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SHIFTERS

The following are guidelines for attitudes and characteristics particular to the Shifter Race in the Unnatural Universe.   While we understand, respect, and encourage individuality, we expect players to adhere to the Unnatural lore.  

 

Shifters in the Unnatural Universe are creatures that can shift from humans to animals.  Such creatures have been part of folklore, mythology, fantasy, and fiction for millennia, and each culture or writer has their own version of Shifters.

This is our version.

KINDRED 

While Shifters can shift into any vertebrate animal whose energy they can tap into, most Shifters have a “Kindred” animal.  With time and practice, they can shift into this animal with little effort, they retain one ability (see below) of the animal in Human form at all times.  They might also retain some other ordinary quirks, like barking in their sleep or a preference for a certain type of food.

 

NOTE:  Your “Kindred” animal should be something native to the Northeast United States.  You may not be a Bengal Tiger or African Lion, but you can be an American Mountain Lion/Cougar/Puma.  Google is your friend.  If your Shifter character is a native to a different country and their Kindred is not an animal found in the region, they will lose the connection to the animal and must find another.

 

KINDRED ABILITY

 

You may choose ONE ability from your Kindred to retain in human form.  Some animals indeed have some extraordinary senses or abilities, please play these sensibly and research to be sure that the ability you chose pertains to your “Kindred” animal.  If the ability you want is not listed, talk to an admin for confirmation!


Tetrachromacy - Can see colors more vividly and distinctly

Advanced Hearing - Heightened sense of hearing

Visual Acuity - Can see farther/better than a normal human can

Night Vision - Can see better in the dark 

Infrared Sensing - Heat-seeking, can detect heat signatures.  

Advanced Taste - Has a much broader palette and more taste buds

Hypersensitive Skin - More receptive to touch, changes in the wind, temperatures, etc

Advanced Smell - Can pick up individual scents, track, etc., much like a dog would

Underwater Breathing - The ability to absorb oxygen through their skin, like some amphibians.  

Echolocation - The ability of humans to detect objects in their environment by sensing echoes from those objects, by actively creating sounds: for example, by tapping their canes, lightly stomping a foot, snapping their fingers, or making clicking noises with their mouths.  This enables them to move around more easily in the dark.

Swiftness/Agility - Faster than the average human and better reflexes.  Think parkour, climbing, sprinting

Strength - Stronger than the average human.

 

Remember that while a Shifter would retain the ability they do not retain the physical organs or aspects that grant this, and the rest of their body can’t always adapt—for example, Underwater Breathing.  While the Shifter could remain underwater for longer periods and absorb oxygen through their skin, they do not have gills in human form, and their human body is not made to be underwater for too long without being affected.  Hypothermia, skin deterioration, water in the lungs, etc are still things to consider.  Night Vision could mean that daylight or bright lights are uncomfortable or even painful.  Swiftness might make a Shifter faster, but it would never be as fast as a cheetah, for example, since it lacks the 4 legs and joints to create that kind of speed.

 

COTERIES/FAMILIES

 

Shifters will often form groups called Coteries.  While Shifters' abilities are not enhanced by being in a group or by other Shifters, they may want to join a group or form one for alliances and protection.  It is not uncommon to find out that an off-the-grid self-contained community of conservationists is actually Shifter Coterie.  Coteries establish their own hierarchy and rules and decide who can join them.

Kindred
Coteries/Families

ORIGINS

 

Like the other races, the origins of Shifters are unknown, however, they are heavily linked to the power/magic that runs deep in the Earth.  This connection and their magical ability to shift into other animals is genetic, as shifters are born this way, and the trait cannot be passed on or learned any other way.  Many cultures, from China to Argentina have some sort of Shifter as part of their folklore or mythology, the Pooka from Ireland, the Nagual in South America, the Ichchadhari Naag from India, etc.  Your character can believe in the cultural origin myth or legend that resonates with them (or your OOC preference), but such beliefs don't necessarily reflect the truth.

While Shifters appear human, they have the magical ability to transform into vertebrate animals that inhabit the land or water in their current geographical region. The transformation is limited to animals native to the area, those commonly found there, or those that have been present long enough to leave their essence on the land.

 

  • Shifters appear completely Human in human form.  

  • Shifters have a faster metabolism than humans, meaning they burn a lot of calories when they transform, making them quite hungry. Because of this high metabolism, they are less affected by alcohol or other substances than the average person. Additionally, their body temperature may register a few degrees higher than that of a typical human, falling into the "low-grade" fever range. This temperature usually spikes after a shift and remains elevated for a few hours.

  • Shifters are less susceptible to illnesses than humans and can heal quickly, depending on the severity of the wound, but heal faster in Human form.  Severe injuries are better treated in human form.

  • Shifters can live 150-200 years, and age slowly.

  • Shifters are born from other Shifters in their human form, and their first shift usually happens at the first full moon after their 16th birthday, but late bloomers aren’t unheard of, so an adult player coming in as a human can ‘awaken’ after arriving.  

  • For their first shift, a Shifter would feel a ‘calling’ or an urge to “be” a particular animal a few days before the full moon, usually one with a strong presence.  They may exhibit some attributes of the animal, have obsessive thoughts about the animal (where does it live?  What does it eat? etc) and will not be able to control or choose a different animal when the Moon Rises.

Kindred Ability
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