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Lycanthropy (Skyrim)

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376px-SKYRIM WEREWOLF

A werewolf as it appears in Skyrim.

Lycanthropy is a disease/blessing that can be contracted/received in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Werewolves are men and women who can transform into powerful and monstrous wolves for daytime or night time. Certain individuals, such as some of the Companions in Whiterun, see this as a blessing, a way of drawing on the strength and ferocity of their inner beast. Others, such as the Silver Hand, see it as a curse, a twisting of their wills and nature. As of Dawnguard wild Werewolves, called Werewolf Vargr's have been added to the wild as random encounters.

Appearance

The appearance of the werewolf in Skyrim is that of a large wolf-like humanoid creature with razor sharp claws and a set of large teeth. Unlike the more wolf-faced look of the Bloodmoon werewolves, the werewolves of Skyrim have monstrous faces and muscular builds. Males are slightly taller than females. Their eyes in wolf form are yellow, while in human form the eyes of a npc werewolf are silver. Werewolves in Skyrim have less fur than the Bloodmoon werewolves, their arms are longer and possess more strength.

Becoming a werewolf

If the Dragonborn contracts Lycanthropy, he or she will turn into a Werewolf. The only way to get this disease is by progressing through the Companions questline. The process by which the Dragonborn becomes a werewolf is activated through the Magic menu, Powers tab: Beast Form. This resembles a standard power in that it can be marked as a Favorite and assigned a quick-change number as any other power, spell, shout, weapon, or armor.

Lycanthropy is contracted as part of the blood ritual that occurs during The Companions quest, The Silver Hand. The first transformation through this disease vector is particularly violent, allowing the Dragonborn to prowl outside the Underforge of Whiterun in bestial form; there are two exits, one to the city, and a one-way exit to the Eastern environs. After the Dragonborn "feeds" or just waits, the screen blacks out, the Dragonborn turns back to human form, as naked as the game allows, being questioned by Aela.

The Dragonborn may also become a werewolf when wearing the cursed ring during the quest "Ill Met By Moonlight" for the Daedric prince Hircine. This is temporary and the Dragonborn does not contract lycanthropy.

In Dawnguard, if you are cured of Lycanthropy or if you become a Vampire Lord you can talk to Aela and she can make you a Werewolf again and it cancels out your vampirism vice versa. If you would like to be a Vampire Lord again, speak to Serana.

Curing Lycanthropy

Once Lycanthropy is cured via the Companions' method, the Dragonborn cannot contract Lycanthropy again, nor does he/she have access to the Underforge. The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard enables contraction again. Speaking to Aela gives the Dragonborn the option to become afflicted once again.

At the end of the Companions questline, a radiant quest "Purity" becomes available for those who wish to rid themselves of the disease. As part of that quest, the Dragonborn must cut off the head of a Glenmoril Witch, bringing it into the depths of Ysgramor's Tomb, draw the spirit of the wolf from their body, and defeat it.

In order to remove the curse however, the Dragonborn must have killed at least two Glenmoril Witches, one for Kodlak, one for the Dragonborn. If the Dragonborn has killed all 5 witches, it is possible to cure all of the The Circle, except for Aela who does not want to be cured.

Even after the Dragonborn has been cured of Lycanthropy, guards and other NPCs may still comment on how he/she "smells like a wet dog." or "Is that fur... coming out of your ears?" and "I find your wolfish grin...unsettling."

Lycanthropy will be overwritten by Vampire Lord if you choose to become a one in the Dawnguard DLC. Vampire Lord will be overwritten if you turn into a Werewolf via Underforge or if you ask Aela to give it back to you.

Beast Form

When the Dragonborn becomes a werewolf, they acquire a new power known as Beast Form. This allows them to transform into a werewolf once a day; however, the process takes a few seconds, during which they are vulnerable. Once transformed, the Dragonborn remains a werewolf for 2.5 minutes of real time. It is possible to extend this time by approaching a corpse and feeding on it by activating it as if looting it. This restores 50 points of Health and gives an additional 30 seconds of time as a werewolf. Beast form can be extremely useful in situations where equipment is removed, such as the quest No One Escapes Cidhna Mine and other prison escape attempts. In some scenarios, the Dragonborn 's equipment (such as swords, ex: Dragon Bane) will stay equipped after the transformation. However, the equipment does not add extra damage to attacks, but one handed skill will increase as if the Dragonborn is still in human form. When in beast form, a notable size increase occurs, this is not just a visual effect, and this may cause certain areas or dungeons to be impossible to complete in only beast form.

