Friday, October 2, 2015

Octhorrorfest: Lycanthropy Without Tears, A Rite of Lycanthropy For Old School Fantasy and Horror Games

It's that time of year again folks. To kick off the Hallows season, I'm going to give you something vile for your villains! The Rites of Lycanthropy! Where statistics are needed, Swords & Wizardry rules are used.
Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. -The Wolf Man (1942)
Now it is well established in lore that one can be come a Were(insert animal here) through a curse or through infection, typically through the bite of a lycanthrope. What happens if a character (pc or npc) seeks in insanity, vengeance or greed, to become a lycanthrope through choice? Is it possible? Of course it is. Most things are possible through ritual magic, in a fantasy game.
If a character is so driven, and discovers this method, the ritual is quite simple, though there is a price to be paid. The desire to become a lycanthrope is, in itself a chaotic inclination. The Taint of Chaos is upon any who undertake such a rite. The ritual entails a magical ointment, a Demon Prince or Duke of Hell willing to offer their "help" as a patron in the transformation and an age old incantation. Needless to say, any undertaking this rite become chaotic in alignment.
First, the candidate must gather all of these ingredients and heat them in a cauldron to produce the ointment. How easy these herbs and other ingredients are to obtain is up to the referee. The gathering of the first ingredient itself is a vile and chaotic act.
* fat from disinterred children
* hemlock
* aconite
* poplar leaves
* soot or cowbane
* sweet flag
* cinquefoil
* bat's blood
* deadly nightshade
* oil
*a belt of the skin of a wolf (other animal) to be worn as the only article of clothing during the ritual
The candidate must then draw a thaumaturgical circle upon the night of the full moon and petition the dark patron that they have chosen to call upon, once the ointment has boiled. An offering appropriate to the patron should be used to entice the demon/devil. Then the incantation is given:
"Make me a werewolf! Make me a man-eater!
Make me a werewolf! Make me a child-eater!
Make me a werewolf! Make me a woman-eater!
I pine for blood! human blood!
Give it to me! Give it to me tonight!
(name of demon/devil)! Give it to me, and heart, body, and soul, I am yours!"
A saving throw is made. If successful the patron hears the plea. It is the referee's decision as to whether or not the otherworldly being actually appears and aids the candidate. If successful, at this point, a pact will be made between the candidate and the patron. If the patron accepts, it shall bestow the "gift" of lycanthropy upon the candidate.