Among the inhabitants of the crowded cities of Machalon and Telfir, you can easily find the Balak Shifters trying to teach the members of the cities about the Way of the Path. The monks are known for their politeness and cleanliness. They are willing to talk to anyone as long as that person is willing to listen to them. In cases of rudeness from others, the priests are fairly stoic and will try to leave the situation if possible.
Their initial training usually starts out in a reclusive monastery of their own realm where they learn to be present in the Separation and learn to see into the Natural realm or the Fantasy Realm. Once they have master the ability to see, they begin to learn about the Way of the Path. Once they learn about the path and have a better understanding of the world around them, they are given the choice of where they would love to spend their learning years. They leave with their mentor and spend time learning about the secret power internal to themselves. Once they can harness that power, they are sent out into the world to begin teaching others about how to see into the other realms and the Way.
The Balak Shifters try to each as many people as they can about the Way of the Path. This view of the world started with some of the initial members began receiving the visions from Death as he created the different realms. These visions were the Dream Paintings and images that we now see on the Oracle and ShadowMyths decks. They understood His plans and knew that they had to do more than just create the images. So, they started mass producing the images and distributing them all around Ozul. In the beginning, they freely gave them to all of the sentient races but, once Death had finished separating the realms, they realized that they had to go out and show the people how to see into the different realms and explain Death’s plan.
The Balak Shifters are extremely personable and nice. They will talk to anyone and find personal hygiene to be one of their highest priorities. In addition, all members are extremely healthy and very friendly. According to them, they prefer it that way because it makes people more at ease when talking to them.
The one thing, though, is that they are someone focused on a single topic: The Way of the Path. They will always try to steer the conversation towards that topic. Dressed in simple robes, they will try to make you as comfortable as they can when talking to you.
Although they appear nice, when confronted with a physical situation, they are deadly fighters. Besides being physically fit, they have excellent hand and eye coordination and are quite adept at hand-to-hand combat. They don’t tend to use weapons if they have a choice but this is another area that they are trained in.
In dire situations, though, they prefer to rely on their inner strength and shift their body into their chosen avatar. The avatar is actually an illusion but, if their opponent believes in the illusion, the damage and attacks are seen as real. In some cases, the Balak Shifter may have an avatar that is a winged creature. So, when they shift into that form, it may seem like they could have flown away. Under that circumstance, the shifter leaves the battle by running away but the opponent will only see a winged creature flying.
Image Size: 11” wide x 14” tall
Original Pencil Drawing on Bristol Paper
Signed by Doug Hoppes (artist)
Provided with separate Bainbridge Clay Coated Archival Foam Board (1/8” thickness)