Since purchasing the Troll Skull Tavern in Waterdeep, Ichabod the Inscrutable has run afoul of the Shard Shunner wererat gang. He believes their leader to be none other than the Fellowship of Innkeeper's guildmaster, Mister Fairkettle.

Obviously, Ichabod can't just run to the Watch, some of them are likely on Fairkettle's payroll! What magical means are available to him that would help him identify and prove who the wererats are?

Ichabod has access to any published, core (non-UA) item or spell that is not an artifact or 9th level.

Is there a spell or item that can detect Lycanthropes while they are in their human form?

This question is purely hypothetical. Any resemblance to characters, living or dead, actual or fictional, is purely coincidental and is in no way intended to be a spoiler.


2 Answers 2


It isn't easy.

Since a lycanthrope's true form is humanoid, spells and items that reveal their true form or revert them to that form won't work, which removes most of your options.

There are a few left, though, primarily spells that function based on creature kind (specifically "shapechanger"). Some specific examples would include locate creature, glyph of warding, and symbol. (Locate creature may not work, as it doesn't detect creatures that are "in a different form" from the named creature. I assume if you say "were-rat", it would only detect the hybrid form, considering human and rat to be "different forms", but that's likely to be a DM call.) It depends somewhat on the situation, but you will probably need to do some work to isolate your suspect to be sure he triggered the effect and not some other shapechanger who happened to be nearby.

You could hit the suspect with one of several effects that shapechangers are immune to, such as the polymorph family of spells, but there it's hard to tell if the target is actually a shapechanger or just resisted the spell with a successful save. And going the other way, a lycanthrope could, if they realized what was happening fast enough, willingly allow themself to be polymorphed, thus throwing you off.

On the magic item side, the obvious one is an item with the Sentinel minor property (DMG p.143), tuned to Shapechangers. If your sword is glowing blue, then there's shapechangers about. Finding such a specific item would probably be a quest in and of itself, though, and it may be difficult to pick out a specific person, since the Sentinel range is large enough to encompass several small buildings. Isolating the target is, again, probably a necessary step.

The alternative would be various interrogation spells like zone of truth or detect thoughts, though you'd likely have to be fairly overt about it. Just directly asking "Are you now, or have you ever been, a were-rat?" is likely to alert him that he's been discovered!

Your best bet is probably a glyph of warding set to target shapechangers. If you set a Spell Glyph with a no-save targeted spell that has a visible effect (magic missile sounds good), then you can watch and see if it goes off when he passes by. Ideally, set it in a place where only your suspect will go so you can be pretty sure it won't inadvertently go off early just because some other shapechanger stumbled into range. You can do much the same thing with a symbol, watching to see whether it goes off and (if there's a group) who exactly got zorched by it, but that is of course a much higher-level spell.

The old standby: Violence!

I assume a lycanthrope in human form retains their damage immunity to non-magical weapons that aren't silvered. If they do, then a possible answer, harsh as it may be, is to cut or stab your guildmaster with a mundane weapon. If it fails to cause a wound, or the wound immediately heals over, then you've (probably) found a lycanthrope. The down-side is of course that if you're wrong, you probably get arrested for assault even if you magically heal the injury afterward and say you're really, really sorry.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ polymorph works by not working. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 18, 2021 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I regret that I have only one upvote to give. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 18, 2021 at 20:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's also the various "ask a god" spells, including Augury at 2nd level, which could potentially yield the desired information with some creativity. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 18, 2021 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's fair, though I wouldn't really consider that to be detecting a lycanthrope. That's just skipping the challenge entirely! \$\endgroup\$ Mar 19, 2021 at 18:38

Divination spells

(also known, according to Ryan C. Thompson, as "ask a god")


You contact your deity or a divine proxy and ask up to three questions that can be answered with a yes or no...You receive a correct answer for each question.

Ask: "Is the person commonly known as Mister Fairkettle a wererat?"


Divine beings aren't necessarily omniscient, so you might receive "unclear" as an answer if a question pertains to information that lies beyond the deity's knowledge.

Divination plus Remove Curse

You ask a single question concerning a specific goal, event, or activity to occur within 7 days. The GM offers a truthful reply.


A humanoid creature can be afflicted with the curse of lycanthropy after being wounded by a lycanthrope, or if one or both of its parents are lycanthropes. A remove curse spell can rid an afflicted lycanthrope of the curse

Ask:"If I successfully cast remove curse on Mister Fairkettle, would it remove his wererat lycanthropy?


a natural born lycanthrope can be freed of the curse only with a wish.


The reply might be a short phrase, a cryptic rhyme, or an omen.

Augury plus Remove Curse is not recommended

you receive an omen from an otherworldly entity about the results of a specific course of action that you plan to take within the next 30 minutes. The DM chooses from the following possible omens: Weal, for good results; Woe, for bad results; Weal and woe, for both good and bad results; Nothing, for results that aren't especially good or bad

The possible interpretations here are just too vague. Does weal mean that the Guildmaster is cured of his curse? Does it mean that he was not a wererat to begin with but appreciates your efforts on his behalf? Does woe mean that the other wererats quickly re-infect him and he exacts his revenge? Does it mean he was not a wererat but is so offended at the suggestion that you have just made a permanent enemy?


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