Alignment : neutral
Ethos : lawful, neutral, chaotic
Max Stat : STR: 21 INT: 19 WIS: 19 DEX: 21 CON: 20
Classes : Berserker, Ranger
Size : Medium (including all forms, except for bear [large])
Vuln : Silver
Resist : None (including all forms, except jaguar [magic] and wolf [physical])
Immune : None
During the first age of Aabahran, chaos ruled. In this time that became known as The Bloodletting, vast hoards of demonic beasts and undead roamed unchecked throughout all the four corners of the world. In the wake of this terrible march, all that was once fertile and populous was left as a blighted, scarred wasteland where no plant would grow, nor spring appear from the earth. The ancient forests that once thrived between the peaks of the Dragon's Teeth mountains and Miruvhor were all but destroyed, replaced by a hostile and festering waste. The inexorable armies of death and chaos marched tirelessly on, moving towards the Emerald Forest in the southeast, Drkshtyre Wood in the southwest, the Woods of Banor in the north, and the ancient Haon Dor in the west.
With every step the armies of Chaos took, Gaia cried out in anger, sadness and pain. The Earth Mother, and essence of Nature itself, was growing ever weaker. With each life that was extinguished, with each patch of earth that was defiled, with every stream that was befouled - Gaia's life force grew dimmer and dimmer. Those who resisted the armies of evil were divided and afraid, their numbers dwindling. It looked as though none could halt the fell tramp of doom.
In this moment, Gaia feared for her own existence. So, after the forests west of Miruvhor were completely overrun, the Earth Mother wrought a great and powerful magic, the likes of which had never before been seen in Aabahran. The briefest of tremors passed through all life in the world, as Gaia spun the web of magic that divided her own life force into four pieces. After the spell had been cast, the remnants of Gaia's consciousness fled into the recesses of the earth to await the day of rebirth.
The four pieces of Gaia's soul each took the form of one of the Earth Mother's favored beasts; the bear, the wolf, the tiger and the falcon. It was in these forms that these forest spirits travelled to the four corners of the world to appear before the most stalwart defenders of nature. In the Emerald Forest, a hermit turned chieftain named Erigoth was infused with the spirit of a great wolf. It is said an enormous, ghostly falcon circled the rambling boughs of Drkshtyre Wood before descending upon the humble home of Shreev, an ancient druid woman. Acorns were shaken from their branches in Elium as a bear of impossible proportions roared it's way through the lines of battle to grant Gaia's blessing to Korga, a fierce and loyal berzerker. Anistja, the leader of a small band of huntresses who lived beneath the eaves of Banor appeared ready for battle one morning astride the back of a fearsome tiger.
Each of these warriors found themselves blessed not only with the spirit of Gaia, but with the ability to change form into the beast that had visited them. When transformed, they found that all the physical powers and attributes of their particular beast were at their disposal.
The progeny of these four chieftains were also blessed, but as the blood line was often diluted with common humans, it is no longer possible for the descendants of these warriors to have any say in which beast's form they are granted.
Werebeasts, when not transformed, share the same proportions as humans. When transformed, however, they can be larger or smaller depending on which form they have taken.
As the first werebeasts were warriors of Gaia, it is still common for the werefolk of today to worship nature. However, the descendants of the original werebeasts have diverged greatly over the centuries. As a result, werefolk worship widely, not bound by any particular creed. Due to their origin, werebeasts will never worship the religions of death.
When not transformed, werebeasts share many of the characteristics of humans. There are some subtle differences that usually set them apart, though. Nearly all werebeasts have vertically angled pupils, and many also have eyelids which blink from side to side, rather than from top to bottom. When in 'human' form, the bodies of werebeasts are covered with body-length scars, which are a product of the severe physical contortions their bodies go through to change forms. It is also very common for werebeasts to bear significant resemblance to the beast they share affinity with; bears are usually larger and hulking, and wolves usually have many lupine qualities, for example. This is not an absolute rule, however. When transformed, a werebeast's appearance is bound only by what is achievable in nature. Their animal form may be of any color or size, and their physical structure shaped by their own activities.
Despite their ability to transform, werefolk share many of the social traits of humans, and are often found living in human cities or other human settlements. Some humans, however, are fearful or intolerant of the werefolk's ability to transform, and this has lead many werefolk and their families to live in relative solitude, or to band together in their own settlements. There is a city to the south-east of Maelbrim named Ralardia which was originally a forest sanctuary, that great numbers of werefolk have flocked to and built into a haven for all werebeast kind. Werefolk do not mate exclusively with others of their race, often marrying and having children with humans. The children of these couplings sometimes possess the ability to change form, and sometimes don't.
Relationships with Other Races:
Werefolk, being similar to humans in many ways, tend to get along quite well with them. Some of the more jaded werefolk believe that humans are aloof, thinking of werefolk as freaks or uncivilized. While this is the case in some places, werebeasts and humans are congenial as a general rule. Werebeasts usually get along well with minotaurs. They consider them as kindred in many ways, both sharing an animal-like side while having a roughly humanoid build. Due to the circumstances of their creation, werebeasts usually have a dislike for demons and the undead. This is not an absolute rule, however, and it is not unheard of for werebeasts to travel with such creatures. All werebeasts share an intense hatred of ferals. They consider ferals to be the antithesis of werefolk, cursed by Gaia rather than blessed. There are some particularly antisocial werefolk who will only associate with others of their kind, but this is a rare phenomenon.