Weretiger Playable Race | New Player Option for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

This player race option is part of the @random_encounters_maps promotional campaign that’s currently going on on Instagram. As promised, I’d make this one right away.

If you’d like to get in on the promotion, the next option I’ll be creating is 3 New Finishing Moves for Monks.

More content to come!

Playtest Content

The material here is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not refined by
final game design and editing. They aren’t officially part of the game.

Constructive feedback is welcome and appreciated in either comments or social media. If you can give me a valid reason with examples why something is off, 9/10 I’m likely to make changes to the content and credit you for doing so. Otherwise, feedback without anything to back it up gets ignored (or at most a smile emoji like this 🙂 ) Thanks!

Design Notes

Here are the notes for this build.

Before the Build

This should be a lot of fun! Lycanthropes can be tricky to get right and stay within the balance of the game. Here is what I plan on doing with this race:

  • You don’t just get one race with weretigers, but you get two. Now, this probably requires a little more effort on the part of the player (and DM), but if I want to be true to a lycanthrope it’s got to be two races.
  • The humanoid weretiger and hybrid weretiger will have the same stats. However, the ability to change into a full tiger form will be usable once per day. That’ll be tricky as hell to balance, but I think with a little math we’ll get it done.
  • The race will try to emulate the weretiger from the Monster Manual as much as it possibly can. In the monster manual, weretigers have great Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution stats, and higher than average Wisdom.

After the Build

Shockingly, this was a pretty simple build with only a couple of big challenges. Unlike the other lycanthropes listed, the weretiger had some pretty tidy racial abilities.

Strength seemed like the obvious bump along with Wisdom. I considered doing Con or Dex instead of Wisdom, but I like the balance there. Plus it leaves some interesting character build opportunities.

Age, alignment, and size all come from weretiger lore and the fluff.

Speed was easy, although when in full on tiger form, you can move an additional 10 feet.

Weretigers get darkvision and as long as the DM knows how to properly handle the negative side of darkvision, it’s not a game breaker.

The shapechanging part took some finesse to make cool. Fortunately, weretigers stay the same in all forms in terms of stats. The tiger form gives it a couple bonus abilities such as the pounce and improved speed. But I think I got those balanced by tossing in a level of exhaustion. In addition, the weretiger loses all its gear when it changes, so that means no AC (unless it’s a monk or barbarian or any other class with unarmored defense), no weapons, no gear as long as it’s in that form. This also means that while it’s exhausted after changing back, it has to spend time putting all of its shit back on. I think, for this reason, it will be more of a “roleplaying” hook than a combat bonus. But still, the pounce does add some pretty sweet action economy, although the damage doesn’t really break things too bad. Here’s a quick look at the math:

  • The weretiger has a 60% chance of hitting with its claw on the pounce. Its claw deals an average of 5.5 damage, therefore that’s a virtual 3.3 damage.
  • Next, the target must make a Strength save or fall prone. The save will likely be DC of 13 at most for 1st level, so there’s probably about a 50% chance that it doesn’t go off.
  • If the creature is prone, then the weretiger has an 84% chance to hit the prone creature with its bonus bite attack. The bite attack’s average damage is 6.5, therefore the virtual damage is 5.46.
  • On following rounds, if the tiger continues to attack with its bite, that’s 5.46 per turn it will do.
  • Most combats are designed to last only 3 rounds. Therefore, the average damage output of the tiger for those rounds is only 6.56. This is slightly more than what a greatsword does, but keep in mind that the weretiger is taking on exhaustion, loss of gear, and probably a loss in AC to get to this point.

The next tricky power to get right was the weretiger’s immunity to weapons unless it’s silver. This is one I didn’t want to totally nix because if I did, I thought it’d be cheesy. Instead, I imagined it more like a monster from a movie. You keep pumping bullets into it and it keeps on coming. I modeled Lycanthropic Resilience on Undead Fortitude with a lot more riders and offering more exhaustion. Had it not already had the shapechanger ability, I probably would have totally done away with that last part, but I needed something to keep it from being a total “Leroy Jenkins” tank. Otherwise, a smart player will make this thing a Constitution machine so that it can just keep taking hits forever. And I didn’t want that. You get hit too many times and you die of just plain exhaustion.

