HARP Bestiary Preview Excerpt: Weres

Copyright John Duffield and Iron Crown Enterprises Ltd © 2017

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"These beings have haunted the dark alleyways, forests and fringes of almost every nation and no race is immune from having these amongst its people."

Overview

Weres have been living in the shadows of civilised society from time immemorial. These beings have haunted the dark alleyways, forests and fringes of almost every nation and no race is immune from having these amongst its people.

The most common form of Were is the werewolf whose existence has been the source of legends and tales for millennia. Werewolf are the most well known as they are social creatures themselves and their packs often exist within normal society, hidden in plain sight. Being well known does not mean that they are well understood.

Encounters and research have shown that there are a range of species. In temperate and colder climes can be found the werebear, ferocious warriors and notorious loners who haunt the forests and dark places. Weretigers live in more tropical climes and are also lone hunters of the night and have a fierce reputation as hunters and killers. The agile werefox haunts the edges of society, surviving on thieving and pilfering.

What has baffled sages is the source of the infection, what is this disease which causes this transformation, where did it start and why does it mimic common animals? Certainly there is magic of some form at work here as the transitions between forms changes mass and size of the host. The fact that it appears tied in some manner to the phases of the moon for the just initiated is also baffling as is the effects of silver, acting as almost a poison, within these creatures.

Many sages have hypothesised that Weres are nature’s predators for sentient races, the natural balance of predator and prey asserting itself. Certainly these beings feed almost exclusively on their host race, seeming to prefer them to other sources of food, though they still do hunt deer and other creatures if the need arises.

Ecology

Weres have lived amongst and preyed upon the sentient races for all recorded history. Existing either in close knit packs or as loners dwelling on the fringes of society these beings are predators who hide amongst the nations of the world feeding on their people.

Weres will hunt their host race by preference but when the risk of discovery is high they will blend in, taking to wild prey to satiate their hunger.

Weres are adaptable to almost any climate and region and it is more the nature of the beast form which drives their location and chosen hunting grounds.

Lifestyle

Weres are split into two major groups, packs and loners. The packs form a rigid hierarchy and often have different sub species which perform various roles. The werewolves are the best example of this specialisation based on function with their packs often having five or more specialist roles.

Pack hunters will live in close knit groups dominated by an Alpha who rules the pack. These packs can exist within society, living amongst their host race or just as easily be found living on the edges of nations in the wilds, hunting and roaming in a manner much more akin to their beast side.

Loners tend to live on the fringes, hunting and moving, living a nomadic life much more in tune to their beast side. On rare occasions one of these creatures will settle down in a large population centre and hunt amongst its citizens whilst maintaining a fašade of being one of the crowd. When they do move on they will normally make it appear that they too have fallen prey to their own predations.

Lycanthropy imparts an extended lifespan, often five to ten times that of their host race and as such even the most well established packs will move on to avoid suspicion.

It is known that Weres can control if their bite will cause a victim to transform or not as there are rare cases of survivors who have not transformed, though they often live under suspicion for many years within their community.