Shifters, also known as the weretouched, were an exclusive race in the Eberron campaign setting first featured in the 3.5 edition Eberron Campaign Setting in 2004. However, they were then featured in the 4th edition's Player's Handbook 2 in 2009, ending their exclusivity to the Eberron setting. Shifters are one of the intelligent races inhabiting Eberron. With both humans and lycanthropes among their distant ancestors, shifters posses just a small portion of their forefathers' shape-shifting abilities. They cannot transform wholly into an animal but can instead shift parts of their body to become animal-like for short periods of time. In 832 YK the Church of the Silver Flame led an inquisition to wipe out all lycanthropes in Khorvaire, and Shifters got caught up in it. The inquisition lasted fifty years, killing most lycanthropes and driving the survivors deep into the Eldeen Reaches.
- 1 Racial Abilities
- 2 Personality
- 3 Description
- 4 Shifters in Eberron
- 5 Culture & Society
- 6 History
- 7 Religion
- 8 Notable Shifters
- 9 Shifter Traits
- 10 4th Edition
- 11 Prestige Classes
- 12 Stats
- 13 Appendix
- Shifting (Su)
- Base Speed: 30 ft
- Low-light vision
- +2 racial bonus to balance, climb and jump checks.
Longtooth Shifter: If you choose to play a longtooth shifter you gain the Longtooth Shifting encounter power which allows the shifter to transform into their bestial state and provides the character with bonuses to damage and regenerative abilities.
Razorclaw Shifter: If you choose to play a razorclaw shifter you gain the Razorclaw Shifting encounter power which allows the shifter to transform into their bestial state and provides the character with bonuses to speed, AC and reflex.
Shifters commonly have chaotic personalities and experience extremes in their emotions. They are often temperamental and are liable to change moods in swift and dramatic fashion. Shifters find it difficult to control their emotions, especially in stressful situations. Some have learned to control their emotions however, it is obvious to others that they're finding it difficult to do so.
The shifter mind-set is built up around the idea of being self-sufficient and being able to conjure inner strength in times of need rather than relying on one's allies. Shifters can seem overly cautious or constantly ready for future events. A common saying among shifters is "preparing for the journey yet to come" which reflects how they believe the world can change instantly and how important it is to be prepared to avoid the danger that those changes can bring.
Shifters believe that the reward for independence is freedom and thus they feel uncomfortable around those who attempt to impose their will and beliefs upon others. It is also common for a shifter to feel restricted in a human settlement with its rules and law enforcement.
Due to their predator instincts shifters can't help acting or thinking like animals and think in terms of hunting and prey. Like wolves longtooth shifters feel the urge to form packs with companions whether they be family or even a group consisting of no other shifters. They make useful companions as they work well in teams, capable of coordinating attacks and will come to the rescue of any of its pack members.
Razorclaw shifters are more independent, self-reliant and adaptable than their longtooth cousins. They're just as loyal to their group as longtooth shifters however, they expect their companions to be just as self-reliant and capable as they are. Razorclaw shifters strive to carry their own weight within their groups.
Shifters are accustomed to distrust and don't expect better treatment from the other races though, some try to earn trust with their companions through good deeds. Most shifters are neutral and are concerned more with their survival than ethics and morals.
Shifters instruct their young to play games that teach self-reliance and hunting skills. Their games focus on speed or stealth and fail to see the point of solely mental games such as chess. It is not common for shifters to gamble or make bets but they're more inclined to do so when the bet is about their own performance. Most shifters scoff at gambling games that rely solely on luck.
Much like the young of most other races, shifters enjoy a game of hide and seek and some even continue to play it well into adulthood though, when shifters take the game to an extreme and focus on stealth and tracking skills. Another game that is popular amongst both the youth and the adults is simple running. When shifters gather, a race is sure to follow but just like their games of hide and seek they prefer races with obstacles such as fallen trees and
pitfalls rather than a straight sprint.
Hrazhak is a shifter game that resembles capture the flag though once again, taken to a shifter style extreme. It is played by two teams of six and each team possesses a wooden idol which the opposite team will attempt to steal and place next to their idol which must be in their goal area. Both your team's idol and the enemy's idol must be in your goal area to win, physical contact in the game is expected. Hrazhak is played on an obstacle course which features difficult terrain such as streams and fallen logs. Most teams consist of two longstride, two cliffwalker and two razorclaw shifters. Hrazhak is an important part of shifter culture and if a non-shifter is invited to play it is considered a great honour and recognition of the non-shifters skills.
