The morphians are a rare race of metamorphs or shape shifters. Their natural form is featureless blob of protoplasm. Morphians are able to control their physical protoplasm at the molecular level. This allows them to shape their bodies, simulating various surface textures and modify plasma density. They are also able to modify their size by increasing or decreasing their density and this is relatively quick. A morphian can actually alter its mass by absorbing or expelling energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation though this takes a long time (hours or days depending on the amount of mass change). Morphians experience cellular decay as do all other races. Therefore, they do have a maximum life span. The average morphian lives to be about 170 years old.
A morphian uses up life energy in order to shapechange in a process very similar to a mage drawing upon life energy in order to create a spell. Therefore, shapeshifting is very tiring for a morphian. The energy requirement varies with the extent of the alteration of the form. The following limitations apply :
In any form, a morphian has no true organs as "normal" organisms do (which includes eyes, ears and other organs of sensory perception). Morphian protoplasm is sensitive to vibrations and electromagnetic radiation. Therefore, a morphian (in any form) can still sense his surroundings, but is limited to sight, sound and touch. A morphian has no sense of taste or smell. One morphian is able to detect another morphian when in close proximity (within 10 yards) through electromagnetic emanations. These emanations may also give away a morphians presence to a cunning mage who knows what to look for with magic.
A morphian may simulate speech by generating sonic vibrations. (This is the reverse process of listening). This can be done in any form (although, while replicating certain soft tactile surfaces, such as cloth, the sound produced may be muffled).
Due to their unique abilities and rarity, Morphians usually conceal their true nature. They tend to be loners with individualistic natures. They rarely trust or rely on other non-morphians. Morphians are extremely rare. (About 1 in 10,000). They are relatively unknown to the masses of the world. To sages and scholars, they are freaks... oddities of nature to be studied. If a morphian is found out by the ignorant masses, their reaction may be curiosity, prejudice or even outright hatred. The ability to change into any physical form is conducive to a flexible identity. Morphians tend to be learn a little bit about everything and change their personality and identity to fit their current form. Hence, a morphian is somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades.
Morphians have no gods of their own. They do, on occasion, worship the gods of other races. Many myths and legends surround the origin of the morphians. Most morphians believe that the other races of the world created the morphians to fight for them in the Great War. However, after the war, morphians were no longer useful and feared because of this ability.
One morphian movement is a cult known as the Purists who are determined to avenge themselves upon the non-Morphian world. They endlessly work as assassins and spies slaying political figures, mages and priests at random.
Morphians are open-minded about many things. Morphians have no qualms about magic or magic items and tend to follow the laws and social customs of whatever race they are with or assuming.
Morphians have no central home. The area from which they originate is now a wasteland and the race has been scattered over time. Now, morphians can be found among every race and walking every nation.
Rumors tells of a subterranean city, a city of morphians, in the far northern tundra beyond the Shard Wasteland. It, alone, could be considered a Morphian nation. This city is called Fenlar. Shrouded in myth and legend, Fenlar is hidden and isolated from the rest of the world. It is nothing more than a fanciful fable to the other civilized races and realms.
For morphians out in the world, this is not applicable. In Fenlar however, population density is high. Fenlar contains several thousand morphians, it entirely immobile and is also host to a few members of other races.
The morphians do have their own language. An ancient language which is passed down through the generations. It is exceptionally rare for a non-morphian to be taught the language. Likewise, morphian literature (and any writing in this language) is extremely rare. Morphians tend to learn the languages and arts of other races in place of their own.
Fenlar has a large library devoted entirely to morphian literature, art and history.
Because of social ignorance and prejudice, morphians conceal their true nature. Since they do not exist as a nation, they have no alliances or trade agreements. At Fenlar, no prejudice is to be brought in to the city.
