The chimera were created by Zluvi, an astral being shrouded in much mystery. A short while before the changers war Zluvi breached the physical plane and gathered races to experiment on, either in the hope of creating its own race or perhaps just some passing fascination.
Zluvi took samples from humans, elves, gnomes and a shifter -his linage did not have a set animal form, instead choosing one some years after birth- melding their genes together to mold its creation, strengthening the unstable genetic structures that arose with its magic. Under his care the chimera lived long and comfortable lives, being ever modified by Zluvi. They were to be the ultimate shifters.
Unfortunately for Zluvi its plans were cut short when the seal was created, cutting off the astral being and its creations and leaving the chimera an unstable race, freed from the power that once stabilized them.
Of the thousands of chimera that lived at the time, only a mere two hundred survived what followed. Their genetics no longer contained by Zluvi’s power, their individual genes sought to gain supremacy over one another. The lucky ones managed to -out of pure luck- mutate around this, pushing the genes into correlation. The chimera that did not mutate ultimately fell victim to tissue rejection, dying in a matter of days.
Before the appearance of the seal the chimera were powerful shifters, able to take any animal form that they pleased. But after the seal was made something went wrong, imprinting animal features onto them (horns, fur etc) And while they still retained the ability to take various animal forms, it became more difficult. The lack of magic limiting the amount of forms they could take and warping their bodies.
Chimera resemble humans, elves and gnomes all at once, resulting in them being mistaken for half-breeds every now and then. However all chimera have some shifter flaw to them from their mutation, this often manifests as having animal like qualities, ranging from the minor -claws, patches of scales- to the more extreme -full body covering of fur/scales, emergence of muzzles, warping of skeletal structure-
In the event that a defect is not readily visible, chimera can be identified by their lack of genitalia in base or shifted forms.
Biology of chimera
It is important to note that while chimera do have excretory organs similar to those of humans, they lack any sexual organs or characteristics. The race does not have male and female genders, instead having appearances that appear to be one or the other or both depending on individual chimera.
Chimera are wanderers of the land, often forming lone groups of twos or threes if the need for company is great. Due to their shaky history much of their culture is around nurturing the young, making sure that they reach maturity alive, and securing the future of the race. It is often only when children are present that larger groups are formed, sometimes making groups of twenty or more.
Once the children reach maturity the group begins to separate, as they find their way in the world. But there are exceptions to this rule, some parents choosing to join their children or vice-versa.
Chimera do not observe normal gender divisions and regard each other as the same, however exposure to other culture can change this for some.
When it comes to interacting with other races, there can be some friction between chimera and said races. Humans, especially those with an aversion to magic, tend to view them as abominations. Elves and gnomes are a little more accepting. Shifters can express a range of responses; from pity to anger at the half-shifters, or in race cases a form of kinship.
As of the moment there is no city of Chimera. The chimera do not have the need for one and their preference to small groups would make running such a city undesirable. Instead of having a city of their own Chimera prefer blending in with already existing populations of native races, depending on their current appearance and rate of genetic stablity.
New chimera are born via budding, a single parent sacrificing some of its genetic matter and stability to create new life. The process itself is harmful to the parent, so much so that attempting to bud more that twice will kill the parent in question.
Chimera reach maturity any-time as early as 8 to as late as 20 and from this point stop ageing. They are not immortal. But instead of the typical dying of old age, they experience tissue rejection any-time from 150-170.
Chimera are shifters, possessing the ability to transform into animals at will. At maturity they usually gain an animal form, receiving more as time passes. Majority of shifters have two or three animal forms, especially rare cases may have more.
However there is a problem that chimera face when shifting. Although their genetic code is somewhat stable, there are still several unstable cells in their bodies. When shifting these cells achieve stability and if too much time is spent in the shift, these cells become stable in their shifted forms, resulting in animal features being carried over to the base forms. Eventually chimera can become stuck in their shifted forms, if they do not release them in time.
In addition there is a learning curve associated with new forms. The first form is the easiest to learn, but it only gets more difficult from that point on.
Chimera are omnivores for the most, though they may have preferred foods. Although they ingest food and drink like most races, egestion does occur in chimera as all their waste is broken down to liquid or gaseous forms, and removed via excretion.
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