Elyani
Elyani
Reputation Simple, straightforward shapeshifters, companions, and partners
Features Human-like with a single animal form
Prevalence Widely scattered, no home polity
Height human range
Weight human range
Lifespan 25 years

Key Features

  • Shapeshift between human and single animal form
  • Typical appearance for species in each form
  • Animal form determined by family lineage
  • Simple, straightforward worldview
  • Rapid progression and short lifespan

Aging Table

Stage Age Human Equiv.
Maturity 4 years 13 years
Prime 8 years 25 years
Middle Age 13 years 40 years
Senescence 20 years 60 years
Max Lifespan 25 years 75 years

Physical Description

Elyani in human form are physically indistinguishable from the general population of Humans. Collectively, they encompass the same range of body types, physical features, and coloration as does the Human race. Their human traits follow the same rules of inheritance as in Humans. No animal features are carried over into the human form.

In animal form, Elyani are again typical representatives of their species; they are not exceptional in size or coloring, and no human features influence their appearance to any degree. Elyani parent and child do not necessarily share the same species of animal form, thus traits of parents' animal forms are not inherited by their children, except in rare cases where a natural hybrid might be produced.

Changing Shape

The process of transformation is simple: the Elyani wills the change, and it happens instantaneously. Shapeshifting cannot be forced, nor does it happen unconsciously. To an onlooker, the shift appears as though the Elyani is wrapped in a darkening blur; there is an odd impression of a 'twist', and then the shadow vanishes and the Elyani's other form is revealed in its place. Some claim to hear a faint 'pop' accompanying the transformation.

An Elyani's two forms are demonstrably different physical bodies. Injury and illness in one do not carry over to the other; neither do tattoos, piercings, or anything else of the sort. Elyani may take advantage of this trait to swap out an injured body for the hale one — even forestalling death from a mortal injury if they react quickly enough. However, just as injury does not carry over, neither does healing; the inactive form cannot recover if it is not taken up again. Thus an Elyani who uses their other form to avoid an illness or injury is also preventing its treatment, and one who cheats death once by shifting cannot shift back without that bill coming due.

Just as injuries 'shift out' with the form, so can a limited amount of additional physical mass such as clothing, a pouch, or a small bag. The total added mass must be discrete (i.e. not attached to anything else), in physical contact with the Elyani, and cannot exceed 10% of their weight or 10 lbs, whichever is less. This feature has advantages, in that lightweight items can be transported with the Elyani, unreachable by anyone else; and it has disadvantages, in that one overburdened or tethered to something else cannot shift, and shifted-out items can only be retrieved by shifting back.

Reproduction

Although their physical forms are distinct, Elyani fertility is a melding of influences from both of one's forms. Female Elyani are fertile in season appropriate to their animal form, but that fertility is occult; there are no physical or behavioral changes to accompany it. Gestation in Elyani females is three months if the father is also Elyani, and five months if he is not. After the first month, the mother is restricted to human form and unable to shapeshift.

Elyani do not pair with nor reproduce with animals, even of the same nominal species as their animal form; mentally, they simply do not perceive animals as potential mates, although they often have an aesthetic appreciation towards them.

Lineages

An Elyani's form is determined by their lineage; all descendants of a given lineage have animal forms of the same type, although within lineages the exact species any Elyani gets is random. Children of two Elyani of different lineages may only inherit one, and have even odds as to which they get. Within a lineage, hybrid forms (e.g. horse x donkey = mule, tiger x lion = liger) are vanishingly rare, but possible if and only if the parents have the appropriate animal forms. Hybrid-form Elyani do not have impaired fertility, but hybrids cannot be perpetuated for multiple generations; i.e. their children will have a random animal of appropriate lineage.

Note that there no Elyani whose animal forms are domesticated — no dogs, housecats, refined horse breeds, etc.

Children of an Elyani and any other race have even odds of being Elyani themselves, in which case they share the same lineage as their Elyani parent. Otherwise, they inherit Human traits from the Elyani parent. For example, the child of an Elyani and an Asar may either be Elyani (with no special Asar traits), or a Mixed Blood (Human x Asar).

Lineage Animal Type Most Common In Least Common In
Bat all bats Rashambel
Canine all wild canine species Kothinar Okudan
Corvine all corvid birds Okudan
Equine all wild equids Rashambel
Feline all wild feline species Okudan
Lagomorph all wild lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, pika)
Musteline all mustelids, procyonids, and skunks Vishaza
Passerine all non-corvid songbirds, pigeons, doves Kothinar
Raptor all birds of prey (hawks, falcons, owls, etc.) Okudan
Ursine all bears Okudan

Psychology

In terms of psychology, Elyani are neither fish nor fowl — not quite Human, not quite animal. Where their physical shapes are decidedly distinct, the mind of an Elyani seems to be a harmonious blending, taking aspects of the mentality of each form and sharing them across both.

Broadly speaking, an Elyani's social manner and how they interact with others are governed by their animal's nature. Gregarious and cooperative species generally produce Elyani who are socially active, inclined to integrate themselves into communities, and comfortable with social hierarchies. In contrast, species with solitary or aloof natures tend to produce Elyani who are inclined to build a limited number of deep personal connections, less amenable to large gatherings or fostering social networks, and less interested in social conformity. Regardless of animal species, all Elyani tend to be straightforward and down-to-earth in their social conduct, unconcerned with anything beyond the basic level of propriety and manners.

Similarly, aptitudes and activity preferences are broadly influenced by the animal form. A feline Elyani might prefer to put forth no more effort than necessary, while a raven might be drawn to tinkering and crafts. It is however virtually universal that Elyani prefer active and physical activities — doing and making — over purely mental pursuits and abstract concepts. As such, Elyani are rare in scholarly professions, and they also have difficulty with magic disciplines due to the introspection and self-reflection required. This does not mean Elyani categorically cannot succeed at such life paths, but those who have the patience and persistence to do so are unusual.

However, while much about Elyani mentalities are shaped by their animal forms, ultimately they have more in common with Humans and other sapient races than with their animal kin. Animal lives and desires are limited, constrained compared to what an Elyani can imagine and desire; there can be satisfaction for a while in living a primitive, wild life, but not forever. Animal companions, even of their species, are not true peers for an Elyani, and even the most aloof of Elyani feels a need to engage with other sapients. By the same token, although Elyani as a race have broad generalities in common, they are simultaneously divided by their differences; thus they have no society of their own, but meld into the communities of other races.

Prevalence

Elyani can be found nearly anywhere, but are never common, as they fold into the societies and cultures of other races. There are substantial minority populations of Elyani in some polities, such as Okudan, but there is no place that the Elyani as a race collectively call home.

Reputation

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