IFAQ: The Lycanthropic Purge Campaign

When time permits, I like to answer interesting questions posed by my Patreon supporters. Here’s one that came up this month. As always, my answers are based on what I do in my personal campaign and may contradict canon sources: notably, this article is based on the premise that the Wild Heart was the cause of the Lycanthropic Purge, which is just one of the options presented in canon.

I’d like to run a campaign set during the Lycanthropic Purge. On the Manifest Zone podcast you mentioned running a one-shot with a mixed party during this time, and I was wondering if you have any suggestions. Should I have my players make characters on both sides and alternate between them, or would that be too confusing?

In my Eberron, the Purge began when the archfiend known as the Wild Heart awoke in the Towering Wood and spread its power across the region. Countless innocents died, but none suffered so much as the shifters of the Towering Wood. Entire villages were brutally slaughtered, while elsewhere hunters tortured innocents as they sought to root out hidden wererats.

… And then the templars arrived.

When people think of the Lycanthropic Purge, they often think of the final stage—the slow decades in which the zealots of the Pure Flame sought to eliminate every last lycanthrope, heedless of how many innocents they harmed in the process. Everyone knows that shifters died in the conflict and that it created a deep rift between the shifters of the west and the Church of the Silver Flame. What is often overlooked is that countless innocent shifters died before the templars ever came to the Towering Wood. The Silver Crusade wasn’t a struggle between templars and shifters. It was a war between the servants of the Wild Heart and everyone else; shifters just suffered the worst of it.

First, let’s establish some basic facts. This Dragonmark article provides basic information about the Silver Crusade, now often known as the Lycanthropic Purge. This IFAQ article discusses different strains of lycanthropy—in particular, the Curse of the Wild Heart, the primary strain involved in the Silver Crusade. This is important because the lycanthropes being fought weren’t blessed by Olarune or champions of the natural world; they were cursed by an overlord and essentially demonically possessed.

The Templars of the Silver Flame came in response to lycanthropes raiding western Aundair. After securing the region they realized the threat was based deep in the Towering Wood—and that they would have to push into the woods to fight it. But who were those lycanthropes who triggered the crusade? Where did the forces that raided Aundair come from? The curse began in the Towering Wood, and it was the people of the Towering Wood who were the first victims of the Wild Heart—and the majority of them were shifters. Why did the templars fear shifters? Why was it so easy for them to believe shifters could be lycanthropes? Because the majority of the lycanthropes they fought were cursed shifters, taken by the Wild Heart before the templars came into the region. And templars didn’t jump to this conclusion alone; wererats hidden among shifters and templar forces delighted in sowing chaos and turning people who should be allies into enemies. Wererats worked to convince templars that innocent shifters were scheming lycanthropes, and to convince shifters that the templars were butchers and that their only chance for survival was to strike first. So there were all too many incidents where innocents died. But the templars never believed that all shifters were lycanthropes or that all shifters were the enemy. Shifters were the civilians of the Towering Wood. But shifters also formed the bulk of the forces of the Wild Heart, and lycanthropes were hidden in almost every shifter village.

So in looking at the actual battles of the Purge, there were essentially two movies playing out at the same time. In the open forest you had a movie that was a blend of Aliens and Predator. Werewolves, wereboars, and other lycanthropes were feral and bloodthirsty. Some—especially wereboars—would rely on brute force, charging directly into enemy forces. Weretigers and similar types preferred to toy with templars, stalking them, laying traps and ambushes. Werewolves could go either way, sometimes overrunning their enemies and other times hounding them, striking swiftly and then disappearing. One to one, only the greatest templar champions were a match for an individual lycanthrope. This was complicated by the fact that the templars couldn’t afford to silver every weapon. Specialists had silvered halberds, greatswords, and arrows; but most templars had to rely on silvered daggers to bring down their foes. This was a horror movie. The templars relied on superior numbers to overcome the enemy, but one to one they were grievously outmatched. The lycanthropes were at home in the woods, while the templars were from the villages of Thrane. Then you had the inhabitants of the wood—primarily shifters, but also the followers of the druidic traditions we know think of as the Eldeen sects. Shifters, humans, elves, and others, these people knew the woods and knew the enemy far better than the templars, but they had been savaged by the Wild Heart before the templars ever arrived, and had always been isolated from the outside world.

