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Dating back as far as the medieval age, there have been tales of men who were able to take on the guise and appearance of animals, referred to in legends and lore as skinwalkers, lycanthropes, and changelings. These people have the unique ability to walk as both man and creature. Nobody knows who the first shapeshifter was, though there are numerous tales that point to a variety of different legends, both real and mythological. Shapeshifters (or shifters, as they are known in the modern era) are a varied and populus species. The only way to become a shifter is to be born as one. Though the shifting gene is recessive, shifters often seek out and mate with one another to preserve their species; however, a shifter can come from a shifter-human pairing. There are even instances of shifters showing up after two or three generations of humans. Whenever or however a shifter comes to be, it is something that is genetically gifted and cannot be cured.

What animal form a shifter takes is also determined by genetics. Some families are “purists” in that they only mate with other shifters of their kind (this is how the legend of werewolves and werewolf packs was born). Others simply follow their hearts. Regardless, a shifter’s form is coded into their DNA at birth and cannot be changed under any circumstances. It may have different markings or appearance, but it will still be that of their parents (or ancestors, where applicable). A shifter experiences their first change anywhere from 16 to 21, but no earlier and no later. Unless the shifter has the misfortune of first shifting on the full moon, the transition is painless and simple.

Most shifters lead solitary lives, but some organize into social groups based on their nature (e.g. wolf packs or lion prides). This is not a compulsion, but something that the shifter may feel fits them. Some shifters are more comfortable in a family-style unit. In fact, it is not uncommon to see “packs” of shifters that are just families, spanning back generations.

    Distinguishing Features:

    • Body temperature. Shifters have a slightly warmer than normal body temperature.
    • Scent. Shifters have a unique scent that sets them apart from humans; however, it does not specify what kind of animal they are, just that they're a shifter. This is something that only other shifters can detect.
    • Shapeshifting. Shifters have the ability to shift between their human form and an animal form. The animal is not one that they choose, but rather one they are born with. They can shift between these forms at will, excepting the full moon (see below).
    • Partial shift. With the exception of those who have just begun shifting, shifters can change specific parts of their body if they so choose (e.g. turning their hands into claws, sprouting wings for flight, or producing snake venom).


    • Enhanced senses. Shifters can hear, see, and smell well beyond the normal human capacity.
    • Enhanced strength. Shifters are much stronger than the average human.
    • Enhanced speed. Shifters are much faster than the average human.
    • Extended lifespan. They can live up to 300 years old. No shifter has ever lived longer than this.
    • Regeneration. Shifters can regenerate wounds at accelerated rates. Superficial wounds heal almost instantaneously, while others may take only hours. The only exception to this are wounds inflicted with silver (see below).
    • Immunity to disease. They cannot catch any human disease, no matter its potency or infection rate.
    • Telepathy. They can communicate with other shifters via telepathy, but they must be in line of sight of their target.


    • Silver. The deadliest of the weaknesses. Wounds inflicted with silver heal at a normal rate and leave scars. A silver bullet to the head or heart is instant death. Silver nitrate injected into the bloodstream is certain death.
    • Lunar cycle. All shifters are forced to change into their respective animal forms on the light of a full moon. During the new moon, they temporarily lose their strength and ability to change; it is restored when the new moon has passed.
    • Mountain ash. A shifter cannot cross a line of mountain ash. If touched with it, it will irritate the shifter's skin similar to silver contact, but not does scar.
    • Mortality. Shifters are not immortal. They can live from anywhere between 200 and 300 years old, but will thereafter die of old age. Their bodies stop aging at the peak of their lives (~30) and begin showing signs of age again within 15-20 years of their death.
    • Aconite. Despite the popular name "wolfsbane," this herb affects all shifters regardless of their animal form. It is highly toxic. If not purged from the bloodstream within 24 hours, the shifter dies. They cannot regenerate during this time and some may even lose control of their ability to shift. Skin contact with wolfsbane is a powerful irritant that can leave scarring.
    • Physical trauma. Decapitation, organ removal, and heavy blood loss can all kill a shifter. They are durable, but not invulnerable.
    • Animality. Spending extended amounts of time in their animal form increases the risk that a shifter will lose their sense of humanity and, essentially, become feral. This is an enormous taboo among shifters. The amount of time needed to force this change in personality varies from shifter to shifter, but the signs are clear when they begin: the shifter may start acting out animal behaviors in human form or "lose" some control of their shift, i.e. their eyes permanently becoming wolf eyes. The changes are irreversible.


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