Daily Monster #22: Wereraven

For today’s Daily Monster we will discuss one of the most iconic monsters in the Curse of Strahd module. Let’s talk about Wereravens.

Today we discuss one of the most memorable monsters in 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons that make an appearance in the fan favorite Curse of Strahd module. Of course we’re talking about the iconic…


Wereraven

Wereravens have an average STR and CON of +0 as well as a slightly above average INT of +1. All remaining three of their stats are also on the positive side of things with matching DEX, WIS, and CHA of +2. Number-wise they are pretty solid creatures.

These medium humanoids have a tendency towards lawful good alignments and are usually skilled in insight and perception.

Like many werecreatures, Wereravens have immunity to weapon damage that doesn’t come from silvered weapons. They have and AC of 12 and hit point pool of 7d8. Thanks to their shifting abilities, they also have access to 50ft of flying speed when in raven or hybrid form.

As their defining trait, Wereravens are able to change their shape into either a rave-humanoid hybrid or a full on raven. Similar to Kenku they also have access to Mimicry.

In terms of attacks, these humanoids can only Multiattack while in their human or hybrid form, which makes sense considering I’m not sure how a raven would be able to wield a weapon.

Unless…

While in humanoid or hybrid form they also have access to the standard hand crossbow and Shortsword attacks. As a raven or hybrid they instead have access to a Beak attack. It’s important to keep in mind that, if hit by this Beak weapon attack, the target must make a DC10 CON save or be afflicted with wereraven lycanthropy.

Wereravens are CR 2 creatures.


The Lore

Although not one hundred percent certain, Wereravens are thought to originally be from Greyhawk, where they are no longer present. Nowadays they can be found living in “kindesses” either in the hearts of dense forests living as a family or in cities, where they live secretive lives and protect their true nature closely.

Interestingly enough, even though the official statblock mentions all three different shapes that these creatures can take, only those born as Wereravens are able to shift into all three states. Those who are instead bitten into this lycanthropy can only shift from their humanoid form into one or the other of the two raven forms.

Unlike some of their other were kind, Wereravens can often turn to good. In fact most of the examples that we have in 5th edition for these creatures are not opposed to helping out the cause of good and might even aid the local law.

Most Wereravens tend to avoid combat whenever possible but when there is no option they can be quite deadly and resilient thanks to their immunities. Many Wereravens do their best to avoid using their beak attacks in fear that they might infect more creatures with their affliction.


The Execution

Considering these creature’s alignment, it might be a little difficult to give them a reason to directly antagonize your players unless there is some sort of misunderstanding. Of course we could always go the route of having your players unknowingly doing something that could upset our Kindness but that might just be a tad too railroad-y. Instead, let us focus more on one of the characteristics that set apart these creatures: their curiosity.

Like real life ravens, those who are affected by this particular brand of lycanthropy tend to be extremely curious in nature. Like the birds, Wereravens love their shinny baubles, and what’s shinier than a mismatched group of strangers sticking out like sore thumbs that arrive into town? Rather than trying to push your players to do battle with these creatures I suggest taking the opportunity to work a little mystery and suspense. Have the Wereravens watch the new strangers while they go about their business in town. A single raven that looks through the window into their rooms, a spark of intelligence clear in its red eyes. If horror movies have thought us anything, what could be more unsettling than having a murder of crows follow you around town? Chances are that this will have your players reacting in all sorts of ways.

If you’re set on having your players fight these creatures, consider having them stumble into one of their forest homes. Perhaps they’re caught in the wrong place at the wrong time near one of the “nests”.

When playing these creatures do keep in mind that (although their stats might not necessarily show it) they are regarded as one of the smartest were creatures out there. They might be extremely curious but they probably wouldn’t do anything that could endanger their secrecy.


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