This brings us to the second story playing out in the Towering Wood… a blend of The Thing and the game Are You A Werewolf? Wereboars relied on brute force, but wererats specialized in psychological warfare. Wererats infiltrated every village and outpost they could find, working to worm their way into templar forces as well as the communities of the Towering Wood. And keep in mind that the templars relied on those villages as bases of operations and sources of supplies in the vast untamed woods; they needed the help of shifter villagers. The wererats used these positions to gather intelligence on their enemies, but also to amplify paranoia and to turn innocents against one another. Set aside templars and shifters—when two squads of templars meet in the wood, can they trust one another? What about when a squad of templars finds a single templar, the lone survivor of a squad butchered in a werewolf attack. She swears she was never bitten, that she’s still human… but can they trust her, or will their fear overwhelm them? One might say lycanthropes are immune to non-silvered weapons… couldn’t they just prick her finger with an iron blade? Good question, but in my campaign it’s not quite so simple. This article discusses the topic in more length, but the short form is that werewolves bleed when you stab them with iron knives, they just won’t DIE; so to make a conclusive determination by wounding them with a weapon, you’d have to inflict enough damage that they might actually die if they’re innocent, which is how many innocents ended up dying in the later years of the Purge.

So this war was both physical and psychological, and whichever front you were fighting on, it was a horror story. The enemy could be anywhere, and all it would take was a single untreated bite to turn you into a monster who would turn on your friends. The adventure I described on Manifest Zone involved the remnants of a templar patrol needing to join forces with a shifter Moonspeaker druid and her warden, who were tracking a champion of the Wild Heart. The shifters knew more about this threat than the templars, but they couldn’t defeat the enemy on their own. And yet, could either group trust that the other? Could they get past the innocent blood that had been spilt and work together?

Creating A Party

So: in running a campaign set in during the “Surge” era, it’s not about shifters versus templars. It’s about shifters, templars, Greensingers, Wardens of the Wood, Ashbound and more—all of the inhabitants of the Towering Wood and the army that came from beyond it—against the deadly power of the Wild Heart. I wouldn’t have players create characters on both sides of this conflict, because the servants of the Wild Heart weren’t acting with free will; this comes to the point that player characters that become evil lycanthropes are often placed under DM control. The forces of the Wild Heart weren’t choosing to fight; they were extensions of an overlord. What I’d do is to have players create two character concepts at the beginning of the campaign: a templar character and a native of the Towering Wood, who could be a shifter or a member of one of the druidic sects. The players would begin as a squad of templars assigned to a deep forward patrol, seeking the source of the Wild Heart’s power. Whenever a player character dies, the group would have the opportunity to acquire a local ally—that player’s backup character. Because again, part of the point is that this is a horror movie in which the templars were largely outmatched, so unlike many campaigns I’d want to be clear from the onset that player characters can die. We’d be prepared for that and players would know that death wouldn’t be the end of the story—but they’d know that it’s a very real threat, and they’d have a backup character prepared. And with this in mind, if a player loses their initial character and assumes the role of their secondary, I’d have them make a new secondary—who could be a native or could be a templar, the last survivor of another patrol thrilled to find friends. And I’d at least throw out that possibility you never know, one of the secondary characters you acquire could be a wererat… Even if this never happened, part of the point would be to establish how powerful this fear could be.

Wait, The Eldeen Druids Were Involved?

We’ve never mentioned the role of the Wardens of the Wood or the Ashbound in the Lycanthropic Purge, but of course they were involved. The Towering Wood was the front line of the war, and the Towering Wood is the home of the Eldeen sects. Cut Oalian and count the rings; he’s been around for far longer than two centuries. The point is that the bulk of the population of the Towering Wood—the majority of its villages and communities—were shifters, so they received most of the attention… and meanwhile, the templar forces far outnumbered the Wardens of the Wood. But yes, the Eldeen Sects were absolutely involved in the conflict, fighting both to survive and to protect other innocents where they could. They suffered tremendous losses during the conflict—some at the hands of templars convinced they were lycanthropes—but the Wardens in particular did manage to protect many innocents. We’ve mentioned before that the Pure Flame emerged from the Lycanthropic Purge as the Aundairians who’d suffered through the Purge embraced the Silver Flame. But just as the Flame received a surge of new followers in the aftermath of the conflict, so did the Wardens of the Wood! Especially in the region around Niern—the closest to the Greenheart—many people owed their survival to the efforts of the Wardens and either immigrated into the woods in the aftermath of the Purge or simply maintained contact with their Warden allies. This was one more factor in the willingness of the people of western Aundair to embrace the Wardens and form the Eldeen Reaches during the Last War; because the region already had history with the Wardens, still told the stories of Warden rangers bravely fighting wereboars. But again, the key point is that the Wardens didn’t have the numbers or the military discipline of the templars. They played a key role in a few specific areas, and they certainly were involved in the final push that broke the power of the Wild Heart, along with templars and Moonspeakers—but to the world at large, this was the templars’ story.

