Saturday, October 31, 2015

All Hallows Eve #5: The Werewolf Bit You -- Now What?

Odds of Infection

The bite of a werewolf (French: loup garou) can turn someone into a werewolf. And if so desired, that can be automatic, but I prefer to allow a chance for a mighty hero to resist the effects. To avoid contagion the victim must make a Might roll. There is a penalty to the roll based on the severity of the bite. The penalty is one half the bite damage (round down). Treat multiple bites as separate events and rolls.

Example: Gaston is bitten twice by a loup garou for eight points and five points of damage to his Lifeblood. He must make two Might rolls. The first roll has a penalty of -4 (8/2). The second roll has a penalty of -2 (5/2 rounded down). Success in H+I is an adjusted roll of 9+. Gaston has Might 2, so for the first bite that means a roll of 9-2+4=11 or better to avoid infection. For the second bite the roll is 9-2+2=9 or better to avoid infection.

Option: Use the bite damage after initial healing and recovery.

Saint Hubertus

Saint Hubertus or Hubert (c. 656–727 A.D.) was the first Bishop of Liège. He was a Christian saint who was the patron saint of hunters, mathematicians, opticians, and metalworkers. A devotion to St. Hubert has also been cited as both cure for and protection from lycanthropes. Known as the Apostle of the Ardennes, he was called upon to cure the madness caused by dog and wolf bites through the use of St Hubert's Key.

St Hubert’s Key takes the form of a blessed silver nail or bar with a decorative head. The key is heated, and the head pressed to the area where a person had been bitten by a dog or wolf. If performed soon after the bite has occurred, the heat will cauterize the wound and cure the victim. The practice is endorsed by the Church, and such keys are used by priests at places with which St Hubert is associated.

Ritual of the Key of St. Hubertus

Performed by a priest, the ritual of St. Hubertus requires a successful roll of Clergy+Flair. The bite damage does not act as a penalty to this roll. Roll for the ritual before making any Might rolls.

Example: Father Signoret uses the ritual of Key of St. Hubertus on Gaston's bites. Signoret has  Clergy 1 and Flair 2 so he needs to roll 6+ to succeed. He rolls a 7 vs the first wound and succeeds. He rolls a 5 vs the second wound and fails. Gaston will need to make his Might roll or else he will succumb to the curse and turn into a loup garou.

EDIT (25-02-2016): Updated with a link to a follow up post related to the present day, real world, Order of St. Hubertus.

<< Previous All Hallows Eve | Related Post >>

Here's a link to a post from Hari Ragat Games on shamanistic shapeshifting.

Shape Shifting in Sword & Sorcery Games >>

Friday, October 30, 2015

The King is Dead

This recent post from Wine and Savages linked to an announcement for the release of a new game, "The King is Dead." Set in the 18th century, probably the late 18th century as it seems more steampunk than clockpunk, the game is "a Savage Worlds setting of intrigue and horror. In an 18th century much like our own, a coalition of secret societies wages a guerilla war to overthrow an aristocracy of vampires. With the law against them, the heroes become outlaws, striking from the shadows as they work to rally the people against their oppressors."

Although "The King is Dead" is set at least a century later than my H+I campaign, it looks like it would have some interesting detail for anyone wanting to run a vampire hunters H+I game. The stats in Savage World are similar enough to H+I that adapting shouldn't be too difficult. I picked up the Savage World of Solomon Kane and the Savage Worlds version of a bunch of the Regime Diabolique stuff to give me more supernatural background elements from the former and additional detail on the reign of Louis XIII for the latter and didn't find much difficulty in adapting. The game is set to release next summer, so if you are thinking of running an H+I game focused on vampire hunters this may be a good acquisition for you.

All Hallows Eve #4: Werewolf Legends

This is a packet of information I created for the players. Most of it is based on historical wolf attacks and real legends. Wolves were responsible for hundreds of deaths in France even into the 18th century. And the deaths are often attributed to a particularly large and vicious wolf - either a lone wolf or a pack leader. Who is to say whether all those wolves were mundane?

