Or how I learned to be just a little bit of a werewolf/cat/bear/eagle and still not completely unbalance the party. This week we take you through the second of the new races in the Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron–the Shifter.
Shifters are an interesting part of Eberron. Not as bound to the setting as Warforged, they still represent the theme of Eberron in all its glory. They’re a perfect mix of a world that features lots of magic, but they’re not really as in-your-face about it. They keep a lot of that grittier, pulpier feeling of the setting without sacrificing the fact that you’re playing in a fantasy world. They’re lycanthrope-lite, or lite-canthrope, if you will.
Shifters allow you to play a character who is more in touch with their bestial nature–Shifters are rumored to be the descendants of humans and lycanthrope, and are sometimes called the weretouched, and each one exhibits certain bestial traits–but it doesn’t feel out of place no matter the setting. They feel at home in the wilds or in a big urban setting. Whether ratlike or wolflike or whatever beast they have a spiritual bond with, Shifters feel like they fit in anywhere.
Ironically they might fit in as an outcast, but they come purpose built to play into your world. They’re human but not. And in that difference you get some cool themes you can explore. What does it mean to be in touch with your animal instincts, how do you differ from regular humans? What do you change about your personality? Do your bestial traits come from an actual spirit type creature, or is it just your own fierce inner nature waiting to come out? A Shifter might have a totem or talk about the Beast Within.
Whatever the source, all Shifters can draw upon this primal power and enter a state called Shifting wherein they let bestial traits come to the fore and draw upon extra power to do cool vaguely werecreature feats.
And as the feat suggests, there are four subraces. Beasthides, Longtooths, Swiftstrides, and Wildhunts, each one with its own animalistic bent, suggested by the name. You can think of them as Bear/Wolf/Cat/Owl.
And each of these gets their own subrace write up. Beasthides add +2 to Constitution, and while shifting get extra temporary hit points and a +1 bonus to AC.
Longteeth get a +2 to Strength, and when they shift, they gain an unarmed bite attack that does 1d6 + Strength modifier as a bonus action.
Swiftstrides get a bonus to Dexterity and Charisma (on top of the +1 to Dex that ALL Shifters gain), and while shifting, their movement speed is 10, and they can move 10 feet as a reaction that doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks whenever an enemy ends its turn within 5 feet of them.
Wildhunts get a +2 bonus to Wisdom and can mark a creature, making it easier to track them (giving you double proficiency bonus on checks to track them) and if you’re within 60 feet, you know exactly where they are without having to roll for it. Plus you have advantage on all Wisdom checks.
On top of that you gain Darkvision and Keen Senses just for being a Shifter. At any rate, they’re an interesting race, and make for fantastic Rogues, Fighters, and Rangers. Though with +2 Wisdom and +1 Dex you could get a surprisingly good Monk out of the Wildhunt, depending. Basically you’ll want to play a character who gets a benefit out of being a little more physical–this could translate well enough to a caster of some kind, though it is bizarre to picture a Shifter wizard. Maybe it works though.
At any rate, that’s the Shifter, one of the four new Races of Eberron.