How Did Any Shifters Survive?

The templars didn’t learn of the threat until the lycanthropes spread beyond the Towering Wood and into Aundair. We’ve said that shifter villages were important staging areas for templar forces during the conflict, and that there were villages with just a handful of wererats hidden among an otherwise innocent population. But how is it that there were any shifter villages by the time the templars arrived? How is it that they weren’t completely overwhelmed before the forces of the Wild Heart began invading Aundair?

The key to this is that we’ve never discussed what the Wild Heart actually wanted to accomplish or how it was finally defeated. We know that the Wild Heart had broken most of its bonds, that it was able to exert its influence over a vast region, and that at some point it was likely able to manifest a physical avatar at the seat of its power (a manifestation similar in power to the overlords presented in Rising From The Last War). We know that in general it drew strength from the spread of lycanthropy, and that eliminating lycanthropes weakened it. But as discussed in this article, the bonds of the overlords are enigmatic and tied to the Prophecy. It is entirely possible that the Wild Heart needed the templars to break free from its prison. I’ll take it a step further and say that it may well have needed templars to kill innocent shifters—that part of why cunning wererats were engineering paranoia and driving massacres is because this was a crucial component of the lock on the Wild Heart’s prison. One could say if that’s the case and someone figured it out, couldn’t they just leave? and sure, if someone figured it out, they could—but that wouldn’t undo the damage already done. Even if it wasn’t fully free, the Wild Heart would still command an army of lycanthropes and could still destroy Aundair; things had gone way too far for ignoring it to be an answer. The templars may have been a key element in releasing the Wild Heart—but they also had a vital role to play in fully rebinding it, which is what eventually occurred.

The upshot of all of this is to remember that the true goals of the Wild Heart were more subtle than simply kill and expand… and that the ultimate defeat of the Wild Heart required more than just physical force. It’s up to the DM to decide exactly what these two options—release and rebind—involved.

In Conclusion…

In telling a story or creating a campaign around the Silver Crusade, I’d keep the following points in mind…

  • Shifters of the Towering Wood were the primary inhabitants of the Wood before the Crusade. Most villages in the wood were shifter communities.
  • These shifters suffered grievous losses and were fighting for their survival before the templars even arrived. Shifter villages that hadn’t been openly attacked were often infiltrated by wererats.
  • Templars weren’t the enemy of the shifters, and they did work together in villages. But the Wild Heart forever worked to make them enemies and to trick them into bloodshed.
  • The known druid sects—Wardens of the Wood, Ashbound, Greensingers, Children of Winter—were all involved in the conflict, but because of their small numbers were typically confined to specific regions. They were fighting for their survival. Prior to the Aundairian attacks, non-shifter lycanthropes in the Towering Wood would be drawn from the druid sects.
  • The goal of the Wild Heart was to shatter the final bonds imprisoning it. While bloodshed and the spread of lycanthropy helped this, its true goals were more complex; this is why the conflict lasted as long as it did and why it didn’t raze every village.
  • In my campaign, good people slaughtering innocents would be a critical element of the Wild Heart’s goals. So there were two clear front lines—physical conflict with powerful lycanthropes and psychological conflict with wererats seeking to compel innocents to kill one another.

All of this deals with the first phase of the Purge. Once the power of the Wild Heart was broken, afflicted lycanthropes could no longer infect others and champions of Olarune and other good lycanthropes were freed from its control. But the conflict wasn’t over, and there were decades of strife and pain as the Pure Flame continued its efforts to root out every last lycanthrope. As a story, this would be more like The Crucible, and it’s not a campaign I’d particularly like to run.

