The Ravenloft game offers some ways to live with lycanthropy, but some players don’t need much encouragement. It gives them better combat ability, which is the reason they are an adventurer anyway, right? Sometimes players need a reminder that something that tries to kill everyone you love is a bad thing. If your infected PC is trying to talk the others out of a cure, here's how to write them a reality check.
1) No More Murder Hobo
Because lycanthropy keeps the “victim” alive while threatening people they care about, the severity of the curse is a reflection of how much they have to lose. Those who are most tempted by lycanthropy tend to be rootless, living only for the next adventure. Give them roots: the bartender who gives them leads, the kids who admire them, the cleric who patches them up. Consider a big adventure that gives them a cool base of operations, complete with a couple of loyal staff. Once they have something to lose, the curse takes its proper perspective.
2) Dangle Mistletoe
One special type of community tie bears special mention. Have an NPC show interest in the PC by sending little gifts or calling in favors to make a job easier. If the player takes the bait and the relationship starts heating up, remind them that the beast will target their love interest. Make sure the NPC is playing hard enough to get that there’s lots promised and nothing delivered… yet. Even the most juvenile player should be moved to get rid of this barrier to romantic entanglements off-screen.
3) Share The Pain
Make sure the other party members are on the front lines when it comes to every kind of collateral damage. A party that is sick of mending the furniture is your best ally for dealing with a lycanthrope-happy player. Remind players that infected characters may have a harder time gaining XP, and infected paladins, clerics, druids and rangers could lose much more. In the rare situation that everyone still lines up for infection, make it clear that their beastly selves will destroy the group, either by going separate ways or just killing each other.
4) Wake-Up Calls
If you think a hangover is bad, how about waking up a murderer? Make a small table of random places the PC might wake up after a night as the beast. In a jail cell. Naked in the woods. In an animal cage. On a lab table. Lost in a subterranean cave. Even just waking up a few days north of the rest of the party could ruin a lot of adventuring plans. It's OK to let them see the table so they know what might happen, even let them make suggestions, but don't let them see you roll, and don’t just announce what the results are. Some things are best found out the hard way.
5) Fools Rush In
Lycanthropes target people that their host feels strongly about, and there are plenty of other strong feelings beyond love or friendship. If the infected PC feels strong hatred against the villain of the story line, have the beast go for a direct attack, rushing in with all of the rage felt by the host, but without the reasoning to actually do the job. It might do a lot of damage and take out several lackeys, but infected survivors could pose a greater threat to the party. After the PC wakes up as a prisoner in the villain's lair, offer a temporary replacement character. By the time the original has been rescued, the player will hopefully have learned the lesson, and will be first in line for a cure.
Other media may be full of heroic werewolves, but the specifics of each mythology have to be taken into account, and Ravenloft lycanthropes are not those of Hollywood. Unless you’ve agreed to loosen the rules for them, lycanthropy should not be an enhancement to the character. It should be a disaster waiting to happen that they will work hard to be rid of, and count themselves blessed when finally free.
Leyshon Campbell has been playing and writing for Ravenloft for over twenty years, from the Kargatane's Book of S series, playtesting D&D 3E in a Ravenloft campaign, to the ill-fated Masque of the Jade Horror. He married his wife on Friday the 13th after proposing to her on Halloween. By tradition, the first story read at birth to each of their three children was The Barker’s Tour, from Ravenloft’s “Carnival” supplement.
Picture Reference: http://otherworldmystery.com/werewolves-arent-real
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