Skinwalkers resemble humans much of the time, but they possess the uncanny ability to transform into bestial humanoids who combine the most fearsome aspects of flesh and fur. It's largely believed that skinwalkers originated far from the Inner Sea region, on the distant continent of Arcadia to the west, though their prevalence in Avistan and Garund leads many to question this theory.
Physical Description: Outwardly human, skinwalkers are virtually indistinguishable from others of the ethnic group into which they are born. Those rare skinwalkers who have bred true for generations tend to have dark eyes, straight dark hair, and richly colored skin. Skinwalkers' features vary greatly when they shapechange. They gain a bestial visage evoking the creatures they emulate; the snout elongates, teeth become more prominent, claws emerge from fingertips, and skin toughens into hide. Despite their shapechanging abilities, they are not immune to infection from full lycanthropes.
Society: Skinwalkers sometimes weave themselves into other societies, hoping their peculiar talents go unnoticed. They may also be nomads found in lands with wide-open spaces. Groups of skinwalkers hidden among a larger community of non-skinwalkers may regularly gather for lunar rituals or nocturnal pack hunting.
Relations: Skinwalkers mostly populate human settlements and communities. They tend to get along with catfolk, tengus, and members of other animal-like races (including lycanthropes), and are comfortable taking their animalistic forms in the company of these fellows. However, many natural lycanthropes see skinwalkers as weaker, inferior versions of their own kind, and some lycanthropes even take to infecting or even hunting their distant kin.
Alignment and Religion: Skinwalkers tend toward neutral alignments, but may be of any. Many follow the Green Faith or venerate deities with close ties to nature and the animal world, as well as those connected with hunting, transformation, travel, and trickery.
Adventurers: Often on the move, skinwalkers make for excellent adventurers. Once they become comfortable in a group, most skinwalkers come to see their adventuring allies as their pack or herd.
Names: Skinwalkers born in human and humanoid societies share the naming conventions of the surrounding culture. Skinwalkers born in their own packs typically have names similar to their overarching ethnicities appended with flavorful, animal-inspired appellations such as Bearmaw, Wolftamer, Fangblood, or Owlmarked.
Skinwalkers are found mostly in human populations. However, because of the nature of lycanthropy, skinwalkers can feasibly be of any intelligent humanoid race. So while uncommon, a lycanthropic bloodline can descend through non-humans like halflings, dwarves, orcs, or elves. Non-human skinwalkers perhaps more closely resemble their non-lycanthropic parent race, but possess the same abilities as human-descended skinwalkers with the exception of size and effects dependent on size, such as the damage die of natural attacks. For example, a gnome skinwalker is Small, but otherwise is statistically identical to the base skinwalker race presented in this book (unless, of course, the character is descended from an alternate skinwalker heritage, in which case she has the abilities of that heritage). Regardless, skinwalkers of non-human descent are typically raised in the same culture as their parent race, and thus usually have the same cultural understanding and education that anyone in their community possesses. So while a half-orc skinwalker raised in an orc tribe might not gain automatic proficiency with the orc double-ax, that doesn't necessarily preclude him from honing his aggressive battle tactics and learning how to fight like an orc.
Those skinwalkers known as bloodmarked are a hungry lot— their predilection for blood is matched only by their flock mentality and adherence to strict hierarchy.
Typical Alignment: NE
Ability Modifiers: +2 Int, -2 Wis (+2 Dex while shapechanged)
Alternate Skill Modifiers: Fly, Perception at night
Alternate Spell-Like Ability: obscuring mist 1/day
Coldborn are remarkable among skinwalkers for their awareness and their potential for discipline, as well as for their hidden rage.
Typical Alignment: LG
Ability Modifiers: +2 Con, -2 Cha (+2 Wis while shapechanged)
Alternate Skill Modifiers: Climb, wild empathy
Alternate Spell-Like Ability: calm animals 1/day
Ragebred, even more so than other skinwalkers, find both their greatest strength and direst weakness in their choleric emotions— from unstoppable rage to tempestuous affection to reckless spite.
Typical Alignment: CN
Ability Modifiers: +2 Wis, -2 Cha (+2 Con while shapechanged)
Alternate Skill Modifiers: Handle Animal, Perception
Alternate Spell-Like Ability: speak with animals (pigs and boars only) 3/day
Scalehearts are of an exceptionally cold aspect—few others can so easily toss aside inhibitions in the name of their ultimate goals.
Typical Alignment: NE
Ability Modifiers: +2 Int, -2 Wis (+2 Str while shapechanged)
Alternate Skill Modifiers: Stealth, wild empathy
Alternate Spell-Like Ability: scare 1/day
Ironfang Invasion #1—Trail of the Hunter
Skinwalkers descended from wereraptors, aerieborn, lack beaks but have feathers in their bestial form.
Typical Alignment LN
Ability Modifiers +2 Wis, -2 Cha (+2 Dex while shapechanged)
Alternate Skill Modifiers Perception, Sense Motive
Alternate Spell-Like Ability feather fall 1/day
Nightskulks combine the versatile aspect of the skinwalker with the ambition and necessary ingenuity of the wererat to become some of the most creative and surprising of their kind.
Typical Alignment: LE
Ability Modifiers: +2 Int, -2 Str (+2 Dex while shapechanged)
Alternate Skill Modifiers: Handle Animal, Stealth in urban environments
Alternate Spell-Like Ability: speak with animals (rodents only) 3/day
The seascarred draw on the majesty of the shark and the society of skinwalkers to produce shamans and pirates with the ability to impose their will on anyone or anything that gets in their way.
Typical Alignment: N
Ability Modifiers: +2 Wis, -2 Int (+2 Con while shapechanged)
Alternate Skill Modifiers: Perception, Swim
Alternate Spell-Like Ability: charm animal (aquatic animals only) 3/day
Fanglords are skinwalkers of a most regal lineage, well aware that they carry the blood of kings and tyrants—and just as confident and imposing as their forebears.
Typical Alignment: NE
Ability Modifiers: +2 Dex, -2 Wis (+2 Cha while shapechanged)
Alternate Skill Modifiers: Acrobatics, Perception
Alternate Spell-Like Ability: jump 1/day
Witchwolves are skinwalkers of the open field and quiet forest, almost human in their ingenuity and free spirits, yet carrying a seed of those most terrible and brutal monsters—the werewolves.
Typical Alignment: CE
Ability Modifiers: +2 Con, -2 Int (+2 Wis while shapechanged)
Alternate Skill Modifiers: Perception, wild empathy
Alternate Spell-Like Ability: magic fang 1/day