The Animal Lords
Symbol: Eberron (the Dragon Between)
In the days before Siberys' demise, Eberron saw fit to create the Animal Lords to watch over her realm. Each embodied a piece of the then forming creation, whether good or evil, lawful or chaotic. They were charged with guiding the mortal Children of the Dragon Between in order to maintain the balance between her warring brother and sister.
The unforseen swaying of a great many of her children to Khyber through fear of death ultimately led to the God of Good meeting his end at the claws of the Goddess of Evil before the Goddess Between gave up herself to seal away her sister. The Age of Demons saw the ultimate twisting of Eberron's beloved guardians into the beasts they are today by Nyarlathotep, the Rajah of Chaos. Some believe him to be the Traveler, the only Sovereign not born of Siberys or Khyber, though none can be certain.
It was from Nyarlathotep's experiments that they were given true forms. Their original personalities warped to fit his strange desires, they became forces of destruction and death without purpose till the day the Dragons and Couatl sealed them away. Their release at the end of the Age of the Giants brought them out of their slumber, and they were again reborn, this time as the Curse of Lycanthropy. Nyarlathotep's corruption still holds sway over them, but as they reassert their true selves, their original personalities have begun to show through.
While all Full Moons will cause a Lycanthrope to react to some degree, specific moons have a greater effect on each type. The Thorns grow stronger, and for the three days the appropriate moon is full every month the transformations are almost impossible to resist.
Many legends abound about the moon's effect on Lycanthrope creation. Some say a True Lycan born when the associated moon is Full or at its Zenith will be closer to their patron animal, and legends of Werecreature Lord's being born at higher rates during such times remain unconfirmed.
The Wolf Lord
Fenric; the Protector
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral (shifts between CG and CE)
Associated Moon: Aryth
Fenric was born as the foremost defender of the Children of Eberron. Its very existence was to ensure no harm would befall them, even at the cost of its own life. This noble beast is what ensured the sleeping seeds of what would become Giants, Elves, Humans, Dwarves, and all other mortal races went uncorrupted by the tremendous evil of the Rajahs for so long.
It is ironic, then, that Nyarlathotep took this singleminded devotion and twisted it to a terrible Bloodlust. From this, the Thorn of Rage was born, and has been the bane of mankind ever since.
The old Fenric, the defender of his mistress' children, can still be seen in the unyielding devotion a Werewolf shows to those it considers one of its own. The Silver Flame was not wrong in killing many of the Werewolves. A large number of them were, indeed, in the thrall of the Thorn of Rage. It was the failure to consider the softer side of the patron animal that brought down the hate they now suffer.
After the events of the Karrnathi Civil War, the Thorn of Rage's hold on Fenric and, by extension, his heirs, has weakened significantly. For those battling the Thorn, the temptation to give in has lost a significant portion of it's punch. This means little over all, unfortunately, as most anyone infected previously will tell you that the Thorn was all but impossible to resist in the first place.
The Fox Lord
Nogitsune; the Tactician
Alignment: Neutral Evil (often tends towards True or Chaotic Neutral)
Associated Moon: Rhaan
Nogitsune was created to be the brains behind the Animal Lords. Managing the battle between the Demons of Khyber and the Angels of Siberys required a cunning mind and a willingness to do what one must. The Fox Lord, by directing the energies of her brethren, held the balance for countless aeons, but even Eberron knew such an effort was ultimately futile.
Nyarlathotep took the Tactician and twisted her brilliance into an endless Vanity. The Thorn of Pride is exceptionally potent among the heirs of the Animal Lords, driving those at its mercy to untold heights to avenge a wrong, real or perceived. Nogitsune's pride brought her to commit atrocities that stood out even in the carnage and madness of the Demon Age, slaughtering Dragons and Couatl alike in an effort to quench the burning desire for revenge after every loss. It is thought that this is the reason for the Werefox Curse's minimal spread, even among Shifters. Too many members brought ruination upon them.
The old Nogitsune is now free to muck about in the affairs of the higher planes and the non-mortal world thanks in part to Pyriel, whom constructed the body of Karin, which she has now taken full control of. To what extent her true power is accessable through this body, she has not shown, but her dealings with the Dragons, the Order of Damarius, and even the gods themselves in what she knows it a likely futile battle against the overwhelming Evil present in the world has shown her brilliance has not dulled.
While Thelia is the only remaining link to Eberron she possesses at the moment, the approaching birth of the first new Fox Shifters in seven years will be a momentus event.
