|[Meta] Playing a Shifter Hybrid: Unofficial Addendum
||[Jul. 18th, 2010|01:39 pm]
Brought to mind by Sythyry's recent post and my own thoughts therein about how shifter hybrids are presented in the sourcebook.|
The sourcebook descriptions of the ailments suffered by shifter hybrids are somewhat vague. Herein I present my own efforts at defining some game-relevant portions of them. Specifically, this is meant to deal with shapeshifting, and the pain thereof, in the context of combat or other sensitive, time-critical tasks.
Shifting: Shifting takes d6 actions, during which the shifter hybrid is immobile and suffers Trouble d20. The shifter hybrid can attempt to force it to take a single action(see "Shapechanging Skill", below). After shifting, the shifter hybrid has Trouble (EDIT)1/2 d6, rounded down(/EDIT), which decays at 1 point per action. You may be suffering additional Trouble from clothing that no longer fits. If your forms are dissimilar enough that the clothing will not accommodate the new form at all, you suffer an additional 10 Trouble during the shift as you burst out of it. If you are wearing leather armour, it is similarly ruined. If you are wearing something stronger(including chain mail, which, while flexible, doesn't stretch without difficulty), you suffer d10 damage and additional Trouble - the Trouble also remaining after the shift - as it cuts into you. Borrowing someone else's armour is unwise.
Time Between Shifts: After spending a second hour in a given shape, roll d6 + Will. On a roll of 4 or more, nothing happens. On a roll of 1-3, suffer trouble 3. Every additional consecutive hour without shifting automatically adds Trouble 3(or 1 per third of an hour, if working with small time scales; in this case, you should roll to know if your first point of Trouble arrives after 1 1/3 hour, not Trouble 3 after 2 hours). Once the shifter hybrid does shift, the Trouble of the other form no longer applies, but is still there, decaying at 3 points every third of an hour until reaching zero(1 point per 3 WT minutes, 9 per hour), and finally being discarded after the next 1/3 hour(see "Early Shifting", below). You are aware of how "sore" the other form is(its accumulated Trouble).
Shapechanging skill: Shifter hybrids start with a special craft skill, Shapechanging. This starts with 15 points(level 5). I'm torn on whether or not I want to allow adding experience during character creation, but leaning toward "yes, allow it". This skill has two functions:
- Trigger a shapechange. Either before your body is trying to do so, or to speed it up to take a single action. Roll Shapechanging + Will + d20 vs 10 + any Trouble remaining from the target shape(see above). If your roll meets or exceeds the target, you are able to change shape in a single action. If you do this under stress and the d20 botches, the pain from shifting will stay at d6 until you shift again, either naturally or, if deliberate, into a shape with no lingering Trouble. (That is, you can't get around this by changing back 5 minutes later unless you were in that form for little enough time that it has no Trouble.)
- Resist a shapechange when the body is trying to do it. If your accumulated shifting-related Trouble is no greater than your Shapeshifting skill + Will, you are able to remain in your current shape against the urge to change. If that trouble is no more than half your Shapeshifting skill(rounded up) + your (full, unhalved) Will, you can change your mind and trigger a quick transformation without it necessarily counting as a stressful situation; if the Trouble is greater, any attempt to force a quick change will automatically roll a stress die. (This does not, of course, prevent the situation from being stressful for other reasons. If you're in the middle of a fight, triggering a transformation will be a stress die even if you're not feeling any shifter-pain at all.) Similar to hammer-casting, this does not involve any roll.
Early shifting: If you shift into a shape that still has Trouble associated with it, it immediately resumes accumulating. If you have resisted changing to the point that you have 18 Trouble, it will take two hours just to clear it. By that point, your other form will also have 3-6 Trouble. Once the Trouble associated with a form decays past zero, that form will have the usual hour before any chance to suffer Trouble; if it has only just reached zero, it's still too soon, and will begin accumulating trouble immediately. Pushing yourself too far may sometimes be necessary(to keep up a disguise, perhaps), but it will have lasting consequences as well as the immediate pain.
ADDENDUM TO THE ADDENDUM: Coping Strategies
Life as a shifter need not be all bad. As an adventurer, the benefits are substantial, especially for a mage who will pick up at least one extra knack in a Verb.
How to deal with it? There are ways. Need to fight, want to shift during it, and want to stay lucid? Banish the Pain will reduce all related Trouble. Want good armour? Enchant it with Mu [Nn] to change when you do; or if your other form isn't suitable for armour, a more complex enchantment to morph it into a harness, or Mu [Nn] Co to meld it into your body, or Mu [Nn] Lo to shift it into a pocket realm for the duration. Hop around as a Sleeth with mighty claws and teeth, and when you're up against armour, shift into a bipedal shape and watch your armour grow back out of your hide, and your weapon come to hand. Want to cover up the time it takes to shift? A Quick Instant talisman is your best friend, and not that hard to get with a couple charges per day. There are ways to get around the main disadvantages of being a fighting shifter.
And that's part of why I don't think these rules are too much.