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.

Other Templates

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.

Other Traits

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
150 points

Male; Age 37; 5'5''; 135 lbs.; Middle-aged Frenchman, salt-and-pepper hair, blue eyes, Van Dyke beard/mustache

ST 9 [-10]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 13 [30]; HT 12 [20]

Speed 5.50; Move 5.

Dodge 5; Parry 8.

Damage: Punch: 1d-4; Kick: 1d-2; Thrust 1d-2; Swing 1d-1

Advantages: Literacy [10]; Patron (Hell) (9 or less) [35] (Special Qualities: Very Unusual, +10); Status 2 [5]; Wealth (Wealthy) [20] (Starting Wealth: $5,000); Werewolf (Projected Were-form: -50%; Cure/Cursebreak: Exorcism, werewolf must cooperate: -40%) [23].

Disadvantages: Bloodlust [-10]; Secret (Apostate Werewolf) [-30]; Selfish [-5]; Vow: Revenge himself on people of Mende and the Church [-15].

Quirks: Careful never to manifest or vanish his wolf-form near his home; Likes the taste of human flesh; Pretends to be a good Catholic; Still mourns for his wife and sons; Unsatisfied with the revenge he has so far taken. [-5]

Skills: Acting-16 [8]; Animal Handling-13 [4]; Area Knowledge (Mende and environs)-15 [4]; Bard-13 [2]; Brawling-12 [4] (Parry: 8); Cooking-13 [1]; Cyphering-14 [2]; Detect Lies-14 [6]; Diplomacy-14 [6]; Economics-13 [4]; Fast-Talk-14 [4]; Gambling-14 [4]; Intimidation-14 [4]; Knife-12 [4] (Parry: 5); Merchant-16 [8]; Metallurgy/TL3-12 [2]; Riding (Horse)-10 [2]; Savoir-Faire (Medieval France)-15 [0]; Shadowing-15 [6]; Tracking-15 [6].

Languages: French (native)-14 [1].

Once upon a time, in 12th-century France, there was a prosperous merchant with a large, loving family, who lived in a fine house just outside of the town of Mende. Abban Galdemar was his name, and the town council of Mende despised him because they envied his good fortune, and because he did not bribe them as much as they thought was their due. But because Galdemar technically lived outside the town, they could not exert any more pressure on him than they already did -- not without losing his trade to another town. They would sooner see him dead.

Then one day, that became a real option. A large party of bandits came upon Mende. The town fathers, having no stomach for a fight, paid off the bandits from the treasury rather than have the understaffed town guard engage them. Laying an extra bag of coins in the bandit chieftain's hand, they pointed him in the direction of "rich pickings" -- Galdemar's home.

The bandits besieged his fine house and took it over. They beat Galdemar mercilessly until he revealed the location of his moneybox. They raped his wife Marie. After they finished sacking the estate, the bandits put the beautiful building to the torch. Then they rode off with his sons Luc and Marc, the chieftain laughing a ransom demand over his shoulder.

The tragedy only compounded. Marie, in shame, hanged herself, and was refused last rites and Christian burial by the Church. Unable to pay his creditors, he was bankrupted, and was unable to pay the ransom on his sons; their bodies were dumped unceremoniously upon the ashes of his home. He was finally reduced to begging on the streets of Mende, where the elders who had once envied him now delighted in spitting on him as they passed.

When the beggar Galdemar overheard the elders laughing about how they had arranged his fall, his despair and anger and new-born hatred crystallized in his chest. He cursed the name of God for subjecting him to the conspiracy and ill fortune that had taken away all that he had ever loved, and swore he would take his revenge not only on the bandits, but on the Church, and on the townsfolk who caused it all.

No sooner had he uttered this oath than a dark man in fine clothes of black silk appeared and offered him the power to get his revenge, and more. Galdemar agreed instantly.

Today, Abban Galdemar is once more a prosperous merchant, fortune having smiled upon him again. He lives in Mende now, where he has been taking an active role in the council ever since several of the elders were killed by a wild animal attack, one of many this bleak winter. He refuses to remarry, and dresses only in black, in memory of his wife. Yes, Abban Galdemar is a successful man . . .

. . . and he is a werewolf. Since making his bargain with the Devil, Galdemar has hunted down and slaughtered the bandits who destroyed his life. He used their ill-gotten gains to rebuild his business and buy a home in Mende. In the months since, he has killed several of the elders, and has begun preying upon the children of the town even as he has taken up a role in its governance. He keeps up the appearance of a devout man in permanent mourning, and has gained much respect in Mende for the dignity and strength with which he survived his adversity. No one knows he is also the ravenous beast who has killed so many over the past two seasons . . .

Abban Galdemar is a 150-point character suitable for use as a "secret mastermind" type of opponent in a medieval setting, be it standard fantasy or ostensibly historical. He will usually ignore strangers to Mende unless they seem to be allying themselves with the remaining town elders, or if they are in the service of the Church. He is clever enough to simply lie low if Inquisitors or their agents appear in the town, but may be willing to attack secular werewolf hunters.

Galdemar's were form is a normal-sized wolf with ST 9, DX 14, IQ 13, HT 12. It takes no permanent damage from anything but fire, silver and consecrated items. Galdemar has developed a liking for human flesh when in wolf-form, and never fails to indulge that liking when he kills; unfortunately, the wolf template's Gluttony has almost led to his discovery on several occasions. He is otherwise cautious, though; when he sends his soul roaming in wolf-form, he never manifests (or dismisses) it near his home.

This page was created on December 9, 2003.
Last modified March 12, 2011.