Even if you never run a campaign set in this period, it can still play a role in the story of many player characters in the modern day. If you’re from the region—whether human or shifter—what happened to your family during the Purge? Were your ancestors slaughtered by lycanthropes, templars, or both? Did they adopt the faith of the Flame or join one of the druid sects because of their actions in the Silver Crusade… or have they never forgiven one of those groups for the actions it took during the Purge? If you’re playing an elf or a similarly long-lived character, did you actually experience part of the Purge yourself, and if so, what role did you play?

That’s all for now! My time is very limited right now, so I may not be able to answer questions on this topic. Thanks to my Patreon supporters for asking interesting questions and for making these articles possible; follow the link if you’d like to help support the site and determine the topics of future articles!

42 thoughts on “IFAQ: The Lycanthropic Purge Campaign

  1. The original Dragonshard article on the Lycanthropic Purge says: “In addition to this flawed research, the Keeper of the Flame had an agenda of his own. Jolan Sol saw the situation as an opportunity to strengthen the influence of the Silver Flame in Aundair.”

    Is this still the case?

    • Certainly. This doesn’t change the fact that it was a war that someone needed to fight; but it was an opportunity to expand the faith, and it did. The downside is that it did so by creating the Pure Flame.

    • Just because it’s the right thing to do doesn’t mean people can’t profit off it. Especially as it adds significant irony to the Pure Flame (who are largely as much a problem for the current Church as they are for their enemies)

  2. The original Dragonshard article on the Lycanthropic Purge posits the following possibility: “Some Aundairian puritans spread gossip that declares that Jaela herself is a lycanthrope; if the tales hold truth, it could be that the Silver Flame selected her to attempt to heal the damage done in its name.”

    In a scenario wherein this is actually true, how would Jaela have been able to conceal such a lycanthropic nature under such heavy scrutiny?

    • That’s mostly a question left to the DM running it. But magic, sympathetic cardinals protecting her, or just her general distance from scrutiny are likely if you want to go there. And faith too, if some of those groups are pious

    • Canonically Jaela has a big hybrid beast thing, Skaravojen, as a pet and bodyguard. But what if this is just what most people believe, and in reality Skaravojen is Jaela’s lycanthrope form?

  3. What is the actual “overlord name” of the Wild Heart, in the vein of Rak Tulkhesh, Sul Khatesh, Tul Oreshka, Dral Khatuur, and Val Gultesh?

    • Seconding this question. #IME he doesn’t have one, because names are a thing of civilization and his entire existence is antithetical to that, so his “name” is just his description, “The Wild Heart” in whatever language you’re speaking. But I am very curious what the kanon answer would be.

      • I agree. The kanon place where he’s appeared is in The Queen of Stone, where multiple people (including his prakhutu) invoke him by title rather than name. He is the Wild Heart.

  4. I wonder if any strains of lycanthropy were (temporarily) eliminated during the Purge. Maybe werefoxes haven’t been seen since, waiting for a blessing or curse to respark their numbers, etc.

    • I’m sure that some strains were entirely wiped out in the Purge—especially among the “blessing” strains that don’t transmit through infection.

    • This could explain why a eberron originated curse of strahd would have wereravens when eberron today does not.

  5. Thank you Keith, it’s great to have a source now that we can use to give a fairer view of the Silver Crusade. It’s especially good to have a source where we can say “The Church and the shifters/Reachers worked together to win”.

  6. You’ve talked about it before, but I appreciate how the reiterating of how breaking the Silver Crusade/Lycanthropic Inquisition/Silver Purge up into two phases makes clear how the Wild Heart’s bonds fraying allowed other overlords with different themes to shine—Bel Shalor, the Shadow in the Flame principally among those but also likely Eldrantulku the Oathbreaker and Rak Tulkhesh the Rage of War, etc.

    • Absolutely. The main focus may have been on the Wild Heart, but you can be sure Bel Shalor played a role in how it played out—and I agree, Rak Tulkhesh and Eldrantulku could have been involved.

  7. Did the Templar/Wardens learn the lycanthrope hunting skills from the shifters or was this independent knowledge prior? Especially silver being the material to use was this known from antiquity or something one group happened on?

    Were shifters common/seen in the central Five Nations before the Purge or did the shifters of Aruldusk etc come about after this period in time?

