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Alashra, a werehyena cleric of Lamashtu.
Werecreatures can be violent.

A werecreature is a humanoid creature that can change its shape into that of a specific non-herbivorous animal and into a hybrid shape between the two.1 Werecreatures are distinguished taxonomically from other shapechangers by the addition of the prefix "were-" to their names.

Afflicted and true werecreatures

The curse of the werecreature is a supernatural curse that resembles a disease. It can be contracted two ways:23

  • Afflicted werecreature: One who was bitten by a werecreature, such as a werewolf or wererat. The affliction remains dormant until the next full moon, whereupon the victim undergoes an involuntary transformation into an animal and becomes filled with an uncontrollable rage and bloodlust.4 The victim generally retains no memory of any events experienced while transformed and returns to their normal form upon sunrise, and as a result might not realize it is cursed.5
The affliction can be cured in the same manner as any other curse5 or by drinking a preparation made of wolfsbane before the first transformation.6
  • True werecreatures: The curse can also be passed on from a werecreature parent to their offspring. Also known as natural werecreatures, true werecreatures have greater control over their transformation except during a full moon and do not suffer from any memory loss during their transformation.5
There is no known way to remove a true werecreature's condition.5

True werecreatures have lived with and controlled their condition their entire life, while afflicted werecreatures often change involuntarily and have little awareness of their animal or hybrid forms, often turning aggressive and homicidal. While in animal form, they also sometimes lose their identity and do not remember what occurred while they were transformed. Most legends of the violent werecreature come from this latter group.787


All werecreatures have a peculiar connection to the moon. It often triggers transformation in afflicted werecreatures, and gives them all a vulnerability to silver, a metal long associated with that heavenly body.9[citation needed] They all possess three distinct forms: their humanoid form, an animal form, and a hybrid form that includes the physical characteristics of both.7

Werecreatures are generally resistant to most weapons, although magic affects them normally. Weapons edged in silver can hurt and kill a werecreature as easily as a normal human,10[citation needed] and they do not possess any such resistance in humanoid form.7 When killed, a werecreature always reverts to its humanoid form.7

Natural and afflicted werecreatures alike carry the curse and can infect others through a bite, or pass it on to their offspring.5

On Golarion

Many species of werecreature exist across Golarion. The most numerous and most successful are werewolves and wererats; the other most feared species are wereboars, werebears, werebats and weretigers.11

Two areas in the Inner Sea region are particularly known for their werecreature activity: the nation of Ustalav12 and the Darkmoon Vale in northwestern Andoran.1314 In both areas, it is mainly werewolves that attack individuals or small groups who make their living in the forest, such as loggers and hunters.15 The Varisian town of Wolf's Ear was known as a haven for werecreatures and other hunted creatures, until a Magnimarian pogrom drove the shapechangers underground.16

Not all werecreatures, however, are hated by the general population. In some societies they are valued for their skill and ferocity. The armies of Molthune have long had specialized werecreature units.17 Among the human tribes of Iobaria, werecreatures are known as "kodlak" and are either hated or venerated, depending on the group.18


Snig, a wererat in humanoid form.
A wererat in hybrid form.

Wererats are most common in large cities, where they can best blend in with the general human and rat populations.19[citation needed] When found in particularly large groups, they even form entire thieves' guilds to coordinate their illegal activities.15


Werewolves are among the best-known of the werecreatures. They are the often violent scourge of small communities, waiting along empty roads or on the outskirts of towns to catch and kill their unsuspecting victims.7

Some scholars label all werecreatures as "lycanthropes", but the term when correctly used applies only to werewolves, and other werecreatures are sometimes offended by being associated with lycanthropy.20


Wereboars are generally aggressive, and prefer a solitary forest life. This form of were-curse is most common among hill giants.21


Werebears live in colder climates, where they hunt evil creatures.22


Werebats are usually found in or near dense forests or jungles, and prefer to lair in caves and caverns. They often band together in flocks.11 There are also reports of drow23 werebats in the Darklands.15


Fierce weretigers stalk the jungles of Vudra, Tian Xia, Osirion, Thuvia, and the Mwangi Expanse.2115

