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    Default My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    I'm trying to create a number of racial templates for my homebrew world, but because most of the races are rather different I'm having some trouble getting it right. Also, I'm completely new to GURPS.

    Right now I wish to focus on just werewolves. I know there's a werewolf template already, in the GURPS Fantasy book, but it's not at all a fit for my werewolves.

    When I try to create my own template, I seem to end up with a TON of disadvantages and some of them aren't completely to my liking either. I can't get it all right, so I figure I could use some help. A lot, maybe.

    So, here's what I'm trying to get:

    • Werewolves are your classic hybrid wolfman. They have NO shapeshifting ability, they are ALWAYS in this hybrid form.
    • They are strong and tough, but not very smart in general. ST+2, HT+2 and IQ-2 maybe. They are also difficult to kill without silver weapons, which they are vulnerable to. Silver is rare in this world, however. There are certain other things, like wolfbane, which they are also vulnerable to.
    • They have a low technology level compared to the rest of the world, rarely using much in the way of fabricated weapons, armor or other such things.
    • They are rabid beasts driven entirely by an urge to rape and kill. They essentially have no self-control at all when it comes to non-werewolves, and will molest and kill any non-werewolf on sight, unless they are clearly too powerful or too many. Among other werewolves they are little better, usually fighting and killing each other too.
    • They are not, however, completely mindless animals. They do have the ability to speak and learn, and to be "social" among themselves. They are just prone to violent behaviour with little or no provocation, and regard any non-werewolves as nothing but prey.
    • However, in the presence of a powerful leader (probably a werewolf with a particular "Leadership" advantage of some sort), they are able to control themselves and follow orders to carry out elaborate schemes, as long as that leader retains an influence over them at all times. For most such leaders this means they have to be within constant sight to control the horde, while other leaders may be stronger, having a more lasting influence or can control werewolves at a distance maybe through voice. Some leaders can only control a few werewolves, some can control more.
    • Rumour has it that they are completely, or almost completely fearless. They may try to flee if overpowered, because it's the sensible thing to do, but they are not known to respond to intimidation or torture. They do not seem to respond to pain much either.
    • They spread their curse through their bites and claws, but do not control anyone they turn into werewolves, so that would be the Infectious Attack disadvantage rather than the Domination advantage.
    • The world is a dark one, so they have pretty high night vision. Their hearing and sense of smell is also pretty good, though not necessarily exceptional.


    So, that's quite a bit. The biggest problem seems to be their rabid and near-but-not-quite-mindless behaviour, and the fact that this is only when not being controlled by a strong leader. I'm not quite sure how to get that right. It seems like a mix of Bad Temper, Berserk (Battle Rage), Bloodlust, Impulsive and maybe some other disadvantages.

    I can find no advantage corresponding to my vision of a "Strong Leader". It would need some special enhancements and limiations, to specify the strength and limits of each particular leader, such as number of subjects it can control at a time and at what distance or for how long it can stay away from the subjects before they get out of control.

    I suppose whatever disadvantages the werewolves have that make them rabid beasts without self-control would need an Accessibility limitation based on this "Strong Leader" advantage in some way. Also, anyone with the "Strong Leader" advantage would not themselves be rabid and out of control, obviously. Or at the very least would show more self-control.

    It seems like the Fearlessness advantage may not be what I'm looking for exactly, or at least it would have to be extremely high level to fit my vision. High Pain Threshold should be fine, however, they are not immune to pain but somewhat resistant.

    They clearly have both claws and sharp teeth, which is simple enough. The Infectious Attack is also a given. I have given them Acute Hearing 2, Acute Taste and Smell 2, Discriminatory Smell, DR 1 (from their fur), Night Vision 5 (may need to be a little higher, actually), and Temperature Tolerance 1 (from fur).

    As for making them hard to kill, I'm looking at Regeneration (regular) and Unkillable 1 with an Achilles Heel of silver, but I'm not certain.

    I've given them Frightens Animals and Vulnerability (silver x3) as well, since it seems to make sense. They probably would need the Enemies disadvantage too, since the entire world is pretty much out to erase them from memory.

    I'm aiming for a final point cost of 40-50 for a basic werewolf. I figure it'll have so many disadvantages that it'll probably be hard to get it that high, actually. That's my problem, I seem to end up with something totally ridiculous

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    And you want PCs of these?

