“Wereravens are not like most other werebeasts, they are not driven by bestial hunger and rage. They are more in control of their emotions, learning to use their abilities on a whim. The first thing a raven learns is to control fear, to harness it to ease the transformation. They use their gift to their own ends, it does not use them.”
Omnipresent, ravens are a common sign virtually everywhere on Abria. Living on the outskirts of cities, digging through garbage, plaguing farms during planting and harvest, and feasting on the dawn following a battle field. Ravens are cautious, curious, and above all opportunistic. Ravens can be in service to Archememnon or Denora, and as such are generally tolerated even when they act as nuisances.
Myths and legends regarding ravens are many. The more superstitious soldiers and mercenaries believe that ravens carry the souls of the fallen to their final resting place, to kill a raven is to doom the soul it carries to an oblivion of restless wandering. Seeing a raven perched on a sign or tree at a crossroads means the choice of path is hugely significant. Among the travelling people having your path crossed by a raven in flight is a sign that you are about to make a significant mistake. There is even one barbarian tribe among the Damrothi Wastes near the Lone Peaks that makes any warriors who have had one of their eyes pecked out by a raven when left for dead on a battlefield their shaman. In winterhaven, ravens are commonly believed to be the eyes of the hags.
Considering the dark and mysterious nature of ordinary ravens, it should not come as a surprise that many are cautious and fearful of wereravens. Wereravens use their gift to spy on their friends and enemies, to travel quickly and safely, and to access things that should be out of reach. Unlike wererats, wereravens are not scorned by other werebeasts, but neither are they welcomed. Everywhere their true nature is greeted with caution. Because of this wereravens tend to keep their nature secret. Their natures lean towards freedom over security, and privacy over comradery.
Wereravens almost never inflict their disease on others, when they do so (typically accidentally), the infected are typically dangerous and uncontrolled. Turning people into murderous monsters is not a good way to remain secret, and even wereravens who are innocent of infecting others are often forced to flee when another of their kin is careless enough to infect another. Their claws and beaks rarely spread infection, and most wereravens only transform to attack when they intend to kill, or when desperate. If an infected wereraven survives the first few months, they slowly begin to control their powers (or at least learn how to conceal them). Infected pass their gift to their children about one-quarter of the time. Such children are the same as if their parent had been born with the gift. Sages generally agree that the gift is transferred from race to race. However there are tales of Archememnon or Lem turning a follower into a wereraven (as a reward or punishment). True or not, there are wereravens in small numbers in nearly all races.
Virtually all of them were born with the gift. Considering that many of them live nomadic lives, men keep surprisingly good track of any offspring they might have left behind. When they reach the time of the change they are closely watched by their father or another member of the clan and are instructed in their nature if they show the signs. Women who do not wish to be tied down with a child often leave them with a church of Denora, Archememnon, or even a cult to Mellifleur, or a thieve’s guild. When leaving their children to be raised by others, wereravens are very explicit on what the child might be. Those who choose to raise their children themselves (both men and women), tend to live in the wilderness near small communities. They might or might not tell their mate about their nature. Wereravens tend to pass their gift to approximately half of their children when they have one gifted parent, and nearly all their children when both parents are gifted. If a child born to a wereraven lacks the gift, the parents rarely infect it, due to the unpredictable nature of the infection and the risk to the child’s health.
Surprisingly, wereravens are rarely slaughtered when their true nature is revealed. Instead they are typically shunned by those afraid of offending the gods or spirits, and tend to leave after their nature becomes apparent. Wereravens are most at home when they have a job that allows them to work alone and travel from community to community. Messengers, traders, spies, diplomats, and thieves are all common among their number. When they set up permanent homes or businesses, they tend to be away travelling quite often.
The life of an adventurer or mercenary seems completely natural to a wereraven. If an adventuring group or mercenary band can be trusted to keep their secret a wereraven would likely feel right at home. If such trust is violated, the wereraven simply moves on to a new group more worthy of trust.
Creating a Wereraven
Naturally curious, cautious, and opportunistic, wereravens are ideally suited to a live of adventure. They always want to know, and they are clever enough to be likely to survive a few adventures. Wereravens are rarely leaders or particularly social, although they can make exceptional bards. Rogues, rangers, and various primal and arcane spellcasters are all common. They rarely have enough rage and recklessness to become barbarians however. Divine spellcasters are less common. Occasionally, one might take up the service of a deity, particularly those who were left with a church or cult. Avengers are the most common way for a wereraven to serve their divine patron. Finally it should be noted, wereravens have more than their share of assassins. Although far from common, some wereravens learn to channel psionic power, likely though monastic discipline.
