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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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Raide_raide on June 18th, 2008 10:14 am (UTC)
3e Lycanthrope: Humanoid who may assume animal or hybrid form, may be hereditary (true) or afflicted. The afflicted may be cured. When shapechanged, they are assumed to take allignment according to their beast form, and control handled by DM until the player consciously know and able to control it.
4e Lycanthrope: Bestial shapechanger who may assume humanoid form to infiltrate civilized humanoid settlements. Humanoid form are only to disguise themselves. True form: hybrid? Only hereditary, may not afflicted.

Eberron's Lycanthrope: I assume it applies as a template, as in the time after Last War, it is known that:
1. Lycanthropy aren't bound to allignment (as all Eberron elements are)
2. Afflicted Lycanthropes suffer a dramatic change in personality, permanent mental transformation, and able to shapechange like true Lycanthropes albeit at weaker control
3. Beginning 800YK, Lycanthropes may be afflicted and spread at terrifying speed

Eberron's template applied to 4e Lycanthropes:
1. Lycanthrope disease/affliction stats might be needed, so let's look for D&DI
2. The fluff aren't available at 4e MM, so should we refer to 3e MM for a while?
3. How about those templars that are corrupted with Lycantrophies? Do you mean they're actually just in Moon Frenzy or what?

I guess these three points needs clearance if we want to introduce Lycanthrope in 4e Eberron games, at least for now.
horatio09horatio09 on June 18th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Lycanthropes
The Templars who were infected did become true Werewolves...because the nature of lycanthropy was different during the time of the Purge than it is during the modern day as described by the Monster Manual. That's the big thing to remember--the fluff in the Monster Manual doesn't directly apply to the Purge, because the Purge changes the fluff for a specific and limited time period. You have to look at the fluff for the Purge to see how it worked (check that Dragonshard article Mr. Baker linked in his initial post here for that).
horatio09horatio09 on June 18th, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Lycanthropes
I hate not being able to edit my replies...

It just hit me that you might be asking how to run the Purge itself, and are looking for mechanical elements to use for that? In that case, look at the diseases in the DMG and introduce one that has a final condition of "becomes a lycanthrope of the type that inflicted the disease". Choose Endurance DCs as per page 42 of the DMG, depending on the level you want the disease to be (I'd recommend about 4-5, if you want "becoming a werewolf" to be a threat in the same adventuring range that it was in 3ed, or you might scale the virulence of the disease to the level of the lycanthrope that inflicts it). This would cover your 2nd and 3rd points for Eberron, since the fluff would be consistent with 3ed using this disease, plus Templars really could become werewolves using this disease. Hope that helps.
Raide_raide on June 18th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Lycanthropes
Got it. In other words, I assume lycanthropic affliction will be there in 4e Eberron games, however there are yet official 4e crunch for this, therefore it's up to the DM to homebrew this one according to templates and example at DMG page 45.

Well that should cover most stuffs. Thanks for the replies. 8)
horatio09horatio09 on June 18th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Lycanthropes
I get the impression that the DM is supposed to homebrew a lot of things for his campaign. The 4e DMG strikes me more as a toolbox with which to create your own rules and effects than a list of hard and fast rules that are meant to apply to every campaign. So, you may never get official rules on transmittable lycanthropy in a sourcebook, but an adventure that deals with it might have the disease in the adventure pack, or they will give you the tools to create such a condition on your own (basically, use page 42 and 49 of the DMG to create the disease you want). The tools are meant to be balanced so that you and a different DM might come up with very different solutions to the problem (perhaps the other guy would use a ritual), but both solutions will be balanced with the game and thus perfectly valid and above all fun. It's a different design philosophy than 3ed, but it's very flexible and powerful, IMHO. Welcome to the new edition!
Keith Bakergloomforge on June 18th, 2008 08:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Lycanthropes
The Templars who were infected did become true Werewolves...because the nature of lycanthropy was different during the time of the Purge than it is during the modern day as described by the Monster Manual.

Yup. The Dark Pack of Droaam certainly includes people transformed during the Purge. it's just that things were different back then, and if you play by the straight RAW, it's not an active threat right now. Infectious lycanthropy is currently in remission.