    As far as a "Strong Leader advantage", have you considered that there would be two separate templates, or a lens for the "pack leader", and have the normal template have a disadvantage instead? Fanaticism to the local pack leader, and maybe a more difficult self-control check on that.

    Then the "Strong Leader advantage" that you want, is instead a lens that costs an amount to drop the Fanaticism, and whatever other changes you see fit.

    ...

    Another thing, that -2 IQ makes them almost unplayable (in a low point game) by itself, unless this will be a heavy combat game. In a high point game, a smart player would buy that off first thing. Try instead figuring out why they would appear to be less intelligent, and giving them disadvantages to represent that. Innumerate, Dyslexia, and Oblivious are good, individually for extreme cases, though it would be cruel to match them up. No Sense of Humor, Racial Fanaticism, and Gullible, make for lesser cases, or all three together for a brand new outlook on life...

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeofDellot View Post
    And you want PCs of these?
    Not necessarily. I'm not planning anything in particular. I imagine most scenarios would have them as enemies, but I can imagine a few scenarios where you might want a party of all werewolves. Can't imagine many situations where you'd have a party of other races, and then one werewolf; that wouldn't work very well without some really strange circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeofDellot View Post
    As far as a "Strong Leader advantage", have you considered that there would be two separate templates, or a lens for the "pack leader", and have the normal template have a disadvantage instead? Fanaticism to the local pack leader, and maybe a more difficult self-control check on that.

    Then the "Strong Leader advantage" that you want, is instead a lens that costs an amount to drop the Fanaticism, and whatever other changes you see fit.
    Hmm. Sounds like it could be what I'm after. I'm not entirely clear on the concept of lenses, though. Can't seem to find a plain explanation of them in the books.

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeofDellot View Post
    Another thing, that -2 IQ makes them almost unplayable (in a low point game) by itself, unless this will be a heavy combat game. In a high point game, a smart player would buy that off first thing. Try instead figuring out why they would appear to be less intelligent, and giving them disadvantages to represent that. Innumerate, Dyslexia, and Oblivious are good, individually for extreme cases, though it would be cruel to match them up. No Sense of Humor, Racial Fanaticism, and Gullible, make for lesser cases, or all three together for a brand new outlook on life...
    Good point. I imagine your run-of-the-mill werewolf would be pretty combat-centric and not very clever, while a pack leader might not have that penalty to IQ and would be more cunning.

    Roughly speaking there are two kinds of werewolves, the regular werewolf and the wendigo. The wendigo is just a particularly old werewolf, who has learned a thing or two about surviving and gained the respect of other werewolves, making it the perfect leader. Most werewolves don't survive very long, after all.

    So if I understand your suggestion regarding lenses, I'd have a standard werewolf template with some disadvantages, and then a wendigo lens to represent an older werewolf acting as pack leader.

    I could add in the distinction between a werewolf born with the curse and one who was not born with the curse (sometimes called a warg in this world), but that might make it too complicated and it's not a very common distinction.
    Last edited by Deadly; 2011-04-07 at 01:41 PM.

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    Yeah, a lens is like a template that modifies another template. In this case it's like a sub-race. Lens are built upon two sections labelled "adds" and "removes" and detailed on page B449 and B454. That's in Basic Set Campaigns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly View Post
    Not necessarily.
    That's a big decision.

    (Take the rest of this post with a grain of salt, but it's what you would be first told on the Steve Jackson Forums.)

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    While I support the concept of building templates (for practice, mostly), you really shouldn't worry too much about racial templates unless you want players to play them.

    Otherwise, and I'm going to hunt down my NPC form, you'll need little more than: Primary attributes (ST, DX, IQ, HT), Secondary Characteristics (HP, Will, Per, FP, Basic Lift, Damage, Speed, and Move), Defenses (Dodge, Block, and Parry), DR (if you use the standard rules, you'll want to have each hit location logged. I don't, so it's just one value). Combat skills and other traits. A bit of equipment, and a general idea of what they can do outside of combat.

