Ok, now that you’ve read that how many of you immediately went to the sexy werewolf zone? Even if you didn’t go there at first, you still know what I’m talking about, and it’s ok. Genre fiction that’s popular is usually a very good thing for the nerd community as a whole, even if sexy werewolves are not exactly your thing. That being said, they are not my thing. Neither are werewolves as normal folk who get amnesia about their transform into raging killers during the full moon. I’m trying to uncover a new way of thinking about them in Exploration Age.

There’s so much more to this guy than simple sex appeal. He’s not a piece of meat, people.

A History of The Brotherhood

A little less than 400 years ago, a secret cabal of elf werewolves formed in Taliana. The Brotherhood of the Moon had one mission – to propel their race up the evolutionary ladder by giving the gift of lycanthropy to every elf in Taliana.

At first The Brotherhood of the Moon was a few roving werewolves, who would seduce non-lycan elves into accepting the gift with promises of heightened senses and increased physical prowess. But as they grew, the werewolves developed a more formal organizational structure with a leader, called the Moon King or Queen, and chapters that were secretly operating within Taliana’s major settlements. In the beginning these chapters focused on voluntary recruitment. As their numbers grew, The Brotherhood of the Moon hatched a more sinister plot.

They began to target members of Taliana’s ruling Parliament. Many of these members were extorted and blackmailed into becoming werewolves. As their influence spread, so too did public knowledge of the cabal. They grew too bold and Taliana began hunting these lycanthropes down. The Brotherhood of the Moon took this aggression as an act of violent discrimination against werewolves and responded by raiding villages and infecting the population with their gift. Many elves would rather die than become a werewolf, and the Brotherhood of the Moon was happy to grant that option.

After many deaths on both sides the cabal was brought under control. The remaining members of The Brotherhood went into hiding, until a lich attempted to seize control of Parliament and declare himself King of Taliana. Trivarch Leroux enlisted The Brotherhood’s help by promising to help fulfill their mission of wide-spread lycanthropy once he was in power. Trivarch’s plan was successful and he covered all of Taliana in the eternal night of a full moon to help The Brotherhood regrow its numbers in exchange for enforcing his harsh rule.

Trivarch wasn’t in power for long. A group of vigilante halflings calling themselves The Mothers of the Field destroyed him and restored the rule of the elf Parliament. (It is important to note Trivarch’s phylactery was never found.) The Brotherhood of the Moon went into hiding once again to escape the justice of Taliana’s Parliament. (One more note: the Mothers of the Field are still operational and will take on any authority they believe is corrupt or unfit to rule. Some see them as heroes, others as terrorists.)

Roughly 200 years ago, The Brotherhood of the Moon hatched another plot to increase the werewolf population of Taliana – they began seducing and mating with unsuspecting elves by order of the then Moon King. The werewolves had always stuck to their own kind for breeding, believing in keeping their own blood pure. Two werewolf parents produce werewolf offspring though their chances for conception are lower than most other humanoids. The thought was  a single werewolf parent would produce lycanthrope children and increase chances for conception by mating with a more fertile non-lycan partner. The Brotherhood soon found they were incorrect. Werewolf and elf parents alike were shocked to find themselves literally birthing a new race – the shifters.

Shifters doing their thang! You do you.

A Note on Shifters

I won’t go into too much depth here, since this post is supposed to be about The Brotherhood of the Moon, but as you can see the two are related.

Shifters were born outcasts. Many were killed as babes, their parents too horrified to look upon them. To many elves they were monstrosities and to many werewolves they were an evolutionary misstep and deserved to die. Many of the shifters who managed to have a parent kind enough to let them live were still kicked out of the house at an early age or orphaned when their parent was murdered by bigots or committed suicide after learning they had consummated with a werewolf.

These abandoned shifters found each other and formed communities of wandering vagabonds who make a living performing, swindling, and selling crafts. Today these communities exist all over Findalay and many look forward to the circuses and carnivals the shifters provide. Others feel the shifters have been short-changed and try to help these beings find a more established life in Findalay. Some fear the partial werewolf race avoiding and shunning them. The truly fearful seek out and kill these half-breeds.

