumbup:

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

What I am going for is a version of the werewolf that could make a good villian for street level characters. That is why I decided that experienced werewolves should be able to tranform at will. Otherwise clever characters (with lots of investigative skills) will track them down once the moon is no longer in the sky. I am sacrificing a little bit of the classic movie culture mythos to make them a more flexible opponent. If I decided that they must have some moonlight in order to transform they'd be in a world of hurt during overcast weather, when the moon was down and during new moons.

 

I have always liked the classic monsters; Ghosts, Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies. I guess Frankenstien fits in there as well but I always considered him to be low threat (he lumbers slowly after you and you can shoot him and be done with it).

 

You can throw lots of variety in there to make these creatures more appealing. The old game Chill was an excellent source of information. The article that Susano mentioned in Digital Hero looks really good too (I just need to make time to read it). For instance the three different versions of Werewolf I am contemplating and the ability for them to improve with EPs.

 

For Vampires I have about 5 or 6 varities. At least a couple of different versions of Zombies, and lots of different Ghosts.

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

The article that Susano mentioned in Digital Hero looks really good too (I just need to make time to read it).

 

Realize that there is also a vampire article, a ghost one, and one on constructs, that includes Frankenstein's monster -- the novel version, which is far faster and smarter then the movie version.

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

First, it must be said that there is no set, definitive all-encompassing legend for werewolves. There are as many variations to the werewolf legend as there are small towns in Europe. So you can go with all kinds of stuff and still be covered, folklore-wise.

 

A few possibilities for transformation:

 

1) I'm not sure if you want any scratch to cause lycanthropy. That makes fighting one difficult. I'm imagining the cinematic scene of wrestling with the thing, desperately holding its jaws inches from your face with both hands around its neck, as its foreclaws tear into your stomach and chest. I think that's too cool a scene to give up.

 

2) If you drink water trapped in a wolf's pawprint under the light of a full moon, you can become a werewolf.

 

3) If someone steals your clothes while you're skinny dipping under the light of a full moon, you can become a werewolf. (yep, actual legend)

 

4) Picking certain types of flowers can cause lycanthropy.

 

I would suggest allowing a werewolf to be killed while in human form, only to find that they regenerate later. Steal from The Howling.

 

As far as feeding goes, I wouldn't make it fatal to prevent the werewolf from feeding. Just have it make them more vicious and bloodthirsty--perhaps even carrying over to when they're human. Joe the werewolf locks himself in his storm cellar the night of every full moon. He thinks all is well, until he becomes human again and finds that every little thing makes him want to kill people in the most vicious and brutal ways. In fact, you might have the players begin looking for a serial killer. His murders are brutal and animalistic, getting moreso all the time, but it's definitely still a guy. Then, once they close in on him, they accidentally release him while he's locked himself up. Then they have an all new problem on their hands.

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

Sounds like I need to review the whole DH collection to see what I have forgotten about.

 

Some good ideas massey. Repped. :thumbup:

 

As far as werewolf inflicted injuries causing lycanthrope... I am thinking about the transform being dependent upon the victim failing a CON roll. Perhaps with penalities applied for each one or two points of BODY damage that was caused by the werewolf.

 

The hunger thing was caused by the last Bureau 13 novel I read "Damned Nation". When one of the minor characters is infected and transforms he is in terrible pain from his ravenous hunger. Another werewolf brings him a slain victim to eat. It is explained to him that if he does not eat shortly before or after the transformation he could literally starve to death. However, in retrospect an unsated blood-lust is probably more in keeping with the genre.

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

I have always liked the classic monsters; Ghosts' date=' Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies. I guess Frankenstien fits in there as well but I always considered him to be low threat (he lumbers slowly after you and you can shoot him and be done with it).[/quote']

Only in the movies (and the media later inspired from the movies). In the novel he was more the Victorian model of the beastman in movement; very agile, strong, capable. Have you seen Dean Koontz's treatment of the Frankenstein myth? It's an interesting take, with the "good doctor" still around after all these years, now completely sociopathic and obsessed with creating a perfect human race. I really couldn't finish the first book; a little too ick for me.

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

I had to read the Mary Shelley Frankenstein novel when in college for a book report. He was much cooler in that orginal setting than in the old movies. Not neck bolts, seemed to move more agilely, more human like as in he talked fairly normally with a blind man who he had been spying on and his family for months (where he learned a lot of the language and culture that he knew). And although the ending is fuzzy, it seems thatit implies he had a strong resistance to cold. And although I remember no mention of it, I strongly would want to add a heaping helping of regeneration (maybe it is just me, but I feel this would be an added bonus for his unique background:thumbup: ) Ahh well.