    When something else is asked for, remember these benchmarks. A skill default is usually Stat-4 to Stat-6 with a few exceptions, so if they don't have a related skill, roll against Stat-5 (no one will ask questions) unless you actually know the default. 10 is a hobbyist level, someone who knows what they're doing but is inexperienced or otherwise not up to par quite yet. 12 is a professional level* (most of your rolls for nameless NPC, performing within their role should be 12). 14-16 are "heroic" levels, and are reserved for characters that should be described as at least one of the following: Badass, looked up to, threatening and powerful, plot-centric, or genius. Skills above that don't need to come up unless you have good reason to do so.

    If you can keep all that in mind, you can GM anything on the spot. Going through the process of building complete character sheets for NPCs is usually too much work, since the players aren't likely to see them, and you can easily miss things and have to make stuff up on the spot anyways.

    *Outside of adventuring, and in a stress-free or routine environment, characters have a +4 to success rolls. That means a 12 would become a 16, which means a 2% chance of failure, which allows a job to be performed adequately. The new guy might have a lower skill, or just can't claim the +4 yet, while the old veteran and true expert might have higher skill to mitigate difficulty.


    ... Man, it's just been too long since I've played GURPS...
    Last edited by DukeofDellot; 2011-04-07 at 02:33 PM.

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    Ah, found it. Thanks, that does seem like what I need, at least for some part of the problem.

    I don't think it solves my problem of not knowing exactly what disadvantages to give them to represent this kind of rabid, semi-mindless rage, though.

    And still not certain how to handle the "not rabid while under the influence of a pack leader". Do I need to make a custom "Pack Leader" advantage, or is there some other mechanism I can tap into here?

    Other than that, I'm going to give it a shot. I do think I'll make a separation into three after all: wargs (cursed), werewolves (born) and wendigo (pack leader).

    I know I don't really have to do all this work, but I find I really like to do it, even though none of it may ever get used by anyone. I feel it helps me flesh out the world to make these stats, and while I'm new to GURPS I find that it helps me much more than D&D when doing this detailed fleshing out.

    I just got the "brilliant" idea of making lenses even for humans, to represent various cultures and backgrounds. It may not be very useful for others, but I think it is for me. At the very least I get to know GURPS better this way.

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    Ok, this is a very rough version of the basic werewolf, but I figured I should put up something concrete to work with. It only sums up to 18 points, which is too low I think. However, I listed every single disadvantage I thought was even slightly appropriate, so some can probably be removed. Also, some of the disadvantages are going to get some mitigation when the werewolf is in the presence of a pack leader, the details of which I haven't worked out yet.

    The warg template mentioned will probably be a slightly scaled down version.

    Any thoughts on how to improve this beast?

    Werewolf (18 points)
    Attribute Modifiers: ST+2 [20], HT+2 [20]
    Secondary Characteristic Modifiers: FP+2 [6], BS+0.25 [5], TL-1 [-5]
    Advantages: Acute Hearing 2 [4], Acute Taste and Smell 2 [4], Claws (sharp) [5], DR 1 [5], Discriminatory Smell [15], Fearlessness 5 [10], High Pain Threshold [10], Night Vision 6 [6], Penetrating Voice [1], Regeneration (regular) [25], Teeth (sharp) [1], Temperature Tolerance 1 [1], Unkillable 1 (Achilles' Heel: Silver) [45]
    Disadvantages: Bad Temper [-10], Berserk [-10], Bloodlust [-10], Dyslexia [-10], Fanaticism [-15], Frightens Animals [-10], Impulsiveness [-10], Infectious Attack (subject gains the Warg template) [-5], Innumerate [-5], Lecherousness [-15], Dread (Wolfbane; Cannot be Trapped) [-5], Short Lifespan 1 [-10], Social Stigma (Monster) [-15], Uncontrollable Appetite (blood) [-15], Vulnerability (Silver x3) [-15]

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    There's a limitation often used for disadvantages called "Mitigator" on page B112, that allows conditions in which an effect does not take place. This does assume that the condition mitigating the disadvantage is in place more often than not.

    Like a pair of glasses for poor vision, a medication that handles Chronic Depression, or what have you.

    It's typically -60% for a constantly there, but easy to misplace thing, such as proximity to an individual. And you can attach it to all of the traits that would be removed when around a pack leader.


