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PostSubject: Lycanthropes   Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:54 pm

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Lycanthropes
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Introduction
Therianthropes are the 'blessed' of Voar, God of Bloodlust and the Hunt; twisted unions between man and beast, created to be both hunters and the hunted. All Therianthropes originate from men who have been afflicted with one of the Therianthropic diseases, each of which plagues the victim with the form of a different animal. By far the most infamous form of Therianthropy is the Lycanthrope, victims of which can turn into humanoid wolves.

Physiology
Prior to transformation, all Lycanthropes appear to be normal men and woman; the only outward symptom of Lycanthropy is a ragged, sleepless appearance. Upon transformation, however, they undergo an extreme change, rapidly spawning fur, teeth, and claws, often growing up to 2 times in size. No matter their previous form, all Werewolves experience a significant increase in muscle mass, in some cases gaining half-again their previous body weight. Transformed werewolves are sexless, with no sexual organs to speak of. Transformation is an exceedingly painful experience, one that often drives the newly turned Werewolf feral in it's agony.

The resulting Werewolf is a hulking monstrosity with a feral appearance. Werewolves are tremendously strong creatures, far stronger than most men - there has been more than one recorded instance of Werewolves tearing through a stone wall with nothing more than it's brute strength. They are also very quick, and prolific climbers; the average werewolf can scale a three story building in under ten seconds and leap over a six foot wall. Werewolves have never been seen to use any form of weapons or armor beyond their teeth, claws, and natural hide. Their teeth and claws are far longer and sharper than the average wolf; recorded instances have shown that, under the right conditions, werewolves can disembowel a human male with a single swipe across the abdomen, and nearly decapitate with a single powerful bite on the neck. Their claws have been known to inflict deep gashes in the toughest steel armor and even tear through iron. Their hide acts as a natural armor that can repel most normal weapons, and even protect against certain caliber of firearm, including the Arquebus.

With the change comes a great growth of the senses. Werewolves can hear, smell, and see far better than the average human, and use them to their advantage. Werewolves have a prodigious sense of smell, in particular the smell of fresh blood. A werewolf can track wounded prey from a mile away, and can identify creatures and people from the scent of their blood alone. Slightly less powerful than their sense of smell, werewolves can hear and identify sounds that normal humans cannot. Werewolves are, by nature, nocturnal, and thus have a strong night vision.

Werewolves, however, have a number of limitations inherent to their nature. Werewolves, especially the recently afflicted, tend to lack the agility and cunning of a normal human being. Werewolves are not agile enough to dodge an arrow or an oncoming blade, and certainly not bullets. They lose the ability to use tools and weapons, and often resort to brute-strength solutions to problems. Although werewolves can transform at will, the pain involved leads most werewolves to avoid the transformation. Many afflicted are consumed by self-hatred and repulsion, and secret themselves away from the world. A Werewolf, however, cannot avoid the transformation on the Full Moon. As the Moon waxes full, it agitates their beast blood more and more. The transformation becomes easier, and many werewolves experience restlessness and sudden seizures. At this time powerful emotion may force the afflicted to transform. Upon the Full Moon, the Lycanthrope is driven mad and transforms unwillingly, forced into the night to hunt for flesh. The Werewolf also has an infamous weakness to silver; proximity to large amounts of silver agitates the blood much as the Moon, and Silver can inflict terrible injuries upon the Werewolf, ignoring their powerful hide. Werewolves are also susceptible to the rare metal Selenium, being fragments of the Moon itself. Selenium plagues the werewolf, driving it mad, forcing it to transform. Selenium strikes terrible wounds upon Werewolves, far worse than silver, and is the bane of werewolves everywhere.

Of special note are the White Lycans; werewolves blessed by Selas to hunt other Lycanthropes, whose claws are silver and whose coats shine like the full moon.


Origin and History
Lycanthropy, like all the Therianthropic diseases, is a divine affliction created by Voar, God of Bloodlust and the Hunt. Voar, like his brother, Dyaus, was angered by their father's actions during the War of the Dawn. When Kielm left his throne to become Aeria's God of Nature, he barred his children from following, allowing them no place in the order of nature. Denied what they felt was rightfully theirs, they now enjoy meddling in their father's work, disrupting the natural order.

Voar sought to prove any creation of his was superior to his father's, and thus gave birth to the wolves and a number of other dangerous predators. He was unsatisfied with besting his father's work, however, and sought to make a mockery of that which he valued most on Aeria; civilized life. He thus created a series of afflictions, the Therianthropic diseases, to force people to become mockeries of their former selves, driven only by Voar's delight; the Hunt.

According to legend, the first Lycanthrope was born centuries before even the God Wars. In those days, it is said, there lived a great hunter, a young man in his prime, who sought to best every creature of the world, be it of the land, sea, or air. There came a day when he slew his last beast, and was approached by a great wolf, far larger than any wolf he had ever seen. The Avatar of Voar spoke to him, and gave him a challenge; to hunt and slay the master of the hunt. They stalked each other for weeks, up the mountains, through the forests, across the plains, until the huntsmen landed a fatal strike with his spear. As the Avatar lay wounded, he congratulated the huntsmen and offered him a prize; to join his soul with the spirit of beasts, and become the master of the wild. He accepted, and became the first Werewolf.

Long after this event, be it legend or truth, came a time when Werewolves were king among beasts, and plagued the peoples of Aeria. Many were slain; those that survived turned, and became Werewolves themselves. There was a great Werewolf, a cunning hunter by the name of Atros, Voar's champion in those days, who sought greater game than mere mortals. He sought the blood of the Divine. He chose Selas, for her realm always overlooked his hunts, and the hunts of all Werekin. To make Selas bleed would be an endless reminder to all of Voar's beasts that he was the master of the hunt.

He began with her priests. Worshiping as they did at night, under the Moon, they made easy prey. Hundreds fell to his claws, a bloodletting to open the hunt. When they failed to take notice, she moved to the mistresses, and then the maidens. When he slew her Matron, he had finally aroused her ire. Selas formed an Avatar and came to Aeria, to kill the impertinent beast. Atros easily fell before the might of a God; and in his final moments, pleaded for forgiveness. Selas drew close, willing to receive the werewolf's dying wishes - and was struck by his powerful claws across her face. Blood spilt upon the beast's already lifeless form, and Selas, infuriated, disappeared. Selas resolved to wipe the Werekin from the face of the world, and cursed all Werewolves with the light of her realm, driving them forcibly into the world to be hunted.


Culture
Being united only by their disease, Lycanthropes have no shared culture beyond it. Lycanthropes have no call to worship Voar; indeed, most of them are faithless, or follow the God they worshiped before their affliction. Most Lycanthropes are the unlucky survivors of a Werewolf attack, surviving only to turn themselves. These people are consumed by self-hatred and repulsion, cutting themselves off from the world, rarely coming out at night and often secluding themselves during the Full Moon. These Lycans avoid the transformation whenever they can, going feral with pain upon the change as a result. Voar does nothing for these Lycans, to aid or to harm; they serve him by being Hunted as much as they do by Hunting.

There are some, however, who embrace the change, the power that comes with being a Werewolf. These Lycanthropes enjoy the Hunt, and change as often as they can, becoming more powerful as a result. With each transformation the change becomes easier, the pain more manageable, allowing them to retain their human minds as a result. This consciousness makes the willing Lycan a far more dangerous opponent, exercising cunning over brute force.

Most werewolves are solitary creatures; there are no Werewolf clans as there are Vampiric clans. When Werewolves do meet, they tend to be enemies, and often stalk each other in the wild to assert their dominance, violently.

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Originally for Aeria by Pat.
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