Anamalians can come in just about any humanoid form and are set apart from the race they appear to be born as. The first Anamalian, Shatae Rilynnghymn, born within an elven household. When he was only an infant he touched a robin that was resting on his mother's finger while she was singing to him. He immediately began hiccuping after touching the robin and with each hiccup he would transform into either the robin or back into his infant self. Worrying that the bird was really a fairy in disguise and had laid a minor curse on her son, Shatae's mother rushed him to their village's physician.
During her rush, his hiccups stopped and he remained as an elven child. Several more of these changing fits occurred until a week later, when another fit of hiccups set in but he didn't change. It was from there that their family slowly began the long and arduous task of uncovering the cause behind their son's changes.
He was able to become whatever animal he touched last and could not change into any other animal besides that one. He discovered that he needed no magic to assist him in his transformations, but that it took a toll on his will and energy to change. He came to find that the longer he remained as an animal, the more he began to think in the ways of that animal and less like an elf. The longer he stayed, the less and less he wanted to change and feared there could come a point where he wouldn't want to or couldn't change back.
Eventually they came to the decision that their son was not an elf and left it up to him to create a new name and it came to be that he called himself Shatae Anamalian and went off in search of others like him. He would find others in time and word of his journey spread. Sometimes decades past between finding others like him, sometimes only months. More than once he had confirmed his fears that, if one stayed in an animal state for too long, one became stuck as the animal and unable to change back without very powerful psychic intervention and even then that was not always guaranteed to work.
To this day there is no true test for parents to discover if their newborns are Anamalian or not; they must look for signs and suggestions, but otherwise some may never know.
Habitat / Culture
Anamalians can be found virtually anywhere, usually dependant on their root's preference. This affects a lot of their beliefs and way of life.
Anamalians come in all shapes and sizes, thanks to the fact that they are born from other races. So one born from an elven family would have the variations elves would likely have. They are only different because of what the power of touching an animal can bring them.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Anamalians are a type of changer, albeit watered down. They can become any real (read: not mythological) animal just from touching them or a part of them, dead or alive. However they can only become what they last touched, and they have to deal with the dangers of being a body they're not meant to be, using a mindset they're not meant to do. They also cannot partially transform; it is either their root or the animal they touched last. Not inbetween.
However there are certainly perks:
- Being an animal provides first-hand experience in the methodology of that animal's hunting or hiding instincts
- While an animal you have full respect of their own strengths and skills; flight while a bird that flies, the strength of a bear, sprint speed of a cheetah, eye sight of an owl etc.
- These do not carry back to original form. Anamalians cannot "partial change" (ie they can't just give themselves hawk eyes in order to see far, they have to be a hawk.)
- They CAN still talk while in animal form. This is a good gage to check on their mental awareness.
There's also some concerns:
- Staying in a form too long* will risk the loss of the anamalian's mind to that form. They will be stuck in their form, and lose the ability to talk while in it.
- Strong psionic intervention may reverse it.
It should also be noted that any strengths and weaknesses of their root form (human, dwarf, elf, etc) still apply to them.
*"too long" can be anywhere from a week to no more than a month straight of holding a form.
Dependant on root.
Dependant on root.
Dependant on root.
Dependant on root.
Same as root. Anamalians are a "hiccup", and just because a parent is an Anamalian doesn't mean that the child will be. Child has a chance, whether both parents are anamalians or not, to be completely normal to the root race (half breeds if anamalian parents have different roots). Both parents being anamalians does have an increased chance of being one (~50%).
Can my Anamalian carry around something so they can guarantee they'll be able to turn into a ___?
It is not uncommon that an Anamalian once they have grown accustomed to their ability to carry around trinkets to aid them more readily if they need a specific form immediately. After all it is difficult to catch a wild bird just for the sake of touching it so you can have a flying form for a while! A cloak-of-many-furs or a necklace of teeth, for instance, would do and be subtle. Some go as far as having an entire trunk or closet full of "costumes".
How long should they be capable of holding a form?
No more than a month. If you want you can roll to see exactly how long. Remember, they cannot partially change either, so they can't just spout a tail because they want one.
Can my Anamalian have "boosts" based on what form they're in, like if they have an affinity for cats? Likewise can they have handicaps if in a form contrary to this?
To an extent, sure! You have to realize that given they aren't normally a _____, that there's going to be some amount of culture shock when you suddenly are seeing the world a different way, have extra appendages, are missing some details, etc. The more often you're in a form the more comfortable and ready you'd be in it when you enter it. On top of that, there's simply a matter of preferences too!
They wouldn't exactly get boosts in terms of "+5 strength" on top of a bear's normal strength because they have an affinity to bears, though. But they'd be better at being a bear than someone who's just turned into one today. Likewise if they're used to being a bear and decide to be a giraffe, it's a vastly different experience and you can see where the handicap is built in right then.
Can my Anamalian summon animals to their aid?
That would not be a racial trait of theirs. But it is not impossible, it just wouldn't be "because they're an Anamalian", understand?