Finally, Keen Hearing and Smell is a racial trait in the Monster Manual, it’s mostly utility (keep in mind it doesn’t help you see things) so it’s more for adventuring and story goodness than anything.

weretiger-shawn-ye

Weretiger

Weretigers are ferocious hunters and warriors with a haughty and fastidious nature. Lithe and sleekly muscule in humanoid form, they are taller than average and meticulously groomed. Weretigers grow to enormous size in animal and hybrid form, but they fight in their more refined humanoid form when they can. They don’t like to pass on their curse, because every new weretiger means competition for territory and prey.

Weretigers live in jungles on the fringes of humanoid civilization, traveling to isolated settlements to trade or revel. They live and hunt alone or in small family groups.

Weretiger Traits

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Age. True weretigers, those of weretiger parentage, mature at the same rate humans do, reaching adulthood around 18 years old. From there, they age slower than humans and can live for nearly 200 years.

Alignment. Weretigers are interested in preserving the world around them and their family groups. They tend to stay away from conflicts that don’t involve them and have no preference towards order or chaos. For this reason, most weretigers are neutral. But like other humanoids, there are examples of good and evil, lawful and chaotic weretigers everywhere.

Size. Weretigers are taller than most humans, standing at least 6 feet and sometimes as tall as 7 feet in height. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet when you are in humanoid or hybrid form. While in tiger form, your speed is 40 feet.

Darkvision. Thanks to your lycanthropic heritage, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Shapechanger. You can use your action to polymorph into a tiger-humanoid hybrid or into a tiger, or back into your true form, which is humanoid. Your statistics are the same in each form.  Any equipment you are wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. Furthermore, when you change into a tiger, any equipment you are wearing or carrying falls to the ground. Some of your features are only available in certain forms, as noted in parentheses next to the features below.

Changing into your tiger form is a tiring process that lasts for only 1 minute, at the end of which you transform back into your humanoid or hybrid form (your choice). When you change back, you suffer one level of exhaustion (as described in appendix A of the PHB).

You revert to your true form if you die. Once you use this feature to change into your tiger form, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Bite (Tiger or Hybrid Form Only). You have a mouth full of sharp teeth which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.

Claws (Tiger or Hybrid Form Only). Your sharp claws are natural weapons which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal slashing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.

Curse of Lycanthropy (Tiger or Hybrid Form Only). If you deal damage with your bite attack and the target is a humanoid, at your option, you can have the target make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Constitution modifier. On a failed saving throw, the target is cursed with weretiger lycanthropy.

Keen Hearing and Smell. You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing and smell.

Lycanthropic Resilience. If bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage from a nonmagical weapon not made of silver reduces you to 0 hit points, you must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is from a critical hit. On a success, you drop to 1 hit point instead and you take one level of exhaustion.

Pounce (Tiger Form Only). If you move at least 15 street toward a creature and then hit it with a claw attack on the same turn, the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw with a DC of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, you can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one extra language of your choice. Your outside status necessitates a polyglottal lifestyle as you frequently have to deal with people of varied backgrounds. However, all weretigers tend to have a specific accent noticeable to native speakers and a strong proclivity to over-annunciate.

For a PDF version of this race, download here: Weretiger Playable Race.

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Art by Shawn Ye.

2 thoughts on “Weretiger Playable Race | New Player Option for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

  1. Does the dropping of equipment from using the shapechanger ability apply to magical equipment or is that more of a “ask your DM” situation?

    1. I’d say “ask your DM”, but its purpose is to balance out the improved action economy of the tiger form since it’ll require at least a couple rounds to get dressed again.

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