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The rules for Lycanthropes (MM, p. 207) say (emphasis mine):

The character gains the lycanthrope's speeds in nonhumanoid form, damage immunities, traits, and actions that don't involve equipment.

However, in page 8 of the Monster Manual, the "Senses" section is under the "Statistics" heading, not "Special Traits". From this, I infer that lycanthrope PCs do not get darkvision.

But wait - there's more. The "Variant: Nonhuman Lycanthropes" sidebar (MM, p. 206) says:

The statistics presented in this section assume a base creature of human.

Humans do not naturally have darkvision, so this makes me inclined to think that lycanthropes do get darkvision.

Which is right? Do lycanthrope PCs gain darkvision or not?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Somewhat related on Which vampire traits does a PC vampire get? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 14 at 15:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question could use some links or quotes from the lycanthrope sections. Maybe I am confused but without knowing the rules and just reading what you are quoting I can't make the leap to any of these suggesting yes. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri May 14 at 15:49
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Yes. The player character gains darkvision if the lycanthrope type specifies it.

tl;dr Darkvision is a trait of some lycanthropes in the same way it is for elves, and is included in the benefits to the lycanthrope player character.

For reference, player character lycanthropes:

The character gains the lycanthrope's speeds in nonhumanoid form, damage immunities, traits, and actions that don't involve equipment.

Lycanthrope variant offers fey ancestry as an example for the meaning of trait.

The passage in the monster manual about "variant: non-human lycanthropes" gives an example of a trait that is not limited to the "special traits" section. It lists an item found in the elf racial traits.

For example, an elf werewolf might have the Fey Ancestry trait.

Darkvision is a racial trait

Following the fey ancestry is a trait, we find it among the elf race lists of traits. Included in that list is darkvision. We can surmise that darkvision is a trait.

Darkvision as a trait is in line with the vernacular

Both OED and Merriam define "trait" as a heritable characteristic. In addition to having it as an example in traits lists, darkvision fits the bill for the common English definition.

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I think your quotes from the Monster Manual are quite relevant. I'm trying to answer based only on the the book itself.

Darkvision is only mentioned among the "Senses" of the different lycanthrope types for Weretigers and Wererats, and it is not mentioned at the general description of the lychantropes. (The closest we get is the mentioning that their eyes might glow red in the dark, which seems unsufficient evidence.)

However, the Monster Manual defines "Special Traits" in general as follows (page 10):

Special traits (which appear after a monster's challenge rating but before any actions or reactions) are characteristics that are likely to be relevant in a combat encounter and that require some explanation.

Every lycanthrope subtype in the MM (ie. Werebear, Wereboar, Wererat, Weretiger and Werewolf) shares the "Shapechanger" special trait. The general formula of this trait is:

The were[type] can use its action to polymorph into a [Size modifier/-][type]-humanoid hybrid or into a [Size modifier/-][type], or back into its true form, which is humanoid.

Now, from the possible non-humanoid and non-hybrid results of the polymorph action, the Wererat's Giant rat form is the only one that has a 60 ft dark vision (see MM. page 327.). This fact is also emphasized on the Wererat statblock: it gets 60 ft. of darkvision in rat form only (page 209).

In conclusion:

  • A humanoid who gets the Wererat subtype of the lycanthropy curse may use their action to polymorph into a Giant rat, thus gaining it's darkvision capabilities.

  • Since "Senses" is indeed not mentioned among the features a PC gains as a lychantrope (unlike, say, damage immunities), my RAW interpretation suggests that the Weretigers' darkvision is not inherited.

  • If it is used for player characters as well, the "nonhuman lycanthropes" variant rule on the 206. page of the MM may provide an alternative scenario. If a player character already had darkvision before gaining the curse, they may "retain one or more of its humanoid racial feat"; already existing darkvision may be such a trait.

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