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    Default Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Hey there folks. For a long time I was intrigued by the idea of Lycanthropy- the fusion of humanoid and animal bodies, minds, and souls. But different games take a different view on it. Unfortunately, though I would have loved to learn of many systems and how they would approach it, I'm mostly familiar with D&D 3.5 and Pahtfinder. I dislike however their very simplistic view of the condition, and I think it could be made into much more... Though this thread includes some references to these games, it is by no means restricted to them.

    I have long wanted to make a campaign in which Lycanthropy takes a center stage, but more than just one adventure. I want to delve into the psyche, the consequences, origins and implications of this. And as such, I've developed somewhat of a different view of the condition. I would like to share it, and develop it- hear opinions, criticism, different view points, and more. I would also welcome a general discussion about how different people use Lycanthropy in their games, and what they think could be done.

    A bit about my campaign idea and specific themes
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    The game takes place in Eberron's past (Again, no need to be intrically familiar with the setting) in a time just before the Silver Crusade. In different outlying regions, there are rumors and reports of greater amounts of lycanthropes, thoguh at this point it remains mostly a rumor. The PCs, who are a part of the "Special spy ops" organization of a religion called The Silver Flame, are sent to infiltrate a population in the savage lands, and explore the matter.

    To those who know the history, please lets not get into a flame war about The Flame. I wish to represent the Lycanthropic problem as a REAL problem, only one with many facets, many moral dillemas, and no clear and fast answers. A campaign about tough ethical decisions, here and there.

    The region has only 5 civilized settlements, only one of them is quite major, and they are surrounded by great numbers of savage and wild races, the three main ones are numerous gnoll tribes, nomadic shamanistic Centauri, and Ogre lords, who enslaved the local orc population.

    The setting is in some ways a Wild West setting- some civilization, who'se population is hardy and rough, surrounded by wild lands and savagery (Or some it seems on the surface). The series Deadwood is some inspiration.


    The main differences in my view of lycanthropy vs. the D&D one
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    To the best of my understanding, the D&D view assumes that the affliction forces some outside spirit unto the person, that makes him/her change form to an animal, but more importantly (for this discussion)- it also slowly changes the nature and morality of the person (Alignment if you insist, but doesn't have to be), to that of the spirit/ infliction. So in a way, this is a forceful take over, until the person succumbs to the new morals. One thing that I found odd is that certain animal spirits are ALWAYS connected to certain alignments- Wolves are always evil, bears are always good, and so on.

    This is a view that the PCs may believe in at the starts (Though I would tell the players that I've changed the way the affliction works, and also that in the world there is little info of the condition, other than some rumors- only a few concrete facts)

    However, the way I see this is this. The affliction is a sort of a "Call of the wild". Humanoids, in their creation of speech, society, rules, ethics, and basically civilization, have culled their inner instincts, their deeper desires, their primal thoughts and urges. They have domesticated their inner beasts. But the beasts still exist... What if Lycanthropy doesn't force upon you an outside spirit, but just lower your own defenses? Make you more prone to give in to your more base nature? To the wild?

    Most people have had thoughts of violence, of control, of power, of letting loose and not caring, of acting out of line. Most of us start that way, as children, but we grow up, and learn to better control ourselves. What if the control was loosened?

    Or in other words- what if the atrocities a lycanthrope makes are not a compulsion of an outside force, but acting on it's own deeper and wilder desires and judgement? Note that I call this atrocities, since most civilizations would deem them so. But to societies who welcome more basic concepts, such as "rule of the strong" and such that would in fact be welcomed. They might consider it otherwise (As might the lycanthrope after some struggle). They could think of it as "becoming true to on'es nature/ liberating oneself from civilization's shackles/ going back to natural order" and so on. I do not say one or the other is true, but the state it is. In fact- I would love people to suggest various points of view that support both ideas, and explain why! I would like to make this a moral dillema.

    But wait, In this I assume most people's "basic instincts" are savage and wild. Is this true? I would like to portray that there may be a choice even in this- to some people the basic nature is something else entirely, and there could be many different views. But the lure and freedom of power (Plus the benefits of the enhanced animal form) are the greater commodity. On the whole- I would like most lycanthropes to become more savage in nature (Not necessarily action! They can be plenty sophisticated!)- They are a definite danger to civilized people. But, there are some who take a different path, or even manage to not fall to the basic nature, and maintain their more structured and civilized components of their personality as dominant, but these are a small minority.

    I want to create a struggling mechanic more complex than just "roll a will save", which may be dependent on the moons (There are 12 moons in Eberron), but also the actions and roleplay of the character. More on that later. Suffice to say that I wish to portray fighting the affliction as fighting your own deeper nature and instincts, your primal nature.

    Some dilemmas I'd like the party to face:
    - Is the person afflicted responsible for their wrong doing or not? If these are their desires, and not an outside force, are they accountable? What is the limit between sick, and your own decision?
    - If a person is struggling with their affliction- how far can the person be trusted? must he be monitored? Trusted on a case by case basis? Who makes such a choice? Can you restrict/ imprison/ kill a lycanthrope that is struggling? Can you let it be free?
    - How do you deal with the problem of large groups of lycanthropes? They can easily disguise themselves (In the setting I intend to rule that nearly all direct identification methods (Spells and magic items for example) haven't been invented yet. Might be later in the campaign, perhaps by the PCs), and the vast majority of them are either dangerous now, or given time they will fall. But there are some who manage to fight the deeper urges, where do you draw the line, especially considering the possibility of lies, deceit, and direct danger?


    The type of animal bond
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    In D&D, the type of animal you change to depends entirely on the type of were- creature that infected you. Which is... quite boring, and also means that in a certain location all (or nearly all) of the lycanthropes will be of the same kind.

    I was thinking something different, a bit on the likes of the previous point. The affliction carries the potential to be a were-creature, but the type is determined by you, and the role of different animals in the region you are.
    The idea is that if you're a sneaky, quick and panicked person, most likely you'll become a were-rat. If you are a social courageous warrior, than a were wolf, and so on. Personality determines a similar animal. Gaming wise, this also gives certain types the animal benefits most suitable to their role.

    But it's a bit more than that- A crazed sadistic person might also turn into a werewolf. This is due to the "totemic tradition" of the place. Basically- the general beliefs, superstition, folklore and common conceptions the populace of the place might have about a certain kind of animal. If that "totemic type" fits the person, he will become that. Now, this may seem a bit strange, but I wish to connect the underlying "common" conception of the land, the place and population, their deeper beliefs, to tie into this.

    The final form is ideally the person's personality viewed through the sight of cultural belief. If their is a conflict, all the better. I like some complexity. At the end, the form is at both an extension of the person's personality, and also a prism as how the region, the spirit of it's culture sees the person.

    Obviously I'll need more than the basic D&D lycanthropes. One idea is to put one for any of the 12 moons (I discuss them at the end), but I'm still thinking about it.

