Shapeshifters

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Shapeshifters

riseabove
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riseabove
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Joined: 17 Jan 2010, 19:07

24 Oct 2010, 08:15 #1

There are five other shape-shifting species in the world of Rise Above.

They are:

Bears - Bjorn
Jaguars - Balam
Lions - Mfalme/Tau
Tigers - Rakshasa
Foxes - Kitsune

Due to the biological differences between these species and werewolves, there are not many of them left. Many of them were on the decline before the outbreak of SRLV1, and those left were not immune to the disease like werewolves were. None of these species can interbreed, or with werewolves. Same species, or humans only.
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riseabove
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riseabove
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24 Oct 2010, 08:17 #2

The Bjorn

Werebears are known as bjorn. The term is the word for "bear" in many of the northern European languages, presumed to be the birthplace of the bjorn. At one point in time, the bjorn were strong across northern Europe, Siberia, and North America. But their public outlawing in 1015, by Jarl Eiríkr Hákonarson of Norway, marked the downfall of the powerful era of the bjorn, and they have been on the decline ever since.

A bjorn is born, to any combination of mother and father. As long as the bear-shifter gene has the potential to be present, there is at least a 50% chance that the child will be born a bjorn. Unlike werewolves the ability is entirely inherited, and therefor a bjorn cannot Infect a human. However, unlike werewolves, they have no difficulty in giving birth, and can even give birth to human children.

Like the other non-wolf shifters, bjorn are not associated with astrological events to the degree that their canine counterparts are. They do not suffer from Phases like werewolves do, but instead are associated with the season that they were born in, according to the nearest sun event that they were born. The two equinoxes, and the solstices. Their power grows as they near the event, and becomes the weakest at the opposite date. There are claims that a bjorn's associated season affects their personality, but they cannot be as strictly divided into categories like werewolves can.

Human form and fully bear form are the two most easily achieved states, although the anthropomorphic state can be reached. Unlike Fire blooded state with werewolves, the anthropormophic state of a bjorn, known as berserkir (once called berserkergang) can be voluntarily reached, although it also happens under periods of extreme emotion. Bjorn are famed for their ability to easily tap into berserkir state, such that their entire race is known and feared for it.

Bjorn settle easily into small family groups, not worrying as much about territory as most other species do. Males can be particularly territorial, though, and tend to drive off other species from their areas. They have heightened senses of smell and hearing, as well as unbelievably inhuman strength. Their eyesight is fairly poor, compared to many other shifters, on par with most average humans. Their speed is just slightly above humans, but not by much. But their aging deceleration is top, as is their regenerative abilities, and they have the most sensitive noses of the entire animal kingdom. A werewolf pales in comparison to a bjorn. Like most other non-wolf shifters, they do not have the array of viral resistance that werewolves do. Their hardiness and immune system, coupled with their regenerative abilities, can fight off practically any bacterial infection, but virus resistance is barely better than that of a human. They have shown a weakness to mental Gifts.

As a species, the bjorn have natural regenerative abilities similar to the werewolf Gift Regeneration, but are still susceptible to a shot to the head. They do not have any other special powers similar to Gifts, and they are not afflicted by Callings.

The bjorn are long lived, and tend to raise their children over long periods of time. Their population does not recover from a drastic loss of numbers easily, and after their outlawing in the beginning of the second millenia, many bjorn families retreated to the high mountains of the most northern edges of continents around the world. After the outbreak of SRLV1, many of the remaining bjorn in North America and Russia disappeared. It's rumored that the highest concentration of survivors reside in Scandinavia, and in the highest reaches of the Alps.
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riseabove
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riseabove
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24 Oct 2010, 08:20 #3

The Balam

Werejaguars are known throughout Meso-America as balams, or naguals. Balam is from the word b'alam, jaguar in many of the Mayan languages. The nagual is a shifter, a term associated with shamanism, and coming from the folk knowledge of the werejaguars. The word is occasionally applied to werewolves who make their way into the southern hemisphere. They were deeply entwined with the cultures of Meso-America, coming into great strength with the Olmec, continuing into the Mayan and Aztec cultures. Often the blood of balam flowed in the lineage of kings of these nations.

A Balam is born, to any combination of mother and father. As long as the jaguar-shifter gene has the potential to be present, there is at least a 50% chance that the child will be born a balam. Unlike werewolves the ability is entirely inherited, and therefor a balam cannot infect a human. They are extremely xenophobic, and as such their human forms are very likely to be ethnically connected to South and Central American indigenous groups.

Like the other non-wolf shifters, balams are not associated with astrological events to the degree that their canine counterparts are. While they still have a connection to the night sky, they are associated with the stars, and certain constellations. Balams do not have Phase-forced transformations, but rather they gain power and can more easily attain the power-state at that time.

Human form and fully jaguar form (tonal) are the two most easily achieved states, although the anthropomorphic state can be reached. Unlike Fire blooded state with werewolves, the anthropormophic state of a balam can be voluntarily reached, although it still happens under periods of extreme emotion.