Shifters resemble humans but with more animal like features. Their bodies are physically fit and lithe, they tend to move around in an animal like manner, crouching, springing and leaping. Like cats they have wide flat noses with large eyes, pointed ears and claw-like nails on both their toes and fingers. Their hair is thick and worn long and some have long sideburns to match. Longtooth shifters claim that werewolves are their ancestors and have canine features while the razorclaw shifters claim weretigers to be their ancestors and display feline features. In 3.5 edition shifters had long hair growing from their forearms and lower legs.
Shifters have similar lifespans to humans.
Shifters in Eberron
Being the most distrusted and persecuted race in Eberron many others are fearful and even hateful of them however, halflings get along well with shifters. The shifters that live near or within human societies make their living as trappers, hunters, guides and military scouts.
Shifters have no land of their own and will often settle in the rural areas of human cities avoiding the crowded areas. Some live in nomadic clans or tribes that can be found all over Khorvaire, but they can also be found in Sarlona, where some serve the Inspired as faithful guards and soldiers; others wander the Tundra free from the control of Riedra. A number of shifters have formed communities in the Eldeen Reaches.
It is strictly stated in the 3.5 Eberron Campaign Setting that shifters do not manifest dragonmarks however, the 4th edition Eberron Player's Guide states that whilst it is extremely rare a shifter can manifest a dragonmark.
Shifters share names with humans in the 3.5 Eberron Campaign Setting however, they have unique names in the 4th edition Player's handbook 2.
|Ash, Brook, Claw, Cliff, Flint, Frost, River, Rock, Storm, Thorn, Torn||Aurora, Autumn, Dawn, Hazel, Iris, Lily, Rain, Rose, Summer|
Technology, Magic & Trading
Shifters prefer practical tools that best suit their nomadic and individualistic lifestyles. Their technology emphasizes this through simplicity and portability which has prevented the shifters from reaching the architectural or magical advancements that the other races have achieved. Though, the shifters have never perceived this as a failing, instead what they regard as an accomplishment differs from the other races. Shifters believe that the greatest accomplishment is the perfection of one's own skills needed to survive, this is why shifter craftsmen focus on perfecting a single tool for their own use rather than a collection of lesser wares to be sold. Even shifter merchants adhere to these ideals, carrying a select few versatile and high value items rather than a diverse variety in order to remain prepared for the journey yet to come. The majority of shifter spellcasters are druids, these self-reliant priests of nature focus on creating spells and magic items that would best serve their ability to survive alone in the wilds. Shifters spend little time creating their spells or magic items and prefer to create a single simple item that can serve in a variety of ways and then perfecting their skill with that item.
Culture & Society
The minority Shifter population has been stretched thin and far apart across Khorvaire and now struggles to maintain a sense of racial unity and a cohesive view of their society and culture. There are Shifters, many of whom are clan leaders who have a pro-unity stance towards their race and wish to preserve their culture though, despite their efforts two forms of Shifter societies have became common place. The first is a Shifter enclave which often exist within larger societies, especially those of humans. Some Shifters believe these enclaves provide a sense of community and belonging whilst critics of these enclaves see them as problematic and responsible for maintaining the rift between Shifters and the other races.
The second form of Shifter society is more in tune with the self reliant attitude of their race by being completely independent from foreign societies and somewhat isolationist. Most of these societies reside within the Eldeen Reaches whether this may be due to the Inquisition, the Last War or a desire to live free from the rule and law of the five nations. These barbaric groups provide Shifters the luxury of mainly interacting with their own kind as they view the need of constant social interaction that the other races express as invasive to the their sense of privacy and self reliant attitude.
Shifter communities have important roles filled by individuals that are unique to their culture.
- Loreguards are a secretive group trained for the purpose of interacting with other cultures and to protect their communities from prejudice and threats posed by the other races. It is not specified when the first loreguards began their training though, only the most gifted among the Shifters and those who hold an unbreakable loyalty to the Shifter race are chosen to receive such training. The loreguard comprise of spies, diplomats and assassins.
