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Lycanthropes can be violent

A lycanthrope is a humanoid creature that can change its shape into that of a specific animal and into a hybrid shape between the two.[1] Lycanthropes are distinguished taxonomically from other shapechangers by the addition of the prefix were- to their names. Though they are not necessarily evil, they are generally hated by human society, which almost always sees them as violent, bestial, and diseased creatures.


Natural and afflicted lycanthropes

Two types of lycanthropes exist: those who are born with the condition, also known as natural lycanthropes, and those who acquire it during their lifetime, either through a curse or through a disease called lycanthropy; these are known as afflicted lycanthropes.[1][2]

Natural lycanthropes have lived with their condition their entire life and generally have control over their transformation. Afflicted lycanthropes often change involuntarily (generally triggered by the full moon), and have little awareness of their animal or hybrid forms, often turning aggressive and homicidal. Most legends of the violent lycanthrope come from this latter group.[2][3]

Lycanthropic features

All lycanthropes have a peculiar connection to the moon. It often triggers transformation in afflicted lycanthropes, and gives them all a vulnerability to silver, a metal long associated with that heavenly body.[4] Lycanthropes are generally resistant to most weapons, although magic affects them normally. Weapons edged in silver can hurt and kill a lycanthrope as easily as a normal human.[1] When killed, a lycanthrope always reverts to its humanoid form.[2]

Natural lycanthropes carry the disease lycanthropy and can infect others through a bite or a scratch, or pass it on to their offspring.[1]

Lycanthropes on Golarion

Many species of lycanthrope exist across Golarion. The most numerous and most successful are the werewolves and the wererats; the other most feared species are wereboars, werebears, werebats and weretigers.[5]

Two areas in the Inner Sea region are particularly known for their lycanthropic activity: the nation of Ustalav[6] and the Darkmoon Vale in northwestern Andoran.[7][8] In both areas, it is mainly werewolves that attack individuals or small groups who make their living in the forest, such as loggers and hunters.[9] The Varisian town of Wolf's Ear was known as a haven for lycanthropes and other hunted creatures, until a Magnimarian pogrom drove the shapechangers underground.[10]

Not all lycanthropes, however, are hated by the general population. In some societies they are valued for their skill and ferocity. The armies of Molthune have long had specialized lycanthrope units.[11] Among the human tribes of Iobaria, lycanthropes are known as "kodlak" and are either hated or venerated, depending on the group.[12]


Wererats are most common in large cities, where they can best blend in with the general human and rat populations.[13] When found in particularly large groups, they even form entire thieves' guilds to coordinate their illegal activities.[9]


Werewolves are among the best-known of the lycanthropes. They are the often violent scourge of small communities, waiting along empty roads or on the outskirts of towns to catch and kill their unsuspecting victims.[14][2]


Wereboars are generally aggressive, and prefer a solitary forest life. This form of lycanthropy is most common among hill giants.[15]


Werebears are found in colder climates, where they hunt evil creatures.[16]


Werebats are usually found in or near dense forests or jungles, and prefer to lair in caves and caverns. They often band together in flocks. [17] There are also reports of drow werebats in the Darklands.[9]


Fierce weretigers stalk the jungles of Vudra and Tian Xia. Osirion, Thuvia and the Mwangi Expanse.[15][9]

Other lycanthropes

Although they are rare these days, the wereleopards of Katapesh, Nex, and the Mwangi Expanse are known for their savagery.[18][15][9] The Sodden Lands are said to be the home of werehyenas, werejackals, and werecrocodiles.[9] The aquatic weresharks are most commonly found in the Shackles.[19] There are also myths of wereravens, wererays, dwarven and gnome werebadgers, and elven werefoxes, but none of these have ever been substantiated.[15][9][20]

Jackalweres of Katapesh

The jackalweres of Katapesh are often thought to be lycanthropes; this is not the case. Jackalweres are simply magical beasts that can take on humanoid form.[21]


Sometimes lycanthropes breed with humans or other humanoids. After a number of generations, these unions no longer produce full were-creatures, but a race known as skinwalkers, shapechangers who largely appear human (or another race if from a different parentage), but can also take on certain bestial features of their forebears. Skinwalkers breed true and generally form small communities of their own kin that can be found throughout Golarion.[22]


Some believe that the demon lord Jezelda was the first to spread lycanthropy among humans, although both she and her followers dispute this.[7]


Paizo has published a major article on the 'Ecology of the Lycanthrope' in Broken Moon.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Paizo Staff. (2009). Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, p. 196. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 James Jacobs, Rob McCreary, and F. Wesley Schneider. (2010). Classic Horrors Revisited, p. 59. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-202-9
  3. Mike McArtor. (2008). Guide to Darkmoon Vale, p. 26. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-100-8
  4. Jason Bulmahn. (2010). Advanced Player's Guide, p. 48. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-246-3
  5. Gareth Hanrahan. (2011). Ecology of the Lycanthrope. Broken Moon, p. 73. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-310-1
  6. Joshua J. Frost et al. (2009). Cities of Golarion, p. 49. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-200-5
  7. 7.0 7.1 James Jacobs. (2009). Demon Lords of Golarion. Descent into Midnight, p. 59. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-131-2
  8. Mike McArtor. (2008). Guide to Darkmoon Vale, p. 25. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-100-8
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 305. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  10. James L. Sutter. (2007). Varisia. The Hook Mountain Massacre, p. 69. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-038-4
  11. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 103. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  12. Steven Schend. (2010). Iobaria Gazetteer. The Varnhold Vanishing, p. 56. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-234-0
  13. Paizo Staff. (2009). Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, p. 197. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  14. Paizo Staff. (2009). Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, p. 198. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 James Jacobs, Rob McCreary, and F. Wesley Schneider. (2010). Classic Horrors Revisited, p. 62. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-202-9
  16. James Jacobs, Rob McCreary, and F. Wesley Schneider. (2010). Classic Horrors Revisited, p. 61. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-202-9
  17. Gareth Hanrahan. (2011). Ecology of the Lycanthrope. Broken Moon, p. 73. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-310-1
  18. James MacKenzie. (2009). Refuge of Nethys. Howl of the Carrion King, p. 68. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-159-6
  19. Mike Shel. (2012). Isles of the Shackles, p. 54. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-408-5
  20. Gareth Hanrahan. (2011). Ecology of the Lycanthrope. Broken Moon, p. 73. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-310-1
  21. Stephen S. Greer & Amber E. Scott. (2009). Dark Markets: A Guide to Katapesh, p. 18. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-166-4
  22. Tim Akers, Neal F. Litherland, David R. Ross, and Tork Shaw. (2013). Blood of the Moon, p. 6-7. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-578-5

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