The Rabbit Lord
God Usagi; the Healer
Alignment: CG (shifts to LG when facing Evil)
Associated Moon: Therendor
The God Usagi is Innocence and Purity personified, created to balance against the pragmatic or even cynical nature of so many of the Animal Lords. As the battle between Khyber and Siberys raged, it was Usagi's role to spread health and healing to the Children of Eberron caught in the middle.
Usagi is unique among the Animal Lords in that part of its essence came from an Angel of Siberys, Gayliel. Bonded soon after the God of Good's demise, the Healer alone has never succumbed to true corruption, even under Nyarlathotep's influence. Instead, Nyarlathotep drove it insane, causing it to become highly unstable. It was this insanity and sweetness Nyarlathotep turned towards his enemies to devastating effect.
Because of this, the Thorn of Loneliness is perhaps the least outright Evil of the Thorns, at least in regards to its effect on the world. Those under the Thorn's influence can become paralyzed with loneliness, and crave companionship and physical contact almost as much as, if not moreso than, food.
It seems Usagi may be regaining its sanity, but the road is bound to be long. As for it's heirs, what was at first thought to be a painfully short list has in fact grown exponentially in recent years. Apparently, the Rabbit Shifters were not wiped out, but driven into Lammania. Many have returned to Eberron, and several lines have been discovered with Rabbit Shifter blood in them. To no one's surprise, several of them are connected to the Ir'Wynarn line.
The Stag Lord
Herne; the Hunter
Alignment: Neutral Evil (was originally True Neutral)
Associated Moon: The Lost Moon
Herne was guardian of the forests and nature, a magestic creature born to inspire awe and respect in Eberron's children for the bounty the Dragon Between had given them. Like the Druids that would later take up the mantle, it obeyed the laws Nature itself lay down. Sometimes forgiving, sometimes cruel, Herne kept all to the same standard.
Nyarlathotep took this love of nature and twisted it into a deep seated hate of all who disfigured it. The Thorn of Defilement was the result. Particularly devastating when a Druid Werestag or Stag Shifter fell to its effects, it more often than not resulted in the wholesale destruction of the very land they had hoped to defend. In fact, the first known Blighters were actually Werestags.
The destruction of the Stag Lord's line was perhaps one of the most devastating events for the seal upon Khyber since the end of the Demon War, and when what remained of his spirit body was defeated and imprisoned, the wound was thought to never be healed. However, when Fenric was released in the Karrnathi Civil War, Herne's remains were used to bind and control him. When the power of God Usagi was unleashed to calm Fenric and end the nightmare, Herne was cleansed at long last. His essence is far from secure, but there is hope. A single Stag Shifter was born shortly afterward to a pair of Greensingers, and the baby sent into hiding in Thelanis.
The Ursine Lord
Hashmalim; the Judge
Alignment: Lawful Neutral (was once Lawful Good)
Associated Moon: Vult
Hashmalim was the Overseer, the Enforcer, and, in the end, the Dispenser of Eberron's will. While Usagi healed, Hashmalim's task was to redeem all who could be and destroy those who could not. The Judge is believed to be the first true Paladin not born of Siberys.
He was, alas, also the first Fallen Paladin. At first, he was a scourge to all Demonkind, taking up the mantle of Siberys on Eberron in a doomed attempt to stem the tides of Khyber's dominion. The constant death and sensless destruction, devoid of a light at the end of the tunnel, caused him to fall further and further away from his duty to uphold Good, and forcing him to obey only the word of the law Eberron had given to him. It was through this that Nyarlathotep ensnared him, creating the Thorn of Oppression in the process.
This thorn leads Werebears and Bear Shifters to believe their heavy handedness towards others to be "for their own good", despite the often detrimental effects of their efforts. While true heirs to the Judge are often bastions of hope and light for the weak, those caught in the Thorn's snare often call the enslavement of Free Will the same thing as Justice.
The Raven Lord
Shemhazi; the Loremaster
Alignment: Lawful Evil (used to be Lawful Neutral)
Associated Moon: Nymm
Shemhazi was the bringer of knowledge, the first herald of civilization to the newly created world. Despite what the Children of Winter believe, civilization is but one stage of the world's evolution. It was Shemhazi that first brought the power of speech, writing, and storytelling to the inhabitants of Eberron, and tales are still told of the first true Bard.
