What it Means to be a LycanthropeForward
First off thanks to Dielzen and Zemyla for their guides on 339, and to Pellanor for consolidating information within those. I decided that we needed a lycanthrope guide here, and I love them enough to provide it. So for your reading pleasure, I present you with this labor of love.
For those interested in contributing to this handbook, or just talking about it, a discussion thread can be found here
Also, 123456789blaaa (what a name) has created a thread for the best base animals and builds here
since this guide is a general build guide. If you have any ideas for specific lycanthrope builds go ahead and post them over there so that other people can make use of them.
Now, on to the good stuff.Lycanthropy BasicsLycanthropy Templates
There are three basic templates.
1) The main Lycanthropy template, found in the SRD. Turn into an animal or a hybrid, get some nifty bonuses.
2) The Entomanothropy
template, turn into a vermin instead of an animal
3) The Blacktooth Lycanthropy
template from Dragon 129, turn into an animal and get mediocre bonuses for an outrageous LA. Honestly I don't even think it is worth it for NPCs.Things to Remember when making a LycanthropePicking a base animal:
The hit dice of the animal chosen are added to your hit dice total, that means that your ECL is equal to racial ECL + LA from the template + animal hit dice. Minimizing animal hit dice is a plus, they have Cleric BAB and 2+Int skill points per level. In addition, animal hit dice are NEVER your first hit dice. This means that you can't replace them with a class level.
Also remember that when in animal/hybrid form you gain ability score adjustments based on the animal's ability scores. The thing to remember is that ability scores are rarely as useful as character levels. You also get the animal's feats as bonus feats. Keep this in mind when picking an animal, bonus feats you'll actually use are the goal. (Some people think that you have to take all feats of the animal as listed on the statblock. I disagree, Dungeonscape shows that monster feat choices are not set in stone. However, Bonus Feats obviously cannot be changed.)
Lastly, as of the MM errata: "A creature cannot use alternate form to take the form of a creature with a template." So goodbye templated base animals.Hybrid Form:
Remember that by default hybrid form DOES NOT gain any of the special attacks from the base animal, and most of your combat will be in hybrid form so that you can keep your gear. It does keep the base creature's special attacks however. In addition, the base lycanthropy template grants two claw and one bite attacks as natural attacks, regardless of what natural attacks are available to the animal form. However, the hybrid form retains all the special qualities of both the base creature and the base animal. Regeneration is a big one that comes to mind.
Also, hybrid form has the movement speeds of the base creature, and DOES NOT GAIN THE MOVEMENT SPEEDS OF THE BASE ANIMAL. Even if the animal can fly (which a lycanthrope can do as well in animal form), the hybrid form cannot fly.Alternate Form Rules:
The Alternate Form rules state that as long as the form you're turning into can wear/carry your gear, that gear changes size to match that of your new form. This means that your hybrid form can keep using all your gear regardless of its size.
They also state: "The creature loses the natural weapons, natural armor, and movement modes of its original form, as well as any extraordinary special attacks of its original form not derived from class levels (such as the barbarian's rage class feature)." The natural armor isn't a problem since the Lycanthropy template specifically overrides that, but the extraordinary special attacks section is something to remember.
Lastly: "Apply any changed physical ability score modifiers in all appropriate areas with one exception: the creature retains the hit points of its original form despite any change to its Constitution." On the plus, less math. On the minus, less hp for the high con animals.