The Mooncursed is a class that breaks all my rules of good design. It encourages PVP, it plays into solitary loner archtypes, it has powers that only activate in specific environmental conditions, and its pretty close to some official published material.
So why publish it? Because I kind of love it. Its an edgelord werewolf class that thrives in dark solitude and brooding. There’s a reason its such a popular archetype, even if its not great in a team game. The Mooncursed came about because the 5e lycanthrope material is lacking. What you get for your efforts is pretty low. Some stat boosts, a natural attack, DR, and move speed changes. Its alright, but when I want to play a werewolf, I want to play a werewolf. Not a lycanthropic barbarian. This class does that, although I don’t blame a DM for laughing and telling a player no when they bring it to the table. Broadly, I’ve been told from others its a behind in utility power, but you can chimera together a pretty decent melee monster. That’s not a terrible niche to fill for a class and I can live with it.
Its core feature is similar to a barbarian’s rage, but with two tweaks. First, it can trigger on accident or circumstance. Second, when you run out of it, you start accruing penalties. This emulates the werewolf in denial, trying not to go off and berserk out of nowhere, and finally letting loose in combat.
The other major feature worth talking about is its Hunger Curse. In 3e, any animal under the sun had lycanthrope stats written up. You want were-turkeys? I can probably find some official stats (quick google shows the “Feast of the Gobbler” AP by Necromancer games). 5e kind of went the other way, and released some pretty basic and limited were-creatures and then hints that more may exist, but there is no quick and dirty template for players to churn them out.
The Hunger Curse mechanic is designed to mix the two worlds. You can build whatever were-whatever you want, but its bound to pre-approved for PC items.
- If you want to be a wolf guy, take the Lycan path every level. Easy and done.
- If you want to be a were-giraffe lady though, thats where we can get interesting. Take Ursine/Leonial/Bovine/Ursine. A bear, lion, cow, bear. Or mechanically, you get temp HP, some speed powers, strength advantage, and damage resistance. Then you can talk about how late one night, in the depths of the savanna, you were ambushed by were-giraffes, and joined their herd. Now you have the strength and stamina of the long necked beasts, and can outrun any prey you can’t defeat.
- Or maybe you want a were-lobster, as some sort of fisherman who was bitten while pulling one from the briny depths. Take Piscine/Leonial/Lacertian/Arthraura. You breathe water, can dash with a flick of your tail, heal supernaturally fast, and have an exoskeleton. Heck, you’ve even got claws.
There is less flexibility than back in the 3e or pathfinder days when I could roll up to the table as an Entothropic Starfish, and throw my stomach at people, but sadly, its probably for the best.