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Sidebar on Shape-Shifting

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All-Father of Bash!
All-Father of Bash!

Joined: Apr 04, 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:03 pm    Post subject: Sidebar on Shape-Shifting Reply with quote

Something I've been asked about a lot is building characters with Shape-Shifting, so I decided to add a sidebar on it. I was a bit worried that this might be confusing to read. So do you think this is clear enough what I'm trying to explain?:

Building a Shape-Shifting Character
One question I often get from gamers designing a shape-shifting character is how to build a character who becomes much more powerful while shape-shifting. One suggestion is that your build represents your preferred combat shape, rather than your default shape. Then use the “Normal” Disadvantage to represent the character in their regular human form. Make a note next to the Disadvantage what their Stats are in this form. For your main character build, use the character’s favorite or most well-rounded form. For instance, suppose a character has the ability to Shape-Shift into animal forms. In his normal human form, he has Brawn 1, Agility 2. But when he is fighting crime, he often takes the shape of a gorilla with Brawn 3 Agility 3. So on his character sheet, he has Brawn 3 Agility 3 and uses those stats as the “pool” to build his other Shape-Shifting abilities from. If we wanted his default gorilla form to also have Clinging and Swinging 1, we could simply add Augmented Shifting 2, which will mean he has 2 CP in powers in addition to his base Stats.
An easy way to keep track of what you can do with Shape-Shifting is to write down your “Shape-Shifting pool”. These are the Character Points you have in your Stats and in Augmented Shifting. So with a base Brawn 3, Agility 3, and Augmented Shifting 2, our character has a Shape-Shifting pool of 14CP.
If you wanted to have powers in your “normal” shape (and thus, cannot take the Normal Disadvantage) then we recommend noting some powers as derived from Shape-Shifting (which are included in the pool you could choose to swap when your Shape-Shifting is activated) and which powers are available regardless of what form you are taking.
One thing you can do to save Character Points is to add a Situational Limitation to a power <Only> to some powers outside your Shape-Shifting pool. It would make sense to use with Growing or Shrinking which are often used simultaneously with Shape-Shifting, such as when a character morphs into a whale or a mouse. Putting Growing and Shrinking into a Multi-Power is also an easy (and sensible) way to save Character Points.
What you cannot do is abuse Boost by taking it as <Only>. This is game-breaking because it basically gives you 2CP per 1CP spent on it for free. The Augmented Shifting Enhancement was developed specifically to address this issue and make Shape-Shifting more robust. You can still use Boost with Shape-Shifting, but need to be much more specific about it. A snake form having Tensile Strength or a fish form having Boost (Brawn with Super Swimming) would not be abusive. But these calls will be up to the Narrator.

Chris Rutkowsky
Basic Action Games
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