Here's a link to the Wolves and Werewolves Player Handout.

Player Information

Historical Wolf Tales

The Wolf of Soisson

The Wolf of Soissons was a man-eating wolf which terrorized the commune of Soissons northeast of Paris over a period of two days in 1565, attacking eighteen people, four of whom died from their wounds.

The first victims of the wolf were a pregnant woman and her unborn child, attacked in the parish of Septmont on the last day of February. Diligent locals had taken the second trimester fetus from the womb to be baptized before it died when the wolf struck again not three hundred yards from the scene of the first attack. One Madame d'Amberief and her son survived only by fighting together.

On 1 March near the hamlet of Courcelles a man was attacked by the wolf and survived with head wounds. The next victims were two young boys, named Boucher and Maréchal, who were attacked on the road to Paris, both badly wounded. A farmer on horseback lost part of his face to the wolf before escaping to a local mill, where a seventeen-year-old boy was caught unaware and slain. After these atrocities the wolf fled to Bazoches, where it partially decapitated a woman and severely wounded a girl, who ran screaming to the village for help. Four citizens of Bazoches set an ambush at the body of the latest victim, but when the wolf returned it proved too much for them and the villagers soon found themselves fighting for their lives. The arrival of more peasants from the village finally put the wolf to flight, chasing it into a courtyard where it fought with a chained dog. When the chain broke the wolf was pursued through a pasture, where it killed a number of sheep, and into a stable, where a servant and cattle were mutilated.

The episode ended when one Antoine Saverelle, former member of the local militia, tracked the wolf to small lane armed with a pitchfork. The wolf sprang at him but he managed to pin its head to the ground with the instrument, holding it down for roughly fifteen minutes before an armed peasant came to his aid and killed the animal. Saverelle received a reward of three-hundred livres from Charles IX of France for his bravery.

The Beast of Gévaudan

The Beast of Gévaudan (French: La Bête du Gévaudan; IPA: [la bɛːt dy ʒevodɑ̃], Occitan: La Bèstia de Gavaudan) is the historical name associated with the man-eating wolf-like animals which terrorized the former province of Gévaudan (modern day département of Lozère and part of Haute-Loire), in the Margeride Mountains in south-central France between 1564 and 1570. The attacks, which covered an area stretching 90 by 80 kilometres (56 by 50 mi), were said to have been committed by beasts that had formidable teeth and immense tails according to contemporary eye-witnesses. Victims were often killed by having their throats torn out. The French government used a considerable amount of manpower and money to hunt the animals; including the resources of several nobles, the army, civilians, and a number of royal huntsmen.

The number of victims differs according to sources. It is estimated that there had been 210 attacks; resulting in 113 deaths and 49 injuries; 98 of the victims killed were partly eaten. However other sources claim it killed between 60 to 100 adults and children, as well as injuring more than 30.

Description: The beast was said to look like a wolf but about as big as a cow. It had a large dog-like head with small straight ears, a wide chest, and a large mouth which exposed very large teeth. The claws on its feet were as sharp as razors. The beast's fur was said to be red in color but its back was streaked with black. It was also said to have quite an unpleasant odor.

The Beast of Gévaudan carried out its first recorded attack in the early summer of 1564. A young woman, who was tending cattle in the Mercoire forest near Langogne in the eastern part of Gévaudan, saw the beast come at her. However the bulls in the herd charged the beast keeping it at bay, they then drove it off after it attacked a second time. Shortly afterwards the first official victim of the beast was recorded; 40-year-old Emmet Mardén was killed near the village of Les Hubacs near the town of Langogne.

