Real quick – lowered the prices on my adventure and Infinite pubs. Links and details in the mid-week post.
As spoopy season comes to a close, it’s time to address the were-elephant in the room. Of course, I’m talking about the lack of lycanthropy in Starfinder. For the most part the game makes space for all the classic monsters as well as scifi alien horrors, but the moon cursed never got adapted over. Moon being the operative word there, because how do you make something tied to the phases of the moon work in a galaxy where space travel is a regular part of normal existence? Which moons? How close do you have to be to the moon? The more you try to make it work, the trickier it gets.
Folklore about people tragically cursed to transform into beasts are fairly common, and some are tied to phases of the moon, but a lot aren’t. And since it’s a headache to make that part of the were-curse work, I’m just tossing it out. So the moon will have nothing to do with Therianthropy (the more general term, since tying it to wolves is highly restrictive in a galaxy full of predator animals.) With that element out, we can look at it as a disease and a curse, one that can afflict any sentient humanoid, associated with predators and scavengers from ecosystems all over known space, but ultimately sharing traits that make it universal. It is a curse where the infected gradually lose agency and are overcome by savagery, turning on the community and love ones they walk amongst.
If you haven’t looked at the Signal of Screams adventure path, you might not have realized that the Corruption mechanic (originally published in PF1E Horror Adventures) got updated for Starfinder. Only one was stated up (no spoilers) but there were quite a few in Horror Adventures. Including the very one we are looking for – Lycanthropy. So let’s update that for Starfinder, broadening the focus so it can work for any kind of Therianthropy.
Side Note: If you are looking to explore a dual natured PC but don’t want the Horror elements, there is the Evolutionist class, my recent Xenoshifter alt class path for Soldier, and a new Mystic connection in the new Starfinder Enhanced.
You have been savagely wounded by a therianthope, typically when you are reduced to zero stamina and half or less of your maximum hit points in combat with therianthropes. When you contract this corruption, note the animal associated with the therianthrope, as that is the kind of therianthrope you will become.
Type mental and physical corruption; Save Will DC = 10 + half the victim’s level + the number of manifestations the victim has; on a failure, a victim can spend a number of Resolve Points equal to 1 + the number of manifestations the victim has to succeed instead.
Frequency 1/27 days, and any time you are struck by a critical hit or take hit point damage
Cure You must destroy the source of your corruption and undergo a month long cleanse that consists of rituals, herbs, and diet meant to break the curse’s hold on you. At the end of each month spent this way, you can refuse a previously accepted gift, allowing break enchantment or remove affliction to remove the related manifestation. Using a gift from any corruption while undergoing purification means you have to start that month over.
When the corruption first takes hold, it’s dormant but gives you regular nightmares. In these dreams, you stalk prey as the associated animal of your therianthropy, often in the company of others of that species. These dreams always end in savagery, as the prey is caught and consumed in a bloody climax. These visions don’t affect your health, but they make you irritable or jumpy for an hour or so after you awaken. After a few days you may start evidencing traits and behaviors like your therianthropic animal, such as growling when angry, or sniffing the air when entering a room.
Stage 1. Failing a saving throw against this corruption after 27 days causes you to black out, losing control of your character. During this time, your form becomes that of the associated creature and you give into your animalistic urges, hunting and killing with abandon. The next morning, you regain control, typically in the wilderness without any gear and soaked in blood.
Stage 2. When you gain your second manifestation you kill defenseless small animals during your black out (often pets in an urban setting, or any small prey animal in a wilderness local). Accepting your corruption by using its gifts makes your nightmares more vivid and seem more like exciting dreams, and you might attempt to recreate these hunts in the real world.
Stage 3. When you gain your third manifestation you kill large animals during your black out (herd animals like cows or the equivalent, or the closest thing you can find). Accepting your corruption by using its gifts makes your dreams and the waking world start to bleed together, and your appearance and behavior becomes more bestial.
Stage 4. Once you accept your fourth gift you kill a sentient creature during your black out. At this point the corruption becomes incurable by anything outside of a wish or similar level magic. You are doomed to live a life of therianthropy, forever turning evil and becoming an NPC with the Therianthrope Template Graft under the GM’s control.
Stages 2 and 3 can instead be triggered in combat by failing a save after a crit or hit point damage. In those instances the black out occurs immediately, and for the rest of the fight you must continue to attack the foe that triggered the save until that foe is dead. This condition ends when that foe is dead, or you are unconscious. The final stage only occurs if you have 4 or more gifts or 7 or more manifestations at the 27 day mark (the first or any subsequent one.)
The following are manifestations of the therianthropy corruption.
You are hardier in your animal form.
Prerequisite: Shift form.
Gift: Whenever you shift forms, you increase your Constitution score by 2, this lasts as long as you are in your shifted form. Hit points gained from this bonus are lost when you revert to your normal form.
Stain: You reduce your Charisma score by 2.
You are stronger in your animal form.
Prerequisite: Shift form.
Gift: Whenever you shift forms, you increase your Strength score by 2, this lasts as long as you’re in your shifted form.
