Reign of Winter
Most people believe skinwalkers are half-breeds of lycanthropes, or that they share some slight version of the curse of those creatures. Skinwalker shamans say they are chosen by nature or the gods to be a bridge between the world of humanity and the animal world. The truth may lie somewhere between these two ideas. For indeed, skinwalkers are those with a lycanthrope crouching somewhere in the branches of their family tree.
These distant progeny of monstrous werewolves and other creatures of the night have special talents unlike those of most civilized peoples, and they arise randomly among remote humanoid populations as well as within their own secretive sects. A pair of humans may give birth to a skinwalker—the dormant lycanthropic ancestry making itself known in a child neither beast nor human—or a pair of skinwalker parents may produce a skinwalker child, though these couplings can sometimes produce human children as well.
Skinwalkers mostly populate human settlements and communities. They tend to get along with catfolk, tengus, and members of other animal-like races (including lycanthropes), and are comfortable taking their animalistic forms in the company of these fellows. However, many natural lycanthropes see skinwalkers as weaker, inferior versions of their own kind, and some lycanthropes even take to infecting or even hunting their distant kin.
Often on the move, skinwalkers make for excellent adventurers. Once they become comfortable in a group, most skinwalkers come to see their adventuring allies as their pack or herd.