The descendants of lycanthropes caught in their animal forms when the moon crashed, shifters are a bestial and mistrusted folk, capable of great deeds of both bravery and savagery.
In broad strokes, shifters resemble humans with animalistic features. Their bodies are lithe and strong, and they often move in a crouched posture, springing and leaping along the ground. Their faces have a bestial cast, with wide, flat noses, large eyes and heavy eyebrows, pointed ears and long sideburns. The hair of their heads is thick and worn long. Shifter skin and hair are usually some shade of brown or black.
Longtooth shifters claim larger animals, bears, boars, lions and apes as ancestors. Razorclaw shifters can be descended from wolves, tigers, panthers and rats. How much a shifter physically resembles their ancestral animal depends very much on the individual shifter – some could easily pass as simply hairy, feral looking humans, while others are practically just anthropomorphic versions of their animalistic progenitors.
Shifters live about as long as humans.
Shifters are atrongly influenced by their animal natures. They think and act like predators, conceiving of most activities in terms of hunting and prey.
Depending on their base animal, a shifter can be subtle or brazen, solitary or social, violent or peaceable. A razorclaw shifter, descended from a werewolf, for instance, would most likely be drawn to a pack of companions, whether that’s a family group or a coven of similar shifters or an adventuring party. A longtooth shifter, descended from a werebear, on the other hand, would be more inclined to solitary life, be more independent and less interested in making nice and falling into a social hierarchy.
Historically, shifters have been hunted and persecuted ever since the fall of Imald exposed their ancestors as lycanthropes. Even peaceful, non-violent lycanthropes, those content to leave the civilized world well enough alone, were often exiled, driven from their homes or simply killed outright. To seek refugee from the cruelties of the civilized world, many shifters formed covens, small enclaves of similar folk, usually hidden in a remote wilderness location, where shifters needn’t be afraid of the dangers society imposes on them, where they’re free to uncage the beast and embrace who they actually are.
As the centuries passed, however, the increasing dangers of the wild and the fading memories of a once hateful people have driven many shifters into closer proximity to human, elven, dwarven and dragonborn communities. Some shifters have adapted smoothly to this change, carving niches for themselves as trappers, hunters, fishers, trackers, guides or military scouts. Other have a much harder time fitting in. Shifters who feel alienated from the plains and forests they love sometimes take up adventuring as a way of escaping the confines of city walls and returning to nature. Some shifters, though, turn to a life of crime, preying on the residents of their new homes like the hunters they are.
When they have need of words, shifters typically speak Common but, amongst themselves, there’s rarely such a need that a sound or a gesture can’t communicate.
Interaction between shifters is often mostly non-verbal, consisting mostly of snarls, hisses and purrs. Shifters often pick simple names, usually just unisex sounds, when conversing with non-shifter people.
Names: Tok, Ran, Iro, Ric, Gen, Luc, Rol, Var, Bire, Dar, Enna, Fara, Key, Shav.