I'm running Curse of Strahd for a group of friends, and last session they had an encounter with werewolves. I made all the wolves (and werewolves) attack a single character, since that's how I thought they would probably hunt. Since the paladin was the only one who had a silvered weapon, they decided to take him down first.
It was impressive. He dodged almost all attacks from normal wolves and was bitten by every single werewolf attack. He passed his Con saves to avoid lycanthropy so many times I lost count. I didn't tell him what the rolls were for, or whether he succeeded or not, but he pretty much knew what was going on.
Finally, the last hit took him down. The wolves were done with him and onto a new target. Only one last save to make... and he rolled a natural 1. Yeah, he's turning into a werewolf.
He instantly reminded me that as a paladin he is immune to sickness and disease, and I reassured him that I was aware. We're a new group, and since he didn't know what was going on, it was a gentle reminder. That was it. I didn't tell him that his character is cursed, and he didn't push it. He asked if he felt any different when he woke up, and I told him he only felt the pain from the fight.
Now enough with context. Here is the question:
Is the player aware that his character is cursed? Or does he only find that out when he transforms at the next full moon?
I know that the MM says that when a character is infected with lycanthropy his alignment changes, but how fast does it change? How long does it take for a character to start feeling the feral urges inside of him? Is it a sudden change? Does it stay dormant until the full moon? If the change starts to take effect immediately, I believe I should tell my player so he could start roleplaying it asap.
Here are how I see my options about approaching the player:
- Don't tell him, let him be unaware, and have him transform during the next full moon. Then, once his transformation "triggers", I tell him about his change in alignment, how he has to fight his urges for blood and violence. I might throw some hints before the full moon, but the point is: even if the player suspects it, neither him nor the character know.
- Tell him right away. The character feels the change, although I explain to the player that his character does not know what it is. He can start to roleplay it as soon as he wants to, and I don't have to interfere with his character by saying that he suddenly feels angry or violent.
But in the end, it all comes down to how fast the curse affects the character.
I haven't found much information about it in either the DMG or the MM. I am wondering if there's more about the subject that I don't know. Personally, I would love to find more official lore about lycanthropes.