Shifters are sometimes called the weretouched, as many believe they are the descendants of humans and lycanthropes. Whatever their origins, shifters have evolved into a unique race. They are humanoids with a bestial aspect; while they can’t fully change shape, they can temporarily enhance their animalistic features-a state they call shifting. Each shifter walks on the knife’s edge between the wilds and the world around them. Do they embrace their primal instincts or the path of civilization?
THE BEAST WITHIN
Early in childhood, a shifter forms a bond with a beast within, a totemic force that shapes their body and mind. Some shifters believe that these spirits are independent entities, and they may speak of Bear or Wolf as ancestors or guides. Most just see the beast within as a formidable expression of their inner nature, something that emerges as the shifter’s personality takes shape. The beast within is a pool of powerful instincts, and its influence is revealed by a shifter’s personality: a feline shifter may be cool and distant, driven by predatory instincts, while a shifter with a lupine spirit might be drawn to find and protect a pack. When a shifter fully embraces this beast within they physically transform for a short time.
A shifter’s beast within is reflected by the shifter’s subrace. Four subraces are especially common:
- Beasthide often signifies the bear or boar: stoic, stubborn, and thick-skinned.
- Longtooth shifters typically have lupine traits and prefer to run with a pack.
- Swiftstride are often predatory and feline, but a swiftstride could also be a cunning rat who darts through the shadows.
- Wildhunt shifters are born from any creature that tracks its prey.
While the beast within certainly has a physical impact on a shifter, it has a spiritual and psychological effect, as well. Two beasthide shifters share the same special ability, but if one has the aspect of the boar and the other is more like a bear, they’ll be quite different in personality. With any shifter, identifying the beast within is a crucial part of understanding the character.
SIMILAR AND DIVERSE
Shifters are similar to humans in height and build but are typically more lithe and flexible. Their facial features have a bestial cast, often with large eyes, flat noses, and pointed ears; most shifters also have prominent canine teeth. They grow fur-like hair on nearly every part of their bodies.
The traits of the beast within affect a shifter’s appearance as well. A swiftstride shifter may have catlike eyes and delicate build, while a beasthide shifter might be a massive brute built like a bear. While a shifter’s appearance might remind an onlooker of an animal, they remain clearly identifiable as shifters even when at their most feral.
THE JOURNEY YET TO COME
Shifters have a strong presence in the Eldeen Reaches but can be found in rural areas across Khorvaire, where they often live among humans. While they form powerful bonds to friends and kin, shifters place great value on self-reliance and freedom. It’s a shifter proverb to “always be prepared for the journey yet to come,” and most shifters strive to be ready for change or opportunity.
Shifters have a natural inclination toward classes with a primal connection. A shifter barbarian draws their rage from the beast within. A shifter ranger indulges their urge to wander and hunt. A shifter rogue harnesses their own predatory instincts. But shifters can pursue any path or faith.
Shifters have no language of their own and often live in blended communities. Their names typically overlap with the names of other cultures in their region. Many shifters prefer to keep their personal names for their friends and use “wandering names” with strangers. These are usually tied to a physical or personality trait.
Shifter Names: Badger, Bear, Cat, Fang, Grace, Grim, Moon, Rain, Red, Scar, Stripe, Swift, Talon, Wolf
Your shifter character has the following traits.
Age. Shifters are quick to mature both physically and emotionally, reaching young adulthood at age 10. They rarely live to be more than 70 years old.
Alignment. Shifters tend toward neutrality, being more focused on survival than concepts of good and evil. A love of personal freedom can drive shifters toward chaotic alignments.
Size. Your size is Medium. To set your height and weight randomly, start with rolling a size modifier:
Size modifier = 2d8
Height = 5 feet + 6 inches + your size modifier in inches
Weight in pounds = 90 + (2d4 x your size modifier)
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. You have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Shifting. As a bonus action, you can assume a more bestial appearance. This transformation lasts for 1 minute, until you die, or until you revert to your normal appearance as a bonus action. When you shift, you gain temporary hit points equal to your level + your Constitution modifier (minimum of 1 temporary hit point). You also gain additional benefits that depend on your shifter subrace, described below.
Once you shift, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common.
Subrace. The beast within shapes each shifter physically and mentally. The four major subraces of shifter include: beasthide, longtooth, swiftstride, and wildhunt. Choose a subrace for your shifter.
Eberron: Rising from the Last War
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