    Some dilemmas:
    - What does the animal says on a person? Does the same animal means the same thing about different people? I'd like them to face stereotyping, both it's useful aspects (If THOSE people kept attacking us, then when we meet more, we better attack first!) And it's negative aspects (acting against someone who didn't deserve it.)
    - What if an NPC the party care for displays characteristics of a totem spirit that they consider negative? What is an NPC they don't like displays Positive totem spirits?
    - Since they will deal with Lycanthropes quite a bit, there is a good chance that one or more might be afflicted themselves (Though they will have some ways of helping themselves. Not definite, but help). What form would a PC take? what does it says about themselves? What would her fellow PCs think?


    To sum the main view of lycanthropy:

    Lycanthropy is making you MORE- more powerful, more animalistic, more savage, more free, unrestrained, wild, true to yourself, mainly it's MORE YOU.

    The idea is the lycanthropy is on the whole, an untying of your own leash, restraints, and hold ups. Some would say these make us civilized, and able to achieve great things. Some would say it have made use meek, feeble, and afraid. Both are valid...

    That is the main issue. I think it could be interesting to explore. Some other issues and ideas that I would love to explore though, are as follows:

    Origins of Lycanthropy, and other races
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    I want to give Lycanthropy a greater place than just "Magical diseae X". It's not just a flu. I want to make it a force that altered history, changed people. Perhaps today it is not as influential as it was before, but I hope some of it's history will be revealed, and it's importance made clear. "All to fear you moth dear"...

    I'm not yet sure yet where and how it have originated, but my general idea is something on the lines of aan attempt to either "revert to nature" or perhaps... "Return to your true self". Something similar to a sort of a philosophical experiment (Only with some magical applications). I intend to use the various "Savage" races to imply the past of the curse, and it's implications:

    - The Gnoll tribes: A people who in the past fought with the curse, but at some point have decided to accept it, as a whole people. They are in a way- utterly altered were-creatures, who are all gnolls due to their acceptance of a common fate, and common moral. The current form and culture (Of which I'm still working), highly follows their view of the Hyena, though as most things in this campaign, it is not as simple cut and dry as that. I want to make the gnolls more complex, with repeat attempts at some sort of order and a functioning society between them, that often falls to shambles, and the use of force is often the solution. In a way, they represent the complete and utter loss of control, but tryingto regain some.

    - The Centauri: The "horse people" have also come to accept the curse, and join their form with the animal in them, but with their more humaoind form in control. Succeeding this through a deep and more balanced shamanistic belief, focusing on moderation, they have fared "better" (It's different to decide) then the gnolls. Again, their "horse" nature colors their personalities to a great extent, though a lot of complexity and variety exist. They are still quite savage though, and would not deal with most "slef leashed" people easily. They represent learning to live with the curse, to some extent.

    - The ogre lords: I draw the idea for these from the KRynn ogres) In a way these are one of the big riddles of the campaign. Through out the region the party may find remnants of an old civilization. A civilization of an unknown magnificent race, of intelligent, beautiful, sophisticated, gentle and advanced people. However most of the magical items and tools of this culture cannot be activated by anyone except for... ogres. This is one of their main holds in the region (Other than numbers)- They can activate strange and powerful magic items and more, and many others start to trade with them for their services.

    The true story however is that the ogres ARE the remnants of the lost race, who either unleashed the curse (Trying to become more "whole/ in tune with their nature") or have accounted it for some other reason (Not sure yet). The idea is to show the party the depths this can can crumble a civilization.

    - Shifters: Last, but definitely not least, are the shifters (An Eberron race of people who are descendents of lycanthropes, having slight ability to shift, with minor animalistic abilities). They have mostly integrated into society, though they act mostly on it's verges, between civilization and the wild. They will probably pose the biggest complication for the party- It's doubly difficult to identify a Lycanthrope between them (More so since some delve into such heritage), but the superstitions against them will be high. They will probably be the group that dealt "best" (Depends on whom you ask) with lycanthropy, but is still viewed as the main people to blame if something happens. Again- nothing clear cut. Some shifters good, some bad, most vaguely in the middle.

    I'd appreciate more ideas, thoughts and concepts, mostly as to the curse' origin, significance, and such.


    Lycanthropy as a disease, a spreading phenomenon.
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    As the condition can be transferred by bites, and as it puts an unwanted (Though perhaps wanted) state on the person, it can be considered as a disease. In the setting, it slowly becomes evident that the disease is spreading, and faster than would have been expected.

    This calls for the PCs to act. But the only known way to combat Lycanthropy that hs progressed beyond it's initial stages (in this campaign), in a permanent matter, is to kill the lycanthrope. But lycanthropes aren't easy to find out. Will the PCs use collateral methods to deal with the danger, or will they nit pick, but thus expose potentially more victims?

    The concept I want to deliver is that of an actual, fast spreading, highly concealable (Again, no easy to use magic items or spells for finding), and highly dangerous plague, with a lot of opinions surrounding it, and a lot of lack of information or misinformation. Tough choices. In a way, as Lycanthropy tests the nature of those who are afflicted by it, I want it to test the nature of those who fight it as well. What atrocities (Again, depends on who you'll ask) Will one do to fight the atrocities of the disease? What is the great evil? Where do you draw the line? Being too soft hearted can cost many lives as well...

    Again, I'm not saying what is wrong or right (There probably won't be a simple answer), but I'd like to challenge my players with it. I think Lycanthropy might be very suitable to cause such a tension.

    Spreading not just by bite
    The history suggested that Lycanthropy at this time spread faster than just by bites. I'd like to play to that, and have there be some other way for it to spread. Having it spread only by bite means that if someone controls himself, then he is safe, right? If he doesn't bite anyone, then no hram can be done...

    But what if people get afflicted some other way? The person's proximity is needed, but no direct touch is required. Though it may not spread directly like a plague, it is still fast enough, and evident.

    I still don't have an idea of how it spreads, but the idea intrigues me. I hope for it to be a mystery for quite some time, with the PCs looking for solutions. I'd quite appreciate ideas for this, I'd like to make this not conventional, and certainly not by any real world medical theories. I'm leaning towards something in the personality, life conditions or events of the person, or of connections between people.

    But until The answer (and possible solution, there doesn't have to be one) is found out- what will the PCs do with likeable NPCs, who can control themselves, but still spread the disease? Can they even prove it was them? Are they accountable for someone else contacting it? For their behaviour? Will the person have to move to the wild? To become a loner?


    The role of the Moons
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    This has always intrigued me. The connection between the night, the moon and lycanthropes. In Eberron it becomes more complicated due to having 12 moons, which means that most night there is (At least!) one full moon up.

