Race: Werefolk

Last updated:

  • 1/17/2017 – Language changes and corrections.
  • 4/25/2017 – Added Waterborn and Horns to options list. Leap language refined and movement benefit added. Pounce updated and has progressive damage. Claws has been updated.
  • 7/18/2017 – Clarified Pounce (first surprise attack each round only).

Werefolk were animals once, blessed by Compassion to become more than their instincts and desires. Werefolk come in as many shapes and sizes as there are animals in the world, but all have humanoid qualities. Some appear nearly as humans, save for the sheen of scales on their skin or broad wings upon their backs. Others appear closer to their animal kin, being slightly more humanoid rabbits or reptiles. The range of diversity is broad across werefolk, and while some casts and cultures remain constant, the possibilities are more than any have been able to catalog.

Animal Heritage

Werefolk are directly tied to a specific animal from which their being derives. Be it avian or whale, beast or bug, all werefolk derive from a source animal and they revere that animal as their own kin. A snakekin will not willingly harm a snake, nor the snake it, as they are in both eyes the same creature. Frequently werefolk will protect their animal cousins and their habitats as a point of pride, though this homage rarely extends to the rival animals and prey of their kind.

History of the Hunted

Humans, Clont, and frequently Fae of the Wild Hunt have long sought Werefolk as the ultimate challenge in the hunt. Seeing them not as conscious creatures but just as new challenges to prey upon, Werefolk history with the other mortal races has been fraught with danger. In Ovid, only within the last 500 years were Werefolk acknowledged to be sentient creatures, and for much of the same time since they have been slowly rounded up and deported to their own island “sanctuary” far from human settlements until the events of the last 100 years or so. While Werefolk are now a common, and largely unremarkable sight in major cities, in rural and isolated communities they are frequently a source of fear and distrust. While many Werefolk get along with the other mortal races in modern times, the majority still live in the wild with their own kin and distrust the trappings of civilization as little more than a new form of a muzzle or yoke.

The Great Clans

While most Werefolk are very individualistic, several great clans of Werefolk species have emerged as cultural powers over the years.

The Aviary are perhaps the best known. With their birdlike wings and sharp eyes, the Aviary have long been an organized clan in northern Ovid. It was the aviary Clan that led the wars against the Ovid Kings with such ferocity and strategy that common conceptions of Werefolk being mindless beasts were finally tossed out by the monarchy. They emerged as one of the great houses of Ovid in the centuries that followed, and remain a powerful voice on the Council of Nobles to this day. The Lapine Warrens are a loosely collected group of rabbitkin that lead many of the temples of the Heartflame. Open to outsiders and well known for their hospitality and friendship, Lapine combine their fleet speed with the fluffy tails and ears to be at once highly capable messengers and well received guests.

Other great clans exist across the world, such as the Lizardfolk River Clans of Mullenstone or the Molekin of Winterark, with more being discovered each year.

Traits: Werefolk

Werefolk are as varied as the animals in the world, making generalizations difficult. The following are true of all Werefolk.

  • Animal Ancestry: Werefolk always are a humanoid hybrid with a single animal type. As part of creating a Werefolk, you must choose your animal ancestry. This can be specific (Lion) or generic (lizardfolk) as you like, however your chosen animal trait options and Kind to Kin ability will only apply to animals of the same nature as you (a lion might speak with any feline, despite always being a lion).
  • Ability Score Increase. Werefolk are generally defined more by their natural forms than by their ability score development, but rarely are inclined to sit tight for scholarly pursuits. They gain +3 to spent across any ability scores of their choosing, and -2 to their Intelligence.
  • Age. Werefolk reach adulthood in their late teens and live less than a century in most cases. Some rare werefolk may live an abnormally long time due to their animal bloodlines.
  • Alignment. Alignments for werefolk tend to follow the nature of their animal bloodlines. Werefolk of a herd background might be highly lawful while more solitary and predatory werefolk might be more chaotic in nature.
  • Size. Werefolk may be small or medium sized, ranging from 50-400 pounds. Their size is usually reflective of the nature of their animal trait.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet if medium or 25 feet if small.
  • Languages. Werefolk can speak Ovidic (Common) along with the Wildtongue language, which is shared with all beasts and creatures.
  • Kind to Kin. You can cast Animal Friendship an unlimited number of times with this trait, but you can target only creatures with the same base animal type as your werefolk heritage.
  • Beast Lore. You gain proficiency with one of the following skills of your choice: Animal Handling, Nature, Perception, Stealth, or Survival.
  • Bite. Your fanged maw is a natural weapon, which you can use to make unarmed strikes in melee. If you hit with it, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.

Animal Trait. Werefolk also gain two additional animal traits of their choosing selected from the list below:

Animal Trait Options (Pick Two):

Breath Weapon. Gain the ability to use your action to exhale destructive energy to targets in a 30-foot cone in front of you. When you use your breath weapon, each creature in the area of the exhalation must make a saving throw, the type of which is determined by your animal ancestry. The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. A creature takes 2d6 damage on a failed save, and half as much damage on a successful one. The damage increases to 3d6 at 6th level, 4d6 at 11th level, and 5d6 at 16th level. After you use your breath weapon, you can’t use it again until you complete a short or long rest. Breath weapons may be fire, ice, sonic, or acid damage (pick one) based on the nature of your animal ancestry.