The discovery of Verda has opened up new possibilities for the shifters, a place where they may have a home of their own free from persecution, stares, jeers, discrimination, violence, and the ever-looming Brotherhood of the Moon.

Brotherhood of the Moon Today

Today The Brotherhood of the Moon is operating in Taliana and scheming up ways to bring the gift to the inferior elves. They have also made it their mission to hunt and kill shifters, since the werewolves believe this evolutionary mistake is theirs to correct.

Currently, Moon Queen Elvira Selene rules The Brotherhood. Little is known about her plans. Recently werewolf nests have been found in some of Taliana’s major cities. While they have been destroyed, it begs the question how many undiscovered dens of lycanthropes remain? Has The Brotherhood mobilized once again or have these hideouts been in existence for years and just now being discovered? Are they planning on taking over the cities of Taliana from these nests? Are they engaged in smuggling orange spice (ooo more on that in another post)? Are they on an intelligence gathering mission? Whatever the reason, the discovery of these nests has the people of Taliana on edge once more…

Werewolf. With a sword. Yep.

Werewolf. With a sword. Yep.

So how’d I do? Do you like this new spin on werewolves, as racial supremacists convinced that non-lycanthropes are fools resisting the natural progression of life and evolution on Canus? I hope it terrifies and intrigues you!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

  1. joelastowski says:

    Love this backstory. A great explanation for the shifter race, and a compelling societal concern regarding the pro-evolution Brotherhood and the more traditional elves. Sets up a lot of dramatic character backstory potential, as well as some great moral quandaries. Awesome.

    (though I did notice that the last image, the Werewolf w/ sword, appeared fine in the email notification of this new post, but is not appearing on the page when I go to the web site. Maybe it’s just a glitch, but even reloading isn’t doing it for me.)


  2. joelastowski says:

    Oh, and also, unrelated to your werewolves specifically, but if you check out Jim Butcher’s fantasy series “The Codex Alera”, there’s an awesomely-written werewolf race that shows up in the 2nd book (well, really they’re just in the wolf-man/crinos form all the time and don’t actually shift) called the Canim who are as ferocious as you want a werewolf to be, but also have a highly developed sense of honor and battle etiquette. Definitely worth a read if you want to be turned on more to wolf-people (and not-at-all in a Twilight kind of way).


    • A place where werewolves never really leave their hybrid form and fight with honor and ferocity sounds pretty awesome. I always love to see a spin put on a classic.

      Thanks for letting me know about the image! I fixed it. Hopefully the caption didn’t give too much away and you’re all shocked now.

      I’m glad you’re liking the concept here. My hope is as my players read this, they are getting lots of ideas for character backstories and concepts.


  3. Michael Robbins says:

    Are they all werewolves, or other forms of lycanthropy as well? Do they have secret labs where they experiment with new breeds?

    (just from lack of knowledge, is D&D Next changing lycanthropes back to a template like 3rd ed, or separate monsters like 4th ed?)

    I’m picturing elven werewolf mages doing research and producing strains of lycanthropy with totally different abilities.
    * Werecreatures that “hulk out” and grow to size Large opponents with extra strength.
    * They cannot manage to completely do away with the vulnerability to silver, but maybe they can narrow it to just mithril.
    * Isolating the lycanthropy strains in a way so that it becomes an external contagion…they don’t need to bite a victim anymore, then can slip a vial of the virus into your drink and it changes you.

    As for all the stuff about shifters, no real comment. I like the idea of shifters, but have never really liked them in game. In 3rd ed they were only cool if you sunk a lot of feats into the race at the expense of your class, and in 4th ed they were just underwhelming. No idea what they will be like in Next.


    • Love the Michael Robbins catch up of today! They’ve not said how they are doing lycanthropes yet in fifth, but yes, I do think it should be a bunch of different kinds of lycanthropes. I love the idea of new ones coming into the fold. Plus, weresharks are totally a thing.


  4. Michael Robbins says:

    The chupacabra…totally a were lizard


  5. Google image searching were creatures is terrifying and amusing.


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