- Moonspeakers are druids that guide Shifter religious beliefs within their communities. They're tasked with the goal to travel between Shifter settlements and to maintain inter communal bonds. Moonspeakers are important to Shifter communities and give the Shifters that live in their group a feeling of belonging to a larger group through the bonds they create.
- Ragewild Shifters are a specialised warrior breed that provide protection and guidance to smaller less civilised Shifter tribes. Ragewild Shifters combine their abilities with berserker like powers and their prowess is admired among those of their race. Seeing themselves as defenders of all Shifter tribes, that hold no loyalty for any one specific tribe and refuse to involve themselves in intertribal conflicts.
Shifter parents are as dedicated to raising their offspring as any other race though in Shifter society the family unit is not as important. Instead the Shifter youth form close bonds with other children of similar age. These groups comprise of Shifters from different families and become the Shifter's closest bonds, even more so than their parents. Compared to the families of the other races, Shifters seem withdrawn and spend little time with each other. This form of the family unit focusses on the Shifter's sense of personal space and self reliance over the group's cohesiveness.
Shifters do not have their own language though they have developed a few unique terms.
- Silvered: Rarely used literally this term is used to indicate a person, weapon, place or thing that has been created to take advantage of another's weakness.
- The Journey Yet to Come: Most commonly used to refer to a Shifter's destiny though it can also mean the future or an unforeseen event.
- Grasping the Moons: This term means shifting though it is becoming more obscure over time.
Shifter's have developed a form of art that reflects their nomadic and independent nature. Shifter art is never stationary or impractical to carry around instead their art is etched into them in the form of tattoos or woven into their hair. One form of shifter art are totem braids, which are woven before attempting a task or making an oath. The unique braid represents the oath or task and upon completion of either or the breaking of oath, the braid is cut off. It is believed by the shifters that these totem braids bring them good fortune. Shifters also display artistic talent through their tattoos which come in two forms, morphic and static. Morphic tattoos change their imagery when the wearer uses their shifting abilities where as static remain the same regardless. Morphic tattoos are used to mark one's physical or mental accomplishments whilst static signify an affiliation to a clan or bond to a loved one.
In 832 YK The Church of the Silverflame launched an inquisition to wipe out lycanthropy. Until 835 YK, three years into the inquisition, Shifters were believed to be lycanthropes and the resulting effect was the near extinction of their race. Unlike their lycanthrope cousins who were rare, difficult to find and more powerful, Shifters were relatively easy to find and their numbers small making them an easy target for the inquisition. Many of the church's early successes were at the expense of the Shifter race. The leaders of the church interpreted these successes as signs that their cause was righteous and destined for success. Though the church acknowledged Shifters as a separate race during the early years of the inquisition, the damage was already done and thousands of Shifters had been killed at the hands of Silver Flame soldiers, it was nothing short of a genocide. Shifters suffered not only from the mistake that the church made but from those that held personnel vendettas against them or those that outright disliked Shifters. Anti-Shifter Church leaders and profiteers used the inquisition as an excuse to take out their vendettas on Shifter communities and to make profit from Shifter lives.
It is believed by many that the reason for the Shifters being classed as a different species was that they would have to assist the inquisition by scouting for lycanthrope lairs. Only a few Shifters cooperated but the entire race felt a sense of guilt and shame over these actions. The prejudice against lycanthropes spread rapidly throughout Khorvaire at this time and despite their distant relation with lycanthropes at best, the other races associated this prejudice with them and even saw them as traitors of their own kind.
Individuality being key to Shifter society, the Shifters have never united under one banner and have gone to war. Some have volunteered as scouts for various factions and armies for various wars including the Last War. Due to their effectiveness as scouts, Shifters have become highly sought after during war times.
The Last War
Though to a lesser degree, much like everyone else in Khorvaire, the Shifters suffered from the war too. Shifters joined armies on all sides and fought as soldiers in mixed race units, in Shifter scouting parties and as individual scouts. Although the majority of the Shifter populace took no part in the war, the Shifter communities within the cities and towns felt the collateral of the one hundred-year war. Even the reclusive communities that live in the Eldeen Reaches lost family members who had joined the distant battles. The longer the war went on the more Shifter scouts were sought after as each nation's magic users were preoccupied with either crafting the magic tools of warfare or using their magic on the battlefields, leaving them with little time to scout out enemy positions with their magic. One of the greatest Shifter heroes from the Last War was Karmos Render.
