New Background – Lycanthrope

UPDATE: The partial background found in this article is a preview. It is fully available as a Pay What You Want product on the DMs Guild in a pretty PDF with art and 14 other ready to roll backgrounds.

Tis the season for witches, skeletons, jack-o’-lanterns, and things that go bump in the night. It’s a great time for gamers. Our active imaginations have us thinking of scary surprises for our gaming groups. I bet more than a few Dungeon Masters out there are designing a dastardly quests centered around a cemeteries, cabins in the woods, and haunted mansions. Wolves will howl, vampires will feast, and demiliches will devour souls.

But why should monsters get all the fun? Why does the Dungeon Master always get to control the baddest mofos in the land? To help players celebrate the season I developed some deliciously evil backgrounds for less-than-savory PCs. First up is the lycanthrope background which assumes a character was once afflicted with the disease and has since been cured. More of these player options to come as we approach the witching holiday!


You were afflicted with lycanthropy, a disease which caused you to become a shapeshifting monster such as a werewolf or wererat. The disease probably drove you to commit violent acts you may never have even contemplated in real life and though you are cured, you must still live with the consequences of those actions. Perhaps it is making up for those actions which causes you to adventure or a determination that what happened to you should never happen to anyone else ever again. Or perhaps your motivations are darker and you seek to again hold the power this supernatural disease brought to you.

Not all lycanthropes are inherently evil. There is a small chance you were one of the very rare werebears or weretigers. If you make this choice, your actions as a lycanthrope were probably not sadistic and murderous. Maybe some of the deeds you accomplished as a lycanthrope were heroically motivated. Still, your lycanthropy has been cured and you’ve begun a new life as an adventurer, perhaps because you feared you still might hurt those you love in your animal or hybrid form or because society wouldn’t accept you as a lycanthrope no matter how virtuous your actions.

You decide (or roll for) the type of lycanthropy with which you were afflicted, the length of time you had the disease, the acts you committed and the person who cured you of it. You can choose or roll on the table below to determine your type of lycanthropy. There are rarer types of lycanthropy in some worlds, such as weresharks and werespiders. If you’re interested in playing a character who was once such a lycanthrope, ask your DM if such options are available.

d20 Type of Lycanthrope
1 – 10 Werewolf
11 – 15 Wererat
16 – 18 Wereboar
19 Weretiger
20 Werebear

Skills: Intimidation, Survival

Languages: Two of your choice

Equipment: An iron pot, a set of common clothes, a small knife, a tooth, claw, or tusk from your old animal form, and belt pouch containing 10 gp

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