The RuneQuest rules contained several examples of Were creatures - Bear Walkers, Tiger Sons, Tusk Brothers and Wolf Brothers, with the Gateway Bestiary containing the Shark Men. These were men who could change form into animals. Looking at the later RQ3 rules for the Hsunchen folk, it seemed obvious that the two were related, but Greg Staford has claimed recently that he only included the Lycanthropes in RuneQuest because people wanted these D&D-like monsters and that they had no place in Glorantha. To my mind, this is nonsense, perhaps they were originally not a part of Glorantha, but they seem clearly to be related to the Hsunchen people. I can see no reason why they cannot be used in this concept. More recently, Ian Thomson has included the Tiger Sons in the Legacy of Pavis supplement, with a new and different form of shapechanging that fits in nicely with the non-Gloranthan idea of werewolves and also with the Hsunchen path. So, I have put these ideas together to try and fill out these were creatures.
Were Creatures are humans that can change shape and take the form of their totem beast. They are the ultimate expression of the Hsunchen people, as they have the natural ability to change shape whereas the Hsunchen need to cast their magic to achieve this. Most were creatures belong to Hsunchen tribes and are born to other were creatures or gain their abilities through HeroQuesting. A very few gain their abilities through curses or HeroQuesting that are not related to the Hsunchen people. Most Hsunchen think of were creatures as very special, holy Hsunchen tribesmen, people who are also beasts.
All Hsunchen have the potential to have Were Creatures amongst them,
but some, such as the Basmoli, have lost their Were Creatures. All Were
Creatures have the ability to pass on their genes to their descendants,
even if they gained the abilities through HeroQuesting or though a curse
or magic item. The genes for Were Creatures are recessive so the offspring
of two Were Creatures will be Were Creatures, but the offspring of two
apparently humans may also produce a Were Creature. So, if the Human Gene
is denoted as "H", the near human gene is denoted "h", the Were Gene
is denoted "W" and the Beast Gene is denoted "w", we have the following
|HH, Hh, hH, hh||Human|
|HW, Hw, wH, hw||Human|
|Wh, Ww, ww||Beast|
The near human gene is passed on when a Hsunchen mates in Beast Form. The Beast Gene is passed when a natural beast mates. Were Creatures only pass the Were Gene when mating.
So, most mating possibilities are described in the following table:
|Partner One||Partner Two||Result|
|HH (Human)||HH (Human)||HH (Human)|
|Hh (Human)||Hh (Human)||HH, Hh, hh (Human)|
|HH (Human)||Hh (Human)||HH, Hh (Human)|
|hh (Human)||hh (Human)||hh (Human)|
|HW (Human)||HW (Human)||HH, HW (Human), WW (Were Creature)|
|HW (Human)||Hw (Human)||HH, HW, Hw (Human), Ww (Beast)|
|HW (Human)||hw (Human)||Hh, Hw (Human), Ww, ww (Beast)|
|hw (Human)||hw (Human)||hh, hw (Human), ww (Beast)|
|HH, hh (Human)||Wh (Beast)||hh (Human), Wh (Beast) (H passed as h)|
|HW (Human)||Wh (Beast)||hh (Human), Wh (Beast), WW (Were Creature)|
|HW (Human)||Ww (Beast)||hw (Human), hW (Beast), WW (Were Creature)|
|Hw (Human)||Ww (Beast)||hw (Human), hW, ww (Beast)|
|HW (Human)||WW (Were Creature)||HW (Human), WW (Were Creature)|
|Hw (Human)||WW (Were Creature)||HW (Human), Ww (Beast), WW (Were Creature)|
|WW (Were Creature)||WW (Were Creature)||WW Were Creature|
|WW (Were Creature)||Ww (Beast)||WW (Were Creature), Ww (Beast)|
|WW (Were Creature)||Wh (Beast)||Wh (Beast), WW (Were Creature)|
|Wh (Beast)||Ww (Beast)||wh (Human), WW (Were Creature), Ww (Beast)|
|Wh (Beast)||ww (Beast)||wh (Human), Wh, ww (Beast)|
|ww (Beast)||Ww, ww (Beast)||Ww, ww (Beast)|
So, Were Creatures may be produced from matings between two Were Creatures,
a Were Creature and a human or beast, two Humans, a Human transformed into
a beast and between two Beasts. Were Creatures born to beasts and raised
by beasts are treated as Beasts who can become Men and will not have the
benefits of belonging to a cult or speaking a human language, apart from
their own Beast Speech, unless they have contact with Hsunchen tribesmen.
Where humans are born to beasts, they will be raised as wild men (Mowgli
or Romulus and Remus) until they are claimed by the Hsunchen. Where beasts
are born to humans, they will be raised as companions to their siblings,
often being linked to their siblings through Initiation or HeroQuest rituals.
Among Hsunchen clans, such births are considered normal and are not thought
of as odd. Most Hsunchen do not have the Beast Gene or Were Gene, so their
births are human, but descendants of matings with beasts or Were Creatures
may have the sub-human, beast or Were Gene and may give birth to beasts,
especially in clans where incest is practised.
