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Do werewolves get hangovers?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Svrtnsse, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    For me it's a yes and a no - sorry, I know you didn't want that as an answer, but there's a reason. My shape shifters basically heal when they shift form. So if they get shot they just shift a few times, which makes them very hardy souls. But the point is that they can still be shot. And it's the same with poisons like alcohol. Yes they can get drunkand yes they can get a hangover. But simply by shifting form, both are gone. So why would they keep a hangover - unless of course they want to suffer.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  2. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I still have mental impressions of werewolves based on the old type. If there's a full moon, and that's the only time they shift, then the rest of the time they are basically humans with human bodies and don't have the strong healing factor and resistance to poisons, etc., that they'd have in their werewolf form. I suppose they might be slightly better at healing, at least during the transformation and maybe more a little after.

    When I read about the quick-healing type, the resistant-to-poisons type, I think Wolverine. And he's not a werewolf, hah.

    I have watched the Twilight movies (don't remember much however), Teen Wolf, the Underworld series of movies, and other modern interpretations, but even in those I seem to recall various weaknesses borrowed from the older type, like silver and wolfsbane. These are effective poisons, even affecting the transitioned werewolf. So...

    I'm going to use some man-on-the-street science—someone could pop in and correct my thinking, hah—but the process of ridding the body of poisons like alcohol involves production of more urine. Poisons can be broken down by the body, but then the body needs to release the resulting compounds through urination plus some of the original toxins that aren't broken down need to be released. This increased urination is basically what leads to dehydration, I think. (My pop-sci approach leads me to believe that sweating off toxins could further lead to dehydration.) So if hangovers are largely a result of dehydration and/or are made worse because of dehydration, then even a werewolf's ability to break down toxins would still lead to dehydration and a hangover. Maybe the werewolf body's very process of breaking down toxins quickly could exacerbate this. But then you're going to have werewolves needing to urinate a lot, hah.

    Edit: Incidentally, I could even see a case of werewolves not being able to get drunk easily but getting hangovers easily. I.e., body breaks down the alcohol so fast he can't get drunk, but that quick process leads to dehydration and a hangover, heh.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  3. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    The supernatural healing of werewolves is a pretty strict requirement for this story and setting.
    Werewolf fighting is a popular spectator "sport" and Roy, one of my main characters, is a fading star within that scene. The superior healing of the werewolves mean the fights are bloodier and more violent than fights between regular mortals. It's possible for the fighters to go all out against each other as they'll heal any injuries apart from actual death within a few days/weeks/months.
     
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  4. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Ah, and I've done some more reading, and I think that the body's process of metabolizing alcohol doesn't relate to the increased urination in the way I thought. It's not trying to get rid of the toxins, so much (although there might be some byproducts and a tiny effect) but rather in how alcohol affects the brain and messes up the brain's ability to regulate the production of urine:

    Fourth, alcohol interferes with the mechanism that regulates the water levels in our body.

    So now, a little anatomy and physiology. In your brain is a small gland called the pituitary gland. It is divided into two sections: the front; and the back.

    The back section is called the posterior pituitary. One of the hormones made by the posterior pituitary gland is called vasopressin, or anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). Diuresis is a fancy word meaning urination.

    Now suppose that you are really dehydrated. So the volume of water in your body is low. But you still have just as many salts floating in this reduced volume of water.

    So these salts are now more concentrated in the reduced volume of water that you have when you are dehydrated.

    Your body has detectors that can sense both the saltiness of your water, and the volume of the water. If these detectors reckon that you are dehydrated, they send a signal to the posterior pituitary gland, which starts pumping out ADH. The job of ADH is to stop you urinating, so you hang on to your precious water. You reduce your normal rate of making urine.

    Alcohol does the opposite. It reduces how much ADH you make, so it increases how much urine you produce. Each shot of alcohol that you drink forces your kidneys to generate an extra 120 millilitres of urine on top of the normal 60—80 millilitres per hour. [Why does drinking alcohol cause dehydration?]

    So...not sure how this would play into how your werewolves' bodies work. I've been searching for more info, but haven't yet found a clear explanation of how alcohol affects ADH.
     
  5. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    BUT, of course, you don't need to have an explanation, hah. It really depends on what you want to do with it. Seems most who have responded in this thread have started with "Yes," so I'd think that's a good indication that you could get away with it rather easy.

    I do think there's an odd double-edged sword here, something I've considered lots of times before when considering the "realism" factor or plausibility factor.

    Sometimes, the more you explain or reinforce some aspect of an in-world reality, then the more it comes under inspection, hah. So if you are reinforcing how these werewolves are immune to toxins, heal super fast from lots of things, then some readers might stumble into a scene involving hangovers and hit a kind of reality-breaking wall. Conversely, sometimes a bit of handwavium or general approach can leave open the plausibility of other things relating to that reality.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  6. ^It's akin to trying to explain why dragons breathe fire, or how many stomachs a centaur has.
     
  7. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Oh, I think it's not a problem of trying to find "realism" in some fantasy creation. I mean, yeah, these creatures do not exist, so there is no real real, hah.

    It's more like: Once you've started outlining them for your world, then you have to keep coloring within the lines. The more specific you get about your fictional reality, the more detail you give, then the greater the likelihood some splash of color might fall outside that outline. Something like that.
     
  8. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    But of course centaurs have one stomach and dragons breathe fire because of an appalling shortage of antacid!!!

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  9. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    You've got a lot of points here.

    The whole realism-in-fantasy discussion is interesting in its own right and probably worthy of its own thread (again?), but I'll try and touch upon it anyway.