Attacks

  • While sprinting, pressing either attack buttons to use a charge attack does 3x the damage of a normal swipe. This attacks also knocks enemies down, and they take some time to get back on their feet. This attack is especially useful against giants.
  • While pressing any movement button, such as forward, left/right etc, and the attack button is clicked and held for a second longer, the screen turns slighty red for an instant (similar to using Scent of Blood). This causes the Dragonborn to fling an enemy back, and they take some time to get back on their feet. This is similar to using Unrelenting Force, but it flings enemies a much shorter distance, and can only be used on one enemy at a time. It is considered a power attack and drains stamina.
  • Werewolves have the power to roar and it is activated by pressing the power button, dismantling large mobs of enemies. This power can be swapped out for alternative powers like Howl of the Pack and Scent of Blood, by praying at the totems in the Underforge. These are acquired by the Radiant quests given by Aela after becoming Harbinger.
  • The Dragonborn can power attack in Beast Form, by pressing both the left and right attack buttons at the same time. The werewolf will rapidly swipe with both claws. This attack is similar to power attacking with both hands when dual wielding.
  • There are also special critical damage animations for the Werewolf. In the cutscene the werewolf will pounce on the target and either swipe him/her rapidly with claws, or rip his throat out with his jaws. Additionly, the werewolf may pick up the victim and either bite his/her head off or grab their head and toss them to his/her side. Like normal critical animations, the Dragonborn cannot use any controls until the animation is finished.

Advantages

Perk tree

As a part of The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard, the werewolf perk tree is included. By consuming the heart of a corpse as a werewolf, it is possible to gain points exclusively for the werewolf perk tree. These points can be used to unlock perks such as increasing the total damage, health, and stamina when in werewolf form. Unless the Savage Feeding perk is taken, only humanoid enemies can be fed upon (with the exception of undead). Therefore, for fast leveling, it is highly recommended to take the Savage Feeding perk as soon as possible, incerasing the variety of corpses that may be fed upon.

The Werewolf skill tree includes eight perks.

Werewolfskilltreedawnguard

Perk Level Description Requirements
Bestial Strength 1 Do 25% more damage as a werewolf. N/A
2 Do 50% more damage as a werewolf. N/A
3 Do 75% more damage as a werewolf. N/A
4 Do 100% more damage as a werewolf. N/A
Totem of Ice Brothers

Werewolf Totem of Brotherhood howl calls Ice Wolves.*

Bestial Strength
Totem of the Predator Werewolf Totem of Hunt howl has extended range, and shows whether the targets are not in combat, searching or actively in combat.* Bestial Strength
Totem of Terror Werewolf Howl of Terror affects even higher level creatures. Bestial Strength
Totem of the Moon Werewolf Totem of Brotherhood howl calls werewolves.* Totem of Ice Brothers
Animal Vigor 100 point bonus to health and stamina in beast form. Bestial Strength
Gorging Feeding heals twice as much health. Animal Vigor
Savage Feeding Able to feed off most dead creatures. Feeding off creatures instead of people only provides half the extended time. Gorging

*The quest Totems of Hircine must be completed before these will become useable.

Feedings

Each new perk requires a few more feedings than the last. A total of 164 people need to be fed upon to complete the entire tree.

Perks 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Total
Feedings 5 6 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 164

Disease immunity

The Dragonborn gains 100% resistance to all diseases (including Vampirism). This effect is permanent as long as they do not use the cure for Lycanthropy. In Dawnguard, however, if the Dragonborn chooses to become a Vampire Lord, it will replace Lycanthropy just as Lycanthropy replaces Vampirism.

Shapeshifted

The Dragonborn's damage is base 20 and levels gradually until level 45, where base damage is 80, while as a Werewolf the Dragonborn also gains 100 health and stamina, not to mention a much higher sprint speed that makes them move much faster and can be utilized for long periods of time. Stamina also regenerates much faster, and power attacks are magnified. The standing and moving power attacks knock back opponents more often, and the sprinting power attack gains a massive damage boost. The Dragonborn also has a chance to maul an opponent after knocking them down. Unlike traditional werewolves, the Dragonborn can transform at will, during day or night, by using the Beast Form power. Actions while in werewolf form do not count towards the Dragonborn's normal bounty, unless someone sees the transformation, in which case a 1000 gold bounty is added in the appropriate hold. This makes it incredibly useful while doing many Dark Brotherhood missions. Also whilst tranformed Wolves treat the Dragonborn as an ally unless attacked.

Hircine's Ring

The Hircine's Ring, once obtained through the appropriate quest, will allow the Dragonborn to turn into a werewolf unlimited times a day. Equipping it will give the dragonborn the "Ring of Hircine" power which is lost after using it. To regain the power, the Dragonborn must re-equip the ring, at which point the power will be returned.

Shifting

As previously stated in the "Other" section above, the Dragonborn is limited to one change per day. When using the power Beast Form, it is possible to transform no matter what the time of day or where the Dragonborn is located. To return to normal form, the Dragonborn must wait 2.5 minutes.

Giants

The Beast Form is useful for fighting against giants. By using the sprint attack, the giant will be knocked down just like any other NPC, they take a long time to get back up on their feet. During this time the Dragonborn can continue attacking the Giant with no risk of damage. As soon as the giant is almost recovered from its stagger, the Dragonborn can simply repeat to knock them down again.

