Shifter FAQ's

General Questions and Answers on playing the dual-natured in Sin City:

  • Q: What causes/makes a shifter?

A: In general, most of the shifters on Sin City are infected or made shifters. It is generally believed that shifters are infected with a transformational virus via blood-to-blood transmission. The virus is carried in saliva and most body fluids, and must encounter the blood stream in order to cause an infection (via a bite, open wound, etc). The virus is relatively contagious, but casual contact will not make one a shifter. The virus was discovered and named by medical science in 2005, in Europe (Brest, France, to be specific). Since then, people have come forward as victims of this virus. Most enlightened people consider shifters as victims rather than monsters, though some more conservative State Governments refuse to acknowledge the existence of the virus at all and issue bounties on any unlicensed exotic animal found unrestrained. Nevada is not currently one of those states, though Utah and Idaho both have strict "monster" laws. The law does not take a kind approach to beast-form shifters within city limits, and law enforcement units have been established with equipment to handle dangerous shifters. Shoot first, ask questions later is a motto that is not questioned often.

Some shifters (and their families) are cursed, though these cases are very rare. The mechanism is not well understood.

In this universe, no one is born a shifter unless one's family is cursed.

  • Q: Why are there only 3 factions? I want to play something different!

A: Most people are comfortable with the "big three" and so those are the prime factions built into the game. We find that factions create an environment of friction and solidarity that makes a game fun, and so we encourage play in these areas. If you really want something different, you will need to send in a compelling application and make a good case.

  • Q: How often can I shift?

A: A shifter cannot shift whenever and wherever the need strikes. Apart from a need not to freak out normal people on the street, shifting is a violent, painful act of biological rearrangement, and has costs to one's metabolism associated with it. All infected shifters are compelled to shift with the moon's fullness. Even the strongest, most experienced Alpha level shifter will still feel the moon's call. The beast will need it's release, and at the time of the moon the wildness must escape. Shifters can comfortably shift once or twice weekly without undo taxing of their biological resources. Daily shifting will engender more severe costs associated with the act (see below).

  • Q: What is it like to actually shift?

A: We'd like to leave this up to interpretation by the individual, but in our minds we feel that shifting is a violent process. It hurts, and it is an arrangement of bones and organs generated by magic. There is no flash of brilliant light and a seamless transition. Shifters who have advanced shapeshifting numbers should be able to shift with more grace than rank amatures. The catch phrases here should be "messy and violent".

  • Q: What are the "costs" of shifting?

A: As mentioned before, shifting from human to animal form is a violent act of cellular rearrangement. The "fuel" for all things supernatural at Sin City MUX is what we are calling "life force", though a less trite name might be found later. :) In the case of shifters, they can be considered wonderful generators of life force as their bodies house a dual-nature essence of animal and human. This makes them especially attractive to creatures who'd feed on life force in all it's capacities. However, shifters need this vital extra capability in order to slough their skins during their transformations.

Shifters will need to regenerate their life force reserves after shifting. The more common the shifts, the more they will need to be accomodated with an increase in consumption. Shifters who shift regularly will be ravenously hungry, and/or will need deep, undisturbed sleep of 6+ hours. A feed or rest will need to happen within an hour of shifting. The ravenous appetite of the newly shifted is probably responsible for some of the legends about vicious were-creatures.

A shifter who does not attend to the needs of their body could face a descent into a madness that is difficult to reverse as life force has a direct link to mental lucidity. "Shifter Dementia" is a well-known disease amongst shifter communities, and often results in the demise of the affected shifter and a loss of face of the shifter group to other coalitions in the territory. If one cannot take care of their own, the group itself is considered suspect.

Most shifter groups will have provisions for feeding/providing safe shelters for their members. A shifter on their own often has trouble even affording the nutritional demands of a frequent shift. The usual pattern is that a shift into beast will be fed, where a shift back to human will be accomodated with sleep though this is not required. Furthermore, shifter groups offer the advantage of "ambient life force". The after-effects of shifting (hunger and fatigue) are attenuated by sharing space with fellow shifters, and allow the shifters to feel "normal" faster. A shifter that shifts with a group of others may be ready to go in the morning, while a lone-wolf might feel hungover for days.

  • Q: How big is my beast form?

A: A good rule of thumb is human+ real animal size. So a were-rat is going to be a VERY big rat, where a were-lion would be a larger than normal lion. The rationale here is that the magical combination of DNA combines mass as well, which is why you get so hungry when you shift to beast form and you sleep it off after (expended energy).

  • Q: How sentient is my beast form?

A: When a shifter is in beast form, the humanity is not lost. Just like the animal peers out of the human shell when the shifter is in human form, the human peers from behind the beast's eyes in beastial form. Instincts and desires will be close to the surface here, and while the human retains some control over what is happening, it would not be a good idea to enter into binding long-term agreements. There is no verbal communication while in beast form though the shifter will be able to read.

Higher reasoning and mental processes are slowed and sluggish, and shifters tend to be compelled by baser instincts. An exception to this rule would be very old shifters, who have attained an ability to function at a high level as beast forms, though again they are compelled by instinct before anything else.

  • Q: What if I want to stay as my beast form?

A: The longer you stay in beast form, the more of the beast will emerge and the division between animal and human will become lessened. Basically, shifters who stay as beasts will lose their humanity, until they are unable to shift. Many shifters have "disappeared" this way. As above, these are non-verbal animals that are instinct driven and not humans in furry suits.

  • Q: How fast can I heal?

A: Shifters can and do rearrange their bodies when they shift. In that way, many traumatic injuries can be recovered by a shift. Healing and its speed is in direct relation to life force, and shifting depletes the reserves of the shifter. Therefore, an injured shifter will face an even greater need to feed or sleep in order to recover. It is possible for shifters to heal rapidly without a shift if they have access to enough food, though the healing will be incomplete, and they will be very fatigued as well. As a rule, shifters heal about 8-10x as fast as humans. So a broken leg that would take 6 weeks for a human to heal would take 6 days for a shifter. For the sake of sanity, please figure on The following healing scale:

Human Healing Time Normal Shifter Healing Time
One Day One Hour
One Week One Day
One Month One Week

Wounds made with silver will heal at the same rate as they would on a normal human. Also, injuries inflicted by another shifter are assumed to carry a certain magical "burden" and will heal 2x as slow as a normal wound. Silver weapons can and will kill you. Silver resistance gives certain shifters a small advantage, but silver still remains very potent.

A shifter cannot regrow severed limbs.

Some shifters can heal very quickly. A Rapid healing shifter would heal at twice the rate of a normal shifter. So the broken leg would take 3 days to heal instead of 6. A laceration might be gone in a couple hours.

  • Q: Do shifters have an innate or instinctual grudges against other preternatural races?

A: No. Unlike some other themes, it is not your mission in life to kill anyone as a matter of a race war. It is up to your particular skill set whether you are an excellent fighter whether your PC likes or hates the other preternaturals of the world. It's up to you. Bear in mind, as a shifter, you have value beyond your strength alone. Your senses are astounding even at basic levels, you cannot catch normal viruses (your metabolisms run too fast), and you are enormous sources of life force. Vampires find shifter blood a particular delicacy, but to feed from one without permission risks angering the delicate balance of the community. In our political environment, we invite you to explore these areas.

  • Q: I'm not a designated leader. Can I overthrow the leadership?

A: Absolutely. The leader is a rank designation but has very little to do with leadership skills. Most leaders have stats that support their leadership skills and often have heightened combat skills. Beware that any takeover attempts might result in a fight that finds you beaten to a pulp. Caveat Emptor and all that.

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