There are some wayward rumors and exotic tales that the zofien came about during the wrath of the deities centuries ago, or were even present as noble nature warriors in the time before that. But the truth is something many of the human and halfling kind try to ignore: the aeliavim made them.
Encountering the vampires gave the aeliavim ideas about immortality, and also gave them a material source to study. After decades of notes and experiments they began attempts at live trials with animals. They wanted something they could break in, keep as pets or tools of war, but also something that was very hard to kill with enhanced reflexes and, perhaps, immortality. Was it be successful the obvious next step would be to use it on their intellectual enemies and make them their slaves. And it was.
But the virus they made was too efficient. The slightest error in exposure led to the uncontrolled spread now inhabiting the world. Unfortunately for the aeliavim they were unprepared thus unable to take advantage of the utter shock that took the human populations when men turned into beasts. The virus quickly got out of hand and the aeliavim unable to keep their new 'pets' in the pen. Those that were captured proved only a failed experiment. The beastmen were not tameable with or without their minds in check and didn't possess nearly the kind of immortality the aeliavim wanted; the human's enhanced form just making it easier to resist their supposed masters. The only thing that came of it was a distraction for the humans.
General Description & Capabilities
Zofienanthropy, or also commonly referred to as a Feral Curse by humans, is a change caused by infection of the zofien virus. Symptoms mimic that of a flu and after a couple weeks become rather severe as the virus finishes testing the host body's strength. Some merely die if they were too young or old, or already weakened by sickness or wounds. But those that don't begin manifesting certain aspects of beasts; exactly what changes from person to person, as well as what strand they've been infected with. All zofien retain some feature(s) of their beast form even when in their base race form.
What is consistent with all strands is the fear and confusion of one first turned. They are feral and act purely on survival instinct, harming anyone and everyone that gets near. Typically they flee to quiet places where they feel safe. This mind set persists until the infected learns to accept their new selves and overcome the disorientation of the transformation. Once one gains control of their mind in beast form it becomes easier to transform whenever they please. Unfortunately by this time a zofien has already been met with so much hostility and alienation that they turn their resentment against others. However, those that fled from the human regions into vampire or witch territory often find themselves accepted into effective packs or small communities.
The ways in which someone can contract this virus is fairly simple. If a zofien's blood or saliva is ingested, or absorbed or mixed into a normal person's body via an open wound, the uninfected has a chance to become afflicted with the virus. How big this chance is depends on how much got into their system. This exposure also affects how much they take on of their beast strand's characteristics in their 'normal' form. When transformed, while everyone is different, there is never any time when there is a seemless or pure transition into that beast form. That is to say that an average human who's fully taken by the ursine strand does not then become 10ft tall grizzly with mass to match. They would be bipedal, bear-like, a big bulkier and denser than normal but a near approximate size to their base racial state.
Of course, there is also the possibility of being born a zofien. The strands prevent any intermixing providing viable offspring, but like strands can result in zofien born children. Typically those born a zofien have an easier time of switching between forms, but they also normally possess more prominent features of their beast form no matter what shape they're in.
All zofien are highly susceptible to metal poisoning from items containing silver, no matter the form. Otherwise they have rapid healing capabilities, making the common myth that they can only be killed with silver weapons. In truth, as long as they do not escape a zofien can be felled normally. Still, it is fabled that when one kills a zofien without using silver they rise 13 days later as a vampire. So far there is absolutely no proof of this occurring, bu it is still a fear in the hearts of many common folk. Due to their rapid healing zofien do live a longer life than their normal base race; approximately 50 years longer.
Weaknesses Cold Silver
Those with the avian strand transform into an oddly grotesque human shape covered in feathers, fingers and toes transition into thick talons, the span of their arms take the form of wings, and very rarely even tail feathers grow. The only time beaks develop is if one was born as a zofien, or if a young child was infected and survived the transition. Of all the changes this is likely the hardest one to do while fully clothed.
The avian zofien strand grants the users heightened eye sight based on the bird they're based off, as well as lightning quick reflexes. There's almost an uncanny future sense about them when they are reacting to motion. Unfortunately even when fully transformed the beast form does not grant any sort of flight capabilities, however, the wings could be used to increase drag and/or aid in longer jumps. There are also many of these zofien who excel in perfectly mimicking noises and throwing their voices like a ventriloquist.
Resistances Charms Vampirism
These zofien have rather skinny builds and always short fur no matter the feline they take after. This means even a lion zofien doesn't have a luxurious mane, but instead maybe a bit shaggier around the neck. Their faces pop out into a short stub of a snout with enlarged canines, ears extend, nails grow about an inch and harden but shaping is left to the individual, their body becomes covered in thin fur, and in the rarer cases some grow a tail.
A feline zofien gains better low-light vision and has incredible balance, with a mix of laziness and independence. They are always light on their feet, able to orient themselves whilst in the air without any trouble, which makes them quite the natural acrobatic. Even those who were stout or heavy in their life previous to the infection will find themselves far more nimble and speedy; but at a trade for bulk and strength. Despite this though there is always the draw to conserve energy unless it's worth spending.
Resistances Blinding Vampirism
Fitted with large curved ears and giant buck teeth there are times a mild leporine transformation can be mistaken for that of the murine. Until you see one moving. These zofien have acute hearing and a hyper sensitivity to their surroundings; eyes seemingly never blinking. Even if completely blind they can usually still tell where things are around them through hearing or a faint sort of tremor sense. Mix this with the enhanced leg muscles this strand boasts great mobility in both running speed and jumping distances. However, these zofien are often fairly excitable and prone to a fear response making them act irrationally in tense situations.
Resistances Cold Vampirism
The individual grows a thick pelt, long snout and strong sharp teeth, elongated nails and ears, and in rare cases a tail. Fur colors range between all shades of brown and grey with the occasional pure white or black. Whilst transformed the zofien gains an uncanny sense of smell and hearing, as well as low-light vision. However they do lose sensitivity to most colors even in their base state. Despite the tales of ferocious 'lone wolf' types, these zofien much prefer the company of others since they are based off of a pack animal. Gaining acceptance into some group is key for healthy living with this type; to remain alienated tends to quickly turn lupine zofien into hateful, distrusting, and savage beasts.
Resistances Poison & Disease Vampirism
Akin to the rodents they take after, those infected with this strand get long fingers, rarely a tail and/or buck teeth, and become very flexible; capable of wiggling out of tight bonds easily if need be. Their sense of smell is extremely heightened, have low-light vision, and their stomachs are incredibly resilient. Due to the rather odd proportions and contortionist abilities of these zofien they tend to stay away from those unlike them.
Resistances Physical DMG Vampirism
Very rare that any human has what it takes to survive this virus strand, but when it happens they find themselves in bulking bodies with thick hair. They're slow, a bit awkward on both two-legs and four, most preferring to walk bipedal, fingers and toes morph to large thick straight claws, and they are not well equipped to traverse the night. However they are very resilient creatures and have a tendency to prefer quiet isolated places. They can be very friendly if unprovoked, preferring to go about their business of eating and relaxing, but won't hesitate to protect what's theirs.
Last Edit: Apr 12, 2018 7:35:45 GMT -7 by The Maven
Credit to the original artists of all displayed artwork. Themes designed by The Maven.