Monday, March 23, 2009

Okay let me explain how I REALLY feel about werewolves. . .

Okay, so earlier today I complained about being bit by a werewolf. So what? You say. Big deal, quit being a whiner and suck it up. That's what werewolves do after all. And that's the kind of risk adventurers encounter in just about every adventure they undertake.

Yeah. You're right. But that's not what I was torqued about.

First werewolves are cool monsters for exactly that reason--they tick people off. They get you mad, or they make you afraid. In fact, come to think of it the second emotion probably engenders the first. For players there's the risk of immediate risk of having your beloved character ripped into shredded elf, dwarf, halfling or what have you and having your entrails serve as a lycan's spaghetti entree. That's enough to make anyone shudder. But that's not the real threat of a werewolf.

Werewolves are madness incarnate. Indeed clinical lycanthropy is an actual mental illness that causes its victims to truly believe they turn into animals and act accordingly. But the werewolves of legend are the worst of psychotic killing machines, evil to the core. The reasoning behind this logic was their direct connection to the devil, with only one recorded ancient exception claimed by Theiss in 1692 Livonia. But with that one questionable incident to the contrary werewolves were either voluntarily or involuntarily subjected to madness, contagion or curse of becoming the bloodthirsty murderous fiends that were known as werewolves. Etymologically the word is connected to the Old Norse term Vargulf. A Vargulf is the kind of lupine predator that slaughters numerous animals in a flock without feeding on them, as if out of the pure joy and thrill of killing for its own sake. In fact children and maidens were a favored part of their diet. That is the fate that awaits the hapless soul condemned to lycanthropy in the true fantasy genre. So the real horror, the real danger is losing yourself to an insane madness where nothing matters anymore but the madness and the urge to kill.

So when a character becomes so infected it is a thing to be fought at all costs. Even the cutpurse or fighter of lowest intellect can see the awfulness of losing ones sense of self and purpose and being to the madness of lycanthropy. There is nothing good in it. The power, strength and abilities one gains is nowhere near the price one has to pay. The cost for one's immortal soul is far too high as well. So who would want to become such a beast? If one desired such a thing they would be already near insanity or so clearly evil they should be destroyed long before they become infected. Serial killer psychology comes to mind.

Such is decidedly NOT the role for heroes to play. And not the fate anyone would wish for their character as a player, let alone as a character in role. So are werewolves to be despised? Yes. Shunned? Yes. Pitied--only in as much as the soul locked within the curse can be saved. Destroyed? Yes--as a scourge upon the realm of men and a danger to all things good, especially the innocent upon whom they often prey. If they can be destroyed by divine healing magic, the alchemical magic of herbal remedies, or by blade--destroyed they must be.

So all that's cool--but is that what made me mad? Nope. Not anymore than the clear danger it posed to my good aligned wizard Imnyr and his fellow party members. No that is not what made me mad at all.

What really ticked me off was the attitude of the DM. One: that he was using the exact same "scenario" that had been thrown at me before and aware of the frustration it had engendered in me before. Two: that his "logic" (exactly that of the previous scenario I had struggled against) was that it was cool to be a werewolf--that characters would love this "boon" bestowed upon them be a "creative" DM. That it would be "cool" to DM a bunch of superpowered were-characters.

First this whole concept that werewolves are "cool" in the sense of making your character "better" is so completely against the spirit of AD&D it made me want to puke. It not only makes me what to puke it makes me want to scream out loud to anyone that will listen "CAN'T YOU IDIOTS SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING!!!!! YOU ARE RUINING WHAT THE GAME IS ALL ABOUT!!!!!!!" . . . sigh . . . big breath . . .

And that, my friends, is what made me mad.

I'll continue this spirit of the game in a later post. I've actually already written some about it, but I should clarify again to place my rantings in context. So, don't think I was whining about the werewolf--I can handle werewolves. It's the iffy DM's I struggle with.



1 comment:

Randal Glyph said...

I seem to recall from the DMG, that the player character isn't in any kind of control of his actions during his lycanthropic phases, nor does he remember his actions. He wakes up with bloody torn clothing and scratches, aches and pains. Maybe the locals are out searching for the beast, and he joins them. After a while he comes to realize his black outs synchronize with the deaths of locals, and the inevitable conclusion is that he's the problem.

If your PC isn't in control of being a 'super-werewolf,' and isn't in control of his actions while "under the influence," then the ability gains of lycanthropy aren't under the players control or part of the gaming experience. How much fun is that?

The PC may even be killed in lycanthropic form, and the Ref informs him: "You don't recall it, but when you wake up the next day, you are actually dead. Somebody already killed you the night before. Roll up a new character."

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