    But Eberron aside, the mysticism of the moon is quite intriguing. Why is it then that a person changes form to something else, and how to try and tie it with my idea? I'm not sure. First I thought it was because of darkness, and the ability to becoming "more yourself" when you are not seen, but it's a FULL moon, which is a bit contrary. You'd have expected it to be on a moonless night. Perhaps the moon is a sort of a focus? Or a softer light, by which you can see other things than in the sun? Perhaps because the moons' light enable shadows, and shadows are producs of what is hidden from the light, given shape?

    In short I'm shooting ideas here, so I'm not sure. Would love any ideas. In Eberron each moon is tied to a certain concept, and theme, so I'm thinking that different moons may pull a lycanthrope towards different places in their personality? Different Lycanthropes might favor different moons, same as with their animal form, thus they may be more (Or only?) affected by that sort of a moon. Different moons might give different mechanical benefits perhaps? Again, storming ideas.

    The link above has a connection to a "planes, months and moons" tool, which enables printing moon tables for whatever date you want! Handy for such a campaign!


    ----------------------------------------
    Ok, if you've read so far, thank you, I know it's a long read. But I think it is worthy of discussion. Again- not just my idea, but anything on the subject really. Thanks in advance,
    Kol.
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2014-02-12 at 10:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Reminds me a lot of Moffat's miniseries Jekyll, actually--and you can certainly draw on the Jekyll/Hyde story for some inspiration. The notion, for example, that it makes you more you, but without the developed rationality or boundaries which give it a good and wholesome shape.

    The game Tenra Bansho Zero has the concept of an "asura", which is a hero who is so warped by the things that they value and treasure that they become evil for the sake of those things. This is the character who cares about someone so much that they would destroy that person before anyone else can hurt them. This reminds me a lot of that as well.

    So, some stuff you might want to chew over and consider.
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Wow. That's a lot you've got there.

    First off, I like the idea you've got for lycanthropy. Instead of it being "Okay, you're infected, now you're being taken over by a savage wolf," it's more, "Now you're exposed, and the 'real you' will start to emerge." It's more like an animal aspect of the existing personality than the person changing to accommodate an animal aspect. I like it.

    Now, on to some of your questions.

    As to the origins of the curse, I see several ways you could go about it.

    1. There is a nature deity or chaos deity who has imposed the curse, as a response to the over-civilization of the world. There was originally supposed to be a balance between civilization and wilderness, and now that the balance has been disrupted, the curse will be used to un-civilize people by peeling back the veneer of society that most wear like a mask.

    2. This is the original design. It's not a curse, it's the natural state; rather, civilization is the real curse. Long ago, somebody made some kind of pact with some sort of Lawful entity or cast some sort of spell, resulting in many races becoming civilized. The "curse" of lycanthropy is, in fact, a sort of communicable antibody, an effect which allows civilized races to reject the ancient curse of civilization that's been passed down for centuries. Races like Gnolls and Centaurs are in fact in their truly natural state, having long ago overcome the affliction which still hangs over the civilized races. (As an illustration of this, consider the "Curse of Flesh" from the Warcraft setting, which long ago changed Dwarves and Gnomes from their original stone/metallic forms to their modern fleshy forms.)

    3. There is a god of civilization or something like that. That god is sick and/or dying. Its pains and illness are resulting in disruptions in civilization. The curse of lycanthropy is a direct result of the wracking pains of the deity. What's more, there is feedback; as society erodes, the deity becomes weaker; as the deity weakens, the curse becomes more prevalent; as the curse spreads, society erodes. If the PCs cannot find a way to heal a dying deity, they may face not only the spread of lycanthropy, but the near-total destruction of civilization as they know it.

    I also like the idea of using multiple moons. Since there are multiple manifestations of this definition of lycanthropy (Gnolls and Centaur, who are naturally fully-savage-formed, lycanthropes of various stripes and personalities, and Shifters), there are many ways that the moons could impact them, and do so in different ways. Some may force the shift, others may suppress it, others may cause personality tendencies to manifest without forcing a shift, others may cause a partial shift (e.g. certain animal features), others may cause effects only for certain types of lycanthropes... I like the complexity it offers.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Look into WOD's Werewolf: The Apocalypse.

    It's a different take on lycanthropes from D&D. To me it seems like you're trying to come up with something between the two. It should give you a good alternate perspective.

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    This sounds neat. Of course, the nature of this particular affliction makes it seem, as one might put it, Intelligently Designed. I know Eberron doesn't have gods in the conventional sense but this particular strain of lycanthropy might have been spawned or unleashed by some powerful being that in general opposes "polite society" in general. The fey, maybe. I dunno, I'm not an expert on Eberron.
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    You really don't need to worry too much about Shifters. Based on the time period you have set, they won't show up for a couple hundred years.

    Shifters are the result of natural lycanthropes breeding true after a long time. Instead of a (werewolf/elf + werewolf/human = werewolf/half-elf), it would instead be (werewolf/elf + werewolf/human = shifter) and (shifter + shifter = shifter).
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    perhaps, for the spreading, you could have the presence of a were-beast corrupt the soil/water/etc, and anyone who eats of the harvest becomes infected. Kind of like the Plague of Undeath in World of Warcraft, but instead of 1 hp zombies, you get werewolves.

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Recommended reading: Lois McMaster Bujold, "The Hallowed Hunt".
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    TL;DR version: animal spirits are blended with human souls in a magical rite of some description, and the human takes on some of the abilities and properties of the animal. The "disease" is purely spiritual, not biological - you can't catch it by blood or other physical means. The church takes a dim view of this and insists that the animal spirit be "bound" so that the human can't access it (or be influenced by it.

    However, this attitude is a legacy of a past time when the presently-dominant culture was at war with an older one where everyone would bond with various animals. Turns out, the gods themselves are a bit more open-minded about it. They have bigger things to worry about.

    Being a lycanthrope should be fun, as well as a great plot hook.
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Recommended reading: Lois McMaster Bujold, "The Hallowed Hunt".

    TL;DR version: animal spirits are blended with human souls in a magical rite of some description, and the human takes on some of the abilities and properties of the animal. The "disease" is purely spiritual, not biological - you can't catch it by blood or other physical means. The church takes a dim view of this and insists that the animal spirit be "bound" so that the human can't access it (or be influenced by it.

    However, this attitude is a legacy of a past time when the presently-dominant culture was at war with an older one where everyone would bond with various animals. Turns out, the gods themselves are a bit more open-minded about it. They have bigger things to worry about.[/spoiler]
    Being a lycanthrope should be fun, as well as a great plot hook.
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leviting View Post
    Like a hagraven from Skyrim?
    Not really, no. As far as I can tell, hagravens are just exceptionally ugly women with a few feathers tacked on. I haven't seen any sign that they have any other "properties" of the raven in any meaningful way...
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    The suggestion that lycanthropy represents the original contition of mankind, before we became civilized and degenarate reminded me of this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Beyond the Black River, by Robert E. Howard
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    No sound came from behind them. They had covered more than a mile when
    Balthus said: "Does Zogar Sag catch leopard cubs and train them for
    bloodhounds?"

