Shifters are able to alter their form to that of an animal. But the shifters are only able to attain a single animal shape. The shape in question is gifted with supernatural physical abilities, as well as often other special features related to the animal form as well. There is usually something in the appearance that belies the supernatural nature of the shifter's animal form. Unusual size, and/or coloration are common phenomenon. The animal shape tends to look monstrous in some manner as a general rule. Not likely to be mistaken as a normal member of the species it resembles.

Shifters are always supernatural in origin, with something in their personal past, or that of their family, tribe, village etc to explain why it is that they have the abilities they do. Very frequently such abilities are passed on generational, with each generation gaining the abilities as they reach adulthood, or even before. There is also frequently some catalyst that causes such abilities to awaken. However the only certainty is that a Shifter is always a breed apart from the natural world.

Whatever animal shape the shifter is able to attain, after the first time they shift there are certain constants. Both in and out of their animal form shifters are supernatural beings with the following common attributes:

Shifters all have elevated body temperatures, that remain a constant steady 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Their elevated temperature makes them easy to detect for those that know what to look for, and makes it difficult for them to seek medical attention in those rare occasions when they might need it.

Shifters have a natural temperature equilibrium. Though their bodies tend to run hotter then an average human they are seldom hampered or even notice very high or low temperatures. They can however still be burnt by flames. They just suffer no ill effects from extremes of natural heat or cold.

Shifters heal at an extremely accelerated rate. While not so fast as some supernatural creatures, it is still significant. Broken bones will heal within a matter of hours, and lacerations and bruises within moments to minutes based on severity. The healing process is accelerated to such an extent that a shallow laceration can actually heal right in front of someone. Healed injuries leave no scarring.

So long as a shifter routinely takes their animal shape they stop aging at the point that they first changed. Though they can still be killed through violence or accident, they will not die of age related causes, illness, or disease. Though it is possible to incapacitate them with poison, they will not die from it. Should a shifter stop taking their animal form for a significant period of time, they will begin to age once again as normal.

Shifters, like blood lycanthropes, have a major tell in their human shape that sets them apart from ordinary human beings. Months before their first change shifters will begin growing. Often becoming much larger in stature over a noticeable short period of time. By a matter of weeks after their first change they will attain the height they would have been when full grown.

Often shifters display additional abilities based on the nature of the animal they become. As the shifter is supernatural, so too then are the abilities of the animal they become. Traditional abilities associated to the animal type are enhanced to supernatural levels. But it is often more then just that. Sometimes one particular ability can also be shared by those shifters that make up a natural group. Such as the given members of a pack, pride, or flock all having the same extra ability by virtue of being among that assemblage.

The relationship between shifter's and lycanthropes of the same animal breed is a close one. The genetics between the species are similar to begin with, and when the animal type is likewise the same even more so. Particularly pure breed shifters and lycanthropes can be of benefit to one another. In some rare cases of exceptional pure blood they can even teach one another to access some abilities from their unique ancestries.

The Quileute Wolf Pack

An example of the shifter species can be found in the Quileute Wolf Pack of the La Push Indian Reservation in Washington state. Members of their tribe are able to turn into enormous quarter horse sized wolves when the tribe's native territory has a vampire presence around it for any length of time. The genetic trait to allow the change is quite prevalent in the Quileute tribe, however it will only activate in those that are just approaching the proper age. Usually just around the onset of puberty, to around nineteen years of age.

Older members of the tribe will not experience a first change no matter how many vampires take up residence in the area around the reservation. But the proportion of the tribe's youth that ultimately change is directly influenced by the number of vampires remaining in the region for an extended duration. Likewise as younger members with the genetic predisposition reach the proper age they too will change should the number of vampires dictate it. Transient vampiric presence in the region, unless of a vast number, will not initiate the first change.

The Quileute Wolf Form

The huge wolf's that the Quileute 'werewolves' shift into are well equipped to kill their one natural enemy. The Cold Ones, otherwise known as vampires. They display the following specific abilities in addition to the typical shifter abilities above:

The Wolves' speed is almost comparable to that of vampires. In some cases even greater, but speed varies between Wolves as it does between vampires. At maximum running speed the fastest members of the pack can travel up to 5 miles a minute at a full lope.

