Druidism Shapeshifting [FA]
“I tried to fight it at first, that impulse that pulls at your very soul. No matter how much you struggle it is all in vain. Be at peace with it, allow your new instincts to take over only then you will be able to walk amongst the balance.” Elenora, The Scorpion Druid
It is often said that legends and myths tell the truths of how sacred arts are gifted to the world. The stories weaved for children to hear and develop a sense of imagination upon what was said so that it could be passed down for generations to come. For this specific gift, the origins whisper different tales yet all seem to stem eventually to the same conclusion. The Aspects. The Demi-Gods of the Wilds known as Mani are rumored to have played a part in helping in this design as well, blessing the servants of nature and giving them a true boon for the service they have done to protect either their species, their territory, or nature itself. Whatever the case, the first shapeshifter was created. A truly powerful sight to behold and gifted to them would be an ancient book known as the Shapeshifting Tome. Within its pages, the words ever shifted magically which made it impossible to read except to those that held the secret art. It revealed the traditions and ancient process of turning one into a blessed animal of the wilds. For centuries this tome was kept hidden, passed down from teacher to student until the land of Axios where the Owl Druid and the Song Druid agreed after seeing fellow kin hunt down each other for this sacred artifact. The greed, hoarding, and overall selfish acts against fellow Druids finally cause the two Elder Druids to make a decision for the entire Order. In turn, both used their gifts to release its magic and tore up its pages. The course that followed brought about a new generation of shifters unbound by the rules set by generations before. New teachers breaking free of the old laws were now allowed to teach more yet always still, the sacred art remained hidden. Given to only those worthy within the eyes that silently observed them.
Shapeshifting is a sacred and hidden art of Druidism that requires Tier 5 to be learned. The feat requires three trials for the Druid picked to pass. Should they succeed, they are then merged with the animal spirit that had chosen them and learn the ability to shapeshift into that animal. Along with such a gift, however, the merging of the superior soul of the druid and the lesser soul of the animal causes over time unique mental effects that the druid endures until both souls are felt as one. Those that have mastered this art shift through each form with ease, giving into the instincts of the creature while balancing their soul.
-Requires Tier 5 in Druidism Communion
-Must have a TA in Shifting to teach this Feat to another.
Trials of Spirit and Resolve
"It's a part of you, both conflicting what you know and catering to that warm feeling within. Constantly calling, changing, reshaping you, like running water along the riverbank." Zaelyn, The Riptide Druid
The trials are a test of the Druid’s soul and resilience when faced with difficult odds. Each stage forms a new path for the student to find the animal revealed to them, bond with it, fight it to the death, then become one with it at the end. Once the Druid steps on this journey, they cannot turn back. And should the teacher deem them unworthy to continue, the student is often left alone without finishing the trials.
Trial of Acceptance
The journey begins for the Druid with the teacher aiding them on a spiritual vision. This vision is invoked by a ritual that causes the Druid to have an out-of-body experience. It is said from there that the Aspect Cernunnos pulls the Druid onto a path to find their destined animal spirit to bond with. During this time, the teacher watches over the Druid’s body while this is performed and can pull them back into consciousness if need be. This process could last days, weeks, or months (in-game) depending on the time it takes for them to find the animal. If the animal is found, the vision will end and the Druid will awaken.
This is a spiritual vision that the teacher gives the student. With the OOCly provided knowledge of what animal the student has chosen OOCly, the teacher then creates a story around the student’s spirit being lifted and then guided to find the animal they will eventually bond with. This is left up to the teacher and student respectively, but effort does need to be made with the story vision the student will receive to give a full RP experience they deserve when doing these trials. Anything else they might see in these visions should be left as ambiguous, so any attempt to try and add an interaction of say a Mani or an Aspect is strictly attributed to the strange effects of the vision itself and is non-canon. Any attempt to OOCly state the character has met or interacted with said deities is strictly prohibited.
