A monstrous lycanthrope is a creature of humanoid form that can assume the form of another creature, or even take on a form that is a hybrid of the two. Natural monstrous lycanthropes can control their forms and communicate the disease of lycanthropy to other creatures with their natural attacks. Afflicted monstrous lycanthropes are slaves to the phases of the moon, becoming monstrous beings at certain times regardless of their will.
A monstrous lycanthrope can take any of three forms: the base creature’s form (called normal form), a hybrid form, or the werecreature’s form (called monster form). The hybrid form has the normal form’s body shape and number of limbs and heads, but it shares certain characteristics of the monster form, including scales, fur, and skin tone. The hybrid form might also include smaller versions of the monster form’s wings, horns, or facial features, or even vestigial limbs (or heads) of the monster form that the normal form does not possess.
“Monstrous Lycanthrope” is a template that can be added to any living creature with a generally humanoid form—namely, two arms, two legs, and a head (referred to hereafter as the base creature). The monstrous lycanthrope template can be inherited (for natural monstrous lycanthropes) or acquired (for afflicted monstrous lycanthropes).
A monstrous lycanthrope uses either the original creature’s (referred to hereafter as the base creature) statistics and special abilities or those of some other kind of living creature (referred to hereafter as the base monster) as described here.
Challenge Rating: Same as base creature + 1/3 the CR of the base monster (minimum +1). Compare the CR of the lycanthrope’s monster form to creatures of the same CR and adjust as necessary using the Monster Creation rules as a guide.
Size: The base monster can be any creature whose size is within one step of the base creature’s size. A monstrous lycanthrope can also adopt a hybrid shape that combines features of the base creature with those of the base monster. A monstrous lycanthrope’s hybrid form is the same size as the base monster or the base creature, whichever is larger.
Type: The base creature’s type does not change, but does gain the shapechanger subtype and the subtypes of the base monster even if they conflict with the base creature. The lycanthrope gains all the abilities of the gained subtypes in all of its forms.
Senses: In hybrid and monstrous forms the lycanthrope has the senses of the base monster. In base and hybrid forms the lycanthrope has the senses of the base creature. If the base monster has low-light vision or scent abilities, the monstrous lycanthrope has them in all forms.
Aura: In hybrid and monstrous forms the lycanthrope has the auras of the base monster. In base and hybrid forms it has the auras of the base creature.
AC: In hybrid or monster form the monstrous lycanthrope has the natural armor bonus of the base monster +2.
Weaknesses: A monstrous lycanthrope has all the weaknesses of the base monster in hybrid or monster form, except those given by its new subtypes which it has in all forms.
Speed: Same as the base creature or base monster, depending on which form the lycanthrope is using. Hybrids use the base creature’s land speed and the additional movement modes of the base monster.
Attacks: A monstrous lycanthrope gains all applicable natural attacks of the base monster in monster and hybrid forms.
Special Attacks: A monstrous lycanthrope retains all special attacks, qualities, and abilities of the base creature. In hybrid or monster form it gains the applicable special attacks, qualities, and abilities of the base monster.
One of a natural monstrous lycanthrope’s natural attacks (usually bite or claw) in monster or hybrid form infects a target that has a generally humanoid form with lycanthropy (Fortitude save DC 15 negates). If the victim’s size is not within one size category of the lycanthrope, this ability has no effect.
Spell-like Abilities: A monstrous lycanthrope gains the spell-like abilities of the base monster in hybrid and monster form.
Spellcasting: If the base monster is a natural spellcaster, the monstrous lycanthrope gains natural spellcasting only in monstrous form.
Monstrous lycanthropes have enhanced senses but are not fully in control of their emotions and animalistic urges. In addition to these adjustments to the base creature’s stats, a monstrous lycanthrope’s physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity and Constitution) change when he assumes hybrid or monster form. In base form, the monstrous lycanthrope’s physical ability scores are unchanged from the base creature’s form. In monster and hybrid forms the monstrous lycanthrope’s physical ability scores are the same as the base creature’s or the base monster’s, whichever ability score is higher. If the base monster has no score in an ability, the monstrous lycanthrope uses the base creature’s score in all forms. If the base creature has no score in an ability, it gains the base monster’s score in hybrid and monster form.