A morphian must consume organic material to fuel itself. Eating merely consists of absorbing organic material into the body. Once enveloped by the body, the protoplasm converts the food source to energy much like a humanoid digestive system. The morphian metabolism is extremely efficient utilizing 100% of absorbed organic material. Therefore, a morphian does not excrete any bodily wastes. Due to its protoplasmic nature, most organic compounds will not work on a morphian. Poisons, herbs, potions and drugs will not affect a morphian. Such substances are consumed as food and converted to energy. The organic digestion qualities of the protoplasm is a slow process and cannot be used as an attack. Because of this unique ability, morphians do not tend to gather, store or distribute food. They simply eat whatever organic material is available whenever they need to. When living in a culture as a member and concealing its true identity, a morphian will eat whatever food is standard for that culture. Also, morphian digestion is a simple and crude process. A morphian is not consciously aware of any variations in chemical composition and so has no sense of taste or smell whatsoever.
Morphians have not developed their own technology. Rather, they learn the technology of others when they incorporate themselves into another culture.
Morphians follow the animal husbandry practices of the culture that they live in. Fenlar practices uses animals for labor on occasion, but not for food.
Morphians conform to the culture of which they are a part.
Again, morphians follow the laws and customs of the culture in which they live. At Fenlar, trade and barter is the standard economic procedure. No currency is used.
Morphians have no gender. However, when they assimilate into a society, they form themselves into a male or female as necessary and adopt the rights and responsibilities of that gender.
A morphian may marry a member of another race. All customs of the other race would be followed. However, such a union could not produce offspring. At Fenlar, morphians do not interwed. The concept of marriage is foreign to them.
Morphians do not have families or households unless they do so within the context of another culture.
The birth of a morphian is extremely rare. Only when two morphians meet and mate will a new morphian come into being. Two morphians must assume their natural protoplasmic form and "mix". During this physical blending, the two morphians literally become one. They not only share memories and experiences, they achieve a shared consciousness. Such a blending of life allows two morphians to know each other fully. Each morphian carries away the memories and life experiences of the other. It is not a thing entered into lightly. This is the method by which two morphians mate. During the process, the two create a third by surrendering a small part of themselves - protoplasm, neural net and life energy. This third morphian is born with a fraction of the skills and memories of its parents. But, for all intents and purposes, it is a full grown morphian.
Morphians cannot mate with other races. They can perform sexually when in the form of another race, but they cannot impregnate or be impregnated by a non-morphian. Social considerations of this nature vary depending on the context of the situation.
Newly born morphians are usually raised by one or both of the parents, depending on the situation.
When a morphian dies, its body returns to its natural form- that of a translucent red protoplasmic gel. After death, this gel contracts and crystallizes into the brilliant translucent red stone known as Chrylomar. The process takes about twelve hours and must take place in the presence of oxygen. It will not work underwater, in mud, etc. Chrylomar is a brittle crystalline substance which radiates a strong electromagnetic field. This field interferes with morphian life energy. Morphians cannot shapeshift in the presence of this Chrylomar.
Morphians adopt names appropriate for their form and culture. However, each morphian also has a true name... a name given to it by its parents at birth. This name is simply "known" instinctively and is always kept secret from non-morphians.
There is no social stratification within Fenlar. Out in the world, morphians follow the customs of the other races.
In Fenlar, the government is run by the Shapeshifters League. Out in the world, morphians tend to avoid becoming entangled in the political struggles of the other races.
Morphians are often highly prized as spies, thieves and gifted warriors. Some cultures set aside prejudice and offer morphians lucrative positions in their military. Fenlar has a powerful military force. It is small, but it is entirely composed of talented shapeshifters.
Morphians are individualistic. Some love to join in the ceremonies of other cultures. Others avoid such social contact.
Back at Fenlar, there is only one large scale community ceremony : the Gurkraq Truv En which translates roughly as The Oneness of All. This ceremony celebrates the morphian shifting ability and involves many hundreds of morphians uniting in their natural states (in a non sexual fashion). It occurs once a year on the founding date of Fenlar.
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.