Forms of Power

based on the system developed by Alan Harnum.

Basics

Each beginning Form of Power (henceforth generally referred to as FoP?) is constructed from a pool of points determined by the shapeshifter's Psyche, and by just how powerful the form assumed has the potential to be.  This pool represents just how powerful a form can safely be assumed by the shapeshifter without risking loss of self.

Standard Forms of Power

Creatures with a fair bit of bite to them, capable of posing a threat to ill-prepared lesser Amberites, but no real danger to Elders or groups. Examples might include lesser dragons, gryphons and manticores (as encountered by Corwin in the Chronicles), and lesser Chaos demons. The pool of points for creating a Standard FoP? is equal to Psyche for all Shape Shifters capable of assuming FoP?.  Up to four points may be spent in each category of FoP? Qualities or Powers.

Advanced Forms of Power

Nastier beasties whose abilities could potentially give a lone Elder trouble.  Examples might include greater dragons, tarrasques (from AD&D), and mid-level Chaos demons.

The pool of points for creating an Advanced FoP? is equal to 1/2 Psyche for Advanced Shape Shifters, and to Psyche for anyone able to create Master or Exalted Forms of Power.  Up to eight points may be spent in each category of FoP? Qualities or Powers.

Master and Exalted Forms of Power

The big nasties, the kind of things that can crawl out of Shadow and threaten Amber every few centuries or so.  Examples might include the most powerful Chaos demons, Great Old Ones, and black dragons the size of continents capable of eating Amber.

The pool of points for creating an Exalted FoP? is equivalent to 1/2 Psyche for Shape Shifting Masters, and to Psyche for Exalted Shape Shifters.  They are unavailable to Advanced Shape Shifters.  Up to sixteen points may be spent in each category of FoP? Qualities or Powers.

Number of Starting Forms

Determined by a pool equal to Endurance.  One point allows you to create a single Standard FoP?, two points allows you to create a single Advanced FoP?, four points (really only applicable for NPCs or starting characters more powerful than most) allows you to create a single Exalted FoP?.

This represents the number of true FoP? possible for the shapeshifter to contain without falling risk to nasty things like Primal Chaos Cancer.

Free Stuff

The basic physical form and its means of locomotion (at standard animal speeds) is free, as are basic natural armaments, etc.

General Commentary on Forms of Power

Assuming a FoP? is one of the most draining things for a shapeshifter.  The longer the form is retained, the greater the chance of becoming lost in the persona of it, particularly for an Advanced or Exalted FoP?.  Thus, shapeshifters learn FoP? with the intent of using them selectively and for brief periods: for a single battle, for a quick journey through Shadow, etc.  FoP? are not chosen as possible permanent states; they're exhausting, both physically and mentally.

When making lengthly journeys through Shadow in a FoP?, the shapeshifter generally makes stops to rest in a natural or animal form for safety purposes.  If something (pursuit, for example) makes this impossible, the chance exists that too long in a FoP? will begin to warp or even permanently change the shapeshifter's mind.  Shapeshifters learn to recognize the subtle changes of perception that are the first sign that a FoP? has been retained too long.

Forms of Power are generally learned through intensive study of the creature, including Psychic contact, and are not easily come by, particularly the more powerful ones.

Further Commentary on the system

This system was originally designed for a fairly low powered (~100 point) campaign. It does not scale well to characters with greater numbers of points. In particular, the use of Psyche and Endurance as the basis for number and power of the various forms goes up much to quickly. A 200 or 250 point character could easily have 50 forms of 50 points each... a terrifying proposition.

The rules for FoP? are currently under consideration for revision to weed out some of these problems.