    You might want to simplify the Acute senses into a +2 Perception, since it would cost only [2] more... in some stories werewolves could see better as well... not that I'm trying to shoehorn you into stereotypes, it's just...

    Also, that +2 FP. It's in addition to your +2 HT as currently written, so they get 14 FP before messing with it. Intentional?

    Basic Speed +.25 probably won't matter often. You won't usually notice a difference until you're setting it to a full point.

    I was going to ask about the wolfbane... I guess I didn't realize that was a real world thing. I thought it was made up for DnD... silly me.

    Side Tracked...
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    Further, you mention, sub-races of human. Which comes to an idea of mine that went over well in a game. You could have separate templates for Physiological and Cultural traits. Allowing players to mess with the Cultural traits, if wanted, but not the Physiological.

    In a generic setting, say Winged Elves that have Physiological Flight, that can only be removed by sword (and then could be grown back with magic), but have several racial skills and maybe an intolerance (to mountain Orcs that once hunted them for sport) that wouldn't be included to a Winged Elf that was born from a traveling merchant that died when she was young... rough example...
    Last edited by DukeofDellot; 2011-04-07 at 09:39 PM.

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeofDellot View Post
    There's a limitation often used for disadvantages called "Mitigator" on page B112, that allows conditions in which an effect does not take place. This does assume that the condition mitigating the disadvantage is in place more often than not.

    Like a pair of glasses for poor vision, a medication that handles Chronic Depression, or what have you.

    It's typically -60% for a constantly there, but easy to misplace thing, such as proximity to an individual. And you can attach it to all of the traits that would be removed when around a pack leader.
    As I understand it, Mitigator only officially works with objects or substances, not more generic things or situations. Could just ignore that, of course, but I think Accessibility is a more appropriate limitation for this.

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeofDellot View Post
    You might want to simplify the Acute senses into a +2 Perception, since it would cost only [2] more... in some stories werewolves could see better as well... not that I'm trying to shoehorn you into stereotypes, it's just...
    Hmm. The high night vision may represent improved vision in general, but you're probably right.

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeofDellot View Post
    Also, that +2 FP. It's in addition to your +2 HT as currently written, so they get 14 FP before messing with it. Intentional?
    No, I just added things that seemed appropriate to the concept. I'll remove that FP bonus.

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeofDellot View Post
    Basic Speed +.25 probably won't matter often. You won't usually notice a difference until you're setting it to a full point.
    Raising it by a full point would be mighty expensive for something which isn't meant to be a significant trait. I'll just drop it entirely, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeofDellot View Post
    I was going to ask about the wolfbane... I guess I didn't realize that was a real world thing. I thought it was made up for DnD... silly me.
    Most things in D&D, if not roleplaying in general, is probably modelled on the real world. It's really hard to be truly original

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeofDellot View Post
    Side Tracked...
    Sounds like what I had planned. I'm trying hard to get away from the stereotype of humans being the dominant race, the most adaptable and flexible one, and somehow the base for which all other races derive their stats too.

    As it is, lycanthropes are the dominant race, from which most other races descend in some way or another, including werewolves and humans.

    So I'm giving humans a template like any other race. It'll be a small one, 10-15 points, with only a few traits that all humans share, mainly night vision. And then I have a number of cultural templates or lenses that you can apply in addition, depending on your specific background. Mostly this just affects how severe your social stigma is. In most places humans are at least second-class citizens, if not outright slaves or hunted deviants, for example.

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    Ok, this may need a little tweaking still, but I think it's getting close.

    I managed to increase it to 30 points which I think is quite good. I replaced Basic Speed with Basic Move, raised temperature tolerance, and removed fanaticism.

    I also decided to not make the distinction between werewolves and wargs.

