Day 23-Least Favorite Monster Overall
Strange as it may sound I easily put this one up as Lycanthropes of any kind whatsoever. Now let me qualify this one here, before the fanbases try to murder me. As far as the lore of Dungeon & Dragons goes with Lycanthropes, I find them to be wonderfully fascinating monsters. That’s right, monsters. Read the actual entries and look back to the original kinds of lore these things had. These are not romanticized shape shifters or arch enemies of the vampire world. They are cursed humanoids with the potential to lose control of their selves and kill people in the middle of the night.
I recognize the mechanics that allow for control of this process and honestly enjoy the concept of the monster in general. Why do I find them as my least favorite, then? For two reasons:
First, they are ridiculously imbalanced for the players. Smack a curse on one of the players and suddenly they are the most powerful character in the group, hands down. The moment one player in the party fails a fortitude save (and many want to do so intentionally for the stat boosts) they obtain a massive bump to their abilities. The fight itself is not a terribly threatening one, as Lycanthropes traditionally find themselves balanced at an ECL of “Hey, let’s kill it before it realizes it’s going to lose and runs away” with some regularity.
Second, any player who does get their character afflicted with the curse of lycanthropy tends to get exceptionally pissed off when their nature becomes an issue. For some reason, most players are convinced that monsters of any kind should be accepted wherever they go. Especially those with a level adjustment, recognizing their ability to be PCs. This very attitude pisses me off as a DM, because it’s positively silly. It doesn’t matter who you are, unless you have done A LOT of work convincing the townspeople you are on their side they will be terrified of monsters of any kind and likely want them to leave immediately if they don’t form a lynch mob themselves. Even if you do prove yourself, it’s unlikely for most to care. Monsters are monsters and for some reason, players equate hating on monstrous races with racism in real life. It’s absurd. This is not a mere difference in skin tone.
It is for those reasons that Lycanthropes get my ire in most circumstances. Do I use them? I most certainly do. They have wonderful flavor that is not found in many other places or as easily recognized by players without being explained to them. I just hate the baggage that comes with them, because there’s always one player at the table that brings it along for the ride.