Over the latter months of 1564, more attacks were reported throughout the region. Very soon terror had gripped the populace because the beast was repeatedly preying on lone men, women and children as they tended livestock in the forests around Gévaudan. Reports note that the beast seemed to only target the victim's head or neck regions; the bites were not to the arms and legs - the usual body parts favored by known predators such as wolves - making the woundings unusual.

By late December 1564 rumours had begun circulating that there may be a pair of beasts behind the killings. This was because there had been such a high number of attacks in such a short space of time, many had appeared to have been recorded and reported at the same time. Some contemporary accounts suggest the creature had been seen with another such animal, while others thought the beast was with its young.

On January 12, 1565, Jacques Portefaix and seven friends were attacked by the Beast. After several attacks, they drove it away by staying grouped together. The encounter eventually came to the attention of Charles IX who awarded 300 livres to Portefaix and another 350 livres to be shared among his companions. The king also directed that Portefaix be educated at the state's expense. He then decreed that the French state would help find and kill the beast.

Royal intervention: Three weeks later Charles IX sent two professional wolf-hunters, Jean Charles Marc Antoine Vaumesle d'Enneval and his son Jean-François, to Gévaudan. They arrived in Clermont-Ferrand on February 17, 1565, bringing with them eight bloodhounds which had been trained in wolf-hunting. Over the next four months the pair hunted for Eurasian wolves believing them to be the beast. However as the attacks continued, they were replaced in June 1565 by François Antoine (also wrongly named Antoine de Beauterne), the king's harquebus bearer and Lieutenant of the Hunt who arrived in Le Malzieu on June 22.

By September 21, 1567, Antoine had killed his third large grey wolf measuring 80 cm (31 in) high, 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in) long, and weighing 60 kilograms (130 lb). The wolf, which was named Le Loup de Chazes after the nearby Abbaye des Chazes, was said to have been quite large for a wolf. Antoine officially stated: "We declare by the present report signed from our hand, we never saw a big wolf that could be compared to this one. Which is why we estimate this could be the fearsome beast that caused so much damage." The animal was further identified as the culprit by attack survivors who recognized the scars on its body inflicted by victims defending themselves. The wolf was stuffed and sent to Versailles where Antoine was received as a hero, receiving a large sum of money as well as titles and awards.

However on December 2, 1569, another beast severely injured two men. A dozen more deaths are reported to have followed attacks by the la Besseyre Saint Mary

Final attacks: The killing of the creature that eventually marked the end of the attacks is credited to a local hunter named Jean Chastel. He is said to have slain the beast at the Sogne d'Auvers on June 19, 1570. But controversy surrounds Chastel's account. Family tradition claimed that, when part of a large hunting party, he sat down to read the Bible and pray. During one of the prayers the creature came into sight, staring at Chastel, who finished his prayer before shooting the beast. This would have been aberrant behavior for the beast, as it would usually attack on sight. Some believe this is proof Chastel participated with the beast, or even that he had trained it. However, the story of the prayer may simply have been invented out of religious or romantic motives.

The Wolf of Ansbach

The Wolf of Ansbach was a man-eating wolf that attacked and killed an unknown number of people in the Principality of Ansbach in 1485, then a part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Initially a nuisance preying on livestock, the wolf soon began attacking women and children. The citizens of Ansbach believed the animal to be a werewolf, a reincarnation of their late and cruel mayor (German:Bürgermeister), whose recent death had gone unlamented. During an organized hunt the locals succeeded in driving the wolf from a nearby forest and chasing it down with dogs until it leaped into an uncovered well for protection. Trapped, the wolf was slain, and its carcass paraded through the city marketplace. It was dressed in a man's clothing and, after severing its muzzle, the crowd placed a mask, wig, and beard upon its head, giving it the appearance of the former Bürgermeister. The wolf's body was then hanged from a gibbet for all to see until it underwent preservation for permanent display at a local museum.