    Conan shook his head. "That was a leopard he called out of the woods."

    "But," Balthus persisted, "if he can order the beasts to do his
    bidding, why doesn't he rouse them all and have them after us? The
    forest is full of leopards; why send only one after us?"

    Conan did not reply for a space, and when he did it was with a curious
    reticence.

    "He can't command all the animals. Only such as remember Jhebbal Sag."

    "Jhebbal Sag?" Balthus repeated the ancient name hesitantly. He had
    never heard it spoken more than three or four times in his whole life.

    "Once all living things worshipped him. That was long ago, when beasts
    and men spoke one language. Men have forgotten him; even the beasts
    forget. Only a few remember. The men who remember Jhebbal Sag and the
    beasts who remember are brothers and speak the same tongue."

    ...

    Conan turned, squatted and with his knife began scratching a curious
    symbol in the mold. Stooping to look at it over his shoulder, Balthus
    felt a crawling of the flesh along his spine, he knew not why. He felt
    no wind against his face, but there was a rustling of leaves above
    them and a weird moaning swept ghostily through the branches. Conan
    glanced up inscrutably, then rose and stood staring somberly down at
    the symbol he had drawn.

    "What is it?" whispered Balthus. It looked archaic and meaningless to
    him. He supposed that it was his ignorance of artistry which prevented
    his identifying it as one of the conventional designs of some
    prevailing culture. But had he been the most erudite artist in the
    world, he would have been no nearer the solution.

    "I saw it carved in the rock of a cave no human had visited for a
    million years," muttered Conan, "in the uninhabited mountains beyond
    the Sea of Vilayet, half a world away from this spot. Later I saw a
    black witch-finder of Kush scratch it in the sand of a nameless river.
    He told me part of its meaning--it's sacred to Jhebbal Sag and the
    creatures which worship him. Watch!"
    http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600741.txt

    Maybe you could use something like that - lycanthropes are the people who still remember Jhebbal Sag (or your setting's equivilent).

    Or maybe even they are children of Jhebbal Sag.

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by malmblad View Post
    Look into WOD's Werewolf: The Apocalypse.

    It's a different take on lycanthropes from D&D. To me it seems like you're trying to come up with something between the two. It should give you a good alternate perspective.
    I was actually going to suggest Werewolf: the Forsaken. I like it better, and the blending of spirit and flesh is a great theme, and the power level is a bit more on par with "standard" D&D, in my opinion.

    Of course, different people different tastes . Perhaps the OP should check them both out!


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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Not really, no. As far as I can tell, hagravens are just exceptionally ugly women with a few feathers tacked on. I haven't seen any sign that they have any other "properties" of the raven in any meaningful way...
    they have claws(which can be harvested), but otherwise, your're right. Whoops.

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    In my own setting Lycanthropes believe in the spirit of the beast. For a natural lycanthrope they are the spirit of the beast. It is not a separate entity but like their inner child it is simply a facet of themselves.

    When your bitten by a lycanthrope a part of that spirit touches you and awakens something primal inside. But you weren't born with this power so the beast instead of existing in unity and harmony becomes a separate entity.

    The reason werewolves and rats tend towards evil is because the original members spread the curse as a weapon. Because they are evil and their attacks vicious they breed evil lycanthropes.

    Non-evil lycanthropes tend to result from those who willfully become infected or are infected by accident. If your alignment matches the lycanthrope who infected you then its possible you could find harmony and join with the spirit of the beast becoming one being.

    But for most lycanthropy erodes your personality until only the beast remains. Many believe this effectively kills their soul as everything they were is now gone. Because of this the act of willfully infecting someone with lycanthropy is almost always an evil act. And as an act of evil it can corrupt the spirit creating an evil lycanthrope even if the sire was good aligned or neutral.
    Nale is no more, he has ceased to be, his hit points have dropped to negative ten, all he was is now dust in the wind, he is not Daniel Jackson dead, he is not Kenny dead, he is final dead, he will not pass through death's revolving door, his fate will not be undone because the executives renewed his show for another season. His time had run out, his string of fate has been cut, the blood on the knife has been wiped. He is an Ex-Nale! Now can we please resume watching the Order save the world.

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    On transmission and infection.

    I'd say that its would be far, far more contagious in animal form than a human one. Methods of transmission would be things like contaminated water, and fluid transfer like certain blood rites or sexual transmissions.

    I think that when you get infected it gives you a kind of high fever and delirium. If you resist it you remain as you are but if you succumb them you become a lycanthrope. If you really succumb you loose your humanity and end up like the gnolls.

    When you get it you are a carrier. It doesn't just go away. The fever and the risk of succumbing to the beast can come back if you immune system is suppressed, if you are ill or injured.

    I would say that the gnolls, centaurs and orgres all used to be indigenous tribes of humans/near humans. The first settlers brought the lycanthropy with them and it ripped through the indigenous natives like a plague; destroying them and birthing the new races.
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    In my setting, humanoid-animal shapeshifters are actually more or less regular people possessed by an animal-spirit. The spirit does not take over the body, but rather lends its powers to the person, who has some amount of control over how much that spirit essence affects his body and mind.
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Hey folks! Thanks for the replies and start of a discussion. I apologize for answering so late, RL was quite hectic and I didn't have the time for a better formed response. I got some time now, and hoped to answers some stuff, and discuss others.

    By general subject:

    Nature of lycanthropy (and other sources

    Originally by CarpeGuitarrem:
    ... Moffat's miniseries Jekyll ...you can certainly draw on the Jekyll/Hyde story for some inspiration...

    ...The game Tenra Bansho Zero has the concept of an "asura", which is a hero who is so warped by the things that they value and treasure that they become evil for the sake of those things...
    Hmmm... These are some interesting inspirations. I am somewhat familiar with the story of Jekyll and Hyde, but not too well. I will need to read more about it. I want however to represent the bestial/ wild side as valid from a certain point of view. I wish to make both the cilivized and the wild side seem to... "have a point", and that people could see the appela and the view point. But I do like the fact that it's basically the same person.

    If I may draw from a comic inspiration, a bit like Bruce Banner and the hulk. Only that some people might choose to remain the hulk, and it has a certain appeal and push. It's not a perfect comparison, but on those lines. I like the inner struggle with yourself, with what YOU are capable of doing, given "freedom".

    As to the Asura concept, I do not know of it, it may be interesting to learn more about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by malmblad View Post
    I know somewhat of the Garou (I'm no expert), and though it's quite an interesting take on lycanthropy (And they do an amazing job making all the awesome flavor for it!) It's quite opposite of what I'm trying to make- the Garou are at peace with their "inner wolf", and they are almost always in control, and see no duality, no struggle from the nature of their curse.

    I want the struggle, the debate, I want it to be about a personal choice, personal freedom, and personal price (Or not so personal) Whatever you choose to do.

