The race of humanoids called Shifters has lived on Nova for thier entire history. They pass thier traditions, crafts, history and beliefs on orally, through wisemen, shamans, rituals, ceremonies, songs, and simple stories. Their society is one of nomadic hunter-gatherers, foraging and hunting the wide plains of western Nova. Having lived on the Plains, and having this environment provide for them for countless centuries, they have developed an aversion to large bodies of water, like the sea, or the foggy, swampy mires to the south. Thier tribes have always remained small, due to the harsh winters, necessity for mobility, low birth rate, and occasional Goblin attacks. The Forest on the eastern edge of the Shifter Plains (as the new immigrants have called them) is home to many bands of Goblin hunters, raiders, thieves and warriors. Thier disorganization has never made them a threat to the Shifter species, or even to a whole tribe, but raids have been deadly, and any Shifter near the woods keeps an eye peeled and an ear sharp. The Shifter tribes typically form around one of two predominant sub-species; Razorclaw and Longtooth shifters (see Monster Manual). While all Shifter tribes interact civilly, there will be occasional falling-outs, and more rarely skirmishes, however this is only in times of plenty. Any external threat, be it environmental or Goblins, will drive tribes together to support one another. In this way, since the arrival of “the pink-skins” as the Shifters call the PC races, the Shifter tribes have generally formed into two loose groups: the Longtooth and the Razorclaw Councils. The Shifters generally get along with the PC races, moreso the Elves, Halflings, and Humans, with which they have had the most contact over the past 200 years. This may have much to do with an ancient song, which many elders say tells the origin of the Shifters ability to ‘shift’. . . . “Many seasons ago, before the seventh grandfather of your father was born, our people were proud, strong, hearty, and wild, but simple. Our teeth were dull and our hands were soft. We fought the land for grain, begged the sky for water, and stumbled behind the herds. Our people lived, but barely. A Winter came which threatened to freeze our people’s life dead, gradually starving us until only two tribes remained. Then the Woman came. She walked into the center of the first tribe, cold, bent over, and shivering. She begged them for food, a blanket, a song. They were sad for her, but feirce, determined, and above all willing to fight this Winter to survive. They decided they could not spare the food, cloth or breath for her, lest thier own kin die in her place. They turned her away, and she walked out into the snow. She walked into the center of the second tribe, cold, bent over, and shivering. She begged them for food, a blanket, a song. They were sad for her, but quick thinking, swift, and above all willing to bear the cost of helping her. They sent thier fastest member to run to the other tribe and ask for food and clothing. The run almost killed him, but when he returned the woman thanked him. The first tribe realized who the young runner was helping and followed him back. With both tribes around her, they asked the woman a question, “Who are you, and what do you really want?” The woman pulled back the hood of her robe and turned so all could see her. Her body changed and flowed through many shapes; hair of fire, broad dirt forehead, slender pointing ears, shining green eyes, smiling dimples, gleaming silver teeth, rugged square chin, and slender arching neck. All the tribe was in awe and knew they were meeting a Great Spirit of the world. She spoke into thier hearts, saying, “I bless you all, that your strengths grow as you need them, but I bid you all not to judge by appearances, for you may turn away blessings and brothers.” From this day on, the two tribes and thier children found thier bodies and minds capable of shifting when needed for strength or power, and that the World was a little less harsh of a place. And, they never forgot the words of the Mother Spirit who made them all a new people.” This is probably the most well known song of the Shifters, among thier people and among the “pink-skins”, because traditional descriptions and illustrations of the Mother Spirit match many of the “pink-skin” races, as well as Shifters themselves.