Adventures in Stormreach
Shifters are a player race in the Eberron campaign setting.
Shifters, sometimes called “the weretouched,” are descended from humans and natural lycanthropes, now nearly extinct on Khorvaire. Shifters cannot fully change shape but can take on animalistic features—a state they call shifting. Shifters have evolved into a unique race that breeds true. They have a distinct culture with its own traditions and identity.
Shifters are basically humanoid in shape, but their bodies are exceptionally lithe. They often move in a crouched posture, springing and leaping while their companions walk normally alongside. Their faces have a bestial cast, with wide, flat noses, large eyes and heavy eyebrows, pointed ears, and long sideburns (in both sexes). Their forearms and lower legs grow long hair, and the hair of their heads is thick and worn long.
Personality: The personality and behavior of shifters are influenced by their animal natures. Many are boorish and crude, while others are quiet, shifty, and solitary. Just as most lycanthropes are carnivores, shifters have a predatory personality and think of most activities in terms of hunting and prey. They view survival as a challenge, striving to be self-reliant, adaptable, and resourceful.
Relations: Many races feel uncomfortable around shifters, the same way they feel around any large predator. Of course, some grow to appreciate individual shifters despite their natural aversion, and halflings in general get along well with them. For their part, shifters are accustomed to distrust and don’t expect better treatment from members of the other races, although some shifters try to earn respect and companionship through acts and deeds.
Alignment: Shifters are usually neutral, viewing the struggle to survive as more important than moral or ethical concerns about how survival is maintained.
Shifter Lands: Shifters have no land of their own. Being descended from human stock, they live in human lands. Unlike changelings, however, shifters often live in rural areas away from the crowded spaces of the cities. They are most commonly encountered in the Eldeen Reaches and other remote areas that can be found in all the nations. Many shifters earn their way as trappers, hunters, fishers, trackers, guides, and military scouts.
Dragonmarks: The fact that none of the dragonmarked houses includes shifters cements their place outside the mainstream of society.
Religion: Most shifters incline toward the druid based religion of the Eldeen Reaches, believing in the divine power of the earth itself, the elements, and the creatures of the earth. Those shifters who revere the pantheon of the Sovereign Host are drawn toward the deities Balinor and Boldrei, while other shifters follow the Traveler. Shifters rarely worship the Silver Flame.
Language: Shifters speak Common and rarely learn other languages.
Names: Shifters use the same names as humans, often ones that sound rustic to city-dwellers.
Adventurers: Moving from the rugged, self-reliant life of a shifter trapper or hunter to an adventuring life is not a big step. Many shifters find themselves embarking on adventuring careers after something happens to disrupt their everyday routines—a monstrous incursion into their village or forest, for example, or a guide job gone sour.
Standard Racial Traits
Ability Score Racial Traits: Shifters are lithe, agile and wise, but their fundamental bestial nature detracts from their social interaction. They gain +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, and –2 Charisma.
Size: Shifters are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Type: Shifters are Humanoids with the shapechanger subtype.
Base Speed: Shifters have a base speed of 30 feet.
Languages: Shifters begin play speaking Common. Shifters with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Elven, Gnome, Halfling, and Sylvan. See Eberron Languages for more information about these languages.
Defense Racial Traits
Damage Reduction: Shifters gain damage reduction 1/silver.
Feat and Skill Racial Traits
Animalistic Heritage: Shifters receive a +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics and Climb checks.
Offense Racial Traits
Shifting (Su): A shifter can tap into her lycanthropic heritage to gain short bursts of physical power. For a short time each day, a shifter can enter a state that is superficially similar to a barbarian’s rage. Each shifter has one of six shifter traits—characteristics that manifest themselves when a character is shifting. Each shifter trait provides a +2 bonus to one of the character’s physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution) and grants some other advantage as well. Shifter traits are described in the following section.
Shifting is a free action and lasts for a number of rounds equal to 4 + the shifter’s Con modifier. (Temporary increases to Constitution, such as those gained from a shifter trait and spells like bear’s endurance, do not increase the total number of rounds that a shifter can shift per day.) A shifter can stop shifting as a free action. Unlike a barbarian’s rage, a shifter is not fatigued after shifting and can otherwise shifter multiple times during a single encounter or combat. If a shifter falls unconscious, her shifting immediately ends, placing her in peril of death. A shifter can take feats to improve this ability. These shifter feats are described in Feats.
Every shifter feat a character takes increases the daily duration of shifting by 2 rounds. So, a character with two shifter feats can shift for a number of rounds per day equal to 8 + the shifter’s Con modifier.
Shifting, though related to and developed from lycanthropy, is neither an affliction nor a curse. It is not passed on by bite or claw attacks, and a shifter can’t be cured—shifting is a natural ability for the race.
Senses Racial Traits
Low-Light Vision: Shifters can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
Each shifter has one of the following special traits, which is selected when a character is created and cannot be changed thereafter.
- Beasthide (Su): While shifting, a beasthide shifter gains a +2 bonus to Constitution and natural armor that provides a +2 bonus to AC.
- Longtooth (Su): While shifting, a longtooth shifter gains a +2 bonus to Strength and grows fangs that can be used as a natural weapon, dealing 1d6 + Str points of damage (plus an additional +1 for every four character levels she has) with a successful bite attack. She cannot attack more than once per round with her bite, even if her base attack bonus is high enough to give her multiple attacks. She can use her bite as a secondary attack (taking a –5 penalty on her attack roll) while wielding a weapon.
- Cliffwalk (Su): While shifting, a cliffwalk shifter gains a +2 bonus to Dexterity and has a climb speed of 20 feet.
- Razorclaw (Su): While shifting, a razorclaw shifter gains a +2 bonus to Strength and grows claws that can be used as natural weapons. These claws deal 1d4 + Str points of damage (plus an additional +1 for every four character levels she has) with each successful attack. She can attack with one claw as a standard action or with two claws as a full attack action (as a primary natural weapon). She can not attack more than once per round with a single claw, even if her base attack bonus is high enough to give her multiple attacks. She can attack with a claw as a light off-hand weapon while wielding a weapon in her primary hand, but all her attacks in that round take a –2 penalty.
- Longstride (Su): While shifting, a longstride shifter gains a +2 bonus to Dexterity and a bonus of +10 feet to her base land speed.
- Wildhunt (Su): While shifting, a wildhunt shifter gains a +2 bonus to Constitution and the scent ability.
This ability allows the shifter to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell. A wildhunt shifter can identify familiar odors just as a human does familiar sights.
A wildhunt shifter can detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell. If the opponent is upwind, the range increases to 60 feet; if downwind, it drops to 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at triple normal range. These stronger scents block other scents, so they can sometimes be used to confuse or hamper this shifter trait.
When wildhunt shifter can detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell. If the opponent is upwind, the range increases to 60 feet; if downwind, it drops to 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at triple normal range. These stronger scents block other scents, so they can sometimes be used to confuse or hamper this shifter trait.
While shifting, a wildhunt shifter who has the Track feat can follow tracks by smell, making Survival checks to find or follow a trail. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10 (regardless of the surface that holds the scent). This DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry’s odor is, the number of creatures producing the odor, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail grows cold, the DC increases by 2. This ability otherwise follows the rules for the Track feat. Shifters tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.
When not shifting, a wildhunt shifter gains a +2 bonus on Survival checks due to the lingering effects of the scent ability.