    But I may draw some inspiration fro mthe way they do things. The codes and tribes may prove a base for some loose Lycantropes tribes, as I do wish SOME sort of organization, for some of them. They can cooperate. The question is- for what goal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Absol197 View Post
    I was actually going to suggest Werewolf: the Forsaken.

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    The Forsaken? Them I do not know. I may need to do some reading. Any major differences between them and "the apocalypse" version?

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Recommended reading: Lois McMaster Bujold, "The Hallowed Hunt".
    Spoiler
    Show

    TL;DR version: animal spirits are blended with human souls in a magical rite of some description, and the human takes on some of the abilities and properties of the animal. The "disease" is purely spiritual, not biological - you can't catch it by blood or other physical means. The church takes a dim view of this and insists that the animal spirit be "bound" so that the human can't access it (or be influenced by it.

    However, this attitude is a legacy of a past time when the presently-dominant culture was at war with an older one where everyone would bond with various animals. Turns out, the gods themselves are a bit more open-minded about it. They have bigger things to worry about.

    Being a lycanthrope should be fun, as well as a great plot hook.
    and
    Originally by Yora:
    In my setting, humanoid-animal shapeshifters are actually more or less regular people possessed by an animal-spirit. The spirit does not take over the body, but rather lends its powers to the person, who has some amount of control over how much that spirit essence affects his body and mind.
    Hmmmm... Depends on what you're trying to achieve. For a game where the characters wish to play "animal-people", yeah, it sounds quite awesome.

    In my game however the PCs aren't lycanthropes, but rather people who investigate them, their mysteries, and try to stop a possible plague, which is hard to pin down, and it's eradication may call for many "gray area" decisions. I know it's not everyone's idea of fun, But I think it might be for our group.

    But all versions of fun and lycanthropacy are welcome! Bring them on!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    In my own setting Lycanthropes believe in the spirit of the beast. For a natural lycanthrope they are the spirit of the beast. It is not a separate entity but like their inner child it is simply a facet of themselves....

    ...But for most lycanthropy erodes your personality until only the beast remains. Many believe this effectively kills their soul as everything they were is now gone. Because of this the act of willfully infecting someone with lycanthropy is almost always an evil act. And as an act of evil it can corrupt the spirit creating an evil lycanthrope even if the sire was good aligned or neutral.
    Hmmm... it is an interesting idea. I like the idea of "A True Lycanthrope". A state which differs from the infected ones. It can add further aspects and dimensions to the Lycanthropic condition. Are they "balanced" And can act as a civilized person do? Or are they inherently wilder? Do they differ only in power from "normies", or is their personalities and character also different/ a bit alien? I'd love to make them feel as something quite... different, but I don't know what exactly.

    I also like the idea that of the animal spirit being possibly beneficial, or destructive, depending on whether you've learned to live with it from the start, or your force of will. In my concept I don't quite use animal spirits, but rather enhance quite a lot the wild unrestrained side of one's personality. How can this be intereprted by those terms? Perhaps a True Lycanthrope (Haven't decided what that is yet) is swamped by strong emotions from early on. Most of them easily succomb to it (Become monstrous beasts of some sort?) But some manage to grow over it, and control their raging urges and wants.

    A bit like, if I may burrow from the Avenger's film this time: Bruce Banner- "You want to know my secret- I'm always angry." (And transform). THe true lycanthropes, those who survive develop a supreme measure of control over themselves.

    Hmmm.. Just had an idea- It would be interesting to add some sort of a mostly forgotten monastic order, (Not necessarily the class, but the flavor) built by some true lycanthrope a long time ago to teach others like him the way to control their "inner beasts". This could be accessed possibly by PCs who were afflicted, if they manage to find it/ hear about it? It also adds a lot to the flavor, mystery and place of lycanthropy in such a game, I think. Hmmm, the shifters might practice some of the principles of such a mystic way, as part of their daily livings. Hmmm... I like the idea A LOT! Thanks a bunch!


    Origin of Lycanthropy
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post

    As to the origins of the curse, I see several ways you could go about it.

    1. There is a nature deity or chaos deity who has imposed the curse, as a response to the over-civilization of the world.

    2. This is the original design. It's not a curse, it's the natural state; rather, civilization is the real curse... The "curse" of lycanthropy is, in fact, a sort of communicable antibody... Races like Gnolls and Centaurs are in fact in their truly natural state, having long ago overcome the affliction which still hangs over the civilized races....Curse of Flesh from the Warcraft setting

    3. There is a god of civilization or something like that. That god is sick and/or dying...
    Most of your ideas touch on religion and deities. And in a way they are awesome interpretations by the various religions, beliefs and such of what it's all about. I'll definitely integrate these into the game, they fit very nicely. However, In Eberron the existence of the gods, while people believe in them, there is no proof. It's quite like in our world- There are complex and rich religions, but no actual "acts of gods" that are known in the modern age (The divine casters' spells come from their own faith, no proof exist that it comes fro ma god). The gods are theory, or belief.

    Which is excellent for my game, since it means that these things can be left vague, with no clear and irrefutable answer, and given to interpretation and... choice of belief. When the plague makes itself more and more apparent, some will say civilization is failing, and to protect it, some will embrace "the true nature", and so on...

    It would be interesting to point out that the wo biggest religions in the setting, and this particular area, are two pantheons- one of the civilized gods, and another of the wild gods. So this would fit VERY well with their concepts.

    I also like the idea of using multiple moons.... I like the complexity it offers.
    I like them too. I think deciphering the secrets of the moons and their interactions could be an interesting puzzle indeed. One idea is that the common themes of the moons are those used by the civilized races, while they may have different names, meanings and affects by the wilder races, and religions.

    I think this could fit very nicely with the Shifter race. A major component of their religion and culture revolves around the moons. I think that a main part of their "balance" would be "balancing the moons" by some sort of rituals, behaviors and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Smeagle View Post
    particular strain of lycanthropy might have been spawned or unleashed by some powerful being that in general opposes "polite society" in general. The fey, maybe. I dunno, I'm not an expert on Eberron.
    The Fey! Of course! They fit so interestingly with this! I think that maybe they won't be the creators of this curse, they may have a big hand in it's making, and perhaps... twisting it. The fey represent the wild, so they might as well have some serious stake in this. I think that perhaps uncovering some of the secrets of this mystery will require dealing with some sort of fey population (Minor court or something). This could be a great element of the campaign. Good call!

    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Maybe you could use something like that - lycanthropes are the people who still remember Jhebbal Sag (or your setting's equivilent).

    Or maybe even they are children of Jhebbal Sag.
    This sound intriguing. Can you give me a brief explanation of who this Jhebbal Sag is? This sounds interesting... I will try and look it up later, but I don't have that much time.

    Infection and spread
    Quote Originally Posted by Leviting View Post
    perhaps, for the spreading, you could have the presence of a were-beast corrupt the soil/water/etc, and anyone who eats of the harvest becomes infected. Kind of like the Plague of Undeath in World of Warcraft, but instead of 1 hp zombies, you get werewolves.
    I never played WOW. Can you explain better, and how it could apply to my game? Making the land a sort of a living thing that can be infected may be... intriguing...

