Eos: the New Age
A comparatively new race on the face of Eos, shifters are one of the more successful results of the tiefling breeding programs initiated by Doctor Luvik Destrov in the -1600s IC. When the elves inhabiting the forests of Tazarin were finally discovered by Dzolgati patrols, the race was almost instantly conquered and enslaved by the empire. It was learned relatively quickly that the elves did not take well to enslavement, and were prone to either flee captivity or die from exposure to foreign diseases brought on by harsh conditions. Destrov’s contemporaries saw in the elves a prime new gene pool with which to tinker, and began infecting the elves with selective strains of lycanthropy and breeding these new creatures with the uninfected specimens. Over several generations, the resultant creatures were hardier than their elven ancestors and possessed bestial qualities that made them agile and strong. The shifter race was born in captivity and depravity.
For centuries the shifters lived as a slave race alongside the half-orcs that also sprung up due to Destrov’s programs. They maintained their strong willpower, however, and were prone to rise against their tiefling masters in both violent and nonviolent ways. Their fey connections were severed due to the selective breeding and exposures to vile sciences, but their ties to the natural world were unhindered. Even in captivity, the shifters began worshipping natural spirits of the world, weakened as they were on Tazarin, and through this faith managed to maintain their powerful wills and sense of individuality. It was during the Shattering War that the shifters saw an opportunity to break their bonds, and with the aid of sympathetic eladrin of the Feyspark Forest managed to escape en masse to areas of safety on Galotte. The shifters attempted for a while to live among the elves of the forests, though quickly found their bestial nature too different from their severed kin. They migrated to the rolling plains of Taluur, where leagues of hills and fields remain untouched by human civilizations and settled into life there.
Today, the shifters live in small nomadic tribal units, existing primarily as hunter-gatherers amid the encroaching nations of other races. They are fiercely loyal to their own people, and conflict between tribes of shifters is virtually nonexistent. Some individuals separate from these nomadic tribes to discover their fate among other races, though these cases are rare. Despite this uncommon inclination to adventure, the shifters are generally welcoming to other people that happen upon their camps, especially minotaurs who seem to have built a strong connection with the shifters due to their mutual respect for primal spiritualism. This spiritualism is a powerful force in shifter culture, and shamans rank highest in their tribal hierarchy. Totems carved of wood and bone are common icons carried by shifters, and while most are small trinkets, some are crafted to be heavy bludgeons of war or tall poles denoting territorial hunting grounds. It is a common stereotype of shifters to depict them as savages wearing feathered masks and carrying a cudgel carved to resemble a totem spirit. Regardless of such stereotypes, the shifters maintain strong connections to the natural world, and are perhaps more in tune with the spirits of Eos than any other race, which is thought to be due to their blend of fey and animalistic bloodlines.