The Eldeen Reaches is home to many druid orders though during the Silver Flame's Inquisition a group of Shifters sought the protection of a group known as the Gatekeepers. In exchange for refuge the Shifters bound themselves and all their descendants to the Gatekeepers' cause of guarding a portal known as the Changegate. Though the Inquisition is long over the Shifters, to this day, continue to carry out their ancient oath.
Due to the Silverflame's crusade against lycanthropes, Shifters have become incredibly suspicious of foreign religions. Shifters view zealous and conflict prone religions as terrifying and dangerous. Their own beliefs, perhaps in reaction to this mindset, are varied and mild. The most common Shifter religion has never been named in any Eberron source book though it is a close interpretation of the faith held by the Druids of the Eldeen Wilds. The most influential religious figures are a group of Shifter Druids known as Moonspeakers. The Moonspeakers proclaim that the moons of Eberron are closely tied to Shifter heritage and are linked to their lycanthropic powers.
The Shifters who live in enclaves within the cities and societies of the other races often worship the Sovereign Host though most revere Balinor and Boldrei while Shifter adventurers tend to worship the Traveller. The Shifters who worship the Silver Flame now feel a persistent guilt over the Crusade, especially those who participated in it. Many Shifters abandoned the Silver Flame though, some remain, their faith standing as a bulwark against the scorn of their kin and their own guilt.
It is noted that Shifters celebrate several racial holidays though only two are named.
- Bennin Silverclaw
- Burch: A main character featured in the The Lost Mark trilogy.
- Geth: The protagonist of the Dragon Below trilogy.
- Karmos Render
Each shifter trait has some associated minor behaviour that most of its members exhibit. As with other aspects of shifter psychology, these are general impressions of the shifter race as a whole rather than strict rules that every individual must adhere to. Because members of other races often find shifters hard to accept or get along with, these traits have negative connotations.
Beasthide: Beasthide shifters are blunt and rude; they often speak loudly and interrupt others.
Cliffwalk: Cliffwalk shifters are often shy and introverted.
Dreamsight: Dreamsight shifters are usually calm and contemplative, especially when compared to other shifters.
Gorebrute: Gorebrute shifters are loud and aggressive. They are more likely to threaten violence than most individuals.
Longstride: Longstride shifters are aloof and prideful.
Longtooth: Longtooth shifters are savage and almost feral.
Razorclaw: Razorclaw shifters respect little other than physical power.
Swiftwing: Swiftwing shifters are twitchy and nervous.
Truedive: Truedive shifters are remote and somewhat callous.
Wildhunt: Wildhunt shifters are suspicious and untrusting.
Notable edits have been made to the shifters in the 4th edition. Shifters now only have two shifter traits, Longtooth and Razorclaw. Longtooth shifters are descendants of werewolves and share canine like traits whilst Razorclaw's ancestors are weretigers giving them a more feline appearance.
The appearance of shifters has seen a dramatic change between the two editions as now they resemble humans more than beasts and no longer have long hair growing from their forearms and lower legs. Whilst it is extremely rare, shifters can now manifest dragonmarks.
- Moonspeaker: Races of Eberron p. 143
- Reachrunner: Races of Eberron p. 153
- Weretouched Master: Eberron Campaign Setting p. 85
- Shifter Scout: Races of Eberron p. 38
- Tribal Warrior: Races of Eberron p. 39
- Shifter Shaman: Races of Eberron p. 39
- Longtooth Hunter: Monster Manual p. 233
- Razorclaw Stalker: Monster Manual p. 233
Notes & Trivia
Concerning physical appearance, there have been various versions of shifters between different editions of D&D and artists' renditions.
- Keith Baker, Bill Slavicsek, & James Wyatt (2004). Eberron Campaign Setting. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3274-0.
- Rob Heinsoo, Mike Mearls, and Robert J. Schwalb (2009). Player's Handbook 2. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 16–17. ISBN 0-7869-5016-1.
- Jesse Decker, Matthew Sernett, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, & Keith Baker (2005). Races of Eberron. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3658-4.
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