I ran across a thread on Facebook about a different take on Werewolves. It started as an amusing idea about people bringing home a puppy, and finding out it's a baby werewolf. And, in true internet fashion, the thread got sillier and siller.

In reading that thread I felt inspired to create a new little society in the Sublight Universe. The Magic system I devised does support shapeshifting. And I've also established that some schools of magic/tegic are powered by/triggered by emotion.

Classical werewolves are simply people with latent shapeshifting abilities. Unfortunately the ability is triggered by powerful emotions. When the ability is triggered uncontrollably, the person tends to go on a monstrous rampage. They are generally in a vulnerable and/or angry state to begin with. Add in a sudden and unexpected transformation, including neural rewiring, you get the recipe for disaster.

(And, of course, if exposure to moonlight is somehow a factor, imagine how many more werewolves will emerge when people start living ON THE MOON.)

In this scheme, the Incredible Hulk would be classified as a Lycanthrope/shapeshifter. I could also see elements of the First Nation's myth of the Wendigo falling into this category.

Individuals who have this condition are a genuine threat to the people around them. Tragically, friends and close family are often victims of violence in their rampages.

So in the Sublight world, they have established a sort of Leper Colony/Asylum for Lycanthropes (and other Shapeshifters). But rather than be a sort of place where people go to rot, they are trained and mentored by other shapeshifters.

I imagine that they have formed a sort of shapeshifter society. And as shapeshifters make up the bulk of the population, they have had several generations of shapeshifting children.

The children of these shapeshifters learn how to control their powers at a very young age. They don't have the traumatic origin story of the ancestors, and (unless they decide to become an animal in front of someone's eyes) can learn to pass for "normal". But they have the stigma of coming from the planet of Werewolves and Cannibals. Many just stay home, but you get a lot of adventurers who strike out into the Solar System.

One of the core cast in my story is going to be one of these Shapeshifters. She ends up taking a billet on the C├ęzanne because the deep space ships are much more accepting of risk and eccentric behavior.

From a purely legal standpoint, the only people who are not allowed to leave the shapeshifter planet area the people who have had a violent outburst, or who otherwise have demonstrated that they are danger to society. Their children are always free to come and go, unless they lose control of their powers. The elders, however, have a very strict policy and a long set of rites of passage to demonstrate who is disciplined enough to travel the Solar System (and to not bring shame on their culture.)

As such, the Shapeshifting character is extremely polite, legalistic, and very, very cautious to stick to forms she knows and can control. She does go away for a week or two at a time to "practice". During these times she seals herself into an area of the ship, and leaves strict instructions that none are allowed to enter.

And... maybe just to add some extra spice, using her power makes her extremely horny afterwards. The process of shapeshifting runs havok with brain chemistry. Every Shapeshifter has a extreme cravings after transforming. For some it's human flesh. Some want a chocolate bar. For her, despite being utterly uptight most of the rest of the time, it's sex. And she is really, really, really embarrassed about it.