Stain: Whenever you shift form involuntarily, your body spasms and changes size, causing you to drop whatever you were holding and burst out of your other gear and clothing. Items (such as your armor) that can stay on throughout this size change might not fall off, at the GM’s discretion.
When in your shifted form, you gain a thick skin, coat of fur, or other form of natural protection.
Prerequisite: Shift form.
Gift: Whenever you shift your form, you gain a +1 Racial bonus to KAC. If you have at least 3 manifestations, your Racial bonus to KAC increases to +2.
Stain: Whenever you shift form involuntarily, you shift as a free action but you spend your next round confused and must roll to determine your action. If you have at least 3 manifestations, you are confused for 2 rounds instead. Immunities don’t prevent this confusion, and you can’t remove the confusion early by any means.
You gain the senses of your animalistic side.
Gift: You gain low-light vision or tracking (scent). If you have at least 2 manifestations, you also gain blindsense (scent) out to 5 feet or darkvision out to 60 feet, if your therianthropic animal type can have those abilities. If you have at least 3 manifestations, you also gain blindsense (scent, sound, or vibration) out to 15 feet, if your therianthropic animal type can have those abilities.
Stain: Creatures of the animal type (except those of your therianthrope type) are unnerved by your presence, causing you to take a –2 penalty on Surivival checks to interact with them. If you have at least 3 manifestations, these penalties change to –4.
Your animalistic nature greatly increases your natural healing.
Prerequisite: shift form.
Gift: You gain a Racial bonus on saves versus Poison and Disease equal to the number of manifestations you have. Whenever you shift your form, you gain Fast Healing equal to half the number of manifestation you have (minimum 1).
Stain: You are easier to manipulate. You take a –2 penalty to saving throws against mind-affecting effects that aren’t illusions or fear effects, and you lose any bonuses against or immunities to such effects. If you fail a saving throw against such an effect, it lasts 1d3 additional rounds.
Greater Shift Form
You can become an animal.
Prerequisite: shift form.
Gift: You gain the shapechanger subtype. When you use shift form, you can instead take your animal form, as if using the polymorph spell. You must design one polymorph form of your therianthropic animal to use with this ability. You must comply with all restrictions imposed by a polymorph spell of up to half your level (1-3 use 1st level polymorph, 4-5 use 2nd level polymorph, 6-9 use 3rd level polymorph, etc) when designing this form (Alien Archive 2 145).
Stain: You’re a shapeshifter for abilities, items, or spells that target shapeshifters. In addition, when you shift involuntarily, you can’t shift back until you spend a full-round action and succeed at a DC 15 + ½ your level Constitution check (on a failure, you can spend a number of Resolve Points equal to 1 + the number of manifestations you have to succeed instead). If you don’t succeed, you remain in your shifted form, automatically consuming a daily use of shifting each minute until you have used up all of your uses for the day.
You can relate to the creatures that share your type.
Gift: You can communicate with animals related to your animal type. You can use Diplomacy or Survival to alter such animals’ attitudes, and you gain a +4 racial bonus on such checks.
Stain: Your animalistic nature imposes a penalty on your Bluff, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive skill checks equal to the number of manifestations you have (minimum –1) when dealing with humanoids (and other civilized folk at the GM’s discretion).
You have some control over your shift to a feral nature.
Gift: You can attempt a DC 12 + ½ your level Constitution check as a full-round action to shift into a feral form, with a bonus equal to the number of manifestations you have. This form grants you a special unarmed strike that deals lethal damage, doesn’t count as archaic, and threatens squares. You gain a special version of the Weapon Specialization feat with this unarmed strike at 3rd level, allowing you to add 1–1/2 × your character level to your damage rolls for this unarmed strike (instead of just adding your character level, as usual). You retain the use of your abilities and gear. You can remain in this form for up to 1 minute, but can revert back as a move action at any time. If the duration expires, you can extend it by 1 minute by spending another use of this ability as a free action. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to the number of manifestations you have.
Stain: When you are struck by a critical hit or take hit point damage and aren’t in your shifted form, you must attempt a Will save (DC = 15 + your manifestation level). If you fail, you automatically shift form on your next turn without attempting a check. This consumes one use of that ability.
You’re resistant to harm, but can’t abide the touch of silver.
Prerequisite: 2 other manifestations, shift form.
Gift: When you are shifted, you gain an amount of damage reduction equal to the number of manifestations you have. This DR is overcome by silver.
Stain: When you’re not in your shifted form and you touch silver, including being struck by a silver weapon, you’re sickened for 1 round. Immunities don’t prevent this sickened condition, and you can’t remove it early. You can try to hide this aversion with a Bluff check opposed by Sense Motive.
THERIANTHROPE TEMPLATE GRAFT (CR +4)
Required Creature Type: Humanoid or Monstrous Humanoid (gains the Shapechanger subtype)
Required Array: Combatant.
Alignment: Alignment changes to neutral evil.
Traits: Blindsense (scent) 60 ft.; fast healing 5 (increase to 10 at CR 14+); DR 10/silver (increase to DR 15 at CR 14+); therianthropy curse (can pass the corruption to others)
Abilities: Change shape (therianthropic animal), ferocity, natural weapons
Suggested Ability Scores: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution.
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