Lycanthrope, Werehyena

Al-Qadim (Forgotten Realms)Campaign Setting Logo

Lycanthrope, Werehyena
Climate/Terrain:Tropical/Deserts and plains
Activity Cycle:Day
Intelligence:Very (11-12)
Treasure:Q×10 each
Alignment:Neutral evil
No. Appearing:2-12
Armor Class:5
Hit Dice:5+1
No. of Attacks:1
Damage/Attack:2-12 or by weapon
Special Attacks:See below
Special Defenses:Iron or +1 weapon to hit, immune to enchantment/charm spells
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:M (5-6' tall)
Morale:Average (8-10)
XP Value:1,400

Werehyenas are humans, usually male, who can transform themselves into hyenalike forms. Their packs roam the plains and deserts of Zakhara looking for prey.

The human form tends to be tall and sinewy, with long, shaggy hair usually tied back over their neck. The long hair conceals a second mouth at the base of the head, which mimics the lip movements of the primary mouth but makes no sound. They take great pains to keep this second mouth hidden. In their human forms, werehyenas tend to be gregarious and charismatic, many possessing a loud, resounding laugh.

The canine form appears to be a large hyena, over 6' long from snout to tail, with golden fur on its back and black fur on its belly and feet. While in this form, they can pass without trace.

It is not uncommon for a pack of these creatures to be followed by 2-12 normal hyenas. The normal hyenas are attracted to the lycanthropes, although not under their direct control.

Combat: In its human form, a werehyena will attack with a weapon appropriate for its assumed identity. However, in this form, a werehyena's best weapon is its charming personality, which it uses to gain others' confidence. Once per round, at will, a werehyena can bring into effect a friends spell (assume that it has a Charisma of 14-15 before the spell is cast) as if the spell were cast by a 12th-level wizard. This spell-like ability is not memorized or learned; it comes naturally to the creature and is triggered by thought.

In its hyena form, a werehyena attacks with its vicious bite, which inflicts 2-12 points of damage. On a natural attack roll of 19 or 20, the werehyena has locked its jaws on a victim. This has two effects: first, the victim will be automatically subject to damage from a bite attack on subsequent rounds (no further attack rolls needed for the werehyena); second, the weight of the creature will slow the victim down, reducing his or her movement rate by 6 (cumulative). After it has locked its jaws on a victim, a werehyena will release its bite only after suffering more than 10 points of damage.

In either of its forms, a werehyena can only be affected by magical or iron weapons. Other types of weapons initially appear to inflict damage, but the wound closes by the end of the round. Werehyenas are immune to enchantment/charm spells.

All werehyenas have a primal fear of fire, preferring to make appearances and attacks during the day. A flaming torch is enough to keep one at bay; over six points of fire damage will send one howling off into the wilderness. If cornered by fire, however, they will fight to defend themselves.

Habitat/Society: Werehyenas travel in close-knit packs of up to a dozen creatures, most of whom are males. The pack is run by a dominant male, who makes all important decisions, reinforcing them with an occasional, savage bite. Newly infected lycanthropes are welcomed into a pack only if the newcomer agrees to accept the pack leader's orders to the death. If not, a fight for dominance usually ensues, with the victor becoming the new pack leader.

Among themselves, they can be playful and capable of lasting intimacy. They mate for life, but only with other members of the pack. From one to four cubs are born with each litter; 75% of them are male.

Werehyena packs scour the desert and plains in human form, seeking human settlements to infiltrate. A favorite ploy is for a single lycanthrope to enter a town or village and use its friends ability to win its way into the hearts of the people. Some are even known to shower gifts on “a long-forgotten sister” or relative. The gifts are typically small gems which it gathers for this purpose. The lycanthrope then lures the victim out of town to a trap, where the rest of the pack lies in wait.

Ecology: Werehyenas are covert hunters, preying on gullible humans whenever possible. However, like their normal cousins, they are excellent scavengers, capable of eating just about anything in order to survive. Although their numbers are great, they are too widely scattered to have any profound effect upon the ecology of Zakhara.