The werewolves are humanoid creatures that resemble a wolf. They possess higher intelligence than other animals, however their bestial nature usually overcomes them.
—From Codex entry: Werewolf
Dragon Age: Origins
The werewolves attacking the Dalish elves were created by Zathrian, their keeper, who used the curse to punish a group of humans that had killed his son and raped his daughter, leading to her death when she found out she was pregnant and committed suicide. He bound the spirit of the forest to a wolf, and so created the curse, which was passed through bite. While Zathrian gained immortality from the curse, the humans were transformed into wicked creatures: bestial, deadly, impulsive and unable to revert back to human form, even in death. Even though the people who had attacked Zathrian's family died long ago, the curse remained.
During the Fifth Blight, Witherfang and the werewolf leader, Swiftrunner, led a group of werewolves that had partially regained their minds in an ambush against the Dalish elves, slaying many and cursing more. This was revenge against Zathrian, but was also meant to force him to end the curse, by infecting elves as well as humans. If someone is bitten, they know within a matter of days if the curse has taken hold. The signs to look for are sweating and vomiting, followed by a high fever.
This was not the only outbreak of werewolves in the history of Ferelden. Whether the other outbreaks were begun by a deliberate curse, similar to the case of Zathrian is unclear.Upon meeting the Lady of the Forest possessing Witherfang in the Lair of the Werewolves it is possible to persuade her and the werewolves to attack the Dalish Elves. The Warden will be transported to the Dalish Camp where Witherfang and the werewolves will help you massacre everyone in the camp, including Zathrian. After the battle finishes, Swiftrunner, realizing that by killing Zathrian the werewolves will never be free of their curse, promises werewolf troops to help fight against the Blight, and a werewolf emissary will appear in the Party Camp. Choosing to attack the Dalish will make the Warden unable to recruit the Dalish, having the werewolves instead.
Dragon Age II
If a game is imported where the Warden sided with the Werewolves in Nature of the Beast, Hawke will come across Clara in the Dalish camp in Sundermount, a human woman whose cousin is a werewolf. She tells Hawke that the werewolves of Ferelden are losing themselves to their bestial nature, and that she is trying to find ingredients for a potion to cure them. Having received no aid from Marethari's Clan, she turns to Hawke, claiming it is the least they can do in payment for the Werewolves' part in The Battle of Denerim.Alternately, if the Warden chose to cure the Werewolves then Hawke will come across a human being harassed by a party of Dalish on the Wounded Coast, the elves seeking vengeance against the man for crimes committed whilst he was a Werewolf.
Appearance and tactics
Werewolves either lack the opposable thumbs to wield weapons or refuse to do so, instead engaging opponents with nothing but claw and fang. A werewolf is taller than humans and elves, and their strength far outmatches that of either race. They lose all resemblance to their former self upon transformation, growing fur, a snout and claws. But perhaps worst of all is the change to the mind. A full Werewolf is truly like a beast. Hunting, mating, and surviving are their only considerations. Although werewolves can maintain or even regain some semblance of their minds (through strong willpower or external magic), it is always a challenge to keep from killing. A beast's true nature is hard to change.
Werewolves strike with their claws to cut deep into the flesh, and deliver a final bite to the throat. For the werewolf, this would ideally be the end of it, but unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be) very few humans, elves or dwarves will let themselves be hunted like a common rabbit. Werewolves wear no armor beyond their naturally thick hide, which can still be pierced by blade or bow. With no particularly strong means of defense, a werewolf will usually try to strike swiftly and hard, rather than wait for the opponent to make the first move. Their hides serve no defense against magic, making that as good an option as any if the werewolf's prey has the talent.
All types, Class Warrior:Frenzy Leap Overwhelm Terrorize
Werewolf Shadow only, Class Rogue:Frenzy Leap Overwhelm Stealth Terrorize
See alsoCodex entry: Werewolf Codex entry: Blighted Werewolf Werewolf Pelt
The pelt of a werewolf, neatly skinned.