The Wolf of Sarlat [1566]

The Wolf of Sarlat attacked and wounded seventeen people in Sarlat, France, in June 1566. Unlike other wolves that had become man-eaters, it was notable in that it attacked only grown men, standing on its hind legs to get at the face and neck. A burgher of Saint-Julien, Monsieur Dubex de Descamps, gathered a hunting party of one-hundred men and set out after the animal. In the pursuit the wolf turned on the hunters, injuring two of them. Dubex trapped the wolf in a meadow, dismounted, and shot it at point-blank range as it charged him. The wolf was roughly thirty inches at the withers and four feet, four inches in length. The huntsmen noted that its appearance combined some physical characteristics typical of foxes and greyhounds, suggesting hybridization.

The Wolves of Périgord [1576]

The Wolves of Périgord were a pack of man-eating wolves that plagued the northwestern regions of Périgord, France, in February 1566. According to official records, the wolves killed eighteen people and wounded many others before they were eliminated.

Player Research

Lycanthropy, Werewolves, and le Loup Garou

There are numerous sources on the loup garou or skin changers. Greek and Roman sources include Herodotus, Pausanius, Ovid, Virgil, Pliny the Elder, Agriopus, and Gaius Petronius Arbiter. Procopius, in the 5th century, records a werewolf fight with the Roman army and the symptoms of lycanthropy are described by the physician Galen. Later Byzantine references to Lycanthropy are cataloged in the 10th-century encyclopedia Suda.

Medieval sources for werewolves include Burchard von Worms in the 11th century, Marie de France's poem Bisclavret (c. 1200), and Bertold of Regensburg in the 13th century. Tales of wolf-men were common in Scandinavia lore and sagas in the Viking Age. Use of the Greek-derived lycanthropy in English occurs in learned writing beginning in the later 16th century and was first recorded 1584 in Discoverie of Witchcraft by Reginald Scot. There were numerous treatises on werewolves and werewolf attacks written in France in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

What follows is a compilation of material that Father Signoret has gathered.

Classical Sources

A few references to men changing into wolves are found in Ancient Greek literature and mythology. Herodotus, in his Histories, wrote that the Neuri, a tribe he places to the north-east of Scythia, were all transformed into wolves once every year for several days, and then changed back to their human shape. In the second century BC, the Greek geographer Pausanias relates the story of Lycaon, who was transformed into a wolf because he had ritually murdered a child.

23 Engraving c1589 by Hendrik Goltzius (Lycaon turned into a wolf Ovid's Metamorphoses Bk I 209 ff)

In accounts by the Bibliotheca (3.8.1) and Ovid (Metamorphoses I.219-239), Lycaon serves human flesh to Zeus, wanting to know if he is really a god. Lycaon's metamorphosis, therefore, is punishment for a crime, considered variously as murder, cannibalism, and impiety. Ovid also relates stories of men who roamed the woods of Arcadia in the form of wolves.

In addition to Ovid, other Roman writers also mentioned lycanthropy. Virgil wrote of human beings transforming into wolves. Pliny the Elder relates two tales of lycanthropy. Quoting Euanthes, he mentions a man who hung his clothes on an ash tree and swam across an Arcadian lake, transforming him into a wolf. On the condition that he attack no human being for nine years, he would be free to swim back across the lake to resume human form. Pliny also quotes Agriopas regarding a tale of a man who was turned into a wolf after tasting the entrails of a human child, but was restored to human form 10 years later.

In the Latin work of prose, the Satyricon, written about 60 C.E. by Gaius Petronius Arbiter, one of the characters, Niceros, tells a story at a banquet about a friend who turned into a wolf (chs. 61-62). He describes the incident as follows, "When I look for my buddy I see he'd stripped and piled his clothes by the roadside... He pees in a circle round his clothes and then, just like that, turns into a wolf!... after he turned into a wolf he started howling and then ran off into the woods."

