Werewolves in Skyrim are pretty overpowered. First of all, they can maul the scales off a dragon’s back in a mere five swipes. They can also feed on corpses to regain health at an alarming rate. To top things off, their stamina is essentially undepletable. They’re lean, mean, wolfy machines.
I like being a werewolf in Skyrim, but even when I crank up the difficulty it feels a little too easy. The only real downside is that, well, people kind of hate werewolves. That's never really a problem, though: I can browse for trinkets and treasures along the high streets of Solitude without having to worry about anybody finding out that I’m a lycanthrope, and if the going gets tough I can just press the Beast Form key and turn into a ripped wolfman capable of claw-punching every single enemy in the game. Where’s the fun in that?
Instead of playing Skyrim with the same conveniences again, I decided to make things a little more interesting by cursing myself as an Accidental Werewolf. By equipping the Cursed Ring of Hircine, you lose control over your transformations. They become involuntary, and once you feel that rumbling in your tummy you’re left with no choice but to accept what’s about to go down. Obviously I don’t want to become a vicious murderer—I’m a human first and foremost.
But again, humans hate werewolves. I'll kill them if I have to, but I'll feel bad about it.
Now that I'm wearing the ring, I’ll have to be careful when I enter towns. No telling when I might, whoopsie, accidentally metamorphose into a bloodthirsty beast. No more hour-long antagonizations of Nazeem. I’ll have to settle for a Fus—there’s no time for a Ro Dah.
I decide I’m going to try it out in a safe place first, so I fast-travel to Whiterun and make toward Markarth. I quickly realize that it’s actually been a minute since I last played Skyrim, so I start to press every key on the keyboard to rediscover how the werewolf control mapping actually works. Accidentally, I unleash an almighty bellow, which is immediately met by the roaring cry of a too-close-for-comfort dragon. It’s fine though.
Rock beats scissors, werewolf beats dragon. Funnily enough, two rogue mudcrabs somehow find their way into the midst of this epic brawl, but they weren’t exactly the fiercest contenders in Skyrim.
I know I’ll probably turn into a human again pretty soon, so I decide to head back to Whiterun. It’s high time I paid my pal Balgruuf the Greater a visit, and I’m keen to net some catharsis after my bloody encounter with the world’s bravest mudcrabs. My plan fails immediately.
I transform into a werewolf right in front of Carlotta Valentia’s food stall and within seconds the whole town is out to get me. For the first time in a long time, Gray-Manes and Battle-Borns fight as Shield siblings, working together to expunge the monster before them. Even Nazeem joins in—there’s no place for werewolves in the Cloud District.
I really don't want to murder everyone in Whiterun. I like these people! Desperate to avoid any conflict, I beeline for the sewers in the northeastern corner of the city and hide until I’m human again. Under the cover of darkness I slip out of the city undetected, wallowing in the fact that I can never return.
I run non-stop to Solitude in search of a fresh start. In between transformations, I frequent the Bard’s College before going down the Skeever for a pint. One pint only, though. Transforming at the bar because I stuck around too long to get sloshed would be a really embarrassing way to get kicked out of another town. The locals will turn against me in a heartbeat. As night falls, I decide to leave the city—it’s been a while since I last wolfed out, so I’m well overdue. Sure enough, it happens just past the hill that brings you down to the East Empire Company.
I barely have a second to consider my luck before things take a turn for the worse. A wickedly powerful dragon descends from the heavens and starts spitting some kind of frosty fire at me. I really didn't expect to spend this much time fighting dragons. This is supposed to be an inner struggle with my own humanity, dragons! Butt out.
It's not really that inconvenient—I kick the dragon's ass without busting a sweat, but then I see red on the screen. What hit me? A bear? A bandit? A blooded vampire, jealous of my lycanthropy?
Nope. Staring at me through eyes teeming with hate—at least that’s what I imagine, his helmet’s kinda hard to see through—is a young Stormcloak soldier, arrow nocked on a cheap longbow.
I’m caught. For some reason, even though I’m covered in thick wolfy fur and stand a solid three feet taller than usual, guards in Skyrim are instantly able to recognize me when I'm a werewolf. My bounty goes up just for being seen! What am I supposed to do, guard? Wait it out until I turn back into a human? Werewolves don’t carry gold.
These guards won’t leave me alone and I have the game difficulty cranked up. I’m in trouble. I think to myself: What would a werewolf do in this situation? It's time to really get into character. Probably retaliate with bared fangs and slashing claws, right? So that’s what I do—no more Mr. Nice Wolf. I let out a roar and before these unfortunate souls can swing their swords, they’re all dead.
I feel conflicted now. I managed to play for hours before having a moral hiccup like this (a murder hiccup). I decide to venture back to Solitude to snoop around a little. I quickly realize I don’t have a bounty anymore, probably because I killed all of the witnesses. After about 20 seconds of deep thought, I conclude that I should probably try to make it up to society, to use my wolven powers for good. So I make my way to the Blue Palace to visit my good friend Elisif, hoping she’ll have a cave that needs clearing out or a bandit camp worth bringing down.
Turns out I’m fresh out of luck, and so is everyone else. I didn’t think it was possible to turn again so quickly, but here I am stood in the Blue Palace, eight feet tall with wolf hair sprouting out of my shoulders. Ah. Fuck it.
“Never should have come here!” yells Falk Firebeard. Poor Falk. You don’t even know what’s about to happen, do you?
I bound around the Blue Palace on all fours, lashing out at anybody who gets in my way. Due to Skyrim’s annoying mechanic that has essential NPCs drop to one knee instead of actually dying, I’m unable to kill everybody in the palace. I also realize that I’ve been checkmated: As a werewolf, I can’t open the door leading back out to Solitude. But these NPCs keep coming, jumping back up from their one-knee respite pose with fully rejuvenated pools of health and stamina.
They keep stabbing me, and the ring's curse means I won't be turning human again soon enough. My health is dropping rapidly, the screen starts fading into darker hues of grey, and… I'm dead. I ungracefully fall down the stairs, defeated by the Cursed Ring of Hircine. Werewolves are OP in Skyrim, but I’ll be damned if I’m good enough to play one who can't control himself.