Shifter Society and Culture

Spread over many nations and nearly always a minority population, shifters struggle to maintain a sense of racial unity and a cohesive view of their society and culture. Despite the efforts of community leaders and others who work to preserve a uniform vision of shifter society, two distinct types of shifter communities have become prominent. The first, and by far the most numerous, is a small enclave of shifters within a larger community of some other race, most often humans.

These enclaves are welcomed by some shifters, since they give members of the oft-shunned race a sense of community and belonging much greater than what they receive from the larger populace. Others view these enclaves as subtle traps, preserving the rift between shifters and the other races. While these individuals see the virtues of encouraging the natural shifter inclination to associate with others of their kind, they also worry that the enclaves encourage other races to view the shifters as apart from the rest of society. In light of the unpleasant effects of the Church of the Silver Flame’s crusade against lycanthropes on the shifter populace, such concerns are well founded.

Although shifter parents are as dedicated to raising their children as members of any race, the family group is not the core of shifter society as it is among many other civilized races. Instead, shifters form their strongest bonds with a group of friends near their own age. These groups, although usually made up of shifters from many families, are often the strongest personal bonds that a shifter forms. When compared to the social interactions of other races, these peer groups are loose, disorganized affairs that emphasize the shifter’s self-reliance and personal space more than the cohesiveness of the group. In the individualized and reticent society of the shifters, however, they stand out as a vital and important social norm.

The second type of shifter community exists apart from the Five Nations, usually sheltered deep within the forests of the Eldeen Reaches. Whether driven by the inquisition of the Church of the Silver Flame, the repercussions of the Last War, their own traditions, or the simple desire to live free of the nations governed by other races, many shifters have gathered into barbaric tribes and scattered communities across the wild lands of the Eldeen Reaches. These communities reinforce the shifter’s preference for bonding with fellow shifters rather than members of other races, and the shifter enclaves in the cities of other races resemble these shifter-only communities more than they resemble the surrounding cities. While shifters are not isolationists, they greatly prefer the company of fellow shifters, for few members of other races understand that the shifter’s reticence and personal distance are respectful in their own way, and members of other races often seek out frequent social interactions—interactions that feel in many ways invasive to the shifter’s sense of privacy and self-reliant attitude.

Shifter Society and Culture

Eberron inferno813