Claws. You have powerful and sharp claws. You have a climbing speed equal to your movement speed and do not need to make an ability check in order to climb. When a hand is empty your claws can be used as slashing weapons with 1d6 damage and the finesse and light properties. These claws are monk weapons. At level 6 your claws have become so sharp that they are considered magical for purposes of overcoming resistance and immunity to non-magical attacks and damage. At level 11 the damage die becomes a 1d8.

Horns: You have one or more horns, tusks, or other sharp appendages that allow you to deal a great amount of damage head on. Your horns are a melee weapon that deals 1d10 damage when attacking in melee. If you make a horn attack as part of a charge (through the Leap feature or Charger Feat) your horns instead deal 2d6. Whenever you make a check to shove a creature in melee, you gain advantage so long as you can strike them with your horns. Due to their proximity to your face, on critical misses with a horn attack you take your proficiency bonus as damage as you bash the more fleshy parts of your face into your target by accident.

Leap: You have extremely powerful legs able of leaping great distances. You gain +10 to your movement speed and gain the ability to leap a total distance equal to your movement (measure both length and height as part of this combination) as part of your movement. Should you end your total movement in the air, you take fall damage as normal (if you also have wings, you may choose to hover). You may also choose to Leap as part of a dash action. If you do so, you may choose to make a single melee attack at the end of your leap and gain an additional +5 damage to the attack. You may use your leap ability in combination with the Charger feat as a dash action, and the benefits from both stack.

Long-Limbed. When you make a melee Attack on Your Turn, your reach for it is 5 feet greater than normal.

Natural Armor. You have tough skin, scales, shell or hide. When you aren’t wearing armor, your AC is 14 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield’s benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.

Pounce. If you surprise a creature and hit with an attack, the first attack you deal that round gains an extra 1d6 damage to it. You may surprise a creature if you are beginning battle with a surprise round, have advantage on your attack roll, or if the target is within 5 feet of another creature hostile to the target. You may also surprise a creature whenever you make an attack as part of a Leap, Charge, or attack a target swimming in water and have the Waterborn feature. The damage increases to 2d6 at 8th level and 3d6 at 16th level.

Waterborn. You come from an aquatic race of werefolk and have excellent ability to swim and operate in water. Double your base movement while swimming. Whenever you are submerged in water (but not other liquids) you gain the water-breathing feature. Whenever you are fighting a non-waterborn or aquatic creature that is actively swimming in water you have advantage on melee attacks and grapple checks. While swimming in water you can fully submerge in, you are considered having half cover.

Wings. Gain a pair of wings that allow you to fly with average maneuverability with a speed of 20ft for a medium creature or 40ft for a small creature. You may carry another creature of equal or smaller size at half this speed or up to one size larger than you with a base speed of 5ft. If struck while flying you must make a constitution save of DC12 or fall, taking fall damage equal to 1d3 per 10ft of height.

Curse of Transformation

Note: Players do not generally start the game with the Curse of Transformation, but instead may gain it as a curse (or blessing) over the course of the campaign.

Some werefolk are not born that way, but are instead humans that have gained a curse or transfiguration to cause a beastly appearance. Frequent sources of this are the magical plague of Lycanthropy, being tricked by Fae magics, running afoul of the goddess Gein while hunting one of her favorite animals, or numerous other lesser curses, spells, enchanted items, and other sources of transfiguring curses. such beings retain all of their natural racial bonuses, and gain the following.

  • Werefolk Curse. Once per day you transform into a werefolk being, gaining a single werefolk animal trait relevant to your curse along with the appearance of the werefolk type you have been cursed by. As a product of this curse, you must make a successful willpower save or become feral. While feral, you cannot identify friend from foe and act only upon your instincts as the animal type you have been transfigured into. you remain transformed until a long rest. Whenever you attempt an action that is outside the reasonable boundaries of your animal type you must make a successful willpower save if feral to try to assert control.
  • Curse Trigger. You (or the GM*) must choose a trigger to cause your transformation. Some examples follow:
    • A specific time of day occurs (noon, sunrise, sunset, midnight).
    • Reducing a target to 0 HP on combat.
    • Taking 5 points or more of damage.
    • Hearing a specific phrase, sound, or command word.
    • Smelling a specific scent.
  • Hide Your Nature.You have disadvantage on all Charisma, Persuasion, and Performance checks to non-allied creatures who know you have a Curse of Transformation. These creatures are always neutral trending towards hostile to you.
  • Seek the Cure. Depending on the nature of the transfiguration, the curse can have a variety of ways to be lifted as determined by the GM. These could include killing the original source of the curse (for example, if bitten by a lycanthrope), dispelling an enchantment, destroying a cursed item, or seeking a place of enchantment. Depending on the nature of the cure, the player may have to make a series of death saving throws to determine if they are restored to themselves (success), or more permanently slide into being a werefolk (failure).

*For effects that have been caused to the player, it is recommended to have this be random and not reveal the cause to the player directly. Players should have to discover their triggers. Other triggers may be used, and should be relevant to campaign and as specific to the encounter or situation as possible. For example, a sorceress cursing a player who ate her pet rabbit to become a rabbit person whenever they taste flesh.