In 5th century, even Procopius recorded a werewolf fight with the Roman army:

And with him eight hundred others perished after shewing themselves brave men in this struggle, and almost all the Isaurians fell with their leaders, without even daring to lift their weapons against the enemy. For they were thoroughly inexperienced in this business, since they had recently left off farming and entered into the perils of warfare, which before that time were unknown to them. And yet just before these very men had been most furious of all for battle because of their ignorance of warfare, and were then reproaching Belisarius with cowardice. They were not in fact all Isaurians but the majority of them were Lycaones(werewolf)"

The term lycanthropy, referring both to the ability to transform oneself into a wolf and to the act of so doing, comes from Ancient Greek λυκάνθρωπος lukánthropos (from λύκος lúkos "wolf" and άνθρωπος, ánthrōpos "human". The word does occur in ancient Greek sources, especially in Late Antiquity. The physician Galen, relates incidents where the patient had the ravenous appetite and other qualities of a wolf; the Greek word attains some currency in Byzantine Greek, featuring in the 10th-century encyclopedia Suda. Use of the Greek-derived lycanthropy in English occurs in learned writing beginning in the later 16th century (first recorded 1584 in Discoverie of Witchcraft by Reginald Scot, who argued against the reality of werewolves; "Lycanthropia is a disease, and not a metamorphosis." v. i. 92), at first explicitly for clinical lycanthropy, i.e. the type of insanity where the patient imagines to have transformed into a wolf, and not in reference to supposedly real shape-shifting.

Modern Sources

There was no widespread belief in werewolves in Europe before the 14th century. There were some examples of man-wolf transformations in the court literature of the time, notably Marie de France's poem Bisclavret (c. 1200), in which the nobleman Bizuneh, for reasons not described, had to transform into a wolf every week. When his treacherous wife stole his clothing needed to restore his human form, he escaped the king's wolf hunt by imploring the king for mercy and accompanied the king thereafter. His behaviour at court was so much gentler than when his wife and her new husband appeared at court, that his hateful attack on the couple was deemed justly motivated, and the truth was revealed.

The German word werwolf is recorded by Burchard von Worms in the 11th century, and by Bertold of Regensburg in the 13th, Middle Latin gerulphus, Anglo-Norman garwalf, Old Frankish wariwulf. Old Norse had the cognate varúlfur. Early references to werewolves are rare in England. However, Tales of wolf-men were common in the Scandinavian Viking Age. Harald I of Norway is known to have had a body of Úlfhednar (wolf coated [men]), which are mentioned in the Vatnsdœla saga, Haraldskvæði, and the Völsunga saga, and resemble werewolf legends. They were reputed to channel the spirits of wolves to enhance their effectiveness in battle. They were resistant to pain and killed viciously in battle, much like wild animals.

Woodcut of a werewolf attack by Lucas Cranach the Elder 1512

There were numerous reports of werewolf attacks – and consequent court trials – in 16th century France. In some of the cases there was clear evidence against the accused of murder and cannibalism, but none of association with wolves; in other cases people have been terrified by such creatures, such as that of Gilles Garnier in Dole in 1573.

Arrest_L_G 1574

Werewolvery was a common accusation in witch trials throughout their history, and it featured even in the Valais witch trials, one of the earliest such trials altogether, in the first half of the 15th century. Likewise, in the Vaud, child-eating werewolves were reported as early as 1448. Werewolves were sighted in 1598 in Anjou, and a teenage werewolf was sentenced to life imprisonment in Bordeaux in 1603. In the Vaud, werewolves were convicted in 1602.

Peter Stumpp, a German farmer, killed and ate many people. He was known as the Werewolf of Bedburg and was executed in 1589.

Esquirol, a trustworthy French writer, furnishes in his book a description of men-wolves, or lycanthropes:

This terrible affliction began to manifest itself in France in the XVth century, and the name of ‘loups-garous’ has been given to the sufferers. These unhappy beings fly from the society of mankind, and live in the woods, the cemeteries, or old ruins, prowling about the open country only by night, howling as they go. They let their beards and their nails grow, and then seeing themselves armed with claws and covered with shaggy hair they become confirmed in the belief that they are wolves. Impelled by ferocity or want they throw themselves upon young children and tear, kill, and devour them.