They are also able to approach someone without being heard at all in both their human and wolf forms, so long as they do not gallop, and actively attempt to sneak. This is not a defense against other senses however, which can still detect them. Supernatural levels of hearing may also detect them, if they are paying close attention to their surroundings or especially alert.

Both as human beings, and as wolves the pack members display exceptional agility and leaping distance. With a running start as a human being they can reach vertical heights up to 12 feet, and horizontal distances of easily twice that. In wolf form, the heights they can reach can double in the most agile members and the lengths reach nearly 100 feet with a full run! The agility and speed of the wolves increases their reaction time substantially, allowing them to run at high speeds even through dense forest and wilderness. They are however not very adept swimmers in their wolf shapes, able to tread water easily enough, but swim little faster then a gifted canine.

The Wolves are both extremely strong, and large. Though not as strong as a newborn vampire, they are still able to hold their own against their natural enemies with ease. The largest and strongest of the Quileute pack are able to move weights upwards of that of a pickup truck, or about 3 tons, without strain. Even in their human shape they are significantly stronger then a normal human. With the strongest members of the tribe able to lift weights just shy of a half ton with relative ease.

Of course with the lack of hands in this wolf form, they are limited in how and what they are able to carry. They range in size in their wolf form from 5.5 feet to 6.5 feet tall at the shoulder. Ranging in weight from nearly 1,200 to 1,650 pounds! Easily the sheer size and weight of a large quarter horse, larger still in some cases. They are even physically larger then a werewolf in it's great wolf phase, though not so broad or heavy.

The claws and fangs in their wolf forms are able to rend through materials as hard as that of stone! The paws, while lacking the agility of a true human hand, are still more flexible then a typical canine paw. They allow vicious claw strikes, and even kicks, to be delivered with relative ease. However the massive jaws and fangs are by far the more potent weapon. Able to exert psi about half that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex! Nearly 20,000 psi, enough to easily remove limbs even from their vampiric enemies stone like flesh. Should they maneuver their prey into a position where they can effectively use them.

In their wolf shapes especially the Quileutes are able to withstand injury that would cripple of kill an ordinary animal or human being. Able to absorb the blunt impact strikes from even powerful supernatural creatures like vampires with only minimal injury. Less so piercing or prolonged crushing attacks. They can be hurt more readily though than some other supernatural creatures. Counting more on their pack unity to keep them out of harms way. This resiliancy applies to a lesser but still pronounced measure to their human phases as well. Most day to day injuries heal within a matter of seconds, and are much less severe than they might be for an otherwise ordinary human being.

The Wolves display a heightened sense of smell and are able to track others once they are familiar with a scent. Typically over vast distances, far greater than that of a normal wolf, and under much harsher conditions. This is especially true of vampires of any sort, which reek to the Quileute pack members regardless of if they are in wolf or human shape. Vampires can be detected by scent regardless of the shape the Quileute is in, though only over a range of about a city block while human.

Quileute's in their wolf form, while poor swimmers, can hold their breath for an extended period of time with relative ease. On average they can do so for upwards of 12 minutes without any hindrance, with 15 minutes being the extremes of doing so. Holding their breath however leaves them without their sense of smell though, which can be very uncomfortable for them.

Members of the Quileute pack all share a telepathic bond with one another. However it is only when they are in their wolf shapes. There is no range limitation to this connection, the unity of the pack being so strong that they have no secrets from one another. Both a blessing and a curse under the right circumstances. However this ability is only shared with members of a single given pack. It is not an ability that allows communication outside of the pack mind.

An 'Alpha Wolf' may use the pack mind to compel the other members of his or her pack to obey anything they are instructed to do. The only way to avoid such orders would be to leave the pack. Though the ability is not one that can be used on another alpha, though alphas may communicate telepathically with one another. The only known exception to communicating outside of a given pack.

Quileute Flaws

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