Shintaro is unusual among the Shifters of Rhodantus due to his druidic nature, and his ability to take on the full form of a tiger as he pleases. Whether for this reason or for others, his relations with the island’s tribes is stand-offish at best, as he considers himself superior to them. Though he openly displays his disdain for the other inhabitants of the island, Shintaro has to date remained as quiet or cryptic about his past as possible.
The party has determined that Shintaro has a bit of a split personality, which is triggered by his two different forms. His preferred form, that of the great striped tiger, seems to be possessed of a distinct self confidance, and what can almost come across as an arrogance when dealing with those around him. In contrast to this, his humanoid Shifter form is nervous and defensive, more sneering than anything else. Another key difference is his ability to read and speak Supernal while in his tiger form, though why only one form has the ability remains a mystery. When asked where he learned the language, Shintaro responded that he was taught by Quang Ziu, an ancient king of the kingdom of Lau Jahnen.
The kingdom of Lau Jahnan was one of the first civilizations of Erryes to rise out of the dark age of the Tabula Rasa, and civilized life was able to spread and develop quickly on the island during that time.
Lau Jahnan was ruled by the Quang Dynasty, a family of Shifters with strong ties to the primal spirits, particularly those spirits associated with tigers. Although the nation’s technology soon advanced to a point where sea travel and foreign trade was a regular activity, Quang policy was isolationist at best; Lau Jahnan controlled the Northern Sea, but took little interest in affairs beyond the reach of its trade routes.
During the reign of King Quang Ziu, some 250 years after the Tabula Rasa, rumors reached Rhodangus of foundling nations springing up across the mainland. Quang Ziu decided it was time for Lau Jahnan to emerge from its isolation and spread the light of civilization. Lau Jahnan, though still a powerful kingdom, was faltering economically, as the majority of its trade was internal and the island’s resources were dwindling. By teaching the world the Jahnian way of life, Quang Ziu sought to gain not only new trading partners, but also a host of like-minded neighbors over which he could impose his influence and ideas.
The king commissioned seven magical artifacts containing the wisdom of knowledge of his people, and divided them among his most trusted advisors. These 7 artifacts were found as past items of the Tabula Rasa. These shifters believe that their civilization came from a time during the Tabula Rasa but know one knew officially. The items were very powerful in nature and were believed by the shifters to be able to pass on their heritage to others. Four were given to the best and brightest wizards in the kingdom (Lin Yao, Jiang Li, Xin Keru, and Rhi Jal), who were sent as ambassadors and diplomats to the mainland. Their mission would be to work alongside the growing nations of the world, building them up in a way that would make them receptive to Lau Jahnan’s influence. The other three talismans were divided between Quang Ziu, his daughter and heir, Princess Quang Wei, and his second in command, Chancellor Wo.
At first, all seemed to be going well, with regular reports coming back from the diplomats about their progress in establishing the peoples of the world, but soon the reports tapered off and then ceased altogether. Worse, the king became ill, and soon died, in the third year after the new relaxed isolation policy. He was buried in the crypts of the Quang dynasty, along with his talisman, and his daughter took on both his throne and his mission. The newly crowned Queen Quang Wei, in consultation with Chancellor Wo and in accordance with her father’s ambitions, decided to make one last attempt to reach the outside world. Quang Wei would go herself with a delegation to the Island of Resen, where it was known that other Shifter tribes lived, while the Chancellor would maintain the kingdom in her absence. She was received well by the tribes of Resen, but soon after her arrival she also fell ill and died.
When this news reached Rhodantus, the citizens of Lao Jahnan were outraged, both at the outside world which they had been isolated from for so long, and at Chancellor Wo, who received the brunt of the criticism for the expedition which had led to Quang Wei’s death. The kingdom erupted into anarchy, and when the dust settled, Chancellor Wo was officially exiled from the island, though whether he actually left or simply went into hiding in the temple catacombs is unknown. After the ending of the Quang bloodline and the exile of Chancellor Wo, the new government was unable to rule as effectively as before, and the kingdom fell into disrepair, devolving over the next several centuries into what it is today.
The party has by now learned that Shintaro’s split personality (and with it his knowledge of Supernal and ancient history) is a result of playing host body to Quang Ziu, who ascended to Primal Spirit status after his death and formed a bond with the young Shintaro in the crypts below Rhodantus. Both personalities are now open about this joint inhabitence and have pledged to do whatever it takes to seal the Portal and deny entry to any gods that might hope to return to the mortal world.
After the Heroes of the Portal quest:
As for Shintaro, the Heroes find his body as he lies dead from exhaustion and old age at the end of the fight. It’s time now; the world has given Shintaro what he wanted to see: his civilization has been discovered once again and now, with the aberrant, alien creatures gone, his people can remember who they were once again. They will now learn their heritage properly, thanks to him. But it came at a high price for the shifter. The artifacts have drained the life from him and the heart attacks and strokes have left him nothing but a husk of a shifter man. The life slips from him but the primal spirits have not abandoned him. They lift what remains of Shintaro and he becomes one with the spirits of the artifacts: King Quang Ziu’s council, his friends, and his daughter are reunited as a complete set. A fine collection of armor and weapon to not only take on any enemy of the primal spirits but to convey a perfect representation of the Lau Jahnan Dynasty. A priceless treasure that will be coveted by his people for all ages. And every once in awhile in the years to come, Shintaro’s spirit will be able to give some words of advice to those who might stumble upon these artifacts. And if words of advice don’t work, a good primal spirit whack to the head won’t kill them. The remaining heroes return Shintaro’s artifacts to the Lin Yao of the shifter clans. Finding that his friend Thorin is gone, Nord Cooper makes it his penance to help Lin Yao and the shifter clans to rediscover their lost heritage and teach them of the special properties of The Loring Beacon, the ship that got them to the Unknown Northern Territories.