Shifters are students of magic whose emphasis is mastery over the Rifts, at least in regard to opening dimensional portals and summoning creatures from beyond this earthly veil. These mages have a reputation for being irrational and evil. However, it is an undeserved reputation, for there are as many good, kind and well intentioned Shifters as there are evil ones. The difference is that Shifters obviously deal with supernatural beings (good, selfish and evil) that are strange and terrifying to people. Additionally, selfish and evil Shifters tend to be cruel and ruthless, willing to make a "deal with the devil," as they say, to get what they desire. Selfish and Evil Shifters also tend to enslave the beings they summon, have little or no regard for their well being, and unleash them against fellow mortals to terrorize, rob and kill. Thus, it is the black-hearted Shifters who give the entire profession a bad reputation.
Sadly, the art of Shifting is one of the most dangerous and corrupting of the mystic arts. For one thing, you have a mere mortal able to summon and command supernatural beings - Demons, Deevils, Elementals, Spirits of Light, Faerie Folk, Entities, ghosts, spirits and a host of others. It is a heady feeling to command even lesser supernatural beings, for even the lowliest is ten times more powerful than the average human and calls upon magic and dark forces beyond the veil . To be able to bend such beings to one ' s will often leads to delusions of grandeur and exaggerated self-importance.
For another, associating and communicating with these dark and ugly souls often leads to a distorted and dark view of the world. After al l, these vile creature are governed by base emotions and thrive on sorrow, pain and murder. Consequently, they encourage ruthlessness, cru elty, revenge and hatred. They are only too glad to act on the Shifter's behalf to inflict terrible vengeance, pain, destruction and death in his name. Most supernatural beings, especially demonic ones, loathe being summoned and enslaved by a mere mortal, but they happily capitulate by turning the tables and manipulating events to create pain and misery for other mortals. And in the process, they hope to corrupt the Shifter or do things in such a way as to cause him guilt, sorrow, pain or destruction. In fact, depending on the creature summoned, many a demon delights in effectively turning the Shifter to wickedness and making him one of their own ! Such are the innate dangers of Shifting and Summoning magicks, and why they are feared, discouraged and often persecuted.
The Shifter 's focus of m ystic study is understanding how ley lines and nexus points work, including how to use them for trans-dimensional travel and the summoning of supernatural beings. Unlike the Ley Line Walker and most students of magic, the Shifter is not so much a vessel for magic energy himself, but rather a conduit and stimulus that
agitates, activates, controls and directs the energy around him. For example, he can ignite a ley line nexus point to surge and open a Rift, buthe does not expend the energy from inside himself, but rather causes the energy around him to react - boil, if you will - to create a reaction. Likewise, a Shifter draws upon the P.P.E. of those around him, channeling it to create magical effects. This "drawing" of energy can be done by willing cooperation from henchmen or supernatural beings he has called forth from a Rift (and one of the reasons he calls upon supernatural beings), or involve blood sacrifices in which an evil Shifter draws upon the doubled P.P.E. energy released at the moment of deathto work his magic. This use of taking and using ambient and stolen energy contributes to the sorcerer' s title of "Shifter," for he shifts magic energy from one source to himself or to another, and uses it to alter or shift real ity. Likewise, when a dimensional portal is opened, it shifts reality, causing it to open a door to a conflicting or alien existence, turning or shifting the veil of reality to meet his needs and desires.
While Temporal Raiders and Temporal Wizards are (see Rifts® England), arguably, the masters of dimensional travel and time magic, Shifters are the true masters of the Rifts. They are one of the few unique classes that actually embrace the idea of dimensional travel, but they also exert influence over dimensional beings/travelers, and supernatural creatures who wander the Megaverse using dimensional portals and bridges. This expands the range of power and influence of the Shifter beyond that of others through the addition of inhuman minions and servants who make their range of knowledge and experience available to their Shifter master (assuming they are loyal and can be
trusted). No group of dimensional travelers should be without at least one Shifter, because they can read and control the very Rifts to take them to specific worlds and places unknown. Shifters are so in tune with dimensional portals and alien dimensions that if they meditate and open themselves up to the dimension they are visiting, they get a
wealth of knowledge, from the type of the dimension to its various quirks. A Shifter' s knowledge is also unsurpassed when it comes to dimension lore and knowledge of dimensional travelers, monsters and anomalies.