Trial of Strength
Once the vision reveals the animal, the next trial involves the teacher guiding the Druid to find it. If found the teacher leaves and the Druid must bond with the animal to earn its acceptance, then challenge it in combat to the death. This trial is said to be watched over by the Aspect Nemiisae, watching and judging the Druid’s true nature and resolve, to determine if they are worthy of such a gift. Should the Druid prove victorious, they skin the animal and bury the remains respectfully to give thanks for such a sacrifice. Upon completion, they return to their teacher with the skin to proceed with the final trial.
This trial requires the teacher to find a location suitable for the regional habitat of said animal and then direct their student to find it. The teacher plays the animal in question, whether by using a provided animal skin or standing by OOCly to emote it. This part is where the teacher creates a full interactive story around the animal itself where the student must discern how to bond with it. The student’s actions determine if they can combat the animal or not. This generally means several sessions are done bonding with the animal and determining if the next step is ready to be done. Once the teacher decides the student is ready, the RP combat will complete the final session. This is a fight to the death, but the Druid is not held to a PK clause. Should the student fail to kill the animal, they fail the trials completely. This trial usually includes 2-3 RP sessions with the animal, though a teacher may opt to do more to create an engaging story. The skin (or equivalent, depending on the animal) is required for the next trial.
Trial of Change
The final trial is more of a ritual that takes place in a sacred, hidden area known as the Grotto of Cerridwen. With the pelt of the animal, the Druid steps into the center of the Grotto while their teacher begins to recite an ancient Druidic chant. The area stirs to life while creating a surge of Druidic energy as the hide of the animal starts to meld into the Druid’s flesh, calling forth the spirit of the animal to merge with the Druid’s soul and body. When the process is complete, the Druid’s body begins to morph. The process for the first time is slow and painful though the result, if successful, is the Druid now fully shifted into the animal they have bonded with.
This final trial requires the location of the Grotto of Cerridwen. The teacher guides the student there, where they perform the ritual and final test, to determine if the student is worthy or not. The requirement for the student is to have the skin (or variation depending on the animal) with them. They are told to sit in a certain place in front of the altar or shrines there, while the teacher places the skin of the animal upon their back. The teacher will then begin to chant, cast, and/or RP special effects that happen in the Grotto itself. This is generally left up to the teacher and how they individually choose to RP it. Once finished, there is a moment of silence. Should the skin of the animal successfully meld into the student’s body, the student is then allowed to start changing into the animal. This is the only time they can do such before an MA is made and lasts for 5 emotes before being forced to shift back again. The teacher remains with them during this time. If combat were somehow engaged, the student immediately shifts out of animal form.
"It is the greatest season of change when the Aspect's servant sheds their descendant shell and emerges anew as an incarnation of the Wilds itself." -Aerendyl, the Timberwolf Druid
As the souls merge and become one within the body, the true test of the Shifter now begins. The Druid learns to work together with the animal spirit as their souls intertwine, struggling between instincts, behaviors, and even how one prefers to eat and sleep. Yet, the result in the end is allowing the animal spirit to take hold. In doing so, the body starts to morph and change, letting the Druid become a creature of the Wilds.
The first time one shifts within the Grotto of Cerridwen, the process is long and usually agonizing depending on the animal. After this first instance, the beginning of their journey as a Shifter attempting to change into animal form takes quite a while to achieve and is painful. Soreness and aching pervade the humanoid body when returning. The Druid cannot maintain their animal form for long, more often than not shifting back randomly or not getting correct control over the animal instincts they now possess. ((When shifting, it requires 5 emotes to fully shift in and out of animal form. When in combat, it is far more straining to focus on shifting, making it impossible to do such under pressure. When faced with severe stress while in animal form out of combat, a roll out of 20 is done. If it’s below 10, the Shifter suddenly starts to change back into humanoid form. Max duration 3 OOC hours as an animal.))
The Druid now has an easier time shifting into animal form without much pain or soreness. Instincts of the spirit animal now become more fluid and easier to manage for the Druid within humanoid form. Though the effects will remain, the Druid can manage the changes they experience from the side effects of shifting. Maintaining animal form becomes easier and lasts for longer, rarely ever randomly shifting back. ((When shifting, it requires 3 emotes to fully shift into animal form and 3 emotes to shift back. When in combat, the Druid is far more bonded and in tune with their animal spirit, allowing 4 emotes to shift when in such a situation.))
