Thursday, March 27, 2014


As I noted on Tuesday, I like wereboars because they're just so bizarre.  Most other lycanthropes have some sort of clear mythological antecedent, but wereboars really don’t.  (The only likely candidate is Circe transforming Odysseus’s men into pigs, and that’s more like a straight-up polymorph than lycanthropy.)  My guess, as I already mentioned, is that they sprang from the same love of wordplay, happy accident, and malformed miniatures that gave us the ochre jelly, the owlbear, and the thoul in early editions of the world’s oldest role-playing game.

But wereboars still feel kind of right, don't they?  There’s something at once simultaneously storybook and gritty about them.  I could just as easily imagine them in an adventure based on Grimm’s fairy tales as I could on the streets of Thieves’ World’s Sanctuary.  (And boars are not to be sneezed at—Ian Frazier had a famous article in The New Yorker about what a problem feral pigs have become in the southern U.S., and Eurasian boars imported for hunting have become an invasive species in New York.)

I also want to give wereboars some love since I don't think I remember them playing a major role in any adventure ever.  They’re pretty much just random encounter fodder, or are used to spice up encounters with orcs (who tend to dig dire boars).  I think they deserve better.  What if they were the default (or only) lycanthrope in your campaign?  What if they filled the role of biker gang or crime family?  What if they were sought-after mercenaries or hated berserkers from a particular nation?

OH!  And let’s not forget devil swine!  Appearing in the D&D Expert Set (and in the Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix as “wereswine”) and possibly inspired by the Biblical story about demon-haunted pigs, devil swine were corpulent humans who could turn into giant pigs with potent charming gazes.  So cool.  And so easy to make with Pathfinder/3.5’s advancement rules!  Add the Advanced or Giant template and a 3/day charm person gaze attack with the DC bumped up by 2 and you’re good to go.

And it gets better: According to the mythology of D&D’s Known World/Mystara, the demon lord Orcus started out as a devil swine in his mortal life. 


If that’s not a reason to dig wereboars, I don’t know what is.

The Cousins are an extended family of wereboar toughs who lurk in the narrows of Karse.  For a while they casually ran a protection racket, but the stress of city life is getting to the, and they are beginning to lose control of their transformations.  The Cousins are also known for attacking half-orcs on sight, as their grandfather was long the slave of the Broken Mace orc tribe.

Typically lording over only small fiefdoms and isolated villages, wereboar troupes are rarely more than glorified gangs.  At least one troupe, though, aspires to knighthood.  These cavaliers have found the Order of the Cockatrice suits their self-centered need for glory and domination nicely.

A devil swine and a ghast have entered into a particularly repulsive partnership.  Masquerading as an undertaker, the devil swine (treat as an Advanced wereboar) robs his charges of their wealth, then turns over the remains to his undead compatriot to devour.  So far the scheme has gone swimmingly, though the bard who runs the grave dancers’ society has begun to be suspicious.

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 182

More on wereboars can be found in Blood of the Moon, which also features wereboar-kin known as ragebred.

Finally, thanks for your patience with the tardiness of this entry.  Original post: Post to come tomorrow.  I spent all day helping artisticlicensetokill discharge from the hospital.  Think good thoughts for her and we’ll tackle the wereboar and werecroc ASAP.

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