    • Lycanthropes were known long before the Silver Crusade, and exactly the sort of threat the templars are sworn to deal with. So the Church certainly understood the BASIC CONCEPTS of dealing with lycanthropes, and for example would have made sure soldiers at least had a silver knife. But they’d never fought lycanthropes in such numbers, and they’d certainly never fought them in the Towering Wood. Templars were used to dealing with single or small groups of ‘thropes, typically in urban or near-urban settings. Once the battle took to the woods they were out of their depth, which is why I invoked Aliens; I’m sure there was a period where bold templars proudly marched into the woods, certain they had the situation under control, only to die in vast numbers before regrouping.

      So they didn’t learn BASIC thrope hunting techniques, but they had a lot to learn about specific strategies and tactics.

    • Were shifters common/seen in the central Five Nations before the Purge or did the shifters of Aruldusk etc come about after this period in time?
      Shifters have always been rare. If you look to the ECS, as of 998 YK Aundair is the only nation in which shifters comprise a measurable percentage of the population; in other nations they are lumped into the “other” category. With that said, we know that they were known in the Five Nations before the Silver Crusade; notably there was a shifter community in the North Market district of Sharn in 832 YK, when Fathen was martyred hunting for wererats. It’s logical to think that there was a wave of shifter refugees that fled the surge and another that fled the purge, and it’s likely these strengthened existing shifter communities—so many of the shifter families in North Market might have joined the community at that time, and it would make sense that the traveling shifters referenced in Aruldusk began as refugees fleeing either the surge or the purge. Given that shifters make up 3% of the population of modern Aundair, I think it’s likely that at the very least the local Aundairians were familiar with shifters; it’s not like people were surprised to encounter them. However, it’s entirely possible that there were templars who had never actually MET a shifter before the Silver Crusade.

  8. Since we started talking about it on Discord, the movie Dog Soldiers makes for a great source of inspiration for a Lycanthropic Purge campaign. Its a horror movie about a group of British soldiers fighting off a werewolf in the Scottish highlands, which incidentally involves a knife fight with the werewolf!

  9. Did the numbers of Wardens surge enough to become, essentially, a national army because of their victories during the Purge? Because the small numbers with a small regional impact you describe here seems to indicate am there was a change between then and their rescue and annexation of the Eldeen Reaches later during the Last War.

    • Yes, that’s what I alluded to at the end; just as the Purge created the Pure Flame, it also strengthened the Wardens of the Wood, both bringing in new recruits and encouraging them to be prepared to face threats on a larger scale. I’ll clarify it in the article when I have time.

  10. Van Richtens introduces the concept of the Loup Garou, a legendary werewolf above CR 10 with a curse that’s harder to lift, and a trolls regeneration that only silvered weapons could end (meaning even magic weapons wont kill it)
    A). Would you prefer to use this method to handle Lycanthrope weaknesses? Since it goes with your needing to kill it to see idea.
    B). How would you handle the Loup Garou in the Purge? Is it the Lord of Dust that serves the Wild Heart? Is it simply the strongest? Was there more than one, possibly even one for every animal type?
    C). I assume 3rd level spells were rare back then and a Templar could not simply Remove Curse a Lycan, but players are exceptional. What’s to stop a PC Spellcaster from simply using Remove Curse on any suspect?

    • A) It’s possible; IIRC 4E used a similar technique. The main thing is that it would have a dramatic effect on the experience of a group of templars fighting a low-CR werewolf. Using the Loup Garou regeneration, one templar could attack with a silver dagger to negate the regeneration, allowing the others to use axes, halberds, or whatever they have to full effect. Using the default immunity, a werewolf simply can’t be hurt by physical damage unless silver is involved: you can throw it off a cliff, crush it with a catapult, or pepper it with arrows and it will stand up and laugh. I’ve suggested that this still LOOKS bloody, but the point is that is is simply impossible to hurt it without silver… whereas with the Loup Garou, if I stab it with my silver dagger, you’ve got a six second window in which you could push it off a cliff or crush it with a catapult. So it’s mainly a question of which of those two options the DM prefers; how hard do they WANT it to be to bring down a werewolf?
      B) I’d say that it’s a powerful champion of the Wild Heart. In my campaign, I’d probably say that it is actually channeling a fiendish spirit—it’s mortal and still a monstrosity, but when it speaks, it has the personality and memories of a fiend (sort of like a quori mind seed). I wouldn’t make it the prakhutu of the Wild Heart, among other reasons because I’ve already introduced the Kanon prakhutu in one of my novels. But it would be a powerful champion of the overlord. I think the idea of having one such “beast lord” for different animal types makes sense and is a fun idea.
      C) The main question is whether Remove Curse WORKS on the Curse of the Wild Heart. Under 3.5 rules, lycanthropy was much harder to cure: “The only other way to remove the affliction is to cast remove curse or break enchantment on the character during one of the three days of the full moon. After receiving the spell, the character must succeed on a DC 20 Will save to break the curse.” The whole point of the Lycanthropic Surge is that THE RULES CHANGED — that the Curse of the Wild Heart became far more powerful and virulent — and I’d be inclined to apply this rule or worse. Player characters ARE remarkable and SHOULD be able to do things that are impossible for most people — but in this campaign, it’s not just a single fire-and-forget spell. And don’t forget that natural lycanthropes can’t be cured in this way, and surely some of the wererat saboteurs were naturals.