    The reason I wanted to specifically ask what the first spontaneous though is, is that it's what comes closest to your intuitive understanding of the situation. If something intuitively makes sense it doesn't really need explaining - especially if it's the same for a lot of people.
    Things you recognise from the real world (including from other stories you're familiar with) don't need much explanation.

    A hangover is relatively recognisable in a character, and it's easy to accept it without really thinking too much about it.
    If instead my werewolves had had another reaction as an after effect to hangovers I'd have a more difficult time selling that to the reader. What if their bodies processed the excess of alcohol through a process that caused the werewolf to grow a thick layer of fur all over their face?

    It could probably be made to work, and make for great comedy value, but it would require more explanation, and it might not feel as intuitive.
     
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  10. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Ha, I like that. I'm not even sure the extra hair growth would need lots of explanation. Why does it happen? 'Cause, werewolves; their bodies react differently to alcohol...and other things!

    As you can see from other comments...probably most people don't actually know how hangovers happen, hah, or at least don't know the details. I did multiple searches until I found something of an explanation of how dehydration can happen when you drink a lot, and I think that was the first time in my life that I bothered trying to find out. So this is also a case of readers bringing their own schema to the subject. I'd imagine that schema is pretty basic: you drink a lot, you get a hangover. It's probably like, you eat the wrong foods, you get heartburn. Can I imagine a werewolf eating something bad and getting heartburn? Hah, yes. Healing factor just doesn't seem to be an issue when thinking digestion and aftereffects.

    The only way to go wrong would be to maybe have a big scene where resistance to toxins is a focus. One of the werewolves' trainers makes a bet with a foreigner, who knows little about werewolves, or else the trainer/king/whatever just wants to display this for the foreigner. So there's a tiny cup of liquid, someone takes a long metal rod and dips it into the container then touches that end to the nose of a caged bear, and the bear immediately writhes in pain and dies within a few minutes. Then, one of the werewolf competitors picks up the cup and downs the whole thing, with no effect. If two chapters later a werewolf wakes up feeling horrible from a hangover after a night of heavy drinking, you might have a problem. So I guess this would be a case of just letting the reader bring the basic schema to the story and not shooting your story in the foot, hah.
     
  11. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    If werwolves are immune to poison, then my immediate assumption would be that they're immune to the effects of alcohol in general. I.e. they can't even get drunk.
     
  12. SMAndy85

    SMAndy85 Minstrel

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    My short, instant answer, Yes.

    longer answer. I am a huge fan of werewolves. I've read several things about the old mythological aspects of werewolves, and the potential magical effects going on that might create an actual werewolf. In reading about this, I would always write my werewolves as healing due to increased metabolism. Therefore, they would metabolise the alcohol faster, but only when in wolf form. So, as a human, they would get hammered like any other. Then, they change. Increased metabolism of being a werewolf means they are swiftly over the drunkenness, but then the hangover kicks in from the dehydration and other effects. The animal instinct would then be to go drink a lot, and then they'd be over it. Unless, they can't get to a water source for a drink for whatever reason.

    I would imagine the increase in metabolism would mean that they would need food/drink in greater quantities while in wolf form anyway, so they may wake up in the morning following a wolf session with a headache if they didn't get enough water during the night anyway, so that would exacerbate the hangover from alcohol.

    My thought is that the werewolf curse (Sanies lupinus, Lycanthropy, whatever you want to call it) is in itself a form of magical disease, making you immune to non-magical diseases, but there's nothing logical about them being immune to poison. Resistant, perhaps, but not immune. Faster metabolism would mean anything meant to knock them out wouldn't last as long, and they'd need more of it to have an effect, but it would still happen.

    My other thought is that the transformation to wolf form is strenuous, which is what causes them to wake up in the middle of nowhere after a transformation. Normally in an uncomfortable position, or in a noisy wilderness situation that would wake any normal person up, or stop them from being able to sleep in the first place. That energy cost is the reason they go off hunting so much, and don't just curl up in front of a fire for the night.

    I'm also going to expand my answer to general therianthropy. I would suggest that a werebear would have sufficient mass to not be as drunk, and a were(cat) would be more likely to curl up and sleep it off. All you ever read about werewolves is that they are vicious killing machines, which is against the normal behaviour of real-life wolves.
     
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  13. Thee_Malak

    Thee_Malak New Member

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    Well if you want to get technical.
    Werewolves have a high immune system, and as we all know the only thing that they are not immune to is wolfsbane or if you like to add mistletoe.
    In order for you to get drunk the alcohol has to pass through your bloodstream and interfere with the neurotransmitters. Since werewolves are quick healers it makes it difficult for the alcohol to do so, making the shapeshifter (werewolf) immune to getting drunk. No matter how much they try they cannot get drunk. It's not logical for them to considering their powers.

    And for a werewolf that is in it's 20s, it's a bummer for them.
     
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  14. Mel Syreth

    Mel Syreth Scribe

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    Oh, you meant that kind of hangover! I thought you were referring to after they transform back to human form in the morning.

    But my answer is still 'Yes, of course.'
     
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  15. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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  16. Ewolf20

    Ewolf20 Minstrel

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    technically speaking, my werewolves (or faerah in general) can get drunk but it depends on the species in question. but for the sake of this thread, let's just talk about werewolves. if a werewolf ever got drunk, there's a likely chance they might shift by accident and cause a commotion, especially in public human areas. naturally, this is one of the few times a werewolf forgot what they did after the change. rest is when they first shift or lose control of their beastial forms.
     
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