Weresharks have been swimming around gaming on and off since the 1e Monster Manual II. But now that our hobby is in love with pirates—thank you Freeport and Pirates of the Caribbean (not to mention the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path)—they’re much more likely to appear in your game. In fact, if we didn’t already have two other sharklike monsters (sahuagin and adaros) I would have expected them to show up in print a lot sooner than Isles of the Shackles and the Bestiary 4.
Pathfinder’s weresharks stand out in their characterization: “crude and bullying”… “bloodthirsty and are very easy to anger”…“jump into fights they have no stake in just to snap bones and draw blood”…and they’re just as quick to flee if things go wrong. Many lycanthropes are aggressive and/or predatory, but natural weresharks are the classic middle school bullies dressed up in pirate clothes.
Recently afflicted weresharks, on the other hand…well, you’ve heard the term “feeding frenzy”…
This year the Black Carnival is even more deadly than usual. Street toughs and imps have taken to tossing bladders full of blood from the rooftops onto revelers. The blood itself is harmless, but the involuntary transformations it triggers among Knifeport’s many incognito weresharks is not.
Adventurers traveling in the cold northlands seek hospitality, but are rebuffed. Finally one hunter offers a solution—they may stay in his ice-fishing shack. The hunter is actually a wereshark, and he intends to swim up under the ice to the fishing hole and slay the adventurers in their sleep.
Slaves fleeing captivity follow their leader, a charismatic oracle who calls on the power of the full moon to part the waters of the ocean. But there is danger in their midst. A handful of slaves stole from the sheikh’s treasury as they fled, and the cursed objects trigger their transformation into weresharks. The afflicted monsters begin savaging victims and hauling them off into the surf, causing a panic that threatens the integrity of the spell and the entire exodus.
—Isles of the Shackles 54 & Pathfinder Bestiary 4 190
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I picked up the Razor Coast hardcover. You wouldn’t be necessarily right to say I bought it for the amazing Wayne Reynolds wereshark cover…but you wouldn’t be wrong either. In addition, a wereshark cleric is one of the two main antagonists in the book.
Speaking of which…I haven’t talked about it since, but I’m still pleased with the purchase. While I’m still only a few pages in (I read a page or two of the PDF when I need a break at work) so far the writing is good, the setting feels quite alive, and I’m enjoying meeting the major and minor NPCs and villains. Most importantly, it’s a third-party book that seems to have contracted the services of an actual page designer, not just some dude who did yearbook in high school and who really likes spiky headline fonts.
Don't consider this a final review. I have not yet read it cover to cover and likely won’t for a while. But I’m highly looking forward to the whole thing, wereshark and all.
Our time in Lycanthropeville has a bunch of readers commenting and sharing details of their home campaigns. I’ll try to highlight some of them tomorrow.