Balams are solitary creatures, with territories varying in size depending on the individual and the resources available. They have heightened senses, inhuman strength and speed, the ability to see in near-total darkness, and a supernatural ability for natural stealth. They also have decelerated aging. Unlike werewolves, the aging is not as slowed, and they do not have the wide array of disease resistance. They have a natural hardiness, like all Shifters, and a strong immune system that almost always fights off bacterial infection, but virus resistance is barely better than that of a human. They are weak to wounds inflicted by obsidian blades, but can handle the material.

As an entire species, werejaguars are capable of Necromancy. They do not have other Gifts, and they are not afflicted by Callings. However, they are susceptible to the instincts of a jaguar, that being territorial in nature, extremely stealthy, and creatures who are used to being in power.

Due to the invasion of the Conquistadors and the downfall of the native cultures, as well as the subsequent colonization, the balam have a severely reduced population, and have shrunk to their deepest territories, refusing to interact with non-natives.
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riseabove
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riseabove
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29 Oct 2010, 19:07 #4

The lion-shifters of sub-Saharan Africa were known by many names among the great number of human tribes. There were many languages, of a great variance in linguistic base, and most were familiar with the lions who became kings. But a few names were easier for the white settlers and conquerers to pronounce and were of more prominent cultures, so they became the main names known to the northern world. The Simba, the Mfalme, the Tau.

Legends tell of Saharan kings who could turn into lions when their tribes were endangered. The Mfalme were a race of kings, shapeshifters believed to have been descended from the gods. Their lines ran in nobility of various tribes, and they were strongly integrated with humans. Mfalme were so strongly integrated with humans that there were no wild clans at all. Despite the presence of an Asiatic subspecies of leo pantheris, there were no natural werelions found outside of sub-Saharan Africa.

A werelion is born, as are many other Shifters, but they are the product of a double-recessive gene. They must have both of the werelion genes before the traits will express and the person will be born a werelion. This means that if two Mfalme have children, they will be born a werelion, but any other combination has varying rates. Mfalme can safely parent Tau-Kin, and human children. Unlike werewolves the ability is entirely inherited, and therefor the Mfalme/Tau/Simba cannot infect a human.

Werelions are associated mildly with the sun, similarly as the werewolves to the lunar cycle, but their lives are not nearly so dictated by it. They grow weak during a solar eclipse, and solar flares can affect them. Strong solar flares can provide a peak in power, and when they are present during the birth of a child can have varying and interesting effects.

The time of day during which a werelion experiences their first change does not have any effect on their power or abilities, but it does imply something about their personality.

The werelions are an interesting singularity among their bretheren, in that they do not shift as often as their cousins. Their shifting was not triggered specifically by puberty or high stress situations, but by the need to protect their lands and tribe. Most Mfalme spent a lot of time as humans, but once they had experienced their first shift they could attain their beast form at-will. The leo form, an equivalent of Fire-blooded, was almost always triggered by extreme feelings of defense.

The Mfalme strike a fine line between the female-backboned prides of wild lions, and the primarily patriarchal sub-Saharan human cultures that they integrated with. The males ruled as kings, princes, and warriors, but the females demanded a level of egalitarian society that was very rarely seen. The queens and princesses took a more active role in the life of the pride, often with their own hunting parties, and being advisors and occasionally even military leaders in times of war. Mfalme born to those not of the royal houses would, if allowed, become prominent figures among their tribe, as strong warriors and hunters.

Mfalme can occasionally be found in the north as well, being descended from Tau-Kin that were taken as slaves by the Muslim traders. They are not unwelcome as long as they respect Islam, and converts are simply another member of society. Very rarely, one would be born in the Americas due to the slave trade. In the event that they ever did shift and realize their heritage, they lived solitary lives, not knowing of their lineage.

The werelions have heightened senses, with inhuman strength, but their speed is not that great, and unlike the Balam and the Rakshasa, their stealth is natural but weak. Their aging is not decelerated, but it can seem as such because they age more gracefully. They are naturally hardy, as all Shifters, and their immune system is strong and fights bacterial infection well, but is not great with viruses.

As an entire species, the werelions are affected by a determination to protect and defend their clans, and their land. They are creatures of protection of their own. To that end, as well as their group mentality, they possess a form of Telepathy that was called many things, but could best be translated into "Pride of the Mind" or "Pride of Dreams." Mfalme may communicate with other werelions that they have personally met and "touched minds" with. There is a distance limit to this connection, but it is far, reaching hundreds of miles.

With the changing nature of the world, the receding territory of their animal cousins, and the loss of culture that came with western civilization invading sub-Saharan Africa, fewer and fewer Mfalme found themselves realizing their true forms, until they were all but considered extinct. But it stands to reason that with the Tau-Kin still present, and the world changed due to Pandora's Plague, some might find themselves taking leo form once again.
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