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    On transmission and infection.

    I'd say that its would be far, far more contagious in animal form than a human one. Methods of transmission would be things like contaminated water, and fluid transfer like certain blood rites or sexual transmissions.

    I think that when you get infected it gives you a kind of high fever and delirium. If you resist it you remain as you are but if you succumb them you become a lycanthrope. If you really succumb you loose your humanity and end up like the gnolls.

    When you get it you are a carrier. It doesn't just go away. The fever and the risk of succumbing to the beast can come back if you immune system is suppressed, if you are ill or injured.

    I would say that the gnolls, centaurs and orgres all used to be indigenous tribes of humans/near humans. The first settlers brought the lycanthropy with them and it ripped through the indigenous natives like a plague; destroying them and birthing the new races.
    Hmmm.. I like the start of your post, as I like the idea of ritual, and emotionally charged actions. But the rest sounds a bit too much like an infectious disease. I'd like to make it something a bit more... mystic. Not transferred by vectors, but more by... I don't quite know.

    I'd love to discuss ideas of how to make it happen.

    Races and lycanthropy
    Quote Originally Posted by illyahr View Post
    You really don't need to worry too much about Shifters. Based on the time period you have set, they won't show up for a couple hundred years.

    Shifters are the result of natural lycanthropes breeding true after a long time. Instead of a (werewolf/elf + werewolf/human = werewolf/half-elf), it would instead be (werewolf/elf + werewolf/human = shifter) and (shifter + shifter = shifter).
    Actually, In the silver crusade quite a lot of shifters have been persecuted, massacred, and many have fled, or instead joined the Silver Flame and helped fight lycanthropes "proving" their innocence. Shifters were allready a race by the time ofthe silver crusade. They are not a wholly new race in the world.

    Their unique place between civilization and the "normal" races to the wild races, and their close proximity to the lycanthropic heritage puts them in a very pivotal place in such a campaign.

    -----------------------------

    Thank you all for responding, and again- I apologize for the late response. I'd love to discuss this some more! Would you?

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Infection and spread

    ...I never played WOW. Can you explain better, and how it could apply to my game? Making the land a sort of a living thing that can be infected may be... intriguing... ....
    Well, In WoW, I don't remember the ground itself ever being infected, though there is a dungeon called the "Culling of Stratholme" I believe, where you travel back in time and witness a paladin(Arthas Menethil) begin the massacre of a city because the people ate infected wheat. They turn into zombies throughout the dungeon. He doesn't stay a paladin much longer.

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Not "infections" per say then.

    In ancient times people believed that illnesses where caused by fairies. They thought that neolithic arrowheads where "elfshot", arrows shot by elves to cause sickness.

    What if lycanthropy vector it was a kind of catalyst rather than a virus.

    Imagine the beast spirit is not an alien spirit possessing your body. Its a shadow spirit; your moonlit shadow projected onto the feywild. The moonlight acts as a mirror; a kind portal that allows the beast spirit to step though your soul and into your body.

    The spirit can do more than just turn you into a beast; you don't even have to be a lycantrope. If you know what you are doing it can be your guide and advisory; it can lend you some of its abilities and if your spirit travels to the feywild it takes the beasts form.

    For transmission here are some mystic concepts:

    A curse; you get some part of them and their name and together with the blood of a lycanthrope you magical curse them.

    Scarification; As a kind of tribal initiation ceremony.

    Herogamos: High holy rites; nuff said.
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Actually, In the silver crusade quite a lot of shifters have been persecuted, massacred, and many have fled, or instead joined the Silver Flame and helped fight lycanthropes "proving" their innocence. Shifters were already a race by the time of the silver crusade. They are not a wholly new race in the world.

    Their unique place between civilization and the "normal" races to the wild races, and their close proximity to the lycanthropic heritage puts them in a very pivotal place in such a campaign.
    Hmm, I guess I'm a little rusty on my lore.

    Not to say you have to play it that way. It's your campaign after all.
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Hmmm... it is an interesting idea. I like the idea of "A True Lycanthrope". A state which differs from the infected ones. It can add further aspects and dimensions to the Lycanthropic condition. Are they "balanced" And can act as a civilized person do? Or are they inherently wilder? Do they differ only in power from "normies", or is their personalities and character also different/ a bit alien? I'd love to make them feel as something quite... different, but I don't know what exactly.
    They're always a bit wilder a Were, tiger, bear, wolf etc is going to have the desire to run through the wilds and hunt for prey. So staying in the big city would be a little like keeping a big active dog in a tiny apartment. Wererats are of course an exception and prefer large urban communities where they can feed their animal vice to horde objects.

    On the other hand being completely removed from human contact has the same negative psychological effects as it does for normal people but worse. A human who goes years in the wilderness without human contact tends to go a little feral. For someone who can turn into an animal the effects are even more pronounced.

    So they tend to live in or near small towns and villages where they can satisfy their human need to socialize and their animal need to run through the wilds. They can blend into small communities of "civilized folk" but are always a bit different then them.

    Some lycanthropes also form there own communities deep in the wilds where they are free to shift between animal and human form at their leisure and have no fear of persecution. Woe to the Orc tribe who discovers the peaceful farming village
    Nale is no more, he has ceased to be, his hit points have dropped to negative ten, all he was is now dust in the wind, he is not Daniel Jackson dead, he is not Kenny dead, he is final dead, he will not pass through death's revolving door, his fate will not be undone because the executives renewed his show for another season. His time had run out, his string of fate has been cut, the blood on the knife has been wiped. He is an Ex-Nale! Now can we please resume watching the Order save the world.

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Not "infections" per say then.

    In ancient times people believed that illnesses where caused by fairies. They thought that neolithic arrowheads where "elfshot", arrows shot by elves to cause sickness.

    What if lycanthropy vector it was a kind of catalyst rather than a virus.

    Imagine the beast spirit is not an alien spirit possessing your body. Its a shadow spirit; your moonlit shadow projected onto the feywild. The moonlight acts as a mirror; a kind portal that allows the beast spirit to step though your soul and into your body.

    The spirit can do more than just turn you into a beast; you don't even have to be a lycantrope. If you know what you are doing it can be your guide and advisory; it can lend you some of its abilities and if your spirit travels to the feywild it takes the beasts form.

    For transmission here are some mystic concepts:

    A curse; you get some part of them and their name and together with the blood of a lycanthrope you magical curse them.

    Scarification; As a kind of tribal initiation ceremony.

    Herogamos: High holy rites; nuff said.
    Hmmmm... I like the idea of the moons acting as some sort of a catalyst. In my concept the curse doesn't bestow upon you an animal/ beast spirit, but rather increases your own more primal and instinctual parts. But having another form of magic, perhaps tied to the wild world (In Eberron there is a wild plane called Lamania, which is the source of most things natural and untamed) can be quite interesting. It can be another aspect of the lycanthropic tradition, culture and mystery.

