Lycanthrope, Werelion

Al-Qadim (Forgotten Realms)Campaign Setting Logo

Lycanthrope, Werelion
Climate/Terrain:Subtropical/Plains, villages, jungles
Activity Cycle:Day
Intelligence:Average (8-10)
Alignment:Lawful evil
No. Appearing:2-8
Armor Class:7
Movement:15, Jp 6
Hit Dice:6+6
No. of Attacks:3
Special Attacks:Leap, rear claws (2-8 each)
Special Defenses:Hit only by silver or +1 or better weapon, -2 on surprise rolls
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:M or L (6' long)
Morale:Elite (14)
XP Value:2,000

Werelions are humans able to assume lion form. They are efficient, communal predators, dangerous not only because of their individual skill but also because of their ability to stalk their prey as a singleminded group.

In their human form, werelions tend to be thin and sinewy, with a whiplash speed and agility. Their voices are deep and melodious. Male werelions generally have long, curly yellow or golden brown hair which they tie back as ponytails or tuck under turbans, while females keep their hair cropped uncharacterisically short, even to the point of appearing almost shaven. They are always deeply tanned and muscled. In their lion forms they lose all vestiges of humanity, appearing as preternaturally large lions with unusually bright eyes and a deeper roar than most normal lions. Werelions have no half-human form.

Werelions can speak with all felines, though this does not mean that all cats are friendly toward them. They can even communicate with feline monsters. They are rarely found with real lions and prefer human company to the company of animals.

Combat: Werelions generally drive or lead their prey into ambushes, as they are masters at stealth and deception. Each pride is led by a female; prides of more than six are usually split into two hunting groups, one led by the werelions' matriarch and one by her chief consort. These two groups can communicate in wereform by their roars, though generally a two-group pride will always have one set of hunters in human form (except for nights with a full moon). All leader werelions and 1 in 10 of the members in any pride have the abilities of a 4th- to 9th-level thief or ranger in their human form (roll d6+3 to determine a werelion's level). Werelion mages have been reported, though they are exceedingly rare and almost never reach a position of leadership. They rarely exceed 5th level.

If werelions hit with both front claws on any attack sequence, they can rake with both their rear claws for 2-8 points each.

In their wereform, werelions can leap up to 60. from concealment when ambushing prey. This attack counts as a charge; leaping werelions gain +2 bonus to their attack roll and a +1 bonus on damage but suffer a penalty of -2 to their initiative and -1 to their Armor Class. A leaping attack allows the werelion an automatic raking attack sequence, regardless of whether the front claws both hit.

Habitat/Society: Werelions are social lycanthropes, willing to work as a team to better their chances of catching prey and avoiding detection. A pride of werelions usually numbers from 1-6 females and 1-4 males. They generally appear as a tribe of nomadic herdsman, pilgrims, or tinkers of one stripe or another. Occasionally, they assume the role of mercenaries in their human form.

A pride of werelions is always ruled by a woman whose authority is unquestioned. The males may brag, may be lazy in combat or in the hunt, or may even insult their female companions, but they never disobey their pride.s ruler.

The males are particularly protective when the female werelions have recently given birth, and a litter of 1-4 lion cubs is not uncommon. It does put the whole pride on edge, and any hint of threat is met with deadly force until the cubs are weaned. They grow very quickly and are able to assume human form within a year. They reach maturity in three years, with a size and appearance matching that of a 15-year-old human.

If werelions mate with humans, the offspring resemble humans until they reach the age of 15, at which point transformations to lion form begin.

Ecology: Werelions occasionally serve in the retinue of lion lords. They have also struck bargains with desert centaurs and cities on the edges of great plains which profit both groups. Generally they serve as caravan guards or elite military scouts in exchange for guaranteed hunting privileges in choice rangelands. Unlike the great cats, werelions can and will commonly attack humans.

Werelions are great rivals of weretigers and rarely tolerate their presence for long.