But words can be used to harm as much as help. It was through words that Nyarlathotep brought Shemhazi to his clutches, and it was through her that the Thorn of Deception was born. Lies, rumors, gossip, slander, and all manner of falsehoods stem from the lips of one caught in its snare. The true danger of it is the believablitiy of these very lies. Wereravens and Raven Shifters not in its clutches are fountains of wisdom or insight, often employed as advisors or information brokers. Those not so fortunate can and have brought calamity to any who will listen to their tainted words.
The Silver Flame was not the first church to pursue these charlatans, and they will not be the last. Many a good mind was lost in the recent frenzy, but many true conartists were forever silenced as well, undoubtably sparing many untold grief.
The Cat Lord
Tigyra, the Scout
Alignment: True Neutral (shifts between Lawful Evil and Chaotic Good, was originally only CG)
Associated Moon: Lharvion
Tigyra is often given credit for being the first Ranger, her ability to track and to focus on her designated target unparalleled even now. Often at the forefront of Eberron's forces, she was the Animal Lords eyes and ears, leading forces to a target and warning of attacks, earning her a place of honor among those unable to fight.
It was when Nyarlathotep took hold of her that the darker side of the Cat Lord came into being. With the birth of the Thorn of Obsession, the Cat Lord became selfish and narccisistic, believing, in effect, "what's mine is mine, and what's YOURS is mine". The moment something caught her eye, she would pursue it with a passion, doing what it took to ensure it came into her possession. Consequences be damned.
Those in the Thorn's embrace see the world as theirs to peruse. They don't just have the opportunity to possess something, they have the RIGHT to it. Werecats and Cat Shifters that fall to this Thorn are commonly Rouges, Beguilers, or Bards, making use of their great agility, senses, and/or wiles to steal what they want, when they want (people not excluded).
As for those fortunate enough to avoid this pitfall, they are often devoted companions and very protective of those they have chosen as "theirs", though not in as obvious a manner as Fenric's heirs.
The Boar Lord
Yumiko; the Berzerker
Alignment: Chaotic Evil (was originally Chaotic Neutral)
Associated Moon: Olarune
Yumiko is Passion given life. Whatever her goal, she devoted her entire being to it, inspiring those around her to give their all as well. More fearsome on the battlefield than Hashmalim or Fenric at their most formidable, her rampages have passed into myth, and Barbarians often believe it is her spirit they are channeling as they wield the passion of nature's fury against their enemies.
It was from this passion that Nyarlathotep brought forth the Thorn of Disruption. Yumiko became wild and completely uncontrollable, even by Nyarlathotep. Nogitsune was forced to imprison the Boar Lord within a time bubble when she was not needed, unleashing her upon the Rajah's enemies to such unfathomable slaughter that, upon the Animal Lords release after the Age of Giants, the Dragons have gone to great lengths to keep Yumiko's line in check. In fact, the only reason they have not destroyed them entirely is due to the damage such a thing would cause to the fabric of creation.
Wereboars and Boar Shifters subject to it are uncompromizing in their rejection of all attempts to regulate their behavior (law, social norms, ...clothing), and as such are rarely found within society's bounds. They are not welcome even among the criminal underworld due to their refusal to obey, even to their own detriment. Mostly found as loners or in small packs in less settled areas (especially Xendric and far eastern Khorvaire), coming across one is almost never a pleasant experience.
Those free of the Thorn are often mercenaries, taking jobs that will get them as much battle as they can. Spread throughout the same areas as their evil counterparts, these Wereboars and Boar Shifters often form village communities based around collective defense (as well as it makes it easier to receive supplies as organizing and planning for things like farming aren't really their strong suit). House Deneith often called upon their services during the Last War, though their antsy nature made them difficult to handle outside of a fight.
The Crocodile Lord
Saturos; The Devourer
Alignment: Chaotic Evil (was originally Chaotic Neutral)
Associated Moon: Zarantyr
Death and decay are a constant part of any mortal realm. As new things are created, the old fades away. Saturos was tasked with sweeping away this refuse, protecting the land from becoming saturated by the destruction wrought by the war between Khyber and Siberys.
Nayrlathotep took Saturos and turned him into a ravenous beast, its hunger never sated unless it consumes living flesh. Saturos shirked his duty, turning on the new life as the old piled up, setting the stage for much of the evil that permeates the land. The Thorn of Gluttony arose from this hunger, driving those in its grasp to kill the best of the world, instead of weeding out those who's time has come.
Werecrocs and Crocodile Shifters are unpredictable, nasty, and violent. Those possessing the Thorn of Gluttony kill for no reason and are often cannibalistic. A clear sign that one such beastie is in the area is a spike in the murders of humanoids in the prime of life, instead of weak or vulnerable members of the community.