German-Wolf-Attack 1516

Whenever there was a suspicion of a man-wolf’s being near a village the peasants formed themselves into a body in order to capture and slay him; and there remains an act of the parliament of Dôle which desiring to prevent greater inconvenience authorized the inhabitants of the spots about which the man-wolf was seen to prowl to assemble to assemble, and with spears, halberds, pikes, arquebuses, and sticks, to hunt and pursue said werewolf by all places where they can find and take, bind and slay, without incurring any penalty or fine. The natural ending of these chases was the capture of the man-wolf and his death on the stake.


Les Chroniques de Paris

Les Chroniques de Paris (English: The Chronicles of Paris) by Bernard Guenée, published in Paris in 1560. Guenée intended his Chroniques as an extension of the famous Les Chroniques de France, but that was not to be. However, after Guenée’s death, his work was published separately with a series of famous woodcut illustrations.

The Chronicles of Paris

The Wolves of Paris were a man-eating wolf pack that killed forty people in Paris in 1450. The animals entered the city during the winter through breaches in its walls. A wolf named Courtaud, or "Bobtail", was the leader of the pack. Reports of the animal suggested it was reddish in color. Eventually, the wolves were killed when Parisians, furious at the deaths, lured Courtaud and his pack into the heart of the city. There the Parisians stoned and speared the wolves to death in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

The chronicles include a Woodcut: “La mort du Courtaud” (English: “The Death of Bobtail”). A close examination of the woodcut reveals that the hanging figure looks like a man with clawed feet and hands.

One passage mentions that the wolves were said to be a punishment or divine retribution. Another passage suggests that the attacks were the result of the dark arts or a pact with the devil.

One story in the chronicles says that after the wolves were killed, the corpse of the pack leader, Courtaud or "Bobtail", was never found, but on the steps of Notre Dame Cathedral the townspeople found the corpse of a red haired man with a spear thrust through his heart surrounded by the bodies of dozens of slain wolves. This corpse was then hung.

Bernard Guenée’s Les Chroniques de Paris describes the Fifteenth Century attacks by wolves on the city of Paris itself. The Wolves of Paris were a man-eating wolf pack that killed forty people in Paris in 1450. The animals entered the city during the winter through breaches in its walls. A wolf, reddish in color, named Courtaud, or "Bobtail", was the leader of the pack. Eventually, the wolves were killed when Parisians, furious at the deaths, lured Courtaud and his pack into the heart of the city. There the Parisians stoned and speared the wolves to death in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Some witnesses claimed that the wolves were not harmed by stones or spears until the wolves were lured to the very steps of the Notre Dame itself and the Cathedral’s bells were rung. Others claim that the arrow that killed Courtaud was made from one of the Keys of St. Hubertus and that the Saint’s blessing was what ended the evil. Multiple sources confirm that Courtaud was unharmed despite many attacks both inside and outside of the city until his death on the steps. One witness actually describes the wolves as having been “lured to the steps.

One story says that after the wolves were killed, the corpse of Courtaud, or "Bobtail", was never found, but on the steps of Notre Dame Cathedral the townspeople found the corpse of a red haired man with a spear thrust through his heart surrounded by the bodies of dozens of slain wolves. This corpse was then hung. The chronicles include a Woodcut entitled: “La Mort du Courtaud” (English: “The Death of Bobtail”) that shows the dead Courtaud with the hands and feet of a wolf hanging from a scaffold.


“La mort du Courtaud” (English: “The Death of Bobtail”)


The metamorphosis may be temporary or permanent; the were-animal may be the man himself metamorphosed; may be his double whose activity leaves the real man to all appearance unchanged; may be his soul, which goes forth seeking whom it may devour, leaving its body in a state of trance; or it may be no more than the messenger of the human being, a real animal or a familiar spirit, whose intimate connection with its owner is shown by the fact that any injury to it is believed, by a phenomenon known as repercussion, to cause a corresponding injury to the human being.


