A therianthrope (pl. therianthropes, also lycanthrope(s) or were(s)) is a shapeshifter, due to the influence of a powerful curse tied to the cycles of the moon. Although many refer to them as 'lycanthropes', this term is tied specifically to therianthropes who take a wolf shape - therianthropes is the more general term.


Therianthropes are shapeshifters, and can each take on a single animal shape. Wolves are the most popular type, but other known varieties of therianthrope include bears, dogs, tigers, leopards, jaguars, lions, hyenas, and even sharks, deer, crocodiles, and rabbits have been known on occasion. In this form, they resemble a large specimen of that particular species, but could be mistaken for a natural animal. Their natural form is human, and in this form they are difficult to distinguish from ordinary humans - but not impossible. Although therianthropes usually have normal human eyes, when stressed, angered, exposed to silver, or especially hungry the eyes of their animal form often peek through. Animal instincts run high in all therianthropes, though with practice they can work to constrain themselves. The smell of blood is a potent lure, and draws those instincts closer to the surface. Depending on the breed of therianthrope, they might also have naturally feathery hair or sharp teeth.

A therianthrope's curse is tied to the lunar cycle. As the moon waxes, it becomes easier for them to shift, but it also becomes more imperative for them to do so - no therianthrope can stay human for long on the night of the full moon. As the moon wanes, it becomes more difficult to shift, and easier to resist the urge - during a new moon only the strongest therianthropes can work up the energy. Depending on their strength and ability, however, a therianthrope can shift whenever they choose. Shapeshifting takes a great deal of energy. After spending time in animal form, therianthropes become worn out, and need to rest deeply for at least as long as they were shifted. Though they can put off this rest for a while, eventually exhaustion will catch up with them. While they can sleep and rest in animal form, maintaining a shape which is not their natural form is still tiring.

All therianthropes are stronger than a human, especially the predatory species. They can bench press a car the same way most people lift weights. This enhanced strength also makes them capable of putting on great speed - they can run fast enough to be a blur. A therianthrope's physical senses are highly acute. Most can track by scent, hear at a greater range than humans, and see in low-light.

There are three ways to become a therianthrope - being cursed into such a state, being born to therianthrope parents, and being attacked (specifically bitten - a transfer of saliva must occur) by a therianthrope in animal form. Those born to therianthrope parents do not actually shapeshift until puberty, but enjoy muted aspects of their other physical abilities until such time.

Therianthropic metabolisms are much higher than human metabolisms, leading to heightened core body temperature and extra-rapid healing - cuts heal almost instantly and even broken bones usually fix themselves within a few days for new lycanthropes, and faster for older ones. This also renders therianthropes immune to almost all diseases, and gives them a slightly longer lifespan than humans (about double, if they take care of themselves).

Silver causes severe and immediate irritation when touched to the skin of a therianthrope, and wounds caused by silver weapons will only heal as quickly as a human could heal them - if at all. Wolfsbane (a.k.a. monkshood) is also especially toxic to therianthropes, and if not fatal causes severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In very mild doses it can be used experimentally to inhibit shapeshifting, but this method is not recommended due to the high risk involved.

Magical Characteristics

A therianthrope essentially has a dual soul: a human soul and an animal soul both exist within each therianthrope, and are tightly bonded to each other but capable of having warring emotions. While both souls usually act in concert, they have differing instincts, and may react differently to the same situation - which can make things complicated when therianthropes become involved in relationships with non-therianthropes (animal souls often have different views on mating than human souls). With time and effort, this duality can be managed - but a therianthrope can never fully suppress their animal instincts, and most recommend trying to compromise rather than control them.

Because of this dual soul, therianthropes cannot be easily possessed - the two native souls will tag-team any invader. If both souls leave the body unguarded, it can be possessed, but they are nearly impossible to keep out of their body for any length of time.

Society and Habitat

Therianthropes tend to form packs (or clans) based on their species, though some live on their own. These clans tend to live and work closely with each other, and are sometimes reluctant to have dealings with outsiders - this varies from group to group. Usually therianthropes are territorial, however - a pack of werewolves won't take kindly to a lone werewolf sharing their town - because hunting grounds for use during the full moon are so valuable. Differing species do not usually like to share hunting grounds, but they are more likely to mutually ignore each other or work out a beneficial arrangement than with a loner of the same species. Organization is strictly regional - there is no supreme authority.

Typically, born therianthropes enjoy higher status than turned therianthropes, because they are raised knowing what they can do, and are 'pure'. Those who are cursed directly are rare - most therianthropes are the descendants of those who were originally cursed.