    This kind of magic might enable somehow to make a different kind of transmission. In fact this kind of ancient magic can work quite nicely to explain why it happens NOW, and not before.

    However, I lack the details of such a transfer. I like the idea that it has something to do with the expression of powerful emotions, powerful acts. (One of my ideas is that a traveling show can unwittingly become such a source, or a drug that elicits great ecstasy, or such, still working on it.)

    I like some of the other ideas as well- Scarification is already a part of Gnoll culture. A few of the shamans can make new lycanthropes with it. Possibly some other rituals as well, like the Voodoo rituals you suggested.

    I don't know what herogamos is, but I like hte idea that there are some special sites that can cause lycanthropy, perhaps under special circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Vukodlak View Post
    They're always a bit wilder a Were, tiger, bear, wolf etc is going to have the desire to run through the wilds and hunt for prey. So staying in the big city would be a little like keeping a big active dog in a tiny apartment. Wererats are of course an exception and prefer large urban communities where they can feed their animal vice to horde objects.

    On the other hand being completely removed from human contact has the same negative psychological effects as it does for normal people but worse. A human who goes years in the wilderness without human contact tends to go a little feral. For someone who can turn into an animal the effects are even more pronounced.

    So they tend to live in or near small towns and villages where they can satisfy their human need to socialize and their animal need to run through the wilds. They can blend into small communities of "civilized folk" but are always a bit different then them.

    Some lycanthropes also form there own communities deep in the wilds where they are free to shift between animal and human form at their leisure and have no fear of persecution. Woe to the Orc tribe who discovers the peaceful farming village
    Hmmm.. this is interesting. I like the role that the true lycanthropes come to take in society, on it's outskirts. This can lead to quite a bit of ambiguous exploration. The lonely hunter who lives near the village, in the woods. People say that he hunts like no one can! Is he a were creature, or just someone with good skill?

    I do however wish to make something about them, about their psyche and outlook... different, from both other lycanthropes, and from shifters. Something that makes their outlook of the world... fundamentally different if possible. I'll need to think more of this.

    This is good stuff! Thanks!
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2014-02-20 at 02:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Hierosgamos

    My thought is that lycanthropy is part of the primal nature of the spirit taking over in extreme scenarios. Its a desperation flight or fight response enabled by a mystic catylist. The first time you transform imprints on you what you become here after.

    So say you are facing a terrible foe and you need great strength you might become a bear.

    Say you are driven by vengeance and you are hunting your target you might become a hawk.

    You are driven by terror and need to flee you might become a dear.


    so on and so forth
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Hmmm.. I was thinking mostly that the type of animal you turn into depends on what sort of personality you might have. But what you suggest can be made into an interesting twist- Once you're infected, the primal force in you, your "inner wild you" manifests depends on the choices and situations you go through, perhaps on the next full moon/s or such. A sort of an unintended "test of character", that determines the form of animal you take?

    Hmmmm...

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    It sounds awesome, however...

    We're wolves. Wolves are highly social animals, with pack of wolves being the norm, and lone wolves the exception.

    Let's take a tiger, he is territorial and a loner (barely standing another of his own species enough to reproduce)

    So, we could make loners, proud people, etc... Turn more into werecats.

    But they're not unrelated to the group, to their species, they are a part that decided to separate themselves from the group. They are lone wolves.

    My two cents.

    Also, I think we need four things, a source, a taint, a catalyst, and a trigger.

    The source is easy, and some very good examples were given. To that, their must be an echo, something in the soul or the mind of the subject which echos to the source.

    Lycanthropy is becoming a beast, beasts have exactly two edges on evolved arboreals, and it's being better at sensing things and killing empty handed.

    Lycans, themselves, add one more edge, they're frigging hard to kill.

    So, someone in dire need in one of those three attributes would be susceptible to lycanthropy.

    The catalyst part is tricky. I think an easy mistake to make is having it happen too fast, almost skipping it entirely in favor of the trigger. The subject must distance himself from "common humanity (or whatever meta-human race he belongs to)", he must become weird, start sensing things others don't, feel calls unheard by the masses, feel a surge from deep within him, ready to burst out. Ironically, it could be something that weakens the future werewolf, as his body/mind/sanity/soul resists the change and makes him become ill.

    Then the trigger. It can't just be battle, if the desire for "killing empty handed" attribute is the prevailing one, then it does not represent, or yearn for, victory in battle. It's source powerlessness. And rage at said powerlessness. In other words, the empty handed part is the important part, not the killing. It can be mental. A soldier who sees his rapport torn down before him by his commanding officer and ignoring it, endangering his comrades, might feel a powerlessness and rage sufficient for him to shift. Or being dissed by his step-mother.

    For the "tracking" attribute, it could be physical (a husband trying to find his lost wife in a tempest) or mental (an inquisitor trying to sniff out the truth might find himself doing it litterally)

    The "Die Hard" attribute is the easiest. If none of the previous triggers presented themselves, then a good old life or death situation will do the trick. Survival instincts are a beautiful thing, eh?
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    some toughts:

    if lycantropy makes someone MORE thmselves, then they obviously should be held accountable for what they do.

    your description of lycantropy sounds a bit like getting drunk (less inhibitions, affects different persons differently etc)

    since lycantropy does not automatically mean "raging killing machine" why would lycantropes be treated differently then other "different" groups? gypsies etc?

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Because we are all raging killing machines or worse at heart and civilization is our way of lieing to ourselves?
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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    The way you've described this, it also sounds like Lycanthropy should be something the infected wants to share with their friends and family. If it lets them get in touch with their inner self, wouldn't they want to help those they care about be liberated as well? Of course, the way they go about this would depend on alignment.

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Because we are all raging killing machines or worse at heart and civilization is our way of lieing [sic] to ourselves?
    That was the impression I got too.
    A game is a fictional construct created for the sake of the players, not the other way around. If you have a question "How do I keep X from happening at my table," and you feel that the out-of-game answer "Talk the the other people at your table" won't help, then the in-game answers "Remove mechanics A, B, and/or C, impose mechanics L, M, and/or N" will not help either.

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    Default Re: Lycanthropy, a different take. Philosophical and gaming discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alberic Strein View Post
    ...Of humanity being wolves...

    My two cents.
    You point out some itneresting stuff, I'll get to the rest soon enough, but i wanted to address this point first. Indeed, if we look at humans from a purely "social animal" pointof view, we seem like wolves (Or rats, or other social animals). But my idea is that the "animal" is not the biological representation, but rather the cultural concept of it, as it perceived by a mix of society's belief, and the individual's belief.

