- by Baril Kerberos (author of A Guide To Herbs)
The Worgen are a race of wolf-men that inhabit Duskwood, Ashenvale, Silverpine Forest and the Grizzly Hills. They resemble a cross between a humanoid and a dire wolf, covered in coarse fur that is usually grey, white or black, but a few reds and browns have been reported as well. They stand between six and eight feet, although there are exceptions to the norm.
Worgen have bulky fur coats consisting of two layers. The first layer is made up of tough guard hairs that repel water and dirt, and the second is a dense, water-resistant undercoat that insulates. Eye colors range from sickly yellow to bloody red.
As a result of their size, Worgen are apex predators, dominating the ecosystems in which they live. Although Worgen mostly hunt and ambush prey including invertebrates, birds, and large mammals (including any humanoids that cross their path). They will also eat carrion without hesitation.
An adult Worgen usually weighs between 250 and 300 Ibs. The largest verified specimen was 3.13 meters (10 ft 3 in) tall and weighed 166 kilograms (392lb), including undigested food. While they have been depicted in various myths has having tails, modern worgen do not, but they do have about 60 serrated teeth that can measure up to 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in length. Their saliva is frequently blood-tinged, because their teeth are almost completely covered by gingival tissue that is naturally lacerated during feeding. This creates an ideal culture for the virulent bacteria that live in their mouth.
Worgen have a particularly acute sense of hearing. They are able to see as far away as 300 meters (985 feet), and have excellent night-vision. Worgen are built for stamina, possessing features ideal for long-distance travel. Their long front limbs and powerful backs and legs facilitate efficient locomotion. They are capable of covering several miles trotting upright at about a pace of 10 km/h (6 mph), and have been known to reach speeds approaching 65 km/h (40 mph) while loping on all fours. Worgen have an affinity for night, though they operate just as well in the daytime. They are impressive leapers, and they have a natural talent for magic, usually of the dark and shadowy nature. Worgen are capable of speaking common, but usually stick to their own language, simply called 'worgen' for lack of a better term, which is made up of an array of howls, barks and grunts.
Their howl is eerie, a mix of human and lupine vocals. The sound carries a malevolence unlike any natural beast. Worgen are nothing short of evil, taking pleasure in torturing and devouring intelligent creatures.
Worgen are not in fact native to Azeroth, instead coming from a world entirely unlike our own. Velinde Starsong reported that, "...The Worgen... battled an incredible enemy. The worgen fought savagely, but their enemy was unflinching: the Lords of the Emerald Flame." These "Lords of the Emerald Flame" remain largely shrouded in mystery. Some have speculated that they are demons, though whether or not they are part of the Burning Legion is unclear.
On the Worgen's homeworld, Archmage Ur of Dalaran stated in his aptly named "Book of Ur", "... It is a dark place, a place of nightmare." Despite- or maybe because of- the conflict, the worgen seem content enough to remain in their world, and for that we are thankful.
Summoned and CreatedEdit
There are two different kinds of Worgen on Azeroth. The first, and most common kind have been summoned. They are found both on Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.
In the past, most worgen were summoned by wizards, for it seems that there are links between our world and theirs, and powerful magic can open those links and allow them through. Most folklore, myths and village tales stem from these worgen of old, summoned by wizards whose names have been lost to time.
Today, there are two prominent summoners of worgen. Both did it with good intentions, but the same, destructive results have occurred in both cases. I speak of Velinde Starsong and Archmage Arugal.
Not much is know about Velinde's early life, but we do know that she was a Sentinel and well liked (or at least trusted) amongst her fellows. She was tasked with the cleansing of Felwood, and prayed to Elune - the patron Moon goddess of the Kal'dorei, or Night Elves- for aid.
Velinde was granted an item called 'The Scythe of Elune', though her journal entries states that it was in fact a twisted piece of gnarled wood rather than a scythe. She presumed that it could be older then the Kal'dorei, though this is a fact up to much debate. A few theories on the origin of the scythe have been discussed. Hador Seaspray, a night elven scholar from Auberdine, states that “Elune would not grant a device of such ruination to the Sentinel [Starsong]. I suspect that outside forces had a hand in this. Perhaps these Lords of [the] Emerald Flame gave her the scythe in order to thin the forces of the Worgen on their home plane.