  11. Inasmuch as lycanthropes are still humanoids, what can quori dream manipulation, quori possession, and mind-seeding do to the lycanthropic psychology?

    • Inasmuch as lycanthropes are humanoids, they could be targeted by all of those effects. However, the issue is that most strains of lycanthropy enforce behavior on the victim, and in my opinion the curse would trump either dream manipulation or mind seeding. Dream manipulation is very subtle, while Dyrrn’s corruption or the power of the Wild Heart is a bulldozer. Meanwhile, a mind seed changes the base personality of the victim, but in my campaign I’d rule that the curse of lycanthropy overrides that base personality, original or mind seed. Finally, quori possession typically requires the voluntary consent of the victim, and I don’t know if I’d allow a cursed lycanthrope to give that voluntary consent.

      Lycanthropes carrying Olarune’s Blessing have less extreme behavior modification and would be more vulnerable to all of these effects, but I’m inclined to say that Dyrrn’s Corruption or the curse of the Wild Heart trumps quori meddling.

      A more complicated question is who takes precedence if one of the Inspired becomes a lycanthrope. In such a situation, I’d personally rule that the possessing quori has control while it is actively possessing the quori vessel, but that as soon as it leaves the curse will take over. But that’s just an off the cuff ruling.

  12. Would the Wild Heart have representatives among the Lords of Dust, in the form of Rakshasa or otherwise? Would they be active in the Towering Wood coordinating the different lycanthropes (particularly the wererats)?
    Or would he have completely different servants (more akin to awakened half fiend/fiendish animals than the more urbane rakshasa)
    I’d assume there might also be Chamber agents (or even a Couatl) that could nudge the players into a possible prophecy path that could contain the Wild Heart again. Or even try to kill the players because one specific player becoming a werewolf and killing another player might be the exact act (or at least the Chamber thinks so!) that would fully release the Wild Heart.

    • The Wild Heart definitely has fiendish minions. One of my novels presents a shapeshifting fiend who’s at least SIMILAR to a rakshasa as the Speaker of the Wild Heart, who is coordinating his plans. However IN GENERAL I would feel that his champions in the field would be predators—lycanthropes, beasts, or monstrosities—infused with demonic energy. In a previous comment I suggested that I’d use a Loup Garou as a fiend-infused champion of the Wild Heart. And with this in mind, I feel that his servants would be coordinated by the Curse itself—that they are directed by instinct and fiendish influence and just KNOW what to do as opposed to having a rakshasa directing them. This further tracks with my novel, in which the Speaker of the Wild Heart is monitoring events but isn’t shown to be actively directing them. This is a difference between the Wild Heart and Rak Tulkhesh; the Rage of War would have armies directed by commanders like Mordakhesh, while the Wild Heart has a horde driven by predatory instinct.
      With this in mind, I’m somewhat ambivalent as to whether the Wild Heart would be involved with the Lords of Dust. It’s possible—and the Lycanthropic Purge seems to serve the interests of multiple overlords. At the same time, the IDEA of negotiating in a meeting room seems fundamentally in opposition with the whole concept of the Wild Heart, who is a force of primal, predatory aggression. So I’d be inclined to say no: the Lords of Dust are aware of the Wild Heart and work around his actions, but that his speaker isn’t part of the Bleak Council.

      • It seems like there’s some parallels to Masvirik here, in terms of corrupting the natural world and not playing nice with the Lords of Dust.

        • I agree. And it’s notable that they’re on opposite sides of the continent; for the most part, overlords are tied to regions, so the fact that there’s some thematic overlap isn’t an issue when they’re so far apart.