Feats: A monstrous lycanthrope gains the bonus feats of both the base creature and base monster in all forms.
Skills: A monstrous lycanthrope keeps the bonus racial modifiers of the base monster in hybrid and monster forms. In base and hybrid forms it has the racial modifiers of the base creature. The monstrous lycanthrope’s class skills are those of both the base creature and base monster.
Languages: In all forms, the monstrous lycanthrope can speak the languages of the base creature and base monster. If the base creature or base monster has a supernatural or spell-like mode of communication, such as telepathy, it gains that mode of communication in all forms. If the base monster cannot speak, the monstrous lycanthrope cannot speak in monster form.
Special Qualities: A monstrous lycanthrope gains the following.
All monstrous lycanthropes have three forms—a base form, a monster form, and a hybrid form. Equipment does not meld with the new form between base and hybrid form, but does between those forms and monster form. A natural monstrous lycanthrope can shift to any of its three alternate forms as a move-equivalent action. An afflicted monstrous lycanthrope can assume monster or hybrid form as a full-round action by making a DC 15 Constitution check, or base form as a full-round action by making a DC 20 Constitution check. On nights when the full moon is visible, an afflicted monstrous lycanthrope gains a +5 morale bonus to Constitution checks made to assume monster or hybrid form, but a –5 penalty to Constitution checks made to assume base form. An afflicted monstrous lycanthrope reverts to its base form automatically with the next sunrise, or after 8 hours of rest, whichever comes first. A slain monstrous lycanthrope reverts to its base form, although it remains dead. This is a polymorph effect.
In any form, natural monstrous lycanthropes can communicate and empathize with monsters related to their monster form. They can use Diplomacy to alter such a monster’s attitude, and when so doing gain a +4 racial bonus on the check. Afflicted monstrous lycanthropes only gain this ability in monster or hybrid form.
In all forms, a monstrous lycanthrope is considered both the base creature’s and base monster’s type (if different) for purposes and spell and effects that affect a specific monster type.
The monstrous lycanthrope template is modeled very closely after the lycanthrope template, but it allows more creatures to gain the template and does not limit the alternate forms to those of animals. Even wereconstructs and wereundead are possible, though they lack the features of the construct or undead type in monster form since they do not gain the type abilities of the base monster. Although it might seem silly to have a werebugbear or werenaga, consider how silly a werebear would sound to you were it not for the creature’s long history in legend.
You should consider choosing an alternate form that follows a theme. It also helps if monstrous lycanthropes are already part of your world. If the players have heard hints about such creatures before encountering them, their first encounter with them may be much better received.
Creating a credible and threatening monstrous lycanthrope begins with the selection of the base creature. If you choose a very threatening creature with a high CR and then choose a nonthreatening or low CR creature for its alternate form, an encounter with the resulting werecreature may not be particularly exciting or balanced.
A great deal of your success in creating the desired effect in a monstrous lycanthrope encounter is based on the description you give. Spend some time devising the best way to present your monster. If you wish, you can try the following exercise: Read the template and then think about what a human with the template would look like in hybrid form. A little imagination can make a somewhat silly idea downright horrifying.
You can use the monstrous lycanthrope template in many ways. Here are a few suggestions.
An afflicted monstrous lycanthrope’s change might be controlled by a different phase of the moon than a standard lycanthrope’s. Alternatively, it could be controlled by an hour of the day, a season, a natural monstrous lycanthrope, or some other trigger altogether.
The monster chosen for the monster form might not appear in your campaign world except as a natural or afflicted lycanthrope. Consider, for instance, having only weresahuagin in your game but no true sahuagin.
Your game world might feature only afflicted monstrous lycanthropes, but no natural ones. In such a case, the monster chosen as the alternate form might inflict lycanthropy itself. For instance, chimeras might inflict lycanthropy that turns victims that escape them into werechimeras.
Advanced Bestiary, Copyright 2014, Green Ronin Publishing, LLC; Author Jeff Hersh, Developer Owen K.C. Stephens