The earth under your paws. The wind through your fur. The scent of the earth, and your prey, in your face, embracing every fiber of your being. Movement, slow and stealthy, then waiting, waiting, waiting... until finally, the signal, and you give chase. Eyes, nose, ears, all your senses trained on your target, you strain to catch it, to watch it stumble, to leap upon it and throw it off-balance, to get to the point where you can -- you must -- sink your fangs into your prey's body, its throat, its meat...

This is one vision of the Hunt, from the wolf's point of view. Some people want to become close to wolf, to become werewolves themselves, in order to experience this.

From the structure of a pack, to the reliance on a few, well-chosen friends for everything that one cannot be self-sufficient for, the people who want to be werewolves are for the most part annoyed with human society... and those who do wish to be werewolves are usually some of the underbelly of human society... the lost souls, the rejects, the ones who otherwise turn into goths or other 'undesirable' groups.

For some reason, you want to become a werewolf in nethack... or a were something else. You can become a werejackal, werewolf, or wererat. Personally, I recommend wolf - jackals and rats are wimps. Now, the classic hit code itself is in mhitu.c (monster hits you) and the block reads:
case AD_WERE:
  hitmsg(mtmp, mattk);
  if (uncancelled && !rn2(4) && u.ulycn == NON_PM &&
          !Protection_from_shape_changers &&
          !defends(AD_WERE,uwep)) {
     You_feel("feverish.");
     exercise(A_CON, FALSE);
     u.ulycn = monsndx(mdat);
  }
  break;

What this means:

  • You get hit.
  • If
    1. the monster has not been 'cancelled' (spell or wand)
    2. 1:4 chance
    3. And the monster is in its weremode
    4. And you don't have protection from shape changers (ring)
    5. And your weapon doesn't defend you from weres (Werebane)
    then you 'feel feverish', and penalize your CON stat, and become a were.

It is also possible to become a were after completely consuming a corpse of a were. Realize, that if you are a human, and a class that does not allow cannibalism (caveman) - this is a 'bad' idea.

The majority of the actual were-code itself is stored in were.c and it has some interesting tidbits in it.

  • If it is day, and not a full moon, chances of a were in animal form are 1:50
  • If it is day, and a full moon, chances of a were in animal form are 1:30
  • If it is night, and not a full moon, chances of a were in animal form are 1:10
  • If it is night, and a full moon, chances of a were in animal form are 1:3
  • Whatever the case, if you have protection from shape changers (as above), they will be human (not animal form).

Transforming into a were will:

  • Recover 1/4th of lost hp
  • Break armor that is too small
  • Drop weapons that can't be wielded
  • Allow were the ability to summon a horde
This is controllable with the polymorph control ring. And forced by drinking a potion of unholy water or having one thrown at you.

Summoning a horde will summon between 1 and 5 monsters as follows:

Return from beast mode can be done in a number of ways. Some of these remove the lycanthropy along with restoring you.

  • Eating a spring of wolfsbane (removes lycanthropy and restores to normal)
  • Drinking a potion of holy water (removes lycanthropy and restores to normal)
  • Breathing a potion of holy water (restores only)
  • Praying (its near the end of the list but removes lycanthropy and restores to normal)

Have fun and happy howling.

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