From Elfquest to A Game of Thrones, we fantasy fans love our wolves. But familiarity has bred a little contempt—has any of us not had a character with a dire wolf pet? If you want to put the wild back into the wolf, siccing a pack on the PCs while they’re vulnerable should do the trick. (Make it a chase, perhaps, and emphasize their implacable tracking skills). As for dire wolves, once again it’s all about the flavor text: “The size of a horse.” Have the characters wake up to that the next time their watchman falls asleep…
In some Nordmarch villages in winter it is traditional to leave one longhouse standing wide open, largely empty but for a joint of meat being roasted over the fire by a thrall. Completely unafraid of humans, the dire wolves in this area are so brazen that if not appeased with the false longhouse, they will burst through the doors of the real one until they have devoured their fill.
An Unseelie dryad has a particularly nasty habit of charming attractive males an then, when she grows tired of them, allowing her pet wolves to dismember their pliant, unarmed forms.
There are wolf-riding halflings in the taiga. Eschewing the female pantheon of their southern cousins, they are animists who worship totems and nature spirits. Practically feral, the halflings regard their wolves as kin and accord them the same rights. In fact, more than one of these tribes is actually led by an alpha wolf, rather than a chief, and the clans do not seem to suffer for it.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 278
I was nearly killed by a dire wolf my first adventure, thanks to a fourth(?)-grade GM who refused to tell me that a 1d4 club was about the worst weapon I could outfit my cleric with. But I think I remember getting a dire wolf pup out of the experience. (Come to think of it, I think he also said Zeus was pissed at me, and we’ve all had that happen.)