 

 

And actualy my suggestions for needing moonlight would only affect the trigger for werewolves who hadnt learned to shift at will. Those that could would still do it at anytime they wished. Considering it a psychological (partly, anyway) trigger if you will.

 

As far as a guy locked up in a cellar going on a killing spree after changing back. I will say that if hunger drives him to kill when changing in the first place, if you fed said human after he changed back a real hardy breakfast (really really hardy, mind you) it would calm him down. Though you might need to do some grocery shopping afterwards.:doi:

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

Just a few thoughts on the subject...

 

If the werewolf who has infected the victim can be slain before the next full moon the victim will be freed. Perhaps the victim could resist with a CON roll at a penalty?

This sounds like you're mixing vampire lore with werewolf lore, but I could be wrong. Lycanthrope should be treated as a disease, IMO, albeit one with special and magical side effects. The point being, I don't think killing the 'parent' werewolf should prevent someone from turning. My opinion only, though.

 

Unresolved Issue: Can a werewolf be slain while in human form? If yes, then that is another way to kill them. If not, then what happens when you try?

Consider having an 'accidental change' disad on the human form, triggered when facing imminent death. This might take a little GM discretion, but perhaps a person taking more than 50% BODY automatically changes regardless of time of day or time of month. If, by chance, the person is killed outright, trigger the change as they die, if only for a moment.

 

Again, just some ideas. It's a fun idea to play with.

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

I would limit the lycanthropy to something carried through bites; this makes the whole scene of "don't let him bite me" combat fit better and have a more reasonable vector of infection as a blood-borne disease. (Although I have heard of a possibility through intercourse, but that's prolly better suited to modern genre.)

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

A couple clarifications:

a blackjack filled with silver will hurt a werewolf? Does this mean that actual contact with silver is not necessary, just proximity?

 

If martyr's blood is so toxic, it means that werewolves are Evil in a supernatural sense. I have no problem with that, but keep an eye on that when people make suggestions that sound more scientific than mystical (silver bullets are okay, but a Hellboy-style hollow bullet coated with silver with an ampule of wolvesbane extract goes too far). It also opens the door to some kind of religious defenses (can a werewolf enter holy ground? can a holy person deflect werewolves?) - not that werewolves should be as vulnerable to crosses and holy water as vampires, but there might be some kind of protection available in very limited circumstances.

 

I don't know any stories about werewolves turning into vampires...sounds a bit off to me, but there are weirder things buried in folklore. Personally, I'd prefer to emphasize the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature and have the human form be completely human, thus as vulnerable as anyone else. Part of the drama of the werewolf is the shame and fear the normal human has of discovering he's a werewolf. Of course, if the transformation can be controlled, it would be a great source of power for an evil person.

 

And while the bit about lycanthropy being contagious sounds kewl, I think it's far more reasonable to make it dangerous but not automatic - at least a CON roll, or work out a damage/effect progression like other diseases in the rulebooks. If any contagion was so easy to catch that a simple scratch would transmit it, and it was automatically fatal (or near enough), then it would not take long before everyone had it. If I were to to do something like this, I'd be tempted to make it a combination of a disease-like progression and an effort of the will (thus, an EGO roll and/or application of psychlims as well).

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

Have you seen Dean Koontz's treatment of the Frankenstein myth? It's an interesting take' date=' with the "good doctor" still around after all these years, now completely sociopathic and obsessed with creating a perfect human race. I really couldn't finish the first book; a little too ick for me.[/quote']

 

Which book is this?

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

Which book is this?

 

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Prodigal Son and City of Night. There is supposed to be a third book some time.

 

They are written by Koontz, Kevin Anderson, and Ed Gorman.

CES

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Prodigal Son and City of Night. There is supposed to be a third book some time.

 

They are written by Koontz, Kevin Anderson, and Ed Gorman.

CES

 

Thanks. I wonder if they are set in southern California like a lot of Koontz's books are. :confused:

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

I don't know any stories about werewolves turning into vampires...sounds a bit off to me, but there are weirder things buried in folklore. Personally, I'd prefer to emphasize the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature and have the human form be completely human, thus as vulnerable as anyone else. Part of the drama of the werewolf is the shame and fear the normal human has of discovering he's a werewolf. Of course, if the transformation can be controlled, it would be a great source of power for an evil person.

 

Actually, in folklore, there wasn't much difference between vampires, werewolves, and witches. Modern treatments of the old legends have led to the seperation, but in the slovakian countries, all of these were referred to by the same word: "strigoi", which, despite it's translation into roughly "vampire", was more commonly used to mean simply "monster" or "creature of the night".

