Chris Van Deelen

Chris Van Deelen is the author of the Skirmisher Publishing LLC sourcebook Creatures of the Tropical Wastes sourcebook, co-author of its Wisdom from the Wastelands game supplement and contributor to the 'Sword of Kos: Hekaton' Anthology.

No. Enc: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90’ (30’)
AC: 4
HD: 10
Attacks: 1 (punch or kick) or by weapon
Damage: 1d4 or 1d6 or by weapon
Save: L12
Morale: 6
Hoard Class: VI, VIII, IX, XVI

These creatures are the doppelgangers of the wastes. They are capable of taking the form of any pure human or even mutant human that they encounter and are the perfect spies, infiltrators and assassins. As such, many members of the species are hired out for that purpose alone, and it has made individual members of the Shifter race very, very wealthy.

In their natural form, these Human Mutants have scale covered blue skin and yellow eyes. Their hair color runs the entire range as would be found in pure humans. They have the same height and weight variations as other humans, and reach sexual maturity around the same age.

Like Pure Humans and Mutant Humans, shifters are born either male or female, but once they hit puberty and gain full use of their shapeshifting powers, they are able to change not only their physical appearance but their sex at will. As a result, many Shifters are pure bi-sexual, although some still prefer to engage in carnal relations with only those of the opposite sex. They are also very agile and extremely long lived.

In many communities that shun mutant humans, the Shifters are able to live completely undetected, as they can assume the form of anyone they so desire. Again, this makes the creatures the perfect spies.

There are several different sub-species of the Shifter Race. The vast, vast majority can only assume different humanoid appearances, which includes radically altering their height, weight, sex, physical appearances, skin eye and hair coloration, and sex. This doesn’t however include radical physical mutations such as multiple limbs, natural armour or weapons.

The second variation of this species is able to perfectly imitate radical physical differences such as those mentioned above. Although they are not quite as common as the regular shifters. Shifters of this calibre command higher fees when they offer their services.

A third variation can take their shapeshifting abilities one step further. These humanoids are able to take on the physical form of any creature they encounter, not just humanoids. These creatures are looked upon with awe by other members of their species and tend to be the leaders important decision makers.

Finally, there are the damaged shifters. These are shifters that were born incapable of controlling their shape shifting abilities. There are those who simply are incapable of holding onto the same physical appearance, hair and skin color and so forth.

And then there are the damned of the race. These are members who are incapable of maintaining anything, including sex or even species. They are looked upon with pity by many members of the species and few live long, as they eventually take their own lives, incapable of dealing with the genetic wildcard that nature dealt them.

Personality wise, they tend to be quite arrogant and act highly aloof towards other species. Some are downright contemptuous and cruel, and greed is one common trait that most share equally. While others are very sexual and sensuous, who instead of selling their abilities out as assassins or spies often make their living by being whoever or whatever someone wants during a carnal encounter.

Both sexes are able to mate with non-shifters and there is a 50% chance that the offspring will be a Shifter, and even if the offspring isn’t a pureblood Shifter, many (75%) of the offspring end up getting the metamorph mutation, although more often than not they can only assume one other form (only humanoid), while (25%) gain the ability to change minor aspects of their physical appearance (such as eye, hair or skin color, etc.)

They are also capable of imitating any voice it hears perfectly, be it male or female. The only thing that the Shifter can’t mimic is scent and creatures with highly evolved sense of smell can tell the difference between one of these creatures and a person or creature they are imitating.

One surprising aspect of the species is that they can also mimic any type of clothing they so desire, and it feels real to the touch, reacts to the environment (gets dirty, wet, blows in the wind), although it will not provide any manner of protection. Despite this, the Shifters still have to actually don armour in order to gain any benefit from it. Also, they are very adept in using all manner of weaponry, everything from primitive melee weapons up to the most advanced pistols and rifles.

Mutations: Type 1 – Bizarre appearance (skin and eye coloration), extended life span, increased physical attribute (dexterity), metamorph (special), natural armour, sound imitation (special)

Type 2 Bizarre appearance (skin and eye coloration), extended life span, increased physical attribute (dexterity), metamorph (special), natural armour, sound imitation (special)

Type 3 Bizarre appearance (skin and eye coloration), extended life span, increased physical attribute (dexterity), metamorph (special), natural armour, shapeshift, sound imitation (special)

Type 4 (cursed) Bizarre appearance (skin and eye coloration), extended life span, increased physical attribute (dexterity), natural armour, sound imitation,  and one or more of the following drawbacks – continuous metamorph or morphic form or morphic gender

Source: Mystique from X-men (2000)