The Druid has fully mastered the art of shapeshifting. Morphing into their respective animal almost instantaneously now, with no random occurrences of shifting back to humanoid form. Those who have mastered this ability are even rumored to be able to stay in their animal form for years at a time, finding themselves remaining more animal than humanoid. ((When shifting, it requires 2 emotes to fully shift into animal form and 2 emotes to shift back. When in combat, while the Druid Shifter is now completely one with the animal spirit, the strain and sudden focus in combat has the shift still require 3 emotes in such situations.))
Grotto of Cerridwen [N/C]
Requires 3 Shapeshifting Druids
The Grotto of Cerridwen is the sacred, hidden location that is required for the final trial of shapeshifting to be performed. The Grotto itself can be created in any design, from shrines to all the different Aspects to those of Demi-Aspects or even Mani murals. These locations are no different than any other Druidic cavern/structure, making it impossible to just assume it is the Grotto unless told.
The process of creating Grottos requires three Shifters. The area itself must be at least 8x8 in radius and include water of some sort and flora. Each Druid brings an offering to Cerridwen, and the offerings are placed in the center of the room with all three Shifters sitting around it. One chants prayers, while the others begin to infuse Druidic energies into the offerings. All three then shift at once, creating a surge of natural energy within the room itself. Upon successful completion, the offerings turn into a greenish goo and seep down into the ground before a calm serenity washes over the Grotto area.
"As time goes on from the ritual, they make themselves known in small ways. Like an itch at the back of the mind, presently there making thought and perception different. The weight of taking their place is growing." - The Spore Druid
As the Druid progresses and bonds with the animal spirit within them, their mental state and behavior begin to change, whereby they take on some characteristics of said animal. This can vary and falls within a wide range of effects, from feeling more territorial, distant, fearful, alert, and/or more obsessed with certain things. While choosing what kind of behavioral changes or mindset the Druid can take, they must have some instinctual change from the animal spirit they now possess. Below is a list of examples of instincts that one could obtain from that animal or one similar to that animal. This isn’t however, something to follow to the hilt, and rather it is encouraged to add some unique flavor of your own to your Druid and their RP.
Raven: Collects various shiny objects, and may be more prone to pester or harass others for things. Mouse: Timid and shy, may be distracted by intriguing smells, and finds fear of larger creatures. Dog: Overly playful, tends to become overly protective and loyal. Wolf: Is rather curious and paranoid, may lash out with anger, and seem very protective of family or friends. Tiger: Territorial and aggressive. Tend to become overly protective of loved ones. Leopard: Feels prideful and vanity, sometimes loses interest in their original purpose or goal while shifted. Turtle: Seen as lazy or very laid back. Usually takes things slowly. Wildcat: Very elusive and more often than not, observes others from apart. Not fond of crowds. Snake: Often paranoid and hateful, sometimes speaks in a lisp which exaggerates the letter 's'. Squirrel: Fearful at the sight of danger, often longing for the feeling of freedom or to climb. Toad: Tend to jump when trying to move swiftly, and sometimes speak in a deeper voice. Rabbit: Very aware, which may cause fatigue, may chitter while eating or during long conversations. The nose may wiggle. Goat: Often grumpy and stubborn; persistent until goals are achieved. Deer: May become timid and often precarious. Bird: May be jittery, extra-social, and a diligent builder and guardian.
Anything that can harm an animal, both magical and mundane, can harm a Shifter in animal form. Any area of effect that contains blight/taint will start to corrupt the Shifter’s animal form slowly throughout six emotes. Though, should a Shifter cast Druidic Blight Healing while slowly moving through a corrupted area, this does not take effect. If the blight/taint takes over fully, however, the Shifter goes into complete madness akin to a rabid animal. The concept of friend and foe is blurred, attacking anyone on sight. Their primal instincts consume them until the animal spirit fully takes hold. Even killing such a violent beast would not remove this. Blight Healing or any Holy Magicks that affects animals is the only manner in which to save them from their cursed fate.
