In the published module Curse of Strahd, Strahd (p. 240) can

turn into a wolf using his Shapechanger trait.

However, when he does this,

he loses access to his Unarmed Strike and Bite attacks and his Multiattack, since they are specified as "Vampire Form Only" or "Bat or Vampire Form Only".

However, it seems ridiculous to me that he would be unable to attack when doing so, I mean it's still

a wolf with fangs and claws.

My question, therefore, is this:

When Strahd

turns into a wolf,

what attacks does he have, what is his to-hit bonus, and how much damage does he deal?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Please note that I only have access to a French translation of the book so if someone has the original text, please edit the correct ability names \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2019 at 7:46

2 Answers 2


From Page 240 Curse of Strahd

While in bat or wolf form, Strahd can't speak. In bat form, his walking speed is 5 feet, and he has a flying speed of 30 feet. In wolf form, his walking speed is 40 feet. His statistics, other than his size and speed, are unchanged. Anything he is wearing . transforms with him, but nothing he is carrying does. He reverts to his true form if he dies.

Note the section in bold. So we have to fall back on the general rules governing monsters and character so.

  • A CR 15 monster which has a +5 prof bonus (DMG page 274) modified by characteristic (+4 STR or DEX) gives Strahd a +9 to hit bonus.
  • At the very least as a humanoid shaped undead would get the normal unarmed strike that does 1 bludgeoning. Which would deal 5 points damage due the +4 from Strength.
  • However a strong case could be made that as a wolf, Strahd would get at least the bite attack (2d4+2, DC 11 Str save or prone) of the wolf. Adding in an addition +3 damage bonus (the wolf has a +1 str bonus) However the note that statistics are otherwise unchanged except for size and speed means this would be a house rule.

Regardless of your decision Strahd as a wolf still would have all his other listed abilities including hit point totals like spellcasting, regeneration, etc.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So what you're saying is that if I want thematic wolf attacks, I need to make them myself, or maybe copy them from the appropriate monsters in the MM ? Because I'm not having Strahd become weaker in wolf form than in vampire form \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2019 at 13:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PierreCathé You could always not use it's wolf form in combat if this is a huge concern. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jul 16, 2019 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch sure, but it looks good \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2019 at 13:34
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @PierreCathé, there is no RAW ruling that doesn't leads to Strahd having a weaker attack in wolf form. As a general note, the shapechange spell in the PHB will has the side effect of making the target attacks weaker depending on the final form. Strahd getting weaker attack in being in wolf form is likely intended. Its primary use is a form of fast concealed movement not as an attack form. \$\endgroup\$
    – RS Conley
    Jul 16, 2019 at 13:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Honestly it doesn't matter if he gets slightly weaker, I just didn't want him to be unable to attack. Your guidelines give a good starting point for getting a more reasonable wolf-Strahd, thanks ! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2019 at 14:02

To be fair, unlike cats, actual wolves (and other members of the dog family) don't attack with their "claws", so it is reasonable that a wolf-form would not get a claw attack.

From: Wolf Education & Research Center:

In wolves, the purpose of the claws is for digging and traction when running, and besides increasing speed and agility, are not utilized during hunting. Canines do not attack prey using their claws, rather only use their mouth.

But more to the point, the (English) printings of Curse of Strahd from June of 2020 on have explicitly given Strahd both an unarmed strike and a bite while in wolf form.

From: Official Wizards of the Coast errata #16(emphasis mine)

Curse of Strahd has been checked and updated to match the 6th Printing, published 06/17/2020. The errata has been applied to all necessary areas in D&D Beyond.

Strahd von Zarovich (p. 240). In the stat block, change "Unarmed Strike (Vampire Form Only)" to "Unarmed Strike (Vampire or Wolf Form Only)," and in the unarmed strike, change "bludgeoning" to "slashing." Also change "Bite (Bat or Vampire Form Only)" to "Bite."

That it appears to have further confused the issue of what kind of damage his unarmed strike does is unfortunate. Related: Does Strahd's unarmed strike deal full damage if used to grapple?


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