Greetings, sera. Blackblood here with another guide. Since I posted a guide about vampirism I began to think up one for the werewolves. After all, it wouldn't be fair if I left them out would it? I've always had an interest in their feral nature, and I must admit it's an absolute blast to go nuts as a werewolf. The goal of this guide it to give a basic ground on the mindset of the Skyrim werewolf whilst allowing a little bit of wiggle room for Roleplay sake. This means that, while this is a basic guide to lycanthropy, these are merely tips and you don't have to follow EVERY one of them. So with all that out of the way let's get into it shall we?
Do you see it as your gift? or your curse?
Similar to most vampires, werewolves actually have two different styles to them: "The Gift" and "The Curse". Both playstyles contain vast differences between them, however there are similarities and it is possible to transgress from one to the other and vice versa. Whereas the gift is seen as an augmentation to the human capability, the curse is nothing but a beast trying to break free. In this guide I will be giving in-depth descriptions of both sides of the spectrum. First, let's start off with...
"He thinks we've been cursed. But we've been blessed. How can something that gives this kind of prowess be a curse?"
Those that see lycanthropy as a gift find that the line between man and beast is blurred. Their human forms gain strength, speed and sense similar to that of a wolf, and their connection with the wild is greatly increased. Their most prominent feature, however, is their control over the Beast Form they've been gifted with. Control of this form means that they don't have to worry as much about unnecessary kills or changing in front of the wrong people, which is good for everyone. It's no wonder why Skjor feels blessed with this power.
Tip #1 - Gifted werewolves are fierce predators, wolves among men
Gifted werewolves are usually far more powerful than a regular human even when in human form themselves. As said before, you're usually faster, stronger, and your senses have become heightened to animal levels. You'll also have a better affinity with nature. To symbolize this, wear any armor that has hide or fur armor on it; something with a tribal or animalistic feeling to it works well. The lighter the better. It makes it easier for you to sneak up to your foes, whether you put points into sneak or not. Also, hunt for your own furs and food. Why bother buying it from the store when you can get much more thrill hunting down the beasts for yourself?
When engaging enemies, remember that you have an advanced level of hunting due to your blood. Stalk and sneak around your foes, taking notice of every single factor in the area that can either hinder or help your hunt. And remember: "Eyes on the prey, not the horizon." Once you've found a target in your sights, don't let it out of them. No, not even for the delicious morsel to the right. Keep your focus, be ready to pounce, and then strike. Once you've struck, it's time to go on the offensive. But remember that, even though you are now part beast, that beast is an intelligent one. Test your prey, use the surrounding area to your advantage.
One other thing: Sneak attacks with daggers using the Assassin's Blade perk or the Shrouded Gloves/Hand Wraps is NOT hunting. That's an assassination. You're not an assassin. There's no honor in such a boring kill. You can use daggers, just don't sneak behind them and backstab them like any two-bit hitman. Once you've positioned yourself to an advantageous pounce point, sprint towards them and hit them with a power attack, staggering them and increasing the time it takes for them to draw their weapons while you swing away with yours. You can also use a bow with sneak attacks if you'd like, but once you fire that first shot it's battle time.
Tip #2 - Side effects include: A carnivorous diet and growing a pair
If your character didn't have any nerve before, they sure as hell do now. No matter who it is, you'll find that having the restless blood of the wolf in you can make you a bit more, shall we say, "assertive". Other ways to say it would be: volatile, short-tempered, reckless, energetic, etc. You get the general idea. Beast blood basically acts as a personality enhancer that enhances our more rougher sides. Some werewolves can keep control of their new hyper nature, and others turn into Hulk Hogan. How you chose to acclimate to the blood in this manner is up to you.
Beast blood also has a nasty habit of getting people into fights with... well just about anything that pisses them off. If someone's challenged you to a fight, your blood will be burning and you'll probably wanna either introduce their heads to the nearest doorknob or bury your blade as deep as possible into their [insert painful location here]. It takes a strong will to have the temperament to brush it off and move on, but remember that doing so doesn't make you a milk drinker. You're just good at picking your fights wisely, and that's what it means to be a brother of the wolf.
