Maybe I should have slept on this question for a little bit, but here I go.

I am working on a TRPG and a setting that would accompany the TRPG. In my setting all monsters are or were humans, so rather than slaying them, as in D&D, you can always "save them" and "turn them back" into humans. Thus, the players will always have a dilemma when meeting a monster - do we risk capturing and saving them or rationalize why it was okay to kill it, punish it?

In order to keep this narrative, I need to populate the setting with monsters that could be "saved" and create traditions (magic, tales, etc.) on how to "save" them. Thus, I am looking for real-life mythologies and folklore that could function as inspiration.

What I am NOT looking for is traditions about werewolves being able to transform into a human. I am talking about the idea that all monsters are or were humans once, and by doing "X" (like helping them, performing a spell, ritual, etc.), the monster can be "saved" and turned back into a human or at least civilized.

I also know that Christian exorcism exists, but is there anything else?

Honestly, any info about similar concepts like "monsters turning back into humans" or "monsters being saved or re-gaining their humanity" would be appreciated. I can read on the specific myths or traditions myself.

Thank you for taking the time to read and answer my question!

3 Answers 3


In Fairy Tales

I am sure you are familiar with the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. There are many variants of the tale, all belonging to the "Beauty and the Beast" folk motif (tale type ATU 425C in the Aarne–Thompson–Uther Index).

Closely related motifs are type ATU 425A "The Animal (Monster) as Bridegroom" and type ATU 433B "King Lindworm". They all involve grooms (often princes) turned into various kinds of monsters or animals, and a maiden who has to perform a specific task or ritual to disenchant them.

You can find many versions of these tales listed in the Wikipedia pages I linked above, as well as a comprehensive list of tales related to the Beauty and the Beast here.

The Metamorphoses of Apuleius

In this ancient Roman novel a man named Lucius unwittingly turns himself into an ass. Even though you asked specifically for monsters (and not simple animals) regaining their human form, you might still find this particular novel interesting.

The process through which he breaks the spell is described in detail in the last book, and it involves several steps: seven purifying baths in the sea, the invocation of the goddess Isis, and eating a crown of roses held by a priest.

  • 2
    There are also many fairy tales of monstrous brides.
    – Mary
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 23:52

The mention of werewolves reminded me of the Rougarou. It's a Cajun descendant of the werewolf legend (loup-garou is French for werewolf), but rather different. (There's possibly some Wendigo and Sasquatch in there as well, and some things in the Rougarou legend are possibly not from any of those).

The Rougarou legend is very variable, but in one version, the Rougarou will lie in wait for people and fight them, hoping that they will end up drawing blood from it. (In another version of the legend, they only have to see the Rougarou's eyes.) If they shed any of the Rougarou's blood, the curse is passed on to them and the Rougarou will be free. They must tell nobody about the encounter for a year and a day, or they will become a Rougarou themselves. If they keep the secret for a year and a day, the curse is over.

Further information at https://peachtown.org/legendary-monsters-of-louisiana-rougarou/ https://exemplore.com/cryptids/The-Rougarou-Louisianas-Cajun-Werewolf https://www.strangeology.com/post/cryptid-casefile-the-rougarou .


The Laidly Worm of Spindleston Heugh was a dragon once a human. Her brother rescued her by kissing her three times. Likewise in Kemp Owen the king's son rescues a lady turned into a dragon by kissing her.

In Frog Prince tales, however, despite pop culture, he's usually restored by violence: chopping his head off or throwing him against the wall.

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