Shapeshifters

Common Shifter Facts

Shapeshifters or lycanthropes are humans infected with a blood disease that cause them to shift into their respective animal at the full moon. Lycanthropes can also shift into their animal at will. People risk becoming infected if a lycanthrope, in shifted form, injures them, or if they are injected with the disease.

Fortunately for lycanthropes, humans are generally unable to see that someone is a shifter. Lycanthropes are often discriminated against in society. People tend to dislike lycanthropes teaching their kids, working with food processsing, in the medical field, and so on. This is why lycanthropes often keep their disease a secret.

Lycanthropes heal very fast, even from severe wounds. Lost limbs can be regained in shifting to animal form. In addition, lycanthropes cannot become infected. This makes shifters hard to kill, although they are vulnerable to silver. Usually taking off a shifter's head or heart does the trick. Shapeshifters are also exceptionally strong, as well as fast and agile.

As said earlier, lycanthropes shift at least once a month, a full moon, and more often if they induce the shifting themselves. If lycanthropes shift back into their human form too soon, they will suffer from a coma, which lasts at least twelve hours. Normally, they collapse back into their human form after eight to ten hours.

The closer it is to full moon, the faster lycanthropes can find themselves shifting against their will. For instance, fresh blood or strong emotions can cause lycanthropes to shift. The closer it is to the full moon, the harder it will be to resist. During shifting, a lycanthrope is vulnerable. After shifting, a lycanthrope must feed.

In the Preternatural World, the Big Three, when it comes to lycanthropes, are Werewolves, Wereleopards, and Wererats. That is not to say that they are the only ones. In fact, any predator might have a lycanthropic version out there. There are even a few examples that are nonpredators, but these are excedingly rare.

Common Shifter Hierarchy and Positions

Weres generally form strong groups, which take care of their own. The power system within such a group is a natural hierarchy. The stronger and more dominant, the higher in the chain you are. To climb the ladder of hierarchy, shifters must fight duels with those higher in the chain than they are. To become the leader of a group, the duel is almost always fought to the death. Those higher in rank have a duty to protect those under them. To ask a pack member for their protection is to acknowledge they are of higher rank without having to fight them. The pack must then accept that person as a "dominant".

The most powerful lycanthropes are called 'alpha' and they are the natural leaders of their group. They are stronger than the others, can possess special powers and have a higher resistance against typical lycanthrope urges. Non-alpha shifters, especially the young ones, are more vulnerable to strong emotions, such as lust, anger, and so on.

Shifter Groups

Pack (Werewolves/Lukoi)

Werewolves, or Lukoi, form groups of fellow werewolves known as packs. Lukoi is Greek and comes from King Lyckaon of Arcadia who was a werewolf and did not hide his nature. Werewolves have a hierarchy that consist of several positions.

  • Ulfric - Wolf King, this is the head of the pack.
  • Lupa - Mother of the Pack, the Ulfric's mate and the dominant female of the pack
  • Freki and Geri - Second to the Ulfric
  • Skoll - Head enforcer and bodyguard for the Ulfric
  • Hati - Second Enforcer and bodyguard for the Ulfric

During the full moon, the wolves gather in a special place of power called the lupanar. The lupanar functions as the place where the munin, the spirits of the clan, are called upon. The munin are seen as providers of wisdom and power. Dead members of a pack are eaten by the rest of the group to preserve the munin. At the full moon, the lukoi shift at the lupanar, but this place is also used to make formal challenges or declarations.

Members of the lukoi can challenge those dominant to them in order to climb in the hierarchy. Instead of challenging a higher up, one can also ask them for protection. The werewolf does this by moving into the dominant. If the dominant accepts, he or she will touch the subgn of his or her protection.

Greeting of another pack member is always done by touching, usually the rubbing of cheeks, and smelling, usually behind the ear of the other. When a submissive greets a dominant, however, they must lick the lower lip of the dominant - in public, a kiss on the cheek usually suffices.

Pard (Wereleopards)

Wereleopards gather in groups called Pards. Like werewolves, wereleopards have their own hierarchy.

  • Nimir-raj - Leopard King, the male leader of the Pard
  • Nimir-ra - Leopard Queen, the female leader of the Pard, often the Nimir-Raj's mate
  • Leoparde Lionne - Active protector of the Pard
  • Lion Passant - a leader who does not actively protect the Pard

The Pard has some things in common with the lukoi, such as phrases or ways to ask for protection. Like the lukoi, a leopard can petition a dominant by rubbing against him or her. The dominant, if they grant protection, will touch the submissive. Greeting a dominant, the submissive licks the dominant's hand.

Plague (Rodere/Wererats)

Rodere is the name for wererats, and they have one leader: their King, usually a male. The King's power over the clan is absolute. Since rats are small you would think that they would be a small, prey animal. A wererat, however, is not a small thing. They are large enough to be predators that their namesakes cannot be.

Pride (Werelions)

Werelions gather in groups called Prides. Prides are ruled by the most powerful male, the Rex or Lion King, and his mate, the Regina or Lion Queen.

Cursed Shifters

Of course, there is another group of shifters that do not really belong in any particular category. These are those who were cursed to become an animal. They do not follow the same rules as lycanthropes. Cursed shapeshifters are never alpha. When they shift into their animal, they shift into a normal version of that animal not the extra large version that a lycanthrope changes into. Often cursed shapeshifters do not have the same trigger for their transformation. The trigger is often set by the person who cursed them. So instead of changing whenever the moon is full, it could be whenever there is no moon, or whenever they are filled with rage, or whenever they draw blood.

Common Shifter Behavior

Alpha Attraction: Beta shifters are typically compelled to flock towards their Alpha counter-parts. It has something to do with the innate power the Alpha's possess. This means most Beta shifters find a natural draw to their Alphas as though it's a natural process built within their very core. It's nearly impossible to resist this compelling force and typically creates major emotional and beast based issues when fought.

Beast Energy: All lycanthrope whether they be Alpha or Beta have a build-in beast energy that really isn't an alternate persona as much as a natural compelling force within themselves with needs and desires. Typically shifters will do all they can to keep this force under check with providing it with what it desires or needs. This could range from safety as the inner beast might insist on staying in proximity to a safe place where it knows it won't have the chance of harm. Or this also could be hunger for food where the shifter needs to consistently eat -EVERY- meal. Missing a meal can mean danger since a hungry beast is more prone to pushing itself forward and compelling the shifter to be more primitive.

Clothing Optional: All lycanthropes whether they were prudes before infection or the less than discreet type have an overall discomfort with clothing. It doesn't feel comfortable nor natural to the inner beast to be confined in clothing. This is why, for the most part, shifters try to dress either ultra comfortable or prefer to be less than fully clothed in their private life. Dressing like the typical human in public, once they're in private the nagging feeling that taking off that extra layer is always there. Which might be why the common practice of getting used to group nudity is such a common occurrence for the shifter community. It also doesn't help that shifter tears off all your clothes anyways, so dressing during the 'three day window' is also less than desirable.