Forms of Power
based on the system developed by Alan Harnum.
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.
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
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.