Dungeons & Dragons Online

Lycanthropes: Should they Regenerate?

Content of the article: "Lycanthropes: Should they Regenerate?"

Okay, so I'm a perma-DM and I had a design thought. More of a thought experiment really. Should Lycanthropes regenerate or have some sorta healing ability?

When you think of werewolves, maybe you're like me. Maybe you picture strong, savage animal hybrids who are tough to kill, resilient and can shrug off most minor injuries and even some major ones that would kill lesser men. And should they be critically injured, they're back on their feet in only a matter of days or even hours. In short, they have increased healing.

In 5e however, lycanthropes are instead just immune to non-magical non-silvered BPS damage. And honestly it works well enough, but you you've ever played CoS or ran a group where there is infighting amongst the lycanthrope groups, you start to have some questions.

Namely, how do werewolves kill other werewolves without help? In CoS specifically (not really a spoiler but just in case) there is a werewolf group where there's some infighting and one leader killed another with their claws, IIRC and RAW, this is sorta impossible.

So here's my thought. If lycanthropes had a regeneration ability, instead of a damage immunity, that might make it more like the image in my head. Maybe they have something like:

Regeneration. At the beginning of each of their turns, if they have at least 1 hit point, they regenerate 5 (or 10, or whatever other number) hit points. This ability doesn't work if they took damage from a magic weapon or a silvered weapon last turn. (Quick example, not a final edit on wording)

This would make werewolves able to kill other werewolves, but it would take a long LONG time to do so. But that only further matches how I imagine that fight would go. "Two werewolves, fighting for dominion over the herd, start tearing and biting at each other. Hours of savage combat later, one werewolf emerges victorious. Their skin torn to ribbons, their claws and fangs dripping with blood." Something like that. Additionally, magic weapons and silvered weapons are still useful.

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Now, if you're running a session where there is a LOT of werewolves to keep track of, regenerate could quickly become a handful and difficult to track. For a solo boss, sure, but for an entire herd? Gross :/ So what about another approach to their increased healing factor? What if instead, they had this:

Damage immunities. None Damage resistances. Bludgeoning, piercing and slashing Damage vulnerabilities. Silvered weapons Regenerate. Every minute, the werewolf regenerates 1 hit point.

Wait, VULNERABILITY to silver damage? Okay okay, here's my thinking. Having flat resistance to BPS means that werewolves can 1: Be killed by early level adventurers without magic/silver gear and 2: Werewolves can still kill each other, but it'll still take longer. Then, by giving then vulnerability to silvered weapons (and magic weapons dealing BPS if you wanted) it would make them hit harder and be vastly more effective, but not a one-shot kill since they're still resistant to the BPS.

Basically, damage would look like this. Normal weapon = 1/2 damage (resistance). Silvered weapon = full standard damage (×2 from vulnerability then 1/2 from resistance). But, that basically works out to what they have already, right? Essentially yes, but it makes them able to be killed by parties without magic gear (still hard tho) and narratively it fixes some of the issues I see with lycanthropes.

And then the little extra regeneration ability fits the narrative more, without giving you something to worry about in the midst of combat itself. 1 hit point every 10 rounds isn't going to do much to swing battles (which usually end 3-5 rounds in). But now a typical werewolf, with its 58 hit points, can take a short rest and be back to full without spending any hit dice (but what DM actually tracks that stuff?). But should the party be attacking some werewolves, and the werewolves start losing, they can run away, wait an hour, and come back at full for another round. Start losing again? Retreat, heal, and their back again. Every. Single. Hour. And it's not the DM fudging die rolls either ("oh yeah, they rolled max healing on their short rests, 3 short rests in a row, and yeah of COURSE they have that many hit dice").

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Makes them a bit scarier as a repeat encounter in my book. Knowing they can heal back up quickly, why wouldn't they just charge through, hit the party for a bit, then leave. Sure, the party can heal too, but every time they get attacked, they're (likely) spending spell slots, hit dice, or other resources that only come back on a long rest (unless your party is entirely composed of fighters and warlocks). But the werewolves will always be back to their full fighting potential. And seeing who casts spells, etc, they'll know who to target with each attack. But I digress (tactics isn't really the focus of this post)

So to recap, should werewolves of some form of regeneration? Either a rapid regen mid-combat that's disrupted via silver? Or a slow regen, and silver just hurts them more than other attacks? What do y'all think? Would you implement something like this into your campaign? If so, how?

Source: reddit.com

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