Those free of it tend to be vigilanties, seeking out the refuse of society. Whether they hunt criminals and despense their own brand of justice, or seek out the homeless, the drunks, the invalids and "disposes of the dead weight" depends upon individual personalities.
Saturos' Title has actually resulted in some confusion among worshippers of the Dark Six Devourer, and many consider them one and the same. While not true, this confusion has only served to build a faith-link between the two, magnifying the destructive impulses in his heirs.
The Ape Lord
Kothan; The Builder
Alignment: Lawful Evil (was originally Lawful Neutral)
Associated Moon: Eyre
Lore tells of the First Artificer and how he brought the knowledge of tool making to the world. Shelters to protect from the elements, Fire to cook with and defend against the Night, Weapons to hunt food and kill threats, Armor to save the body, and Enchantments to prepare for the unknown. It is said that his hands were guided by Onatar himself, and that it was he who first reforged the five Swords of Eberron after the true blade was broken.
Kothan recognized and wrestled with the competing goals of his work, part of it preserved life, part of it took life. Nyarlathotep siezed upon his doubts, using his desire to find an answer to twist his mind until the Thorn of Hubris was born. He could do no wrong, and everything else was simply beneath him. Questions brought to bear against his arguments and reasonings were not answered, but merely dismissed as the failings of an inferior mind.
Those in its grasp are supremely arrogant. While they often have the potential to be great in whatever they do, their own refusal to accept even the idea that they might get something wrong always leads to ruin. Of course, it's never their fault.
Wereapes and Ape Shifters free of it are often renown creators. Whether it be Artifce, Blacksmithing, Construction, etc, their natural born talents and dexterity helps them integrate into society far more readily than their counterparts.
The Horse Lord
Rin; The Noble
Alignment: Lawful Evil (was originally Lawful Neutral)
Associated Moon: Dravago
Honor. Loyalty. Devotion to an idea rather than a thing. These are what Rin represented. Her presence was one of inspiration, bringing others to think beyond the Here and Now and look towards the Future, for good or ill. To earn her favor was seen as a sign that you were destined for great things. Of all the Animal Lords, she and Hashmalim were closest.
Nyarlathotep's corruption of her was particularly cruel. By creating the Thorn of Control, he twisted what should have been a creature tasked with bringing the mortal races to aspire to remake the world and break from the inevitable stagnation comfort and complacency breeds into a force for ensuring the breaking of spirits and stifling of free thought. While Nogitsune directed the other Animal Lords, Rin was the one who would drive Khyber's forces against the Children of Siberys. Any prisoners that were taken were ultimately her responsibility, and a great many Fallen Angels, corrupted dragons, and twisted Couatl resulted from her mental and spiritual torments.
Werehorses and Horse Shifters (Centaurs) caught in the grasp of Rin's Thorn emulate their patron, ensuring that the status quo as they see it is not questioned. Ironically, it can lead to vicious internal battles between competing viewpoints, a potentially drastic change resulting from a new Thorn bearer coming to power in a group. The primary driving force of these unfortunate individuals, though, is still the opposition of Change.
Those free of it are much like their patron's true nature, free spirits that enjoy challenging the assumptions of others, though many of them will do it just for kicks and to cause chaos rather than some attempt to better anyone.
The Rat Lord
Corcus; The Skulker
Alignment: Chaotic Evil (was originally Chaotic Neutral)
Associated Moon: Sypheros
Corcus' Myth has been much maligned over the millenia, due largely to the negative stereotype his heirs and his base animal have accumulated and the level of comfort they have being hidden in the shadows. Corcus is the guardian of the Lost. His intimate knowledge of the dark places of the world let him guide souls out of the shadows and towards the light. In tandem with Hashmalim and God Usagi, he was to bring those Children of Eberron caught in Khyber's grasp back to the Goddess Between.
It is not hard to see how Nyarlathotep twisted him. Upon creation of the Thorn of Treachery, Corcus went about leading travelers astray, tempting souls with illusions for fun, and uncovering secrets to sell to the highest bidder. He was a constant thorn in the sides of the Dragons and Couatl, disrupting their information networks with the creation of countless double agents.
