The Shapeshifter has many goals, to hunt, but also to preserve. To find a beast, defeat it and store it's soul, memories, and abilities into a special sphere. When this sphere is activated, they will take on the aspect of that beast in all it's fury that it once held in it's prime. Being filled with abilities, talents, and skills that are unique to each beast grant the Shapeshifter an edge. Blending in the wilderness, scouting, and bringing a varied skillset to the table for situations that they are called to.
The Shapeshifter is a generational class, mentors training apprentices under the creed and oath they must follow from then on. Allowed however, to further their own goals as well if desired. The Shapeshifter as a whole grows stronger if being an acolyte under a more experienced Trickster.
From the likes of the Al Abassi, and the likes of many other nations, the ideal of transforming one's self into a beast is a ill-suited form of combat and sloppy. However, the Al Bhed have derived a unique sense of honor with the goal of becoming a Shapeshifter. The Shapeshifters are tasked (on their journeys, a sidequest) to obtain as many spheres of endangered or exotic beasts (even something as simple as an albino could be rewarded if caught and sealed). Rewarded with gil, a sense of honor, and being able to transform their bodies into the souls caught at a whim, the Shapeshifter is a nasty fighter indeed.
Becoming a ShapeshifterEdit
Becoming a shapeshifter is something any being could become. Old, young, female or male. Al Abassi, Guado, Ronso, or even the human. Everyone is capable of stepping into the role of the Shapeshifter. As spheres are much more easily obtained within Damcyan, it basically inhibits anyone that are not of the Al Bhed from joining these ranks. As well, only the Al Bhed know the secrets and techniques in which activates the spheres and enables them to seal beasts and monsters.
It is easy to take the first steps into joining the Shapeshifters. Usually found localing the arenas, and the less reputable areas of Damcyan. Dangerous to live in, it is the Shapeshifter's paradise. Seeking out a skilled Sphere Forger, obtaining several spheres devoid of content, easily filled.
The Shapeshifter begins their journey, finding a skilled Shapeshifter, whether an expert, master, or grandmaster. The journey begins as simple as that. Taking the time, they begin their first steps into the role of the Trickster. Challenging the most minor of beasts, and sealing their memories and soul into the spheres. The Sphere holds all the abilities, aspects, and the very identity and appearance of the creature.
The creed that the Shapeshifter will then take means he must from then on, seek to preserve endangered life. No matter how evil it may seem to others. This above all else is their goal. Then, after this, they may seek to capture and contain the forms and soul of creatures they wish to take the shape of.
After several months of collecting (And only collecting), will the loyalty of the initiate be enough (time spent in each training period varying on mentor) to give them the ability to learn the ability to take the shape of each creature they can capture in the spheres (much like dress spheres). Directly taught through a mental link, the ability is inaccessible unless directly taught. As all records of how to use this ability have been lost to time, and is passed on only from master to apprentice.
The relationship between master and apprentice grow as they now work together to train and fight using the creatures they have obtained. Keeping the creed in mind, they will always be sure to have monsters on hand if journeying. As most Shapeshifters seek to seal and obtain stronger creatures for catalogueing, it is their duty to engage tougher beasts over time.
From slimes, to beasts, to fiends, and one day, once a true master: to wield the might of boss and mega-boss level monsters. Albeit, only around ten individuals like this could possibly exist in the world. Using their skills for whatever purpose they may have besides the creed, the Shapeshifter Oath does not prevent the Tricksters from taking their own routes and destinies in their hands.
The strength of the Shapeshifter will vary on how long they have trained, how many years they have been a Shapeshifter, and what beasts they have obtained. All the circumstances taking play, as a young Shapeshifter could easily equal the might of an experienced Shapeshifter if sealing the proper creature. A shapeshifter may choose to obtain the might of a single genus of beast, or choose to master an entire nation's worth of monsters. It all depends on the individual. Even keeping to seeking out hard to locate and the more dangerous/or exotic fiends.