Religion of the Shifters
The shifters are an atavistic people—they believe that all things contain spirits and gods that should be worshiped and propitiated to avoid calling down their wrath. Unlike many other cultures, the shifters do not see their gods as kindly or protective, but as wrathful and jealous creatures that must be pleased to avoid horrible consequences. While the shifters believe they are descended directly from their own gods—or more precisely, that their gods are their own legendary ancestors—they know all too well how violent the anger of a parent can be.
For this reason, the shifters are a very religious and even superstitious people. They pray to the spirits of any animals they kill to eat, they pray to the spirits of the land when they take food from plants or water from streams. When they kill an intelligent foe, they take great pains to make sure the body is buried properly and the correct prayers are said to keep the spirits from rising and seeking revenge. The shifters believe that greed—second only to cowardice—is the vice that most enrages their gods and patron spirits. As a result, sharing holds an important place in their cultural traditions. A shifter is expected to share with the other members of his tribe, and the shifters as a whole are expected to share with the other beings that share their home, whether spirits, immortals, or fey. No bread is baked without an offering of some portion to the little people; no mead is consumed without first sloshing a few drops on the table for the benefit of tankard spirits.
The shifters’ religion is not terribly formalized. While the bards do know and teach the prayers and little rituals needed to calm and appease many types of spirits, there are no churches or temples, nor do the people of the highlands feel the need for such structures. They worship regularly, in their everyday, practical way, because they must to avoid the dangerous spirits of the region, not because they feel beholden to some priest.