However the Dragonborn does need to beware of the giants' pets, the Mammoths. It is recommended that the Dragonborn kills them first. This can also be done in werewolf form easily. Simply power attack the mammoths first, when the giant is approaching, knock him down as stated above and continue attacking the mammoth. The Dragonborn should constantly be moving around to the back of the mammoth, to avoid being attacked, as the mammoth moves rather slowly compared to the werewolf. A werewolf's agility and the giant and mammoths' slow attacks also gives the Dragonborn a huge edge.

Disadvantages

No sleeping bonus

The Dragonborn cannot gain any resting bonuses when having lycanthropy.

She/he also cannot gain the temporary bonus of Lover's Comfort (normally gained by sleeping in the Dragonborns house when his or her spouse is present) while afflicted. Skill bonuses from Guardian Stones still apply normally.

Shapeshifted

Once transformed, the camera view is automatically moved to 3rd person and cannot be changed back until after the transformation wears off. The werewolf form is large, and so has trouble fitting through narrow passages, and while in werewolf form the Dragonborn cannot access menus, maps, or items. This can be troubling when in the wild, as the Dragonborn cannot view the map and you can easily become lost. By "sheathing" the werewolves claws, you are able to make the werewolf take on a less aggressive stance, along with allowing them to pan the camera. It is not possible to speak while shifted, (Unless you reach a part of a quest where a character starts a conversation with you. If this happens it is possible to reply to them even in werewolf form). Anyone unfamiliar with the werewolf form will usually flee or try to attack the Dragonborn. Any followers that the Dragonborn may have will not leave their service for simply transforming into a werewolf and will still follow and attack enemies, but if the Dragonborn were to use The Scent of Blood or purposely damage the follower, they would flee, so it is advised to be careful around companions when in werewolf form. (Exceptions: When a follower is at too high a level to be affected by Scent of Blood, he/she will shrug it off without consequences.)

The Dragonborn can feed upon fallen foes by activating them, this allows the Dragonborn to regenerate health. This is the only way to heal while in this form, as spell-casting and passive health regeneration are disabled. It also increases the duration of werewolf form by thirty seconds per person fed on. It is not possible to feed on non-playable races, Falmer and Dremora cannot be fed on. However, Vampires can be fed on.

If the Dragonborn goes near a town while transformed, the guards will attack on sight. To enter a town, the Dragonborn must wait in a hidden location until they revert back to human form. The Dragonborn will also receive a 1000 gold bounty in that hold if they are seen transforming into a werewolf in town by a non-hostile NPC.

Since all armor and weapons are unequipped when in Beast Form, the Dragonborn will not gain any skill points (one handed stays the same skill level after clawing NPCs to death).

Weapon loss

When the Dragonborn leaves beast form, all of their equipment will be placed in their inventory, and they will have to re-equip it. There have been claims that the Daedric Artifacts, Ebony Blade, Mehrunes Razor, Daedric Sword, any kind of mace, and the Sanguine Rose bug when transformed and allow the Dragonborn to use them in werewolf form. On several occasions, Soul Trap will still trap souls and fill soul gems. Very rarely the Dragonborn may have a blade or a bow in their hand as a werewolf, but it will not affect combat. Using a blade in this form will count towards one handed experience, but using a bow will not. None of these happens to you if you're a Vampire Lord.

Quests

Gallery

Trivia

  • During the first transformation no bounty will be accumulated, no matter how many people are killed. It will not affect relationships with Characters. But apart from miscellaneous conversation and the odd bounty or two; murders committed as a werewolf have no consequences.
  • Werewolves can sprint while over-encumbered. (cannot do this with newest update)
  • Beast Form can be used as a cheap form of travel as they sprint faster than horses and it costs little to use.
  • The feeding animation can be cancelled by roaring as soon as it starts. Health and bloodlust is still regained.
  • Most people that witness a transformation will attack, no matter what bond is shared with them. This does not affect companions in the Dragonborn's party. Among the other exceptions to this are the members of the Dark Brotherhood and the NPCs at The Ragged Flagon (if the Dragonborn is a member of the Thieves Guild). Members of The College of Winterhold will attack if the Dragonborn transforms. Most Daedra worshipers will also accept the werewolf form.
  • If the Dragonborn goes back into the cave where the ritual was performed during the blood ritual, he can stay in the cave for the first transformation without wreaking havoc in the streets. It is stated in the Official Skyrim Strategy Guide that due to the strand of Lycanthropy the Dragonborn contracts from the Companions Guild, he or she can change every night instead of waiting until a full moon.
  • It is worth noting for an extra advantage, that the Dragonborn can use status changing spells and potions just before transformation (For example spells like Ironflesh, Lightning Cloak, Muffle or a health regeneration potion) and its effects will still remain after transformation.
  • When trying to get feedings for The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard perks, if Soul Trap is cast on a corpse that has been fed upon, that corpse will give a second tick of progress.

Bugs

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