Dungeons and Dragons
Changelings are shapechangers, a people able to assume the features of other humanoids. Known also as doppelgangers, changelings’ talents breed mistrust and fear, leading many changelings to hide their true nature from even their closest companions. Many changelings seek only to avoid unwanted attention and to find a place in the world.
Lacking a culture or a civilization to call their own, changelings adopt other races’ societies. They seek out communities that have values and interests that parallel their own. Changelings prefer cities because they are ideal places to blend in with others or to vanish if necessary. Cities also contain people too interested in their own affairs to notice the oddities of strangers.
Changelings are inoffensive and peaceful by nature, and they have few concerns about political and social affairs. Their mercurial nature breeds distrust and suspicion in other races. People are intent on seeing the worst in changelings; they assume the race uses its shapechanging ability for malicious ends. Some changelings do use their talents for evil, but such individuals exist in no greater numbers than among other races. In a way, changelings are parasitic in their relationships with other races. Rather than constructing grand civilizations and sweeping edifices devoted to their people, changelings are content to treat the works of other races as their own. Their willingness to identify with a variety of societal structures is vital to maintaining their false identities. For most changelings, the arts, customs, and practices they uphold are more than tools to reinforce their identities. These aspects of society and culture are a part of their beliefs and values, just as they are for other members of their adopted communities.