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Lycans share werewolf and human ancestry. They resemble humans much of the time, but they possess the ability to transform into bestial humanoids combining the most fearsome aspects of flesh and fur. Lycan are not full werewolves, however, and lack the ability to transform into a true werewolf.

Most lycan come from the Wolfshaunt and have parentage descended from either the Baneback or Blackwolf packs. Lycans are known to be born of mothers infected by lycanthropy during pregnancy or those with lycanthropy crouching somewhere in the branches of the family tree. As the lycan's corruption is inherited (not inflicted), there is no cure for their condition, and it does not worsen throughout the lycan's life. The lycan corruption can lie dormant for generations before reappearing.

Appearing human, lycans are virtually indistinguishable from other of their race - although they tend towards dark eyes, wild dark hair, prominent eyebrows that grow together, long index fingers, and richly colored skin. When evoking their bestial aspect, their eyes take on an amber hue, their snouts and ears elongate, teeth become more prominent, claws emerge from fingertips, and skin toughens into hide with patches of fur. Despite their shapechanging abilities, they are not immune to infection from full lycanthropes.