PC Werecreatures in Monsters & Magic

In Collectanea Creaturae, we had a sidebar about allowing “Werebeasts as PCs” (CC 130). Since we wrote that, we’ve had some time to think over what we wrote, and, more importantly, have made and tried a couple of werebeast PCs! Based on that experience, we offer the following revised version:

Werebeasts as PCs

Hereditary werebeasts can make good player characters. Here are some guidelines for GMs who wish to allow them:

A hereditary werebeast is treated as human for race purposes, but uses their racial background trait to establish their werebeast nature. Examples of relevant backgrounds could be Of a Werebear Lineage, Momma Was a Wererat, and so forth.

In were-form, the player may apply a total of +4 and -4 (of course, the total pluses and minuses have to match!) to appropriate attribute scores and may change their primary attribute to that of their werebeast type or the matching beast type. These adjustments are selected when the character is created, and may differ between the hybrid form and the full beast form. The adjusted scores must still fall within the character’s allowable scores by race. When the character reaches Heroic scale, they may add two additional points of adjustment, which can move scores outside the normal limits; at each additional scale increase, another two points of adjustment can be added.

They may also use their werebeast background trait when it is appropriate. The GM may, of course, use the trait against them in appropriate ways, generating hero points for the player. The character also gains a vulnerability to silver as described above.

When taking the “followers” advancement, the player may choose to have their character’s followers be animals of their were-type. Lastly, the player may also choose to take the ability to communicate with animals of their were-type when in their beast form as an advancement.

Other effects should be handled by simple logic and sense – for example, a small werebeast can go through openings they couldn’t in their human form. A change to a small or large form should carry the appropriate AC and to-hit adjustments. And, of course, armour and clothing will not change with the character, so classes that wear light or no armour are recommended! (Note, though, that we recommend that werebeasts get their beast type’s natural armor and weapon values – usually, this will be equivalent to leather or none for armor, and a dagger (+1d4) or short sword (+1d6) for weapon values. The GM may limit this according to the types of weapons the character could normally carry, for purposes of game balance.) With this in mind, the GM may wish to carefully consider before allowing a player to make a werebeast PC whose animal form will be very small or large. It is not recommended that werebeast PCs be allowed to be of animal types that can fly.

As a werebeast levels up, they may take further advancements that aid their werebeast form(s). Some of these might be applicable in normal form as well – for example, taking Finesse Attacks to use Dexterity instead of Strength to attack could apply in both, or taking Naturally Ferocious to assist against intimidation attacks. Traits relating to senses might apply in both forms, or only in the werebeast forms, depending on how the GM and players imagine werebeasts in their world, and how much sense it makes. (For example, a were-bat most likely can’t echolocate in human form, but might still get some hearing improvement.)

Races that Don’t Mix Well – Monsters & Magic

In Aperita Arcana for Monsters & Magic, we have detailed rules for mixed blood characters on page 88. There are, however, a few races that cannot benefit from these rules due to their inherent physiology. They are:

  • Faun
  • Kitsune
  • Lamiae
  • Nymphs
  • Tanuki
  • Yisisir

Usually, a Mosi character will also conform to these rules, with one exception – if the player takes an appropriate background trait at character creation detailing why their character was not fully converted over by a yggmýrr, they may take traits and advancements from another race.

Mixed Blood Characters in Aperita Arcana for Fate Core

We discuss several “half” races in Aperita Arcana, from such common (in fantasy games) types as half-elves and half-orcs, to odder mixtures such as our blauwnder (dwarf-goblin crossbreeds) and kheiron (elf-centaur crossbreeds).

But half-breeds in fantasy don’t necessarily marry other half-breeds, and it’s not uncommon for a character in a fantasy work to have “just a bit” of ancestry from a different race. If you want to add these sorts of characters to your games, here are our suggestions:

First, include the ancestry in their race or background aspect.

Second, treat the character as having an Extraordinary race, even if their primary race would not normally be one — that is, they are required to use two of their starting talent slots on racial talents. One of those racial talents must be from their other ancestral race.

Beyond that, the character is built normally. However, they may never take more racial talents from their secondary race than they have from their primary race. Further, if their ancestry tends toward that of one of the “established” half-breed races, their secondary race should be that race.

Example: Phenaella, on p 183-184, has the racial aspect A Bit of Elven Blood (Human). Since half-elves are an established half-breed race, however, she doesn’t take an elf talent; instead, she takes the half-elf talent of Putting on a Face. She has the human racial talent of Human Determination; before she can take another half-elf talent, she’ll need to first take another human talent.

We recommend excluding several races, on grounds of logic. The single-sex races are written as having children of their own race if those children are the appropriate sex, or of the other parent’s race if they are not. Thus, it doesn’t make sense for them to be of “mixed blood” — they’re always mixed, technically speaking, but they don’t manifest traits of the other race.

These are: faun, kitsune, lamiae, nymphs, tanuki, and yisisir. In addition, mosi do not have mixed blood, since they reproduce by budding.

Aperita Arcana: fantasy for Fate Core – now in print!

We’re happy to announce that Aperita Arcana: fantasy for Fate Core, our supplement that brings old school into the modern age of RPGs, is now available in print!

RPGnow and DriveThruRPG have it in hardcover, softcover, and PDF — and, as always at Ebon Gryphon, PDFs are at no extra charge when you order a physical book!

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