Werejaguars, as the name suggests, are a species of werecat with the ability to turn into jaguars, the only American species of the genus Panthera. They're basically South/Central American werewolves, what more do you want?
The werejaguar was surprisingly popular in the days of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, with three different takes on the monster appearing in three different settings; Mystara, Ravenloft, and the "universal" setting. After that, however, its popularity sharply waned; aside from the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition update of the Ravenloftian werejaguar, it hasn't been seen since.
The "generic" D&D werejaguar debuted in the Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume One; supposedly, it was based on the earlier Ravenloftian werejaguar, but there are sharp differences between the two - most notedly, this breed of werejaguars is notedly malevolent, which is not the case with their counterparts from the Demiplane of Dread.
The generic werejaguar is a human or demihuman capable of assuming three forms; its humanoid form (which may have sandy blonde hair streaked with black, or vice-versa); a large jaguar perhaps 7 feet long from nose to rump; and an anthropomorphic hybrid animal form: broad snout, blackmarked sandy pelt, wide paws that retain opposable thumbs, and a long, expressive tail. These werejaguars fear only the touch of enchanted blades or weapons made from obsidian, and are fatally susceptible to mercury poisoning.
These werejaguars have a distinct prefernece for life in the wilderness, where they live either alone or in temporary family groups consisting of a mated pair rearing their one or two cubs; like the animals they resemble, werejaguars don't marry, though they do tend to have preferred mates that they will usually go for first. Females tend to only mate with other werejaguars, but males are far less picky, often seducing as many humanoid women of compatible nature as they can and then hightailing it out of there before the women learn they've fallen pregnant with monstrous offspring. That said, some werejaguars enjoy living in villages or small towns, but they are commonly uncomfortable in larger settlements (towns with a population of over 100, for example). Bearing this loose limitation in mind, they frequently prove very adept at infiltrating human society. In town, werejaguars can easily set aside their solitary tendencies and cooperate with others for as long as necessary. However, a werejaguar who has infiltrated human society will increasingly yearn to seek out an isolated area in which to relax and be alone.
Like many werebeasts with an actively predatory alternate form, werejaguars are pure carnivores, and they subsist only on freshly killed meat. Though they can subsist on animal flesh just fine, generic werejaguars prefer the flesh of sapient creatures - a marked difference to their Ravenloftian counterparts.
The werejaguars of the Demiplane of Dread appeared in Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and were then converted to Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition in the Denizens of Darkness (3.0)/Dread (3.5) splatbooks. They are also are very different to their counterparts on other words. Not just because of their Lawful Neutral alignment, which would be odd enough given that most of the other werecats are some flavor of Evil, but because they're not technically shapeshifters...
See, when a victim succumbs to the Ravenloftian werejaguar curse, they are permanently trapped in the form of a humanoid jaguar! Their old memories fade away to dim impressions, and the werejaguar falls in with the rest of the troop, abandoning its former life to pursue the troop's lifestyle..
In general, Ravenloftian werejaguars are a reclusive people who inhabit ancient jungle ruins and carefully tend to the balance of nature in their home territory, almost like a twisted tropical parody of the typical druid or ranger. In fact, most werejaguars avoid consuming sapient humanoid flesh, as they find the taste abhorrent; they will defend their territory with lethal zeal, but otherwise are quite content to just let their neighbors be if they are left alone.
...Except that their creator couldn't make up their mind, because after saying the above, their offical lore includes the following entry:
- When outsiders enter their lands, werejaguars will often hunt them for sport. A victim will be toyed with, catching only fleeting glimpses of the lightning quick cats as they dart to and fro in the jungle. This torment can continue for hours or days, depending upon how fearful the prey is. Only when the cats tire of their fun will they move in for the kill. When that happens, they strike quickly and without mercy.
This may be explained by the fact that particularly large werejaguar troops may be led by an unusually malevolent alpha, one that will lead its followers to roam far outside of its territory, hunting down all sentient species it comes across.
If one must battle werejaguars, they are dangerous foes indeed; in addition to being able to move through the jungle with incredible stealth, and being almost impossible to surprise in turn, they lack the iconic weakness to silver weaponry. Instead, those hoping to fight these monsters without magical weapons must turn to their own unique weaknesses: the wood of the ebony tree, which deals deadly blows to them, and fire, which they have both a physical weakness against and a natural terror of.
