The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
But swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread:
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing said . . .
-- John Milton, Lycidas, I. 123
There were almost as many kinds of werewolf as there were people talking about them during the Middle Ages, and the Inquisition gleefully hunted all of them. One of the most insidious, at least as far as the Inquisition was concerned, was the shifter who appeared to sleep peacefully while his soul left his body and wreaked havoc on the countryside in wolf form. Invulnerable to all harm save by silver and blessed weapons, this hell-born monster indulged its sadistic desires upon his neighbors every night.
Evil And The Werewolf
The type of werewolf described here was perhaps the most convenient variety found in the Inquisition's lexicon of shapeshifters, especially when it came to heretics, dissenters and other inconvenient persons. All that was required was a few nocturnal animal attacks and an accusation -- and officially sanctioned torture would produce the confession that proved the case.
As distasteful as such proceedings were to modern sensibilities, and as ignorant as the dogma involved appears to modern eyes, the main text assumes the literal truth of the matter. This is an expressly evil were, and unlike such beasts as the Cinematic "Monster" Werewolf (see pp. 83-85), it is directly powered by whatever embodied force of supernatural Evil is present in the campaign.
Building the Sleeping Werewolf
Start with the "Wolf with a Human Mind" template (p. 17, 82 points).
Remove Bestial from disadvantages. Add Odious Personal Habit: Eats Humans [-15], and one level each of Vulnerability to Silver [-10] and "holy/blessed" objects [-15]. Also add "Dread: Persons with True Faith" [-10].
The were-form's template base cost is 42 points. As a Shapeshifting advantage, it costs 57 points.
The following modifiers then apply: Reciprocal Rest, +30%; Projected Were-form, -50%; and Cure/Cursebreak, -40%. The cure is exorcism (a simple process in medieval Europe) and the were must cooperate. The total modifiers are -60%.
The final cost of the were-form is 23 points.
While wolves were the most common shifter type in European folklore, especially in regards to Church dogma, they were far from the only possibility. The construction guidelines in the main text can be applied to a number of different of other animal templates to produce "historically" accurate were-creatures. Cats (p. BE108) were the second-most-likely choice for the Hell- aligned were's animal shape, but dogs (also p. BE108) and virtually any other predator species might also serve. Note that smaller templates will probably not have the Odious Personal Habit, if only because of the difficulty they will have hunting and killing humans.
The classic medieval werewolf, at least as painted by the Roman Catholic Church, was always a person who had willingly given himself over to the forces of Hell. Assuming this to be accurate, such an individual is likely to have any number of "evil" disadvantages, Sadism and Megalomania among them. At the very least Callous and/or Solipsist are appropriate, although a simple desire to harm a perceived enemy or set of enemies (as expressed in a Vow, Obsession or even a Higher Purpose) is acceptable. (This latter opens up the possibility of someone who has bargained with Hell for lycanthropic powers in order to ultimately do Good -- or at least what he perceives to be Good.) He will not have a Split Personality, however; he is the wolf, and the wolf is him, and he delights in all the evil done in and by that shape.
On the other hand, he cannot be so evil and twisted that he cannot function in society. Such werewolves can be considered as "sleeper agents" (no pun intended) buried in the fabric of medieval society. Intended for long-term operations, they must be able to successfully masquerade as innocent bystanders or even victims; the ability to be in two places at the same time certainly helps here. Acting skill is paramount, as well as Fast- Talk and Diplomacy.
This variety of werewolf will almost always have a Patron -- a demon or some other such being -- who is the were's contact with Hell and, effectively, his commanding officer. Similarly, he will have either an Enemy or a Secret, depending on whether or not the locals have figured out that they are the prey of a werewolf. The Enemy will be the Church and/or the Inquisition -- a large, overwhelmingly powerful organization with vast resources; its level of appearance will depend on how flamboyant or careless the werewolf has been. Secrets will almost always be of the "Possible Death" variety -- as has been noted, the Church was not forgiving of werewolves -- and will turn into an Enemy as above, plus bad Reputations and more as needed.