Vindicator Hennea, a Draenei paladin and up and coming researcher in the field of Worgen study says that, "... The Worgen were not always evil or corrupt. Like the owl beasts on Azuremyst Isle, they could have been servants of the Goddess-- much like the Light exists in many forms across worlds, it is not the improbable to imagine that Elune is unconfined to Azeroth. The giving of the Scythe could have been an act of goodwill, but the worgen had become corrupted.” Whatever the case, the Scythe has been lost from mortal hands for a while now. Roughly two years ago Velinde book passage to the Eastern Kingdoms, to where she traveled through Stranglethorn Veil to Duskwood.
What happened exactly after that is unknown.
What we do know is that Velinde is dead, and for a while the Scythe was left in a mine called Roland's Doom. It was named after a man named Roland, who'd been a wealthy miner with some rather large debts, and he suspected that the mine would have had some value. He invested all of his rapidly shrinking funds into it. However, there was absolutely nothing of value in the mine. Grief and disappointment got the better of him, and he hung himself at the entrance to it.
What Velinde was doing in such a remote, dark place is unclear, and I'm afraid that we may never know.
While Velinde said that the Scythe had been lost to unknown hands, this conflicts with the journal of a man known as “Jitters”, who pulled the Scythe out of the ground in Roland's Doom. Worgen then appeared from underground and overhead, and slaughtered all of the men accompanying Jitters.
He dropped the Scythe as he fled the mine, and what happened to it after is unknown. Hopefully, it is lost where no mortal (or otherwise) can use it.
Archmage Arugal was once a member of the Kirin Tor of Dalaran. Despite this high ranking title, Arugal's magical abilities (or lack thereof) were often questioned. It was this, perhaps, that drove him to declare that he would bolster the faltering ranks of Dalaran with creatures from another dimension to defeat the Scourge after they had destroyed Dalaran. He summoned the worgen, and like the worgen Velinde summoned, they obeyed him at first. But soon they were not only slaughtering the Scourge, but the wizards as well. They took over the keep of the noble Baron Silverlaine and Arugal followed soon after, driven mad with guilt.
We can only assume that it was this madness that led him to curse the villagers of Pyrewood Village into worgens, to adopt them as his supposed "children."
Unable to outright transform the villagers, Arugal affixed them with shackles that amplified his dark magics. Even then only when furtherer aided by moonlight does the transformation occur. Thus, the villagers change every night, save for when the new moon arrives, and they spend the night locked in a deep sleep.
Although I had not seen Pyrewood Worgen transform, a gnome mage of Dalaran stationed in Silverpine, Wence Silverbolt, told me that, “... The transformation is usually preceded by extreme restlessness and anxiety. As the transformation takes place, the victim is struck by convulsions and contractions before finally turning into a worgen.”
After returning to their human forms in the morning, Worgen are usually documented undergoing painful nervous depression. It's said that their skin is rendered extremely sensitive for a few minutes after they regain their human form, a feeling supposedly akin to sunburn. Some have supposed that Arugal turned the citizens of Pyrewood into Worgen to protect them, due to the worgen's effectiveness against the Scourge.
However, to keep the Pyrewood villagers from rebelling against him, Arugal has manipulated the Pyrewood Council into keeping the villagers docile. One seriously has to question if Arugal cursed them into Worgen because he wanted to protect them.
Worgen have always appeared throughout history, usually only as vague shadows that lurk on the edge of villages. It's said that a worgen can pass on their curse with a single bite. This is for the most part largely untrue. Arugal- an Archmage of the Kirin Tor, however others might criticize how much magical power he actually commands- could barely manage to turn the villagers of Pyrewood.
Recently however, it has been discovered that Archmage Arugal lives on as a spirit on Bloodmoon Isle in Northrend. The immensely powerful worgen that reside there with him are capable of spreading their curse, though it takes many, many bites for it to spread-- one would have to be mauled near-death.
But no matter which kind of worgen, a bite of a one is not something to be ignored. The bite is immediately followed by local pain of a burning character. Rapid swelling occurs within minutes as localized disruption of blood clotting, accompanied by shooting pain up to the afflicted limb. These symptoms can last for up to several hours.
