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18 June 2008 @ 01:18 am
4E Lycanthropes and the Purge  
As time permits, I'm going to address the frequently askeed questions from earlier in the week. As always, bear in mind that these answers are not canon and that their may be more depth to the story than I can reveal just yet.

Q: Keith, do you have plans on how to deal with the changes to lycanthropes? They no longer spread the lycanthropic disease, it seems, according to the 4E MM. Lycanthropy is now strictly hereditary. While that doesn't change the origin of Shifters in Eberron, it does screw up the story behind the Church of the Silver Flame's Purge.

Actually, it really doesn't. The critical thing you need to remember is that even in 3.5, modern lycanthropy was quite different from the curse that the church fought during the Purge. If you look to the Dragonshard on the subject (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ebds/20050404a), you get this critical paragraph:

While no one knows how lycanthropy began, most know of the purge that almost brought it to an end. Around 800 YK, the power of the curse began to grow. The scholars of Aundair sought an answer in planar conjunctions or the influence of unknown fiends, while deep in the Eldeen Reaches shifter moonspeakers bemoaned the growing power of the unseen moon. Evil lycanthropes -- always the most numerous of the shapeshifters -- became even more vicious, and many good and neutral lycanthropes were corrupted and drawn down to the darkness. Afflicted lycanthropes gained the ability to pass the curse to their own victims, allowing lycanthropy to spread with terrifying speed. By the early years of the ninth century, packs of werewolves were roaming across western Khorvaire and wererats had established warrens beneath the greatest cities of the age. Farmers lived in fear of wolves that walked in human form. What was once a superstition used to frighten children was now horrifying reality.

The point is that at the time of the Purge, the nature of lycanthropy changed. Good 'thropes found murderous impulses surfacing, and the evil became even more so. Under 3.5, afflicted lycanthropes gained the ability to infect others, something that can't normally do under 3.5 rules. So what triggered the Purge was the fact that the rules of lycanthropy CHANGED - triggering a wave of aggression and a plague that could have swept across Khorvaire if it wasn't opposed.

Under 4E rules, the mechanics of the situation are different; but looking simply to history, the situation remains the same; regardless of how their abilities work in the present day, at the time of the purge, they worked in a different adn far more dangerous manner. Powers such as moon frenzy are a faint shadow of the terror seen in the past.

In the present day, the church continues to deal with lycanthropes for two reasons. The first is that while it doesn't turn you into a WEREWOLF, moon frenzy still turns innocent people into homicidal maniacs... still not the sort of thing you want to have hanging around. Second is the fear that the power behind the Purge could return - and that if it did, the 'thrope population could rapidly spread, carried on a tide of innocent blood.

So yes, the mechanics have changed, but the reasons behind the Purge have not; in both systems, the Purge occured because lycanthropy took on an aspect not seen in the present day.
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Keith Bakergloomforge on June 18th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
If "by fixing soon", you mean "It IS a psychological problem and you want to have it cured, but it's going to take time to do so - what do we do until then?" - I'd just give him that Wererat Shifting ability on top of whatever else, but then I would say there's a chance of him turning on his allies when he shifts, or shifting at night and sneaking off in search of other wererats, etc - so he makes the character normally and gets the free ability, but with clear and serious consequences, and a reason why you'd want to try to help him find a cure.