Naguals are therianthropes in EC's continuity. Not to be confused with lycanthropes, these potentially transform into any conceivable "beast" form one could imagine.
Different from the simple transition from human to animal, Naguals have a number of different forms they can become.
Naguals originated in Stara Ziema, the dark continent, where early druids used Magicke to physically transform their bodies into swifter, more agile and more powerful versions of their own ancestry. At that time, Stara Ziema was a vast and dangerous place, populated by top-tier predators of many types. It is thought that these early users of magicke developed these techniques in order to protect themselves, and compete for food. Modern Magicke scholars have been unable to recreate these techniques, however, and it is considered suspicious and odd that these more primitive Druids would have been able to create what modern Mages cannot.
Among indigenous peoples of many continents, there is a common mythology holding that the early druid creators of Therianthropy consorted with dark powers in order to bridge the gap between their own knowledge and that which was needed. This is cited as one of the key properties of Commonality Theory. Mythology tends to hold, also, the belief that for resorting to these dark powers, the early druids and all Naguals since that time, have paid heavy costs. Though information is limited, especially among knowledge of supernaturals, it is clear Naguals were created through some use of scientific Magicke, and has been present in the world for millenia.
Nagualism is a genetic condition. It is one of the first known cases of successful Magickal Breeding. Modern Naguals are the descendants of previous generations. The condition is exceptionally evident in Indigenous peoples, such as the Yanaka of Elysia.
When two Naguals mate, their child has approximately a 30% chance of becoming a Nagual itself. This goes the same 2nd and 3rd generation Naguals as well. Also, this chance still exists when a Nagual mates with a regular mortal.
Naguals are not immortal, though after puberty Nagual children age at about 1/4 of the speed of regular mortals.
Naguals make excellent combatants. They heal faster than regular furres, and resist bone breakage to a degree greater as well.
Naguals transform into four-footed "beasts" of themselves at a period of roughly once a month. During this time their minds are reverted to a forgetful non-sentient intelligence, which may be prone to any behaviours subject to non-sentient animals. If predatory, they may attack or prey on people. If non-predatory, they may exhibit scarce or defensive behaviour unsafe for mortals to be around.
With some elementary training, Naguals can learn to shift willingly at a time of their choosing. They can choose more monstrous bipedal forms of themselves in addition to the four-footed variant. This training can only be given to them by other more experienced Naguals.
Naguals need other Naguals. To teach them to hunt, escape predators, escape mortal persecution, and to use their powers. For this reason Naguals are often a very insular society, and value family to a great degree. Often they exhibit the characteristics of real-world animals in their social organizations (wolf-naguals form packs, avian-naguals migrate, cat-naguals tend to go it alone). Regardless of species inclination, they require at least some contact with other Naguals/Therianthropes. Sometimes they will associate with other species in doing this, though, by and large, they keep close-knit family "clans" and keep to those individuals.
Naguals are highly susceptible to Psionic suggestion and tend to exhibit a fear and trebidation of such powers. They are particularly vulnerable while in their beast forms. This renders them desirable prey for manipulative Psi users, and exploitative Returners. Many Naguals have been captured from their home clans and enslaved through mental suggestion. In Elysia, it is highly illegal to influence anyone, Nagual or otherwise, using Psi suggestion.
Naguals have trouble with Ward Magicke. The "Holy" variant affects them in a preternaturally fearful way, and renders some of their magickal abilities useless. Having nothing to do with arbitrary distinctions like Good and Evil, it appears to have more to do with opposition by the inherent magicke used in Therianthrope creation.
Though it may appear unnatural to imbue living creatures with Magicke and selectively breed them, there are few people or cultures more in respect for the natural order than Naguals. They hold a common belief that they are the stewards of the natural world, and tend to resist, sometimes violently, deforestation and other "mortal attempts" at the exploitation of the natural land. Think of them as pissed off, sharp-toothed hippies.
If you want to play a Nagual, keep in mind you'll need to have your character learn how to control their powers. We recognize that the best part of playing a "Were" is to be able to shapeshift when you want to, so we've made it nice and easy to achieve that skill level. Just remember that like any other "outsider" or supernatural, your character may face persecution, and won't want to publicly profess his status as a Shifter.