Obviously, such a character will not have Empathy or any other advantage or disadvantage that requires him to in any way feel for his victims.
Here are two of the most common alternate werewolves, according to medieval Catholic dogma. They start with the same version of the "Wolf with a Human Mind" template as the werewolf in the main text, worth 82 points.
This werewolf may have an inherent ability to change, but it requires a trigger -- smearing upon his body a foul ointment composed of a number of unpleasant ingredients, some of which are guaranteed to earn the user a death sentence, or worse, excommunication. Once changed, the user cannot remain in wolf form beyond the next sunrise or sunset, although he can change back to human at any time he cares to before then.
Creating the "alchemical" werewolf: To the basic template, add an External Trigger: the ointment (rare, exclusive, from human to wolf only), -15%, and Maximum Duration (sunset to sunrise), -7%.
Alchemical weres may have an Addiction to the ointment, if only because of the effects of the psychoactive plants usually cited in authentic medieval recipes.
This version covers a wide selection of werewolves, all of whom must don some item of clothing made from wolf skin in order to change. This can range from a pair of gloves, to a broad belt, to an entire skin worn as a cloak. Upon donning the item, the were changes; he can change back at any time.
Creating the skinchanger: Turn the basic werewolf template into an item-based change (p. 44-45) with the following modifiers: Can be stolen with stealth or trickery, only usable by owner, -5%; Unique -25%. Breakable and Can Be Hit are appropriate, but the values will vary depending on what form the item takes. Finally, if the item is large enough, add Awkward (-10%).
Motivations and Psychology
As an active agent of Evil, the werewolf is usually charged with sowing fear among the people of a village or town. This it does by random property destruction and the slaughter of the occasional unwary person. The overall goal is not simple terror, although that is an important side effect. It is, rather, the sowing of anger and despair, both of which serve Hell's purposes admirably.
Then, too, the werewolf need not be serving Hell from any devotion or dedication to its agenda. He could as easily be an individual with a Murder Addiction (p. CI98) or pure simple Sadism, or possessing an unslakeable thirst for revenge upon his neighbors for some slight imagined or real. By agreeing to further the plans of Hell he receives a means towards his own personal goals -- a good deal by any measure, if the recipient is of the right mind.
While this particular werewolf archetype is lifted directly from medieval Catholic dogma, and is designed for use in a campaign set in medieval Europe, there's no reason it can't be used in other milieus. It is most easily transplanted into settings that bear a close resemblance to its origin, but nothing about it is fundamentally incompatible with anything but the most rationalist of worlds.
In particular, this werewolf type is appropriate not only to standard fantasy campaigns, but also non-cinematic modern horror, urban fantasy or X-Files type games. Although they are a trifle underpowered for Black Ops, they could be counted among the "werewolves" that Company ops must occasionally face, and may make for interesting flunkies for demons. Cosmetic alterations (such as changing species from wolf to, say, dingo or hyena) would allow them to enter non-European milieus -- but don't forget to change the Power backing them accordingly.
As another extreme alternative, evil werewolves of this stripe could be found wandering the world of GURPS Deadlands, spreading fear among mortals.
Even in campaigns with no active supernatural presence it is possible to employ this variety of shifter. The projected were-form may be the result of weird science (or weird magic), possibly cloaked in the trappings of devil worship to confuse and deceive a gullible recipient. The Patron would not be the Devil (although the werewolf might think it was), but someone who has his own reasons for letting loose a raging, murderous beast upon the land.
Yrth. Arguably the closest setting to medieval Europe without actually being a part of it, Yrth is a natural home for these Hell-powered shifters -- and includes their natural enemy in the form of the Yrth branch of the Catholic Church. The confusion between these werewolves and the more morally-neutral weres "native" to Yrth no doubt led to much of the bad press from which the latter suffer . . .
Sample Character: Abban Galdemar