Were Creatures have the ability to change shape, this takes a single melee round to perform and cannot be stopped. Unless the creature is humanoid in shape, the person must discard clothes, armour and weapons. Some were creatures have specially made weapons, armour and equipment that stays with them when they change, but this is rare. However, many have magic items in pouches in collars or belts that do not fall off when the change takes place and which they can use in beast form.
Most Were Creatures have access to Man Form and Beast Form. A few also
have access to the Manbeast Form. This form is sometimes gained from HeroQuest
and is only very rarely inherited.
Were Creatures have three basic forms, Man, Beast and Manbeast.
In Man Form, the Were Creature is as a normal Hsunchen of the appropriate tribe. So, Bear Walkers are large and clumsy looking, hairy with gruff voices, Snake People are slender and elegant, with sibilant voices and reptilian eyes. In this form, he can use magic as a normal person, can use weapons and armour and acts in all ways as a normal person. Some Were Creatures have special markings in man form, so Shark People have Maws in their backs, Wolf Brothers have eyebrows that meet in the middle and Horse Brothers are very well endowed. Some Were Creatures are tainted with Chaos, these include Wolf Brothers and Shark Men, but most Hsunchen are not tainted with Chaos as part of their nature. In Man Form, the Were Creature is immune to the Command (Beast) or Beast Master spells.
In Manbeast Form, the Were Creatures act as if they have had Transform Head, Transform Body and Transform Legs cast on them. They do not change fully into beast form but become like the traditional Were Wolf. Normally, they can walk on two legs and can wear their armour and use certain weapons that they had in Man Form. Depending on the particular Transform Legs spell, the Were Creature may be able to hold weapons in his hands, so a Wolf Brother will not be able to hold a sword, but a Monkey Brother could do. In Manbeast form, the Were Creature can only be damaged by magic or Rune Metals, so a bronze sword with Bladesharp 4 will only do 4 points of damage, any sword with Fireblade on will do 3D6 damage, an iron bastard sword will do all its damage, even that rolled as damage bonus. In Manbeast Form, Were Creatures are damaged by disease and poison as normal. The Transform spells have no effect when cast on Manbeasts as they are considered to be partially under their effect. In Manbeast Form, the Were Creature is immune to Command (Beast) spells but counts as a beast for Beastmaster spells. In Manbeast form, the characteristics change, usually making them stronger and less intelligent.
In Beast Form, the Were Creatures act as though they have had Transform
Head, Transform Body, Transform Legs and Transform Self cast on them. They
change completely into Beast form and actually become the beasts. So, a
Wolf Brother becomes a wolf, a Bear Walker becomes a bear and a Tusk Brother
becomes a Pig. When in Beast Form, the Were Creature usually loses some
intelligence and becomes more bestial than human, notable exceptions are
Shark Men who retain their intelligence and Dragon Men who increase intelligence
by half again. Most Were Creatures gain in STR, CON or SIZ in Beast Form.
Some say that Were Creatures in Beast Form can only cast Hsunchen magic,
but I think this is an unreasonable limitation. In Beast Form, the Were
Creature can only be damaged by magic or Rune Metals, so a bronze sword
with Bladesharp 4 will only do 4 points of damage, any sword with Fireblade
on will do 3D6 damage, an iron bastard sword will do all its damage, even
that rolled as damage bonus. In Beast Form, Were Creatures are damaged
by disease and poison as normal. The Transform Spells have the same effect
on Were Creatures in Beast Form as they do on normal beasts, so they will
speed the beast up and do more bite damage, for instance. In Beast Form,
the Were Creature is affected by Command (Beast) and Beastmaster spells
as if they were normal beasts. In Beast form, the characteristics change,
usually making them stronger and less intelligent.
|Creature||Statistics||Armour||Other||Manbeast Form Resembles|
|Bear Walker||STRx2, INTx2/3||1 point skin||Bear-headed furry man|
|Shark Man||STRx2, CON+6||5 point skin||Can swim, mindspeech with sharks||Shark with arms|
|Dragon Man||STRx5, CONx2, SIZx5, INTx1.5||10 point skin||Can fly||Dragonewt|
|Elephant Brother||STRx3, CONx3, SIZx3||6 point skin||Prehensile trunk||Elephant-headed man|
|Goat Brother||CONx2, INTx1/2||1 point skin||Can eat anything||Broo|
|Goldfish Spawn||STR/5, CON/5||1 point skin||Can swim||Fish with arms|
|Tiger Son||STRx2.5, INTx1/2||1 point skin||Tiger-headed furry man|
|Monkey Brother||STRx1.5, DEXx2||1 point skin||Can climb, prehensile tail||Monkey|
|Tusk Brother||STRx2, INTx1/2, DEXx2/3||1 point skin||Pig-headed furry man|
|Wolf Brother||STRx2, INTx1/2||1 point skin||Wolf-headed furry man|