I think it's safe to say that meat has risen on your dietary list. Keep a few of your favorite kinds of meat on your at all times. Anything else, eat on the spot. You kill a rabbit? Eat it's haunch right there. Took down an Elk did you? Tonight you're gonna feast like a king. Gotta get your Protein, after all. It's not like you can't eat anything else; You can still enjoy your Vegetable Soups and what have you. It's just that you prefer meat above all else most of the time.
Tip #3 - United, we stand. Divided, we still stand but not as high
"Two heads are better than one." This bodes especially true for the gifted werewolf. Although you are strong enough to prevail over most any enemy in the game at some point it never hurts to have a spare blade and shield at your back. To better connect yourself to the wolf, partners in arms are essential. After all, wolves hunt in groups. Why shouldn't you?
The best followers would be those that share the wolf blood with you. Your brothers and sisters will not shrink away should you chose to embrace your bestial form. Other than that, the next best followers are those that have a good sneak skill. This makes it easier for you to hunt your prey. Can't have that Elk run off just because Stenvar's a clumsy fuck, can we? Another thing to consider is your synergy with your follower's combat style. Are you an archer? Get a good melee follower that can engage the enemy while you hail away arrows. "It's called repositioning, NOT retreating."
The beast form should only be used as a last resort, saved only for the most challenging of opponents. Once you transform you must think to yourself: Who shall I spare, and who shall I destroy? Having played a werewolf before I can tell you that, when watching the weak and feeble mortals whom you could slaughter with a single claw swipe, it gets very tempting to just release the beast, but you must restrain. Defeat your opponents, feast to regain your energy, then wait out the transformation. Remember: You are no monster. You are a hunter, a warrior, and a noble wolf.
That said, there are those who take the above notion and cast it to the winds, choosing instead to embrace their feral side and let loose with no restraint. These feral werewolves hunt not for survival or for sport, but for pure bloodshed. They care not for weak-minded allies, for they only get in the way of their glorious hunt. They may join a side, if only for the sake of a battle, but they can just as well be haphazardly obliterating both friend and foe. To them, nothing else matters but the thrill of the hunt. To revel in their ferocity. The difference between a noble werewolf and a feral monster is as thin as a razor's fine edge, and it is up to you to decide where you stand on that edge.
"Now I may look like a man, but I still feel the animal inside of me, as strong as ever."
Unlike the Gifted, these werewolves may not have gained the same animalistic prowess as them. Rather they gained something far worse: The inability to hold their inner beast within. The Cursed find that they have little to no control over the animal inside them and that, once released, they lose all trace of their former selves to the bloodlust. They are a dangerous existence that cannot properly maintain themselves, often liable to change in the middle of town or in a store or even worse.
Tip #5 - Stay as FAR away from civilization as possible
Make no mistake; you are nowhere near stable enough to be around people. Even with only a 5% chance of randomly transforming, that's 5% too much. The fact that you could lose yourself to the beast within at any moment means that you are a danger not just to yourself, but to everyone else around you. Stay away from towns and cities as often as possible. Make your home in caves or abandoned mines or even Nordic tombs and ruins. Anywhere far away from others. After all, you never know when the beast will take hold, and the distance it takes for you to reach the nearest person could be the difference in a frightening night or a horrifying massacre.
The best way to roleplay the unpredictable transformations is by wearing the Cursed Ring of Hircine, which gives you a 10% chance of transforming every minute when outside a dungeon or a city. You won't be able to complete the quest but that shouldn't matter. Other than that, pure lack of restraint can serve as a both a suitable substitute or an additional variable. Possible triggers include anger and frustration (Wolf smash!), the threatening of your life (YOLO), or even great desire of any kind (to protect, to win, etc). Whatever you chose, remember to keep your trigger finger itching and your own bloodlust on cue to go feral on some unlucky fools.
Tip #6 - Has the beast taken hold? Sucks for everyone else around you
So you've finally transformed into the fearsome, yet uncontrollable werewolf. You might be thinking: Now what? Now, you go crazy. You've transformed. Lost control. Snapped. It's time to feast! This is a good time for you to release the beast within your own self and just go H.A.M. on everything that breathes. Farmers? Raised and bred to deliciousness. Merchants? Yea I'll have that juicy-looking heart over there for free. Guards? Gotta get a good workout for all that meat you're eating. Essentials? ...Eh, scare em away with your Howl of Terror or something. The point is to lose control and just kill. Don't think about anything but the hunting and the bloodshed.