The physical differences between them and normal wolves consists in the formers’ hair growing interiorly between hide and flesh. Their skin being proof against all bullets hunters should take care before attacking them to have their guns blessed in the church of St. Hubert, patron of the chase, and to procure bullets of blessed silver. Werewolves run as swiftly as, and sometimes more swiftly than, wolves. They leave behind them footprints similar to the wolves’. Their eyes are fearful and bright. They strangle big dogs with facility and strike off the heads of little children with their teeth. Last of all they have the daring and the ability to execute these abominable deeds in the very face of men.

Werewolves bear tell-tale physical traits even in their human form. These included the meeting of both eyebrows at the bridge of the nose, curved fingernails, low-set ears and a swinging stride.

One method of identifying a werewolf in its human form was to cut the flesh of the accused, under the pretense that fur would be seen within the wound. One superstition recalls a werewolf can be recognized by bristles under the tongue. The appearance of a werewolf in its animal form varies, though it is most commonly portrayed as being indistinguishable from ordinary wolves save for the fact that it has no tail (a trait thought characteristic of witches in animal form), is often larger, and retains human eyes and voice. According to some Swedish accounts, the werewolf could be distinguished from a regular wolf by the fact that it would run on three legs, stretching the fourth one backwards to look like a tail. After returning to their human forms, werewolves are usually documented as becoming weak, debilitated and undergoing painful nervous depression. One universally reviled trait is the werewolf's habit of devouring recently buried corpses. In Lapland werewolves are usually old women who possess poison-coated claws and have the ability to paralyze cattle and children with their gaze.

Becoming a werewolf

Various methods for becoming a werewolf have been reported, one of the simplest being the removal of clothing and putting on a belt made of wolfskin, probably as a substitute for the assumption of an entire animal skin (which also is frequently described). In other cases, the body is rubbed with a magic salve. Drinking rainwater out of the footprint of the animal in question or from certain enchanted streams were also considered effectual modes of accomplishing metamorphosis. The 16th century Swedish writer Olaus Magnus says that the Livonian werewolves were initiated by draining a cup of specially prepared beer and repeating a set formula. In Italy, France and Germany, it is said that a man or woman could turn into a werewolf if he or she, on a certain Wednesday or Friday, slept outside on a summer night with the full moon shining directly on his face.

In other cases, the transformation was supposedly accomplished by Satanic allegiance for the most loathsome ends, often for the sake of sating a craving for human flesh. "The werewolves", writes Richard Verstegan in Restitution of Decayed Intelligence,

are certayne sorcerers, who having annoynted their bodies with an ointment which they make by the instinct of the devil, and putting on a certayne inchaunted girdle, does not only unto the view of others seem as wolves, but to their own thinking have both the shape and nature of wolves, so long as they wear the said girdle. And they do dispose themselves as very wolves, in worrying and killing, and most of humane creatures.

The phenomenon of repercussion, the power of animal metamorphosis, or of sending out a familiar, real or spiritual, as a messenger, and the supernormal powers conferred by association with such a familiar, are also attributed to the magician, male and female, and witch superstitions are closely parallel to, if not identical with, lycanthropic beliefs, the occasional involuntary character of lycanthropy being almost the sole distinguishing feature.

The curse of lycanthropy was also considered by some scholars as being a divine punishment. Werewolf literature shows many examples of God or saints allegedly cursing those who invoked their wrath with werewolfism. Such is the case of Lycaon, who was turned into a wolf by Zeus as punishment for slaughtering one of his own sons and serving his remains to the gods as a dinner. Those who were excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church were also said to become werewolves.

