Werewolves are cool. Everyone knows it. But you know what’s cooler? Werebears (don’t @ me).
I read a lot of myths and legends from all around the world and the vast majority of tales about werebears don’t explain it as a disease like lycanthropy that is passed from one sufferer to another. It is something people are born with. It is not some hideous curse but a blessing or special skill. With that in mind I felt that the way werebears are covered in HARP Fantasy doesn’t allow for these types of skin-changers. With that in mind I thought I would put together what I think skin-changers would look like as a playable race in HARP Fantasy.
Demeanour: Skin-changers tend to be quiet, thoughtful people who enjoy being surrounded by the natural world and have a distaste for large crowds, big cities and anything that damages the natural surroundings. They are generally peaceful and good natured amongst their own kind but tend not to trust other races and are outright aggressive to anyone who threatens their land and their way of life.
Appearance: Skin-changers are descended from humans and so look very similar to them. They tend to be taller and bulkier than the average human with males standing around 6’ 6” and females only a few inches shorter than that. Skin-changers tend to have dark hair and dark eyes and a generally unkempt appearance as they care little for what the world thinks of them.
Lifespan: Like humans, the average skin-changer can live to around 100 years. However, they are often hunted and persecuted and so rarely live that long.
Culture: Most Skin-changers come from a Sylvan culture. They are usually solitary people living on their own or in small communities as far away from population centres as possible.
Skin changers have the blood magic talent: Animal transformation (HARP College of Magics pg 97). This includes scaling for gaining the physical attacks of a bear, gaining the movement type of a bear, gaining the senses of a bear and increasing the duration of the spell to 10 minutes per rank. In addition, the skin-changer receives 5 skill ranks in the corresponding ‘use blood magic’ skill.
This means that three times a day the skin changer may change into the form of a bear (presuming they have made a successful ‘use blood magic’ skill roll. When transformed they retain their mental faculties but in all other respects become a bear. Each transformation can last a maximum of 190 minutes but the skin-changer may change back at will.