Sailors know full well the dangers of the sea: monsters, accidents, illness, and other misfortunes are an ever-present plague. But sometimes the worst danger that befall sailors (and other people who live and work near the sea) doesn’t strike from the ocean depths. Instead it strikes while on land, when they think they’re safe. They don’t realize that living near the sea exposes them to a curse: a curse to stalk their homes and neighborhoods at night, and to eat their family, friends, and neighbors. The more common forms of the lycanthropy curse involve wolves, bears, rats and other land-beasts, but around the shores, it can also involve taking the form of the shark.
Weresharks are a versatile branch of lycanthropes, and they have been known to come in several forms. Just as there are hundreds of species of sharks, there can be hundreds of different species of weresharks, though this article presents four variants. If you’re using variants in your campaign, you can keep the curses separate for each specific species, or you can add an element of chaos and rotate through the different species on different people (for example, a Great White wereshark’s bite may sire a Mako wereshark, etc) or even the same person on a different night. Whatever the case, keep in mind that they are dangerous predators, more so than other lycanthropes, since their hunting habits involve hiding and waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
A wereshark is typically a solitary hunter though they still exhibit social tendencies. Right after their transformation, if they’re hungry, they will hunt and feed alone. However, afterwards they tend to seek out other weresharks, usually at a local reef or beach “hangout.” Their social interactions are somewhat limited, however, usually just swimming near each other or simple acknowledgments. What makes weresharks dangerous is that they don’t necessarily feed every time they change. They will strike if an opportunity presents itself, but they may not actively hunt, so several months may pass between attacks. Also, weresharks have a tendency to “test” their prey by biting it once and then retreating to a safe distance to wait for it to bleed out. Because of this, the curse can spread rapidly through a town since many bite victims will survive the attack only to join the ranks of the weresharks during the next full moon.
While in human form, weresharks tend to be cold and aloof, which allows them to hide in communities as unassuming loners. If they pick up any shark-like traits, their body hair becomes thinner and missing teeth will grow back. In fact, one unnerving trait which alerts you to the presence of a wereshark is that their teeth are always pearly white and free of damage and disease, since their teeth are replaced at a rapid rate.
Unlike most lycanthropes, weresharks only have a hybrid form that combines the features of humanoids and sharks. They walk on two legs and have two hands with which they can use weapons, open doors, or climb. However, their bodies are shark-like with long tails that allow them to swim very quickly.
Medium humanoid (human, shapechanger), neutral evil
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 120 (16d8 + 48)
Speed 30ft., Swim 40ft
Str 18 (+4), Dex 13 (+1), Con 16 (+3), Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+1), Cha 11 (+0)
Skills Perception +3, Stealth +3
Damage Immunities bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons that aren’t silvered.
Senses dark vision 60ft, passive Perception 15
Languages. Common (can’t speak in shark form)
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
Amphibious. The wereshark can breathe air and water.
Blood Frenzy. The wereshark has advantage on melee attack rolls against any creature that doesn’t have all its hit points.
Keen Scent. The wereshark has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Shapechanger. The wereshark can use its action to polymorph into a shark-humanoid hybrid, or back to its true form, which is humanoid. Its statistics (other than size) are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed, and it reverts to its true form if it dies.
Multiattack (Hybrid Form Only). In humanoid form, the wereshark makes two short sword attacks. In hybrid form, it can attack like a humanoid or make one bite and two claw attacks.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5ft, one target. Hit 13 (2d8 +4) piercing damage.
Claw (Hybrid Form Only) Melee Weapon Attack; +6 to hit, reach 5ft, one target, hit 7 (1d6 + 4) slashing damage.
Short Sword (Humanoid or Hybrid Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack; +6 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) slashing damage.
Sometimes weresharks can take more specific forms, which changes some of their features, and possibly their challenge. Below are optional builds for weresharks that grant them different advantages:
Mako sharks are among the fastest predators of the sea. Mako weresharks have long needle-like teeth and lean, sleek bodies.
Increase the wereshark’s Speed to Swim 60ft.
Great White Wereshark
The largest predatory shark species, the Great White has a nasty reputation and are the most iconic species of sharks. Great White Weresharks have large triangular teeth.
Increase the size of the wereshark’s hybrid form to large.
Increase Armor Class to 13
Hit Points Increase to 136 (16d10 +48)
Increase Strength to 20 (+5)
Challenge 5 (1,800 xp)
Charge. If the Great White wereshark moves at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a bite attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 11 (2d10) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature and on land, it must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack +7 to hit; reach 5ft, one target, Hit 18 (3d8 +5)
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack +7 to hit; reach 5ft, one target, Hit 9 (1d8 + 5)
Hammerhead sharks have an increased ability to track prey by using senses other than sight and smell, there wide heads allow them to see both forward and behind, plus they can sense a living creatures nervous system. Hammerhead weresharks have Blindsight 30ft. Additionally, Hammerhead weresharks always have advantage on Perception checks, not just ones relating to smell.
Several species of shark wait on the ocean floor and ambush prey that happens by, the most well-known being the Wobbegong, who have growths or whiskers on their mouths to blend in easier to the ocean floor. Wobbegong weresharks normally hunt by waiting on the sea floor in a few feet of water, then bursting out when unfortunate prey walks by.
Assassinate. During its first turn, the Wobbegong wereshark has advantage on attack rolls against any creature that hasn’t taken a turn. Any hit the Wobbegong wereshark makes against a surprised creature is a critical hit.
Ocean Camouflage. The Wobbegong Wereshark has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks when hiding on the ocean floor.