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Werewolves, silver, and accelerated healing?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Svrtnsse, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    Let me poke the hivemind about your impression of werewolves again.

    Traditionally, werewolves are sensitive to silver to some degree, and so too within my setting. The question this time is how dangerous do you feel silver is to a werewolf, and how does it affect them - Intuitively, based on your personal experience/understanding of werewolves?

    For reference, here's some of the weaponry used to deal with werewolves in my setting.
    Silver coated bullets. These bullets leave a faint trace of silver when they hit a target. There's not enough silver in a single bullet to kill a target, or even in several. However, its enough to slow the werewolf's healing down, and enough hits will knock them out completely.

    Silver spray. Similar to pepper spray or mace. Spray it in the face of a werewolf and if they breathe it in they'll be knocked out near instantly.

    Silver paste...
    Here's where I'm having issues.
    The idea is there's an urban legend in the setting where if you rub a werewolf with silver paste you'll prevent them from shifting into their animal aspect. What it also does is burn away their skin and cause them a serious amount of pain. Similar to with the silver coated bullets, the healing is slowed down.
    The silver would eventually go away though, and then the skin would begin to grow back. What I'm pondering is how long it would take.

    Once the silver is gone, will the werewolfs accelerated healing come back in full force and heal the wounds quikly, or would the wounds take time to heal by virtue of having been caused by silver in the first place? I'm personally leaning towards the former, but I'm curious to see what others might be thinking about it.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

    Silver paste eh? Might be kind of hard to produce (then I'm not exactly in the know of how the precious metal paste industry is) and may be only something someone with a bit of money to throw at a problem werewolf who doesn't pay for their chickens. And if silver already slows down the healing process, then I can only imagine it takes a while if someone get's completely rubbed down with it.

    Then it can come with other such issues, since the healing is slowed down it may actually fully interfere with the process and could eventually kill them in the long term with silver poisoning. Mostly because it slows down and may even one day completely halt the healing process. Then there's always the balms that are just nickel plated instead of actually silver and a whole bunch of snake oil business...so on and so on. There's my take on it.
    Svrtnsse likes this.
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    I would expect the healing to be cut off as long as the silver remains, and for the wounds to heal up pretty quickly when the silver is gone. With a paste, however, the trick becomes getting all of the silver cleaned off. If you rub it on a wound some of it might get into the blood. But even without a wound, some of it might be absorbed into the skin. So now I have this image of a werewolf ripping off the whole chunk of flesh just to make sure all of the silver got ripped up with it.
    Svrtnsse likes this.
  4. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver


    ...if the silver is actually a toxin, then should silver get into the lycanthropes bloodstream, it might have an effect similar to say, arsenic poisoning in humans - long term decline followed by death.
    Svrtnsse likes this.
  5. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

    I say wound contact to silver should cause systemic illness. Chronic, long term illness. The more intense or recurring exposure to silver, the more severe the illness. Not unlike contracting a common cold. You might feel better in a few weeks, it might turn into bronchitis or pneumonia. It should be unique to each werewolf, like any other exposure to illness or infection in humans. If your immune system is compromised, it takes longer to heal wounds.

    I'll also toss my hat into the ring: topical exposure to silver should illicit no radical immunological response. Otherwise, it would be way too easy to develop a simple 'werewolf' test. Most humans don't react well to injections of silver, either- and many would object to the invasiveness of being injected with a metallic solution.

    The werewolf's body would likely have an immunological strategy to cleanse/purge itself of silver, like humans do for heavy metal toxicities. It could be very unpleasant, like trying to pass a kidney stone. Or, crying tears of silver and irritating the eyes. Maybe ridding your body of silver can mess up your vision for weeks, or worse, eventually cause blindness or impaired vision.
    Svrtnsse likes this.
  6. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    Silver and werewolves is a rather recent tradition, I’d get rid of it entirely, heh heh.

    Outside of that? Whatever. Sounds like you’re trying to give it a more medical reasoning, so, I’d stick with something in that flavor, base it on toxins or allergies. Good advice above.
    Svrtnsse likes this.
  7. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    So this made me wonder whether silver bullets normally disintegrate within a werewolf or at least slowly dissolve, because I'd never thought of them that way.

    If they don't, then whether it's merely coated in silver or is completely silver wouldn't make much difference? Then the only way to recover would be to pull the bullet out.

    If silver dissolves into the body's flesh or blood, then it'd work as you say (assuming a werewolf's body can clean this from his system.)

    Again, I don't know how it eventually goes away. If it's being absorbed by the skin, then whatever can't be removed through cleaning will just need to be flushed by the body from the flesh and bloodstream, and this could take a little while. Maybe healing returns gradually instead of all at once as the silver is worked out of the body? I'd guess that a werewolf wouldn't be able to turn until the silver is entirely out of his system.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  8. The way you're thinking it, the best weapon might be silver buckshot. If you can get the silver embedded in lots of little bits, that could kill the werewolf most effectively.

    Or maybe some sort of grenade that sprays shrapnel.
    Night Gardener and Svrtnsse like this.
  9. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    That kind of thing would for sure take out a werewolf I'd say.

    I'd like to try and keep them alive though (they're the main characters). I'm putting them through a fair bit of pain, but I don't want to actually kill them. :p
    Demesnedenoir likes this.
  10. Laurence

    Laurence Inkling

    Oh my gawd what are you doing to Jen? :eek:
  11. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    I have no idea what you're talking about. :D

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