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Related to my other question, my PCs who have become were-rats don't want to become Chaotic Evil, but do want to remain uncured. They're up for struggles and such, and aren't looking for it to necessarily be as useful as being natural lycanthropes. But the big hurdle is that the DC to avoid permanently changing alignment is "15 + number of times he has been in animal form."

I suppose an Atonement spell might be an option. Or maybe an item based on it. This is new territory for me, and I'm wondering if y'all know of any good solutions for afflicted were-rat PCs who want to remain non-evil.

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3 Answers 3

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Just eliminate it entirely as a really poor design decision in the first place. It’s totally not necessary.

The effects of the template should be role-played. So the character should have to struggle with primal urges and the like, and the player should try to make this interesting and part of his character’s story. But his alignment should not arbitrarily just change. The alignment change should be treated as a thing that happens to the weak-willed, perhaps, or to commoners unprepared for the magical assault on their bodies, minds, and souls (as adventurers, even low-level ones, might be). It might be a thing that could happen to a player, if he indulged those urges. But not automatic.

I don’t particularly like the idea of Will saves vs. compulsion to enact said urges. A good roleplayer shouldn’t need to be forced, and ultimately the effects of a few bad rolls in a row could be very problematic for keeping the player’s character as the character he wants to play. This kind of mechanic could be done well, but ultimately I’d rather just make it a plot-device that the player can play with. And if the player isn’t interested in doing so, then I really don’t think making him roll Will saves is a good idea: it is a game, after all. Forcing the player to “play” a game he doesn’t enjoy doesn’t make much sense, and strikes me as rude.

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+1 for bringing up that good roleplayers want this kind of conflict in their characters, and don't need mechanical sticks to prevent them from abusing it. Just because the system is set up to regulate munchkins doesn't mean good players should suffer. –  lisardggY Jan 10 '13 at 22:30
    
Love the answer. As a DM I threw the forced alignment change out of the window. Who says a werewolf has to be evil? In the World of Darkness they are not, unless you are a vampire. Who says werebears are lawful good? Tell that to the guy who was feeding bears and got eaten. If there was an alignment restriction at all, I would say "Any Neutral." All animals appear to be of Neutral alignment. That should be the animal side of them. In many cultures the Wolf is a very noble animal and shapeshifters of wolves were great protectors... doesn't sound very Chaotic or Evil to me. You got a +1 from me. –  Ruut Jun 7 at 8:11

I think the best way to deal with templates that 'change alignment' is to provide the temptation to alignment change. To have possibilities that a wererat would want to pursue, and give incentives for the player to pursue them.

The standard D&D temptation takes the form of a will save, but that is too mechanical. My suggestion: Bonus if they give in, or penalities if they resist.

Examples:

  • They are in a dungeon, hungry, and find some weak prisioners. They feel the urge to take their food. Should they do so, they get a +1 morale for the rest of the adventure.

  • A paladin wererat feels tempted to hide in the shadows and sneak past his enemies . Should he fail to do so, he suffers a disconfort that translates into timid blows. -1 dmg, no smite evil.

  • A werewolf has been confronted by a clearly weaker opponent. But the opponent is only talking. The werewolf gets tempted to strike him, to assert his clear superiority. Should he fail to do so, he feels the submited. -1 to all charisma actions opposing this guy (ever, until he makes things right by attaking)

And the alignment changes if they give in too much (say, 6 out of 10 oportunities)

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I'd look at using a system where the were-players have to regularly save to avoid giving in to urges, but if they fail, it's the equivalent of magical compulsion in terms of alignment change - they will probably not be changed if they resist it.

Something like full moons, good food and drink, and so forth might be triggers, and unless the PCs can make a Will save against a DC of (10 + half their save modifier + situation + resistance), where resistance (modifier of -5 for detestable actions to +10 for something they have no problem with) is how much their characters would defy it on a personal level and situation (modifier of -10 for horrible targets to +10 for an ideal subject) is based on how the well the target suits the compulsion, they have to react.

The effect of adding half their will save modifier (rounded down) is identical to only allowing half of their usual will save modifier (rounded up). The purpose of this is to make it harder to simply avoid all effects, which would otherwise require only a bonus of +30 to be immune to everything but with this system requires a bonus of +60 - much harder. Therefore the lycanthropy has a longer-term effect on the character.

Examples:

A were-PC (Will +16) is alone in a dungeon and is hungry. He wants to eat, but there isn't any food left. However, he finds some human prisoners. Cue an urge to eat one, the plumpest of the lot (+5 situation), which fills the character with horror (-5 resistance).

DC (10 + 16/2 + 5 + -5) = 10 + 8 = 18, a fairly easy save for this character as cannibalism is definitely not something most PCs would even contemplate. The player rolls 12. The character feels the urge but can keep it in check.

However, he later finds some spoiled meat. It might make him ill, but his were-rat self wants it. His save gets a +2 situation modifier as the meat doesn't look/smell too bad, and a +6 resistance modifier as he is now much hungrier than earlier.

DC (10 + 12/2 + 2 + 6) = 10 + 6 + 2 + 6 = 24, a slightly harder save. With a 6, the player fails. His character tears into the meat, ripping at it with his hands.

Of course, a player can decide not to resist an urge. This system is intended to make players more aware of the potential dangers of lycanthropy rather than take control of their characters completely. If they are constantly making forced actions, I'd suggest changing the modifiers slightly.

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