Secondary Role: Any
Power Source: None
Starting Feature: You gain a +2 bonus to Acrobatics checks. You have the shapechanger subtype. In addition, any enemy has combat advantage against you when attacking with a silvered weapon or implement. Finally, you gain the raven shape power.
Level 5: You gain a +2 bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate checks while interacting with ravens or similar creatures. Your fly speed while using raven shape becomes 8.
Level 10: When you use the raven shape power, you can assume the form of a humanoid-raven hybrid, instead of a raven. While in hybrid form, your equipment does not become part of your new form, and you are not forced to drop any items you are holding. You are also not limited to using implement and weapon attack powers that have the beast form keyword. Also your hybrid form is the same size as your normal form, instead of being Small. However, if you choose to assume your hybrid form its flight is clumsy, but your land speed remains the same as your base form (instead of becoming 4). When using the secondary attack power, you can walk instead of flying.
Associated Paragon Paths:
|Raven Shape||Wereraven Utility|
|Surrendering to the beast within you shed your form and become a large raven.|
|Encounter ✦ Polymorph|
|Effect: You change from your humanoid form to a beast form—a raven–that lasts until the end of the encounter. Alternatively, you can end the form as a minor action and shift 1 square. If you are flying when you end the form you land safely if there is a surface capable of supporting you up to 20 squares below you (otherwise you fall the remaining distance). While you are in beast form, you can’t use weapon or implement attack powers that lack the beast form keyword, although you can sustain such powers.
While in this form, you have low-light vision. The form is Small, and it doesn’t otherwise change your game statistics. While in this form you have a speed of 4 and a fly speed of 6. Your equipment becomes part of the form, but you drop anything you are holding, except implements you can use. You continue to gain the benefits of the equipment you wear, except a shield.
You can use the properties and the powers of implements as well as magic items you wear, but not the properties or the powers of weapons or the powers of wondrous items. While equipment is part of the form, it cannot be removed, and anything in a container that is part of your form is inaccessible.
Until the form ends, you can use the secondary power at will.
|Secondary Power ✦ Beast Form|
|Standard Action||Melee touch|
|Effect: You can fly 2 squares before and after making the attack. Doing so does not provoke opportunity attacks from the target of the attack.|
|Target: One creature|
|Attack: Primary ability modifier +3 vs. AC
Level 11: Primary ability modifier +6 vs. AC
Level 21: Primary ability modifier +9 vs. AC
|Hit: 1d4 + ability modifier damage, and all the target’s attacks suffer from concealment until the end of your next turn.
Level 21: 2d4 + ability modifier damage.
|Special: You can use this power in place of a melee basic attack.|
|Raven’s Cunning||Wereraven Utility 2|
|Your are filled with an instinctual cunning that shows you exactly where to strike to drive your foe to distraction.|
|Encounter✦ Beast Form, Healing|
|Requirement: You must have started this turn bloodied.|
|Effect: Until the end of the encounter, when you hit with raven shape’s secondary power, the target grants combat advantage until the end of your next turn. In addition, while you are bloodied and in beast form, you have regeneration 2.
Level 11: Regeneration 4.
Level 21: Regeneration 6.
|Sudden Flight||Wereraven Utility 6|
|A sudden burst of fear or apprehension triggers your transformation, and a sudden change to a more advantageous position.|
|Trigger: An enemy ends its movement adjacent to you while you are not in beast form or you are struck by an attack while not in beast form.|
|Effect:You use raven shape even if the power is already expended. You can immediately fly your speed as a free action. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks. You can choose to return to your humanoid form as a free action or remain in beast form.|
|Wing Feint||Wereraven Utility 10|
|You buffet your foe with your wings. This largely harmless move provides the perfect distraction for a more lethal attack.|
|Encounter✦ Beast Form|
|Standard Action||Melee touch|
|Target: One creature.|
|Effect:Slide the target 1 square. You can then shift to a square adjacent to the target and make a basic attack or an at-will attack against it with combat advantage. If the attack hits, the target is dazed until the end of your next turn.|