Monster Analysis: Lycanthropes

Thanks to @KerriAitken for the art!

  • First Appearance: 61 Denizens of the Moonbrush
  • Armor Class (hybrid and beast forms)
    • Werewolf: 12
    • Weretiger: 12
    • Werebear: 11
  • Speed (hybrid, beast)
    • Werewolf: 30 ft, 40 ft
    • Weretiger: 30 ft, 40 ft
    • Werebear: 30 ft, 40 ft (30 ft climb)
  • Immune to nonmagical, non-silvered weapons
  • Suggested Average, Max HP
    • Werewolf: 58, 90
    • Weretiger: 120, 176
    • Werebear: 135, 198

The party had their first direct encounter with a group of individuals inflicted with the lycan curse. As there wasn’t any direct combat with them nor were all members of the lycan family represented (e.g., no wererats or wereboars), we’ll focus our attention on those that were present.

Lycanthropy

In their humanoid forms, those cursed with lycanthopy appear to be normal individuals. Those who fight the curse can often pass undetected until the rise of the full moon, when the curse forces itself out and takes full control of the victim’s mind (often without the victim’s memory of these episodes). Those who embrace the curse find they can transform at will, but will also find themselves driven down a path of carnage and an enemy of civilization.

If a lycanthrope bites another humanoid, that creature must succeed on a constitution saving throw or fall victim to the same curse. A Remove Curse spell would succeed in curing it (as would Greater Restoration). Those who are born with the curse as a gift from their parents, however, can only be rid of their heritage by means of a Wish spell.

The natural disposition of each type of lycan usually varies. Bears and tigers try very hard not to pass their curse along, usually either because they are only willing to share it with those they trust, or they do not wish to add more competitors for prey. Werewolves, on the other hand, willingly hunt in packs, and will default to their teeth over a carried weapon. 

The Fendir

However, as Garmelie informs us, “There are creatures of all emotional and moral backgrounds and interests; it’s hard to say.” Despite the chaotic evil leaning of werewolves and the generally good leaning of werebears, the full pack of the Fendir appears to not be concerned with alignment as they are with their common goal of escaping the Moonbrush.

Word of the turf war taking place between the pixies and the Fendir spread outside the Moonbrush, telling us of an age-old battle. We have no idea how long this war has been waged, how the lycans first fell under the curse, or how the pixies came to accept the responsibility of trapping the werebeasts in with them.

Vox Machina was also warned to stay clear of Ukurat, the leader of the Fendir. We’re told that Ukurat, a 13-foot-tall werewolf, was an elf long before he fell victim to the curse. Despite his menacing personality and clear brute strength that granted him the position of leadership in the first place, he does appear to have both the respect of the pack as well the wisdom to pursue the pack’s best interests over his own. He subtly manipulated Vox Machina to figure the way out on their own by leaving them rather than punishing them for their betrayal. He broke up the pixie circle himself instead of ordering his followers to do so. Lastly, he volunteered to assist Vox Machina while his pack searched for a new home, settling any debt he felt he may have incurred.

The Encounter (that didn’t happen)

Despite their terrible initial attempts at diplomacy and a failed attempt at tricking both the lycans and the forest into letting them escape, Vox Machina never entered combat with the Fendir. Had the initial discussion devolved into a fight, we’re told that the encounter would have involved seven enemy combatants:

  • Lord Ukurat (13-foot-tall werewolf)
  • Weretiger lieutenant (longbow)
  • Werebear enforcer (great axe)
  • 4x werewolves (bad mofos)

It should be noted that Percy would not have been able to contribute to the fight without switching to his sword, as his non-magical firearms and lack of silver bullets would have dealt no damage against the lycans. 

These numbers would likely have caused little concern for Vox Machina, speaking strictly of party casualties. However, it was probable that at least one member of the party would have fallen victim to the curse of the lycan. Even if the party then killed off the rest of the tribe in the forest, the key to leaving the forest still would lie with convincing the pixies to grant passage. With even one member potentially inflicted (not even necessarily so), Vox Machina would likely have had to kill the pixies in addition to the werewolves just to get everyone out. (More on the pixies… tomorrow!)

Fortunately, with their contract fulfilled, Ukurat offered his services to the party (which, thanks to a Nat1 on Vex’s part, was NOT part of the original deal). While this didn’t necessarily assuage their consciences, from a meta-game standpoint, it certainly softened the blow to receive some manner of reward for choosing a side.