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Shape-Shifting: A Closer Look

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:10 am
by Sijo
In my last article, I covered some possibilities for Super Forms. It was then brought up that Shape-Shifting, notably now that it can be bought at lower levels, can be used for this purpose. This led me to think about exactly what you can and cannot do with Shape-Shifting. Let's start with the RAW:

"This allows you to turn into an animal, monster, or possibly turn your body into metal, stone, or other substances."

"the power lets you rearrange your points for Brawn and Agility as you like (you keep your Mind)."

"You can reduce the pool of stats by 1 point to instead receive 2pts of powers in this new form."

Note that the Power is not listed as either Maintained or Sustained. So presumably you remain in your last form even if KO.

What can we infer from this data?

[*]First: Shape-Shifting can be used as a disguise. Not as a human [that requires Changeling] or an object [that requires Mimic] but as an animal or a statue. Note you do not gain those forms' Powers without spending points [more on that below]. Also presumably, you can move as a statue [unlike when using Mimic] thought that reveals you are not a statue [you could pretend to be a robot or golem though.] If you have the Extra Effect: Molecular Shift enhancement [from Amazing Powers #11] you can actually change into different substances, but only for purposes of taking advantage of a foe's' Limitations or Weaknesses, you don't gain Powers from that.

[*]Second: You can increase your Brawn by reducing your Agility, or increase your Agility by reducing your Brawn. Both options have their pros and their cons. They can also be combined with the Power's other effects- a monkey, for example, is weaker but more agile than your average human.

[*]Third: Points converted from Stats are used to buy powers that fit the forms assumed. Or, so I assumed for the longest time. Comments made by BASHMAN on my Super Forms thread, plus a rereading of the Power's RAW, seems to indicate you can choose *any* powers as long as you have points for them. So, your monkey form could have ice powers, even he still looks like a regular monkey? This is not the case in most fiction and I would make the Powers being related to the form a prerequisite, but that's me. As a further option, you can take the Augmented Shifting enhancement [also from AP vol.11] to have a pool of Character Points for use with Shape-Shifting. I prefer using this because most shapeshifters don't usually suddenly grow weaker or slower.

So that's Shape-Shifting at Level 4. But what about Levels 1-3? At these levels, you are limited to certain specific forms. All of the above points still apply presumably. So if you want one or more Super Forms, you *can* use Shape-Shifting for them- but they must look like animals or statues.

Weaknesses, Advantages, and Disadvantages: Shape-Shifting does not include these by default. So you could, for example, turn into a wood golem and be very tough but have no special vulnerability to fire. I propose that you can take Weaknesses that only apply in your chosen forms. Also, use the optional rule where Advantages are bought with points and Disadvantages provide points, to also apply them to Shape-Shifting.

Re: Shape-Shifting: A Closer Look

Posted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 1:10 pm
Sijo, there is a Limitation called "Weakness Absorption" that I think would also be * to use with Shape-Shifting in the manner you describe. While the version in AP11 mentions getting a weakness by using copycat to copy someone's powers, I think it makes sense if you are copying a generic creature/object, you could also get its weakness, too.

Re: Shape-Shifting: A Closer Look

Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2021 5:29 pm
by MrJupiter
Sijo, great breakdown on the Shape-Shifting power. I love your point about the odd loophole of the power that could technically allow ICE-MONKEY as a Shape-Shifting option. For a good while, I had thought of Shape-Shifting as a sort-of "Omni-Power" ability that allowed a hero to sacrifice Agility or Brawn ranks for improvised powers without having to buy into the rather expensive, and often campaign-optional Cosmic power suites. It nagged me, though, that such open, impromptu applications of the power--though needed--felt like a cheat (especially for a power very whose name implied that the character undergoes some kind of physical alteration). Thankfully, the new Wizardry power does a great job of filling the "Omni-Power" void for BASH.

BASHMAN, it is a great idea to apply the Weakness Absorption limitation to the Shape-Shifting power.