    Werewolf (30 points)
    Attribute Modifiers: ST+2 [20], HT+2 [20]
    Secondary Characteristic Modifiers: Per+2 [10], BM+1 [5], TL-1 [-5]
    Advantages: Claws (sharp) [5], DR 1 [5], Discriminatory Smell [15], Fearlessness 5 [10], High Pain Threshold [10], Night Vision 6 [6], Penetrating Voice [1], Regeneration (regular) [25], Teeth (sharp) [1], Temperature Tolerance (cold) 2 [2], Unkillable 1 (Achilles' Heel: Silver) [45]
    Disadvantages: Bad Temper [-10], Berserk [-10], Bloodlust [-10], Dyslexia [-10], Frightens Animals [-10], Impulsiveness [-10], Infectious Attack (claws and bite) [-5], Innumerate [-5], Lecherousness [-15], Dread (Wolfsbane; Cannot be Trapped) [-5], Short Lifespan 1 [-10], Social Stigma (Monster) [-15], Uncontrollable Appetite (blood) [-15], Vulnerability (Silver x3) [-15]

    And below is the wendigo. I decided to simply give it high Charisma, so that it can just use the Leadership skill to give werewolves a bonus to self-control. This way I don't need to come up with some custom Pack Leader advantage or some such. I think it works.

    Wedigo are not as rabid as werewolves, they've learned to control their rage, but this only makes them callous and sadistic instead. They are fanatic and obsessed, where werewolves are just raging beasts.

    The wendigo lens can only be taken by a werewolf who has reached their first aging threshold (35 years).

    Wendigo (75 points)
    Add: Callous [-5], Charisma 4 (only with werewolves) [15], Fanaticism [-15], Obsession (find a way to return Alsjehra to life) [-10], Regeneration (fast, replaces regular) [25], Sadism [-15], Semi-Upright [-5], Terror (howl) [30]
    Remove: TL-1 [5], Bad Temper [10], Berserk [10], Bloodlust [10], Dyslexia [10], Impulsiveness [10]

    I may make a lighter version of the wendigo, a generic Pack Leader, which does not have the age requirement and doesn't have as high a point cost in return.

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    I like it!

    There are two things, however.

    The Charisma applies only with werewolf... who are fanatics to him. It just seems a little overkill.

    Further, if it's not really a player race, points really don't matter that much. If a player became a werewolf by your decision, you may choose not to charge them. I wouldn't unless it was their choice to become one. Further, challenge is highly independent of points.

    I've found that it's almost independent of numbers in general, but I'll not bore you on that.

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeofDellot View Post
    The Charisma applies only with werewolf... who are fanatics to him. It just seems a little overkill.
    Not sure I follow entirely. Do you mean they would follow orders regardless of Charisma because they are fanatically devoted to any leader? I don't think it has to be that way. Certainly with a particularly respected leader, but that would require building up a reputation over time. And maybe some werewolf decides that he ought to be leader, and so challenges whoever is currently leading. Anything can happen when you're dealing with savage beasts, especially mutiny, which is why the leader has to be assertive and charismatic.

    Quote Originally Posted by DukeofDellot View Post
    Further, if it's not really a player race, points really don't matter that much. If a player became a werewolf by your decision, you may choose not to charge them. I wouldn't unless it was their choice to become one. Further, challenge is highly independent of points.

    I've found that it's almost independent of numbers in general, but I'll not bore you on that.
    It may serve as a player race in some campaigns. I have my hands full at the moment, but I had at least one idea involving a party of werewolf PCs.

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly View Post
    Not sure I follow entirely. Do you mean they would follow orders regardless of Charisma because they are fanatically devoted to any leader?
    That is exactly what the trait is used for.

    Quote Originally Posted by GURPS Basic Set, page 136
    If the object of your Fanaticism demands obedience to a code of behavior or loyalty to a leader, you oblige willingly and unquestioningly.
    It doesn't even allow a self control check. If that is not the case, you would use "Sense of Duty" or "Duty" so that they can go against it if necessary.

    Fanaticism isn't like a soldier serving his country, that's Duty, or like a pirate that follows orders until it's time to mutiny, that's not even a disadvantage. Fanaticism is the guy that runs around saying "God bless America, and nowhere else!" then burns crosses and kills Jews because they're corrupting the homeland, unless the President tells them not to.
    Last edited by DukeofDellot; 2011-04-08 at 03:19 PM.

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    Uhm... but the werewolves don't have Fanaticism anymore, I removed it in that last version.

    Wendigo have Fanaticism, but they do fit the stereotype, and they're the ones pulling the strings, so I do think it makes sense.

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    I guess I missed that... sorry.

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    Default Re: My vision of werewolves, needs help [GURPS 4]

    No problem.

    I think it's pretty good so far, then. Now I just have to struggle with all the other races.

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