Shifter
Shifter

Shifters are sometimes called the weretouched, as many believe that they are the descendants of humans and lycanthropes. They are humanoids with a bestial aspect; while they cannot fully change shape they can temporarily enhance their animalistic features - a state they call shifting. Whatever their origins, shifters have evolved into a unique race. A 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 over time 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 is drawn to find and protect a pack. When a shifter fully embraces this beast within they physically transform for a short time.
This 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. 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 & Diverse

Shifters are similar to humans in height and build but are more naturally lithe and flexible. Their facial features have a bestial cast, with large eyes, flat noses, and pointed ears; most shifts also have prominent canine teeth. They grow fur-like hair on nearly every part of their bodies.
The traits of the beast within affect 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, and they often live among humans and can be found in rural areas across Khorvaire. 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.

Shifter Traits

Your shifter character has the following traits

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
  • 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. Shifters range from 5 to almost 7 feet tall, depending on their subrace. Your size is Medium.
  • 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.
  • Keen Senses. You have proficiency with the Perception skill.
  • 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. Four major subraces of shifter are found among the world: Beasthide, Longtooth, Swiftstride, and Wildhunt. Choose one of these subraces.

Beasthide

Stoic and solid, a beasthide shifter draws strength and stability from the beast within. Beasthide shifters are typically tied to the bear or the boar, but any creature known for its toughness could apply.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2.
  • Tough. You have proficiency with the Athletics skill.
  • Shifting Feature. Whenever you shift, you gain 1d6 additional temporary hit points, and while shifted, you have a +1 bonus to your AC.

Longtooth

Longtooth shifters are fierce and aggressive, but they form deep bonds with their friends. Many longtooth shifters have canine traits that become more pronounced as they shift, but they might instead draw on tigers, hyenas, or other predators.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
  • Fierce. You have proficiency with the Intimidation skill.
  • Shifting Feature. While shifted, you can use your elongated fangs to make an unarmed strike as a bonus action. If you hit with your fangs, you can deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.

Swiftstride

Swiftstride shifters are graceful and quick. Typically feline in nature, swiftstride shifters are often aloof and difficult to pin down physically or socially.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity and Charisma scores increase by 1.
  • Graceful. You have proficiency in the Acrobatics skill.
  • Swift Stride. Your walking speed increases by 5 feet.
  • Shifting Feature. While shifted, your walking speed increases by an additional 5 feet. Additionally, you can move up to 10 feet as a reaction when an enemy ends its turn within 5 feet of you. This movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks.

Wildhunt

Wildhunt shifters are sharp and insightful. Some are constantly alert, ever wary for possible threats. Others focus on their intuition, searching within. Wildhunt shifters are excellent hunters, and they also tend to become the spiritual leaders of shifter communities.

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 2.
  • Natural Tracker. You have proficiency in the Survival skill.
  • Mark the Scent. As a bonus action, you can mark one creature you can see within 10 feet of you. Until the end of your next long rest, your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make to find the marked creature, and you always know the location of that creature if it is within 60 feet of you. You can't use this trait again until you finish a short or long rest.
  • Shifting Feature. While shifted, you have advantage on Wisdom check
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