How to Become a Werewolf in Skyrim
There are a number of afflictions that can strike your character in Skyrim, but not all of them are necessarily a bad thing. Take, for example, the potential to turn into a ferocious beast and terrorize the countryside with powerful claws and ear-piercing howls. Such is lycanthropy, or, in simpler terms, the condition of being a werewolf.
Why Be a Werewolf?
Werewolves can transform at will, and the Beast Form lasts a bit over two minutes. During that time, you will be able to run faster than a galloping horse and rend armor-plated enemies with your claws. Your health will increase, as well as your stamina, and wolves will no longer be hostile to you. Plus, if you need to 'remove' someone from this mortal coil, committing a crime as a werewolf won't be pinned on you, even if committed in the town square in broad daylight. To hold the form longer, you will need to feed on the carcasses of dead citizens of Skyrim, or wait a day before initiating the Beast Form again.
Disadvantages of Being a Werewolf
Of course, being able to transform into a bloodthirsty monster will not be looked at favorably by outsiders. Becoming a wolf while in sight of others will instantly place the highest bounty of 1000 gold on your head. You will either frighten off witnesses or be attacked by them. If you happen to run into members of the Silver Hand, their silver weapons can do great damage and they should be treated carefully as a werewolf.
How to Become a Werewolf
The great thing about lycanthropy is that you can choose to ignore it or use it as the situation demands. Unless you are a dedicated roleplayer who can't imagine their character moonlighting as a wolf, it's a nice tool to have in your arsenal.
The standard way to contract lycanthropy is through the Companions, a group of warriors who seek honor, glory, and perhaps profit in battle. Their stronghold is in Whiterun and becomes available early in the story. You will need to complete several tasks before they invite you to become a full member, which occurs after the Proving Honor Quest. Shortly after, Skjor will take you to the Underforge to be transformed for the first time.
Lycanthropy can be cured following a later Companion quest, which will require casting a witch's head into a fire and fighting the wolf spirit that arises. This will, however, cure you permanently. Once you've purged the lycanthropy, you can never become a werewolf again.
I'll admit I was a bit skeptical about the practical benefits of being a werewolf, but now I spend quite a bit of time in Beast Form, just for the fun of it. As mentioned earlier, it's something you can have but never use, so why not have it just in case? I'm continually astounded by the sheer depth of options in Skyrim. Every time you close a door, five more open!