Lycanthropy is an age old condition with no concrete origin story. Many seem to believe it was caused by the mixing of fae and beast blood thousands of years ago. Others believe that it was the creation of shamans back east a few hundred years ago as a weapon or means of defence. Regardless of how it originated those afflicted, or gifted, with its power are dangerous and should be avoided. It entails a persons blood being corrupted by magically enhanced beast blood causing the two to merge and become a new blood entirely. There is typically a ritual that goes along with the creation on a lycanthrope that differs from beast to beast. There are currently 8 different forms of lycan that have been encountered, documented and verified which are wolf, bear, stag, spider, snake, eagle, moth and bat. There have been other creatures documented such as a rat, rabbit, mule, goat, boar, bull, shark, crocodile, ape and even dragon but these are yet to be verified. Lycans typically have the ability to take on the form of the creature they are corrupted by or a hybrid form as well as maintaining physical enhancements in regular form and potentially even gaining new magics that are otherwise unobtainable. For example a werebear would see great enhancements in their strength and endurance whereas a werebat may gain the ability to manipulate blood and gain strength through its consumption.
Transmission & Vectors
Lycanthropy is transmitted through a ritual that differs depending on the beast in question. The ritual itself is a painful ordeal that not all survive and shouldn't be taken lightly. While it is typically performed willingly there are cults and factions that would perform it on the unwilling. It is also possible for a lycan to pass on their curse to their children but it also very rare that a lycan is actually able to conceive. Many will miscarry due to the strain of the blood on the infant.
Typically these rituals take at least a half hour to perform the first stage of and require a variety of body parts from the beast in question such as pelts, teeth, or wings. They always require blood. Once the first stage is complete the subject will require rest. This again will differ between beasts as many will just sleep whereas moths will create a cocoon around themselves. During this time the subject is tended to with a thin broth that they can ingest that contains nutrients to keep them alive. Some may have specific requirements, for example since the moths cocoon is made of crystallised blood a steady supply is required. This process takes up to a month. The third stage entails the subject waking up. They will be significantly weaker after sleeping for so long and their bodies will both feel and appear drained. However they are far more powerful but will often need rehabilitating for a short time. It is also common that they will begin experiencing new behaviours and cravings typical of the beast. After any transformation or use of their abilities a lycan will become significantly drained of energy and may find themselves needing to take long breaks to catch their breath. Experience with their abilities can reduce stamina drain. A person born a lycan will not experience this and suffer none on the drawbacks of a person who was turned would. This inherently makes them stronger but they also have a habit of seeing themsleves a lycan first rather than their actual race and craving freedom making them somewhat more dangerous to all.
Many lycans upon discovery will be exiled at best or executed at worst.
Most people believe that lycanthropy can be passed on like a disease and as such many fall back on burning incense in living quarters, above fireplaces or in kitchens, in an effort to keep both lycans and lycanthropy away. However lycans are not deterred by incense and the blood can only be passed through a ritual.
The exacy origins of lycanthropy are hotly debated between scholars with 2 main theories. The first theory states that interbreeding between fae creatures and animals thousands of years ago created a tainted blood that can be manifested in people through a ritual process. The second states that a shaman in the east wilds created the lycanthropy ritual in an effort too turn their tribes warriors into living weapons and shields to protect the tribe from the dangers of the changing world a few thousand years ago. One of the many notable lycans throughout history was a low-ranking noble turned warlord, The Dhampr. The legend states that within his lifespan he was obsessed with accruing power which led him to lead a coup against the ruler of his kingdom. The coup failed and the young noble was greatly injured but managed to escape at the cost of his men. After drifting down a stream for what seemed an eternity he was rescued by a cabal of lowly hermits that promised him power enough to take the throne he coveted. He accepted the deal for their power and was transformed into the first werebat (some scholars believe that the hermits were themselves werebats but this is hotly debated). The man then returned to the kingdom with an army of fiends at his back after mastering his abilities and laid waste to the ruling class becoming its new ruler. The man ravaged the land with dark magics to the point that the land itself was damaged and the natural energies were permanently disturbed.
Those who carry the blood of a beast are typically ostracised or live in secret. The blood is feared by the general populace that do carry it. There have been many notable people who carry beast blood and many of them have worked for the betterment of the world however this has done little to ease the fears of the populace in situations where lycanthropy is concerned. Small cults and cabals exist throughout the world that revere, worship or simply just acknowledge lycanthropes. Some of these work to create more lycans, to rescue and raise lycans or to praise them as semi-divine beings.
- Chronic, Acquired & Congenital
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