The basic question here is; do lycanthropes form societies / packs / familial groups, and if so, are there any official or semi-official descriptions of what they're like?

The Background

I'm GMing a D&D 5e campaign and one of my players is a cleric with Selûne as her deity. Selûne's descriptions says that she is

the Faerûnian goddess of light, the moon, [...] and goodly lycanthropes.

My player has chosen to embrace this and as a personal quest seeks to rid the land of bad lycanthropes while saving the good. I'm 100% for this character development and we've discussed having her struggle to draw such a black and white line between people's lives in an otherwise very grey world. Good stuff.

However, to embrace this difficult decision making I'd like to have the party stumble across groups of lycanthropes a few times in their travels, and it got me realizing that I have no idea if D&D respects any kind of pack hierarchy or leadership for lycanthropes, or if they are completely feral (or, frankly, if they group up at all). Wikipedia has a quote that leads me to believe they do stay in packs, although what kind of packs isn't specified; (emphasis mine)

In the Forgotten Realms, many werewolves worship Malar. They may help hunters and others who worship or pay homage to Malar by hunting for them during Winter in areas where this is a concern. Packs of werebeings who worship Malar, will engage in what is called a "High Hunt" in which a human is hunted.

The Question

My question up top makes a nice summary, but here's the points I'm most interested in touching on;

  • Do they, in canon, group up and live socially?
  • If so, is it more bestial or more human?
  • Is there a noticeable difference between lawful and non-lawful lycanthrope societies?

I would also accept an answer of "there's no official ruling", if that ends up being the case.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Answer in answers, not comments. @markovchain you have a perfectly valid answer there, but it's deleted for being in the wrong place. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 25, 2017 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just A Tip: Remember that your campaign setting isn't strictly bound to canon and tradition. If you decide that you want a particular creature type to form a society, consider why they might and how their behavior may differ from common perception. Such societies would tend to be neutral. \$\endgroup\$
    – user8133
    Mar 26, 2017 at 0:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JackStout I tend to come at D&D from a completely homebrew direction; I find it helps me to keep my game in the scope of what my players are expecting (and helps it better fit within the mechanics) if I check in with canon occasionally to keep my game feeling "real". \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex
    Mar 26, 2017 at 0:28

2 Answers 2


Yes, and the type of society varies.

MM 207 describes the various types of communities that lycanthropes inhabit. Many are solitary, but wereboars, wererats, and werewolves sometimes form societies.


Wereboars live in small family groups in remote forest areas, building ramshackle huts or dwelling in caves. They are suspicious of strangers but sometimes ally themselves with orcs.


Wererat clans are found throughout urban civilization, often dwelling in cellars and catacombs. These creatures are common in the sewers beneath major cities, viewing those subterranean areas as their hunting grounds.


In the wild, werewolves form packs that also include wolves and dire wolves.

Judging from these, it's mainly the evil lycanthropes that form societies.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth noting that each of these is the lay the non-lycanthrope animal lives. Probably not too long of a bow to extend that thinking to the others. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Mar 25, 2017 at 21:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aha! Knew I had to be missing something obvious. I wish there was more to go on, but that'll do, thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex
    Mar 25, 2017 at 22:39

I'm GMing a D&D 5e campaign

Then it's your choice, and it sounds like you want them to exist.

Do they, in canon, group up and live socially?

That depends entirely on what setting you're using, but I will point out that in the real world, groups ostracized by society seem to have a tendency to band together.

In Forgotten Realms, there are hereditary Lycanthropes, who seem to view it as a gift rather than a curse.

In Eberron, it seems the church tried to kill them all, so probably no societies there, unless they're really secretive. But secretive societies aren't the sort to be encountered at random.

I can't find any evidence that Dark Sun even has lycanthropes.

Those are the only ones I'm at all familiar with.


If so, is it more bestial or more human?

That would be up to the groups themselves, according to the monster manual

A lycanthrope can either resist its curse or embrace it. By resisting the curse, a lycanthrope retains its normal alignment and personality while in humanoid form. It lives its life as it always has, burying deep the bestial urges raging inside it. However, when the full moon rises, the curse becomes too strong to resist, transforming the individual into its beast form

keep in mind that full moons are predictable, so precautions can be taken.

Some individuals see little point in fighting the curse and accept what they are. With time and experience, they learn to master their shapechanging ability and can assume beast form or hybrid form at will. Most lycanthropes that embrace their bestial natures succumb to bloodlust, becoming evil, opportunistic creatures that prey on the weak.

Note the word "Most", Werebears, as an example tend to be Good.


Is there a noticeable difference between lawful and non-lawful lycanthrope societies?

There's the standard alignment stuff, which would still apply to them, for whatever that means in your game.


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