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Shifty Lore

By MOD-Pseudonym
(with contributions from Luckyclaw #55231)

Shifties are a species known for their shape-shifting prowess. They have the uncanny ability to change their bodies to match just about anything they can see, changing their form whenever the situation requires it. Though they’re named after this ability, and widely known for being masters of physical formation, the ‘true’ form of a shifty is a simple blob of goo. Naturally, it’s very rare to see a shifty in their true form, and some shifties become so used to their new form that they end up holding their new shape for the rest of their lives.

There are three subspecies of Shifty currently known: Midnight, Galactic and Primordial. Midnight Shifties are the most common of the three, are named for their tar black color, and are generally considered the ‘weakest’ subspecies. They can alter their physical appearance at will and make drastic changes to their form, possibly growing to the size of large monsters or shrinking to the size of tiny minipets, and can even change minute details such as altering their own scent. However, they can never be a full mimic of what they try to transform into. They cannot copy special magic or abilities unique to an individual (so a shifty mimicking a prince will never have his royal blood or family powers), and they have to ‘guess’ their transformation when changing into something they haven’t seen (so if they don’t know about a birthmark their target has, they won’t have one when transformed). This means that there are some very unique species, such as Wickerbeasts or Manokits, that they can never become perfect mimics of because of their unique magical and/or biological structure. Some Midnight Shifties spend years living among the species they want to become, or become scholars of certain subjects such as gills or eyes, to perfectly create the bodies they want.

Galactics are much rarer, and are even more talented as shapeshifters. They have all the abilities of their Midnight cousins, plus the ability to take a sample of their target’s biological material and become a perfect clone. This ability is so impeccable that it even copies exact physical and magical traits, to the point where family members and even trained Shifty experts have issues telling the difference between the copycat and the original. This extraordinary ability allows them to take the form of ‘rare’ species that give other Shifties trouble, such as Saggitaris and Dutch Angel Dragons.

The rarest of all three subspecies is the Primordial Shifty, because they often live underground wherever large fossil deposits can be found. They’re named ‘primordial’ because of their natural obsession with ancient creatures referred to as ‘proto-furries’. They collect the skulls and bones of these ape-like creatures in their bodies, studying every surface and contour of the remains, and morph themselves into reconstructions of these extinct beasts (or as close as they can guess, at least). They can do this with almost any bone or fossil, even if it’s only a fragment, but they clearly prefer proto-furries and have a natural fondness for them. In addition, they also have the abilities of a Midnight Shifty, and they use these natural abilities to guess at traits the bones can’t reveal to them or to add traits they personally find useful, or enjoy aesthetically.

Primordial Shifties have interesting behavior. They greatly value proto-furry remains and often end up with collections of ‘specimens’ they like, carrying their favorite pieces with them at all times. Meetings with other Primordial Shifties sometimes results in a “clash of headcanons” where the two will argue over why their specific reconstruction is superior, using arguments like “My reconstruction is based off the most recent scientific literature,” or “A proto-furry with cat ears and a tail looks cooler!” Usually these debates get nowhere and neither one’s mind gets changed, but they’re entertaining to watch. In the recent past, Primordial Shifties hid away from civilization to protect their collections of specimens because proto-furry skulls are useful for crafting and would often be forcefully taken if found. In modern times, some Primordial Shifties have stopped hiding and decided to share their collections with the world in the form of museums, though most are probably still living in underground communities where there’s no threat that their fossils will be taken away.

Midnight Shifties have been recorded sporadically throughout Furvilla’s history for hundreds of years, because their culture was quite secretive in the past. For many years, they were feared for their abilities and hid away from other species; this all changed with the invention of the Shifty Potion and a push for Shifty understanding. Galactic Shifties, however, are much more mysterious. The first appearance of Galactic Shifties aligns with a meteor shower and subsequent impact that occured on June 8th, 1947. Since then, Galactic Shifties have been encountered on extremely rare occasions, becoming less rare with the mysterious invention of the Galactic Shifty Morphing Potion. Though these villagers are quickly becoming our friends and neighbors, that hasn’t stopped furries with active imaginations from creating works such as “Invasion of the Bodyshifters” and “The Glob” which put Shifties in a negative light.

Though Shifties are a unique species, not all of the “shifties” you may see are actually true shifties. For many years, all 5 villages of Furvilla have used ‘shifty’ as a sort of “Ethnicity: Other” classification on official documents. This is because true Shifties are quite rare, and there are many underpopulated species that simply do not have enough members to classify as an official ‘group’ on their own. Add this to the fact that Shifties can transform into any shape they want, bizarre or mundane, and it creates a nightmare for governments to confirm or deny if a citizen is a Shifty or not without an actual physical examination. So, if there’s a clerical error on some paperwork, if the species is unknown or not similar to any ‘large’ group, or the citizen simply refused to reveal their species, they are all classified as “Shifty.”

On a side note, it is also very rude to ask a Shifty if they’re a ‘true Shifty’ or not, because the question implies that their transformation is so bad you were able to tell it’s fake. So, it’s best to not ask unless it’s extremely important to know.