Other Subtypes/Abilities while in Animal Form
Communion Abilities: Communing while in animal form works the same as if one were speaking with an animal. This can be done through words, emotions, the general behavior of the animal, and so on. As with animals in general, an animal Shifter choosing not to speak isn’t a dead giveaway that they are a Shifter. Their voices are not recognizable unless the Shifter chooses to reveal themselves to the Druid they speak to. Communion abilities may be used and Luontos of Shifters can appear and follow them around or take on transparent aesthetics on the animal form’s body. An example would be a horse Shifter having the Luonto aesthetic of a unicorn horn on their head.
Control Abilities: While in animal form, the Shifter must be completely stationary to perform such abilities, unable to move from the spot. If they attempt to dodge, whatever control spell is being used is immediately halted, otherwise, the Shifter cannot counter, attack, or otherwise move while using control abilities. Redlines and restrictions regarding control should be followed as a Tier 5 Druid and the section on how to perform control abilities. Cannot use the ability Entling while shifted.
Druidic Infusion: Infusing itself cannot be done while in animal form (enchanting items). Powersharing while in animal form may only be performed as giving natural energies to another, never able to be on the receiving end of given energies. This ability follows the same amount given by a Tier 5 Druid. Can perform Attunement and Unattunement.
Blight Healing: While not in combat, the Shifter may cast the Blight Healing abilities whereby the mists emit from their form. This can be from their wings, feet, hooves, fur, and so on, creating mists either trailing behind them, around them and so on. However, using Blight Healing should follow the redlines and their Tier level in Blight Healing. Additionally, exhaustion takes a toll by halting the Shifter from shifting back for 1 OOC day on top of whatever affects one gains from Blight Healing.
Herblore: Can only perform Altered Flora and Granted Vision.
Blood Druidism: Shifters in animal form can only perform Druidic Augmentation and Sanguine’s Folly. Druidic Augmentation will only work if the Shifter is completely still and using Control, Herblore, or Blight Healing abilities;cannot boost its animal form. For Sanguine’s Folly, the Shifter can move at half speed (2 blocks) while performing this ability. On top of the abilities being used, unique aesthetics are unlocked for Blood Druid Shifters. Their animal forms can take on sickly, corrupted appearances. Thorns, bones, twisted bodies, oozing puss, open wounds, dripping blood, the faded coloration of fur, feathers, etc all fall under this.
Transcendence: The following abilities can be done in animal form: Ritual of the Fae Ring, Call of the Guardians, and Walk of the Aspects. Obtaining this Feat can give unique effects to the shifter’s animal form such as fae-like appearances of whatever they wish. Wardens cannot be out while shifted.
Treelords and Epiphyte Druids: Upon shifting into animal form, the usual appearance of the flora bodies is morphed and shifted into flesh and bones to mimic that of a real animal. Both can however give aesthetic appearances to their animal forms, adding flora-like features that match their tree/fae plant.
All other Magics and Feats: None of these can be performed or done in animal form. Seer Druids blind will not be able to use Seer magic in animal form, however they may use the Druid Communion ability Greensight to passively see. Must follow all redlines regarding Greensight.
Obtained after performing the Trial of Change and obtaining an accepted MA.
-Abilities Learned: Shifting
Tier 2 is reached 4 weeks after the App. Accepted date(1 month)
-Mental Effects Begin
Tier 3 is reached 8 weeks after the App. Accepted date(2 months)
-Abilities Learned: Grotto of Cerridwen
-Can obtain a TA. Requires being taught the Trials and the ability Grotto of Cerridwen.
The lore of shapeshifting is rather outdated compared to current lore. While most of it is fine, it however needed some updating in some areas and also turned from a MA into a Feat given its very theme and limited abilities just considered that with the current criteria. With the update, I also plan on adding current groups of shifters with blessed grottos. I may grandfather this magic to some depending to make sure it’s properly and equally given within the Druid community as a whole.
Consultation: Raiderblue, Carol, Dragontaters, Hazelwazel, MayRndz, Junoix, Damien
Previous and Mentioned Lores:
Druidic Communion Blight Healing
Previous Shapeshifting Lore