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Can a single humanoid be cursed with multiple types of lycanthropy ?

Like let's say a Weretigerboar, or a Werewolfrat ?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Or one could end up being a Weremanbearpig \$\endgroup\$
    – Yotus
    Apr 15, 2016 at 9:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Werepigturducken. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 15, 2016 at 16:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wereowl + werebear = wereowlbear. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nat
    Apr 23, 2017 at 6:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ just for the record, were creatures attacks aren't magical, so unless the lycanthrope has magic or silvered teeth, it couldn't spread the bite to a creature that is already immune to normal attacks. \$\endgroup\$
    – blade
    Jul 14, 2017 at 9:53

3 Answers 3

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I don't see anything preventing this in the Monster Manual or its errata. I also did a very quick search to see if Mearls or Crawford answered this question before and didn't see anything. If anything that isn't against the RAW is fair game, I guess yes is possible. However, that leaves a huge question for the DM: What in the world happens when the full moon rises, especially if the forms' alignments, like those of a werewolfbear, are incompatible?

I think most DMs would rule no, that it is impossible to have two forms of lycanthropy, opting that getting a second curse of lycanthropy either is impossible or replaces the first. Moreover, lycanthropy is already very powerful; getting "cursed" twice with it could really be game breaking.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There is one mention of lycanthropes in the section "Fantastic Events" but it isn't anything that applies to this question. Just mention a plot idea about creating an area or event that increases the blood lust. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 15, 2016 at 16:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Game breaking" or just annoying to deal with? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 15, 2016 at 17:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ In the monster manual, the Curse of Lycanthropy does not specify sub-species, so the argument could be made that you can't have multiples of the same curse. \$\endgroup\$
    – Orvir
    Apr 15, 2016 at 18:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ A bearat would have 19 STR, 15 Dex. If the character plunged all their points into Int or Wisdom... Standard array is 15,14,13,12,10,8 if you replace the 10 and 8 with 19 and 15, you get 19,15,15,14,13,12 (at level 1). Then, +1 to AC (bear), advantage on perception (both), immunities (both). Plus you can change size from medium (natural form) to large (bear) to Small (Rat). All of that on top of your race or class. One form of lycanthropy is arguably OP, but two really would unbalance the game. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 15, 2016 at 18:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @J.A.Streich when I said sub-species I was referring to the different lycanthropes (werebear, werewolf, etc.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Orvir
    Apr 15, 2016 at 18:36
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Transmitted without damage

Although RAW it is difficult for lycanthropes to damage one another, that is actually not a concern for this question. Lycanthropy is transmitted by an attack that hits, not necessarily one that causes damage. See: Do lycanthropes need to do damage in order to inflict the curse?

There's a rule for that

The 10th Printing DMG errata says

Combining Game Effects (p. 252). Different game features can affect a target at the same time. But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them—the most potent one—apply while the durations of the effects overlap...Game features include spells, class features, feats, racial traits, monster abilities, and magic items. See the related rule in the “Combining Magical Effects” section of chapter 10 in the Player’s Handbook.

The Curse of Lycanthropy is a game effect or game feature. In MM206, the effect is listed as just "Curse of Lycanthropy" not as "Curse of Lycanthropy (Werewolf)" or "Curse of Lycanthropy (Wereboar)". If a lycanthrope is hit by another type of lycanthrope and fails its save, it is now under two different curses of lycanthropy, two different game effects with the same name. The rule on Combining Game Effects states that "only the effects of one of them—the most potent one—[applies]". Thus it is incumbent on the DM to decide which of the curses is more potent. Only that one form of lycanthropy will affect the lycanthrope. Like most times this rule is invoked, it is not at all clear what 'most potent' means in context - is it the wereform that has a higher CR, HD, DPR?

It may be that the DM cannot decide which form of the curse is the more potent. In that case we are directed to the PHB, which says

"Instead, the most potent effect — such as the highest bonus — from those castings applies while their durations overlap, or the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent and their durations overlap."

Thus, if the DM can't decide which curse is more potent, the more recent one applies.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is what makes the most sense. There are many reminders about the non-cumulative effects in 5e (because in 1e... oh well). \$\endgroup\$ Nov 1, 2021 at 20:18
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Even though there isn't anything explicitly disallowing multiple lycanthropy curses, there is an argument to be made that it's "almost impossible".

First note that the MM has the following to say:

Curse of Lycanthropy. A humanoid creature can be afflicted with the curse of lycanthropy after being wounded by a lycanthrope.

This could mean that damage must be dealt. However, I'm a little unsure about this bit, so I've asked a question here.

Continuing from the above: once you're inflicted with lycanthropy, you're immune to non-magical melee attacks... meaning the very attack that might have delivered a second lycanthropy curse, is unable to do any damage.

(There are of course ways around this; such as a Level 6 Monk's Ki-Empowered Strikes. Which is why I said "almost impossible".)


However, even disregarding the above, there are some things to consider making it extremely unlikely to be cursed with multiple types of lycanthropy:

  • All 5 lycanthropes have different alignments. So certainly it's not possible to "embrace" multiple.
  • Each lycanthrope only has 1 attack type the could inflict lycanthropy, and in some cases are described as being reluctant to pass on the curse; so avoid using that particular attack.
  • It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume differing lycanthropes would desire nothing less than a "pure kill" against each other; and so also not use the curse inflicting attack.
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    \$\begingroup\$ You’re immune to non-magical melee attacks in your hybrid or full animal form. You are not in your human form, otherwise lycanthropes could never be undercover because they could be discovered by a simple prick test. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Aug 21, 2020 at 23:33

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