  13. What role would dragonmarked have in the Lycanthropic Purge? In the dragonmarked book there’s a feat that aids in controlling the curse, p142 mark of the twelve moons.

    • I think House Medani developing a way to track lycanthropes was pretty much the deciding factor for getting the crisis under control.

      • To add to that, Jorasco probably was seeking a cure for the curse. Plenty of wealthy people in Aundair might have managed to capture a cursed loved one.

    • The Dragonmarked houses didn’t play a major role for most of the purge; canonically the driving force was the Church of the Silver Flame. The Mark of Twelve Moons is a wacky corner case, the sort of thing that would make a marked player character stand out; the houses don’t have some team of moon-marked heirs ready to take on Lycanthropic threats. The houses were drawn in later, during the lengthy Purge period; as Joseph says, we’ve mentioned elsewhere that Medani was involved in the final days. But also keep in mind that the houses don’t do anything for free, and the initial crusade was a charitable action on the part of the church.

  14. Who was Zaeurl at the time of this? Is her strain of lycanthropy a curse of the Wild Hunt? I get the sense she is a natural lycanthrope, and your books call out she can be swayed by the Wild Heart. Did she simply leave after the battle was done but during the continued purge?

    Also, what about normal wolves, boar, rats and tigers? Would Templars kill them on sight? Did wererats sow paranoia that any woodland beast could be a herald of the Wild Heart, lycan or otherwise?

  15. Wow, this is HORRIBLE; I love it. There is ZERO chance I’d ever run or play something like this, because I have issues about character death — it’s just one of those knots in my brain, which I’ve learned to work around by avoiding when it’d be tripped — but it’s super cool in concept.
    Especially love that thing of “secondary character belonging to the different group, which you take over when your first character becomes unplayable”, which I could definitely adapt into something I could use. …Another for the ever-expanding pile of one-shot ideas I guess.

  16. is there a way the elves of Vol could also found a way to use lycanthropy with their Necromactic and Mabarian knowledge. after getting exiled or also purged from Aerenal.?

    • Maybe the experiments that lead to Illmarrow had a earlier version that used weredragon as a attempt?

      • I think the simple answer here is the geographic boundary; the Wild Heart operates in northwest Khorvaire, far away from the sea routes the elves have explored. If Aerenal has native therianthrope strains, they’d probably be tied to something totally different.

  17. Maybe the experiments that lead to Illmarrow had a earlier version that used weredragon as a attempt?

  18. Hi Keith! The sacrifice of Tira was so important that basically created a new religion… If somebody contained the Wild Heart from being released, why nobody even knows?
    Do you imagine it more like a secret hero story, awaken druid trees performing a long ritual or just dragons doing the dirty job?
    And, in general: what about the role of dragons? Weren’t they worried by the wild heart because his concept is not too dangerous for them?

    • Take another look. The templar victory DID start a new religion. We’ve established that the Pure Flame was formed by Aundairians who embraced the Flame because of the templar victory… and the Pure Flame is a powerful faith whose zealous followers have spread since then. With that said, it’s important to remember that we see things from the omniscient perspective of the DM. WE know that (in my campaign) the Wild Heart was the driving force, and WE know that the power of the curse was broken when its bonds were restored. The world at large knows that there was a surge of lycanthropes, the templars fought them, and eventually they won; they don’t know that victory would have been impossible without whatever sacrifice was made in the deepest wood. That critical moment wasn’t the work of armies; it was a small group whose actions changed the course of history… much like, for example, a group of player characters. Why does no one know who they were? Perhaps, like Tira, they gave their lives to achieve victory… but their sacrifice was hidden far from civilization and went unsung. Or perhaps there’s an excellent reason the heroes didn’t want their deeds known; perhaps there’s some detail of their victory that would allow the Speaker of the Wild Heart to undo it. As for the dragons, I suggest you review the “Dragons Bad?” IFAQ. The dragons couldn’t care less about whether Aundairian farmers live or die. They might care about the Wild Heart, but they would know that the only way victory would be achieved would be by following a prophetic path—which could only be done by specific champions. So just as it’s possible a dragon helped guide Tira, it’s quite likely that a Chamber agent might subtly guide player characters… but keep in mind that dragon wouldn’t care about collateral damage and might even believe some severe losses were necessary for ultimate victory.

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