The power of transforming others into wild beasts was attributed not only to malignant sorcerers, but to Christian saints as well. Omnes angeli, boni et Mali, ex virtute naturali habent potestatem transmutandi corpora nostra ("All angels, good and bad have the power of transmutating our bodies") was the dictum of St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Patrick was said to have transformed the Welsh king Vereticus into a wolf; Natalis supposedly cursed an illustrious Irish family whose members were each doomed to be a wolf for seven years. In other tales, men became werewolves when incurring the wrath of the Devil.


Various methods have existed for removing the werewolf form. In antiquity, the Ancient Greeks and Romans believed in the power of exhaustion in curing people of lycanthropy. The victim would be subjected to long periods of physical activity in the hope of being purged of the malady. This practice stemmed from the fact that many alleged werewolves would be left feeling weak and debilitated after committing depredations.

Traditionally, there are three methods one can use to cure a victim of werewolfism; medicinally (usually via the use of wolfsbane), surgically, or by exorcism. However, many of the cures advocated by medical practitioners often prove fatal to the patients. A Sicilian belief of Arabic origin holds that a werewolf can be cured of its ailment by striking it on the forehead or scalp with a knife. Another belief from the same culture involves the piercing of the werewolf's hands with nails. Sometimes, less extreme methods were used. In the German lowland of Schleswig-Holstein, a werewolf could be cured if one were to simply address it three times by its Christian name, while one Danish belief holds that simply scolding a werewolf will cure it. Conversion to Christianity is also a common method of removing werewolfism. A devotion to St. Hubert has also been cited as both cure for and protection from lycanthropes.

St. Hubert’s Key


Saint Huberus Patron Saint of Hunters

Saint Hubertus or Hubert (c. 656–727 A.D.) was the first Bishop of Liège. He was a Christian saint who was the patron saint of hunters, mathematicians, opticians, and metalworkers. Known as the Apostle of the Ardennes, he was called upon to cure the madness caused by dog and wolf bites through the use of St Hubert's Key.


Medallion of Saint Hubert (on right)


St Hubert’s Key takes the form of a silver nail or bar with a decorative head. The key is heated, and the head pressed to the area where a person had been bitten by a dog or wolf. If performed soon after the bite had occurred, heat would cauterize the wound and cure the victim. The practice is endorsed by the Church, and such keys are used by priests at places with which St Hubert is associated.


Discours exécrable des Sorciers

Discours exécrable des Sorciers (English: Hateful Speech from Wizards) by Henry Boguet, published 1602, 1603, etc.

Discours exécrable des Sorciers Cover tome2_F boguet

Henry Boguet (1550 Pierrecourt, Haute-Saône – 1619) was a well known jurist and judge of Saint-Claude (1596–1616) in the County of Burgundy. His renown is to a large degree based on his fame as a demonologist for his Discours exécrable des Sorciers (1602) which was reprinted twelve times in twenty years. He has a lengthy chapter on werewolves in 1602.

Boguet relates the story of a hunter who having struck off with a blow of his gun the paw of a she-wolf, lost his way subsequently and sought the hospitality of a neighbouring castle. Questioned as to whether he had been successful in his sport he is about to produce the she-wolf’s paw when, to his great surprise, he discovers it to be the hand of a woman. The lord of the castle recognising on it his marriage rings runs to his wife whom he finds hiding one of her arms covered with blood. After this, no more doubt was possible; she was a witch and ran about the forests under the form of a she-wolf. The witch was then burned.

On section in Bouget mentions weapons against witches and demons. It mentions that can dispel the magic of unholy creatures like fairies or demons. Such creatures are said to find the sound of church bells painful. This discomfort can become so severe that the sound alone may dispel them or send them back to hell. Whether this is a property of the bells themselves or whether it is related to the similar properties of holy ground and God’s House to weaken or bar the entry of the unholy creatures Bouget does not make clear.

And just so you don't have to scroll back to the top, here's the link again to the Wolves and Werewolves Player Handout.

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