Some werewolves will still have at least SOME partial control of their sanity. When this occurs, refer to Tip #4. You can either chose not to slaughter everything around you or have a nice little heart buffet. It all depends on how you feel at the time. If you do give in, when do you stop? Do you stop when you feel like you're full? When you're bored of slaughtering everything that moves? Or when you've taken one too many hits from the guards? Or do you never stop? Do you just kill and feed mindlessly? Or will you flee to the nearest cave to wait out your transformation, afraid of taking the first bite?
One recommendation I have is to NOT take the Savage Feeding perk in the Werewolf Perk Tree. I say this because, at least to me, the ability to feed on wild animals makes it easier to resist the desire to feed on humans. It gives more purpose to attack a human, therefore adding to the number of people you've slaughtered. At the same time, the extra howls are also off limits for obvious reasons. The Howl of Terror is all you really need anyways.
Sometimes what can happen is, when you're caught transforming while you have a goal or object on your mind, those without proper control of themselves in beast mode will find that that goal or object's importance melts over to the mind of the beast. Depending on the object of importance this can be either good or bad. For example, you're travelling to a den to clear out a coven of vampires. Then you transform, and now the most immediate thought your werebeast form has in their head is "KILL VAMPIRES!!" Of course, after that they'll probably just return to being feral animals.
"Some can't separate the animal from themselves. Go feral. This poor sod could have been anyone."
I can't sugarcoat it for you. Werewolves aren't exactly worshiped by the masses as kind and noble beasts, you know. Being the feral creations of the Daedric Prince Hircine, werewolves are synonymous with beasts and monsters of fear. Even the Gifted can't just transform whenever they want. The Cursed have it WAY worse. Most of the time you have no control of the monster within you. Sometimes even if you do have control you may transform at the most inopportune of times. People who see your beast form will fear you and you will never be able to return to that hold again. Eventually you will we oust from every hold in Skyrim, forced to remain in the wilderness for your own safety, and for fear of uncontrollable transformations.
There are many paths you can take to this. The first is that you can seek out a way to cure yourself from this cursed existence. Magic, alchemy, even the power of the dragons. ANYTHING you can think of that might have some sort of answer to either cure yourself of the blood or gain control of it. Try to find others who also share the blood of the wolf and ask them for guidance. Find the College of Winterhold and search through their extensive collection of tomes and books for some hint on how to put an end to this cursed existence. Will you be successful in curing yourself so that you may have a life of adventure or peace, or are you destined to fail in your pursuit, forced to accept the revelation that you are doomed to wander Tamriel branded a monster?
Will you accept your fate and live your life on the edge, forever wandering, never sleeping in the same spot twice? Perhaps you've given up, devastated due to an accidental killing or perhaps scaring your loved ones. Such sad beings spend their time alone in the woods, afraid to come into contact with other people for fear that the hunger will arise within them. Such a life of loneliness can drive even the most steeled of men into darkness. Some begin to lose touch with their humanity as time goes on, becoming more and more feral. Eventually they give in to the beast completely, living their lives hunting and killing as a mad beast, until the day a mighty hero arises to put the miserable thing to an end.
How will you evolve?
Will you start out a gifted warrior or hunter, then slowly fall deeper into ferocity as you begin to embrace your other side? Or will you find that your curse becomes less of a curse overtime as your body acclimates to the new blood within you and grants you new power you never thought possible? You can mix and match each of the above tips to make a werewolf experience that you can enjoy. You can be a hunter that cannot control his inner beast or even a simple pilgrim who has the power to become something even greater. As always, the choice is yours to make. Just know that whatever choice you make, you will be a fearsome predator. Happy hunting.
Welp, that's all I've got thus far for this guide. I hope you've enjoyed it. Keep in mind that the above tips can also apply to Werebears (except for possibly the 3rd one) and any other werebeasts you might have in your game. And please, do post any constructive criticisms here. I'm always looking for suggestions so that I can make this build as informative and helpful as possible. Take care, own the night, and thanks for giving this a read!