The Mystaran werejaguar first debuted as monster in the Hollow World module "HRW1: Sons of Azca" as a monster, then became a PC race-class in PC4: Night Howlers for BECMI, whilst it was then converted to a monster for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition in the Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix. This later version of the Mystaran werejaguar is portrayed as a savage monster, even worse than the generic D&D werejaguar (Chaotic Evil to its Neutral Evil).
These werejaguars inhabit tropical rain forests, and are fearsome solitary hunters with triple forms; human, beast, and man-beast. In their beast form, they appear as jaguars with glowing red eyes whilst retaining full human intelligence, whilst as humans, they tend to be lithe, long-limbed and athletic, with very sharp hearing. They are always found living on the edges of civilization at best, since they are extremely uncomfortable in urban environments; if forced to enter a city, a Mystaran werejaguar is always impatient and short-tempered. Their hybrid form is quite unusual, in that it looks mostly human; their legs become more well-developed, their forearms and lower legs become bestial claws, and their head changes into that of an anthropomorphic jaguar
Regardless of their current form, a werejaguar's mood varies between quiet but alert contemplation of their surroundings to a harsh, controlled, predatory rage.
Werejaguars are extremely solitary, avoiding all contact with others of their own kind and almost never lending aid to their fellows. Even mating can't bring them to spend time together; they copulate and then immediately going their separate ways, with the female giving birth to a litter of 1d8 cubs that she then abandons once they have matured by the age of 1 year old.
Willing to hunt and devour all forms of meat, be it animal or humanoid, rainforest tribes often fear werejaguars and believe them to be the minions of the evil Mystaran Immortals known to those settlements. Rumors tell of savage werejaguars able to cast clerical spells; these cats, witch doctors in hidden villages, devour victims in service to their Immortals.
The werejaguars have one enemy they hate and fear above all others: the weretiger, which shares their native territories but which is much stronger.
Werejaguar PC Race-Class
See the Therianthrope page for a run-down of the special rules for playing a werebeast in BECMI.
- Werejaguar Ability Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom
- A werejaguar has a Movement of 180' (60') and is an excellent climber.
- In rainforests, a werejaguar can surprise enemies on a 1-3 on a d6 Surprise Roll.
- When making a leaping attack from a higher position, the werejaguar gains a +1 to its
- Each round, a werejaguar can make 2 Claw Attacks (1d4 damage each) and 1 Bite Attack (1d8 damage). If it hits with both claw attacks against the same target in the same round, it can follow up by making a Rake attack (+2 to hit, 2d6 damage).
- Werejaguar Level Advancement Table
|Experience Level||XP||HD||Special Abilities||AC|
|Whelp (-2)||-20,400||3d8+1||II, III||6|
|Scamp (-1)||-13,600||4d8+2||IV, V||5|
|Normal Monster (0)||0||5d8+2||VI, VII||4|
|9||1,900,000||+2 hit points||Jaguar-Man Form||-|
|Subsequent||+300,000||+2 hit points||-||-|
|Werebeast Ability Number||Werebeast Ability Description|
|I||Must take jaguar form on the nights of, preceding and following the full moon. Can voluntarily transform at night if the moon is visible.|
|II||Normal weapons do 1/2 damage (round up). Can voluntarily transform at night without needing the moon.|
|III||Can speak with jaguars and werejaguars while in beast form.|
|IV||Can voluntarily transform whenever desired.|
|V||Normal weapons do 1/4 damage (round up).|
|VI||Immune to normal weapons when in beast or beast-man form.|
|VII||Can summon 1d2 great cats (barring tigers and sabertooth tigers), which will arrive in 1d4 rounds (if in immediate vicinity) or 1d4 turns (if in the general area). This increases to 1d4 at 2nd level, 1d6 at 4th level, 1d8 at 6th level, and 1d10 at 8th level. Every four levels thereafter, add +1d10 to the great cats summoned. Tigers become an eligible summons at 1st level. Sabertooth tigers become an eligible summons at 4th level.|
|VIII||Can recover 2d4 hit points for every full 24 hours of rest spent in wereform, increasing by +1d4 for every 3 additional levels.|
|IX||Can now summon werejaguars when summoning jaguars; the total remains unchanged from Ability VII, with DM determining how many are normal and how many are werebeasts.|
|X||Invisibility: When in wereform, a werejaguar can cast Invisibility (self only) 1/day per 2 levels.|