Late last year, a team of Dalaran researchers suspected that Worgen may be somewhat venomous. It had been thought that bites inflicted by them were prone to infection because of bacteria in the worgens' mouths, but the research team believed that the immediate effects were caused by mild envenomation.
Worgen also possess virulent bacteria in their saliva, of which more than 57 strains have been isolated. The deadliest bacteria in worgen saliva appears in Nightbane Worgen, which have been nicknamed "Vile Fangs."
Another common myth that Worgen are harmed by silver and religious artifacts. These are also untrue-- there is a large presence of Worgen in the Deep Elm Mine, which was renown for its great supply of silver. The most effective way to slay a worgen is to behead it, regardless of the sort of metal your weapon is crafted from.
However, unlike normal silver, Truesilver (silver that has undergone a special process) will cause burns to a worgen regardless of their shape. Wolfsbane- a herb found in Northrend- also poses a threat, causing irritation to the skin on contact and serious illess or death to a worgen that digests it. They are naturally repelled by the odor of it.
Worgen have regenerative abilities that rival a troll's, so nearly anything that doesn't kill it, it will eventually recover from.
Unlike the undead, worgen are not harmed by religious artifacts such as symbols of The Holy Light or water from a sacred Moonwell. While evil and from a different realm, the Holy Light will not hurt them any more then it would any other type of creature. Worgen can cross running water and will not hesitate to do so to when chasing prey. Despite their bulky frame, they can swim as well as most humanoids.
Worgen are fiercely territorial creatures, never straying very far from the place they've originally been summoned. When large amounts of them have been summoned, they form groups much akin to wolf packs.
There are only six known packs on Azeroth, though Velinde undoubtedly commanded more. They are: Terrowulf, Nightbane, Moonrage, Shadowfang, Bloodmoon and Silverbrook.
The name 'Terrowulf' is actually a poorly translated version of what the night elves call this pack of worgen: U'phol Io Ishura - wolves of terror. Regardless of how well it was or was not translated, the name stuck.
The Worgen- or Eraburis as the night elves call them- reside in the north-central section of Ashenvale forest. They've completely overtaken the Shrine of Merl'Thandris- now known as the Howling Vale due to their chilling cries.
Whether or not they're there on Velinde's orders is unclear. If so, they could be the last remaining pack with loyalty to the Sentinel.
Terrowulf Worgen are tall - not huge- standing at about seven feet average. Their coats are universally black.
It is believed by several of the leading scholars in Worgen research that the barrier between the worgen's homeworld and our own has become very weak in the Howling Vale due to Velinde's actions- the Terrowulf pack never seems to loose numbers, new ones appearing rapidly to take the place of a fallen brother.
They're commanded by a Terrowulf Packlord. Unlike other packs, not much is known on their leaders. Despite their unfaltering numbers, the Terrowulf are a rather small pack, but they have deadly knowledge in curses as well as impressive physical combat skills.
The Nightbane pack is spread all across Duskwood, but based mostly in the Brightwood Grove. These are the largest and most intelligent Worgen, second in size only to the Moonrage pack in Silverpine and undoubtedly more deadly.
Despite being a primitive race, the Worgen have started to craft small settlements in the Brightwood Grove. This is extremely unusual, as most worgen seem content to lurk in old abandoned buildings or mines.
The Nightbane pack is led by two worgen, Nefaru and Gutspill. Nefaru is a tall worgen, standing nine feet with sickly white fur. His howl is more ghastly then most, and his claws are extremely sharp. Gutspill is just about Nefaru's opposite. Small, dark in color but just as deadly, these two make impressive leaders. While Nefaru is more brutish, Gutspill is cunning, even coating his claws with a deadly poison.
They have a strong command of shadow magic and while all Worgen carry a dangerous infection in their saliva, Nightbane have a particularly lethal strain of the virus.
Whether they have anything in relation to the skeletal dragon Nightbane in Karazhan is unknown, though there seems to be some connection between the old tower and the worgen: it's very likely that they're attracted to places where the fabric of reality is weak.
Despite being in Silverpine, the Shadowfang pack is made up almost entirely of summoned Worgen that are loyal to Arugal. While Worgen and Worgs tend to coexist relatively peacefully, the Shadowfang Pack has tamed a good number of them- Wolf Master Nandos seems to have perfected the technique.