Other werecreatures

Although they are rare these days, the wereleopards of Katapesh, Nex, and the Mwangi Expanse are known for their savagery.242115 The Sodden Lands are said to be the home of werehyenas, werejackals, and werecrocodiles.15 The aquatic weresharks are most commonly found in the Shackles.25 There are also myths of wereravens, wererays, dwarven and gnome werebadgers, and elven werefoxes, but none of these have ever been substantiated.211511


Jackalweres of Katapesh are often incorrectly believed to be werecreatures. They are simply magical beasts that can take on humanoid form.26


Sometimes werecreatures breed with humans or other humanoids. After a number of generations these unions no longer produce full werecreatures but an ancestry known as beastkin,27 or more ignorantly as skinwalkers, who are shapechangers that naturally resemble their humanoid parentage but can also take on certain bestial features of their werecreature forebears. Skinwalkers breed true and generally form small communities of their own kin that can be found throughout Golarion.28

Ulfen lycanthropy

Unlike most other cultures, Ulfen do not consider the curse of the werecreature to be especially dishonorable, and believe it is a blessing by the nature spirits. During periods of the full moon, those who suffer from the curse are locked in special longhouses or spirit houses, which are barred with silver and stocked with enough food to satiate the afflicted person's ravenous appetites.29


Some believe that the demon lord Jezelda was the first to spread the curse of the werecreature among humans, although both she and her followers dispute this.13


Paizo published a major article on werecreatures in Broken Moon, titled "Ecology of the Lycanthrope".

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 331. Paizo Inc., 2019
  2. Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 328–331. Paizo Inc., 2019
  3. Pathfinder First Edition werecreatures were generically referred to as lycanthropes and had different abilities and conditions for passing on their curse. For example, only true lycanthropes could spread the curse through a bite, and only lycanthrope mothers could pass the curse on to children. These traits, terms, and mechanics were broadly changed in Pathfinder Second Edition.
  4. Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 329. Paizo Inc., 2019
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 328. Paizo Inc., 2019
  6. Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 330. Paizo Inc., 2019
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 James Jacobs, et al. Classic Horrors Revisited, 59. Paizo Inc., 2010
  8. Mike McArtor. “Chapter 1: Wilds” in Guide to Darkmoon Vale, 26. Paizo Inc., 2008
  9. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 2: Classes” in Advanced Player's Guide, 48. Paizo Inc., 2010
  10. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary, 196. Paizo Inc., 2009
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Gareth Hanrahan. “Ecology of the Lycanthrope” in Broken Moon, 73. Paizo Inc., 2011
  12. Jason Nelson. Vigil” in Cities of Golarion, 49. Paizo Inc., 2009
  13. 13.0 13.1 James Jacobs. Demon Lords of Golarion” in Descent into Midnight, 59. Paizo Inc., 2009
  14. Mike McArtor. “Chapter 1: Wilds” in Guide to Darkmoon Vale, 25. Paizo Inc., 2008
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 305. Paizo Inc., 2011
  16. James L. Sutter. Varisia” in The Hook Mountain Massacre, 69. Paizo Inc., 2007
  17. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 103. Paizo Inc., 2008
  18. Steven Schend. Iobaria Gazetteer” in The Varnhold Vanishing, 56. Paizo Inc., 2010
  19. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary, 197. Paizo Inc., 2009
  20. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 2, 291. Paizo Inc., 2020
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 James Jacobs, et al. Classic Horrors Revisited, 62. Paizo Inc., 2010
  22. James Jacobs, et al. Classic Horrors Revisited, 61. Paizo Inc., 2010
  23. Paizo retroactively removed drow from the Pathfinder campaign setting as part of the Pathfinder Second Edition Remaster Project. A canon replacement for drow in this context might not exist. See Meta:Drow.
  24. Erik Mona, et al. Howl of the Carrion King, 68. Paizo Inc., 2009
  25. Mike Shel. “Threats of the Shackles” in Isles of the Shackles, 54. Paizo Inc., 2012
  26. Stephen S. Greer & Amber E. Scott. “Land of Adventure” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 18. Paizo Inc., 2009
  27. Luis Loza. Beastkin” in Ancestry Guide, 78–79. Paizo Inc., 2021
  28. Tim Akers, et al. “Skinwalkers” in Blood of the Moon, 6–7. Paizo Inc., 2013
  29. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 21. Paizo Inc., 2011