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Shifters of Aries Kraul
Shifters are the most common nongoblin race in Aries Kraul. Most are ex-slaves — or their children — who’ve earned their freedom through hard work, diligence, and their innate ferocity.
In the old days, the savannah around Aries Kraul was wild and unsettled. Nomadic tribes of shifters roamed the plains, under the spiritual guidance of lycantrhopes and other beastmen of Melora. When the Scartel Trifectum conquered the area, these tribes were enslaved as laborers, to produce the resources needed to feed the goblin war machine.
The shifters did not go quietly into servitude; the Scartel Trifectum has an infamous history of failed rebellions and bloody uprisings. It wasn’t until the rise of Supreme General Ash Hide that Aries Kraul knew even a modicum of peace. Ash Hide completely restructured the laws of slavery. All were slaves were now the property and responsibility of the state, and it was possible for ambitious slaves to earn their freedom with hard work and loyalty
With improved working conditions and Ash Hide’s carrot of freedom dangling in front of them, many shifters changed their tune from rebellion to conformity, and Aries Kraul prospered in the aftermath. Freed shifters slowly integrated themselves into society as equal citizens, which helped pave the way for other races to find a niche within Aries Kraul.
Today, Aries Kraul has more “civilized” shifters than any other city on the continent. Many shifters remain slaves, unwilling to submit to the goblins and clinging to their old ways of life. Rebels who have escaped servitude tend to dwell in the underbelly of the city. They worship underground shrines to Melora, and swear allegiance to the city’s lycanthropic Crime Lords.
Shifter rebels should not be confused with idealists; they steal, maim, and kill without discrimination. Most are motivated by vengeance, and commit their crimes in the name of a mostly forgotten oath known as a “blood debt.” Generations of slavery and oppression have twisted such old traditions, however, robbing the shifters of their more noble traits and reducing their heritage into one of spite and petty anger.
The rest of Aries’ Krauls shifters are more ambivalent than loyal. Accustomed to the hard life of the city, they are content to earn their monthly wages and keep out of other peoples’ business. These “city shifters” blend the martial culture of the hobgoblins with the mythos and traditions of Melora. Most share the hobgoblin’s fascination with deadly beasts and gritty combat, and are wild spectators at arena events.
Shifters are viciously protective of their close family, though they don’t go to the level of politics seen among tieflings or hobgoblins. Most accounts of shifter violence can be attributed to a simple blood feud that begins when a shifter’s family is threatened or hurt. The law of Aries Kraul is usually willing to overlook this vigilantism, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.