A particular worgen- Odo the Blindwatcher - has even taken to taming bats. The ability to domesticate animals is so far unique amongst the Shadowfang, but perhaps the Moonrage will adopt the technique.
The Shadowfang Worgen are the second most powerful pack on Azeroth, due not only to have many members, but their Keep is well guarded as well. The worgen there have a powerful command of magic, and are capable of becoming temporarily immune to it.
The Shadowfang are confined mostly to Shadowfang Keep, with a few of them wandering Silverpine to keep the Moonrage pack in check- these dark worgen call themselves the 'Sons of Arugal'. It's unclear if they're actually summoned or simply Pyrewood Worgen.
A lesser pack, the Moonrage Pack is made up nearly entirely of Pyrewood Worgen, and they can be found nearly everywhere in Silverpine. Interestingly enough, white seems to be the dominant color amongst this pack, while black is usually the norm elsewhere.
Also unique to this pack is their ability to control ice magic- whether or not this is drawn over from their human forms, or entirely of their own power is unknown. It might also be the reason for their particular fur color.
They, like the Nightbane, have crafted small settlements, though the Nightbane display a more impressive ability at making the structures.
Leaders amongst the Moonrage are rare- presumably they look to the Shadowfang or the Pyrewood council for guidance. However, the Pale has assumed leadership of the worgen in the Deep Elm Mine.
They are the weakest pack of known Worgen, and the Dalaran wizards in Silverpine probably would have dealt with them properly if not for the presence of the Shadowfang Worgen.
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King
While not a technical pack itself, the Wolfcult is a mysterious organization based in the Grizzly Hills of Southern Northrend that centers around the Worgen. It's led by none other than the Archmage Arugal, who had previously adopted the worgen of Silverpine Forest in northern Lordaeron as his children.
After Arugal was defeated and beheaded by agents of the Horde, Arugal's headless body was buried at the foot of the path leading up to his former stronghold of Shadowfang Keep. However, the Lich King heard of Arugal, and had him brought back as a shade to wreak havoc in the Grizzly Hills and the human settlements there.
The majority of the populations of the trapper villages willingly joined the Wolfcult. Anyone who was against the teachings of the cult fled, was forcefully turned, or was killed for their heresy. Or, in the case of the workers of the Hollowstone Mine, cursed to undeath. Until the Alliance sent emissaries to ally with the locals in Silverbrook, the Wolfcult operated in secrecy; however, the Alliance eventually discovered the truth behind the trappers.
The exact details of the cult itself are shrouded in mystery, and I've been unable to gather any more information.
The Bloodmoon pack are by far the most deadly group of Worgen on Azeroth. They're based on Bloodmoon Isle in the Grizzly Hills of Northrend, and are led by the Shade of Arugal. It seems Arugal has been resurrected by the Darkfallen, and with the aid of the agents of the Lich King he has become extremely powerful.
Arugal has three lieutenants with him on the Isle: Varlam (a human worg-rider), Selas (a worgen), and Goremaw (a worg). All three are powerful and keep the worgen there in check. Not only are these worgen bigger and stronger then their cousins on Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, they are the only worgen so far to be able to spread the curse through bites like a common disease. However, a victim has to be mauled near death before the “virus” can bypass the body's natural defenses.
Like the Moonrage pack, the Silverbrook pack consists of human/worgen hybrids, and span across several large settlements in the Grizzly Hills. Unlike the Moonrage worgen, however, the Silverbrook pack doesn't have to wear magic-amplifying bracers and moonlight is not required to trigger the change.
And unlike the Pyrewood worgen, most of the Silverbrook pack is quite loyal to Arugal, though there are groups who are loyal to him out of fear.
Extremely rare, there are only a few Worgen who have been recorded as with being without a pack.
One of these is the “Big Bad Wolf” of Karazhan. One of - if not the most- powerful Worgen in Azeroth, it seems as though this worgen doesn't need the protection a pack would provide. He displays a remarkable control of magic, able to change his own shape and that of adventurers as well, and his fighting skills seem to easily surpass that of any other worgen reported.
Eviscerator is the other Worgen who seems to be without a pack, though if he is in Blackrock Depths by his own free will is unclear.
There are also cases of several solitary Worgen roaming Northrend, though they could be easily out on Arugal's bidding.
If a worgen leaves one pack, they will usually travel until they find another.