 

Again, Hollywood has created an image in our minds that vampires and werewolves are two totally different creatures, but the actual folklore behind it was a lot more muddled. Of course, there's nothing at all wrong with using the Hollywood rules for werewolves, as everyone is familiar with them, and we're dealing with fictional creatures anyway.

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

A couple clarifications:

a blackjack filled with silver will hurt a werewolf? Does this mean that actual contact with silver is not necessary, just proximity?

 

This was taken from the novel "Damned Nation." In that mythos it seems like the proportion of silver in the weapon is the important thing. For instance a silver bullet (all silver) is deadly. A silvered, or silver-edged sword, can hurt them but is not nearly as effective as a normal sword is against a normal person. A sword with a solid silver blade would, I presume, be very effective. In one passage in the book a character beats a werewolf to death with the tray from a silver coffee service set. The blackjack (filled with silver dimes) was deadly since the greatest part of the weapon was silver. So in that novel the actual contact of silver was not an absolute requirement.

 

If martyr's blood is so toxic, it means that werewolves are Evil in a supernatural sense. I have no problem with that, but keep an eye on that when people make suggestions that sound more scientific than mystical (silver bullets are okay, but a Hellboy-style hollow bullet coated with silver with an ampule of wolvesbane extract goes too far). It also opens the door to some kind of religious defenses (can a werewolf enter holy ground? can a holy person deflect werewolves?) - not that werewolves should be as vulnerable to crosses and holy water as vampires, but there might be some kind of protection available in very limited circumstances.

 

This part was stolen from the old Chill RPG. That system featured a suplement that allowed players to play the part of the evil creatures (vampire, werewolf, ghost or mummy). All of these creatures started off with the classic weaknesses of such creatures. However, the critters could become stronger with experience and buy off some of their weaknesses. For example a vampire could eventually buy off the suseptibility to sunlight (still no powers during the day though). A werewolf could eventually become resistant to even silver bullets, but since all creatures must have a weakness the martyr's blood thing was it. I am not sure where they came up with this idea but then I haven't really researched it that much.

 

And while the bit about lycanthropy being contagious sounds kewl, I think it's far more reasonable to make it dangerous but not automatic - at least a CON roll, or work out a damage/effect progression like other diseases in the rulebooks. If any contagion was so easy to catch that a simple scratch would transmit it, and it was automatically fatal (or near enough), then it would not take long before everyone had it. If I were to to do something like this, I'd be tempted to make it a combination of a disease-like progression and an effort of the will (thus, an EGO roll and/or application of psychlims as well).

 

Yeah in retrospect I like the idea of it being spread in a manner similar to rabies (maybe not quite as easily as rabies). I'll probably go with a CON roll penalized by the amount of BODY the victim suffers.

 

I also like that idea that I read somewhere in this thread about how to handle werewolves slain while in their human form. Unless slain with silver the person simply appears dead. The next time the moon is out at night they will revert to werewolf form and regenerate. I would guess that a very indepth examination of the remains might reveal that something was odd about the body of the supposedly slain person (no decompisition, odd activity at the micro-cellular level, etc.) but nothing that a standard check for signs of life would reveal. The autopsy at the city morgue might be pretty interesting that night.

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

This part was stolen from the old Chill RPG. That system featured a suplement that allowed players to play the part of the evil creatures (vampire' date=' werewolf, ghost or mummy). All of these creatures started off with the classic weaknesses of such creatures. However, the critters could become stronger with experience and buy off some of their weaknesses. For example a vampire could eventually buy off the suseptibility to sunlight (still no powers during the day though). A werewolf could eventually become resistant to even silver bullets, but since all creatures must have a weakness the martyr's blood thing was it. I am not sure where they came up with this idea but then I haven't really researched it that much.[/quote']

 

I suspect they made all of that up.

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

 

I also like that idea that I read somewhere in this thread about how to handle werewolves slain while in their human form. Unless slain with silver the person simply appears dead. The next time the moon is out at night they will revert to werewolf form and regenerate. I would guess that a very indepth examination of the remains might reveal that something was odd about the body of the supposedly slain person (no decompisition, odd activity at the micro-cellular level, etc.) but nothing that a standard check for signs of life would reveal. The autopsy at the city morgue might be pretty interesting that night.

 

Of course, if nights are cloudy for a few days, there might be other problems - I imagine even a werewolf would have trouble digging from a coffin through six feet of dirt before suffocating (or starving, per earlier discussion). Let alone what happens when one is embalmed or cremated! (Maybe that's why there aren't as many werewolves nowadays!)

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Re: Mythos of the Werewolf

 

I was thinking what would happen if you had a daylight Werewolf attack. Sometimes the moon comes up before the sun goes down, or is still up in the morning.

 

Add in busy mall, public square, crowded milieu of choice.

CES

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