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So, werewolves are pretty popular among horror monsters, so it's only natural I was going to steal them.

However, there's a big problem with converting them to my setting, and I'm not talking about nightmares involving a home invasion by mutant nazis. You see, werewolves transform. While I like taking on challenges that seem physically impossible (like making dragons fly), transformation in a short timeframe is physically impossible.

There's nowhere for the waste heat to go, there isn't enough material for the werewolf body, and they don't have their own titan realm that could magically beam down the required material. It's that simple. Even if they managed to transform, it'd result in an explosion, though probably a much smaller one unless they're actually turning energy into matter.

Transformation

Anyway, I chose the path of least resistance to solve this problem by simply extending the timeframe to allow for waste heat to dissipate. Now, the problem is that werewolves can't turn back to humans. That's perfectly fine by me but presents several problems.

You see, a fully-transformed werewolf has their human minds left intact, except for the necessary "firmware updates", which is the reason why they unconsciously wag their tails when excited. The only time they go feral is when in grave danger or during full moon, both of which can be mitigated with isolation, usually deep within forests.

Werewolves are upright humanoid creatures with many features that resemble that of the canis lupus lupus. They're stronger than regular humans and have better reflexes, sharper senses, and thicker hide. However, they can still be damaged with regular weapons and are vulnerable to silver and holy water, both of which behave as fast-acting poison when coming into contact with their skin.

They usually form nomadic packs/tribes made up of other werewolves, typically from the same region.

However, while a "completed" werewolf should have no trouble surviving, especially when they have their pack to help them, the transformation is debilitating and energy-intensive, leaving even very fit people incapable of doing much for at least five months. While usually, the first things they get are the sharper eyesight and ears (like actual pointy, fluffy ears), three days in, their stamina and strength remain abysmal until the very end of the transformation.

The enemy

Also, werewolves are classified as creatures of the night, making them the target of a certain noble family that specializes in monster hunting. While it's true that eventually, Mephistopheles (not to be confuse with yours truly) and his army of cybernetically augmented tax collectors put an end to them, at that point they had been operating for hundreds of years, amassing an enormous amount of information, weapons, connections, and undeclared income.

During that time, how did mid-transformation werewolves survive until they could go off the grid? Now, werewolves usually come from mid-sized to large towns. The tech level and society are basically that of the late-medieval period. Though the existence of demons made some minor distortions to the world, they and their doings are not players in this game.

Keep in mind that while the monster-hunting family's "philosophy" on what they were doing was subject to change from "putting down the sick for the sake of their salvation" to "rip n' tear"; they never even considered not hunting monsters, let alone making peace with them. The same goes for just about every authority figure.

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    $\begingroup$ When do the physical signs of transformation start showing? That would be the first indicator to get out of dodge as even a layperson could identify it. $\endgroup$ – IT Alex Apr 1 '20 at 18:27
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    $\begingroup$ You could treat it somewhat similar to growth spurts during adolescence although somewhat more scaled up, in general nutrient requirements and calories needs are higher. In teens we see this as rather heavy metabolic boost, i.e. they eat like 3 pizzas at once. This and you can have the "firm ware" start to kick in, hunger response just by looking at animals in a field, etc. $\endgroup$ – Culyx Apr 1 '20 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ This seems like something that would be entirely dependent upon the situation a specific individual is in when they start their transformation. As such this question too broad for this site. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Apr 1 '20 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings while each case may be unique to a degree, the OP makes a clear statement about what the singular major threat is (hunters). This suggests we can ignore all the normal proximal issues of being weak/sick/helpless and just focus on how to not get hunted in a way that does not get you starved to death. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Apr 1 '20 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki-ReinstateMonica Factors such as wealth, social status, climate, levels of urbanization will lead to drastically different responses from individuals. As written this reads more like a writing prompt for some werewolf vs cybernetic tax collectors fic than a question about building a world. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Apr 2 '20 at 1:38
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Werewolves abduct thier victims

Werewolves are intelligent enough to know that if they leave a scratched person with pure humans, that the monster hunters will kill them; so, when they bite someone (by accident, on purpose, or as part of a full moon frenzy), they typically take that person with them to keep them safe. While this person is transforming, they care for that person like a critically ill family member. Feeding them, washing them, keeping them warm, protecting them, etc.

Not only does this keep them alive but it speaks to the lingering elements of humanity you seem to be going for. It also would help to indoctrinate the new arrival into the pack. A person bitten and left for dead would never want to join a werewolf pack, but one who was cared for by his clan for months as he regains his strength would be grateful for the compassion they would experience.

Since werewolves do not have natural children, the labor and resources most mammals put into child rearing would simply go into nurturing the newly infected instead.

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    $\begingroup$ Kudos for the humane angle. $\endgroup$ – Gustavo Apr 2 '20 at 13:49
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You can go along the line of the caterpillar to butterfly change.

If you don't want to go as far as making a chrysalis and have the mutation happen there, you can have your specimen enter a sort of lethargic time, where they seclude themselves into a repaired location, like a cave or a building, and spend the time needed to complete the metamorphosis in idle rest, just letting their body to the work.

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Rather than a complete physical transformation, why don't new werewolves become hosts for some sort of amorphous slime? You go from looking human to having a brown or black thing crawling out of pores all over the body. A humanoid would have serious compromises to brain capacity brought on by strong jaws, so I'd go for more of a wolf-man look anyway. Look at the jaws and associated musculature for early genus homo species. The slime could solidify into a coating like hair. Internal chemical changes from the symbiosis could still cause all the changes and symptoms you want for as long as you want. It would leave them appearing normal except when the slime manifested (like for the full moon - maybe the slime sporulates on a lunar cycle). If you wanted, they could exhibit infection symptoms during this initial period (fever, chills, aches and so on)

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe the slime evolved in wolves, so it tends to make people more like its native host. It could retain substantial wolf DNA. Or maybe it passed into humans during the domestication process of dogs. Dogs became more like humans; Why not humans becoming more like wolves? $\endgroup$ – DWKraus Apr 4 '20 at 0:11

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