Wererats and Rat Shifters ensnared by it exemplify the very derisive stereotype of the "dirty rat" looking only to screw you over to its benefit. Shunned by society, they often end up working for criminal organizations thanks to their talent as spies. They have no loyalty, though, and will turn on pretty much anyone if they get a better offer. Despite the popular image of the stupid rat grasping at scraps, they are often rather intelligent, and will play on fears and preconceptions to great effect.
On the opposite side, those free of it can end up being the silent whistleblowers on corruption and crime. They are few and far between, though, as the pursecution society heaps on them simply because of their race makes staying a good guy a very hard thing indeed.
The Shark Lord
Illiden; The Seeker
Alignment: Chaotic Evil (was originally Chaotic Neutral)
Associated Moon: Barrakas
While Herne was given mastery of the Land, Illiden was granted dominion of the Sea. Those who wished to cross his waters had to pay their respects to this fearsome guardian as well as treat its awesome power with the proper reverence. Those who defiled his home met a swift and vicious end in his jaws.
Nyarlathotep brought this guardian low by creating the Thorn of Jealousy. Before, the sea was open to those who did not anger him. After, the sea was dared only by the most foolhardy or desperate, as his presence meant death. Trespassing on HIS ocean was the greatest sin he could imagine. Needless to say, the Demon War saw the destruction of all manner of supply lines thanks to the unswerving drive to destroy anything on the water, regardless of allegiance. Nogi was forced to distract him often, to varying levels of success, in order to avoid being hindered by one of their own.
Weresharks and Shark Shifters in its embrace are highly territorial. Unlike Tigyra's heirs, they could care less about material objects, but step ONE FOOT in their claimed land, and you're fish food. Typically loners, they have been known to form smaller groups, but rarely communities.
Those free of it are still territorial, but less "bite first, then bite again". They tend to take on a more Defender than Overlord role of their territory, ignoring those who don't bother them. The vicious nature of their brethren has left many an heir to Illiden rebuffed from society, though Druids and other nature wanderers, as well as many sea farers, are bettered when they know which to trust, as they tend to have a great deal of knowledge about the aquatic environs of the area.
As a side note, Illiden's heirs are fairly amphibious. They can spend their whole lives on land, but they are very much sensitive to dry environs. Weresharks can breath underwater when transformed, and Shark Shifters can do so when Shifted, and both are excellent swimmers.
Lesser Animal Lords
The Thirteen Lords listed above are the ruling spirits of Eberron, but they are in no way the only ones. Through the power of Eberron (some say her sense of humor made several of them) and the needs of the Greater Animal Lords, these lesser spirits were created. Lycanthropy is, thankfully, rare to non-existent among them, as the events that led to the corruption, enslavement, and eventual shattering of the Greater Lords largely missed them.
By in large, the Shifters who bear the likeness of these beings come from a line that made a pact with the Lesser Lord. Few practice such rites now, and many who hold their power no longer realize where it comes from, but the knowledge is not completely lost.
The Sheep Lord - Created as an intermediate spirit between Herne and Yumiko, it is in charge of Agricultural duties, often associated with Arawai, and ancient paintings of Arawai in a frilly dress and a shepherd's crook followed by a sheep lend some credence to the theory that the Goddess of Agriculture bade Eberron make her an emmissary to better channel her blessings. Though it remains only speculation, the presence of Sheep Shifters is always taken as a sign of good luck for farmers, and some anectodal evidence suggests increased yields in areas containing this line.
Sheep Shifters are normally meek and docile, not to mention EXTREMELY huggable, but they are sometimes known for a sudden change in temper when threatened, often not to the liking of the recipients. Often identifiable through their soft wolly coat and doe eyes.
Surprisingly, Werewolves not beholden to the Thorn of Rage are extremely protective of Sheep Shifters, some chosing to take up residence near them out of some primal instinct not related to food. Perhaps it's the snuggly wugglyness that gets them.
The Octopus Lord -
The Hippo Lord -
The Coyote Lord -
The Penguin Lord - The Penguin Lord, affectionately known as Big Sis Prinny, is a little known Animal Lord with a large clan of mostly ineffectual Penguin Shifters mostly concentrated in the northern areas of Khorvaire and throughout Frostfell.
Prinnies, as they're known, aren't the strongest things in the world. Or the most agile. Or, well...ok, outside catching fish and exploding, they're pretty much useless.
But there's a LOT of them!
The exploding doesn't kill them, but it can hurt. It's an ability given them in a ritual gone wrong involving asking the Mockery to grant them more power in order to keep everyone, including those good for nothing 2nd ED Halflings, from laughing at them for being pathetic. It hasn't worked so far.