    If the wolf represents a cold hearted malicious killer, then the affected person will turn into one if his character fits the bill. If it is however considered a loyal and honorable hunter or such, then the same applies. If the rat is considered sneaking, coward and a thief, then likewise people may turn into rats. If it is considered clever, resourceful, wise and pragmatic, then likewise characters may turn to rats.

    There may be more then one interpretation for an animal's role in a culture, and the individual's perception of such animals may differ from those around it. I want to make it not a "clear cut" explanation, but rather show tendencies and common ways, with all kinds of different exceptions, when other considerations are presented.

    ...Also, I think we need four things, a source, a taint, a catalyst, and a trigger...

    ...Lycanthropy is becoming a beast, beasts have exactly two edges on evolved arboreals, and it's being better at sensing things and killing empty handed

    Lycans, themselves, add one more edge, they're frigging hard to kill...
    I LOVE you analysis of "source, taint, catalyst and trigger", though I don't fully understand it all. (Not sure what exactly you mean by "taint". Is it the Lycanthropy itself?)

    I'm not sure I agree with you about the comparison to arboreals (But I'm no expert on them matter). But I think you may need to define beasts better. I think some can be arboreals as well? Anyway, Killing things empty handed is kind of the rule for most animals, no? Few use tools, fewer still use them to kill.

    Or where you referring to the difference between beasts and humans? Anyway, I think that the specific trigger of killing a person empty handed is a bit too limiting. I'd think that something on the lines of "Kill someone out of instinct/ in the heat of passion, and not premeditated thought" should suffice. (May need some work). Shows a bit more the break down of the rules of man, compared to the instincts of animals, or a more primal nature.


    ...The catalyst part is tricky. I think an easy mistake to make is having it happen too fast, almost skipping it entirely in favor of the trigger. The subject must distance himself from "common humanity (or whatever meta-human race he belongs to)", he must become weird, start sensing things others don't, feel calls unheard by the masses, feel a surge from deep within him, ready to burst out. Ironically, it could be something that weakens the future werewolf, as his body/mind/sanity/soul resists the change and makes him become ill...
    I like the idea of a catalyst, thought I think this can happen differently to different people (Though again, there may be some common tendencies, as you have suggested). I want to make it a bit difficult to find out new inflicted people, for otherwise the investigating work for finding new Lycanthropes might be a bit too easy.

    Quote Originally Posted by TriForce View Post
    some toughts:

    if lycantropy makes someone MORE themselves, then they obviously should be held accountable for what they do.

    your description of lycantropy sounds a bit like getting drunk (less inhibitions, affects different persons differently etc)
    There are similarities between Lycanthropy and other addictions that cause dis inhibition, yes. There are some main differences:
    1) The triggers are different.
    2) The obvious magical effects (Greater power, hard to kill, change form)
    3) Lycanthropy comes to a matter of a choice (An unfair one, granted, due to the power of temptation and pressure. In this form much like drugs and such), but in the end, it can alter the personality of a person completely, though by choosing to be so.
    4) While most abusive substances wreck the person's body over time, Lycanthropy does the different- strengthening and empowering those who succumb to it, making them "stronger". Some would say that it comes at the price of wrecking the person's mind, altering them into someone new, unrecognizable almost. But that is a matter of interpretation, to which I don't want to give a clear cut answer. Again- I prefer ambiguity.

    since lycantropy does not automatically mean "raging killing machine" why would lycantropes be treated differently then other "different" groups? gypsies etc?
    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Because we are all raging killing machines or worse at heart and civilization is our way of lieing to ourselves?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tragak View Post
    That was the impression I got too.
    Hmmmm... I think I may need to explain further perhaps. Lycanthropy is about becoming MORE YOU, but more specifically, more your WILD? PRIMAL? UNINHIBITED YOU. This is "the beast" sort to speak.The idea is that it get you more in touch with aspects of personality that are less restrained by the codes, rules, ethics and morals of society.

    Now, some people may have quite a few morals, ethics, values and such of their own. Not all become murderous beasts. However, humanity has shown many times before, usually when it's social structure broke up (but not just then, I'll get to that in a moment) and many psychological theories have shown that humans on the whole are a mess of conflicting forces (Id, Ego ans Super ego to name one). I'd like to show Lycanthropy as a force that shifts the normal balance between such forces.

    The fact is that a considerable amount of Lycnathropes (Doesn't need to be the majority, just more than other groups) pose a threat due to this change. Which makes them a problem. Lycanthropes are different, quite powerful, and a fair number of them, who succumb, have violent tendencies. This could be due to feeling superior to the "non blessed", a conflict of nature between the wild or civilization, perhaps even just wanting revenge against those who hunted them/ continue to hunt them.

    Lycanthropes are also a problem due to the fact that it's similar to a disease. They spread this affliction to others, unlike other minority groups like Gypsies or the like. You can look at groups who were said to harbor plagues and diseases in the past and see how they were treated through out history. Often quite harsh, and nearly always in great fear.

    A small side note: The description in my initial post that Lycanthropy makes you more wild and uninhibited is an interpretation as well... I have not come to the final conclusion, and I'm not sure I will be. Again- I describe symptoms, tendencies and such. It's also quite important to note that the civilized man was far more brutal and devastating than the more primal man was. Their capacity for killing and slaughter is far greater than the prehistoric people. That again, is left to discussion.

    Also, A fair number of lycanthropesy may find that their wilder and less restrained side is quite gentle, artistic, or other expressions. This can complicate matters- how do you deal with Lycanthropes, when a fair number of them is dangerous, they are hide to discern, highly contagious, and a serious threat? There have been plagues in the past, where whole neuighborhoods or cities were razed, just to avoid the spreading of the plague, even though there were probably people not sick (Or not AS sick) in the place.

    I want to put these kind of decision on the PCs' table. Pragmatism Vs. High morals. Saving the few Vs. Endangering the many. With no clear and obvious answers.

    Quote Originally Posted by firedaemon33 View Post
    The way you've described this, it also sounds like Lycanthropy should be something the infected wants to share with their friends and family. If it lets them get in touch with their inner self, wouldn't they want to help those they care about be liberated as well? Of course, the way they go about this would depend on alignment.
    Well, that depends. I may have not explained myself better here as well. One person might view this as a blessing- He is more in touch of himself, becomign wilder, less restrained and more free to do as his heart wishes. But some might not want to do as their heart wishes, for what the heart wishes may be bad. A husband who has a raging argument with his wife may be tempted to hit her, throw something at her, kill her... A person slight by his boss may want to take revenge, burn the business, hurt the boss, and more. (A former poster suggested it might be similar to the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which is quite a good similarity.) Some might feel this is liberating, some might view it as terrifying. It is a matter of personal choice (Though the affliction DOES removes most inhibitions, making it more biased towards the less restrained side).

    Some might decide to "bless" their freinds so, makign them "See what I see"/ "free them" or even just out of simple loneliness. There may be many motivations for doing so, and likewise for not doing so.

    I hope this explains how I see this.

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