Putting Some Bite into Lycanthropy (Part I)

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The following is Part I of a series of suggested feats for lycanthropes for the Bite Me! The Gaming Guide to Lycanthropes currently just over 1 day away from ending on Kickstarter.
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Putting Some Bite into Lycanthropy (Part I)
By Thilo Graf

Why do you fight your nature? I can smell your fear and excitement, pup—the adrenaline pumping through your veins, the heightened senses, the rush of blood and primal fury welling up from deep inside. I can see your struggle, taste the building pain in your throat, and hear your growling hunger. Every moves a tribulation, pup, a fight for control. But do not fight it. Succumb to pleasure, to the rapture of ripping into tendons and the ecstasy of warm blood filling your mouth. The primal force will grant you strength, power. Partake of it. Cherish it. Celebrate your communion of flesh. After all, the man before you is a wicked, wicked man. None will miss him. And you need every advantage you can acquire to vanquish your foes. Your pack-mates-to-be are anxious for you to join them. Don’t keep them waiting. Let’s relish your first feeding, for there’s nothing as beautiful as your first consumption of the meat-that-screams. – Ragnhíld Ulfsdóttir, Alpha-female

Lycanthropy is a hereditary curse that can be transmitted as a disease, but is an empowering curse. Those born with it have a modicum of control, whereas infected people tend to struggle hard with it, at least in the beginning. Lycanthropy also tends to be portrayed as ecstatic, the act of transformation violently mixing pleasure and pain, leading to a kind of addiction. The transformation is also a strain on the lycanthrope’s body, as it tries to cope with the painful shape change. The optional rules for lycanthropic metabolism seek to add this bacchanalian aspect to the equation of suffering from the curse. In a sense, these rules put the bite back into lycanthropes.

Racial Option: Lycanthropic Metabolism
Some lycanthropes have a particularly powerful strain of the curse that improves their powers, but also has the potential to burn them out. These Lycanthropes require a steady diet of raw meat to prevent the curse’s sped-up metabolism from burning them from within. Lycanthropes with this option have a sustenance-pool of up to Con-mod+3 or 1/2 their character level, whichever is higher and at least 3.

There are two options for this:1. Assume the lycanthrope character eats enough raw meat at every meal and give them a pool of sustenance points equal to Con-mod+3 or 1/2 their character level, at least 3 that replenishes upon resting for 8 hours.

2. A more simulationalist approach: One sustenance point is roughly the equivalent of one pound of raw meat. Every time the lycanthrope rests for an 8-hour period, his/her body burns 1 point of sustenance.

If a lycanthrope’s sustenance pool ever reaches 0 points, he is immediately subject to the starvation rules. In contrast to regular starvation, lycanthropes with this racial feature may not make Constitution checks to prevent nonlethal damage. Upon incurring non-lethal damage after being fatigued by it, the lycanthrope instead becomes exhausted and takes double the usual starvation damage until he feeds. This damage cannot be healed by any means unless the lycanthrope has a sustenance of 1 point or higher. Magical food conjured via create food and water, hero’s feast, etc., and it does NOT grant sustenance for the lycanthrope.

In turn, lycanthropes with a rapid metabolism may burn their sustenance points to gain various benefits. Unless otherwise noted, burning sustenance is a free action and a lycanthrope may burn multiple points of sustenance at once. The effects do not stack with themselves. A lycanthrope may burn a sustenance point to:

-gain a +1 racial bonus to a melee attack for one attack
-gain a +1 racial bonus to melee damage for one attack
-gain a +2 racial bonus to CMD for 1 round
-gain a +2 racial bonus to CMB for 1 round
-gain a +2 racial bonus to initiative for the encounter
-gain an additional swift action.
-increase their movement rate by +10 ft. for 1 move action. This is treated as an enhancement bonus.

Additionally, Lycanthropes with Lycanthropic Metabolism may use Sustenance feats as a free action instead of an immediate action, and they require no access to raw meat to use them as long as they have at least 1 point of sustenance left in their pool.

On a psychological level, the curse of lycanthropy points towards our buried, violent desires, anxieties of the other genders, and animalistic primal urges to the point where raw passion, with all its potential destructiveness, takes over. Having the GM take away control is ONE way to portray that lycanthropy is a curse, but I maintain it is not a good one. In order to work properly in-game, not only the PCs, but also the players need to struggle with the temptation of the transformation’s power without making it punishing for the player and while maintaining its nature as a curse. My suggested solution to this conundrum is the concept of Meat-that-Screams.

Part II will reveal Meat-that-Screams. Stay tuned.

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